You might see this ad inside of youtube videos or on blog posts. Avoid it!!!! Do not click on it.
Somehow my dad accidentally clicked on it or downloaded something. We have had quite a time getting rid of this malware.
Just wanted to warn you all about this so that it doesn’t happen to you.
If you have had success permanently getting rid of the DOC to PDF toolbar, please let me know what you did. Thanks!
During the winter months, the indoor heat and outside cold air can dry out your skin. Although spring is officially here, many of us suffer with dry skin and eczema all year long. I have suffered with eczema and dry skin for over 20 years and have learned some tips along the way. Some of these may help you.
1. Moisturize frequently. It’s best to moisturize your skin within a few minutes of taking a shower or bath. This is because your pores are open and absorb the lotion. Moisturize troubled places throughout the day.
2. Use a humidifier. Heating systems blow hot dry air throughout our homes and work. Humidifiers help replace some of the moisture in the air, which will prevent your skin from drying out. Remember to clean your humidifier each week with vinegar.
3. Use fragrance free laundry detergent and fabric softener. This includes for your clothes, sheets, towels, or anything that touches your skin. Fragrances and chemicals can irritate sensitive skin and cause eczema to flare. Many times I will use vinegar for my fabric softener.
4. Carefully choose hand soaps. Many soaps today are antibacterial and harsh on sensitive skin. Dial, Softsoap, and many others cause my hands to crack and bleed. I do not use antibacterial hand soaps and I have not seen a difference in how often I get sick. The key is to wash your hands properly. Many times I will buy Ivory, Dove, Softsoap Cashmere, or something mild and dilute it into a foaming hand wash container. Undiluted soaps are thick and difficult to remove from your hands, which will dry them out further.
5. Do not hand wash dishes. I put as many dishes in the dishwasher as possible and the other items I wash by hand. Try to use a mild dish detergent for dishes that you must wash by hand. I like to use Ivory or Dawn with Olay. I have tried two bottles of Seventh Generation and both bottles caused a bad break out on my hands. Green products are not always better for skin.
6. Avoid super hot showers and baths. I’ve always enjoyed a really hot shower. The intense heat breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin. Instead, try a warm shower and try to limit time in the water. This one is the most difficult for me to follow.
7. Use mild cleaners. When I had children, I decided to let go of the harsh cleaning chemicals in my home. I couldn’t bear the thought of my little ones crawling around on floors cleaned in chemicals that could be harmful to them. I decided that for most of my cleaning I would use vinegar and water. After making the switch I noticed that my skin started to look better. The chemicals I was using to clean my home were causing eczema flare ups.
8. Consider herbal or natural remedies. Several years ago, I have a terrible break out on my hands. I had blisters on my hands and couldn’t figure out what was causing it. (I later found out that my husband had refilled the bathroom soap and it was a soap that I was allergic to.) I went to the health and herb store and the owner recommended that I take sulfur tablets. After just a few doses of sulfur, I noticed a dramatic difference in my skin. I don’t take it everyday, but it is something that I use whenever my skin gets out of control. Some folks like to take Vitamin E or Cod Liver Oil for their skin. Consult your doctor or local health store.
9. Know your triggers. For some people, it is chemicals. For others, it is animal hair. As you live with dry skin and eczema, you will learn the things that aggravate your skin. Do your best to avoid those triggers.
10. Seek professional help. For the most part, I have learned to keep my eczema under control. There have been times when I needed extra help from my doctor. Sometimes a prescription is necessary to keep skin calm. I keep prescription medication at home for bad flare ups.
These are just a few ways to help severe dry skin and eczema. Stay tuned for a list of my favorite products.
How do you deal with dry skin and eczema?
image (c) Karen Weideman
It’s almost July and it’s really hot outside! Some areas are lacking rain which can kill your lawn and garden. So how is a person supposed to keep their lawn and garden alive during times of summer heat and water restrictions? There are ways to use less water, save money, and not break those restrictions.
1. Use grey water to water your plants.
Grey water is simply the water that comes from washing your clothes, dishes, and taking a bath.
It is hot here in the south. There have been several summers that we have had water restrictions. During one of those times we had just planted some bushes in our flower beds. I didn’t want my bushes to die so whenever I gave my kids a bath, I wouldn’t drain the tub. I would scoop the water with buckets and carry it outside. Each bush got a full bucket of water each night which soaked the plant. It wasn’t as convenient as turning on the hose, but it kept my plants from dying. You might want to avoid using water with harsh detergents on fruit and vegetable plants.
2. Get a rain barrel.
You might be skeptical and think that you won’t get enough rain to fill up a rain barrel, but rain barrels can collect hundreds of gallons from one rain shower.
One year I had planted a new tree and along came another drought with water restrictions. I didn’t want my new expensive tree to die. Sometimes hot summers bring storms. I didn’t have a rain barrel, but I did have a big 55 gallon trash can. When I knew the storm was coming, I took the end spout off of my gutter and put my big trash can under the spout. I filled up the trash can, some buckets, and other trash cans I had around the house. I kept those barrels and cans under my carport to use for watering. (As always, use caution. You should not go outside and do this when it is lightning.)
A rain barrel continuously collects rain. You can attach a water hose to your rain barrel so that you can easily water your plants. If you are handy, you might consider watching Youtube videos or reading tutorials online for information on making your own rain barrel.
3. Place mulch, compost, or grass clippings around plants to keep the soil moist.
Don’t throw away your grass clippings. Use a bagger on your lawn mower and put those clippings in your garden. Mulch, compost, pine needles, and grass clippings keep the soil from drying out. It’s probably too late to make compost for this year’s garden, but you can begin this now for future use.
4. Water your plants and lawn in the evenings.
If you water your lawn and garden during the hottest times of the day the water will evaporate from the ground too quickly. To be more efficient with your watering, water during cooler times of the day. Watering at night will allow the water to soak into the ground and be useful to the plants before it evaporates.
5. Think of other nonconventional ways to collect water.
Several drought situations have caused me to really think about the liquid I was tossing down the sink.
Each day when I came home from work I would save the water I didn’t drink from my water jug. Save those few ounces of coffee from the coffee pot rather than pouring them out. Plants actually like coffee. Save the water from where you have boiled potatoes or pasta. Put a bucket in your shower while you are waiting for your shower water to warm up. Keep the water from your dehumidifier tank. If you stop and think about for a few minutes, we waste a lot of water each day.
This is a good start but certainly doesn’t cover all of the ways to save water on your lawn and garden. Please add your tips in the comments section below. Thanks!
Every now and then I like to post deals that I got and show you how much I saved. I don’t do this to brag but because I am excited about saving money and I want to inspire you to save. 🙂
Cuddlebug’s birthday is this week. He is my baby. He is my heart. I can’t believe he is turning six. Where has the time gone?
Cuddlebug’s interests have changed a lot over the past six years and then in a way, they really haven’t changed much at all. They have just developed more. He is still into cars, trucks, balls, and Magnext. His newest interest is badges and handcuffs. He says he wants to be a cop someday. It is bedtime and I’m feeling a big nostaligic so I better get on to the deals.
I have explained many times before about purchasing birthday and Christmas items throughout the year. Target is known to clearance their toys after Christmas (usually in January) and then in the summer (usually in July). There are some good clearance items other times of the year too. You just have to catch them at the right times.
When Target has their toys on clearance I usually take the opportunity to purchase things that I know my kids will like. I put them away for the next birthday or Christmas and this saves a lot of money.
Magnext magnet set – reg $19.99, $9.98 clearance
G.I. Joe R.H.I.N.O. vehicle – reg $49.99, $12.48 clearance
Air Hogs Moto Frenzy – reg $24.99, $6.24 clearance
Cherokee leather blue and orange shoes – reg $17.99, $4.48 clearance
Door hanger kit – reg $3.99, $.98 clearance
Animal adventure sticker book – $1.00 from Target dollar section
Color Wonder soft sticks – $1??
Everything I purchased came from Target except for the Color Wonder sticks.
At regular prices this would have cost around $122-$125 but I paid about $36. As you can see, shopping throughout the year saves a lot of money.
What deals have you found lately?
Image (c) Karen Weideman.
Last year I read about Robyn’s 38th birthday celebration, which was to complete 38 random acts of kindness. Robyn was pretty creative at fulfilling her tasks and it looks as though she and her family had a great time blessing others. Many people’s lives were touched by their acts of kindness and many more will be affected by reading her post.
We’ve heard stories of people paying it forward by paying someone else’s tab in the fast food drive-thru or at a restaurant. Some of you may feel discouraged by this because you don’t the extra money to help out someone else. I want you to know that random acts of kindness don’t have to cost anything.
Here are some inexpensive ideas to get you started . . .
1. Collect shoes for Samaritan’s Feet. You can host a shoe drive in your church, school, or community.
2. Visit a neighbor. Maybe take some baked goods.
3. Give compliments. Something as simple as “That color really looks good on you” can brighten someone else’s day. (I need to work on this one.)
4. Sing or play a musical instrument at a nursing home. When I used to visit my grandma, I would play Christmas songs and other music on the piano. It was a small act that brought joy to many.
5. Send a card. A simple “thinking of you” or “praying for you” goes a long way to making someone feel loved.
6. Right a wrong. Have you hurt someone else’s feelings? It’s never too late to mend broken fences. Make an effort to restore a broken relationship.
7. Rake leaves, plant flowers, or make repairs on an elderly person’s home. Many times they don’t have the physical ability or the money to pay someone for the work. It would mean so much to them.
8. Divide up your overflowing flower bulbs and share with someone else.
9. Pick up trash. This could be in your neighborhood or just a place you have noticed that needs cleaned.
10. Mentor a child. You can be a blessing to a child in need.
11. Babysit for a single or stressed out mom (for free, of course). Having a few hours alone can really help someone to feel refreshed.
12. Make cards and letters for deployed military or veterans.
13. Pass out sandwiches and hot chocolate to the homeless.
14. Volunteer at the homeless shelter. You can serve food or just be someone to talk to.
15. Write thank you notes for your child’s teacher and school administration. Educators have a tough job with little thanks.
16. Donate gently used toys, coats, and blankets to a ministry such as a women’s shelter.
17. Offer to run errands for someone. Call your neighbor to see if they need anything. This would be especially helpful to an elderly person or a mother with young children.
18. Save expired coupons to ship overseas to military families.
19. Take a friend out for coffee.
20. Make homemade bread, muffins, or goodies for work and put them in the breakroom.
21. Deliver dinners for Meals on Wheels.
22. Crochet hats for cancer patients or sew blankets for children who are hospitalized.
23. Clean houses for cancer patients.
24. Donate old towels, rugs, blankets to an animal shelter.
25. Volunteer at the local animal shelter.
26. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. We all make mistakes and are in different stages of life.
26. Get those free items with your coupons even if your family doesn’t use them. Donate the items.
27. Let someone go in front of you in line.
28. Take dinner to someone that is sick or is unable to cook for themselves.
29. Play some games at freerice.com. For each question you answer correctly, rice will be donated to the hungry. Sometimes I’ll play this game while I’m watching tv. It’s so easy to make a difference.
30. Help others learn to save money. 😀
Added later: Oops, I just noticed there are two of #26. haha I guess you are getting more than 30.
And just for fun . . .
32. Get involved in a church or community service project. When you get together with others, you can do a lot of good. Elevation Church just had their yearly Love Week where they encouraged their congregation to volunteer in their city of Charlotte, NC. Over 33,000 hours were volunteered. That’s awesome!
I know there are many other ways to show kindness without spending much money. Can you help me add to this list?
This is a rewrite from a post I did last year while working for another company. Image by sxc by andreyutzu.
One of many things I enjoy about using coupons and sales is that they enable me to help others. I may not have an abundance of money to donate, but I can make a big impact with very little out of pocket expense.
You may look at my website from time to time and think something like, ‘Why would she need 20 boxes of pasta? Who could eat all of that?’ Many times it’s not for me.
Pasta seems to be the thing this month that I can get for free or cheap, so I am “buying” lots of it. I haven’t kept much of it for my family. I’ve been donating it. I have taken it to the school for the food drive, given some to a fundraiser dinner for someone with high medical bills, and saved some for an elderly family member who has a very limited income. Just this week alone, I was able to purchase over 20 boxes of free pasta from Food Lion.
This method also applies to toys, school supplies, and other items. Many times I have taken advantage of 75% and 90% off toy sales. It makes it easier on the budget to donate for Christmas toy drives when you can get the toys inexpensively and you’re able to help more children because your money goes further.
When you’re walking through Harris Teeter on triple coupon day, try to get those free items even though you won’t use them. It’s those items that can really make a difference to someone in need.
I am a thrifty tightwad money saving bargain hunting cheapskate. It’s become second nature to me. In everything I purchase, I am looking for ways to save money. Many times I don’t even realize I’m doing it and then it eventually becomes obvious to me when I see the things that others are purchasing. I realize that many of us are trying to live a more frugal lifestyle these days. Here are some reasons to save.
No regrets – Have you ever purchased something and then later are left with buyer’s remorse? It’s an awful feeling. Or maybe you have been in a financial hard place and wish you had all the money back that you had frivilously spent. I’ve been there too. If only we could undo our mistakes. Unfortunately, we can’t have a do-over but we can learn from our errors.
Debt free life – Saving money allows you to have more money in your wallet. This enables you to pay cash for your purchases, save for the future, and live a debt free life. If you have high credit card payments, then you may not have the money to pay cash for every day purchases or you may not have saved for unexpected emergencies, so then you’ll end up charging those things you need. It all a vicious cycle.
Save for other purchases – By saving money on everything I buy, I am able to put money into my savings account for future purchases. Last year my husband and I purchased a new mattress set for our bedroom and put a down payment on our house. This year we purchased a used mini van, upgraded my kitchen appliances to stainless, and purchased an HE washer and dryer. All of these things were paid for with cash. Trust me, it’s not because we are rich. We are everyday people. We just save money in every way we can, look for the best deals, weigh our options, and pay cash for purchases.
Helping the environment – People that are seeking to save money and live frugally are usually environmental friendly. They spend less, consume less products, buy used, and try to use the things they already have.
Helping others – By living a thrifty lifestyle, I am able to help others in need. It may be by giving food and toiletries that I have purchased for really cheap or free with sales and coupons. It may be by using extra money that we have because we haven’t spent the money on extravagant items or car payments.
Why do you live a thrifty lifestyle?
As we all know, it’s back to school time. Many of you will be saving money by packing your children healthy lunches.
Here are some food safety tips, courtesy of NSF International, to help parents and children pack lunches safely:
- Consider packing foods that are nonperishable and won’t require refrigeration.
- If you do pack perishable foods such as luncheon meats or prepackaged cheese & crackers, include a frozen gel pack or a frozen juice carton with the food in an insulated lunch bag or box.
- Pack only the amount of perishable food that your child can eat at lunch.
- Preparing lunches the night before and storing it in the refrigerator until you pack your child’s lunchbox in the morning can help keep food cold longer the next day.
- Don’t reuse packaging materials such as paper or plastic bags, aluminum foil, etc. as they can contaminate other foods and cause foodborne illness. Have your child discard all used food packaging and paper bags after lunch.
- Before eating lunch or snacks at school, be sure your child knows to wash his or her hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Handwashing is one of the best ways kids and parents can protect health and stop the spread of germs.
Remember that perishable foods should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. If left out too long, the temperature of the food can enter the danger zone where bacteria grow most rapidly, which is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a teacher, I can tell you that I see many lunches without cold packs that contain lunch meat, mayonnaise, and other perishable items. Please don’t risk your child’s health. Follow these easy steps listed above.
We have a candy basket at our house. Every now and then it gets full and I have to clean it out. I find candy from Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and any other holiday inbetween. Truthfully, I don’t buy much of the candy. It trickles in from school, Sunday School, church activities, and it multiplies somehow.
Here are some tips for using up your leftover candy:
1. Use your candy to decorate cupcakes, cake, cookies, or as an ice cream topping. This week the kids are out of school. We made cupcakes and I let them help decorate them. We pulled out the candy basket. Some of the cupcakes have conversation hearts on top. We even opened some pixie sticks and sprinkled it on like it was colored sugar.
2. Take the candy to a group gathering. If I want to get rid of my candy quickly, I just take it to the youth group at church. It will be gone in one meeting. I’ve sent some in to Sunday School classes and brought some to my small group. You could also put a bowl on your desk at work or put it in the breakroom.
3. Give it to the needy. Send your candy to the local food bank. To help out, you could put it into little ziploc bags before you take it. They could easily stick a small bag of candy into each family’s box.
4. Put it in your cake batter or make ice cream. Have you ever had Snickers ice cream, Milky Way ice cream, or Butterfinger ice cream? I know someone that likes to make her own ice cream and these are some of their favorites. You can also cut up chocolate pieces and put it in to your batter. For more information, do an internet search for recipes.
5. Use it for shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse. Each year, our family puts together a few shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. I try to include a zipper baggie with a little candy inside. I usually don’t have to purchase any candy to do this. I just search through our candy basket and I can find lollipops, gum, and other hard candy.
What tips do you have for using leftover candy?
image (c) Karen Weideman
Yard sales are a lot of work, but they can be very profitable. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Go through closets, dressers, toys, cupboards, cabinets, bookcases, etc before the yard sale. Take out items that you no longer want and add them to your yard sale pile. It’s good to do this at least once a year. You may want to wait until spring when you’re doing your spring cleaning.
2. Find a decluttering buddy. I don’t know about you, but it is easier for me to get rid of things when I have some moral support. It helps to have someone that can honestly say, “That doesn’t look good on you. That’s out of style. You haven’t used that in years.” Sometimes a little nudge is all we need. Unfortunately, I don’t have a decluttering buddy.
4. Price as you go. As you find things in your home that you want to add to your yard sale, go ahead and take the few seconds to put a price on it. This will save a lot of time and aggravation on yard sale day.
4. Spread the word. Let you friends, family, and Sunday School class know that you’ll be having a yard sale.
5. If possible, post signs. We like to use the fluorescent poster board and thick black permanent markers for our signs. We have found that we do better with signs than with advertising. People stop by and say that they saw our signs.
6. Put your signs up the day before the sale so that people see them on their way home from work. Then they’ll think, “I’m going there tomorrow.” Otherwise, they might not be out and about the day of the sale.
7. Let friends and neighbors be a part. You can advertise the yard sale as a multi-family yard sale. This will let customers know that there will be more things and a bigger selection to choose from. Participants can also share in the advertising expenses.
8. Put a price on everything. Some people will walk away rather than asking the prices for things. Even if the item is 25 cents, you need a price on it. All those 25 cent items add up.
9. To save time, buy the premade price stickers. You can purchase these in the office supply departments at most stores. Recently, I even saw these in Dollar Tree.
10. If you’re selling an expensive item, take the time to print a copy of what the item cost new. I’m doing this with toys that were expensive. This helps the person to see that they are getting a good deal.
11. Advertise your yard sale, garage sale, or moving sale on Craigslist. It’s free!!!! Specify what you will be selling. Sometimes you can sell things before the yard sale starts.
12. Get up early the day of the sale. If your sale starts at 7 am, you may consider getting up at 5 am. This will allow you time to get everything organized and set out before customers begin to arrive. Some early morning commuters may even see you outside and stop on their way to work.
13. Specify if you don’t want “early birds”. Some people are pretty serious about shopping yard sales. They’ll come out as early as you’ll let them.
14. Look through purses, wallets, pant pockets, coat pockets, etc to make sure there is no money or credit cards. Someone once told me they paid $1 for a purse that had $10 inside.
15. Put attractive items in clear view. A lot of people are looking for furniture, so it would be wise to put the furniture where drivers can see it from the road.
16. Don’t pick a holiday weekend to have your sale. I remember we did this one time and we made less than $100. It was such a waste of our time.
17. Don’t have continual yard sales. You’ve seen people before who seem to be always having a yard sale. It gets old and then people don’t drop by their sale anymore. Plus, it’s tacky and your neighbors will be really annoyed.
18. Have change. It’s hard to determine how much change you’ll need and what kind of bills to get. It seems as though first thing in the morning you’ll have customer after customer with $20 bills. It’s really frustrating.
19. Guard your money. Unfortunately, sometimes thieves show up at yard sales. Usually every hour or so, I take my wad of cash out of my pocket or fanny pack (lol) and put it inside my house.
20. Have bags available for your customer’s purchases. I can’t stand plastic bags and I don’t understand it, but some people do like anything they purchase to be put into a bag. It’s a courtesy.
21. Be friendly. Greet each person or group that comes to your sell.
22. Group like items together. All of the Christmas items should be together in one area, the kitchen stuff in another area, baby clothes in another, and so on.
23. Sell miscellaneous items together. When we were moving, we sold a lot of odd things together in lots. We sold a large box of half used spray paint. It is better to sell it to someone that can use it, rather than throwing it away.
24. Get some baggies and rubber bands. The baggies and rubber bands will help to secure like items together or keep you from losing the pieces. Come sell day, it will be hard to make sure your customers get all the parts that go with their items.
25. Have an extra person around to help out. For me, this would be my husband. This insures that you’ll get potty breaks and be able to eat. It also helps so that you can talk to customers while someone else collects money or answers questions.
26. Check with your local government or homeowner’s association to see if there are any restrictions. Some areas require you to have a yard sale permit. Yep, just another way to make money.
27. When the yard sale is over, clean up your area and take down your signs. Don’t you just hate seeing signs that are several weeks old or searching for a yard sale that was probably last week?
28. Advertise. This could be in your local paper or in a free online ad. Regardless of where you decide, you’ll need help letting the public know of the sale.
29. Check your yard and make sure it’s safe. Wrap up garden hoses, fill any holes, and tape down extension cords or cables. You don’t want you visitors tripping and getting hurt.
30. Have a strategy in place for what you’ll do with the leftover items. Will you put them back in your house for another yard sale later in the summer? Will you give them to charity? Have a plan in place.
31. If possible, get someone to watch the kids. I can’t tell you the number of yard sales I’ve been to where the person’s children were out in the yard digging through their old stuff and getting upset that mom was getting rid of it. If you can’t get a sitter, then you need to have some discussions with your children before the day. Perhaps they could even help decide what they would like to sell.
What tips do you have for making your yard sale a success?