Thought Cloud

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Top Parenting Advice…What do you think?

Found some bits of advice from Zen Family Habits and wanted to hear what you think and what advice you have. 

1. Do not be a perfectionist.

This is probably the most important piece of information that I have found.  I can be a perfectionist which is a not a bad work.  Why should our kids be perfect in everything they do? I know we want them prepare them to succeed in life, but they should also be allowed to enjoy their youth.  The best way for them to learn is by doing it themselves and making mistakes.  Which leads to the second piece of advice....

2. Allow them as much independence as you possibly can.

This is hard for me, because I want to be the parent that does everything for my kids.  They have to be able to do for themselves.  Even if it is as simple as cutting their own meat! We cannot be there for them all the time, after all they do have to go to school!

3. Be present.

I hear what you are saying "Of course I'm present! I am always with my kids!" But are you always listening to them when they need you to be?  I have a 14 year old girl and the most important thing to her when I get home from work is for me to hear all about what happened during the day even if it does not involve her, but everything that went on in her friends' lives.  Sometimes, when I walk in the door, this is the last thing I want to hear about and I am terrible about letting her babble on and never hearing a word she said.  Show your child that you care about what is important to him/her.  Help them with their homework when they need help, listen to what they have to say! Especially when you do not want too or would rather be watching the baseball game. 

These are all things I strive for, but find I do not always practice. How do you help yourself remember things like this and keep them in practice?

What advice to you have???

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I'm Back!

So I tried blogging for a while last year and did not keep at it.  Life gets in the way sometimes.  I am back now.  Watch out!

I am no longer selling Pampered Chef, not because I do not absolutely love their product, but because I do not have the time to keep up with all that comes with having a direct selling business.  I switched jobs and the new one is requiring a lot more time and energy.  Besides, now that I am management, I cannot sell my ware to subordinate would look really bad! 

Kids are doing great....the teenager is a teenager and her mouth is probably going to keep getting her into a lot of trouble if she does not learn to keep it shut.  Lil Man is just as sweet as ever MOST OF THE TIME, but I think his teenmonster sister is rubbing off on him and he thinks he can be rude to people.  Working on nipping that in the butt!!

What are you doing to keep your kids busy this summer? 

We are starting to take up hiking in the Wildlife Refuge here in Southwest Oklahoma.  Its a ton of fun, but since the area has been under such a severe drought and heat wave we have to go hiking early to beat the heat.  Beautiful landscape around Lawton. 

We have also been horse back riding, to the OKC Zoo, and to the OKC Science Museum.  Most of the time though, the kids are at the community pool from the time it opens till it closes at 7.  At least they are not sitting inside playing video games all day!! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

10 Expenses You Don't Need

Confession: I hate to pay for parking. Unless it's as hot as Iraq or raining cats and dogs, I will do whatever it takes to find a legal space on the street, preferably free. And I'm good at it. It mainly takes faith, patience and experience. Recently, I found a spot on Chicago's North Avenue next to the famous Second City comedy club on a Saturday night, saving the $17 the building's garage demanded -- and the half-hour wait to climb the ramp after the show. I've done these kinds of things for years.

In the spirit of trading personal convenience for cold cash that remains in your wallet, here are nine other everyday expenses you don't need:

Banking Fees of All Sorts - Banking fees are generally small -- a couple dollars here, a couple dollars there -- but they can add up to hundreds throughout the year if you're not careful. Don't pay money just to manage your money. You can take easy steps to avoid these fees:

• Overdraft fees. Sign up for low-balance alerts via e-mail, and link your checking account to your savings account to move money as necessary to avoid $35 fees for insufficient funds.

• Checks and postage. Pay your bills electronically instead. You'll also avoid any late fees and black marks on your record if the postal service loses your payment.

• ATM fees. Know where your own bank's ATMs are located, even in other states, so you can save $3 every time you get cash out of the wall. Or consider switching to a bank that offers free ATM usage regardless of which bank's ATM you tap.

• Coin-counting commissions. Save the 5% it can cost you to cash in your nickels and quarters at the supermarket. Coin counting is gratis at hundreds of TD Bank branches in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida, whether or not you have an account. (Just pray the machine, called Penny Arcade, isn't down for service. That seems to happen a lot.)

Basic Investing Advice - There are plenty of wise reasons to engage a financial planner or adviser -- but there are also pointless ones. If all you want is help choosing mutual funds, especially if your choices are basic index funds inside a retirement plan, it's silly to fork over as much as 1.5% of your savings each year for someone to run a common software program to do this for you. You can arrange your money among different investments yourself or build a simple portfolio with little effort. Then rebalance every quarter or six months to restore your weightings.

By all means, get an excellent estate planner or an accountant when it's time to think about taxes and bequests. But you don't need help for everything.

Help Applying for Financial Aid - Commercial sites like will help you complete and submit the important application for student aid for $79.99. But at the U.S. Department of Education's site,, you can fill out the application for free -- with all sorts of guidance on how to assemble the proper personal information.

Pet Care - Pet-sitting is big business these days, with brand names, franchises, uniforms, logos, and even lobbyists and consultants. But if your little guys are healthy, you can save the $50-a-day boarding fee while you're on vacation by asking a responsible neighbor, friend or family member to feed, walk (if needed) and hang out for a bit with your cats and dogs -- provided you volunteer to do the same when they're away. Make sure your helper knows who your vet is, and, obviously, don't be so informal if your animals have health problems that mean you should board them with the doctor.

Insurance on Rental Cars - The rental-car clerk will offer you a collision-damage waiver (sometimes called a loss-damage waiver), which can cost $10 to $20 per day. The CDW shields you if the rental car is damaged or stolen. But as long as the rental is for personal use and you have collision coverage in your own auto-insurance policy, you're covered without the CDW (with the same deductibles that apply to your own car).

Your credit-card benefits supplement your auto coverage. Most cards will pick up your deductible, and premium cards offer beefier coverage. Keep in mind that credit-card protection doesn't include liability. And if you've dropped comprehensive or collision coverage on your policy, the rental car will not be covered if it is stolen or damaged in an accident.

Credit Reports - Don't fall for sites that offer "free" credit reports, which often end up enrolling you in expensive credit-monitoring programs that you usually don't need. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) once every 12 months at It's a good idea to stagger your reports -- getting a free one from each bureau every four months -- to keep an eye on the status of your credit and spot potential ID theft throughout the year.

Warranties - The other day I bought the snazziest new Samsung smart phone from T-Mobile at the fair price of $249. The sales rep couldn't let me go, however, without asking me to pay $125 more for insurance against me dropping the unit or otherwise ruining it. The cheaper electronics get, the less these warranties make sense. Same's true with appliances. Now, if I could insure the suits I take to the dry cleaners -- or the luggage the airlines throw around -- we might have something to talk about.

Shipping for Online Shopping - At, you can find coupons and codes to secure free (or deeply discounted) mailing or delivery from hundreds of retailers. Some of these are constant offers as long as you make a minimum order. Others are occasional deals with a limited life. And if there's no cost for mailing, you can't get hit with that mysterious charge for "handling," right?

Water - There are times you'll pay anything for a cold bottle of premium H2O. If you're driving through the desert, riding your bicycle on a hot day or dealing with grimy yellow stuff in your pipes, price is no object. Once while on vacation in Florida, a construction crew accidentally cut the water lines to our residence. Off to Wal-Mart it was -- or we would've been unable to cook, wash or even make coffee for 12 hours. But why pay for bottled water all the time? Is it actually safer? Bottled-water makers aren't required to test their water or make their test results public. And few brands reveal important details about the source of their water and what it contains. Heck, about 25% of bottled water actually comes from the same municipal sources that deliver water to your home.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Follow Up On An Earlier Post “Clever Ideas Worth Knowing...”

I have decided to do a follow-up on my “Clever Ideas Worth Knowing…” because I recently had to try a couple out. I’m grateful for these kinds of quick tips because they minimize my annoyance level and don’t require putting a dent in my bank account!!

Re-opening Envelopes: If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

When I returned from my ‘vacation’ to Chicago…oh how I wish I was still in the city…I was working on ‘thank you’ cards. After I sealed the first one up…OOOPPPSS….I forgot to put the small gift inside! I put the envelope in the freezer…it worked beautifully!! It even resealed afterwards. I was worried that it wouldn’t stay sealed so I put some cute stickers on it just to be safe. Saved me from having to use another envelope that would have given me an odd number of envelopes to go with the cards, which just happens to be one of my pet peeves.

Goodbye Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

These little bugs drive me nuts! I always think I’m losing my mind when I see them. They were a little out of control when I returned from vacation. They were living inside my ivy plant. Pulled out the Apple Cider Vinegar and dish soap and within a couple of days I didn’t have any in the house. I didn’t even mind the smell of the Apple Cider Vinegar! FANTASTIC!!

Newspaper Weeds Away: Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

One of my subscribers posted that she has been using wet newspapers in her garden for a long time. I haven’t had time to try that yet, but it is on my list. Thanks for letting us know that it works!! If anyone has another home remedies or quick household tips to share, please do.