Modern Day Lemonade Stand

Did you have a lemonade stand growing up? Has your child? What memories do you have of making money when you were growing up?

A friend recently shared that their children had a lemonade stand and served cookies to neighbors who were heading out to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. They had had mild success in years past, and were rethinking what they might sell. It has been hotter than normal temps, and they were inspired. In addition to the lemonade and cookies they decided to make and sell water balloons. The water balloons ended up being a big money maker for them (when I heard about this I had two reactions: 1) what a great idea, how fun!, and 2) yikes! I hope no one got an unexpected water balloon thrown at them). It was fun to hear about how entrepreneurial the kids had gotten, and how excited they were by their financial success.

My son recently found yet another Lego set he ‘has to’ have. It’s clearly a discontinued model, because so far we’ve only found it on eBay and Amazon and the price has been upwards of $450 (I know, for a Lego set???).  Anyhow, my husband and I are working to teach our kids the value of a dollar and the reward of hard work. Our son knows he can only get the set if he has the money, and based on his allowance, he’d have enough money for the set in a couple of years (and only if he never spent a dime of his allowance and saved birthday and Christmas money), and clearly wants to do whatever he can to accelerate the timeline. He’s too young to mow lawns or get a job, and a lemonade stand (even with water balloons) isn’t practical in the part of town we live in, so it’s been a bit of a struggle to come up with ways he can earn some extra cash. My husband though had a great idea. We have a fruit tree that, based on the weather, can produce a significant number of small plums. So many, in fact, that some years if we don’t stay on top of picking them up the plums daily our yard can easily turn into an ooey-gooey (not to mention rotten fruit-smelling, bug-attracting) mess (yuck!). My husband made my son an offer, “We’ll pay you one cent for each plum you pick up.” My son jumped at the idea. He grabbed his shoes and headed out the door.

The tree is providing quite a yield this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if my son makes upwards of $10-20 (yes, there are that many plums) when all is said and done. I told my son one night after he picked up the plums, “I guess it’s true what they say–money does (or can) grow on trees.” We couldn’t help but laugh. My son won’t make enough money from picking up the plums to buy the Lego set, but he is learning what it takes to earn money–you have to work hard, and often for a long time, to get to what you want. He’s learning this lesson one plum at a time.

How are you teaching your child about money (earning, saving, donating or spending it)? What creative alternatives to a lemonade stand have your and your child come up with to make money?

I’ll be taking some vacation time and will return in August.

So, What’s the Catch?

Have you ever thought about where common idioms come from: it’s raining cats and dogs, see the light, under the weather, etc.?

We were sitting at the dinner table this week when my oldest son ask, “What does ‘what’s the catch’ mean?” My younger son chimed in, “Yea, what does it mean? It doesn’t make any sense!” They both giggled thinking that the saying sounded silly. My husband and I both looked at each other with a “you got this?” expression and then took turns providing what we went on to describe what it meant as best we could. “It means something is too good to be true. Someone says something’s for free, but what they don’t tell you is you’ll have to sit through a presentation to get the free thing,” I shared. “It means you’re not getting the whole picture. There’s more to it than meets the eye. If something sounds like it’s too good a deal, say someone offering you money for nothing, you would probably ask, “What’s the catch?,” my husband replied.

Our boys came up with their own interpretations. “So, if someone offered me gold, I should know there’s probably something they want from me,” said my oldest. “Or if they offer me (play) cars, there might be something they want for it,” said my youngest. “You’re getting the idea,” I said.

My sons asked where the saying came from. “No idea,” my husband and I replied. Funny how we use phrases without putting too much thought into where they come from. It forced us to think about how language has changed over time, even during my lifetime. I shared that when I was young phrases like “LOL” or “hashtag” weren’t used, and people would have looked at me  with a curious expression if I said them as recently as a decade or so earlier. We talked about how hundreds of years ago people talked in ways that would be unrecognizable to us today (using words such as “thee” and “thou”). My sons thought that was hilarious.

After giggling for a few minutes, I attempted to get serious and asked, “So, if that’s the way the ball bounces, what’s the catch?” Now all of us were laughing again. “And if  I’m under the weather, I hope it’s not raining cats and dogs,” my son added with a smile. While I may not know the origin of many idioms, they quite useful when trying to explain something more simply, plus they can be good for a laugh…especially when we think how much our language has changed over time and all the silly things we still say quite seriously.

What idioms do you often use? Are there any that are your favorites? Or ones your child find amusing?