Although the phrase, “everybody has a story to tell” may sound like a cliche, it’s true.
And after working as a newspaper reporter for nine years, I know that everyone does, indeed, have a story to tell, including your family members.
Think about it.
Do your grandmother and grandfather — mother and father — aunts and uncles — tell stories about the “good old days?”
Do they talk about going to school? The fun they had with friends? Family celebrations and holidays? Picnics on the Fourth of July? Snow that was so deep it covered fences? Pets that were so smart they belonged in the Guinness Book of World Records? Making ice cream? Their parents? Their grandparents?
Have you wanted to write down those stories to share them with other family members and to preserve them for generations to come but don’t how to go about it? Guess what? You don’t need “literary talent,” special training or special equipment. All you need to preserve those stories is a list of people to interview, a willingness to listen, a set of questions to ask, a tape recorder and a computer (or even a typewriter would work!).
Here are the steps for gathering and writing your family stories:
1. Decide which people you would like to interview and make a list.
2. Ask for permission to conduct an interview.
3. Set a formal date and time for the interview.
4. Provide a list of questions several days or weeks before the interview.
5. Focus on a single subject or event in each list of questions.
6. Use the “who, what, where, when, how, and why” strategy when formulating your questions.
7. Ask open-ended questions and not “yes or no” or “one word answer” questions.
8. Use a tape recorder to record the interview.
9. Chat about something else for a while if the person you are interviewing seems nervous at the prospect of being tape-recorded.
10. Transcribe the tape and write up your notes after you have finished the interview.
11. Edit the manuscript.
12. Spread out your interviews.
13. Print the stories from your computer or publish them in another way.
Tip of The Day – Limit spending on vacations. When you do go on vacation, try to spend less. Instead of purchasing expensive hotel rooms, expensive dinners, and expensive drinks, try to reign things in and focus on being happy, rather than achieving happiness through luxury.
1. Save up to 50% per month on convenience cleaner cloths by cutting them into half, i.e. dryer softener cloths, face cleanser cloths, etc.
Savings: $5 per month
2. Find more thoughtful gifts and buy when the item is on sale, shop for birthdays and holidays throughout the year not at the time of the events.
Savings: $10 per month
3. Bring your lunch to work once a week instead of eating out.
Savings: $7 x 4 weeks = $28 per month
4. Don’t go to the coffee shop on the weekends.
Savings: 2 visits @ $2 = $4 per week x 4 weeks = $16 per month
5. If you carry a balance on your credit card, and you’re only able to afford paying the minimum monthly amount, pay weekly installments instead of one monthly payment. For example, if you owe $100 per month, pay $25 per week. Because credit card companies accrue interest daily on your balance, paying only once a month is a huge detriment to your fiscal health.
Savings: $10 – $100 per month (or more!)
6. Instead of a family night out, consider having an old fashion picnic together or a bike ride. Curbing entertainment costs doesn’t mean curbing the fun.
Savings: $25+ per month
7. Spend a day cooking meals that can be frozen for later use for your family. Once a Month Cooking, a book by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson, features grocery lists and recipes to prepare and freeze a month’s worth of food for you and your family. Not only are you able to purchase the food in bulk, this method prevents having to throw away any spoiled food.
Savings: $50+ per month
8. If you are a regular monthly book buyer, stop the habit and visit your library instead! If you insist on buying books, buy it used at your local store or online at merchants such as www.half.com or www.amazon.com. Even a better idea, how about selling the books you have that you don’t need!
Savings: $5 – 15 per month
9. Use less expensive gasoline. If you live in North America and have Internet access, you are able to search for the cheapest gas price in your neighborhood with Gas Buddy, www.gasbuddy.com.
Savings: $5 – 15 per month
10. Use two-for-one coupons when dining out; search for these in local newspapers, flyers, and in your “junk mail.” If you are a group of four or more people, consider buying dining certificates at Restaurant.com, www.restaurant.com. After choosing your city and state on the Website, you will be presented with a listing of restaurants vying for your dining dollar!
Savings: $5- $50 per month
Tip of The Day – Go on fewer vacations. Vacations can be tremendously costly, so try to cut back on how frequently you take them.
While there are several ways to potty train your little critter bug, I have found 9 fun ways that work and will make your job so much easier:
Blue & Yellow Make Green – Put a few drops of blue food coloring in the toilet and show your child that the color turns green when he or she pees in the potty!
Toilet Targets – Purchase or make toilet targets to teach your child to aim.
Musical Potty Chair – Musical potty chairs, such as the Tinkle Toonz, play a tune when your child uses the potty!
Potty training Doll – Anatomically correct drink & wet dolls, such as the Corolle or Aquini dolls, help make toilet training fun and easy. This method is recommended by Dr. Phil.
Potty training Watch – Make potty time reminders fun and exciting with the VibraLite toilet training watch. The VibraLite watch, which comes in purple or blue, can be set to vibrate every 30 minutes as a fun reminder that it’s potty time!
Books, Videos, & DVDs – toilet training bedtime stories,videos and DVDs are a fun educational way to introduce toilet training to your child.
Charts & Stickers – toilet training charts and stickers are great motivational tools. Start by giving stickers for sitting on the potty. After a while, give stickers only when your child uses the potty. Finally, offer a small toy as a reward for 3 accident free days. Fun toilet training
Pants – toilet training pants and liners come in fantastic colors. Let your child choose the color of training pants or underwear to wear.
Phone Call From Superhero – Reward your child for using the potty with a phone call from his or her superhero. Enlist friends or neighbors to play the part.
Tip of The Day – Cook in bulk. Cooking in bulk is another good way to save money and time. You can do this by producing a week’s worth of food (or more) in a single session of cooking. You can then freeze the remaining food and re-heat it later in the week.
The internet has changed our buying habits. Many people have found the convenience of online shopping to be a great experience. You can easily click and see the product. You have a fun time shopping, browsing, reading and getting informed about products. And you don’t have to take time out from your busy schedule to fight traffic, crowds and lines to buy the perfect gift for your recipient.
No wonder Internet business generated $301 billion in revenue last year, by a University of Texas estimate.
If you compare shopping online to offline you would think as far as security goes, it would favor offline shopping, right? Not really.
In the years past, shoppers were more reluctant to do their shopping online – now things have changed greatly. And that confidence in consumers directly reflects the enormous growth of online sales.
I have a friend who took his wife out for a romantic evening to a local restaurant. The last place you would expect credit card fraud to happen. By the time he noticed they had charged him double the amount for their dinner, it was too late to go back to the restaurant. He rang me and we concluded that it must be a mistake. It was later that we found out that the restaurant owner’s reputation was a bit shaky. Apparently he frequently overcharged customers in the hope they wouldn’t notice.
I don’t know. It’s a funny world we live in.
Does this mean the internet is safe? Relatively yes, but don’t forget, the Internet is an open field and there are some bad elements out there.
We have been shopping online for years. We never had a problem with credit card fraud on the Internet. But then again, we always take precautions. From this point forward, you will see 10 checkpoints online merchants have to pass to secure our business…
Will your credit card details be safe?
Reputable companies online know that one of the things preventing customers from placing orders with them is customers not been sure whether their credit card details will be safe. Responsible companies have taken this concern onboard and have set up their systems to provide the customer with maximum security.
How would you know if you are entering your payment details on a secure page?
You should see a picture of a lock on the bottom right hand side of your screen. This lock will appear on the page that you fill in when ordering and ensures that your name, address and credit card information is being sent to the online store through encrypted code. This encrypted code means that a hacker will not be able to steal your credit card information.
Does the online store value your privacy and confidentiality?
Prior to the internet days, when I used to order something from a mail order company, mysteriously I would be sent advertising from companies that I hadn’t done business with. Back then I didn’t know that companies sold your personal information for advertising purposes to other companies.
Receiving junk mail was annoying but because of the cost involved, it didn’t happen constantly. Imagine now if you do business online with a company that doesn’t respect your privacy and sells your email address.
Next time you open your email software, you are bombarded with emails ranging from a dozen to hundreds. Now that’s not annoying – it’s intolerable.
So moral of the story here, make sure your email address won’t be sold. Ensure the online store has a privacy statement which would state they will maintain your personal details in the strictest privacy and confidentiality.
Does the online store have contact details?
You may think, of course an online store would display their contact details on their website. You would be surprised. I was. No email address, nothing. This is a sure red flag. Reputable companies will have contact details.
Do they have a refund policy?
Offline stores have a refund policy and you go into the store, physically select the product and are then allowed to return it for whatever reason. If a refund policy is important in offline stores, it’s twice as important for online stores. The internet in convenience surpasses the offline world when it comes to shopping – but one thing it can’t match is that offline you can physically touch the product. Therefore a refund policy of 30 days is great, more is better. No refund policy and I would stay away.
Do they send you some sort of confirmation when you place your order?
When you place your order what you need is something to tell you they have receive it, a receipt if you like. A reputable company will either issue you one via email or display a new page of their website where they thank you and tell you the order went through okay and your product is on its way.
When do they deliver?
What times do they deliver during the day?
Do they deliver on the weekends?
Can you choose a time to have your gift delivered?
Will it be delivered personally to the recipient intended or will the courier leave it outside their door?
How will your gift arrive?
If its flowers, will it come with a vase or in a nice box or wrapped?
Will your bouquet contain flower care instructions?
How about flower food to make your flowers last longer?
If you’ve ordered another gift product, will they wrap it?
In what kind of material will they deliver it?
Do they tell you these things on their website?
How long have they been in business?
This may not mean too much. There are companies that start off and surpass all others. But perhaps for your peace of mind, you may want to use an online store that has been in business for some years. To check the history of the company is easy.
You can go to networksolutions.com and click on “whois” on the top bar. You will be taken to a page where you can enter the web address of the online store you want to check and you will receive the relevant information.
Is the online store’s site easy to use?
Is navigating easy?
Is looking for products easy?
Do their graphics download in a reasonable time?
A sure sign of an amateur sight is if they have their website cluttered with information.
Have they gotten any bad reviews?
A reputable company isn’t necessary one that hasn’t any bad reviews to its name. It’s virtually impossible to please everyone. There have been companies I have bought from and absolutely loved. So it surprises me sometimes when I stumble on a bad review about their products or even bad comments about them.
So when is a bad comment about a company worth considering?
I take note of reviews where the writer complains of:
not receiving the product
not receiving a refund
not having their emails answered
If you want to see what kind of reviews a company may have, click on alexa.com. When you get to the website, type in the address of the store you want to check out. This will also show you how long the company has been in business.
Online shopping is fun. Take a little care and make it an experience! Happy shopping!
Tip of The Day – Shop at bulk stores. Bulk stores allow you to get massive amounts of products at a steep discount. If you want to save money in the long run, buying from these stores (and then storing the remaining quantities of the item) is the way to go.
Although telemarketing calls should diminish, especially if you’ve registered for the national do-not-call list, scam artists are still out there hoping to con you out of your hard earned money. Scam artists don’t care about breaking telemarketing sales rules because most are fly-by-night operations that change names and locations quickly before they are caught by authorities.
Fraudulent telemarketers’ favorite victims are the elderly and those on fixed incomes. Why? Because it’s easy for the phony telemarketer to get them to let their guard down especially when they hear “you’ve won a prize!” After all, we all like to win things don’t we? The problem here is that the caller asks you to send them money in order to claim your prize.
Don’t send any caller money if they :
1) Refuse to stop “selling” when you say “no”.
2) Ask for a credit card number in order for you to claim your prize.
3) Offer to send a representative or courier to pick up a fee associated with winning a prize.
4) Claim another company you dealt with went out of business but you can still claim your prize for a fee.
5) Offer to recover money you’ve lost in a previous con for a recovery fee.
6) Try to convince you that this is a once in a lifetime offer and that you must act now.
7) Refuse to send you anything in writing to verify your prize.
8) Claim that the promised prize is guaranteed.
9) Introduce you to a supervisor who congratulates you on being such a lucky person.
10) Introduce you to a supervisor who verifies you as the guaranteed winner.
Anytime you are contacted by a caller and asked to send money in order to claim a prize, you should:
1) Ask them to remove your name and number from their contact list.
2) Answer any sales pitch or fee request by saying “no” and end the call immediately, even if the caller continues to talk.
3) Contact your state attorney general’s office or your local better business bureau.
4) Contact your local police department and report any suspicious telemarketing calls.
Fraudulent telemarketers are criminals. You win the real prize when you don’t fall for their phony telephone lines.
Tip of The Day – Shop for clothes at second hand stores. Second hand stores often offer high-quality clothing for a mere fraction of the store price. Instead of spending all of your money on expensive brands at retail stores, consider getting the same items second hand.
There are plenty of reasons why your cat loves you. Ten of the main reasons are listed below. Enjoy!
1. You provide food – Cats love food and they love you for giving them that food. If it wasn’t for you, they’d go hungry, and of course, if it wasn’t for you, they wouldn’t get those tasty scraps of meat after a meal. Those crunchy little biscuits aren’t half bad either.
2. You clean the litter tray – You always keep their bathroom area very clean. After all, cats are very clean animals, and they’re very appreciative of the work you do in cleaning out their litter tray, as well as the area around it. Poor things, they can’t help spraying litter all over the floor!
3. You are a great companion – You’re always there to play with them, whether it be with a piece of string or with a toy mouse which looks so amazingly real yet it magically comes back to life every time its head has just been chewed on for five minutes by your cat!
4. You’re comfortable to sit (and sleep) on – On those cold dark evenings, you’re always there to be sat on and nuzzled into. You’re so warm compared to some of the places they could sleep, and the gap between your knees makes a great paw warmer!
5. You provide shelter – They have a whole house to themselves thanks to you. While it’s raining outside they can cheerfully look out the window at all the other poor animals that have to put up with the rain. There’s always a corner in your house where they can curl up and go to sleep as well. Luxury!
6. You’re bigger than any dog – You’re (almost) always there to fend off any nasty big dogs that could eat them whole and they appreciate this greatly. Especially at the vets when a huge hairy dog is eyeing them up, they know that you’re behind them so they’ll be safe.
7. You always know where to scratch – Whether it’s behind the ears, under the chin, or on their stomach, cats just love the way you always scratch, stroke, and pet them. Its one of the things they love most, and they love you for it, and when you get that special brush out, it’s just the best thing in the world!
8. You always talk back – Whenever they meow, you always give a consoling reply either in native cat language by meowing back, or by saying something in a high pitched voice that only babies would understand!
9. You provide things to claw – Whether it is furniture, carpet, or a delicate set of curtains, there’s always something for your cat to get their claws into. What would they do without all the clawing material you provide…? It’s possible that they might consider using the specially designed scratch post that you bought for them.
10. You love them – The greatest reason of all, which encompasses all those mentioned above. They love you because you love them. Well, those were ten of the main reasons your cat loves you. I’m sure you related to most, if not all, of them. Rest assured, your cat does love you, because they couldn’t live without you, just as you couldn’t live without them!
Tip of The Day – Meet with a financial planner. A financial planner can help you to visualize your future; and how it will be shaped by savings decisions today. Do this as soon as possible, and get yourself in a plan.
For any of you Moms out there that are doing it all, attempting to gain Super Mom status, let me give you my own personal opinion…It’s not worth it!!! The pursuit of the Super Mom is an endless search that will be of great cost to you in the end.
Here are 10 reasons why you need to put an immediate halt to this pursuit:
#8 – Your quality of life will immediately improve. When you make the decision to give yourself a break and do your own personal best instead of 100% perfect, a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders. Anxiety and depression can be an end result of unrealistic standards that you consistently place on yourself.
#10 – Continuing to admire women who can do it all will continue to place unrealistic demands on mothers to do it all. Let’s start to admire the mothers who take time to nurture themselves. Let’s admire the women who can enjoy the time with the kids at the playground and be really present when they are reading to their children. Let’s toast the Moms who admit they can’t do it all, all the time. Let’s congratulate women on their honesty and ability to ask for help. Let’s start to celebrate our imperfections instead of beating ourselves up over them. Let’s stop judging each other and offer support instead.
We are not perfect creatures nor were we meant to be. So why are we trying to be??? Wouldn’t Motherhood be a lot more fun if it didn’t have to be perfect? If you want to start taking better care of yourself as a mother and a woman, I give you the permission to do so!
Tip of The Day – Don’t become addicted to spending. Some of us gain pleasure simply by spending money. If you are one of those people, practice disciplining yourself by not blowing cash simply when you feel depressed or down.
With all of this corona virus action still going on my girls spend more time inside. This means that automatically they watch more television, which is something I don’t want them to do. Don’t get me wrong I can honestly say that I have become a great fan of Mickey Mouse and World Party “thanks to my girls” but, I do not want them glue to the TV the whole day.
I want them to use their imagination, learn new things and get rid of some energy. So, I schedule many activities with them during the day. In return I see that they have less time to pull each others hair because they are busy having fun. However, they are not the only ones enjoying themselves; they are giving me more space when engaged on individual activities and better yet! I am also having more fun with them. Yes, I have released my inner kid and you can too.
Here is a list of fun thing to do with kids at home:
• Always have plenty of crayons and a special place for your kids. So, that they can use just for creating their little Picasso drawings. Make sure you praise their efforts. The special place can be a little activity table or even in the floor.
• Always have at home: construction paper, glue, children scissors etc. have them create paper crafts. For example draw a heart cut it, pasted with glue on construction paper, and add some glue with glitter for decorative purposes.
• Put on children’s music and dance like there is no tomorrow with them. If you are truly in the mood of superstar/goofy then you can pretend to sing with a microphone and have your kids play their toy instruments and vice versa.
• For special days such as holiday’s and birthdays make easy to do crafts with your child and give crafts to friends and family as gifts. Don’t forget to tell your love ones how much help you got from your little assistants.
• Bake cookies or cake and let them help you.
• Challenge your little Einstein’s brain with blocks and puzzles.
• Read stories
• Play dress up
• Hide a toy and help them find it by leaving little clues like blues clues cartoon.
• Play games similar to Simon says, hide and seek etc.
Tip of The Day – Base grocery shopping and meal plans around the availability of coupons. Instead of using a fixed menu to buy groceries, create your menu to fit the availability of coupons for a particular week. This will ensure that you save as much as is possible each time you grocery shop.
Instead of burning or direct composting, beg, borrow or even buy, if the quantity justifies the price, an electric garden muncher. Branches up to an inch in diameter are posted into a slot and the machine munches them up into small chips. Spread these chips thickly around shrubs or fruit trees to help keep moisture in, and control the temperature of the soil.
All food waste must be composted. Composting is becoming quite an art form, and special composting bins can be bought, or very simply made. There are many different theories and each gardener will find his or her preferred way. Keeping the compost fairly warm is the overall key to a good result. Or, if you’re in no hurry, simply keep adding to a heap, and dig out the bottom when required. Sieve before using and the compost will be ready for planting small plants and even seeds.
Keep old roller painting trays and similar containers for seed trays. Punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Add a little fine gravel before filling with seed compost. Seed trays shouldn’t be deeper than 15cm.
Glass jars with sealable lids are excellent for storing seeds, beans and peas for planting next year. (Safe from mice as well) After washing the jars, dry in the oven to remove all traces of moisture before storing your seeds. Collect dark glass jars, or wrap paper round clear jars to prevent seeds being damaged by light.
Make mini-cloches with discarded or broken wire coat hangers. Pull into a square shape. Place the hook in the soil and push down gently until the natural bend in the wire rests on top of the soil. Place another a short distance away in your seed bed to create two ends of a cloche. Now throw over a sheet of plastic and hold down with logs or stones. Note: this will work only when creating very small cloches.
Keep any clear plastic containers that could be placed upside down over a plant. Cut a mineral water bottle in half to make two handy individual cloches. Large sheets of clear plastic from packaged household items are fine for throwing over mini coat hanger cloches.
Keep aluminium tops from milk or juice bottles, and also coloured foil around beer or wine bottles. Thread together to maka bird scarer. Simply thread with thick cotton and hang on your fruit bushes before the birds find the new fruits.
Look out for other tools for the garden from kitchen throwaways such as: old kitchen spoons and forks for transplanting tiny plants in the greenhouse. Leaky buckets for harvesting small quantities of potatoes, carrots etc; light wooden boxes for harvesting salads through the summer, and transporting pots etc; Keep an eye on that rubbish bag and turn today’s throwaways into tomorrow’s tools!
Tip of The Day – Invest more time into comparison-shopping for expensive products. When it comes to high-ticket items, spend extra time doing comparison shopping. Consider using eBay, Google Shopping, and other online platforms to compare prices, so that you get the best deal.
So, you’re looking for an apartment to rent or share with a roommate. Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced apartment-hunter, it’s worth taking the time to decide what’s most important to you in where you live and to plan your search strategy accordingly. With that in mind, here are eight tips to consider:
Do you need extra parking spaces? A place that welcomes pets? A large kitchen or linen closet? A ground-floor entrance to your home? Or what? Thinking through your needs ahead of time can help you find an apartment that meets those needs, instead of one that just strikes your fancy at first glance.
In addition to examining the condition of the for-rent unit, walk through the property to see whether it appears to be well-maintained. Is the landscaping healthy or dying? Nicely trimmed or growing wild? Are any windows, steps or railings broken or dangerous? Do the access doors open easily and shut tightly? Walk through at night, too. Are the parking areas and pathways well lit? What about the stairwells and hallways?
If you’re serious about a particular apartment, knock on a few doors and ask your potential neighbors whether they’re satisfied with the building’s amenities, management’s responsiveness to repair needs and other issues of concern to you. Ask: Would you tell a friend to move into this building?
A lease is a legal obligation to pay rent for a specified length of time, and every lease has variations on the terms and conditions of tenancy. How much notice must you give before moving at the end of the lease term? Can the rent be increased? Are pets allowed? What provisions cover your security deposit and end-of-lease cleaning costs? If the terms of the lease agreement don’t suit your needs, negotiate or reconsider renting the apartment.
Does the building have controlled access? If so, are the exterior security gates and doors closed? Are the locks in working order? Does your individual unit have secure door locks and window latches? (Some states have specific laws regarding minimum security devices for apartment units.) Does the building have a security service? If so, is a guard on duty 24 hours or does he or she just drive by periodically?
Does the building have a swimming pool? A recreation or fitness room? Tennis courts? Laundry facilities? Who is allowed to use those facilities and during what hours? Is there an extra fee charged for use of the facilities? Where are the facilities located in relation to your prospective apartment? Do you really want to live poolside or near the laundry room?
Before you move in, document the condition of your unit and make note of any nonfunctioning doors or windows, leaking plumbing, missing fixtures, stained carpets and so on. Ask your landlord to initial a copy of your documentation to prevent disputes when you eventually move out. Better yet, take pictures or make a video of the premises before you bring in any of your furniture or belongings.
Tip of The Day – Hold a yard sale or setup a booth at a flea market. Holding a yard sale or setting up a booth at a flea market will help you to get rid of the junk accumulating in your closets; and b) pick up some extra cash.