Friday, June 10, 2016

Lemons to Lemonade!

When life gives you a free lemonade stand (that's deeply appreciated but just not up to your standards of lemonade stand artistry!) - say thank you, take it home, take it apart, paint it, decorate it, make lemonade, cat toys, and dog treats and sell everything to make money for a local cat rescue! That's what my granddaughter and I did, and here's our story of sweet success!

Brielle's neighborhood association organizes an annual garage sale event. Weather usually cooperates during the first week in June, so a fresh audience, pockets full of jingling coins, enthusiastically descends upon these normally quiet streets .....

And a competent sales manager shows up after a full day of Kindergarten to serve them!

We chose a very deserving local cat rescue as the beneficiary of our efforts. Lemonade alone wasn't enough for us, so a few of what the industry calls "add-on purchases" were also available!

For example.....

I'm kinda famous 'round here for my catnip snakes! The full story behind them is right here - with a link for instructions on how to make your own.

I supplied 20 of these crazy-eyed, be-ribboned critters - enough to net $100 in sales. But a $5 cat toy is a bit pricey for a garage sale clientele, so these did not go "feline-in' outta here" like "hats for cats" do in the hilarious GoDaddy commercial! We delivered the leftover 10 to the rescue; their audience of volunteers and new pet-parents will snap them up quickly!

Leftover scraps from the snakes were screaming, "Make us into spider toys!" So I did. At 50 cents each, quite a few went itsy-bitsy-ing home!

Layer 5 or 6 strips, each 3/4" - 1" wide, 6" - 8" long, and knot tightly at center. Tie random knots at ends of individual "spider legs." You'll find them under your couches, soggy with cat saliva, after they've disappeared!

We sold out of home made dog treats - eighteen of them at $1.00 each! I had searched a long time for a recipe easy enough for kids to make and also suitable for my silicone paw print mold. (Sold at Amazon) Large 6-unit mold makes 3" treats - doubled recipe yields 18 of them.

Here, at Dancing Dog Cabin is where you'll find a lovely decorating blog and the peanut butter/oatmeal treat recipe. We included that web address inside each bag so nobody would have to sit, stay, and beg for it! Thank you, Melissa! This one's a keeper!

Need a simple, inexpensive recipe for lemonade that doesn't involve tedious squeezing?

Mix together: 8 cups of water, 1.5 cups of powdered sugar and 1.5 cups of bottled lemon juice. Add ice and fresh lemon slices.

I think we were wise to price our 9 ounce cups at only 25 cents each. I suppose you could call it a successful "loss leader," because customers who approached often purchased a pet treat or toy - and many really nice people declined their change since our proceeds went to a charity with an excellent reputation!

Here's something that kept young customers coming back for more! I've had this delightful mechanical kitty bank set aside for Bree for several years. Now was the purr-fect time for it to change paws! Customers placed their quarters and stood back to wait for a distinctive meow! Sloooowly the lid raised, just high enough for an eager kitty to quickly snatch the coin and disappear!

Want your own sneaky little coin grabber? I'm sure you do! Find her at Amazon, too!

Tips for a successful learning and giving experience:

1) Decorate your stand so it is bright and appealing. If possible, plan along with a neighborhood garage sale effort to take advantage of built-in traffic.

2) Choose a worthy charity as beneficiary, but ask permission first. Share pictures with them - to post on Face Book or include in a newsletter story. Your grandchild may not expect public acknowledgement, but it is encouraging when it occurs.

3) Measure the lemonade and bake sale items together. Involve the child as much as possible.

4) Role play customer and service provider before opening. Practice greeting with a friendly "hello," brief comment on the charity's value, and a sincere "thank you" when the transaction is completed.

5) Network on Face Book to bring neighbors, friends, and relatives in as customers.

6) Deliver money promptly. Here's Bree, cuddling one of the shelter kitties we met when we dropped off our proceeds the day after the sale ended.

Our first Lemonade Stand benefit brought in $98 after a three day, part time effort! That doesn't count the additional $50+ worth of cat toys pending sale. I am proud of my granddaughter for the poise she demonstrated in operating her business. I am also pleased with the compassion she has for animals. I'm kind of pleased with myself, too, to be honest. It's been my privilege to be part of the effort to lead my grandchildren toward a lifestyle that considers the needs of others. Enjoying an experience like this one is memory making fun with so many dimensions and so much added value to the life of a child - and to that of a grandparent as well!

This wasn't our first charitable project this year! Read about our Girl Scout spay-neuter clinic contribution here!


  1. I'd buy a second cup just to see the cat coin grabber.

  2. What fun - you always have the most wonderful ideas. I'd just sit there and put coins up for the kitty - just to watch the fun. Loved all your ideas and extra stories to read. Great way to earn money for charities.

  3. Joyce, this is so wonderful that you did all this to help homeless cats/cats in need! I love what you did with the peanut butter dog treats-- I'll definitely be giving the paw print molds a try. Thank you for the shout out and for including my website information in each peanut butter doggy treat package!

  4. What a wonderful grandma you are Joyce! Beautiful that you are teaching the grandkids one of the greatest values - compassion.
    I would have supported your lemonade stand too as I'm a big supporter of cat shelters, having 3 rescue cats (originally 5).
    Your stand was very pretty.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. This is so awesome!! Everything you do is just amazing to me. You set the standards pretty darn high for a grandma!! haha...I am not crafty at all. Love all of your ideas.

  6. Hello, you do have creative and fun ideas. What a great fund raiser for the kitty rescue. I like the lemonade stand, toys and the dog treats, they all seem like popular ways to raise money. You and your granddaughter are awesome. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  7. I'm thinking you are one amazing grandma!! Thanks for sharing on Pleasure of the Northwest's DIY link up!

  8. You guys did a wonderful job. I'd leave my change with you too. A really fun and creative project. So well organized too!

  9. Wonderful idea, such fun and darling kiddos and the cat. LOL a great post.

  10. This is awesome! Such a good experience. Love the remake of the lemonade stand.

  11. What a wonderful bonding experience for you and your granddaughter! You did such a good job on the lemonade stand and the items you sold. Very creative!

  12. Happy to see this more detail than the FB forward. Loved every bit of it / you are amazing :)

  13. One word - WOW! I love the way you decorated the stand, the coin grabber is absolutely a hoot, and your treats and toys sure were a success. This is one of those fun, family, learning moments that leave great memories and lessons. Bree gets more beautiful every time you post, and she just received a wonderful business lesson that she can draw on for years to come. Applause to you both. :-)

  14. Briele is growing up way too fast! She still reminds me of Amara in so many ways. What a wonderful thing the two of you orchestrated. She must have been so proud! Nice going Grandma J!

  15. Lemonade stands are always so much fun! Your stand is adorable :)

    Edye | Http://

  16. Best lemonade stand EVER! Way to go, grandma!

  17. It is super hot here in Germany this weekend...and ice-cold lemonade sounds really good :)

  18. Love your jazzed up lemonade stand. It definitely is far cuter after you applied your magic to it! How wonderful to donate money to such a great cause!

  19. Grandma J~ you are so beautiful! I am always amazed at your talent and your grace in everything you do with your family. Those dear grand children have been greatly blessed with a grandmother who loves and cares for them deeply.
    You are teaching and training them beautifully. God bless you.
    Adorable lemon-aid stand.

    Blessings to you~~

  20. Love how the lemonade stand turned out. What a lovely lessons and giving. Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Pinned & shared.