Thursday, December 31, 2009

Alternatives To Handling Ice On Car Windows

I forgot to put my ice scraper in the car on the first frosty night and it wasn't a thin ice I could just blast off with the defrost on high. Since no one else was in the parking lot I pulled out my grocery shopping card and started scraping away, it took a little longer than normal but it worked well. However, I had to get a new card the next time I was at the grocery store.

Not everyone can park their car in a warm garage, so scraping the window is the job in the morning before work. However there are alternatives to window scraping:

☼ Putting cardboard on the windshield and held it down with the wipers and side doors
☼ Placed thick plastic over the window - An old shower curtain would do the trick as well and you can slam it in the door on a windy night ... Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Toys to Build for Children

Carefully crafted handmade toys can become family heirlooms passed from generation to generation. If you have a workshop and some scraps of wood and a few dowels, you can make the wooden toys, and the puzzles and games in these articles.

Wooden toys last forever and if you make the toy, the child in your life is sure to love it. Some of these handmade toys are as simple as a scrap of fabric attached to a thread spool to make a parachute. There is a toy on this list for every aged child and every level of toy builder. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

5 Websites for Swapping Your Clothes and Refreshing Your Wardrobe

Clothing swap parties have become popular in recent years as frugal and fashion conscious men and women find that trading clothes is a great way to update a wardrobe for next to nothing. For those of you who are not into attending or organizing these parties, it is possible to trade your gently used clothes from the comfort of your home. Here are five websites that help you achieve this.
Swapstyle

Swapstyle is a fairly old clothing swap site that has a large number of listings. It is open to those in the United States, Australia, and Europe. You have to post a picture of the item you want to swap and can also set a sale price for the item in case someone wants to just buy it. There is a fee to become address verified and there is a fairly rudimentary ... Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pay Cash, You Feel The Pain

by Sid Kirchheimer

Q. If I pay with cash more often, will I spend less?

A. People typically spend less money when they pay with cash rather than a credit card, gift certificate or scrip such as Disney Dollars at a theme park. Researchers report in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied that when you pay in cash and “can feel the outflow of money,” you have a greater aversion to spending.

The type of cash you carry also affects the “pain of paying.” In a separate study, University of Maryland researchers found that consumers were more hesitant to break a large-denomination bill than to spend several smaller ones. In other words, you’re more likely to want to hang on to a $20 bill than four $5 notes.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about money and consumer issues.

Source: AARP Bulletin.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Grow $700 of Food in 100 SF

As I was assembling statistics to show the wastefulness of the American obsession with turf, I wondered what the productivity of just a small part of American lawns would be if they were planted with edibles instead of grass.

I wanted to pull together some figures to share with everyone, but calls to seed companies and online searches didn’t turn up any data for home harvest amounts — only figures for commercial agriculture. From experience, I knew those commercial numbers were much too low compared with what home gardeners can get. For example, home gardeners don’t toss out misshapen cucumbers and sunburned tomatoes. They pick greens by the leaf rather than the head, and harvests aren’t limited to two or three times a season.

For years, I’ve known that my California garden produces a lot. By late summer, my kitchen table overflows with tomatoes, peppers and squash; in spring and fall, it’s broccoli, lettuces and beets. But I’d never thought to quantify it. So I decided to grow a trial garden and tally up the harvests to get a rough idea of what some popular vegetables can produce. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas To All!

Hope your celebration is joyous and peaceful. We're keeping it lively and fun as you can see :-)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!


This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Holiday Freebies

Forget about spending money on gifts. This is the season for freebies. Here's a round up of some of the best:

* The Hallmark $5-off-$5 coupon featured in several magazines this month is now available online
* Stock up on free batteries at Staples. 20 packs of Duracell's (AA or AAA) are free after Staples Rewards. Limit two packs per week. Offer ends December 26
* JCPenney's and Kohl's have both sent out $10 off $10 coupons. Keep an eye on your mailbox, if you haven't received yours yet ...

Read about the other freebies.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ignore Your Minimum Payment

Does this article's headline sound like heresy? Does it smack of the worst financial advice of all time? That's exactly what credit card companies hope you think.

Consumers have been conditioned to pay attention to one thing when they open their credit card bills: the minimum payment due. But that minimum payment is just a smokescreen to distract you from the numbers that really matter -- how much you owe overall, and the interest rate the bank is charging you."

Pay the minimum the bank requires to keep your account in good standing, and when you retire you'll still be paying off that pizza you ordered during your freshman year. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Monday, December 21, 2009

DIY Greenhouse or Guesthouse

The idea behind my greenhouse/guesthouse concept is to build a greenhouse that has everything you need to live, and not a centimeter to waste. But you don’t have to use it as a greenhouse. It can be a guesthouse or an energy-efficient small home.

The design is flexible, so you can incorporate whatever recycled materials you can find. Even if you buy some of the materials and hire a bit of help, you can build a greenhouse for about $3,800.

If you plan to use the building as a greenhouse, use insulated, wood-framed windows that aren’t coated with low-e or solar film, because the coating limits heat gain. Adequate thermal mass and a well-insulated floor and walls are necessary to store enough heat for a couple of days without sun. Thermal mass, such as concrete, brick or stone, helps moderate heat, tempering the thermal swings throughout the day and night.

To make a guesthouse, include a loft large enough for a double bed upstairs — the warmest part of the building — for cozy winter nights. Read the entire article.

This website is maintained by TheHerbsPlace.com.

For herbs, supplements, and essential oils guaranteed for purity, shop The Herbs Place - wholesale prices & fast shipping from 4 warehouses. What's On Sale Now?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Homemade Stepping Stones

I made inexpensive stepping-stones by filling a springform cake pan lined with plastic wrap with cement. Before it dried, I had my children make a handprint or footprint in each, then decorated it with rocks, marbles and anything else we could find. We plan to add new stepping stones to our yard each year. – Mary Schmidt, Hawarden, Iowa

Source: Birds and Blooms.com.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free Rice for The Hungry

FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Program. Our partner is the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

FreeRice has two goals:

• Provide education to everyone for free.
• Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

As you play a word game, and increase your vocabulary, you are giving grains of rice for each correct answer. This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on the site. You can even set it to keep track of all of the rice you give by choosing definitions for the words given. How wonderful to learn and provide rice for hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person will be eating rice that you helped provide. Visit FreeRice.com.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Credit Card Balance Transfer Tips

For folks who have a balance on their credit card, there are few deals more tantalizing than 0% interest on balance transfers. Why? Because for a period of time, typically six to 12 months, the credit card company is lending you its money for free. That can mean big savings on interest charges for those with revolving balances.

It's not unusual for American households with credit card debt to carry balances of $10,000 or more. Typical U.S. families pay more than $1,000 in interest charges on credit cards each year. And rates on most credit cards are locked firmly in the double digits -- quite a bit higher than 0%.

Those stats explain why these balance transfer offers are seductive enough to make many consumers skip over the fine print before signing on the dotted line. If you're considering such an offer, you'll want to take a hard look at whether it's such a good deal after all. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DIY Pole-barn Building

Pole-barn buildings are simple to build and have the added benefit of design flexibility. They’re the fastest, most cost-effective way to build permanent, solid shelter to store equipment, house livestock, or function as a garage or workshop facility.

You can even use the pole barn approach to build a year-round home. A big part of the attraction is simplicity. There are only four steps involved in pole-barn building, and the first one’s even optional! None of the work requires fancy tools or finely honed skills.

The steps to pole-building success are simple: Create a level base pad (if you want more than just the earth underfoot), set poles vertically into holes in the ground, connect them across the top with beams and braces, then put roof trusses on top. No need for a complicated foundation, either.

Even in regions with cold, frost-prone winters, pole barns endure well with nothing more than the simplest connections to the earth. And if this weren’t advantage enough, pole barns also offer the option of using your own logs and rough-cut lumber for many parts of the job. The only thing wrong with pole barns is the name. This building approach is so much more useful than for building barns alone.

If you’ve never constructed anything large before, then a pole building is a good place to start. The illustration and information you’ll find in this article will equip you to custom build your own durable pole barn based on universal design and building principles. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frying Pan & Windshield Scrapers

From Mother Earth News magazine:

"I save the invalid credit card samples that come in the mail. They make great pot and frying pan scrapers. They're flexible, making it easy to hold on to them. You also can keep a couple in the car to scrape frost from your windshield." From Gail Dippel in Greeneville, TN

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ship For Less

How about an earth-friendly way of shipping your packages and saving money at the same time?

Citizen Shipper works by connecting people who need items shipped with people who are already traveling in that direction. Here's some info from their website:

How It Works
CitizenShipper offers a unique shipping service that connects you with citizen couriers providing you with cheaper, faster and safer shipping than all the traditional courier and delivery services. Our database contains thousands of delivery drivers, couriers and movers all waiting to bid on your job! The drivers work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so no matter when or where you have a job, we can help!

Why is this Cheaper?
What's so original about our service is that we match drivers who are already planning on driving somewhere anyway! Because of this, drivers are usually willing to make your deliveries for a fraction of the cost of more traditional services. As an example, Brady R. from Denton, TX recently requested some wood flooring be shipped from Houston to the Dallas area and had offers at $30. And another recent shipment was for Donna S. Donna had two twin beds delivered in Houston Texas, for $15. Read the FAQ's.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Credit vs Debit Transactions with Your ATM Card

I handed him my debt card and the cashier asked if I wanted to charge it credit or debit. Is he insane?

A few years ago when I first got my debit card, I was confused whenever a cashier asked me whether I wanted to charge my card using credit or debit. Debit please, I always said, wondering whether those people recognized that it’s actually a bank card. Eventually, I found out that my debit card was capable of ... Read the entire article.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Resources for Freelancers

Changes in the economy have pushed more and more people into part-time, temporary, and freelance work, as more and more companies cut back on traditional, long-term, full-time employees. Recently the Newshour on PBS had a report by Paul Solman on the problems faced by freelancers in a tough economy — and pointers to some useful resources.

The key resource that Paul pointed to in the segment was the Freelancers Union, an organization that exists to help freelancers buy for themselves the sort of benefits that an employer might offer, such as group health, dental, disability, and life insurance, and a 401(k) plan. I haven't looked over their plans and don't know if they're good deals, but they're certainly worth"

Read the entire article.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Free Vacations

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a world wide network - It started in the UK in 1971 and has since become an international movement that is helping people share more sustainable ways of living.

WWOOF is an exchange - In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.

WWOOF organizations link people who want to volunteer on organic farms or smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.

WWOOF organizations publish lists of organic farms, smallholdings and gardeners that welcome volunteer help at certain times. The diversity of hosts available offers a large variety of tasks and experiences.

Volunteer helpers ("WWOOFers") choose the hosts that most interest them and make direct contact to arrange a stay. Volunteers usually live as part of the family.

For the USA, visit WWOOF USA.
To find other countries, visit WWOOF Around The World.
Get more free vacation ideas at Couch Surfing.org.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Are Extended Warranties Ever a Good Deal?

Extended warranties are everywhere. Every time you buy a car, a house, a computer, a cell phone or pretty much any appliance, you'll be offered a chance to purchase an extended warranty on it. A few years ago, my husband came home with a new toaster — and a warranty contract for it.

Are these warranty contracts ever a good deal? They shouldn't be. To make a profit, the private companies that offer these things need to take in more money than they pay out in warranty claims. And they do make money. The profit margin on extended warranties is reputed to be between ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Four Ways To Invest In Foreign Currencies

If you watch the news you have probably heard a lot about dollar depreciation these last few months. As part of the economic stimulus package, the Federal Reserve has had to keep interest rates at historic lows (thereby making the “price” of dollars very cheap) while borrowing enormous quantities of money from foreign and domestic lenders. These actions have weakened the dollar against several foreign currencies.

As a savvy investor, you should be worried about the decline of the dollar, because this directly hurts the value of your paycheck. However, like everything else in life, economic trends have two sides to them. In our case, dollar depreciation can actually be your opportunity to invest in other currencies. Even if you’re not particularly concerned about the recent decline, investing in foreign currency will"

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to Save Money on Diapers and Baby Supplies

If there is anything more beautiful than the sight of a mother holding her newborn, I don’t know what it is. For many years I worked as a labor and delivery coach, and one thing I heard all the time was “How do I manage all the diapers and baby supplies without spending a fortune?”

When couples make a decision to have a baby, they rarely realize just how expensive this kind of stuff will be. As the pregnancy progresses, they start stocking up on some items and the sticker shock is palpable. Luckily, there are ways to get everything you need and not spend a fortune.
Free, Nearly Free, and Cheap

Thank goodness for the environmental movement, since it has lead to wonderful resources like Freecycle.org. This is a website where you can acquire just about anything for free, as long as you are willing to go get it. You can get whole bagfuls ... Read the entire article.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 Quick Fixes to Salvage a Good Meal

We've all likely burned a pot of something in our lifetime, but sometimes a ruined dinner may not be so ruined after all. Learn a few tricks of the trade and save yourself some time and money. As more and more families go back to basics and choose to stay home to eat, there is a big interest in the recipe industry and cooking shows. Catching a few episodes of these shows or investing in a new cookbook can certainly help to keep meals at home fresh and interesting. If you make a mistake during your experimentation, don't throw out the food. Use these 5 quick fixes to salvage a good meal.
Soup's too salty?

If you are making homemade soup and get a little excited about the salt, your dinner fare is certainly not ruined. Throw in a peeled ...

Read the entire article.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gift Baskets for Dogs and Cats

Our companion animals give us love all year long, and the holidays are a wonderful time for us to give back. Holiday Baskets are the perfect gifts for your pets and your pet friends.


This festive basket contains an entertaining plush toy and an assortment of our most popular treats, including: Wholesome Hearts (low-fat, heart-shaped sensations), Gourmet Dental Treats (honey peanut butter recipe), Antioxidant Health Bars (oatmeal and apple recipe), a bag of Tasty Rewards (savory chicken and venison jerky) and a Porky Puff (hickory-smoked chew) to top it all off.

All of these delicious treats are nestled in a lovely, reusable basket. This Holiday Gift Basket is beautifully presented with a colorful ribbon and a cute holiday gift card that you can personalize. Makes an absolutely wonderful gift for a canine friend. (Toy may vary.) ONLY $17.95 - RETAIL VALUE $30.00

Limited quantity ... they go fast, so order now!


This lovely basket contains a delightful assortment of playful toys that will keep any furry feline happily occupied during the holidays. For the proud cat parent, we included an adorable hand-painted cat photo frame so you can proudly display your cat's photo all year long. And last but not least, we’ve included a bag of Life’s Abundance Gourmet Cat Treats for Healthy Skin & Coat.

The toys and treats are nestled in a lovely, reusable basket. This Holiday Gift Basket is beautifully presented with a colorful ribbon and a cute holiday gift card that you can personalize. Makes an absolutely wonderful gift for a feline friend. (Toys and frame may vary.) ONLY $12.95 - RETAIL VALUE $21.00

Limited quantity ... they go fast, so order now!

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How To Find More Time During The Day

I am an expert time waster. It’s actually a gift. You give me a block of time, even an entire day, and I can accomplish next to nothing through all of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll look busy. I’ll sit at the computer and keep typing. I’ll keep moving about the house as if there are several projects I’m working on at once. But it’s all an act. A show, if you will.

Perhaps I should take it on the road. Charge admission. Put on several shows a week. Nah, that sounds like too much work.

You’re probably reading this wondering, where exactly does this gift come from because I think I’ve got it, too? In fact, you may think you are even more an expert at this gift than me. I’d challenge you to a time-wasting duel, but that would be a colossal"

Read the entire article.

Create a Personal Finance Firewall

Over the last couple weeks we have been intentionally consolidating our financial accounts. The credit card I signed up for back in college to get a free t-shirt, gone. The bank account I opened to get a great deal on financing from a local car dealer, gone. It is actually empowering to eliminate the noise from your financial life. Less statements, less chance of identity theft, less balances and account numbers to keep up with.

However, there are good reasons to keep at least one bank account, and one credit card, that you don’t use often for physical transactions. Read the entire article.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

No Career Path is for Everyone

David’s Note: There’s a recession and people are still afraid of losing their job, yet my friend recently found the courage to resign and couldn’t be happier. Freelance or owning your business is definitely not for everyone. The uncertainly and instability of income presents a different kind of stress, but it could also change your life for the better if you are willing to put in hard work. We all fear the unknown, but access YOUR situation and if the writing is on the wall to leave the nine to five, please read it and do something. Read an unedited version of what my friend had to say about his decision to venture into the unknown.

To many, working the banker’s hours of nine to five is a dream come true. Waking up late enough in the morning not to be grumpy and getting home from work with plenty of time to spend with the loved ones (Including your T.V.) is certainly a pretty picture for most. Until recently, I was stuck at a job I was good at but hated"

Read the entire article.

My First Christmas In Heaven

I know that many of you have lost special people this year and holidays are an emotional time that tends to make it harder without the loved ones that have gone on before us. My mom died on Christmas Eve and somebody gave me this. It's been a treasure to me every year. I hope it brings some peace to your heart.

MY FIRST CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
Author Unknown

I am having my first Christmas in Heaven
A glorious, wonderful day!
I am standing with saints of all ages,
Who found Christ, the truth and the way.

I am singing with the heavenly choir
And, oh what celestial music
We bring to our Savior and King.

I am singing the glad song of redemption,
How Jesus to Bethlehem came,
And why they called His name Jesus,
That all may be saved through His Name!

Oh, loved one, I wish you could be here!
No Christmas on earth can compare,
With all of the rapture in glory,
I witness in Heaven so fair!

You know how I always loved Christmas,
It seemed such a wonderful day,
With all of my loved ones around me,
We were so happy in every way.

Yes, now I can see why I loved it,
And, oh what a joy it will be,
When all of my loved ones are with me,
To share all the glories I see!

So, dear ones on earth, I send greetings,
Look up! Til dawning appears,
And, oh what a Christmas awaits us,
Beyond all our partings and tears!.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Early

Everyone should be asking themselves at one point or another – “Should I Pay Off My Mortgages Early”?

When choosing whether to pay down debt or invest, the primary factors are the interest rate on the debt and what rate of return you think you could safely achieve by investing. Sometimes, however, this calculation isn’t as straightforward as it appears.

For example, even your after tax interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage can change over time. Let me explain.

If your mortgage interest is your only itemized deduction (or if your other itemized deductions are not sufficient such that they’d be larger than the standard deduction), then only a portion of the mortgage interest deduction is really providing you with a tax benefit. Therefore, as the amount of interest you’re paying goes down–because your outstanding mortgage balance is decreasing–your after-tax interest rate increases.

How about an example ... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Relocating To End Unemployment: Ten Things To Consider

In the 1800s, job-seekers were exhorted to ‘Go West, Young Man.’

In these recessionary times, it’s become ‘Go Anywhere, Young Man.’

As the unemployment rate climbs and it takes longer to find a job, more people are being forced to consider relocation to a new town for better job opportunities.

In fact, if you’ve been job-hunting for a while, you’ve likely expanded your search to cities far enough away that you’d have to make a move.

However, this long-distance job search can only go so far – travel expenses for interviews can add up, and you miss out on crucial face-to-face networking opportunities.

Plus, employers don’t want to pay relocation costs, so they’re less willing ...

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Making Fresh Flowers Last Longer

Q. When I get flowers from a florist, they include a little packet of powder that makes them last and look good for so very long. Surely there's a simple answer to this. Does anyone else in this frugal community know how to make your own powder? I like to gather wildflowers and would like for them to last longer. Thanks! Dee W

Aspirin is supposed to extend the life of cut flowers - Robert

I used to be a professional floral designer. The packet of powder that comes with fresh flowers is basically just sugar. There is no evidence that this powder keeps flowers any fresher. It is supposed to kept the bacteria count in the water low. I recommend to keep flowers fresher longer is to change the water everyday. This helps to keep the bacteria low. - Valerie

In place of the florist floral life extender packet, an aspirin, (not ibuprofin), works just a well. Aspirin seems to lengthen the life of the flowers. Just be sure to snip a bit off the ends of the flowers each day. The stems seal themselves, reducing the water flow to theflowers. - Maria

I find that a pinch of sugar in the water seems to work quite well. The sugar will nourish the flowers just as long as the commercial preservatives work. - Heather

If you put an aspirin in the water with the flowers it does the same thing as the packet from the florist. Faye

I use cheap ... Read the entire article.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saving Money on a New Computer

As is usually the case in big ticket purchases, the best way to save money buying a new computer is not to buy one. The statement is obvious but it’s worth mentioning. If your current computer works fine, it can be much cheaper to spend money on upgrades than on a completely new machine. If you are still determined to purchase a new machine though, here are some things to help you minimize the impact on your budget.Figure Out What You NeedLaptops and desktops are available with all the bells and whistles imaginable. A serious online gamer may need the memory and graphics from the high end of the available spectrum. For most users, a much ... Read the entire article.

12 Simple Ways to Get More Done

From Moneying.com

There are a ton of things going on with my business, and people are often surprised to find that I’m still doing practically everything by myself. A question I often get asked is “How do you do it all?”

There is no secret. I get more done because I work longer hours than most of you. Everyone sees me out and about during the week and people are always jealous, but they never realize the time I put in every single night when they are watching TV, and all the hours I put in during every single weekend when everyone else is doing anything but work.

Having said that, there are a few little things I learned along the way ... Read the entire article.

Economically Shopping For Christmas Toys

With the holidays quickly approaching, parents are starting to feel the pressure rise. The kids still expect to see a variety of gifts under that tree. However, with the recent economic upset, more parents than ever are experiencing serious stress in their family budgets. The good news is that you can have a nice holiday season without breaking the bank by learning the tricks that enable you to shop economically for Christmas toys. By making a plan and sticking with it, you may find that it isn’t as hard as you thought.

Keep It Simple

Kids can only soak in so much fun before it gets overwhelming and you are wasting your money. Three gifts per child is a very doable number and is plenty enough to keep most kids happy. Many parent ... Read the entire article.

Friday, November 27, 2009

10 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas for Kids

This morning, our four year old daughter told me, “I don’t want a bunch of things for Christmas. I just want one thing: a pogo stick.” I paused to reflect on how delightfully easy it is to choose Christmas presents for little ones. We are constantly cutting back on the number of toys and parts and pieces that are so often underfoot in our home. The approaching holiday season has me thinking about how we can celebrate through giving, without increasing the volume of stuff in our home. As we discussed in last week’s 12 Weeks to a Peaceful Christmas task, the sooner we start gift shopping, the less stressed we’ll be when the holiday hits. So here are 10 clutter-free gift ideas for the little ones in your life. Financial Investments 1. Short-Term Investing For a child who is preschool age and older, partner together to work on a short-term ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wave Your Frugal Flag

Often living frugally isn't about keeping up with the Joneses, it's about doing things that the Joneses would never think to do and being better for it. What are some of your frugal practices that set you apart from your neighbors?Here are some of mine:* use cloth ... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Second-Hand Shopping Be-Attitudes

I love picking up some second hand clothes, furniture and kitchen utensils. There is just nothing better than going home knowing you paid pennies on the dollar for an item or that someone's mistake is your gain. Anyway, there are a few things I have learned from thrift / second hand shopping. Of course if you have anything to add, let us know in the comments below. Be Aware – Know store policy for returns (if there are any), sales and what tag colors may mean. At a local Goodwill store – red tags mean the item came from Target. Bring as little as you can and keep it safe; don’t leave your stuff unattended. The government has put together ... Read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wash Clothes by Riding Your Bike

You don't need electricity to do the laundry. It's as easy as riding a bike. My wife's 90-year-old aunt still washes her laundry by hand, and dries it with a wringer. God bless her. But if you're a little busier, you can keep your clothes clean with ... Read the entire article.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Give Your Grocery List a Makeover

Spending more on groceries than you'd like to? The problem may not be what you're buying, but how you're buying it. Consider this money-saving tip: Go for the lean cuts of ground beef. When you buy a package of 70% lean beef, 30% off what you're paying for is fat. When you buy 96% lean, only 4% of what you're paying for is fat - and that means a lot more ... Read the entire article.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frugal Savings with Credit Cards

While many folks save money with coupons, especially in their grocery shopping, today, I'm going to show some novel ways to saving money with credit cards. But first, let's get this out of the way. Many folks have got into debt with credit cards and regard them with a degree of suspicion. If carrying a credit card causes you to overspend, then please do not carry one. But if you can manage credit cards, here is a list of ways ... Read the entire article.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance

The state of California is making positive moves in that direction. The SacBee reports that "insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner released regulations permitting and authorizing mileage verification for pay-as-you-drive, without dictating what form such plans must take."

The goal would of course be to reduce California's chronic traffic problems and improve air quality.

We can't yet know how such programs would work, but MileMeter in Texas is probably a good template. From their FAQ:

If you drive less, you pay less. With our new launch of MileMeter 2.0, you are covered for six months. If you drive more miles than expected, you are still covered as long as you pay us promptly for the miles driven. You get the peace of mind of a traditional six-month policy, and all the savings and benefits of distance-based insurance. Win-win! You can pick, purchase, and print your insurance cards from the website, and the entire transaction requires only 5 minutes. The policy costs are quoted in cents per mile. You may purchase between 1,000 and 6,000 miles of coverage and pay in full at the time of purchase.

So instead of paying a relatively fixed amount and then not saving a cent on insurance when you drive fewer miles, you would have an incentive to keep your mileage low. Of course the incentive wouldn't be so strong as to radically change people's habits, but in conjunction with other incentives (sticks AND carrots -- tax credits for public transit users and electric cars, a revenue-neutral carbon tax on fuel, etc), it could make a big difference.

Via Sacramento Bee, ABG

Source: www.treehugger.com/files/2009/11/pay-per-mile-car-insurance-california.php

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ultimate Flea Trap


I just stumbled upon this product at Amazon.com, but after hearing several friends talk about the ordeal of their flea problems, I thought I'd share it to give all pet owners some hope and relief.

The best part is that there's no poisons involved. Nothing to damage the health of your pets, children or you. And no residual toxins in the carpet or pet's bloodstream. I love a natural solution! And a frugal one to boot!

Product Info:
This flea trap monitors and controls flea infestations. The patented design features produce the high efficacy of the trap. Lured in by the trap's color, the heat and light from the bulb, and the sweet odor inserted in the specially formulated sticky glue disc, fleas don't stand a chance.

This flea trap lets pet owners see results. The non-poisonous and odorless trap enables safe placement around children and pets and comes fully assembled and ready-to-use. Refills are also available.

The reviews on it are really good ... View the Ultimate Flea Trap

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The Low-Tech Food Vacuum Sealer

Have you seen those vacuum sealers? They aren’t cheap enough for me. The prices range from $45- $400 depending on the model and how many extras you would like. I just can’t bring myself to drop that much money and break away from my low-tech version that works just fine for keeping freezer burn away. The good part of my low-tech vacuum sealer is that only need three things:" Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tech Chest Turns Luggage Into Hide-Away Computer Case

We love finding computers in unique spaces that make them more of an heirloom item than a disposable tool. And here is one where you'll have no idea a computer is inside until you pop it open. One part neat upcycling, and one part late-1800s James Bond, this PC case is fantastic. Rob Higareda built a functional computer inside a trunk. Funny thing is, it's a new trunk made to look old. It would have been more fun if it had been found in a thrift shop somewhere - or even better, at a garage sale where there might have been a good story to go along with it - but when a Hobby Lobby ... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Planning to make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving? October is a great time to pick up cheap pumpkins. Buy a few while you're at the store this week, and make all the pumpkin puree you'll need for your holiday dishes. ... Get the Recipe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Growing an Indoor Herb Garden

If you live in the northern hemisphere, then it is likely that your garden is tucked up for the winter. However, this doesn't mean you can't enjoy freshly picked herbs. Many varieties will grow quite happily indoors on a sunny windowledge or porch. In addition to providing a source of fresh herbs, an indoor garden can look extremely attractive, and they are a wonderful introduction to gardening for children.

Herbs which will grow indoors:
Basil
Oregano
Mint
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme
Angelica
Chamomile
Dill
Fennel
Lavender
Geranium
Chives

You will need to find a sunny, well lit spot to grow ... Read the entire article.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Credit Cards To Close Or Not To Close

Melissa writes in with the following question about closing credit cards:

I have an old credit card account where my charging privileges were revoked because I was having trouble making my payments. I have since then paid off the card and it is at a zero balance. Do I now close the account? Would it help my credit more if I left it open? I am trying to rebuild after years of bad credit decisions.

Deciding to close a credit card or leave it open is a tough decision. Unfortunately, it sounds like the credit card issuer beat you to the punch. Chances are they ... Read the entire article.

Silver Shield Protection on Sale

Silver Shield Liquid is On Sale November 16 - 23, 2009

This is not your common colloidal silver.

We're very excited that Nature's Sunshine has offered this product on sale again. We've had so many customers stocking up on this to support their immune systems.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Florida Gardening

Question:
Help! We have just moved to Southwest Florida from Michigan and don't understand the growing seasons here. When is the best time to grow what ? Mike

Answers from Subscribers:
Best bet to get acquainted with your new growing environment is to visit your county Extention office. It is free. Just look in your phone book. They are a wealth of information and have free pamphlets and brochures. In South West Florida they are run jointly by the county you live in and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Dept. Master Gardners volunteer in the Extension Offices in this part of the state and they are very knowledgable and a wealth of information of growing just about anything as well as how to control pests in your yard, how and when to fertilize, you name it. They are the best resource you have, they are knowledgeable and helpful. Give them a call today and visit often! Barbara Nelson - Master Gardener (in training still)

Try asking your local nursery. If one isn't available then do a web search on growing plants for your zone. And as a last resort just observe the ... Read all the responses.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Affordable Shipping Container House

Shipping containers are at the forefront of a new era of usefulness. Traditionally used to carry goods via cargo ship, train or truck, these steel boxes are capable of withstanding huge amounts of pressure and weight. This makes them structurally stable, fireproof, mold-proof and weather-proof.

Unfortunately each has a lifespan of only 20 years for its original purpose. That means when their work is done hauling stuff, they get retired and sent to junk yards or landfills even though they are still structurally solid.

Now architects and designers recognize their usefulness as building blocks for homes, offices, apartments, schools and more. This home in Quebec was built by a couple intent on reducing the amount of wood that goes into building homes and also saving money. View photos and rest of the story.

14 Ways a Notebook Can Save You Money

Melinda writes in:

You constantly write about how having a notebook in your pocket all the time helps you in life and saves you money. I get that you can write down your ideas in it all the time, but I’m not a creative type. I don’t see how having a notebook on me at all times can save me money at all.

Aside from the fact that I’m able to use the notebook to write down my ideas – my career’s bread and butter – a pocket notebook constantly comes in handy for many other financial reasons as well. (FYI, I usually just keep a simple small Mead reporter’s notebook in my pocket, along with a good pen that doesn’t run out of ink.) Here are fourteen ways I use that notebook to directly save money. ... Read about the 14 ways.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Make Your Own Fitted Diapers

Learning how to make homemade cloth diapers, even fitted ones, is probably a lot easier than you think. If you have minimal sewing skills and can follow simple instructions you can finish one in less than two hours. Once you get the hang of it you can finish one in forty-five minutes or less. View the Slideshow How-To.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Healthy Stuff - Finding Non-Toxic Products

A nonprofit environmental research organization released results today on over 900 common products tested for toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, mercury, bromine, chlorine (PVC) and arsenic. Using an XRF analyzer, researchers at the Ecology Center analyzed the ingredients of pet products, cars, women's handbags, children's car seats and more, creating the largest database yet of independent tests of toxic chemicals in consumer goods.

The results can be found on the user-friendly website: www.HealthyStuff.org. Visitors can look up products by manufacturer, brand, or product type and easily generate lists of highly rated and poorly rated products.

HealthyStuff.org tested for chemicals based on their toxicity, persistence and tendency to build up in people and the environment. Such chemicals have been linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, liver toxicity and cancer.

"The more we test, the more we find that the presence of toxic chemicals is widespread in everyday consumer products," said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center, who created the site. "It should not be the responsibility of public health advocates to test these products. Product manufacturers and legislators must take the lead and replace dangerous substances with safe alternatives."

For the past several years the Ecology Center has spearheaded groundbreaking research on toxic chemicals in toys, cars and children's car seats at HealthyToys.org and HealthyCar.org. HealthyStuff.org is a compilation of all of these findings and more.

New Key Findings From HealthyStuff.org:

  • Pet Products – HealthyStuff.org tested over 400 pet products, including beds, chew toys, collars and leashes. Since there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products, it is not surprising that alarming levels of toxic chemicals were found. One quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead, including seven percent with levels higher than 300 ppm – the current Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard for lead in children's products.

  • Automobiles – HealthyStuff.org tested nearly 700 new and used vehicles, from 1980 to 2010 model year vehicles. The US-made Pontiac G5 and Chevy Cobalt rated best overall 2009 vehicles. Levels of some chemicals found in vehicles are 5-10 times higher than in homes or offices. Since the average American spends more than 1.5 hours in their car every day, this can be a major source of toxic chemical exposure.

  • Children's Car Seats – Infant and child car seats contain chemical additives that can have adverse health effects on babies and young children. Over half (58%) of car seats contain one or more hazardous chemicals, including PVC, BFRs and heavy metals. Three examples of car seats that had none of the chemicals tested for are: Baby Trend Flex-Loc; the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat; and the Graco Turbo Booster. Despite the toxic chemicals, it is vital to use a car seat for your child because they do save lives.

  • Back-to-School Products – HealthyStuff.org screened over 60 common back-to-school supplies, including backpacks, pencil cases, binders and lunchboxes. Far too many of these supplies are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 22% contained detectable levels of lead. Overall nearly 90% of back-to-school supplies contained one or more chemicals of concern.

  • Women's Handbags – HealthyStuff.org tested over 100 women's handbags and detected lead in over 75% of the bags analyzed. Sixty-four percent (64%) of the bags contained lead over 300 ppm – the CPSC limit for lead in children's products. Over half of the handbags contain more than 1,000 ppm lead.

Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act

In response to increasing consumer demand for safer products, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Bobby Rush are expected to introduce a new bill this Congressional session to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the current federal law for regulating chemicals. These reforms would phase out the most dangerous chemicals from the manufacturing process; require industry to take responsibility for the safety of their products; and use the best science to protect vulnerable groups. To date the EPA has required testing on only about 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals that have been on the market since the law was passed 33 years ago.

"A Made in the USA label should be a guarantee, not a warning," said Charlotte Brody, National Field Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition working toward toxic chemical policy reform. "This database of products is further proof that our system of testing and regulating toxic chemicals is broken. We have an opportunity to reform federal law this year and start putting common sense limits on harmful chemicals to protect the health of Americans."

"HealthyStuff.org is an invaluable resource for busy parents who are concerned about toxic chemicals in children's products," said Mom's Rising President Joan Blades. "But it shouldn't be up to parents to look up every single item to find out if toxic chemicals are used. We need reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act now."

For a summary of key findings, click here (PDF download).


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Green Living Saves Green

Nancy Sleeth is the author of Go Green Save Green, a book that reminds people that taking care of the environment is actually about respecting God and your neighbor.

She and her husband Matthew, a former ER physician, are the co-directors of Blessed Earth, a non-profit organization that draws attention to the issue and the practice of creation care. It’s been a long journey for this eco-friendly couple, one which Nancy says was both environmental and spiritual in nature.

Now, Nancy has published her own thorough guide to the green life. Go Green Save Green includes chapters on everything from transportation to church, with practical tips and charts on how one can begin living a conscious and communal life. “My main goal is to have people love God and love their neighbors by taking better care of creation,” said Nancy. “That’s absolutely it. It’s about my journey, and sharing it with other people. Read the entire article.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Natural Health Webinars

The next ABC+D Approach to Natural Healing Webinar is offering the first two sessions of this class absolutely FREE. In these sessions Steven Horne talks about the difference between treating disease and building health, by explaining the ABCs of natural healing (Activate, Build and Cleanse).

This is valuable information is enough to get anyone started on the road to helping themselves be happier and healthier. And, it's all free!

The preview sessions will be held December 8th and December 15th. There is an early session at 7:00 Eastern, 6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain and 4:00 Pacific and a late session at 9:30 Eastern, 8:30 Central, 7:30 Mountain and 6:30 Pacific.

Register for these sessions by using either of these links:

Click here to register for the ABC+D Preview EARLY Session
Click here to register for the ABC+D Preview LATE Session

Shop at The Herbs Place for any products mentioned that are of interest. Wholesale prices every day and fast shipping from 4 warehouses.

This website is maintained by TheHerbsPlace.com. What's On Sale Now?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Improving Your Water Logged Soil

I want to ask if any of you know what to do with soil that is holding water. I planted a dogwood tree 3 months back and saw it was doing poorly and when I removed it I had to 'ring the roots out.' Everytime I watered it and fed it the liquids were choking the roots. I want to put a dogwood in the same place but I really don't know what to do with that much standing water except to build it up with a berm. Do any of you have any ideas on the subject?

A. I'm in Australia (southern) and I would suggest planting tea-trees (melaleucas species), willows, gum trees, iris, anything that thrives on being in boggy conditions. (its called 'puggy' where I live ) because its like a sponge in winter (soaks up the water) and cracks in the very dry drought like conditions (not very often) Dogwoods, in Australia at least, seem to like dry conditions, build up a hill like formation of soil and then plant so that it drains really well and keeps the roots out of damp. Gail in Australia

A. Most problems with water and trees and bushes start with too small a hole dug with a shovel thus packing the outside edges as the next shovelful is levered out. The water has a hard time getting past this wall of packed dirt. BUT, first you need to determine if the surrounding area just plain holds water due to hardpan soil or a high content of clay. OR is ... Read the entire article.

Growing Plants from Mango Seeds

Q. Can anyone tell me how to grow a plant from a mango seed. I love mangoes and buy a lot of them and it would be nice to get the seeds to grow.

After cutting all of the fruit from the seed I take a stiff brush and scrub the rest off and put the clean seed in a small cup of water---yogurt cup will do---and fill with water The water does not have to cover the seed but at least 3/4 of it . I set it in the window over the sink and rinse it a couple times a week. Even though it is scrubbed good it will need the water changed regularly or it will get smelly and will attract fruit flies. When the seed opens and starts showing signs of growth I move it to another container and start adding potting soil until it is growing in full soil like any other plant . As it grows it increase the size of the container. I have rooted and grown several but I cannot keep them living through the winter. When I bring them in they go into shock and no matter how hard I try they are compost by the next spring. I have two very pretty ones now but I need help to keep them living. Gloria

I have rooted Mango seeds by washing the seed and putting it in between a dishrag and ... Read how to grow Mango from seed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Credit Cards To Charge Good Behavior Fees

In what could ultimately be a game-changer in the credit card industry, it appears credit card companies are considering charging customers a new sort of annual fee – for paying off your balance each month. The information is coming slow, but I did find a good article by USA Today, Latest Bank Fee is for Paying Off Credit Card On Time Every Month, that runs down a few of the cards and their new tactics.

Credit card companies, and their defenders, will of course point to the new Credit CARD Act, which will limit ... Read the entire article.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10 Non-Secrets About Grocery Shopping

Last Sunday I went grocery shopping, one of the best tips I got from my mother was to take a calculator with me. There are two reasons, one, to keep myself on budget and two, for figuring out cost per… whatever. As I walk around the store and pick up items I enter them into my calculator and round up to the nearest dollar when I do (I’d rather be over than under). Secret #2 is to make sure that I jot down on a piece a paper (back of a junk mail envelope) a list of food that I need to buy. I also include junk food as well and exactly what I am going to buy so that I don't get carried away. Did you know that shopping without a list can cost you up to 40% more with the ... Read the entire article.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

When Should You Fire Your Real Estate Agent?

Lately several couples I know have been trying to purchase real estate, and it seems that none of them are too happy with their real estate agents. Some of them have been working with their agents for months without any positive outcome. The fact is that some of these poorly performing agents should have been fired long ago. Here are some signs that you should fire your real estate agent.

1. You know the agent is being unethical.

One person reported that his agent sent multiple buyers to the same houses, and subtlely encouraged the buyers to bid against each other. This agent is basically pitting his own clients against each other and that is not in the interest of any of the clients. If you suspect your agent of being unethical then it is probably best to cut off that relationship because these agents could bring you more trouble down the road.

2. The agent seems to have no basic knowledge of the local real estate market.

A good buyer's agent should know the general condition and trends of the real estate market he or she works in and provide some advice to buyers as to how much money to ... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Get Rebate Checks - Shop Thru eBates

Since we work from home, we do much of my shopping online. Years ago we signed up for eBates to get rebate checks for shopping through the eBates website. Since March 2008 we've earned $321.86 in rebate checks. It's free. No commitments. Signup and shop through it. Your rebate percentages will accrue and you can cash those checks to spend for a special family day. Check it out.

What Is a “Good Job”?

During my senior year of high school, after I had learned that I had received enough scholarships to attend a major university, I sat down and studied all of the majors that were available to me. Two of them really stood out, due to my personal interests: English and mathematics.

Unfortunately, as soon as I told anyone about my goals, they’d almost always tell me the same thing. “You’ll never get a good job with an English degree.” “A math degree? The only way you’ll get good work with that is with a Ph. D.”

And I believed them. Instead of paying attention to my natural interests, I started focusing instead on which majors offered high paying jobs and, from there, I picked a major in the hard sciences that seemed to interest me the most. It was a ... Read what a "good job" consists of.

Some Thoughts on Moods and Spending

For me, September is the unhappiest month of the year.

Sarah, after being off all summer, returns to work at the end of August, leaving me alone at home many days with my thoughts and my work. This also means that the children’s daycare attendance increases as well.

The house goes from noisy and happy to empty and quiet. Even as I attempt to fill it with music and NPR, it still feels somehow vacant and still. The liveliness is gone – no more children’s laughter floating up the stairs to cheer me while I’m working and no more occasional interruptions by Sarah just to let me know she’s ... Read the entire article.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Got Powdery Mildew? Get Milk!

Less than 3 years ago, researchers in South America discovered a new alternative to controlling powdery mildew. Wagner Bettiol, a scientist from Brazil, found that weekly sprays of milk controlled powdery mildew in zucchini just as effectively as synthetic fungicides such as fenarimol or benomyl. Not only was milk found to be effective at controlling the disease, it also acted as a foliar fertilizer, boosting the plant's immune system.

Powdery mildew in the cucurbit family is caused by the organism Sphaerotheca fuliginea. It is a serious disease that occurs worldwide. For decades, organic gardeners had to rely on making a spray from baking soda to control the disease. Now, instead of measuring out the baking soda and combining it with a surfactant (a 'sticking' substance) of either oil or soap, gardeners need only head for their refrigerators.

In his experiments with zucchini plants, Bettiol found that a weekly spray of milk at a concentration of at least 10% (1 part milk to 9 parts water) significantly reduced the severity of powdery mildew infection on the plants by 90%. While some gardeners may be tempted to increase the concentration of milk for more control, Bettiol found that once concentrations rose above 30%, an innoccuous fungus began ... Read more about how milk helps with mildew.

Energy Tax Credits

Planning on changing out some windows and doors, hot water heater, HVAC system? Check out the government website that will tell you about tax credits, so you make the right choice for savings on your purchase. Energy Tax Credits.

Local Yard Sale Mapping

Yard Sale Treasure Map (YSTM) allows you to search for yard sales in your area. There are countless websites today that claim to be the “place to go” on the web to find and post garage sales. But let’s be honest … there is only one globally accepted online source for garage sale ads … Craigslist!

Not only is Craigslist a wonderful resource, it is also absolutely free! So honestly, why bother posting your ad anywhere else online? Craigslist ads feed into YSTM so you can see where the sales are on the map. Visit Now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Essentials For Stocking Up Your Pantry

When you’re trying to come up with a meal in a hurry, there’s nothing like having a fully-stocked pantry. There’s no limit to the things I can whip up when my pantry is full. If you’re new to the idea of stocking a pantry, though, you may be a little overwhelmed trying to decide what things are essential to have. Grocery stores are full of things that look good, but may not work well as stock items.

To be honest, no one can tell you exactly which items you should include in your pantry stockpile. Some of these choices have to be made based upon what your family eats. If you’re into pasta, for instance, you’ll definitely want to include some different types of pasta. On the other hand, if your family likes sweets, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of baking supplies on hand.

Although you have to decide for yourself what things you have to have in your pantry, I thought I’d tell you about the things we keep in our pantry. This list should get your mind working to help you create your own list. Read the entire article.

Stop Drinking Bottled Water

From "The Good Human.com" Website

It is a common misconception for many people that bottled water is safer than tap, plastic bottles get recycled, and no harm is being done to the environment in the bottling process. Unfortunately, that could not be further from the truth!

So in case you either needed more reasons to stop drinking bottled water, or a few extra talking points when discussing with your friends, I have assembled 12 solid reasons to kick the bottled water habit.

Trim Fat From The Family Budget

Small changes have reduced electrical charges in my home. On a year-over-year basis, we have used 20 percent less electricity due to two minor adjustments. We have switched most of the light bulbs to compact florescent bulbs (CFLs), an energy-saving option. Additionally, during the day and vacations, we turn off the water heater, a move that generates cool savings.

Those are just a few of the ways of finding additional space in a tight budget, according to the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Palm Beach County, Fla., and the Treasure Coast. How do you cut the fat if your budget is already lean? A reality check will help you write smaller checks for household bills, according to the folks at CCCS.

'Successful saving starts with a realistic look at how you are spending money now and what changes you can realistically make,' said Jessica Cecere, president of CCCS.

For example, consumers can cut electric bills by $50 or more by washing clothes in cold water, using energy-efficient bulbs and installing a programmable thermostat, Cecere said. Here are other recommended changes: Read the entire article.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nasal Vaccine Has Live Swine Flu

The first doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine are NOW arriving at clinics around the United States, and many people are lining up to get their vaccine. Is the media accurately informing the public what they are taking?

Most Americans do not realize that the early batches of the H1N1 swine flu nasal vaccine contain live swine flu. If you are trying to avoid the swine flu do you really think that it is a good idea to have live swine flu injected up your nose?

Many health experts are expressing a great concern about the safety of FluMist, and many hospitals are rejecting this nasal spray vaccine all together. Several Denver area hospitals are rejecting the FluMist swine flu vaccine because "they don’t want to endanger patients".

The media reports that the live swine flu within the vaccines has been "weakened", but according according to Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, between 10 million and 100 million swine flu viral particles will be forcefully injected into the nostrils when FluMist is administered to a patient. Read the entire article

Our proven defense against viruses is Silver Shield, EPA approved as non-toxic with patented technology.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting Your Yard Ready For Winter

Fall typically means cooler temperatures, more dependable rains, fewer pests and disease problems and an amazing burst of foliage color.

If you're lucky enough to live in an area where fall color can be spectacular, you get to watch how deciduous plants can go from solid green to an amazing array of yellows, oranges and reds.

Keep in mind that a plant's ability to produce vibrant fall color depends largely on genetics. Weather plays a minor role, but unless a plant is genetically hard-wired to produce color, there's nothing you can do to change that.

So enjoy the color for as long as it lasts, knowing that as fall turns to winter, more changes will take place. Here are some tips on getting your yard ready for the chilly season.

How to Weather Strip Your Home

Weather stripping and caulking your home will not only keep the elements out, but it will help reduce your energy costs. Here's the best advice and instruction for weatherproofing your home. Read the entire article. Get step-by-step instructions.

How to Recycle Tennis Balls

Do you know that this year over 557 million tennis balls will be manufactured globally. And do you know what happens to these tennis balls when you are finished with them? Not much!

The majority end up being dumped in landfills. To date very little recycling of tennis balls has been done, but now you can discover the many ways you can recycle tennis balls and help your environment.

If you love tennis then find out how you can recycle your tennis balls easily and efficiently. Visit RecyleTennisBalls.com.

Friday, October 2, 2009

10 Life and Money Lessons Learned

My parents were both born in Southern Italy where unemployment is high and quality of life is superb. My mother, Annunziata, made it to the 7th grade and my father, Tommaso, has the equivalent of a technical high school diploma. Both of my parents immigrated to the US in 1975 and are currently debt free, own their own two-family home, and have plenty of cash in savings. They are, in many ways, leading the American dream – by not adopting the principles of American consumerism.

My parents have taught me many lessons about saving money and leading a high quality life via being practical, but the following ten lessons were most influential in shaping how I lead my life as a thirty-something today. Some of the lessons are what would be described as old school and some may be overly ... Read the 10 money lessons.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free Music Online

Looking for free music that you can listen to online or download to your MP3 player? Here are several great sites to check out, starting with the best:

1. Pandora.com
Enter a favorite artist, song or composer; and the site will create a custom radio station featuring your favorite music, plus other music like it. You can create up to 100 radio ... Read about the other 7 sites.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eat Healthy This Winter Without Spending a Fortune

It's getting to be fall. Can you smell it? I can't, but I know it's true because I see the fruits and vegetables in my grocery store changing. Slowly, the peaches, nectarines, and plums are getting more expensive and less tasty, and the winter staples like apples, pears, and potatoes are taking center stage. It always makes me sad, this transition from summer to fall, when I have to say goodbye, for a whole year, to some of my favorite foods. But the only other option is to pay exorbitant prices for food that tastes worse and that I know has been brought in from far away, and I'm just not willing to do that.

If you're like me, reveling in the fresh produce of summer and saddened when it departs in the fall, despair isn't your only option. There are good ways to preserve ... Read more about how to eat healthy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Much Money Should I Leave My Children

My son really wants to buy a house here, but it will really stress our financial situation if we help him with the down payment.

- A mom talking to her friend at the grocery store.

For many parents, helping their children financially is ... Find out how much you should leave.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Clever Uses for Ice Cube Trays

Do you have a stack of ice cube trays collecting dust in a cabinet or drawer? Then, consider this clever new use for them:

Freeze Leftover Stock or Sauces


Have a bit of soup stock, tomato juice or sauce leftover after you've prepared a meal? Ice cube trays are the perfect way to store it. Just fill a tray with your leftovers, and freeze. Then, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag once they're completely frozen.

How much liquid does a cube hold? One ice cube is generally the equivalent ... Find all the uses.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Does Organic Also Mean Sustainable or Just Non-Toxic?

Did you know quite a few, if not most, of organic food companies these days are actually owned by major labels that you stopped supporting years ago? Is that really a problem, since it means that organic is available just about everywhere these days, or does it mean the movement has lost part of its soul? New article by the Reading Eagle delves into the issue.

Michael Potter, owner of Eden Foods Inc, in a recent interview with Reading Eagle, said that he gets offers several times a week these days to sell his company. While he has stuck to his guns thus far, many people mock him for not ... Find out more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thoughts on Abandoning the Paper Towel

We have little kids. Kids are messy. Our daughter spills milk or juice on almost a nightly basis. Our son, who’s a bit older, doesn’t make messes as often, but when he does, they tend to be even more disastrous, such as a full jar of salsa knocked off the counter and shattered all over the floor.

For years, our solution to this problem has been a big roll of paper towels. It’s simply what we’re familiar with and, like many simple and familiar things in life, it was almost an automatic thing to have on hand. We simply had paper towels in the ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ways To Cut Your Consumption

Consumption costs us money and the more simply we choose to live, the more money we can save. The thing is, no matter how eco-friendly the products that we buy may be, they still come with packaging, they still take energy to make, and they are nearly always still trucked from somewhere. The biggest/most obvious eco-friendly tip of the year is consuming less (energy, water, "stuff,") is better for the planet. Find '15 Easy Ways' how you can, with tips from milk to make-up, cleaning agents to coffee.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remote Control Hacks Save Time and Money

If time is money, and I sincerely believe it is, then these five remote control hacks will save you a little of both. I discovered them when I was searching for a way to increase the range of my remote control (I just can't change channels all that well from the kitchen) and found not one but five great hacks. Some are time savers, others money savers, and some do both. They're all quick, easy and require very little, if any, extra materials.

Skip Ads Easily with a Standard Cable Remote Control
This first hack should take you about five minutes.The basic premise is this: your average Motorola-made DVR, the one that your cable-TV provider gives you, should come with the ability to skip ads ... See all the hacks.

Back to Savings College Tips

Now that you’re living on your own, you’re free to make important decisions in your everyday life — from what food to eat at dinnertime to how to spend your school nights.

Trust me, there’s nothing better than being able to take a two-hour nap in the afternoon and then catch a late-night movie with friends. One thing to not forget about, though, is your eco-lifestyle, even with the abundance of resources that colleges have available.

Having lived the college life for three years now, I’ve learned quite a bit, and here are my top 10 tips — in no particular order — on how stay green this year. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Get Cash For Saving Energy

Sure, everyone knows that saving energy saves money by lowering utility bills. Well, now you can get paid for saving energy at home by registering at MyEmissionsExchange.com. This free website pays registered users for lowering their monthly utility bills.

After you sign up, you can earn rewards by showing that you’ve reduced your electric, natural gas, propane or fuel oil bill from the same month a year ago.

You must prove 12 months of bill history before you start earning rewards; most utility bills display a year’s worth of billing history. All you have to do is input a recent utility bill. As you reduce your energy use, you gain “personal carbon credits,” verified by MyEmissionsExchange.com. Read the entire article.

Virtual Memorials for People and Pets

A virtual memorial is an online memorial website that celebrates the personal life story of a departed loved one, human or pet. It offers a way to honor a loved one in a way that can be shared with anybody online. I believe the process of creating one would be very healing.

Virtual Memorials was founded in 1996 and hosts thousands of online memorial websites. Memorials are created either as public to share with the world or made private. For private tributes, you must be invited by the memorial creator to visit and given a password.

Honoring memorials can include the following occasions:

Birthdays
Anniversaries
Infants
Children
Teenagers
Heros

Visit Virtual Memorials website to find free memorials or sponsored ones with a fee. They have also launched a site, Critters.com for pet memorials.

Monday, September 21, 2009

How a House Becomes a Home

Explore the deeper meaning of your home's style.

Home. It’s a small word for a universal idea, one that resonates deeply with complex individual meanings and associations.

Regardless of whether home is a room, apartment, cottage or mansion, how homey it seems depends first on two physical factors: light coming in on two sides and a view of greenery or sky, according to Clare Cooper Marcus, professor emerita of the departments of architecture and landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. “We yearn for nature,” she observes. “Houseplants or a view of a garden is a universal desire.”

In her seminal book, House as a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home, which resulted from her work on a low-income housing project and a series of case studies, Marcus came to understand that “People consciously and unconsciously use their home environment to express something about themselves.” For Marcus, our evolving self-image is directly reflected in the homes we create, like a chambered nautilus, around our deepest self.

Sometimes, we discover that we have outgrown the shell in which we currently live, and a change is in order, remarks Jill Butler, an illustrator, creativity coach and author of Create the Space You Deserve: An Artistic Journey to Expressing Yourself Through Your Home. Read the entire article.

2010 Census Cautions

This information is being distributed by the Dallas / Ft. Worth IBM Organization to warn it's thousands of members of fraud associated with the 2010 Census (some pre-census activity is already underway). However, this warning is for ALL citizens, so you may want to pass it on to everyone you know.

Be cautious about giving information to Census workers with the U.S. Census process. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data. The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

** If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a:
badge
handheld device
Census Bureau canvas bag
confidentiality notice

Ask to see their identification and heir badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home.

Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, it will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees Solicit donations.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, they will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census.

Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau. More info here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nutrients Children Need

The following key nutrients are needed to help ensure that children obtain nutrition for optimal health. If you're already aware of nutrient needs for children, view the new Nature's Sunshine line of products for children: Sunshine Heroes Children's Supplements.

VITAMINS AND MINERALS
A child’s diet must provide the essential nutrients to support physical and cognitive development. For optimal health, children must obtain a balanced and healthy diet. Adding a vitamin and mineral supplement to a child’s diet ensures that these important nutrients are not missed.

Pediatricians especially recommend a daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement for children who may not eat regular, well-balanced meals made from fresh, whole foods; picky eaters who may not eat enough; children with high activity levels who play physically demanding sports; children who eat a lot of fast food and processed foods; and children eating a vegetarian, dairy-free or other restricted diet. A multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is also recommended for children who may drink a lot of carbonated sodas, which can leach vitamins and minerals from the body.1

CALCIUM
Lifelong calcium intake is essential for maintaining healthy bones. Obtaining adequate calcium is especially important during childhood and adolescence, when bones are growing and developing. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that, “Most older children and adolescents in the United States currently do not achieve the recommended intake of calcium. Maintaining adequate calcium intake during childhood and adolescence is necessary for the development of peak bone mass, which may be important in reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life. Optimal calcium intake is especially relevant during adolescence, when most bone mineral accretion occurs.”2

VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is most well-known for its role in helping the body maintain healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus. It is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. Calcium can be absorbed by the body only when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D plays many important roles beyond bone health. In adults, recent scientific evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining innate immunity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently doubled its recommendation for the minimum amount of vitamin D that children should get daily. The new guidelines recommend at least 400 international units daily.3 That’s about four 8-ounce glasses of milk, but most children don’t drink enough milk to provide adequate levels of vitamin D. The AAP states that the best way to ensure that children receive adequate vitamin D is through supplementation.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained through the diet. Scientific studies confirm the numerous benefits that omega-3 fatty acids can have on human health in terms of mental, visual, nervous system and cardiovascular benefits. Two long-chain forms of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), are both found almost exclusively in deep, cold-water fish. These fatty acids are key building blocks in every cell in the body. DHA and EPA are recognized for their health benefits in all life stages and are essential components as the body grows and develops.

DHA is critical for the optimal development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system during infancy and childhood. DHA is a major structural fat in the brain and eyes, representing approximately 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93% of all omega-3 fats in the retina.4 Because DHA is a primary component of the brain and retina, a lack of sufficient DHA can negatively impact the development and function of these organs.

WHOLE FOOD ANTIOXIDANTS
Modern diets often lack sufficient amounts of fruits, vegetables and other whole foods. Thus they are generally low in essential nutrients and antioxidants needed for optimum health. Research continues to show that a higher intake of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and other whole foods is extremely important for good health.5 The National Cancer Institute recommends eating at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.6

Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients such as resveratrol, ellagic acid, flavonoids, carotenoids, anthocyanins and chlorophyll. Whole foods are also a natural source of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Whole foods provide a broad spectrum of phytonutrients that work synergistically to promote overall health and wellness. Research indicates that combinations of nutrients and antioxidants found in whole foods may have greater protective effects than individual nutrients taken alone.5,7

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
Digestive enzymes are made by the body but are also obtained through the diet. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary enzymes. Unfortunately, cooking food can destroy these enzymes. Like their parents, most children do not eat enough raw foods and can therefore benefit from digestive enzyme supplementation.8

Digestive issues are becoming more and more common in children. Even if a child eats a healthful diet, if his or her digestive system does not function optimally, the child may not get all of the nutrients needed.8 Lack of optimal digestive function due to enzyme deficiency can lead to malabsorption of nutrients. Many children may not experience optimal health because of faulty digestion.8,9

Check out the new Nature's Sunshine line of products for children:
References
1 . “Vitamins for kids: Do healthy kids need vitamins?” Health & Parenting. Hoffman, M. 13 May 2008. WebMD. 26 March 2009. .
2 . Greer, F. R., Krebs, N., F. (2006, February). Optimizing bone health and calcium intakes of infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics, 117(2), 578-585.
3 . Wagner, C., L., Greer, F., R. (2008, November). Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics, 122(5), 1142-1152.
4 . James A Greenberg, J.A., Bell, S. J., & Van Ausdal, W. (2008, Fall). Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy. Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1(4), 162–169.
5 . Lui RH. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):517S-520S.
6 . “Fruits and Vegies Matter.” 2009. Center for Disease Control. 16 April 2009.
7 . “Can Foods Forestall Aging?” 2007. US Department of Agriculture. 20 April 2009.
8 . Lipski Elizabeth Ph.D, CCN. Digestive Wellness for Children: How to Strengthen the Immune System & Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion. California: Basic Health Publications;2006.
9 . Oelgoetz AW M.D., Oelgoetz PA B.A., Wittenkind J. RN. The treatment of food allergy and indigestion of pancreatic origin with pancreatic enzymes. American Journal of Digestive Disorders and Nutrition. 1935;2:422–6.
"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28