Sunday, August 30, 2009

Keep Kids Healthy In School

It's much easier and least expensive to do prevention than treatment. You can keep children healthy. They don't have to catch everything that goes around if their immune system is strong enough to do what it was designed to do. Cut out all the junk foods to keep more nutrition going in and supplement with immune-building supplements.

Solid Nutritional Support for Growing Kids
by Jody Taylor


As the new school year approaches, parents everywhere are gathering the supplies their kids will need when they head out the door. This fall, arm your kids not just with backpacks but with the nutrition that will help them perform their best.

Nature’s Sunshine has a variety of products designed to help kids stay healthy, happy and ready to learn. Highlighted here are a few favorites.

Set Your Child’s Sights on Success with Focus Attention
Focus Attention combines powerful nutrients that help the brain maintain a healthy, balanced level of stimulation. By supplying the brain with the vital nutrients it needs, Focus Attention may help improve your child’s concentration so he or she can thrive at school. Available in capsules and a great-tasting powder drink mix.
“My 9-year-old, Jonathan, has trouble staying on task. After receiving a bottle of Focus Attention Powder from a family member, I decided to try it. I can’t say enough how wonderful this product is. My son has gone from being almost out of control and making horrible grades, to the wonderful child I knew he was. He has made the A/B Honor Roll. Thank you.”—Diane T., San Antonio, Texas
Start their Day the Herbasaurs® Way!
Herbasaurs products are designed specifically with kids’ nutritional needs in mind. While mass-market vitamin supplements can be loaded with sugar and other extras kids don’t need, Herbasaurs products are sweetened naturally and contain no artificial colors, flavors, sucrose or starch. So you can feel confident giving them to your kids every day.
Chewable Multiple Vitamins and Minerals
Getting your kids to eat their fruits and veggies might be a struggle, but you’ll never have to beg them to take their vitamins! This great-tasting chewable, naturally sweetened with xylitol, fructose and citrus flavors, contains 12 essential vitamins plus minerals and iron.

Chewable Antioxidants with Grapine®
Herbasaurs Antioxidants help young, growing bodies fight the damaging effects of free radicals caused by oxidation, pollutants, the sun and even exercise. Each lemon-lime flavored tablet offers antioxidant protection with beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, Grapine and licorice flavonoid extract.

Chewable Elderberry Plus
With a host of germs out there just waiting to be shared, it’s nice to know you can strengthen your child’s defenses before sending him or her off to school each day. Chewable Elderberry Plus contains elderberry, reishi mushroom and astragalus for immune and respiratory system support—in a great-tasting lemon-lime Dinotab®.
Great Taste Makes Vitamin C an Easy Pill for Kids to Swallow
Kids and adults alike can enjoy the protective benefits of Vitamin C. Nature’s Sunshine chewable wafers are made with vitamin C and whole orange juice, along with rose hips, orange and natural lemon-lime flavor. Each tablet delivers 410 percent of the Daily Value to keep kids’ immune systems strong.

Keep Kids’ Digestive Systems in Balance with L. Reuteri
A healthy intestinal tract is home to billions of delicate microorganisms that aid in the digestion process. Stress, environmental conditions and antibiotics can destroy them, but NSP probiotics—including L. Reuteri—help repopulate these tiny friends. This strain of friendly flora is chewable, suitable for young children and requires no refrigeration—making it a great choice both for travel and daily use at home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Free Family Fun - Wildlife Watch


The economic slump has many families getting back to nature. Children learn so much while enjoying the outdoors and it's a classroom that has many life lessons that parents can use to have meaningful conversation with their children.

Being outdoors improves health in many ways and can even prevent nearsightedness in recent research.

National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Watch website really makes it fun. Some of the ways to use the site are:

• Compile a list of what you've seen by checking off the photos of animals, plants, trees, or other critters

• Share photos of your outdoor adventures with the Wildlife Watch Flickr group

• “Tell Your Story” about wildlife you see on a special message board

• Get up-to-the-minute info about wildlife through the Wildlife Watch Twitter page

• Find local spots to watch for wildlife near you with NatureFind

Through Wildlife Watch, you’ll gain first hand experience with plants and animals in their natural environment.

Watch a 5-minute video.
Join the hunt today!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spend Cash, But Don’t Forget Opportunity Costs

Over the last couple years I have written many posts extolling the virtues of paying for things with cash. Shopping with cash causes transactional pain - that little twinge you feel when Uncle Benjamin leaves your wallet to be replaced by a few George Washingtons in change. That hurts.

When you swipe plastic, especially plastic representing money that doesn’t belong to you (credit cards), it hurts much less. This is why spending with credit cards is so dangerous. But spending cash can be dangerous, too, for an entirely different reason. ... Read the entire article.

Car Replacement Fund Underway

Over the weekend I took some time to complete a few finance tasks that have been stacking up on my to-do list for weeks. One of those tasks was to officially establish a car replacement fund.

Now that we have paid off our car, we recognize that it won’t last forever, so we might as well continue making “payments” to ourselves so we can ... Read the entire article.

Leftovers: 6 Money Saving Ideas for Those Bits at the Bottom of the Jar

We all have them. Those little bits of good stuff left at the bottom of one jar or another that we don't want to really throw out, but don't know what to do with. Here are six great tips for scraping the bottom of the barrel, so to speak.

Pesto

Slosh around some chicken stock or water in the jar to get out all of the pesto clinging to the inside. Dump it in with your chicken soup and add a splash of lemon or white wine to take it from hum drum to high end.

Orange marmalade or other citrus preserves

Put in a little vinegar and shake to loosen all of the preserves. Then add a touch of corn starch and water and shake like crazy. Add in some additional orange or lemon juice if needed for a great sweet and sour stir fry sauce on the cheap.

Extra tomato sauce or paste

When you have leftover paste or sauce in the jar or can, slosh ... Read the entire article.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To Shred or Not To Shred?

When should you shred old bills, financial records and other documents? Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast offers these tips for managing the paper trail of home documents.

Out with the Old

Do you really need to keep that water bill from 1998? How about your tax returns? Keeping good financial records is a critical part of managing your household finances, and spring cleaning is a great time to review them, purging what you no longer need. These records can help you ensure timely payment of bills and avoid late fees, dispute errors on credit card statements, apply for retirement or disability benefits, file insurance claims, and more. Bankrate has an excellent table that summarizes how long to keep financial records.

Here is a summary:

* Keep any tax-related records for seven years.

* Keep records of IRA contributions" ... Read the entire article.

5 Reasons To Line Dry Your Laundry

I‘m not a luddite — I love technology. I love the ways it enhances our home life in so many ways, from storing our food at adequate temperatures, to washing our clothes so that we don’t have to work our hands raw with a hand-cranked wringer. We have much to be thankful for in our generation.

But there’s something rather soothing about line-dried clothes, I find. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but during these warm summer months, I enjoy hanging our laundry out to dry daily, watching it flap in the breeze and shine whitely in the sun’s reflection.

Here are some of my favorite reasons for line-drying clothes during warm weather." ... Read the entire article.

9 Ways to Get Gorgeous Skin Without Money

Forget chemical peels, surgical face-lifts, Botox, or expensive hopes-in-a-jar. You can attain fresh, glowing skin by following a few simple directives and getting a little crafty around the kitchen.

When you've watched your budget plummet from Roquefort to Cheez Whiz, gone are the days when you can afford to keep a crack team of dermatologists and aestheticians on speed dial. (DIY sounds so much better than IOU, doesn't it?) You will be able to keep up with our nine tips for achieving a beautiful complexion, however, because they cost a grand total of absolutely nada.

1. Get your coffee fix

Don't toss out the coffee grounds that brewed up your morning pot of java. A handful of moist grounds (organic is preferable) makes a fantastic facial exfoliant or all-over body scrub. Not only do the grounds physically ... Read the entire article.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

20 Indoor Activities for Kids – besides TV

“Mom, can I watch a movie?”

This is how I woke up this morning. A cute little four-year-old face, inches away from mine, asking to be entertained by major Hollywood corporations.

I don’t have a problem with TV or movies — we watch them occasionally. But I believe that they are FAR too often used as the default choice of leisure time for children. They can easily suck away ... Read the entire article.

Why You Need a Plain Text Resume to Apply for Jobs Online

There are countless products out there that help job seekers format and lay out resumes to look beautiful and readable on paper. I believe that the appearance of a resume is definitely important, but I think on the internet the best and most useful formatting for a resume is plain text. Here are some reasons why you need a plain text resume if you are applying for jobs online.

1. Some companies want your resume only in plain text. For security reasons, some companies do not accept email attachments from outside of their networks. One company I worked for in the past specifically asked for resumes in plain text, and did not even open the Microsoft Word or PDF attachments even if they have been virus scanned. Their reasoning was that the candidate did not follow ... Read the entire article.

Make It Easy to Not Eat Out

In my household we struggle with not eating out. I grew up on many restaurant and take out meals
, and eating out is often as much about entertainment as it is about feeding yourself.

But eating out is a big expense in our budget. With a family of five, it usually costs us around $40-45, just for a diner, family style meal or even pizza if we order it at the restaurant. Even a fast food drive thru will cost us $20-25.

Here are some more strategies I employ to keep the temptation of eating out at bay.

Consider eating out a very special occasion and not the norm. My husband's family never ate out unless it was someone's birthday, anniversary or graduation. So many times today we view eating out as the norm and cooking at home as a special occasion. If you reverse the thinking, then you won't even consider eating out unless it is well planned.

Indulge in a small ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rent College Textbooks

Tired of forking over hundreds of dollars on college textbooks each semester? Then, stop buying your books, and start renting them instead. Several websites now allow you to rent the textbooks that you need, and to return them when you're done. It's so easy, you'll wish you'd done it sooner.

How Textbook Renting Works

1. Pick the company that you'd like to order from. Options include:

* Chegg.com
* Campusbookrentals.com
* Bookrenter.com

2. Locate your textbooks on the rental site by title, author or ISBN.

3. Select how long you need to keep the books – a semester, a quarter, the summer.

4. Place your order, and wait for your books to arrive.

5. Use the textbooks for as long as you need them.

6. Then, ... Read the entire article.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Are You Your Own Worst (Financial) Enemy?

Let's face it - it's not always easy to make well-informed financial decisions. The world of personal finance can be complex and often times extremely overwhelming. Without the guidance of a good financial adviser, it's possible that one could become lost in the sea of investment lingo in only a short amount of time – it's always nice to have a trusted ally nearby.

What I find most interesting is that, usually, it's not ignorance that leads to financial problems. More often, it's personal laziness and lack of ... Read the entire article.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Proper Rate of Savings

Fortunately for savers, banks and brokerages have made it much easier to put savings on auto-pilot than it used to be. Before the days of online savings accounts and ACH transfers people actually had to sit down and write a check to savings, or deposit cash into their savings accounts. Sounds archaic, I know, but it did separate the disciplined savers from the free-spirited spenders.

Today we have a variety of ways to save for retirement, rainy days and big goals. But deciding just how much to save is the tough part. Financial gurus all have their own numbers - 15% for retirement, 10% of your overall income, half of your income - I could go on forever. However, deciding how much to save is a personal decision that looks more like a balancing act than a hard, fast rule. After all, there are many competing priorities for our money. The 10% rule

One of the more established ideas is to simply save 10% of your income. If you earn $50,000 a year, under this plan you should be putting away about $5,000 a year into a variety of investments and cash savings accounts. 10% should not be enough to break your budget, but it doesn't cause you to stretch very far either. I prefer to aim higher with my rate of savings, but how much higher? Read the entire article.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lunch Tips For School Days

It's that wonderful time of year that lightens your heart and fills your soul with peace & tranquility. No, I'm not talking about Christmas! I'm talking about school starting!! Yes! Yes! Yes! It's a bitter sweet time for most moms. Bitter because you're back to hectic mornings, finding everyone's books and papers and trying to get them out of the door on time... because you now have 180 lunches to make over the next 9 months if you have 1 child and 720 if you have 4 -- But hey, who's counting?

It is sweet because the peaceful quietness that penetrates the house is like gentle music to your ears and you can take a lovely relaxing bubble bath without what sounds like the whole US army trying to break down the bathroom door. Well, now that I think about it I've not known many moms that had the luxury of a bubble bath in the middle of the day but I can dream can't I? I can't help you find time for that bubble bath but maybe I can help you with those 720 lunches. Here are a few lunch and snack ideas from "Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites" that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

*To keep drinks cold in lunch boxes, pour a small amount in the bottom of the container (not glass) and then set the cap loosely on top. Put it in the freezer overnight.

Read the entire article

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Getting Out Of Debt Rewards Plan

From Frugal Dad

Last week on Twitter I mentioned that one of the toughest things about a debt snowball plan is sustaining momentum as you move through each of the debts. Early on, victories come quickly with smaller debts geting paid off on nearly a monthly basis, or so it was in our case. But later on you find yourself staring up at those last two or three piles of debt and realizing it is going to take months, or even years, to follow through on your financial goals. That’s when it is time to schedule some rewards for your hard work.

With the summer half over, and no vacation plans on the horizon, we have decided to schedule a long weekend in the near future for a short trip somewhere close. It’s a reward to ourselves for hitting a major milestone in our debt repayment plan - we are now completely free of car debt for the first time in our 11-year marriage! Ideas for Setting Up a Getting Out of Debt Rewards Plan.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hacked In The Parking Lot

E-mails promising Viagra discounts or dates with Russian models used to be the preferred way to get personal financial information from recipients. Now hackers have devised an ingenious way to unleash an identity-stealing computer virus from about the last place you'd expect an online attack: a parking lot.

Scammers place phony parking tickets on cars, which direct their owners to an "official" website that claims to have photos of the alleged violation. Once they go to the website, victims inadvertently download a nasty virus that can quickly cost them plenty.

Several drivers in Grand Forks, N.D., found tickets on cars they had parked at a shopping mall, hospital, grocery store or college campus. Some went to the designated website—and their computers were compromised.

"This very clever ploy bridges the [real] world with the virtual world, and I fear we'll be seeing more of these types of attacks in the future," says Lenny Zeltser, a computer security expert who uncovered the scam after a former student who lives in Grand Forks told him about a phony parking ticket.

After analyzing the virus website, Zeltser found that its potential dangers include: ...

Read the entire article.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fabulously Frugal - Living The Simple Life

Tight times are hitting older Americans directly in their wallets. With the nation's jobless rate spiking at 8.1 percent and likely to continue rising, nearly 5.6 percent of workers 55 and older are unemployed, and many are struggling to find jobs. Those on fixed incomes have seen their retirement savings shrink by 30 to 40 percent in the market meltdown. No wonder the country is in a belt-tightening mood, with consumer spending down to the lowest levels in decades.

But people like Sky Yardley and his wife, Jane Dwinell, aren't panicking about today's tough economic times—they learned long ago to live well on less. A few years ago, the Montpelier, Vt., couple saved enough to quit their jobs, volunteer on projects that interest them, and cruise the canals of France on their 28-foot ... Read the entire article.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Peeling Back the Layers of Your Financial Onion

The number one reason why people go into debt isn't lack of money. It's a lack of something else. Something that doesn't have anything to do with money. What else? Well, that really depends on the person.

In most cases, overspending is only a symptom of a larger problem. The problem could be one of many things: low self-esteem, boredom, loneliness, etc. Our inner problems usually have a way of manifesting externally, whether it's a weight problem, an addiction, or spending too much.

The problem with overspending is that it creates other problems in the process: debt, clutter, or even strained relationships. Suddenly you've created a downward spiral that perpetuates itself.

If you're suffering financially, ask yourself why." Read the entire article.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

8 Reasons To Read Fiction

When did you last read a novel, or a collection of short stories? There’s a good chance it was at least a few weeks ago: many of us lead busy lives and focus on reading books related to our career aspirations, if we read at all.

I studied English as an undergraduate, and I’m taking a creative writing post-graduate course now ... so you might think I’m a bit biased about the importance of reading fiction. But the truth is, getting into the habit of reading novels, short stories, even plays, can boost your work and your leisure time. Here’s how:

Work-Related Gains

1. More Creative Thinking
If you’re in advertising, blogging, copywriting, graphic design or a similar industry, you’ll know that a great idea is invaluable: it can be the factor that distinguishes a “meh” project from a “wow” project, regardless of the technical skill involved. Reading fiction gets you thinking creatively: reading classical literature can spark off ideas for an advertising metaphor, the structure of a blog post, or even a TV show (“Big Brother”, anyone?).

2. Being "Well Read"
You may think it's unfairly elitist or snobbish, but there is a tendency for people who are considered "well read" to be seen as intelligent and cultured. Depending on your industry, being able to chat casually with clients about recent prize-winning novels - or classic ones - could be instrumental in creating, or cementing, a great first impression.
For the other 6 reasons.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

9 Back To School Shopping Tips

1. Shop consignment stores in your area. Over the years, many quality consignment stores have cropped up that offer cash or store credits in exchange for gently used clothing. Not only are these great places to generate some quick cash for cleaning out a closet before school starts, they are also a good place to look for deals on designer clothing, if that is something you’re after. Think of it as shopping for a used car - someone else paid for most of the depreciation.

2. Buy articles of clothing that go with (almost) anything. Unless you have an unlimited supply of money, you will discover quickly that coordinating outfits do not have a lot of room in the average kids’ closet. Instead of buying a coordinating shirt, pants, and shoes that go with nothing else, opt for versatile articles of clothing that work well with each other, multiplying the number of potential “outfits” available.

3. Shop for off-season, clearance items. When it is 97 degrees outside it is hard to think about shopping for long-sleeve shirts and coats. However, it’s a great time to pick up clearance deals on these winter items as stores will practically give them away to make room for fall arrivals." Read the entire article.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mosquitoes In Your Garden? Try Planting These!

If you are a serious gardener, you spend lots of time outdoors. And, for sure, you would rather be tending your plants than swatting mosquitoes.

While there are many things you can do to keep mosquitoes away, there are some plants that will beautify your yard and help repel mosquitoes.

As one more way to keep mosquitoes away from you and your yard, try planting these attractive plants.

Read the entire article.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Meeting Basic Needs

From Frugal Dad

I was reading the book Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream, by Adam Shepard. The book chronicles the real-life journey of Shepard, who upon finishing college turned over all his worldly possessions to his brother, and began a social experiment of his own. Armed with only $25 and a mostly empty gym bag, he hit the streets of Charleston, SC to try to make it out of poverty in one year or less.

In the first 25 pages of the book you are instantly reminded of what it is like to have nothing but the clothes on your back. Actually, I shouldn’t say “reminded” because many of us have never experienced that feeling before. I’m not talking about being down and out for a few weeks, or struggling to make ends meet, I’m talking about having absolutely nothing. No car, no home, no job, no money, no food, no health care, and no network of friends to help. And from this Shepard was to rise to the ranks for the fully employed, find a place to live and sock away a respectable about of money in savings.

Besides an engaging look at what it’s really like to be homeless in America, Scratch Beginnings made me aware of a couple things that I had forgotten since becoming accustomed to a steady paycheck and having all of my basic needs met without giving it much thought. There are many people out there wondering where they will get their next meal, or their next job, or their next opportunity for work. This is especially true in this time of prolonged recession with many people finding themselves unemployed. Read the entire article.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to Stop Impulse Buying

Impulse buying is a major issue for many people. Seeing something that seems so great and becoming a victim to clever marketing is at the heart of impulse buying.

Impulse buying, though, has a very negative effect on the environment as many of these impulse buys end up laying in landfills because we never really needed or wanted them in the first place. Not to mention, buying such things only encourage the manufacturer to make more of them, thus producing more environmental damage. To do your part, you have to get impulse buying under control.

Read the entire article for tips on curbing the impulse.
"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