..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Fall Decorating Tip

Pick brightly colored fallen leaves. Rub a good moisturizer onto the front and back of the leaves and let dry. This helps the leaves keep their color and avoid curling. Once dry, scatter the leaves on a table, around a centerpiece, or on a fireplace mantle.

Source: TheBudgetDecorator.com

Vivian Mae Barnes Huneycutt

My Dad's Mother, my Grandma, Vivian Mae Barnes Huneycutt, as a baby. This is my heritage digital scrapbook page of my grandma when she was a baby. I used sepia brown and bright blue. I think the result is striking.

Elisha Bain Family Photo

I took some photos of old family photos at a recent reunion. They are not as clear as the originals but not too bad. I made this digital scrapbook page as a heritage page. I'm pretty sure it was the 80th birthday of Elisha Bain in April, 1938. It's definitely a birthday party for him but I put together the time based on approximate ages of some in the photo.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Household Binder

Over the years I've had several types of Household Books. I started with a blank book and some stick on tabs. Then I used a binder. Next I tried using Microsoft OneNote. Now I use Microsoft Excel.

What do I keep in my Household Notebook? We don't have children so yours will be different. In Excel I made a file called "Household" and then I have worksheet tabs for each section. Here are the sections I have:

Website Passwords
Bank Accounts
Credit Card List
Investment Statements
Medical Expenses
Utility Expenses
Home Repairs/Maintenance/Additions/Remodeling Expenses
Wireless Router settings
Network Settings
Kitchen Appliances
Light Bulbs
Homeowner's Associate
Book List

What info do I keep in these sections?

Website Passwords - website url, username, password, security question and answer, any other thing you need to keep up with on websites.

Bank Accounts - Bank, Address, Phone #, account #'s, routing #'s, Pins, username, password, security questions and answers, Card #'s

Credit Card List - Card Name, Address, telephone #, card #, CID # on the back, Exp date, credit limit, interest rate, username, password, security questions and answers

Insurance - Insurance company, address, telephone #, Policy #'s, broker, policy coverage

Vehicles - VIN #, Tag #, Where Purchased, Date of Purchase, Finance info, Telephone # of repair center, tire size, satellite radio information, OnStar information, etc.

401k - Address, telephone #, account #, percentages in each investment options, from statements I have a spreadsheet set up for keeping up with previous balance, contributions, earnings/losses, ending balance, share balance, share prices

Investment - Addresses of brokers, telephone #, account #, and a spreadsheet from the statements with previous balance, earnings/losses, share balance, share prices, buys/sells, ending balances

Medical Expenses - Date of service, provider of service, what it's for, charge, medical Ins claim #, claim date, deductible, amt not paid and reason, co-pay, amt ins paid, out-of-pocket expenses

Utility Expenses - A spreadsheet of each of our monthly utility expenses such as power, water/sewer, telephone, cable/internet, natural gas, garbage pickup

Home Repairs/Maintenance/Additions/Remodeling Expenses - Date of purchase, Supplier, amount of purchase, what it's for and some codes such as MAINT, ELECT (means maintenance of electrical things) or REMODEL,ELECT (electrical work done in a remodeling job). If I put down new floor covering I would use REMODEL, FLOOR. This is a way that I can sort and get totals on whatever. I like to know how much I spent on painting the outside of the house or how much we spent remodeling the kitchen. And, of course, if we sell the house I will have a list of expenses against any capital gains taxes.

Computers, Appliances, etc. - Model #'s, serial #'s, warranty information, repair telephone #'s, etc.

Clubs/Sunday School Class - Addresses of members, club info, website, Lesson plans, etc.

Dog's - Their names, breed, coloring, special marks, date of birth, breeder information or rescue information, microchip #'s, microchip telephone #, vet information, vaccination information

Book List - List of books that I want to read and that I order from the library.

As you can see there is so much information to keep up with in a household and you have your own stuff.

Some people need to have this in a physical notebook that can be taken on the road. I'm fine with mine on the computer. It's worked wonders for me. I make sure to keep it backed up as it's one of my most important files.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let Me Count The Ways...

My little grandniece, Savannah, is such a sweetheart. I did this digital scrapbook page of my love for her.

Why Did I Switch To Digital Scrapbooking?

Why did I switch to digital scrapbooking? I used to be a paper scrapbooker and did it for many years. But last year I taught myself how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements and began going strictly to digital scrapbooking. There were a couple of reasons:

* I thought having a laptop and wide carriage printer is all I would really need in "equipment and supplies" thus less clutter. I decluttered by gathering up all my old scrapbooking equipment, papers, stickers, ribbons, embellishments, etc. and gave some to my niece who is a scrapper and the rest to Goodwill. That freed up so much!

* I have a laptop desk that is in my bedroom and my bed is one of those where the head and foot raise. It's so comfortable so I can do my computer work while sitting in bed watching TV. I hardly use my study any more. It's much more comfortable.

* I think the results are cheaper and yet more professional. By the time you purchase paper, adhesives, embellishments, printed photos, equipment, scrapbook you have spent a good bit. Although you can purchase digital papers and elements, so far, I haven't had to. There have been so many free digital papers and embellishments. It's just been a matter of downloading and organizing them on your computer so you can find what you are looking for. So the only expenses were the laptop and printer (wide carriage, if you print your own), the Adobe Photoshop Elements software and the cost of printing. I have been printing my stuff at Shutterfly.com in photo books. It comes out to cost about $3/page and that includes the shipping. And it's already in a book. And Shutterfly.com has special discounts all the time. They will email you with these discounts. I got an email yesterday for 40% off books. If you figured $3/page then take 40% off and free shipping it makes it about $1.65/page!?! That's when I like to have mine printed.

As I said, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements which is the cheapest of their photo editing software. So far I've updated each year but it's still pretty cheap and you don't have to update every year.

Fall Cleaning

I decided yesterday to do some Fall cleaning in the Master Bedroom and Bath. I cleaned and re-organized the bathroom drawers and cabinets. I made sure to throw away any out-of-date medicines, etc. I like using plastic bins and rawers. It helps keep things from getting dusty and keeps like things alike.

Here is one of the undersink cabinets. I keep my cleaning supplies and my backup supplies in here.

After I did the bathroom cabinets and drawers, I worked on the closet and got everything wiped down and neatened. I keep my shoes in shoe boxes with photos of the shoes on the front. I put all the summer shoes up on the top shelf and brought the winter shoes down.

After I did these areas, I went to work on scrubbing the bathroom for stem to stern and then cleaned the bedroom. It was a long day with a nice result. I put out new sachets and I feel ready for winter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Dogs In Their Costumes

I took these photos of 4 of our 5 dogs in their costumes!

This one is Capodimonte, Capo the Clown! He is one of our Italian Greyhounds. They are such snugglepusses!

Here is Spunky Monkey. He is our special needs Miniature Pinscher. He is pretty much deaf and blind and he whirls and twirls instead of walks (all this due to a brain injury as a puppy before I adopted him) so I got him dressed up while he was laying in his basket. If I get him up, he will whirl around and I can't get a still shot of him!

Here is Little Miss MoneyPenny, the Queen of our group. She is a black and tan Miniature Pinscher. This breed is called the King and Queen of the toy breeds and you can see why. They are so cocky and arrogant!

Here is Dresden, one of our 3 Italian Greyhounds. They are such an elegant dog but a very fragile dog as those long legs are only the size of pencils and break easily. Drezzy wasn't so sure about the hat!

Family Is Excited!

Our niece, Jenny, called last night to tell the family that she is pregnant with their 2nd child! We couldn't be more excited!!! Here is my digital scrapbook page of Jenny calling with the good news that she's pregnant.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Has Our Current Economy Changed?

I came across a post on a blog at Frugal and Thrifty that discussed behaviors that, in the past, had been considered "weird" but now are totally acceptable. Bill Shrink said these behaviors are now seen in a different light:
1. Brown Bagging Leftovers
2. Growing Your Own Food
3. Dumpster Diving
4. Bartering
5. Foraging
6. Garage Sales
7. Bargain Hunting
8. Buying Used Clothes
9. Eating Junk Food (apparently we need more comfort food)
10. Quitting Smoking

I agree with this list! I preferred taking my own lunch to school and I remember when I used to work in an office and I took my own lunch 90% of the time. I hate vending machine food and going out to lunch every day was too expensive and wasted time. I had my lunchbox, cooler and thermos that I used for taking leftovers or sandwiches. There are things that I don't like to eat and if I made my own lunch, I had what I liked. Now, in this economy, more people are taking their own lunches to work and school.

My Dad always had his own garden, fruit trees and chicken coop even when we lived in a subdivision. I love fresh veggies and fruit so I see nothing wrong with having a nice garden in the back yard. Our town is currently discussing whether or not to allow people to own a few chickens with a proper chicken coop. I think it's a good idea. In fact, I have to wonder if I would not only get fresh eggs but wouldn't it also be a green way to take care of bugs in your yard? And instead of planting decorative trees, try nut and fruit trees.

I learned about shopping at yard sales and thrift stores about a dozen years ago. People used to think shopping at those places was only for poor people. It had a negative connotation.  Now, everyone is doing it! And why not? Today I went shopping at a Goodwill and parked beside a Mercedes SUV! It's not just the  poor people, everyone likes getting a bargain! I currently carry a nice Coach leather purse that I got at a yard sale for $5. I washed the lining and used leather cleaner on the leather and it's like brand new. I've carried it for a year now and it's still in perfect condition. If you want a purse that lasts forever I recommend a Coach leather purse. But I wouldn't pay retail for it! My last Coach bag (bought used for $5 at a yard sale) I carried for 3 years. It was still in great condition but I got tired of it so I sold it at my own yard sale for $5. I got my money back! I just bought a pair of Naot shoes still in the original shoebox at the local thrift store. I love that brand. They are so comfortable but they usually sell for $150+ and I got these for $10. I sprayed them full of Lysol and let them sit in the sun to dry but I'm sure they are brand new because there is no dirt or wear on the soles. Buying used is getting so big that I'm disappointed to see some charity thrift stores are starting to overcharge for items. Considering their product is donated to them, I find it hard to understand why they charge the same prices that I would find in a retail store for "antiques" or brand new. But I love a bargain and I'm proud of my thrifty buys. I don't think I've done any dumpster diving but if I saw something I liked or needed and it was being thrown away, I wouldn't see anything wrong in picking it up. That's recycling isn't it?

I would add another thing to the list. Buying used cars. With new cars selling for $20,000-$60,000@  purchasing used cars has a lot of appeal. Let someone else take the first year's depreciation. Although I currently drive a 2010 GMC Hybrid Yukon that we purchased new, we usually buy used cars. A car that is 1-3 years old is a smart buy because it's cheaper yet still has a lot of use in it. It's new enough to have all the extras but you aren't losing those first years of drastic depreciation. We look for a car 1-2 years old with low mileage. And Stan is driving a 10 year old truck. It's been paid for for the last 5 years and repairs are cheaper than buying another truck.

Another thing to add to the list is cheap leisure. Why should we spend a lot of money on vacations and going out when we can enjoy ourselves much cheaper? For instance, why pay $10 per ticket to see a movie when the whole family can sit together and share a movie on your flat screen TV for $5 with pay-on-demand? Why pay airfare for the whole family, hotel and $100/ticket to go to Disneyland when you can do things closer to home and drive. For instance, this year we decided take day trips close by when Stan took vacation time. This way we could enjoy local history and sites. We packed picnic lunches and thermoses of drinks and would go for the day. We were back home by evening and didn't have to pay for hotel, airfare, dog sitters, etc. I asked myself if our home wasn't nice enough to spend time in? I mean, why should I go somewhere else to spend time? My home is cooled/heated, clean, decorated and comfortable. I have everything I need right here. Why go to all the trouble of packing, finding dog sitters, driving hours or paying for airfare to get somewhere and then pay to stay there in a hotel? It's a lot of trouble and expense for a few hours of leisure. At least for now, we are cutting back on travel and leisure expenses. It's not so hard on me physically too. And if I do overdo, I'm at home! Not wasting money lying in a hotel bed until I feel better. There are a lot of things in my town that we can do for free. I can get books at the library, rent movies at the library, use On Demand or NetFlix. There are parks, picnic places, hiking trails, and lots of organized activities you can participate in. For instance, your church usually has activities, the library has weekly activities, local festivals. Even our gym has activities like marathons and free exercise classes. Go to local ball games! It's cheaper to go to a high school football game than driving a couple of hours to college or professional games and paying gosh-awful prices to get in. Make some sandwiches or pick up a box of chicken and eat at the game. I pride myself in making good picnic lunches. Everyone in my family likes my picnics. I bought a nice picnic cooler with accoutrements at a yard sale for $5. We use it often! Another thing we like to do is take an hour or so and go to Barnes & Nobles together. We make a list of the new books that we would like to read and we sip on a hot drink while perusing the magazines. At home, I get on the Internet and put that list of books on hold at the library. They call me when the books are in. I'm careful about keeping up with my books and returning them on time so it doesn't even cost me late fees.

Another thing to add to the list is cutting back on alcohol. If you can quit smoking because it's a habit that is too expensive, then you can cut back on alcohol or cut it out altogether. When you go out to eat, drink water or a cheaper beverage like tea or soft drinks. It's cheaper than the watered downed drinks. Why pay $8 for a drink? When you have people over you don't have to serve alcohol. That's expensive and unnecessary. A successful party is a one that is fun without the alcohol.

Another thing to add is being proactive with your health. It's cheaper to eat right, lose weight, get exercise and take vitamins than it is to pay for illnesses. If you even have medical insurance it's paying less and less of the bills and yet charging more and more in premiums. but healthcare costs are rising rapidly. If my husband will take his high cholesterol medicine he may prevent himself from having the misery and expense of a stroke or heart attack. If he has a stroke his medical insurance would only pay for 80% of his hospital bill AFTER the $1,000 deductible. Let's say that that hospital stay cost $200,000 then we would be responsible for the $1,000 deductible and the other 20% up to the annual max which is $5,000. And if there were expenses that the insurance company refused to consider, we would be responsible for that too. And that's not talking about the time off from work. He has disability ins but it only pays like 60% of his weekly pay and it's hard to start it up. So we are talking thousands of dollars in medical costs and missed income that could be avoided by taking high cholesterol medicine. People are starting to see the correlation and are beginning to be more proactive instead of reactive. Vitamins are big business now, so are gym memberships. Organic and fresh foods are no longer just for hippies and health food nuts.

And, the last thing I would add to the list... riding bicycles, scooters and electric cars. These are cheaper ways to commute and more and more people are using them. Riding a bicycle to work is really the fashion now and scooters and tiny electric or hybrid cars aren't considered weird any more.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Elaine and Melinda Horseback Riding Lessons

My sisters started taking horseback riding lessons when they were kids. Melinda was probably 9 years old and Elaine was probably 11 yrs old. Elaine and I were big enough to work at Krispy Kreme a couple of afternoons a week which paid for Elaine and Melinda's horseback riding lessons. Yep, I paid for her lessons for about 1 1/2 years. But she paid me back many years later. In my 30's I wanted to learn how to ride. Melinda taught me and let me use her horse and gear and I got to ride with them for about 3 years. We did trail rides which was my favorite thing. On my birthday we took a picnic and Melinda, Lee, Karen and I went for a trail ride. After our picnic on the mountain we started back and got caught in a a thunderstorm. Going down a mountain on a horse with thunder, lightening and heavy rain was a trip! But we made it. Soaked to the skin, slurping in our saddles, horses skittish with each thunder. It's a day I will never forget. Anyway, they started their lessons at Russ-N-Nola Farms in Cedar Springs. I often drove them there once I learned to drive. They rode English until we moved on the farm and they changed to western riding. Here are some photos that James took of them during one of their lessons.

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