Summer Vacation 2011 – Souvenir Shopping

Well, when the weather doesn’t cooperate and a wet forecast proves true, what’s the next best thing to playing cards and games at home? Souvenir shopping, of course. And our girls just looooooove it. hahaha

We tried a little sightseeing but there were several flooded roads, making it not so easy or quick to get around the island. And there weren’t any kid-authorized movies for us to see. So, souvenir shopping it was for our little antsy, stir-crazy family.

Our little shopping venture also became a teaching opportunity and math practice for our girls. We gave them a budget to work with and they chose their own purchases. We told them that whatever they got had to remind them of their St. Martin vacation – we were hoping this would derail any requests for things like stuffed animals that they could easily find at home. I think they did a rather good job – sea shells, a purse out of coconut shell, bird house made of coconut shells and reeds of some sort, handmade flutes, keychains with St. Martin/St. Maarten written on the, etc. etc. etc. It was quite fun. Brought back memories of my own childhood collections of stuff I’d get from souvenir shops as we toured the States.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

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Fascinating – Save the Children Catalog

The other day, I received a catalog in snail mail – glossy paper, colorful photos and all. Doesn’t sound extraordinary, I know. I’ve been a long-time catalog shopper and I still appreciate being able to quickly flip through a number of purchase options before making my selections. For the most part, I have migrated to online shopping but I have to admit that occasionally, I prefer being able to curl up on my sofa, away from my computer and browse.

Then I received a Save the Children catalog. This is the first time I’d ever seen it. Though it does exist online, I would have never thought to look for one. I was fascinated. With a brief glance through the first few pages, I assumed it was as other fundraising sorts of catalogs I’d seen before – purchase an item and some percentage of the sales go to the charity. I particularly liked the stuffed sheep animal (Songwriter would love it!) and started looking for a horse (Storyteller’s current obsession). I turned the page.

Mosquito nets. Oh. Could this be a garden catalog of some sort? Home improvement stuff or a mish mash of various house and kids items like in the Lillian Vernon catalog (a personal fave) or something? Then another entry read De-worming and micronutrients to protect 30 children…  I read on. Stock a medical clinic…in Armenia…. Wow. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Educate a young girland keep her learning for one full year. $65. I read on. Your gift of $65 – less than 20 cents per day – will provide vitals such as books, education materials and teacher training to help a girl attend – and stay – in school for an entire year.  Statistics show that girls…. You know what? This is the amount we’re asked to pay to the Home and School Club at our girls’ elementary school – for enrichment programs. Not essentials, extras like improvements to the school like new play structures (sooner than later), computer equipment, art and music programs. (Don’t get me wrong, I personally believe that art and music should be essentials in the public school programs here in California.) But in other parts of this world, $65 gives a little girl basic education for a full year. Kinda puts things in perspective, eh? Continue reading