Monthly Archives: February 2014

Brit flicks for the Downton Abbey down time

Another season of Downton Abbey is over too quickly!Wisdom from Downton Abbey's Dowager CountessWhile this wasn’t my favorite year, I still think it’s one of the best things on TV, and I’ll be waiting for season five to arrive. What was your favorite part of season four?

The final episode delivered a lovely moment between the Dowager Countess and Tom as they headed onto the dance floor at the ball. They’re two of my favorite characters, and I like the relationship that has evolved between them as the family has adapted and accepted him. The party fashions were amazing, of course, in true Downton style.

Earlier in the season, I thought it was entertaining when Lady Mary and Charles Blake were on bucket brigade in the pig pen. Although her character has grown on me over the course of the series, it was still fun seeing a prim and proper member of the family getting filthy on the farm.

Now I’ll have to find other ways to get my English period drama fix. I have a couple of DVDs ready and waiting for me.

I think I’ll start with The King’s Speech. Since it won several awards, I have no doubt that it will be excellent. I also bought the 12-episode BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit, and I’m looking forward to seeing Charles Dickens’ London come to life through the miniseries.

Interestingly enough, both feature actors who have portrayed Mr. Darcy – Colin Firth from the BBC Pride & Prejudice adaptation and Matthew Macfadyen from the 2005 Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice film. Coincidence? Well, I do love Mr. Darcy in both versions! It won’t be too long until I get around to rewatching each of them.

While we’re on Jane Austen, have you watched the BBC’s 2009 version of Emma starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller? It’s another Masterpiece Classic that I absolutely love and have to pull out to watch once in a while.

One other movie I have to mention since it’s the end of February: Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. It’s a lighthearted little rom com that takes place (mostly) in Ireland with likeable lead actors.

What’s your favorite British TV show or movie?

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Be awesome! Be a book nut! Dr. Seuss

The joy of e-reading

I’m not an early adopter for new technology. I don’t need to have the latest and greatest gadgets.

So when the other book lovers I know started getting e-readers, I was perfectly happy to stick with “real” books.

But then my mom saw a great deal on a Kindle and gave it to me for Christmas – as a joint gift that was also addressed to my hubby. Now I love the thing and the problem is that we have to share it.

Somehow he always manages to claim it in the evening before I can get to it.  *Sigh*  We may just have to get me my own!

We both love how small and portable the Kindle is while still being very readable. I’ve tried reading books on my cell phone a few times while I was stuck at my kids’ sport practices and didn’t like it very well because the screen was just too small. I find that the Kindle size is much better.

It’s also handy to be able to download books at any time without waiting for a delivery or driving to the store. I like that there’s less of a carbon footprint for electronic delivery.

Of course, one of the best advantages is that electronic books are less expensive than print editions and sometimes even free.  I’m trying to read through more classic literature so I love that I can get the classics inexpensively – some for free and some for just 99 cents.

I have to admit that I do miss having a physical book to flip through. Since we already have five overflowing bookcases, that’s probably a good thing though! It saves us from having to find more shelf space.

Have you moved to using an e-reader for your books?  What are you reading?

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school fundraising

School fundraising

I’ve been keeping busy getting the Box Tops for Education submission for my kids’ school ready to meet the March 1 deadline for this school year. Then I’ll move on to submit the Campbell Soup Labels for Education. These are great, simple school fundraising options for the school.

For additional fundraising, the school decided a few years ago to move away from selling various items such as greeting cards and wrapping paper. The school chose instead to have an annual service event coupled with social fundraising, where family and friends pledge donations to support the students and school in conjunction with the event.

This fundraiser has been effective for the school.  Students have worked on several service projects appropriate for their age groups.  Family and friends believe in the mission of this private Christian school and are willing to donate to support it.

Since the beginning of this fundraising approach, the school has worked with a fundraising company for consultation on planning the event and for use of their technology to accept and track donations. Now that the fundraising team has gained experience with this type of fundraiser, I was asked to research technology options if the school decided to work independently this year – without the outside consultant.

I had hoped I would quickly find a list of fundraising options online. It wasn’t that easy. I had to do quite a bit of research on the Web to compile options. I wouldn’t wish that task on anyone else!  Therefore, I’m providing the results of my research below with the hopes that it may save another school fundraising committee some time.

Online fundraising sites that support individual fundraising pages

DonorDrive by Global Cloud
DonorDrive allows individual families to set up personalized online fundraising pages and send e-mails from the website regarding the school fundraiser. The site accepts online donations and applies them to the individual fundraiser’s total. Pricing includes a setup fee, annual fee, and percentage of online donations.

DonorPerfect is a fundraising system allowing school families to set up individual online fundraising pages and send e-mails regarding the fundraiser. The site accepts online donations and applies them to the individual fundraiser’s total. Pricing includes a setup fee, monthly fee, and gateway/merchant account fees.

Qgiv Hobnob
Qgiv Hobnob allows participants to create individual and team fundraising pages and send e-mails regarding the fundraiser. Pricing includes a setup fee, annual renewal fee, and merchant account fees.

Online fundraising options that don’t appear to support individual fundraiser pages

Allows creation of a customized fundraising page for special projects or events. Supporters can raise money with a team fundraising feature. Enables organizations to accept donations on their own site. Pricing: a percentage of each donation.

Enables creation of an individual GoFundMe donation page. Donations are accepted and held until requested for withdrawal. Shows a progress meter for the fundraising campaign. Pricing: processing fees are deducted from each payment.

The givezooks! platform enables fundraising campaigns with a customizable fundraising page for online donations. Funds flow directly from the donor to the organization, and the fundraising progress is tracked online. Pricing: a monthly fee and other options.

Piryx enables online fundraising campaigns. Pricing: transaction fee to cover donation processing. enables creation and management of online fundraisers. Pricing: A percentage plus credit card processing costs that are charged to each donation processed through the fundraiser page.

Bundled fund management solutions that offer online fundraising

  • The Raiser’s Edge

I’m no fundraising expert, so this list is not a comprehensive resource and details may change.  It’s provided as a starting point to help with researching school fundraising options.