Sunday, October 3, 2010

Table manners and waiting in lines

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

I wanted to let you know that my new book on Table Manners was just published by Good Manners Kids Stuff Press.

It's called Tabletop Tipsters and you can see it over on the right side.

The book is fun for parents and children to read together as they learn their table manners (children) and remember their table manners (parents). The pages of the book are designed to be like placemats (you hold it and open in horizontally) and the characters on them easily explain table manners as they happen before, during and after the meal. You may recognize the characters -- Bailey Puppydog, Sammy Gator, Katie Doll, Danny and Teddy Birthday Bear -- from the populuar Good Manners Kids Stuff good manners placemats. I hope you'll take a look at it. It's available on Amazon right now, and eventually at other online bookstore like Barnes and Noble, and at some Borders.

My manners annoyance that I wanted to share with you today is that people behave badly a lot of the time because they are so unaware of what is going on around them. I was shopping yesterday with the Good Manners Daughters and there were three situations where many of us waited in a line so that we could sort out for the next available cashier. In each of those instances, someone waltzed up and stepped in front of the cashier -- completely ignoring the fact that others had been waiting.

I would hope that such behavior was because the person was unaware -- not because they meant to cut in line. Mistakes happen. But to have it happen three separate times was sort of bizarre. The last time it happened in a teen store -- and let me tell you the teenagers in line behind us had plenty to say about it!

But if we are so aborbed in ourselves, that's not so good, either. On a manners-themed rant, it's just rude and selfish to not look out for others, to not think about others in addition to yourself. But on a bigger-world-universe-themed rant, just imagine what you are missing out on when you aren't paying attention to experiences or people around you.

Regardless, next time you're shopping, at the very least you can make your tired fellow shoppers' day if you just look around you and make sure you're not cutting in line!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tips for getting your kids ready for back to school

New backpacks, school supplies, a carefully thought out organization station, and a Mom/daughters tradition -- like so many families, here in the Good Manners Household we've been busy getting ready for Back to School.

It seems like a split second ago that school was out and we were half-heartedly picking through all of the school papers, broken crayons and pencils, books and artwork the Good Manners daughters brought home. Now we're in full gear, checking the new school supply lists against what's still usable from last year and replacing/finding all the new stuff. Two trips to Staples later, I think we also need to swing by Kmart or Target. And we still need a blouse for one and shoes for the other for their first day of school outfits.

This year we upped the ante (and the stress level) a little bit because we decided to let the Good Manners Daughters upgrade their bedrooms. Seemed like a good idea at the time but we're still waiting for one carpet remnant to be bound, and another bed to be delivered. (Hopefully by Halloween we'll be finished.)

But, most importantly, we've been working on organization! We know from sad, past experience that lack of organization makes it hard to be successful! Everyone gave their suggestions how to set up our organization station right were we all come into the house from the garage. I'm hoping since we all came up with it that everyone will enjoy the changes and try to make it work!

The goal was to have the coats, backpacks, shoes, mail, papers, etc., in one place instead of strewn throughout the house the way it usually is! We're putting hooks up for coats and baskets under a narrow table for shoes; we're putting out a boxes on the table for mail, and recycling the mail and underneath we're putting the shredder. The girls should be able to grab everything they need from this one place when we're rushing out the door for the bus. We've put up a black board and cork board so that we can put invitations and notes down there instead of on the refrigerator; we also changed the answering machine location to down there.

Earlier today we set ourselves up on Google Calendars to coordinate our schedules so that Good Manners Dad and I can stay on top of our jobs and our family's busy activities.

Now for the Mother/Daughters tradition -- I took the Good Manners Daughters for dinner and manicures/pedicures! A splurge but something we always enjoy. (And it sure was relaxing after all that last minute organizing!)

After school starts I'll be posting soon with good manners stuff, including updates on my manners-themed books. A new one on table manners is going to be published in October (The kids' and parents', too) Book of Good Sportsmanship is getting a lot of attention with fall sports, and it and It's Time for Good Manners! are perfect for back to school.)

Happy Back to School,


I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get a HarperCollins book set. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

The other moms who participated share their tips on getting their kids ready for school. You should check them out for some great tips for your family too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Gentlemen and the elevator ... and two planes

Dear Manners Fans,

Last week, I had two almost identical manners moments that I wanted to share with you.

I was traveling for work and stayed several days in a hotel. The first morning while I waited for the elevator to arrive at my floor, a young man joined me. We exchanged a glance and slight smiles. The elevator arrived. As soon as the door opened he pushed past me to get inside first and push his button for the lobby. Surprise, that's where I was going, too! Dead silence filled the elevator as we traveled down, where we both arrived at the same time.

The second morning as I waited for the elevator, another man joined me. We exchanged a glance and slight smiles. The elevator arrived. When the door opened, he smiled and held out his hand for me to go first. We chatted as we traveled downstairs. Surprise, we got there at the same time ... and in a much better mood.

Now, I am really not a stickler. I'm equal opportunity -- I don't insist men open the door for me and I let my fair share of men go before me -- but the first gentleman was just so blatantly rude. For no reason. He didn't get anywhere first -- just seemed completely miserable and discourteous.

Speaking of trying to get there first, you may remember a post from awhile ago where I wrote about how people try to rush off the airplane. Well, when it was my turn to go, I had to stop to pull my bag out of the overhead bin. I waived the woman behind me to go ahead and she gave me a big smile and planted herself there in the aisle and said for me to take my time -- she loved making sure all those eager beavers didn't stampede the rest of us.

Wasn't that refreshing!
And isn't that what good manners are -- looking out for others and treating people the way you want to be treated?

Two men and an elevator ... and two plane disembarqements -- almost identical but different in the worst and best ways.

It's not always fun or popular or easy, but making the choice for good manners will always make you and others feel good.


P.S. Our Goodreads Giveaway for It's Time for Good Manners! ends tomorrow and has close to 900 entrants! I am very excited.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Concert etiquette

Dear Manners Aficionados,

This week we attended the younger Good Manners Daughter's Middle School Spring Concert. As you can imagine, some parts were pretty good and some parts were maybe not quite as good. But the children enjoyed themselves and the families were pretty proud.

It was close to two hours, however, and after working all day (or going to school), and sitting on uncushioned auditorium folding chairs -- well, you can imagine just how tired and uncomfortable we all were. And, how people might want to slip out once their child's part was finished.

(There were performances by 3 choirs, 3 bell choirs, a jazz band, a regular band, an orchestra and the string ensemble.)

The Good Manners Family wasn't able to get there early so we were seated in the far back. By the end of the concert there was a sea of empty rows in front of us. We were tempted to move up but realized we would be able to slip out the doors in the back to meet the Good Manners Daughter faster at the end if we stayed put. Also, she was not in the last couple of performances so we didn't need to get closer to see her at that point.

But we did stay (as much as we were tempted) because it's only fair that all the children get the same audience to perform for that the earlier ones did. And get the same applause and appreciation of their hard work.

So, I hope, Dear Manners Aficionados, if you're attending concerts this spring, that, whenever possible, you grin and bear it until the bitter end. Who knows what future musical star you might be encouraging with your support!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

New children's manners book, and deer repellent

Dear Eager Etiquetters:

May I ask for your opinion to this manners question?

Is it good manners to spray deer repellent on the plants that edge the fence/wall where your neighbors are having dinner outside with guests? (Just in case you aren't familiar with deer repellent, it isn't Glades Country Apple scented. Not at all.)

Now, let's put that deer question aside for now while I fill you in on the bad and good news that's been going on in the Good Manners Household.

The bad news is that since February I've been plotting and planning to do some website renovations to Good Manners Kids Stuff -- to include our new line of plates and spruce things up -- but it is now May and I still haven't gotten to it!

The good news is that I have been able to publish our latest manners book, "It's Time for Good Manners!" and it went live this week! (You can see its blue cover on the side of the blog.)

The book is really cute; it helps children realize that it's time for good manners all day long while also showing them how to tell time. They follow Torie, Tad, Tyler and Tessa during their busy day doing activities and school and play dates and sports just like they do. There is a different clock design for each page and the children get the chance to draw on them and also draw their own designs. It's a perfect combination of story book and work/coloring book.

(Our Good Sportsmanship Book has been really popular this Spring Sports Season, which has been good news, too!)

Before I leave you, Dear Eager Etiquetters, I hope that you've come up with the correct answer to my question: that it is NEVER good manners to spray deer repellent on plants next to where your neighbors are having dinner.

So, please -- even if you're in a high deer populated area, and you love, love, love your plants -- resist the urge to spray until the coast is clear!



P.S. I was going to discuss Prom Shenanigans -- but I think I'll save that topic for my next post!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crumbs on knives

Dear Good Manners Aficionados,

I write you today about a pet peeve of mine that I was horribly reminded of this morning while tending to my morning bagel in our company cafeteria.

While my bagel toasts, I normally occupy my wait time by getting a small, sealed packet of fat-free cream cheese out of the refrigerator case.

Sadly, this morning the refrigerator was empty of fat-free cream cheese packets. It was on order, Joanne, our cashier, told me.

Oh, well. So much for my diet! That meant I was going to have to use the delicious, fully-fat cream cheese. Yay! Those calories can't count when they are my only option, right?

Now, the yummy, fully-fat cream cheese is not sealed in little packets. Instead, it sits in the salad bar in a big crock, with thick handled knives stuck into it.

Dear Good Manners Aficionado, I bet you know where I am going with this.

Imagine my horror when I brought my bagel over and saw that all of the knives had crumbs struck to them. (All kinds of crumbs, too: burnt crumbs, raw crumbs, bagel crumbs, toast crumbs -- even a couple of sesame seeds. And some jelly that had somehow been dropped on it.)

Why is it that people use these knives to spread cream cheese (or butter, or peanut butter -- any spread for that matter) directly onto their food? Don't they realize that they are to use the knife to spread it onto their plate or, better yet, into a little container? That they are then to use a different knife of their very own to spread the cream cheese/butter/peanut butter/jelly onto their bagel/toast/muffin?

(People do this at the dinner table with the butter, too, when there is a lone butter knife passed with the butter.)

Why is it that people think anyone would want to spread the remains of someone else's food onto their food?


So -- my solution? I got a plastic knife and a little container and I carefully looked over the cream cheese mound to find a clean part, and took my portion from there.

Please, please, please let the fat-free cream cheese packets be here tomorrow morning!

Hum, I wonder what my next bad manners post opportunity will be?
The opportunities could be endless, especially when so many bad manners are just a real lack of common sense!

Until then,


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cute new products for Good Manners Kids Stuff on their way

Dear Fans of Good Manners,

Happy New Year!

I had hoped to have some more new products added to Good Manners Kids Stuff in the beginning of January but I just haven't managed to do it yet.

After we got the products (I don't want to spoil the surprise for you so I won't tell you what they are) we had to set up a little photo shoot with the older Good Manners Daughter doing the honors because she is taking photography this semester. That took a little while to fit into her social schedule. But her part is done. What's stalled me now is that I have to write the copy and then send it along to my artist, Kecia, to layout the web page. I need to make some other changes to the pages and I can't make up my mind on them. At the same time, Kecia is busy on my next book for Good Manners Kids Stuff Press (available in March), and I don't want to take her away from that.

It's going to be a really cute book that will fit in well with our first two books, The Month of Zephram Mondays and The Kids' (and parents', too!) Book of Good Sportsmanship. I don't want to spoil the surprise for the book either, so I'll keep quiet about it, too.

I've been busy promoting the two books and have been receiving a lot of good press coverage from all across the country. In fact, I'm excited to share this wonderful review about the Good Sportsmanship book here.

But, all talk about products and books aside, I've been compiling a list of bad (and good, but mostly bad -- let's face it, bad are more fun) manners moments with which to entertain you throughout 2010! And I can't wait to star sharing it with you next post.

Until then,