Some ideas that are simply too good not to share!
Here are a few of my favorite things! (Do you hear that Sound of Music soundtrack playing?) =)
(This page is under construction. Check back to see what other awesome things you can find!)
The best lemonade I’ve ever had is homemade. Here’s my favorite recipe:
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (This should take about 6 good-sized lemons. Fish the seeds out with a fork. If you don’t have lemons, you can use store-bought lemon juice, but it will taste best fresh-squeezed, of course.)
1/2 cup agave nectar, or honey, or 2/3 cup sugar. (For sweeter lemonade use 2/3 cup agave or honey, or 1 cup sugar.)
Water and ice to make 1/2 gallon lemonade.
For special occasions, add 1 cup fresh or frozen berries, whole or mashed to release juices.
Because it’s hard to be happy when your finances are a disaster waiting to happen. Or happening.
Dave Ramsey’s Classes, Books and CDs.
This year for Christmas I asked for- and got!- Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University DVDs. My kids and I have been watching them together once a week for Family Night. (Read about what Family Night is in my post Airline Cable Bridges) And it is changing our lives! I really can’t say enough good about these classes.
His web site is pretty big, and sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. Here are some of my favorite things he offers.
Financial Peace University
This is the course I am doing with my kids. It’s a bit pricy- at least it was for me- but so very worth it! If you can’t afford the DVDs, consider getting his book, The Total Money Makeover. These are life-changing ideas about how to truly have financial peace in your life.
Baby Steps to Financial Peace. He has more information about how to do all of these on his web site.
1. Set aside $1,000 to start your emergency fund. ($500 if you are a lower income family)
2. Pay off all debt using the “Debt Snowball.” (See his site for more information.)
3. Set aside 3-6 months in savings.
4. Invest 15% in IRAs (retirement accounts)
5. Start a college fund for children
6. Pay of your home early
7. Build wealth and give! =)
A Free Service to help you find reliable people in your community who can help you with finances, taxes, real estate, and insurance. I’ve used these people twice now and have been very pleased both times. Dave goes out of his way to find people “with the heart of a teacher,” meaning people who can explain things so you understand what your doing. And it’s free all the way!
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When life is stressful, exercise helps me feel like I’m not completely falling apart. And like I have some control over something.
While my exercise of choice may be turning the pages of a good book, I feel better when I precede that with some off-the-couch workouts.
CrossFit is one of the best things I’ve found. And for those with younger ones in the house, or who like games, CrossFit Kids is awesome! (don’t be fooled into thinking the CFKids workout is going to be easy. CF is intense. Even the kids’ version.)
For scaled versions of the CrossFit workout, please visit BrandX. When you get there, click on today’s date (or another day, if you want a different workout) and scroll down till you see the administrator’s comments beside a picture of a big bulldog with his arms crossed. There you will find the scaled versions of the day’s workout. So, for example, today (March 6, 2012) has a workout called Klepto. Scroll down to the scaled workouts and see that the “Big Dogs” exercise as prescribed. Women who think they are men use “only”105 lbs instead of 145. The Pack uses 95 lbs, and the Puppies use 15-35 lbs. They don’t list Buttercups today, but that would often be me. If I was doing this workout, I would do the box jumps onto a stair in my house, and do the squats with 20 lbs if I was feeling great and my knees were not bothering me, and with my small 5 lb weights if my knees or back are bothering me (as they are today.) I turn on loud, fast music and have a tall glass of water nearby. It helps if my kids workout with me. =) (My rule: If you’re not doing CrossFit, you can’t hang around and watch. If you already finished, you get to cheer and clap for me while I gasp my way to the end.)
When I first started, I couldn’t even do the Buttercups. I had to scale back the number of times I did things, as well as the weights I used. So I might have done only 10 sit-ups each round instead of 30, or only 2 rounds instead of 4. Doing something is better than doing nothing. One round with 3 of everything is a great place to start if that’s all you can do.
I love that CrossFit changes the workout every day, so I don’t get bored doing the same thing over and over. I love that they are FREE- if I do it myself at home. (There are gyms, often in warehouses or someone’s garage, where you can exercise with company and get training on the right way to do a squat- which is a really good thing to know. The gyms are not free. But if you’ve never done these things before, please consider hooking up with a CF Trainer for a few weeks to learn how to not hurt yourself as you exercise.)
These websites post workouts of the day, and the idea is that they are things anyone can do at home. No gym fees of expensive equipment required. From Navy SEALS to Grandmas with bad backs, if you scale these workouts to fit your abilities, you can do them! The scaled workouts can be found here. Click on the date and scroll down to see how the regular, “big dog” workout is scaled (or made lighter) for the pack and the puppies. Sometimes there is even a buttercup workout listed. On the regular CrossFit site there are videos of all the exercises, so if you don’t know what a burpee is, you can watch a buff US Marine demonstrate it for you. Don’t be intimidated. You don’t have to look like him to exercise. And your doing this at home! No one will see if you look silly trying it out.
When our family first started CrossFit, we used cans of soup for weights. (Yep- we were buttercups.) When we got a little better, we put multiple cans into plastic bags to make heavier weights. You might want to get a jump rope, and consider hanging a pull-up bar in your bedroom door, like the one pictured below. For box jumps we jump onto the stairs in the house.
Because computers are wonderful and powerful, and we all need to know how to keep our family safe.
Like all moms, I’ve worried about what my kids are doing online. Like many moms, I’ve had to face the reality that some of the things my kids have been involved in have been less than safe. After finding out a child of mine was seriously addicted to pornography, we had a long talk and looked into several different options. Here are some things that really work– although none of them make up for honest discussions and hard core parenting.
Move ALL computers to regularly used living areas.
Eyes are one of the best deterrents to bad choices. If mom’s looking at you, you’re less likely to get into things you shouldn’t.
Get the internet off their phones, gaming systems, iPods and other electronic devices.
If they can take it to bed and hide under the covers with it, it shouldn’t have internet access. Having internet access 24/7 is not a right. Somehow the human race survived for thousands of years without it.
Do regular phone/ FaceBook/ email/ whatever checks.
Mom should know the passwords to EVERYONE’S accounts on everything. And she should use them for random spot checks of everything. Ask for your child’s phone (no allowing them time to delete anything) and read their messages, check their pictures, see what apps they have. Be nosey. It’s not mean. It means you care and are keeping them safe. This applies to Dad as well. Mom should have access to everything he does online. And vice versa. No secrets.
Use internet monitoring software.
Because Mom has to go grocery shopping from time to time, install something on your computer to monitor what’s happening when you’re not there. I chose to let my family know what I’d installed. If it’s to monitor your kids, you don’t legally have to tell them about it. (If they are computer geniuses, I’d think twice about announcing what software they have to disable to get around you.)
We tried just about everything out there, and had several problems with most of them. Usually the program makes things run more slowly or blocks things we really need- like homework sites. It’s frustrating beyond belief to try balancing a safe family safe and a useful internet experience.
This program can be installed in just a few minutes, can be downloaded online (so you don’t have to wait for shipping) and comes with honest-to-goodness 24/7 live, English-speaking, in the US, tech support. (I’ve used them a couple of times, and they are the best tech support I’ve ever experienced. Hands down.)
How it works: Install the program on your computer (there are both PC and Mac versions), and receive emails to the email address of your choice outlining everything that happens on the monitored computer. You can choose to monitor (or not to monitor) web sites, emails, chat rooms, even keystrokes. And the program runs invisibly. If you don’t know to look for it, you will never see it running.
How much it costs: $99.95 if you but it directly from eBlaster. I currently find it listed on Amazon for $81.98. This is for your first computer being monitored. There is a reduced price for additional computers.
Is it worth it? Yes. 100%. It works. After trying just about everything else out there, this was the first one I found that not only works- but lets us work while it’s working.
This was the best $99.95 I’ve ever spent on my family’s security. =)
In my post about the Angry Game, I talked about how my family practices Extreme Venting so we can move past the hurt and fear of new experiences, abuse, change, and other stressful events by playing the Angry Game! If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, check out my Angry Game post. =)
Here is a playlist of some of my family’s favorite Angry Game songs.
The iTunes links will take you to the albums on iTunes where you can find the individual songs.
(If you don’t yet have iTunes, it will first take you to a page where you can download it.)
the Amazon links are for the MP3 of the song only.
Of course, this is not even close to being a complete list. Any fast, loud song will do. Send me a note if you have other songs you think would be good additions to this list! =)