Monday, November 30, 2009

8 Items Everyone Should Have in Their Medicine Cabinet

  1. Bandages/Gauze/Tape—Assorted sizes are a must for the most basic of first aid.
  2. Alcohol & Hydrogen Peroxide—Most basic needs for cleaning wounds.
  3. Antiseptics/Antibiotic Creams--to prevent infection in a cut or wound
  4. Thermometer--must have for cold/flu season
  5. Tweezers—Removing splinters, ticks, stray hairs. =)
  6. Pain Killers—Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen and Aspirin should cover all the bases.
  7. PeptoBismal or similar—covers a number of stomach ailments.
  8. Ice Pack/Hot Water Bottle—to use for swelling or muscle aches.

Sure there are others…cough medicine, antihistamines, eyewash, compression kit…that would also be a great addition, but in sticking with the most basic, this would be my list.

What would you add to this list?

Join me next week for items to add to this list for those of us with kids!

Photo credit: vetcw3

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What to Buy That Teenage Girl

What would you pay for a happy teenager? I know...that must seem like a mythological creature to those of you who have teenagers living with you. But I bet you can have a happy teenage girl on your hands for less than $25 this Christmas (okay...she might break a smile out for you at least).

I have a 15-year old niece on my shopping list. Ahhh...teenagers. What to do with them? Can't wait for mine to reach that age (since I can't type with a "tone" of voice...that one was dripping with sarcasm).

However, you can get some really great deals on makeup at E.L.F right now and what teenage girl doesn't like make up?

First of all, sign up at shopathome.com. Although I am signed up through upromise and mypoints, E.L.F. doesn't offer any rebates through those two sites, but they do throught shopathome.com. =) They actually offer 7% cash back! While you are there, you can check out a plethora of coupons that they have for E.L.F as well as MANY other stores.

If you aren't familiar with E.L.F--all of their make up (standard) is $1.00. Standard shipping is $6.95, so you should stock up while you are there. I have used it and I like it.

Some of my favorites for this particular shopping extravaganza:
  • Save 75% off make up cases with code EH75CE.
  • $1.98 shipping on $15 purchase with coupon UNDER2SHIP through 11/30
  • Free Shipping on Orders over $35! Use code 35SHPFREE through 11/30
  • Get a free Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder when you spend $10 at eyeslipsface.com! Just use coupon code BRONZE at checkout.
  • $25 Restaurant Gift Card with $15 Purchase. Use code YUMMY
  • 50% Off All Bath Items with code BTH50OFF
  • FREE 27 Piece Mini Makeup Kit With Any Purchase! Use code LOYAL thru 11/30
  • Spend $15 and Get a Free Smokey Eye Kit with code GTLSEYE
  • 50% Off Minerals with code MIN50LTD

You can only use one coupon code, so choose wisely.

How am I using it today? Well, I'm buying a large make up case for $3 (usually $12) and filling it with makeup and brushes for a total of $24.95 shipped. Plus I'll get 7% back since I'm shopping through shopathome.com! =) Not a bad price for a happy teenager.

Monday, November 23, 2009

8 Reasons I am Thankful


  1. Husband. I have a husband who loves me and truly cares about my happiness. Seriously...he has proven that he is in it for the long haul. He puts up with my stubbornness (me? no!), and still professes his love for me. He would rather me with our family than anywhere else. He is a fantastic father. I am truly blessed.
  2. Kids. We have two of the greatest kids to ever exist. I know...all parents believe that about their own children. We happen to be right. Seriously...they are well-behaved, good natured, loving little people, and we are blessed to have them living in our home with us.
  3. Health. Yes, we have our health. We have had health scares in our house, but in the end, we're all great. We have two perfectly healthy children. We are truly blessed in that our bodies work the way they should when so many intricate processes could go awry.
  4. My upbringing. I was raised in a close, Christian family. We didn't always get along. We had our (huge) share of problems, but altogether, we did and truly do love each other. We know we can rely on one another when the world is against us. We know that we have a friend to talk to at the other end of the telephone. I am who I am greatly because of how I was raised.
  5. Home. We have a home. And to boot, we have a nice house. We have never wanted for anything in this housing department. We are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We are dry in the rain and have no major deficiencies in our living condition.
  6. Job. During this difficult economic time for our country, I still have a job. Too many people, including Chip, have not fared as well through cutbacks and layoffs, but we still have an income and are able to live off of my earnings.
  7. God has provided. Through this period of an income shortage, God is still providing. He has allowed extra money to find us when we would need it and He is making sure that we are making ends meet. He is so faithful.
  8. We worship. We are free to worship God as we please. We do not experience persecution. We do not have to hide our beliefs. We can read our Bible without hiding. We can sing songs to God loudly. We can openly meet in a place of worship. We can proclaim His glory in our surroundings. We are free.

Photo credit: aslave4christ

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WFMW - Fire Safety in the Home

At work this week we are having our fire extinguisher training class and it has inspired me to focus on home fire safety for this week's Works for Me Wednesday.

Smoke Detectors:

  • Replace the batteries twice a year. It's easiest to coordinate this with changing your clocks to and from Daylight Savings to remember to do it.
  • Test them once a month.
  • Replace them every 10 years.
  • Locate them in every sleeping area and at least one on each level of the house for minimum protection. For better coverage, also install them outside of each sleeping area (hallway) in the (finished) attic and basement, at the top and bottom of all stairs and in frequently used rooms.

Extinguishers:

  • Have at least one extinguisher per level of your home. The National Fire Protection Agency recommends one for every 600 square feet of home.
  • Have at least one extinguisher for your kitchen, one for your garage, and one for your basement.
  • You should also have one in your car, boat and RV.
  • Buy an ABC extinguisher in order to cover any type of home fire possibility (these extinguish dry fires, chemical fires, and electrical fires). If you buy a water-based extinguisher it should NEVER be used on a chemical fire, including a kitchen fire, as it may only worsen the situation. An ABC extinguisher is best for all-around use.
  • Check the gauge on your extinguisher once a month to insure that the arrow is pointing to the green area. If it is not, you need to replace your extinguisher.
  • Once a month also verify that there is no physical damage to the outside of the extinguisher, the hose is not dry rotting, the nozzle is not obstructed, and the pin is still in place. Never "hold" the pin in with anything that is stronger than the break-away tie that often comes with them. DO NOT use a zip tie. Also, during this monthly inspection, flip the extinguisher upside down and then again rightside up a couple of times to "shake up" the contents. Otherwise the powder can settle and be less effective in a fire.
  • Do not store extinguishers directly by a fire source (ie over a stove) as you might not be able to get to it in the event of a fire.
  • Store them in a place that is easy to access, but out of reach of children.
  • If you have to use one, assume it is empty and replace it with a new one.
  • You might consider getting a "Purple K" extinguisher to fight kitchen fires specifically. Although ABC extinguishers can usually put out kitchen fires, Purple K extinguishers are designed for high heat fires that results from cooking mediums such as oils and fats. Warning when using these though...they use a gas that replaces the oxygen that is fueling the fire with carbon monoxide. Do not consider buying or using these if you need to use them in a small, contained area, as the person using the extinguisher needs plenty of room to breathe and an easy escape route with this one.

Fighting a Fire:

  • Make sure family members are out of the house before trying to fight a fire. If you are unsuccessful it might be too late to get them out later.
  • Make sure you have a clear route out before beginning to fight a fire.
  • Don't be a hero. If the fire is not small or you cannot control it easily, get out and let the professionals handle it.
  • Stand 6-10 feet away from the fire and point the nozzle at the base of the fire. Don't fully blast the extinguisher at the fire, as you might blow it in another direction and ignite another flammable object. Use light, short bursts to put out the fire.

Other:

  • Establish a fire safety plan for your house. Make sure all family members know how to get out of different areas and where to meet once you are outside.
  • Consider installing fire ladders in each upstairs bedroom. You might further consider installing them in each room upstairs that has a window.
  • Make sure fire ladders are installed per the manufacturer's instructions for a proper fit.

So...in an effort to further educate you on fire safety as well as remind you (and myself) that this is an important part of home-making, this is my Works for Me Wednesday post. Now I need to go finish up some of this stuff, like investigating ladders that we could possibly use with small children!

Go over to We Are THAT Family to see what works for everyone else.

Photo credit: AntiPainKiller

Monday, November 16, 2009

8 Chores Any Preschooler Can Do


I am a big believer in teaching children to do chores from a young age. It teaches them responsibility, life skills they will need, how to contribute as a member of the family, and how to work. And if you teach them while they are young, they are more likely to enjoy it rather than complain and see it as a burden.
So here are a few ways to start them off young:
  1. Feed pet. From the time our son was 2-1/2, he's been helping to feed the pets. We stored the dog food in a sealable rubbermaid tub in the garage and he was allowed to step out there with a plastic cup, fill it up, and bring it into the house to pour into the pets' bowls. He thought it was a great task to get to participate in and it helped instill both work in him and the necessity to take care of pets.
  2. Clean up toys. All toys must be put away before bedtime. That's the rule at our house. In my mind it is more peaceful if we go to bed with a clean house so that is what we see when we wake up. =) Everything in our house has a location, so it is easy to let Patrick put away his toys in their labeled bins. I won't pretend it's perfect, as there are nights that he still does not want to clean up his toys. If he's been good and just is too tired, I will often "help" him by letting him do most of the work. However, if he is just being hard-headed, I offer to put them away myself, but with the caveat that if I put them away, he will not see them again for a while. That usually gets him moving.
  3. Clear the table. Once a meal is over, he throws away napkins, remnants of food, and any paper plates that he might have used. He places all washable items on the kitchen counter on the "dirty" side of the sink.
  4. Fold towels. You can teach basic folding methods for items such as washcloths, dish towels, and bath towels. I remember folding towels as the age of 4 for a family of 6...and it was a full time job, as my mom did not allow reuse of a bath towel in our house, so each day 6 new towels were dirty. I was soon promoted to bigger and better things to fold, but towels are easy enough for any pre-schooler.
  5. Dust (socks on hands). So you don't have to give them a can of spray furniture polish, but you can put old socks on their hands and let them dust the furniture. It can be a game until they figure out it is housework, but that usually takes a while. =)
  6. Wipe up Messes. The rule in our house is if our son makes a mess, he cleans it up. That includes kicking over the pet water dish, pouring pet food in the floor rather than in the bowl, spilling drink on the kitchen floor, or splashing water outside the tub during bath time.
  7. Carrying/Putting Away Groceries. They can certainly carry in the lightweight ones. Patrick gets a kick out of putting all of the pantry items into the pantry in bags. We even give him a bag or two of stuff on the lower shelves that he can put away. Since he's an organizational freak like mom, he likes to make sure they go where they should. Regardless of whether they get put in the right place, he feels like he is helping and that adds to that "big boy" feeling he loves.
  8. Weed Garden. If you don't try to cultivate anything exotic, you can get your kids to pull up weeds in the flower beds or around the trees and/or shrubs. Make sure they are either in a location where there are no flowers to confuse for weeds or that the flowers are in bloom and easily discernible from the weeds. This is time well spent with your little one outdoors.

Do you have your little ones do any other chores?

Photo credit: Three if by Bike

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great Discount Sites

With the holidays coming up, I have really been scouring discount sites for gift-giving needs. In this process I have used some oldie-but-goodies as well as been introduced to some new ones. I thought with everyone currently trying to snag great bargains, I could help you out by making sure you knew about all of the ones that I frequent.

Slickdeals - Now I don't usually visit slickdeals personally, as there is a LOT of information there to sort through. My recommendation (and personal practice) with SD is to subscribe to their blog feed to get some hot discount updates. Also I usually stop by there to do a search through their forum if there is something in particular I am looking for a good deal on.

Woot - This is a fairly new site to me. This seems to be hit or miss depending on your personal preferences. I haven't ordered anything yet, but I have seen what would be good deals if I was in the market for the featured product of the day. This site updates it's single featured product once a day (or when the product of the day sells out). A funny feature to this site is their "Bag of Crap." Everyone once in a while, unannounced, they sell a BOC for $5. You seriously have no idea what is going to come in it. It really could be something worthless or it really could be something awesome. I've heard accounts of both. I'm sure it's whatever items that they just have a few of in their warehouses. The article that goes with each product is also entertaining at least. Example - Today's featured item is a Gateway 11.6" Notebook computer for $279.99 plus shipping. There are forums to get more information/comments about the products.

Similarly there is Kids Woot, Wine Woot, and Shirt Woot for special interest. There is also Sellout Woot via Yahoo.

1 Sale a Day - This is a very promising site that a friend just introduced me to about 2 days ago. Similarly to Woot, every day they feature one main product (can be anything) but also have categories for Wireless, Watch, Family & Jewelry. Two days ago they featured Wii Sports Pack (tennis racket, golf club, etc) to attach to your Wii nunchucks for free (you paid only $5.99 shipping) although they normally retail for $79.99! Yesterday they had freshwater pearls - an 18' necklace - for only $15.00 (normally right at $200). My friend ordered from them for the first time (the Wii package), so I'll let you know how that goes.

Retail Me Not - Not a discount site, but where I ALWAYS check for coupon codes before ordering ANYTHING on the internet. I have saved so much money through them!

So those are my recommendations. None of these sites asked me to mention them...I am truly just passing along what I hope to be helpful information.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our Financial Status - Update #1

So after my confessional post, I asked you guys to keep me accountable. Well, that's pretty hard to do if I don't update you, so I plan to do that at the beginning of each month.

I am posting how much over/under we were, but you can't see our budgeted amounts. I'm still feeling out my comfort level of publishing such personal info.

Here's where we stand for October:

INCOME: $2905 over expected.
Result of one extra week in the month for unemployment check, a reimbursement check from Chip's previous employer, and the sale of trumpets mentioned in the confessional post.

OVER BUDGET AREAS:
Credit Card Payments: $1944 due to sending money from the trumpet sales to pay off card #1. I can definitely live with this one.
Gasoline: $56
Groceries: $45
Mobile Phone: $60 (we bought new phones in September and the chargers we had to pay for showed up on October's bill)
Dining: $90 yeah. No kidding. The "good" news is that most of this was incurred before I started tracking using Mint. We had a really bad beginning of the month for eating out.
Doctor: $140. We have a $40 co-pay. I chose one co-pay per month to be in our budget. Since both kids were due a check up this month, we were $40 over. I also sent an extra $100 to apply to hospital bills from Abigail's birth. Since neither child is due a visit to the doctor, if everyone is well through November, the rolling budget will clear itself out for December's check up (for Abigail). The additional good news--I will get reimbursed $40 for a co-pay from my employer. (they reimburse up to two co-pays a year per member of the family; I've already collected both of Abigail's, but not Patrick's, so we have one due to us).
Auto Repair/Parts: $63. We needed some new wipers for the van. The good ones aren't cheap (and we needed three of them), but they should last for a while!
Hair Cuts: $20. It never happens that BOTH guys need them at the same time...but it did this month! This should roll through November and balance out for December.
Home/Building Supplies: $15. We went over because Chip built an obstacle course for Patrick's birthday party. Oh well...he only turns 4 once. =)

ON BUDGET AREAS:
Childcare (very predictable)
Life Insurance (very predictable)
Life Insurance (very predictable)
Newspaper (very predictable)

UNDER BUDGET AREAS:
Utilities: $43 Hooray for weather that doesn't have our AC pumping constantly!
Baby Supplies (non grocery): $34 I had some diapers already stocked up from a good sale, so not much was needed in this area.
Clothing: Nothing spent--None of us needed anything this month. This is one item in Mint that I have as a "rolling" expense so whatever we don't use one month will roll over to the next. We don't buy clothes regularly, but when we do, we buy more than what I've budgeted for one month, so it should work out.
Pest Control: Nothing spent--Strange. We didn't get a bill. I wonder if they came....
Make-Up/Toiletries: $4. Hooray! True underage!

Some miscellaneous items that I didn't expect or budget for:
Birthday party preparation costs
Photos printed (miscellaneous).
Photo shoot at Sears
Dog Food/Grooming

So, overall, we were over budget with our expenses, but had more income than expected as well, so we did okay. Obviously I can see that we need to work on our eating out budget and now that we are in the groove of not eating out so often, this should go down drastically for November.

I expect November to possibly be over budget for gasoline, as we will be traveling to visit my mom this weekend, and most probably in groceries, as we are hosting family for Thanksgiving this month. However, my hope is to offset these areas by being under in other, more controllable areas.

The good news is...one card is knocked out of the running now. We can "snowball" and add that payment towards card #2.

What do you think? Any suggestions to help us?
 

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