Monday, September 29, 2008

Dave Ramsey's Idea for Washington's Bailout Plan

I'm no financial/Wall Street genious, but I do trust Dave Ramsey and when I read his opinions on this now-failed bailout program I just had to share it with everyone I could!

Merrill Lynch was sitting with $30 billion tied up in sub-prime loans with houses. Stupid! They get what they deserve for doing that, and I'm with you on that. Those houses didn't become worthless all of a sudden because those people couldn't sell their bonds. Since they couldn't sell them, they basically gave them away for 22 cents on the dollar. Now do you think all those houses lost 80% of their value underneath that deal? No, they didn't, so they gave them away for 22 cents on the dollar (about $6 billion total) because there was no market for them. Nobody wants to buy sub-prime bonds because they suck. They're junk bonds. But at 22 cents on the dollar, it's a bargain because even if you foreclosed on every one of the houses in there, you'd probably get $20 billion back out of $30 billion, and so the company that bought those for $6 billion got a deal! But there's no market for them. That's where these companies are stuck. They can't sell this stuff, but accounting-wise, they've had to mark it down to market and it's frozen the marketplace.

Economist Wesbury is saying that if we change that one rule and don't force them to mark down to market value and just let them hold on to all the stuff, and say just on sub-primes for this period of time you can change that rule -- a temporary change -- that'll free the market up. It's seized right now; it's frozen. This will thaw it out and get it going again. He says that'll solve 60% of the problem ... and I think he's right.

That one accounting rule is what made Merrill Lynch sell out. That one accounting rule is what's driving other ones into the dirt. Would you rather let them change their accounting rule or loan them $700 billion for us to buyout their bad paper?

I'd rather them work their own crap out than have us bail them out with $700 billion of our tax dollars.

Can I get an AMEN?!

Now what do we do? Here's what Dave has to say:

Call your Congressman. Call your Senator. Tell them to change the mark-to-market accounting law and to extend insurance but extend no loans. If they extend loans - if they borrow the money on the national debt in order for us to all go into the mortgage business a trillion dollars - you're going to fire their butts and send them home.

I've talked with several people today, and it's on the tables in Washington, but it's not something you're going to see on TV. If you'll let your Congressmen know you know about this and that you'll vote against them if they don't vote to change the mark-to-market law and you'll contribute your money to make sure they never serve in office again. That's what you need to tell them early and often.

If you're p*ssed, this is the time to step up and do something about it, America! You can stop this! It's being railroaded down your throat, but you can stop them if you call them in mass starting now. READY ... SET ... GO!


Your representative
Your senators
Senate committee

I can't get the links for 'Your representative' or 'Senate Committee' to work. I'll try again later. In the meantime go here to read the rest of what Dave has to say.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Children Should Be Seen AND Heard

I've always struggled with feelings of not being 'good enough'. Because of this I don't take 'constructive criticism' very well and this has caused me a few problems over the years (but that's a whole different post for another day!).

But the other day my sweet mother-in-law complimented me on something I didn't even realize that I do and it really made me feel good. She said that I really listen to my kids. She said that back when she grew up kids were expected to be seen only and not heard and that she so wishes that she would have took the time to listen to her kids the way she sees me doing with ours.

She said that the night of our car accident when we were sitting at her dining room table (they had taken the kids home with them while I was getting X-rays taken at the ER and we had to go pick them up) that even though it was mainly us adults talking that I would stop and really listen when one of the kids said something. They had just been through something very scary and what they were feeling was very real to them and they needed to talk about it. It's our job to help them understand and work through things. How can we do that if we don't listen to what they have to say?

I never really thought about it, it's just what I do. It just comes natural. Even though they're little they're still people, individuals with real feelings and real thoughts and that's important. How would I feel if whenever I tried to say something or voice my opinion I was constantly ignored or told to 'go play'?

Even Jesus listened to the little ones. Remember how He said, 'suffer not the little children to come unto me'? I can just see him drawing them onto his lap and talking to them and listening to all the things they had to say to Him, silliness and all, and thoroughly enjoying it!

No, everything that comes out of their mouths is not necessarily interesting and a lot of it doesn't even make sense but to them it's important and even more important is that they know they are heard and loved. I encourage you to take the time to stop and listen to your children as much as you can. It will mean the world to them and it will really strengthen the bond the two of you share. If they grow up knowing that you will listen when they they have something to say as they get older they will feel more comfortable coming to you with the more important things. And isn't that what we all want?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mr. Smith Was A Smart Man

"Boys forget what their country means by just reading 'the land of the free' in history books. Then they get to be men and they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say, 'I'm free... to think and to speak'. My ancestors couldn't, I can. And my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that."

-Baby Gir's favorite quote by Jimmy Stewart from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. seems fitting for today's time, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Help With Cutting Your Grocery Bill

As I mentioned before, we are adjusting our budget here and there and one thing that has recently changed is my grocery amount. You would think that I would be upset and stressed over this, but actually just the opposite is true. Before I didn't have to worry about what I bought because I knew I had enough to get us through the month. But now I have to have a plan, a menu, and a shopping list based on that menu. The organization of it all fits my personality much better and I really enjoy finding the very best deals I can.

Sounds crazy, huh? Being happier with having a smaller amount of money to work with? But it's true. See, before there were no boundaries. I was just kind of out there flying by the seat of my pants and not being a good steward of what God had blessed us with. I'd just walk in the store and buy whatever looked good and whatever I thought we needed at the time. The thing is, I never sat down and made out a menu or a list and because there was no 'plan' I was having to run out to the store nearly every day or two to pick something up we needed. This smaller budget is a testimony to our desire to better use what we have been blessed with and to teach our children to do the same. Not only will we be saving money but I'll be less stressed because I won't have to worry what we'll be eating each day and I'll save time and gas because everything I need will already be in my kitchen! I'm so excited!

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm no expert. I've learned that it's a gradual process that takes time and learning. In addition to having a menu and shopping list I have found that shopping alone and only after I've eaten really helps cut down on what I buy as well.

I have also started using coupons just as much as I possibly can and it helps SO much. I get so many things for free or very, very cheap. And honestly, I depend on others to know where the deals are each week simply because I don't have the time to figure it all out. But just look at this HUGE list of deals and the coupons that match up with them at Wal-Mart this week! Did you notice the final price for all of those items?! Now THAT'S exciting, no?!

I've collected several blogs and websites I depend on to help me find good deals and coupons as well as recipes, tips, and advice so I thought I'd share them here in case anyone else is trying to lower their grocery bill as well. (When I say 'grocery' bill I also mean things such as bathroom tissue, soap, cleaning supplies, etc. All those other things we usually buy on a regular basis in addition to food).

Deal Seeking Mom
Economic Endevours
Money Saving Mom
My Two Cents
Stretching A Buck
Grocery Cart Challenge

Also, be SURE to check out the Hillbilly Housewife website. Here is a link to her Healthy pages in case anyone is interested, but there is a wealth of information all over her site.

Another blog I used to read is no longer around, but here are the blogs she had on her blogroll (sorry, this is just the name of them, not their links). I haven't checked them all out so be forewarned. But they appear to mostly be about money in some form or fashion. Maybe you'll find a treasure in there somewhere.

All Financial Matters
Ambie Bride
Blog Catalog
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity
Centsible Shopper
Cheap Danny
Chief Family Officer
Consumerism Commentary
Coupon Cravings
Creative Cents
Finance Hub
Five Cent Nickel
Five Minutes For Mom
Free 2 Be Frugal
Free Money Finance
Freebies 4 Mom
Frugal Dad
Frugal Family Kitchen
Frugal Shopping With Julie
Garden of Blessings
Get Rich Slowly
Goo Goo Buy Buy
Half Price Bob
Homemaker Barbi
Hot Coupon World
I've Paid For this Twice Already
Mighty Bargain Hunter
Millk Allergy Mom
Mommy Snacks
Money Saving Mom
More Rebates!
No Credit Needed
Northern Cheapskate
Rather Be Shopping
Sense To Save
Stretching a Buck
Supermarket Savings 101
The "Cent"sible Sawyer
The Coupon Diva
The Mom Blogs
The New Frugal Mom
Why Ask Why

Is Your Home Welcoming?

Listen to (or read?) this excerpt from the book I mentioned in my previous post...

"Like a personal introduction, your home's exterior should extend a warm welcome to friends and family alike, giving them a glimpse of what is yet to come.

When we lived in Dallas, there was a charming home that I would go out of my way to drive past. It was a rather small house on a somewhat busy street, but it was a house that was obvioulsy overflowing with love and care. Just driving past it made me smile. I often fought the urge to go up to the front door and knock, just so I could meet the owners and solve my curiosity about what kind of people would live there. I knew they must be warm and friendly; their hom's exterior said so. The sidewalks were lined with a rainbow of colorful flowers. There was a huge American flag blowing in the breeze. The front porch help a few wicker rockers and an old armoire that seemed to say, "Come on in, you're home!" A silly, painted wooden cow grazing in the green grass told me that the owners had a sense of humor. What does your home's exterior say about you? Making our entrances pleasing to the eye may bless more people than we think."

What about your home? Does it draw people in and wrap them in warmth, welcoming them? Does pulling up to your home make you smile and sigh a peaceful sigh? While the front of our home isn't necessarily bad, it is far from where I'd like it to be. I have so many ideas I'd like to do, all of which cost money so it will be a gradual process, but I can't wait to get started! I'll keep you updated.

To Paint or Not To Paint?

I have been reading a wonderful book entitled Creating a SenseSational Home by Terry Willits and in it she gives ideas for making the entrance to your home welcoming and inviting.

This morning, while spraying off my front porch the idea hit me to maybe paint the ole' ugly thing. It's concrete and several years ago some oil spilled on it and no matter what we try that stain simply won't out. I Googled some images of painted concrete porches and saw some that looked really nice. However, the thought of actually doing it terrifies me! What color should I do? What if I mess it up? What if it looks horrible, then what?

What do you think? Have any of you done this? Any tips or ideas?

I have a lot of other ideas in mind to transform the front of our home into a cozy and welcoming place, but I guess I need to decide on this project first. Any advice?

September 17: Homeschool Freebie of the Day

Today's Homeschool Freebie of the Day is...

The Absurd ABC by Walter Crane (PDF ebook) - Today’s resource is this delightfully illustrated ABC book, created by the 19th century illustrator, Walter Crane, who illustrated many early picture books for children. Beautifully crafted, with fun nonsense rhymes for each letter. Check it out!

Click here for today’s resource

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

September 16: Homeschool Freebie of the Day

Today's Homeschool Freebie of the Day is...

Stories to Tell to Children (& How to Tell Them) by Sarah Cone Bryant (PDF ebook) - This classic collection of stories to be told to children includes some great introductory chapters on “Suggestions for Storytellers” and “How to Teach English Using Stories”, and then offers up dozens of classic stories for children, including fairy tales, true life stories, poems, folk tales, fables and much more. Great material here that will entertain and enthrall young listeners!

Click here for today’s resource!

Free 'Slavery in North America' Lapbook

Just thought I'd give you the heads up to the current free ebook over at CurrClick. It's 'Slavery in North America' lapbook and it's from Hands of a Child, a company I LOVE to purchase from. They have wonderful hands-on lapbooks for just about any subject you can think of.

This would make a perfect go-along for the book Who Owns the Sun? for all you Five in a Row mommas, or any study on slavery for that matter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Funny... Insulting Gifts From a Mother-in-Law

Growing up my favorite game show to watch was Family Fued. It is now Baby Girl's favorite as well. How funny is that? I didn't even encourage it. She just started watching it recently and informed me that it was her favorite.

Tonight she was watching it and one of the surveys was "Name a gift that might be insulting if a woman received it from her mother-in-law". I got SO tickled at some of the answers so I thought I'd share them here. (For the record, I guessed 4 of them correctly!)

1. Cookbook
2. Cleaning Supplies
3. Lingerie/Clothes
4. Diet Pills/Gym
5. Deodorant
6. C*ndoms
7. Kitchen Appliance (Hey, I'd just say "Cha Ching" to this one! LOL)

Have you ever received anything from your mother-in-law that you could add to this list? I'd love to hear about it!

Keeping the Home in Homeschooling

Laura has an awesome article posted on her blog today about home-centered learning. Here's just a few short excerpts...

"Too many parents see their homes only through the lenses of institutional education. Rather than finding joy and freedom in their homeschooling experience, they find themselves in bondage to cultural models of education defined by textbooks, workbooks, classrooms, age-grade norms, testing and grading.

Fortunately, we discovered early in our homeschool experience that textbooks and formal curricula are artificial means of education. Rather than unleashing learning potential, they hold it back. For us as parents, they created a false security that we were doing enough, and a false confidence that our children were really learning. For our children, they created a false dependency on formal methods of learning, and a false distinction between learning and living. Conventional classroom methods diluted the wonder and joy of real learning, turning it into a tedious and burdensome task unrelated to real life at home.

On the other hand, our children naturally loved reading and being read to, talking about their own insights and ideas, learning through real life, and having lots of time to explore and learn on their own. The more we studied Scripture and observed our children, the more confident we became that this was how God designed children to live and learn. It was the liberation of learning in our home!

Your home can and should be a warm, vibrant place where your children love to learn as freely and as naturally as they love to play."

And my favorite quote from this article describes exactly how we feel about our homeschooling in our home...

"we can honestly say that there is no distinction in our home school between home and school - we are living to learn and learning to live all at the same time."

To read the rest of this article, go here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Coupon Overload!

They say experience is the best teacher and I have to admit, I've learned this particular lesson the hard way.

Never again will I let my coupons pile up. Oh. My. Gosh. I have just spent the past THREE DAYS clipping through months of coupon inserts (including many duplicates), separating and organizing them, and then placing them in my new coupon binder that I copied off of Alyssa. I have to say, I think that I'm really going to like this new system! I had been simply writing the date of the inserts with a big, bold marker on the front and clipping just the ones I needed to take on my planned store trips.

However, most of my trips to the store are, SURPRISE, not planned. So those stacks of coupon inserts were doing nothing more than taking up space and making a mess. They certainly weren't helping me save any money, which is kinda the whole reason for having coupons.

Now I can easily see what coupons I have any time I need to. Since my grocery budget has recently been reduced, I'm really hoping this will help me save more than I have in the past. Its funny how when you have a large grocery budget you don't really think about trying to save as much money as you can but take that excess money down to a more reasonable amount and boy oh boy does it become REALLY important to get the best bargains you can. I should have been doing that all along!

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

12 Things You Should Not Do to Your Husband

Doug Phillips from Vision Forum has a great post on his blog that puts into words pretty much how I feel about women and their role within the home and marriage. I know many see this as being old fashioned, but God's word never changes and obedience to it brings forth blessings.

I see SO many women today treating their husbands as if they are idiots and talking to them like they are children. This irritates me quicker than just about anything. Baby Girl enjoys watching a particular show on TV but the one thing neither of us can stand is the way the wife talks to her husband. It has provided many opportunities for us to discuss how wives should and should not speak to their husbands. This first quote from Doug's blog entry titled "12 Things You Should Not Do to Your Husband" is what caught my attention...

DO NOT treat your husband as one of your children. You are not running the household; he is. So no matter how busy you think you are or how many tasks you might have to perform at once you should not address your husband in this way: “Honey come here! Do this! Hold that! Grab this! Deal with this or that!” Now I am all for asking our husbands for help when he is available to give it, but bossing him around is not becoming to a wife. We must conduct ourselves as his help meet and not treat him as if the reverse were true.

Go here to read the rest.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

If You've Ever Felt Sad or Tired for No Reason...

Then you might want to try Levity Vitamins. I have a hard time making it through the winter months without dealing with a bit of depression, SAD they call it (Seasonal Affectivness Disorder I think) and taking Levity Vitamins help me feel more normal! My family LOVE Levity...LOL!

Here is a quote from their website...

"Millions of women don't feel their best and don't know why. They're not outright depressed, but they aren't really happy either. They eat too much or have gained weight lately. They find it hard to concentrate or have trouble sleeping. They feel tense, anxious, or irritable, or they're highly sensitive to criticism. They're tired and not very interested in sex (or even everyday life)."

They also have a book entitled "When Your Body Gets the Blues" and you can get a new hardback copy for FREE! It is really eye-opening about why women's bodies go through different emotions, why we feel the way we do and how to help feel better. I have this book and highly recommend it if you've ever dealt with feelings of depression or struggle to make it through those long, dreary winter months.

(And no, I don't make anything by telling you about this. I just thought it might help other moms out there enjoy their families a little more).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Possible Help for Hot Flashes

I am often the hottest one in the house and I know it's due to my hormones being out of whack. I just can't wait for menopause to hit! (Sarcastically rolling my eyes on that one).

I just read that someone who suffered for years with hot flashes started taking Bee Pollen and has been flash-free for years now! So, I thought I'd pass on this tidbit, hoping it might help someone. If you've tried this and it has worked for you please let us know.

I'm In The Potter's Hands

There was a couple who loved to visit England and shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery, especially tea cups.

One day in a tiny shop they saw an exquisite tea cup. "Oh! May we look at that one?" they asked. "We've never seen one quite so beautiful."

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the tea cup spoke.

"I haven't always been a tea cup, you know. There was a time when I was raw, ugly clay. But my master picked me up, molded me and squeezed me over and over until I cried out, 'Let me alone!' But he only smiled, 'Not yet.'

"Then he placed me on a wheel," the tea cup continued, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!' I screamed. But the master said, 'Not yet.'

"Next he put me in the oven. I never imagined such heat. I wondered why he wanted to incinerate me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the window and I could read his lips as He shook his head, 'Not yet.'

"Finally the door opened. He took me out of the oven and put me on the shelf to cool. 'There, that's better,' I breathed.

"But my relief didn't last very long, because the next thing I knew, he was brushing me and painting me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag.

"'Stop it, stop it!' I begged. He only nodded, 'Not yet.'

"Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, but this was much worse than the first time. This time the oven was twice as hot and I knew that I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening shaking his head saying, 'Not yet.'

"Then I realized there was no hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up.

"At that moment, the door finally opened and he took me out and set me gently back on the shelf. Then, an hour later he handed me a mirror and said, 'Now look at yourself.'

"Curiously I peered into the mirror--and gasped at my reflection, 'That's not me!" I exclaimed, "It can't be me! It's beautiful!'

"'I want you to understand,' he said, 'that I know how much it hurts to be molded and shaped, but if I had stopped, you would have dried into an ugly lump of clay. I know that it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumpled. I know that it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have had no strength. I know that the fumes were terrible when I brushed and painted you, but if I hadn't done that, you would have never reached your potential, nor would you have developed your own beautiful character. And if I hadn't put you back into the oven the second time, you would have eventually leaked and your color would have faded away. But now you are a strong, beautiful teacup fit for use at the finest table.'

"'You are now what I had in mind when I first formed you.'"

"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." (I Peter 4:12-13)