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This seems to come up during the holidays with me and I was wondering if anyone else has this problem. I bake and can well enough that people ask me if they can either buy baked goods (usually cakes or decorated cookies), or canned items (pickles or jam). This falls into 3 different groups of people:

The people that expect to pay a fair price for the item made. They understand that my time is valuable and that I have a skill that they may not have. They do not balk or ask for discounts or freebies. These customers and friends are appreciative of the amount of work that goes into making a cake, cookie, jam or pickle.

The people that balk at the price and ask for a discount, or in this case the recipe. I had a person balk at the price of a jar of pickles, and then ask for the recipe so she could just “make it herself”. This was after she had explained she could not cook. I gave her “part” of the recipe, and then she complained that the pickles did not “turn out”.

I’ve also had people say-it’s just a jar of jam, can’t I get a discount. Someone said this to me once and I had just met them! I used to explain the time and expense involved in making things, but the people asking for a discount have no clue how to make the things I do and their eyes either glaze over in boredom, or they tried to argue with me on how deserving they were of a discount. I always respond now with “that will not be possible”.

The people that ask for “free”! Many years ago, when I first started canning, I had a neighbor ask for peach jam. I gave him a pint of jam and he went home. The next day he came back and asked for another jar, so I asked what happened to the last jar-from the day before. His reply was he ate the jar of jam with a spoon the night before and it was so good he wanted more. At that point I told him it took me several hours to make that jam and I had about $4.00 in supplies (not counting time), and no- he needed to go home. His reply ….” it’s just jam”! He never got any more jam from me, and luckily, they finally moved away.

How does everyone else handle these situations? 1206-18

I think you are handling it quite well. I get the same thing only with crafts and some confections. I make a one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament using paper to make 3 dimensional diorama shadow boxes. A few of them have tiny HO gauge train figures in them. I make them for me or family or a few select friends but never for sale. Last year someone asked me straightforward if I would give her a specific one that had 2 HO figures in it. Those HO figures are not exactly cheap and if I were to sell these ornaments, they would be $25 each, minimum. No offer to buy it, she just wanted me to give it to her. I demurred saying that my season of Christmas crafting is done for the year and I won’t be making any more until next December. She has, so far,not reminded me of this.

I smile and ignore people who outright ask me to give them something I have made and then I vow to not to talk about my baking plans in front of them ever again.


Wedding Wednesday – No Bachelor Party

My sister “Pam” and her fiancé “Jim” are getting married in two weeks. They are both in the early 30’s , and this is the first marriage for both of them. They’ve had a rather long courtship (12 years) and a very long engagement (almost 8 years). There are a lot of reasons for the delay: her going back to school, him serving two tours in the army, both experiencing career changes, etc. But finally, the planets have aligned, and they are now ready to make it official. They set the date a year ago and sent out save-the-dates 6 months ago. I’m in the bridal party, as are both of Jim’s brothers and a couple friends.

Over the last two months, I’ve hosted both Beth’s bridal shower and bachelorette party. Both went smoothly, and we had a great time. Last night (two weeks out from the wedding), Pam called me for advice. Apparently, neither Jim’s brothers nor his friends have planned a bachelor party or celebration of any kind for Jim before the wedding. Jim had mentioned ideas to them several times over the last few weeks. Pam even took the initiative to reach out to each of the groomsmen and make sure they had each other’s contact information. Jim wasn’t expecting anything big. Pizza, beer, and poker would have been fine. Mostly I think he just wanted the comfort of knowing he had people in his life who cared enough to make an effort. But not one of them did. Jim is heartbroken.

Pam told me that she reached out to each of the groomsmen to find out what happened. Of course, they all had their reasons: jobs, kids, various obligations. I personally do not buy that excuse. I have a full-time job, a kid, and many obligations and still managed to host TWO bridal events for my sister. Also, these guys have known about the wedding for the better part of a year. I don’t know if it’s the fact of Pam and Jim’s long engagement, laziness on the part of the groomsmen, or just poor communication that’s at fault here. As far as I know, Jim has a good relationship with both of his brothers, so that’s not the issue.

I know, I know, I know. No one is OWED a bachelor party. But I can’t help but feel bad for Jim. I feel like his friends and brothers let him down. And now Pam, who is already overwhelmed with wedding planning, is asking me what to do. Should she do nothing and encourage Jim to just get over it? Should she plan a party for him herself? Should she call up the groomsmen and demand that they put something together ASAP? For what it’s worth, I promised Pam that if the groomsmen don’t come through, I would plan a party in Jim’s honor next weekend. I may not be a guy, but I know how to throw together a shindig on short notice.

What do the EHellions think about this? 0913-18


This morning I was relaxing, about 8:00 in the morning, when I received a text from my DIL. She and family were on a weekend trip, and she had sent about 10 photos in this text, which went to about 10 people.

The first person replied all – something to the effect of Have a nice trip.

2nd person also.

So far, not too bad.

Then person number 3 had to like each of the 10 photos, as well as the 2 previous comments. So I received 12 more messages.

Not to be outdone, person #4 decided to do the same.

Within less than 5 minutes I had received over 30 texts, only 3 of which actually said anything. Is this really necessary? Am I wrong in thinking that’s it rude to “like” everything? And if there is a way to turn this off please let me know!   1201-18

My family blows up the cell phones with texts every once in a while. We tend to devolve into sending GIF animations. As long as it’s restricted to once every 2 months or so, none of us has a real problem with it.

There is a setting on most smart phones that allows you to silence a particular conversation so you don’t hear the constant alerts of a new message.


The Dreaded Question

My DH and I have been together for 13 years, no children. Every holiday during our family visits we get the dreaded question: “When are you two going to have kids?”

We are not interested in having children……at all. We thought it would be an acceptable answer, but family still insists to know why. Then things get awkward. We don’t want to offend the parents in our family by saying we don’t like children. We’ve tried fibbing by saying, “We’re trying…but nothing” but the conversation gets even more awkward with baby making tips.

I’m very interested in this community’s opinion on how to answer this question in the best way! 1231-16

This is merely my opinion but when relatives keep nattering wanting to know information you aren’t willing to share or they won’t accept the answer given, it’s time to switch to viewing this as a game that you must win. And games are fun! Go to holiday dinner prepared with a humorous, fantastical story. For example, one relative of ours has a long scar down the middle of his chest and he isn’t interested in retelling the boring medical history of why it is there so he fabricated a story of being attacked by a shark. People get the idea that he’s kindly dismissing their intrusive question but it’s done to amuse as well. I know the real story of how his scar came into being so I play along with the shark story and feign horror. I’ve seen some bean-dipping fantasy stories take on a complete life of their own so much that they become family folklore.

I don’t think anyone needs to know the reason why you do not want children. At holidays it’s a recipe for contention as the issue becomes serious and debates can ensue. In your shoes I might come up with a stupid story that gremlins seem to be invading my bed each night and stealing my eggs. Or that I’ve been diagnosed with necliberositis (from the Latin nec liberos meaning “no children”) and that I cannot have children. Yes, it’s stupid BUT people are being stupid asking intrusive questions and it’s a way to skirt around the intricacies of serious issues with a little humor.