Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goodreads Book Giveaways

Dear Manners Mavens,

I just wanted to let you know that I have entered both The Month of Zephram Mondays and The Kids' (and parents', too!) Book of Good Sportsmanship into a Giveaway program at Goodreads.

The deadline to enter to win a free copy of either book is January 15th.

If you like to read, this is a great site! I could get lost in it for hours!

So, if you're at all interested in winning a free copy of either of my books (or want to see what other book giveaways you might be interested in -- there appear to be hundreds), check out Goodreads.

I'll be back in the New Year with more of the humorous manners observations you've come to expect (and dare I hope,love and enjoy).



Monday, December 14, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Dear Good Manners Devotee':

Today I came across wonderful news about an absolutely side-splitting retelling of my beloved Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Natalie Portman has signed on to produce and star in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. Portman will play Elizabeth Bennet in the movie.

If you love Jane Austen -- in fact, if you hated Jane Austen, even better -- you should check out P & P & Zombies. If you like how it spices up Austen's well-mannered world, there are more hilarious monster remakes of classics that also include Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters at your local bookstore or online.

Sometimes manners just need a little shaking up to make them more accessible for us to use in a world that's not just a different world than Austen's, it's a completely different world from when we were growing up,too.

So ... keeping that in mind, along came the Cotillion Invitation for the Younger Good Manners Daughter. (The Older Good Manners Daughter did it several years ago.)

The Cotillion is run by a women's group in our town. The children are "cordially invited to participate in a program of dance and social etiquette education."

The Younger Good Manners Daughter was not a happy camper when she found out that she was attending.

Why did she have to go? It's not fair! It'll be boring! Why did she have to wear a dress? What if she doesn't learn the dances? No one else has to go!

But a funny thing happened on the way to Cotillion. (Or, a couple of funny things.) She didn't have to wear gloves. When she was dropped off, she found out 7 other girls from her class were there, along with some boys. The dances weren't so bad. The snacks were okay. She liked her dress. The instructors were nice. And in addition to ballroom steps, they worked on the Macarena, Cani Joe (I actually don't know how to spell that), Electric Slide, the Hoe Down (that Miley Cyrus song). And they had a square dance.

We haven't heard a complaint since we dropped her off at the first class.

I congratulate the Cotillion organizers for successfully incorporating many of the niceties of good manners and dance from a more gentle time with elements that will appeal to today's child.

Sort of like adding Zombies to Pride and Prejudice!

Happy Holidays until I blog again,


P.S. If you haven't finished your holiday shopping, take a peek at our Good Manners Kids Stuff and Good Manners Kids Stuff Press sites. You might see something you like, and there's still time for delivery before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book on Good Sportsmanship

Dear Good Manners Devotees',

I had so much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day last week: family, friends, turkey, and pie!

I am also thankful that I've been able to take advantage of opportunities that came my way this year. These opportunities have given me a lot of joy and excitement.

So, although it is practically past my bedtime, I had to send out a quick post about the latest thing I am thankful for: to tell you that my second book, The Kids' (and parents', too) Book of Good Sportsmanship was published Friday and went live on Amazon this morning!

I've put its Amazon link above the Zephram link. Isn't Good Sport cute? It's starting to generate some buzz because it is a topic that is quite timely. Isn't that exciting?

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz.

I hope you'll check it out when you have a moment, especially if your child or grandchild plays sports. It's perfect for 4 to 8 year olds to read together with their parents to help explain to both how to be a Good Sport (because let's face it, grown-ups need some reminding, too).

The kids will relate to the different situations that Ben, Grace and others find themselves in, because they're kids just like our kids, in the same kinds of sports/activities our kids are in. And, they'll enjoy the cute illustrations. At the back of the book, there's a little certificate to fill out when you've both finished reading and learned how to be Good Sports.

My next post will be about Cotillion with the younger Good Manners Daughter, I promise. She goes (or should I say, more politely, attends) this Thursday, so she will be full of fresh stories about sweaty hands and boys falling and spilled punch.

So, dear Good Manners Fans, I wish you a belated Thanksgiving, and I hope that you have plenty in your life to give thanks for this year.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pet Manners and Perfectly Polite Piggy

Dear (very) patient Good Manners Devotees':

It has been an exciting time for your humble Good Manners Chronicler: I've added two new products to the Good Manners Kids Stuff website, launched the Good Manners Kids Stuff Press publishing company, and published one book (The Month of Zephram Mondays), with another due out by November 30th.

However, before all these things completely took over my non-day job life, I promised you we'd discuss pet manners. I am happy to say that now is the time!

Let me just visit my handy filing system (the piles of paper on the end table and chair next to where I sit) and locate the information.

Ah, here it is (surprisingly, that didn't take much time at all, which is great because I have to write and post this blog before dropping one Good Manners Daughter at a play date and the other at the mall; Good Manners Dad is at his big High School Rivalry Football game):

I had read this article online back in August (TheExaminer.Com -- Do manners really matter? by Samantha Royer, Denver Pet Behavior Examiner) and the author had gone to a trainer who insisted that teaching dogs to be polite would break their spirit. The author was appalled. She felt that your dog's manners (good or bad) were a reflection of your manners. That if you have certain rules in your home, they should be reinforced for both your two and four legged children.

Surprise, surprise: Good manners aren't just for people!

The bottom line: as hard as it is to believe, the behavior you think is cute may not be so cute to others (again, that means both your two and four legged children.) Dogs can learn tricks and to be obedient, but they can also learn what it means to be polite.

You need to take responsibility as a parent and be a "good" parent. A "good" parent doesn't only mean being good as opposed to bad. Being a "good" parent also means doing the hard stuff: using discipline judiciously, being consistent with your messages and reinforcing the rules.

Now, I know myself that consistency and reinforcing are not easy. But, if we can just get in the habit of it, it eventually gets easier. And in the meantime, all (kinds) of our children will learn what is acceptable and appropriate behavior, and how to get along with others!

Speaking of pets, which brings up animals, I wanted to tell you about one of our new products on the Good Manners Kids Stuff site (I admit, an awkward and sort of embarrassing segue, but I may as well take advantage of it!)

We've just added Perfectly Polite Piggy to our product line. It's a very cute Good Manners Savings Bank you can use as a fun and tangible way to reinforce the manners you want your children to learn.

Here's how it works: You and your child agree on what the behavior is (such as no burping at dinner, remembering to say "thank you" or sharing toys on a play date) and you determine the reward amount (a penny, nickel, dime -- even a quarter or dollar depending on the topic) and the goal (such as saving up for an ice cream cone, a toy, maybe a donation to a charity).

Your child will so proud as Perfectly Polite Piggy gets heavier and heavier with all of his or her good manners savings!

Before I end this post for the before-mentioned Good Manners Family transportation needs, you may have noticed the Amazon listing on my blog. I am proud to tell you that this is my first book. It is an early middle grade fantasy novel with a strong (and funny) message about not judging others who are different from you and about the difference you can make because you are different.

While it is for children, many adults have enjoyed the story as well. I hope you'll take a "look inside" at the Amazon listing, where you can get a glimpse of the flavor of the book and also read the synopsis.

Until I blog again (about 5th Grade Cotillion),


Sunday, October 18, 2009

The importance of dinner time

Dear patient Good Manners Fans,

My apologies for my absence from my blog.

I've been so busy with back to school activities and also some new product development for the Good Manners Kids Stuff site (and my real, day job) that I haven't had a minute to spare!

As has become my unfortunate habit, I promise you one type of post (last time I believe I said that pet manners would be my next topic) but then I change my mind and talk about something else. For those of you hankering for the pet manners post, I promise, it'll be soon. But in the meantime I thought I'd talk about the importance of dinner time.

Now that the Good Manners Daughters are back in school and all the activities have started in full swing, the Good Manners family rarely sits down together for dinner. I am ashamed to say that we are always eating pizza or McDonalds on our way to something or the other.

Eating together is important in so many ways:
*It gives you an opportunity to ask everyone about their day and really hear the answer;
*It fosters closer family relationships and studies show that it could help keep kids out of trouble;
*It's a lot healthier and less expensive to eat a meal prepared at home;
*It gives you a chance to reinforce some of those manners they don't get to use when eating pizza in the car such as saying grace (if that is important in your family) and using their napkins and utensils correctly.

(One of the products we developed are good manners plates and they will be up on the Good Manners website within the next week or so; I just have to approve the new artwork and upload it.)

Several days ago we made the effort to sit down together at the dinner table although we only had about 20 minutes before we had to leave for choir practice. The cupboard was pretty bare but I was able to put together a passable meal. Maybe not healthy, but certainly cheap and the Good Manners Family loved it.

The meal: Ramen noodle taco soup. Really. It was quite tasty. I added a can of tomato soup and a package of low sodium taco seasoning to the ramen noodles (and its chicken seasoning and water). And I whipped up corn bread.

Now, I assure you that I am a decent cook when I have the time and ingredients. But at least we got to sit down and spend some quality time with each other. And, isn't that what's most important?

Here's hoping that you and yours get to spend some quality time together this week.

Take care,


Friday, September 18, 2009

Kanye and Serena and Joe

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

With apologies to those who were looking forward to the pet manners posting I had promised last time I wrote to you, I find that I am compelled, instead, to say something about the very bad manners we've witnessed recently.

Now, Good Manners Fans, I will confess that I am far from perfect. Really.

I have had an explosion or two (or three) in my time when I felt that I was being unfairly treated. I've also felt outrage for a friend or person who may have also been unfairly treated -- and sometimes I've acted on it.

I've felt my blood pressure rise when I feel someone is lying to me or wrong and I don't want that person to get away with it or think that I don't know what the real facts are (please note that I'm not trying to be political here -- just telling you my own personal reactions to situations that I've been in).

Each time that I've felt compelled to react, I've almost immediately been horrified about what I did. I apologize even if I felt I was in the right because the way I handled it was unacceptable.

So let's be honest: Who amongst us, while saying we're appalled at the way Kanye, Serena and Joe acted, hasn't done something similar? Maybe not as big or as over-the-top, but something that just wasn't right?

What if we were in the spotlight when we yelled at our child's soccer coach or became upset with someone at work who completely let us down or told our friends that so and so at the PTO meeting shouldn't have been re-elected because she didn't have a clue about the results of the book drive?

In the very public examples of Kanye, Serena and Joe we're horrified that they thought it was okay to behave that way, and that quite possibly they may feel they can act that way because they are above the rules of behaviour that normal mortals should follow. Whereas in our situations we feel justified. Isn't this a perfect example of "Do as I say, not as I do?"

We should all learn a lesson in civility from the events of the past few days. It's no surprise that the words "civil" and "civility" are all part of the word civilization. Because how we treat each other -- being "civil" or "uncivil"-- will ultimately affect our civilization and world.

I, personally, wouldn't want an outburst at work or the playing field or the PTO meeting to contribute to the downfall of civilization as we know it. Would you?

Heavy stuff and responsibility, I know.

So, until my next cuddly post about pets and manners, I going to do my part to contribute to the good of civilization by working on keeping my temper and keeping my mouth closed!

Best Regards,

Because good manners might just make the world a better place!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Airplane Manners

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

Today I am squeezing in a quick post between weeding and making a salad to bring to a picnic to which the Good Manners Family is invited.

(I trust that many of you won't even be around to read this because you have your own days filled with home chores and picnics over this holiday weekend!)

My topic today: airplane manners.

The Good Manners Aunt and Uncle suggested this topic after traveling this summer. And if you have ever flown even just once, you will certainly agree on this bad manners point.

It's not the obvious bad manners -- the person behind you kicking the seat, or the person in front of you reclining back into your lap, or (I can't even bear to think about them) the bathrooms -- but a basic common sense courtesy.

Waiting your turn when disembarking the plane.

Why people can't wait until the people in front of them get off the plane is beyond me!

We experienced this ourselves after a seven hour flight during which we were part of a chaperon group for 30+ children. (Believe me, if anyone wanted to run screaming from the plane, it was I!) But we waited patiently while the people in front of us got their personal effects together and walked down the aisles. Then we got pushed to the side, stumbling back into the seats when people behind us weren't able to wait their turn.

Here is what makes me laugh every time: we always see the same person/people who couldn't wait their turn to get off the plane waiting at the baggage claim where we all get our luggage at the same time.

(Dear Good Manners Devotees', I must admit that we do allow ourselves a gleeful "Ha!" Is that bad manners?)

So they've made the whole disembarking process uncomfortable and more time consuming for everyone -- for no reason!

Here's hoping on our next flight the passengers all wait their turn, resulting in a faster disembarking for everyone!

Until I blog again,


P.S. Next blog, I think I'll be switching gears from people to pet manners! Woof, woof!

P.P.S. If anyone wants an idea for a tasty summer salad, combine corn and edamame along with minced red onion, salt and pepper and your favorite vinagrette.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Brown and Pink -- How sophisticated, I hope!

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

I'm experimenting with a new blog format today. What do you think of it?

I should share with you that I am not an artist or a computer programmer, so I am limited to using (and experimenting with) Blogger's formats.

When I first started my blog, I used the Dots template. It was sort of fun, but I didn't feel that it was playful in a mom/kids kind of way. Well, actually, the dots were fun but I couldn't figure out how to change the dots to colors that I liked. I could change fonts and type colors, but not the actual dot colors.

So next I tried Sand Dollar. Sand Dollar let me change colors, but the mixture I came up with was hard on the eyes -- yours and mine! Also, the page background color was supposed to be light yellow/beige, and while it showed in the code that it was, it wouldn't stick or show up for real. I would go in and switch colors around but I could never get the background to change and the other colors just didn't look any better than what I had set up.

In the meantime, I used other Blogger templates to set-up both my Good Sport Bad Sport Blog and my Good Manners Kids Stuff Press Blog. And they look fine -- not awesome, but fine.

Then, I tried out a Wordpress Blog template for my Good Manners Kids Stuff Blog to talk about the products on my website -- and while I think that format is really cute, I have trouble putting links, etc., in it so I don't want to switch this one over there.

So, although I was all set to write about airport manners today, I felt that my time would be better spent trying to find a more attractive design first.

What's fun (and dangerous) with the Blogger templates is that once you've filled in all of your information, you can just select a template and hit "preview." It pops up with all of your information on it. As long as you don't hit "save," you haven't ruined your original template. You can just keep selecting new ones to see what your blog will look like.

As I previewed templates, I came to the same conclusion that I had before -- no new templates had been added so I wasn't going to find any new happy children/mom type layouts. But, while I was going through the motions of previewing them with all with my information, it suddenly occurred to me that my topics aren't really just about young children's manners or doings. Really, I like to think that I'm providing more of a (hopefully) humorous commentary about the world's manners. Maybe my blog doesn't have to look happy children/mom-like.

Suddenly, the templates looked a little more interesting as I previewed them. Then, the younger Good Manners Daughter (and her best friend) happened to be walking past when I previewed a very trendy (and dare I say sophisticated) brown and pink template and they emphatically said, "Oooh, that looks cool!"

So with that ringing endorsement, I hit "save template" ... and in a split second, the garish, old Good Manners Mom Blog was history!

(Not the hugely popular content, I rush to assure you, of course!)

I hope you'll embrace my newest style, and check back often to see if I make any subtle -- but surely attractive -- enhancements. (This template is called Thisaway.) I'd love to know what you think of the new look that I was able to accomplish without being an artist or computer programmer. Feel free to let me know what you think about it or any of my other blogs.

Until next blog,


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Telephone manners

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

I have to share a proud moment with you.

After many months -- oh, let's be honest, after many years -- of coaching them on what to say (and what not to say) and what to do (and what not do do) when they answer the phone, one of the Good Manners Daughters answered a call. The call was for me and she came to find me on the back porch.

The first thing the caller said was "Wow, your daughter has impeccable phone manners. I am so impressed. I can't get my daughter to answer the phone like that."

Wow. I almost dropped the phone in my surprise. Oh, Good Manners Devotees', I confess her words gave me such a thrill! Who would have thought that simple phrases such as "May I ask who is calling?" and "She's busy at the moment, may she call you back?" or "Just a moment, please" would have been so hard for the Good Manners Daughters to remember, or taken so much time to finally stick! (And how could I forget the classic bringing the phone to me in the bathroom or -gasp- saying I'm in the bathroom.)

But, on this random, unexpected night, it finally happened. (It may never be repeated, but at least I know that it can be done!)

So if you are struggling with your child's phone manners, take some hope from my post -- it can and will happen. I can't say when, but it will!

I'll be in touch soon with some more good or bad manners observations. In fact, I think last post I promised you airport disembarkment -- so airport disembarkment it will probably be!

Until then,


P.S. Disembarkment isn't coming up in spell check -- it's a word, isn't it? It wants to replace it with disembowel, of all things! Yuck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

Dear Good Manners Devotees',

I just have to vent, ever so decorously, about our Good Manners Family visit to Staples this evening.

Clutching our class supplies lists, we quickly filled our baskets with the must-haves for a successful school year.

(This year we have a bit of a challenge because a child is coming to the school who is allergic to latex -- you wouldn't believe how many things have latex in them. In fact, in a blast from my long-distant school days, they can only bring Ticonderoga pencils. I date myself, but does anyone else out there remember those yellow #2 pencils that we had to use to fill-in the blanks on the Iowa tests of basic skill?)

There was quite a long line of families checking out with their school supplies. We had already waited 10 minutes when an older woman came up behind us. She had several reams of paper and notebooks and could hardly hold it all. We were next for the register and Good Manners Dad turned to her and very clearly said for her to go ahead and put her stuff on the counter.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next: she thanked him and put her stuff on the counter. Then, a split second later, as the customer in front moved away, she pushed all of her stuff up and moved right in front of the clerk to buy her loot.

Good Manners Dad and I exchanged glances while the younger Good Manners Daughter blurted out "Hey, how'd that lady get in front of us?"

Needless to say, we didn't shush her!

Although we probably would have let the woman check out in front of us if she had just waited a moment, that's not the point. It was her rude assumption that was so annoying!

Good Manners Fans, it's encounters such as this one that makes one want to be a little more thrifty with our courtesies! (I should add, in case you believe I should be more charitable, that she wasn't elderly, just older than us!)

But ... tomorrow is another day. Hopefully we'll still feel the urge to be thoughtful and help others if the case arises, regardless of whether or not the thoughtfulness is met in kind.

Next post -- we'll talk about airplane manners. (So much to talk about -- where can I start?) Until then,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

WWJAD? What would who do?

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

How are you this fine, beautiful summer evening?

The humidity has disappeared, the lightening bugs are flickering, the breeze is cool -- I shut off the air conditioner so we could enjoy the fresh air inside the house, too!

(And maybe save on the electric bill.)

There's never been a more comfortable time to write about good manners -- especially since writing with my laptop on (where else) my lap has tended to make me overheat (good manners term for 'sweat buckets') these past couple of weeks!

So -- what should I write about?

I have no idea!

Eureka! The Good Manners Family just returned from a quick trip to Trader Joe's to see if we could find something tasty for dessert and we practically ran into my inspiration.

As we were waiting patiently at an intersection for our turn to turn, the car in front of us had an interesting bumper sticker that read: WWJAD?

WWJAD? I like to think that I'm familiar enough with pop culture to recognize the acronym for What would so and so do? (insert your favorite person). But no well known person with the initials JA came to mind. Who was it this time, I wondered.

Imagine my surprise to read the smaller type underneath WWJAD: What would Jane Austen do?

Well, I thought -- what a perfect thing to share with you, loyal fans of Good Manners!

Although Jane offered a sometimes biting commentary on the social niceties of her time, her whole world was based on appropriate behavior.

So, tomorrow, while I bite my tongue at work or over the weekend while I'm stuck in traffic -- I'm just going to remember WWJAD?

Here's hoping that WWJAD just might help you get through some potential bad manners moments, too.

With Best Regards,

P.S. Darn it -- can you believe that Good Manners Dad isn't going to let me get a WWJAD bumper sticker?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Difference between boys and girls on The UK Choir Tour

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

The Good Manners Family has returned from across the Pond and is back state-side after the Good Manners Daughters' phenomenal UK Choir Tour.

Good Manners Dad and I were so proud of them! Hearing their beautiful voices in such ancient places so jam-packed with history -- well, it's hard to put into words just how I felt.

Needless to say, I got chills. And I teared up. And I had a big smile on my face. Wow.

Imagine singing right next to Isaac Newton's tomb (Westminster Abbey). Or singing where St.Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered (Canterbury Cathedral).

And while they didn't get to sing for the Queen, they did sing right over top of Henry the 8th's grave at St. George's Chapel, Windsor! (I'll bet his bones -- and the bones of Queen Jane Seymour, Charles the 1st and someone else's infant daughter buried there -- were rattling!)

(Side note: The Queen was at Windsor when we first arrived. Her flag was flying over the castle. But at some point during our tour of the castle, she left and her flag was removed. We did see them setting up the Waterloo Room for a charitable dinner to be hosted by Prince Charles that night.)

It was a wonderful musical and historical experience!

Unfortunately, what wasn't so wonderful was the girl choir members' behavior.

Now, it was a long trip (17 days) and it's understandable how people may have gotten a little sick of each other. And I'm not saying that it was all sunshine and daisies with the grownups and boys.

But the girls ... wow. (And I don't mean wow the same way I did when I said wow, as in awesome, about their performances.)

We chaperones have never witnessed anything like it: the backstabbing, the tears, the forming-breakup-forming of factions, the meanness, the language, the alienation, the jealousy (of each other, not of the boys -- they are a little younger).

What made this even more disturbing is that this was a Church Choir.

Our(unlucky) minister (also one of the chaperones) had to hold 3 separate meetings with the girls to talk about their behavior. Treat others the way you want to be treated and don't say anything if you don't have anything nice to say were repeatedly ignored.

The Head Chaperone also held a meeting in which she told them that it would be terrible if all they remembered about the trip were their actions instead of all the spectacular singing.

Singing that they practiced over 4 hours a week since the Fall to perfect.

While "treat others the way you want to be treated" and "don't say anything if you don't have anything nice to say" seem fairly self-explanatory and easy to follow -- apparently it's tough on Middle School and High School age girls when you may be trying to follow them but others aren't. And it's hard not to retaliate.

The boys (in this instance) were totally different. If someone said something, they tended to shake it off, and just ignore the other person. When it was realized there was no reaction, everyone became friends again. No drama.

The girls' behavior nearly upset the balance of the trip -- by making their behavior the focus/memory rather than the singing and the good times. After all the time and effort put into practicing, planning and fundraising, that would have been a terrible shame.

So, Good Manners Devotees', I leave you with these thoughts:

Although it may not be to the same scale, if you've got the urge to really tell someone off, or share a piece of gossip, or make fun of someone ... resist it.

It's a momentary thrill that won't last -- and it will affect how people treat you, and treat you back. And when you think back on what you did, it may not seem so clever and fun as it did then.

In the meantime, now that we're home, we're focusing on the good memories and helping the Good Manners Daughters find the strength to do their part to break the cycle.

Until my next post,


P.S. To put this in context, I should add that there were 30 girls on the trip! In hindsight, maybe that should be been a big red flag!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Manners fit for a Queen

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

Over the weekend we sent the Good Manners Daughters off on their choir tour to England.

Good Manners Dad and I will be joining them in a week, just in time for the London leg of their tour. In addition to visits to major tourist attractions such as Big Ben and The Tower of London, they will be singing at Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle.

We are not sure if the Queen will be there (we were told that she goes to Balmoral at the end of July so she is probably still in residence) so I stressed to the Good Manners Daughters that they had to follow very special manners and rules if they found themselves in the presence of the Queen or -- even better in their opinion -- either Prince William or Prince Harry!

Speaking of manners (what a polished segue, don't you agree?), I had a dandy of a time finding 8 thank you gifts that were thoughtful, appropriate and also fit into their suitcases for the families who are housing them for most of the tour.

I ended up with boxed soap bars (typical) and boxes of Tastykakes to represent our city, Philadelphia (inspired).

(We thought it was fun to give them something American and made in Philadelphia -- but that it might be rude to give them reminders of the Revolutionary War,such as something from Valley Forge Park.)

I carefully wrote out notes personally addressed to the 8 hosts and packed them in order of their stays. Ah -- the sweet feeling of success ...

... however fleeting it is. Sadly, I found out today that several of the children fell ill and host families were scrambled ... and my notes are useless because the Good Manners Daughters are NOT with the families listed on the itinerary. And, because I had used up the handy 8 pack of notes, they did not have blank ones with them to write new ones.

If only I had left them blank, or addressed them generically.

Oh, well. It's the thought that counts, right?

With visions of tea and scones and clotted cream dancing before my eyes,
I look forward to blogging again once the Good Manners Family has returned from "across the Pond."


Friday, June 19, 2009

RSVPing is Good Manners

Dear Good Manners Devotee':

Whew! It has been a busy time at the Good Manners House, as I am sure it has been at your house if you have children who are getting out of school.

Our school ends late here -- the 23rd of June! All the other schools around us ended one, two -- even three weeks ago. My niece and nephew live in Louisiana and they've been out since Memorial Day.

Needless to say, the Good Manners Daughters are chomping at the bit, very eager to start summer vacation.

During this wild time, we took the opportunity to show off our newly-cleaned out house (mentioned in my last post) by having a party last weekend. I have one general good manners comment to make for the benefit of party givers everywhere: when someone invites you to a party, please RSVP. It lets the host and hostess know how much food and drinks to purchase and prepare.

That being said, all of our Good Manners guests DID RSVP (41 adults and 16 children). Well, all except for one couple and child (making the total 43 and 17 respectively), who we sort of expected because another person told us (when RSVPing) that she had talked to the mom about the party. But she did not RSVP for that family. It's a technicality, but it still sort of seems a tiny, little, microscopic bit inconsiderate to me.

While all of this has been going on, I have been working on the designs for the new plates and bowls we are hoping to add to the Good Manners Kids Stuff site this summer. And I've also been reviewing proofs for my new book on good sportsmanship that will be available this summer, too. If you'd like to read some insider scoop on self-publishing, check out when you have a moment.

Until I blog again with tidbits of mannerly stuff, I send you "Happy End of School and Start of Summer Vacation" wishes!


Monday, June 1, 2009

KIVA and cleaning out

Dear Good Manners Devotee',

My apologies for not posting sooner. The Good Manners Family has been cleaning up its act over the last two weeks. (I didn't have a good enough excuse to stop cleaning and start posting -- as much as I wanted to!)

Dear Devotees', it pains me to write that not only does the Good Manners Family have a tendency to be pack rats but we seem to be pathologically unable to pick up after ourselves.

There isn't a homework assignment, poem, painting, invitation, coupon, magazine, recipe, book, cat toy, outgrown sweater, hair band, marker, single sock, shopping list, etc., that we haven't kept. I even found many (and I mean many) old plastic baby bottles that I had stored in case we had another Good Manners Baby. That was 9 years ago (and, no, we didn't).

Ironically, I just changed the channel and came upon Clean House. (I miss Niecey Nash.)

Anyway, about the Good Manners Family's newly Clean House -- there's definitely something real about clutter sucking the life and energy out of things. I already feel invigorated.

Plus we've been able to have some Good Manners Friends over without embarrassment. And I'm not yelling all the time for someone to ignore me when I ask someone to pick something up. It's been a long process (and there are still a couple of piles on the dining room table and in the garage that need our attention), but it's just about over. Phew.

All this trash got me thinking about how lucky we are when there are so many people in the world who have so little -- while we have so much excess and waste.

We did donate a lot of our stuff to Good Will and Purple Heart. But I wanted to tell you about this great non profit organization called KIVA, because it's another way we could use our abundance to help others.

The Good Manners Daughters and I recently took some of our proceeds from our site and made a donation. Here's how KIVA works: they register people from all over the world who are looking for help to make their lives better. The people ask for a loan for their business and you can help them by lending them a portion (or all) of their loan amount. The loan is repayed over a pre-determined time frame.

It was great to involve the Good Manners Daughters in reading all of the stories and making our decision over who would get our first loan. It showed them, too, how many people working together, even just by donating a little money, can really make a difference.

Sort of like how a family, members working together, each doing a little bit of work (i.e., putting that candy wrapper in the trash can) makes light work for the whole entire family.

Is that a stretch to make a point, Devoted Fans? My apologies. It's time for bed -- and a dreamless sleep in our clutter-free bedroom.

Until I post again,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jon and Kate + 8

Dear Good Manners Devotee',

I find that I just have to write one little thing about this infamous show and couple.

Okay -- maybe two.

The Good Manners Daughters have been obsessed with the show for the last six months. When I would come home from work and put together a nutritious meal (well, maybe it was while I was nuking something in the microwave) I would see repeat after repeat after repeat of the show. Either TLC was loading up the schedule or the Good Manners Daughters were dvd-ing them -- regardless, it was on all the time.

At the beginning, I thought it was cute. I also sort of related to them -- not because of the multiples, but because they are living in the Reading area -- including Wernersville -- where I grew up. And it was fun to hear it mentioned, and see local attractions such as Dutch Wonderland. (We also live outside of Philadelphia so it's all familiar to us.)

But then I would hear Kate over and over and over while I was nuking -- I mean cooking -- dinner, and she really started getting on my nerves. I couldn't believe how she talked to the kids and how she talked to Jon. I said as much to Good Manners Dad and the Good Manners Daughters.

(It also got on my nerves, after having paid for my piano, when I watched the episode where someone gave them a piano. Just to name a few of the free things they've gotten.)

Anyway, I digress. As this is the Good Manners Mom's Blog, my point about bringing up Jon and Kate + 8 is this: you should always try do your best to treat others the way you want to be treated yourself.

I know, I know -- who can be nice 100% of the time? That's why I say try .

The alternative -- well, chances are your bad manners won't be captured on cable tv for millions to see your behavior. But they could be. And that would be embarrassing. And awful. And show you the damage that can be done when you don't treat others the way you want to be treated yourself.

So here's to following the Golden Rule -- and hoping for the Gosselin children sake that their parents will, too.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

CNN Study: kids social skills linked to Mom

Dear Good Manners Devotees',

Yesterday I read an interesting article on about how mothers' talk is key to kids social skills.

I'm doing my best to make the above a live link so that you can go to it if you 'd like to read more -- my apologies if it doesn't work. (Try

In a nutshell, it details findings of a study that shows "...the way mothers talk to their children at a young age influences their social skills later in life. Children whose mothers often talked to them about people's feelings, beliefs, wants and intentions developed better social understanding than children whose mothers did not."

The article goes on to say that giving children a vocabulary of feelings helps them realize what their emotions are and gives them the ability to describe them in order to become more empathetic.

An example: when a child grabs a toy from another child, instead of saying "don't grab" or "stop it," it would be helpful to say that it makes the other child sad, and that it would make him or her sad if the same thing was done to them. (I actually put that ending onto it, that's how I interpreted it.)

So what am I, Good Manners Mom, trying to say to you, you ask?

That it's never too early to show our children how to treat other people with respect, to treat them the way that they want to be treated. Teaching them to understand feelings and to express their feelings early on can influence how they treat others for the rest of their lives.

Let me rephrase that, it sounds so clinical and preachy -- and yucky and burdensome -- as if you aren't busy enough trying to raise happy and healthy children.

Good manners and respect for other people are just like riding a bike -- at first, learning it is hard, and then once you learn how, it's something you never lose.

Just start using opportunities casually as they come up every day (or every other day or once a week) and soon your child will be well on the way to becoming a caring person with great social skills, and you will hardly realize you've been doing it!

Until next time,


P.S. The article mentions that when the study started 14 years ago, they weren't able to include many dads -- but that today more fathers spend time at home with their young children. So, Dads, you can do this, too!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Joining Twitter and new blog launch

Dear Good Manners Devotee',

Two exciting things have happened that I wanted to share with you.

I have started a new blog, and I have signed-up for Twitter.

If you would like to follow me on Twitter, you can click the link on the left underneath where my last 5 Twitter posts will appear. Just follow the easy instructions. Or, you can just check back on the Good Manners Blog for twitters (or it is tweets?) when you come back to read my new posts.

I'll be twittering random manners thoughts/questions/observations -- so if you'd like to be entertained by these little nuggets of -- oh, shall I say "wisdom" -- I hope you'll sign up to follow me.

My new blog, is something different than the Good Manners Mom blog. On it, I am blogging about the good sportsmanship issues that we and our children come across. I'll be featuring some guest bloggers (coaches, parents, kids) to keep things interesting. You can click any of the highlighted links to reach it, or access it through my main site, I hope you'll take a peek at it -- it''s different than this blog but if you have children or grandchildren who play sports, I know you'll find something to interest you.

Next blog, I'll be back with some new manners observations/problems/comments.

Until then,


Monday, April 27, 2009

Don't say anything if you can't say anything nice!

Dear Loyal Fans of Good Manners,

As I have -- thankfully -- no bathroom or kitchenette issues to share with you tonight, I thought I'd give my blog a little redesign. I'm not much of a techno-wiz but I went in and changed the template and the colors -- and I actually think it turned out okay! What do you think of it?

I guess that's a loaded question. I mean, what can you really say? It's like when I ask the Good Manners Dad/Husband how I look and he says fine.

Or when I tell the Good Manners Daughters that they absolutely must not turn their nose up at some exotic food that they are offered and absolutely not say "I don't like xyz" to the person's face.

It's such a fine line between lying (oh, so harsh -- let's say fibbing) and showing people respect.

I remind myself all the time that if I can't say anything nice, I shouldn't say anything at all. But sometimes, I admit, Dear Good Manners Fan, I do slip up.

Oh, not about the exotic food (I can rearrange the food on my plate to fool the best of them).

But maybe I've tried to give constructive advice ... and it backfires. Sometimes. Maybe more than sometimes. Okay ... in fact, it does almost all the time with the older Good Manners Daughter.

She's a teenager. Let's just say that we're both going through some growing pains. (Oh, it was so much easier when she was cute and little -- and thought I was always right! Because I was. Aren't I still?)

I just want to make things easier for her than it was for me growing up. So she can benefit now -- instead of years from now -- from what I learned the hard way. Dear Readers -- don't we all want what's best for our children?

But I need to remember that I need to respect her instead of instruct her (or criticize her, as she says). First thing tomorrow I'm going to practice biting my tongue when I think I know best. Really, I am. (Even when it's clear that I do know best.)

So, back to the beginning -- my loaded question about what you think of my new blog design? Don't feel like you have to tell me it's fine (like Good Manners Dad/Husband might). But I hope you'll feel free to comment about anything else or sign up for an email feed to keep in touch. Or become a follower. I'd love to have you.

Until I blog again,


P.S. If you didn't come from my site you can click here and check it out. And, if your children are interested in sports, you might like to check out my new blog that I've just started to share information to help children be good sports.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Friendly Wave -- Part 2

Dear Good Manners Fans,

I write to you tonight with an addendum to my earlier post, The Friendly Wave. (Quite a fancy word -- addendum -- perhaps I shall call it an addition instead!)

As you may remember, Good Manners Dad and the Good Manners Daughters are always disappointed when he lets other cars out into traffic and he doesn't receive a Friendly Wave as his thank you.

I can't tell you how many comments I've received from people with whom I shared the Good Manners Mom Blog who themselves experience this rudeness and lack of good manners -- and they are just as mystified as the Good Manners Family. And like the Good Manners Family, they don't let their annoyance get the better of them -- every day brings a new opportunity for us all to let a traffic-challenged motorist out -- and hope that this time there will be a Friendly Wave or Nod or Smile in return.

While I was glad, of course, that they had enjoyed my post, that is not the reason for my post tonight, Dear Fans. No. My Addendum, or Addition, is to share a word of warning from the Good Manners Family's neighbor.

Good Manners Neighbor never gets a Friendly Wave, either. But she doesn't let that stop her from letting people out at crowded intersections. She cautions, however, that when letting people out, to make sure the path is clear for them the other way.

She learned the hard way that the driver often pulls out without checking it himself because he seems to think that you've given him the all clear rather than just giving him the opportunity to turn or pull out before you do.

I know, I know, so much responsibility suddenly lands in your lap when all you're trying to do is a good deed. So not only do I have to let them out, you think, I have to make sure they don't get hit by someone else? Is it really worth it?

Yes, it is. Because hopefully someday someone will let you out at that bad traffic spot. Just remember to check the other direction first before you turn!

Until my next post, drive safely and wave responsibly, Dear Good Manners Fans!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kitchenette Rudeness

Dear Bad Manners Fans,

It is with great sadness that I write to you today about another instance of unbelievably bad manners at work!

After coming upon repeated gunk in the sink and drain, Management has found it necessary to post a little laminated sign above the sink in our kitchenette.

The sign reads: "Please be respectful of your co-workers by not leaving food waste in the sink when you clean your food container and utensils."

Dear Bad Manners Fans, after first reading in my last post about our awful Ladies Room with its new sign, and now the sign for the messy kitchenette, you may wonder where I work and with whom.

You may be thinking "Well, maybe she works at a zoo." Or "Maybe a daycare explains the mess in the bathroom." Either of those, with my co-workers too young or not human and unable to clean up after themselves, could explain it.

But, Dear Bad Manners Fans, no -- neither a zoo or a daycare. I work for . . . an insurance company!

How embarrassing that grown-ups need to be reminded how to act.
I shudder to think what kind of sign I'll see next!

Here's hoping that I won't have to shock and horrify you in any more of my posts.



P.S. I also wanted to mention, Dear Bad Manners Fans, that if you didn't come to my blog from my website,, I hope you click here and check it out!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Restroom Rudeness

Dear Bad Manners Fan,

My apologies for the length of time since my last post. The Good Manners Family was busy over Spring Break and we are now finally back at school and work.

Imagine my surprise this morning to find a new sign in our Ladies Room that reads "Please be considerate and respectful of your surroundings and keep our Restroom clean for all who use it."

Not that there is anything wrong with the sign -- it's on pretty pink flowered paper. I'm just appalled that grown women need a reminder of how to act in the Ladies Room. But conversely, I was also overjoyed to see it because, unfortunately, the sign has been long overdue.

Regardless of how well stocked the Ladies Room is with seat protectors, toilet paper, soap dispensers, paper towels, air freshener and trash cans -- in addition to being cleaned twice during the day and again after we all leave -- the mess my fellow female office mates make is just, well, gross.

Dear Bad Manners Fans, please, I beg of you, please, please, please, please, please practice basic courtesies in the bathroom if you don't already. It's so easy, really it is. Just a little courtesy, a little tidiness -- that's all you need to do.

The signs can come down and the World will be a better place!

Okay, maybe I shouldn't go that far, but it surely couldn't hurt, don't you agree?

Until my next post, take care,


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whoopie Cushions and Good Manners

Dear Bad Manners Devotee':

(Did I get that accent mark typed in correctly?)

Today I pose an important question to you: can whoopee cushions and good manners co-exist peacefully in the same sentence?

I would suggest as long as you use the whoopee cushion appropriately, with friends and family who will not be (too) embarrassed when they emit a certain recognizable noise when they sit unsuspectingly down, then whoopee!

If you think friends and family might be too faint of heart to survive the noise and embarrassment, then the whoopee cushion should probably be kept in a safe place where it can be retrieved at a moment's notice should appreciative guests arrive.

Another whoopee cushion etiquette point: when the opening gets too full of saliva from frequent blowing up, it is not good manners to offer it to someone else to blow up. Yuck! Why not check out the automatically inflating whoopee cushions they sell for some spit-free fun.

See? Whoopee cushions and good manners CAN co-exist in the same sentence as long as you follow those simple points of finer whoopee cushion etiquette.



P.S. My younger Good Manners Daughter wanted me to add that whoopee cushions help teach good manners because you learn to say "pardon me" or "excuse me" whenever you sit on one! What a fantastic, versatile good manners tool it is!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

voteearth Strafford, Pennsylvania

Dear Good Manners Aficionado,

The Good Manners Family is participating in Earth Hour. We turned all of our lights off at 8:30.



Monday, March 23, 2009

Good Manners need Good Words

Dear Good Manners Aficionado,

I writing you today about a link I added to my Blog over the weekend that shares a new word with us every day.

You might wonder why I added it? (Honestly, it took me so long to figure out how to add it, I almost didn't!) So, why did I add it? Well, an important part of good manners can be finding the perfect word to use, to convey the perfect tone and sentiment.

Word choice can really made a difference. Take, for example, the following sentence:

"Thank you for the nice dinner."

Now, consider this:

"Many thanks for having us over for such a fabulous dinner! Not only was the chicken delicious and the dessert scrumptious, but it was wonderful to finally get to spend time with such close friends."

See what I mean? So much more meaningful the second way.
And that reminds me -- I'd better send that "thank you" out right away or risk becoming the Bad Manners Mom.

See you in Blog Land soon,


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obliviousness at the movies

Dear Reader,

For my latest post I want to share what happened yesterday when Good Manners Dad, one of the Good Manners Daughters and I went to the movies to see the latest Witch Mountain movie with The Rock and the girl from Bridge to Terabithia. (I can't watch that without crying!)

The theatre was not very full. In fact, there were only 5 other people in there. Because it's one of those mega-plexes, all of us were seated very far away from each other.

But don't you know, during the previews, a couple came and sat right in front of us. Right in front of us.

Now, I have to wonder -- were we just invisible in the dark? Or were they just oblivious? We had to shuffle ourselves around because they blocked Good Manner's Daughter's view of the screen, so I'm sure they heard us.

Of course it's a free country -- you can sit anywhere you want in a theatre (when you don't have an assigned seat). But when it is 97% empty, to choose to sit right in front of someone just seems like it was done on purpose.

What do you think?

Looking forward to blogging you later,


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

publishing technorati link

Dear Reader, I am publishing a link of a web search site for blogs

Technorati Profile

Hopefully this will expand my readership!

Blog you later,


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bad manners at the Boat Show

Dear Reader,

Today the Good Manners Family visited the Boat Show where we saw Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel. I had never seen or heard of Twiggy before but apparently she's been all over television and traveling the Boat Show and other circuits for years. (Very cute on her little water skis wearing a little red life jacket, but Twiggy didn't cooperate much at the 2:00 show.)

Good Manners Dad dreams of owning a boat. We did plenty of window shopping but left empty handed, which was a good thing because we currently have nowhere to keep one and nowhere to easily sail one. But maybe one day Good Manners Dad's dream will come true and he'll know exactly which boat to get.

Our observation: The Boat Show brings out some of the most clueless, oblivious rude behavior in people, ever. Every single time we were on a boat with a cabin, we would wait and wait and wait while the people who where in the cabin sat on the bunks, opened the doors and cupboards, checked out the microwave, looked in the refrigerator, sat on the bunk again, looked in the bathroom, sat on the bunk again, looked where to mount the flat screen TV (I love TV as much as anyone but if you're sitting underwater in a dark cabin watching TV while your boat is sailing across a lake, river or sea --something is wrong with that!), looked in the bathroom, sat on the bunk -- all of this activity in a space that was about 4 x 6 feet big. And never noticed us or others waiting until a good 8 - 10 minutes had passed. Consequently, we didn't get in many cabins -- didn't want to miss the Twiggy Show while we were waiting!

Now, I know that people are allowed to spend as much time as they want in and on the boats. But a little consideration of others when everyone wants to do the same thing wouldn't hurt.(The woman at the Lemonade Smoothie Funnel Cake Stand was rude to the Good Manners Daughters, too, when they asked what was in the Banana Berry Smoothie --Duh, bananas and berries, she said to them -- and we still actually paid her!)

But all in all, it was a nice way to spend the afternoon together as a family.
Until I blog again, take care.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Friendly Wave

Dear Reader (is it too soon to address you as Good Manners Fan?),

Tonight I write you about something that always irks the Good Manners Family: The Friendly Wave.

Well, actually it's really the Lack of Friendly Wave that irks the Good Manners Family.

Good Manners Dad got the Good Manners Daughters started on it, because he is always, shall we say "disappointed," when 9 out of the 10 people he lets out at a difficult left hand turn just outside of our neighborhood merrily drive off with no acknowledgement of his courtesy.

Why is that, we wonder? Are we invisible, we wonder? Does the driver think it was a miracle after waiting long minutes for a break in the traffic, we wonder? Doesn't he (or she) realize that she (or he) would not have gotten out except for Good Manners Dad?

But, I have to tell you what's great about Good Manners Dad: He may be "disappointed" 9 out of 10 times, but he will still let that driver out in traffic each and every time he sees someone stuck. The Good Manners Daughters routinely ask "Where's our Friendly Wave?" each and every time it doesn't happen, and we all have a good chuckle. (Okay, and sometimes maybe we "boo" the other driver, depending on how clueless he or she was.)

But we give a big Good Manners Family cheer when, that 1 time in 10, we get thanked with the Friendly Wave!

(And, hopefully the Good Manners Daughters are learning from Good Manners Dad that although they may not always get a thank you, they should still do things the right way.)

Looking forward to blogging again soon,


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Internet Frustrations

Dear Reader,

I would never have thought that it would take me over a week to make my second post. I have been unable to get on the internet because of our horrible connection. How frustrating! I had just gotten up my nerve to start my blog last week -- and then I wasn't able to do anything to it.

Needless to say, I've used some choice, colorful words about our internet connection -- words that I blush to say should not appear anywhere near a Good Manners Mom Blog! (Now, if I'd called it the Bad Manners Mom Blog ...)

We received all of the technology to switch our provider today and I hope that I will now be able to start blogging (and learning exactly how to blog) a little more regularly!

Because this is my manners blog, I thought I'd better leave you tonight with one etiquette observation about our phone-obsessed world:
We are so attuned to immediate phone gratification -- as soon as we hear it ring, our eyes turn right to the phone to see who is calling or texting. Because we can be in touch, we have to be in touch. Stopping a conversation at work or dinner to see who is calling (and to then respond) is telling our companion that his or her presence isn't important to us.

Yes, I know that there could be an important call coming through -- a child's school or a client's call -- and I'm as guilty as you are of checking to see who is calling. But yesterday at work it struck me how rude I was being. So in the afternoon, I physically forced myself not to look at either my work phone or cell phone when it rang. And, you know what? The messages were just fine for having waited 20 minutes to be heard and then answered. (To parents out there, I admit that my older daughter doesn't buy this -- but maybe she'll absorb it through observing my stellar example.)

Today, though, I was expecting a call from my younger daughter's teacher. We've been playing phone tag and I really needed to speak to the teacher in person. So right at the start of my meeting I apologized in advance in case I needed to take the call. It felt better to handle it that way to me. What do you think?

Well, that certainly wasn't fun or entertaining! I need to lighten things up.
I'll tell you what I really think is obnoxious -- when people leave their blackberries next to the phone so that when you are on the phone with him or her and a call/text comes through on his or her blackberry, the static interupts our call. And then that person has to say, "Oh, sorry, my blackberry."

That's just rude on so many levels -- move your (words a good manners mom shouldn't use) blackberry, for goodness sake! You suspect he or she put it there so that you are made aware that he or she has important blackberry business (in case you had any doubt of his or her importance.)

Phew. Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about ATM etiquette. Or not.

Blog you soon.


Monday, February 9, 2009

My First Post


Welcome to my Good Manners Mom Blog!

This is my very first post.

I'm so excited to start blogging ... but I have to admit that I'm not quite sure how this all works. But I figure I'll never find out if I don't start somewhere, so here goes!

You know, to be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure that I want to call this my Good Manners Mom Blog.

I set it all up and now I think it might be more on topic to call it my Bad Manners Mom Blog.

That certainly sounds more interesting -- and much more entertaining. And, although this blog is about the importance of teaching our children about good manners, I can't pretend to be Miss Manners or Emily Post or some other well-known (and probably perfect) authority. I'm just a boring, working mom, who wants the world to be a better place for my kids. And your kids (or your grandchildren, or nieces or nephews, or anyone you care about).

So I hope you'll bear with me as I get used to this whole blogging thing. I've got lots of bad- manners-moments to share that you'll hopefully get a good chuckle out of. And, once I get up and running, I hope you'll share some of your bad-manners-moments with me, too!

With warm regards,


Good/Bad Manners Mom Blog