Archive for December, 2010
Water is Earth’s most valuable resource. Without it, we wouldn’t be here. So why is it that we insist on wasting such a precious commodity? The good news is that a few simple steps can help to conserve the water that is so vital to our survival, and the even better news is that conserving water might just save you some money in addition to saving the Earth. Here are 10 ways to conserve water at home:
- Fill the Sink: One practical way of conserving water is to fill the sink with water and use it for hand washing clothes, shaving or washing dishes. There’s no need
to waste running water if you are doing an activity that’s going to take a little while. You’d be amazed at how much you can do with just a sink full of water.
- Turn it Off: You can conserve water by turning it off. This doesn’t mean shut off your water completely, but rather turn it off when you are not really using it. For example, turn off the sink when you’re brushing your teeth or while you’re lathering your hair in the shower. Doing this will significantly reduce the amount of wasted water and make you more aware of your water use.
- Replace Your Old Toilet/Showerhead: Most old toilets and showerheads are big water wasters. Today’s new toilets and showerheads are equipped with water saving technology that makes them more efficient. Even low-tech methods like placing a brick in your toilet can make old water wasters more efficient. The bathroom is a great place to start when trying to conserve water.
- Check for Leaks: A good way to conserve water is to regularly check your pipes, faucets and other water equipment for leaks. Even the littlest leaks can produce the biggest waste. It’s important to fix leaks early so that they don’t worsen and waste any more water than they already have.
- Shorten Your Showers: Taking a shower wastes a significant amount of water. You can reduce your water consumption by shortening your showers. Try to double task, like washing your body while conditioning your hair in the shower to shorten your overall time, or simply move faster. Don’t limit this to showers only; this can be done for all washing and rinsing needs around the house.
- Use Water-Saving Appliances: If you want to make a significant difference in your water conservation, replace your appliances with more water efficient kinds. Clothes washers, dish washers, showers and toilets all have water saving models available that can save you loads of water (and money) over the long term.
- Collect Rain Water: Collecting rain water can leave you with gallons of free water that can be used for any purpose you can think of. From watering plants to washing the car, rain water is a great way to take advantage of Mother Nature’s water cycle in conserving what you use.
- Only Wash Full Loads of Laundry and Dishes: By washing full loads as opposed to partial ones, you maximize the work that a single amount of water can do, and that saves water over time. Some estimates are that washing only full loads can save almost 1,000 gallons of water per year. That’s a huge amount of savings for such a simple thing to do.
- Water Your Lawn Wisely: Watering your lawn increases your water usage, especially if you are watering too much or at the wrong times. Most lawns only need 1 inch of water each week, and you can see if your lawn is thirsty by stepping on the grass and seeing if it springs back up or not. You’ll need to water if it doesn’t spring back up. The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning because temperatures are generally cooler then and less water will evaporate from the lawn. But to truly conserve water, you can stop watering during dry spells and let the grass go brown. Cooler weather and rainfall will bring your lawn back to life in a natural and sustainable way.
- Use Your Water Fully: Sometimes there’s just no getting around using water. It’s a necessary ingredient in life. That’s why when you do use water for cooking, cleaning, drinking, bathing and other household needs you’ll want to be sure you are using it fully. For example, don’t just pour out water you didn’t drink from a glass &ndash pour it on a plant or the lawn to make sure your water is going somewhere beneficial. The more you use your water to its full capacity, the less you’ll use over time and the better it is for the environment.
Sorting the laundry is not necessarily a hard job but it can be time consuming. The time it takes for you to sort the laundry basically depends on two things: the size of your family and your lifestyle. Obviously, if you have a family of five you will spend more time sorting the laundry than someone with a family of two. Also, if you or another member of the family has a job that requires business attire, you might have to spend more time than someone who has to deal mostly with casual wear and sportswear.
While sorting the laundry takes time, it is well worth it as you can avoid laundry disasters such as your son’s favorite white T-shirt turning pink, or your husband’s favorite sweater coming back two sizes smaller. Today, clothing is not cheap, so you will want to protect the investment that you put into your wardrobe. The following are some helpful laundry sorting tips.
Check Clothing Tags
When washing an item for the first time, you should read the tag carefully to determine if that item needs special care. Many items will have normal washing instructions. However, you might find that many or your clothing items need to be hand washed and should not be placed in the dryer. When the tag says, “dry clean only” you will be safer following those instructions. Occasionally some people will disregard the instructions about dry cleaning and wash the item anyway. If you disregard laundering instructions you are taking a chance on ruining the garment.
Separate Delicate Items
Delicate things like lingerie should be washed separately. Lacy items or other delicates can be placed inside a pillowcase or a special laundry bag when you wash them. This will prevent them from getting tangled in with the rest of the laundry and possibly damaged.
It is most important to separate whites from other colors if you want them to stay white. One red item can turn an entire white wash load pink. Whites usually need to be washed in hot water.
Reds and most other colors can be mixed together to make a full load. However, you should be careful with darker denims. The dye may still bleed into the wash. It may be a good idea to wash these items separately.
Bedding and Linens
Towels and blankets are naturally lint producers. If you are concerned about getting lint on certain clothing items, you should wash towels and blankets separately. Sheets can sometimes be washed with other items, but most people like to wash them separately. When it comes to larger items such as quilts, it is usually necessary to wash them separately because of the space they take up in the machine. If you have a king or queen size quilt, you should make sure that your washing machine can accommodate bulky or heavy items such as these.
Most moms like to wash their baby’s cloths separately. Perfumes, dyes, body lotions and wool fibers can irritate a baby’s skin. So it is a good idea to keep baby clothes away from the regular laundry. You can also purchase special detergents that are formulated especially for baby clothes.
More Laundry Tips
If you don’t check pockets while sorting laundry, it could cause not only problems with the laundry but other valuables may become ruined. Here is a list of items that often get washed unintentionally: cell phones, watches, lipsticks, keys, money, pens and photographs. Now, you may notice that these things may look cleaner after being washed, but they will most likely be damaged. So it is a good idea to always check pockets before washing.
While sorting through the laundry you should also set aside anything that may have a stain that won’t come out with just regular washing. You may need to soak the item or pre-treat it with a special laundry aid. If a stain is washed and dried it may stay on the garment permanently.
It is just as important to be careful about drying clothes as it is washing clothes. If you check the tags on the clothing, it will tell you if the garment needs special care for drying. You should be familiar with the different settings on your dryer. Most drying machines have several settings to accommodate different types of fabric.
Laundry is not a fun job, but it is a necessary one. There are some people who don’t bother taking time to sort laundry beyond the colors and whites. While they may get away with that most of the time, they may be sorry after a garment is ruined because of improper washing. Taking time to sort laundry correctly will save you time and money in the long run.
My husband and I recently celebrated a milestone wedding anniversary. The many many cards we received from recent friends or friends of long ago were the highlight of our day. Even though the verse may have been written by Hallmark’s writers, or American greeting for that matter, it was the though behind the card and the personal message that was such a blessing. That one would take the time to send a card is a special tribute to you as a person.
In coming up with occasions to send greeting cards, the task has not been an easy one. For example, as I am not one of those that is good at sending them, writing this blog leaves me with feelings of guilt. Yes, that’s why it hasn’t been easy. Nevertheless, I’ll trudge on and speak to myself as I write.
- Mother’s Day is always a great time to stop and honor our mother. I understand many of us have lost our Mother to the next world, however I do find it is a great gesture to send one to Daughters and daughter-in-laws who have brought extra joy into our life by giving us those “grand” children.
- The same goes for Father’s Day. Sons love to receive father’s day cards as well.
- I’ve belonged to “Secret Pal” clubs on several occasions. My weight loss club, as well as the women’s group at church. Finding a secret pal card is not always easy; however there are programs now that allow us to make our own on the computer.
- Receiving a card saying “I (we) missed you” this past Sunday, or at our last meeting lets the recipient know they matter.
- I noticed one the other day that read, “Across the miles”. The verse inside made you want to send one to a soldier or someone who had moved away.
- Then there is Merry Christmas which is increasingly harder to find for those of us to still wish to say the words Merry Christmas. And for our Jewish friends Happy Hanukkah.
- Sympathy cards
- On the Purchase of your new home.
- Thank you cards.
- Congratulation cards are wonderful for many occasions;
- For an engagement
- For a promotion
- For graduation
- For getting a book published
- For a new baby
- For an adoption
- For achieving a goal
- To a student for making honor roll
- Or for making a 4.0
- The ideas are endless
As smart as our readers are I am sure you will come up with more than these. For if at any time in this life, someone has needed a card not on the market as yet, then someone has supplied that need and was happy to do so.
One note from this writer is “keep those cards and letters coming folks.”
The holidays are a special time of the year, full of traditions and family fun. One of the most common areas where we have traditions is in our holiday meals and parties. Whether it’s an office Christmas party or a small get together of friends and family we all have our specialty dishes or candies that we like to bring to liven up the party. Holiday drinks are another party favorite from eggnog (with or without alcohol) to some pretty stout adult beverages, there are some great holiday drink traditions. We thought it would be fun as you plan your next party to provide you with a list of some of the more well-known holiday drinks to add to your next party.
- Christmas Punch. This is an alcoholic drink that can be made as strong or light as you want, or even have the alcohol omitted altogether. The drink is a mix of cranberry and pineapple juice, soda water, and vodka, which creates a seasonal blend that is like no other, and is often used to create a great drink for Christmas parties (my favorite is 1 quart vodka, 3 quarts cranberry juice, 3 quarts soda water (or 7-Up), 7 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 cans of Dole pineapple chunks in natural juice).
- Eggnog. There is never going to be a list of great holiday drinks without eggnog somewhere on there, as it is one of the most classic holiday drinks ever. Whether with or without the alcohol, eggnog is a perfect touch for any holiday get together and can be found premade or you can make it yourself with milk or cream, sugar, eggs, nutmeg, and rum if you prefer. Here is an example recipe for this one because based on past experience this is not a great one to experiment with.
- Pomegranate Mulled Wine. If you have never heard of this drink, don’t worry you haven’t been living under a rock. This is a more upscale drink for the holidays that is made on exclusive occasions containing pomegranate juice, red wine, brandy, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and sugar, and is definitely a top contender on the alcoholic holiday drinks list. Here is a specific recipe.
- Ginger Snap. You’ve heard of the cookies, and yes there is actually a drink that tastes like the real thing and for a good reason. The drink itself is made from spiced rum, eggnog, and one ginger snap cookie, which really makes the taste perfect for the holidays. Here is an example recipe.
- Peppermint Twist. Peppermint is definitely not just a taste of the season, but really is a seasonal taste that is perfect for Christmas parties, with a Peppermint Twist always on the top of the bar list of great drinks. The drink is made from peppermint schnapps, crème de cacao, and Kahlua, for a creamy and minty chocolate taste that can be compared to nothing else. Here is an example recipe.
- Wassail. This is another of the great alcoholic holiday drinks that begin coming out around the holidays and is made from wine or ale, sugar, and a variety of spices that are specified and can vary from one culture or bar to another. You will find that one type tastes much different from others, which is normal as the spices can differ in type and amount from one person to another. Here is an interesting Wassail recipe.
- Eskimo Kiss. An Eskimo kiss is more than just a gesture between noses in the Alaskan culture, and is actually a holiday drink that becomes quite popular as Christmas nears. The drink itself is a concoction of brandy, apple cider, Anise, pomegranate juice, cloves, and cinnamon. It is a bit of a spicy drink, but wonderful for the season nonetheless. Here is the recipe.
- Winter Fruit Sangria. A lot of people have had sangria before, but not many have tried the winter fruit sangria, which is a totally different taste and a wonderful blend of holiday flavors that are perfect for the time of the year. Red wine, dried fruit, brandy, and honey make the blend what it is, and such a wonderful winter drink. Here is a recipe for sangria.
- Holly Cranberry Punch. This is one that is definitely child friendly, keeping the liquor out of the equation and made of flavors children love, especially during the holidays. The punch is made from cranberry juice, ginger ale, and good old ice cream to make the creamy, yet punchy flavor. This one is similar to the Christmas Punch with 3 quarts cranberry juice, 3 quarts ginger ale, and then scoops of vanilla ice cream until it is a creamy delight.
- Angel’s Delight. As holy as it sounds, it is one of the clean drinks for the holidays, providing a wonderful nonalcoholic beverage for those cold winter parties. The drink is a mix of cream, grenadine, gin, and triple sec making a great creamy delight that does put you in the mind frame of angels. Here is a good recipe.
These wonderful holiday drinks are some of the most treasured elements of the holidays, bringing everyone together through great tastes and recipes to share. For those that have never tried some of these drinks, why not mix them up for your next holiday party?
Buying a home is an essential part of the American dream, but that dream can turn into a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re getting into. The home buying process is a complicated and demanding process that takes patience, timing and a little bit of luck. Before you sign the paperwork, be sure you haven’t made one of the top 10 mistakes first time homebuyers make.
- Ignoring the Property Inspection: The property inspection is one of the most critical times in the home buying process. The results of the inspection can put your mind at ease, give you negotiating leverage, or alert you to problems that you should walk away from. Ignoring or skipping the property inspection could prevent you from discovering problems with your new home that could cost you dearly in the long run. Prospective homebuyers should hire an independent inspector and scrutinize the results in order to protect themselves down the road.
- Paying Too Much for the Broker’s Commission: The broker is an important player in the home buying game, but many people fail to realize that the commission that is paid to them can actually be negotiated. Before you pay too much, try negotiating a lower rate with your broker. In these tough economic times, most brokers will work with you, and in the long run a simple negotiation could save you a great deal of time and money.
- Poor Budgeting: Budgeting may be the most important part of the home buying process. Until you know how much you can afford to pay each month, you shouldn’t even think about buying a home. Your budget should be long term and include as many incidental costs as you can think of. Don’t forget to include property taxes and closing costs, both of which will require a solid understanding of how much money you can spend on a home. The keys to proper budgeting are planning, a realistic idea for the future, and attention to detail.
- Bad Location: No matter how beautiful the home you’ve found may be, if it’s in a bad neighborhood, it might be best to find another home. A bad location can have long lasting and devastating consequences. A terrible commute can cut into the time you enjoy your home, crime or an unsafe neighborhood can make you feel like a prisoner in your home, and declining property values can make you flat out miserable. As the old saying goes, there are three things you should look for when buying a new home: location, location, location.
- Assuming Foreclosures are Great Deals: We’ve all seen the ads on TV advertising home prices for pennies on the dollar. But are these advertisements too good to be true? The short answer is yes. Foreclosures often seem like a good deal, but the fact is that most foreclosures were owned by irresponsible owners that did not properly maintain the home. The result is that foreclosures usually require maintenance and often come with major problems or hidden issues that can make them a real money pit. While some foreclosures truly are a bargain, a traditional home purchase may be more reliable.
- Falling In Love With a Home: Don’t let the home of your dreams cloud your judgment. While the home may be just like the one you dreamt about as a kid, that is no justification for spending too much or sacrificing amenities you were looking for. Don’t fall in love with a home; instead, search objectively and find a home that is the right mix of emotional satisfaction and common sense.
- Too Small of a Down Payment: The more money you put down on a home purchase the less money you will spend in the long run. Sounds simple right? While the concept is simple, for the prospective homebuyer the stakes of heeding that advice are much higher. Homes are expensive, and failing to put enough money down could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges. Understanding how much you can afford and putting yourself in the best financial situation possible is extremely important when buying a home.
- Not Knowing Your Credit Report: Before you head to the bank to take out a mortgage loan, you should know your credit report inside and out. Why? Because the existence of negative items on your report could prevent your form getting a loan altogether or at least alert you to potential hang-ups in the loan application process. Obtaining your credit report is a small step that can save you plenty of time and stress in the process of getting a mortgage.
- Not Protecting Yourself Contractually: Let’s face it, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. The seller could back out, or your financing could fall through. If you haven’t planned for these contingencies then you could be left with a huge problem. If you have the resources, consult an attorney regarding your real estate transaction. It may seem expensive, but a few hundred dollars in lawyer’s fees could save you from getting stuck in a bad situation when things go wrong.
- Not Doing Enough Research: Research is essential in buying a home. Knowing the neighborhood, the price of the home, the reliability of your broker or agent, and the details of your mortgage are only some of the things you must research carefully if you want to avoid getting ripped off. Do yourself a favor; treat the real estate transaction like a thesis paper and devote a substantial amount of time and energy to understanding it in great detail.
Christmas, or Xmas as many like to call it, is one of the most joyous times of the year. No matter what is going on in the world, there is going to be celebration of the great holiday by those who follow the holiday. Even those that don’t recognize Christmas within their religion often enjoy the season, with people everywhere decorating their homes for the holidays. The decorations are perhaps the best part of the holiday, as it brings a new feeling to the home, inside and out. The inside of the home isn’t as lavishly decorated as the outside, but you will find 10 common Xmas decorations in homes each year, no matter where you go. These are the most enjoyed and commonly portrayed decorations of the jolly season.
- Christmas wreath. A Christmas wreath is one of the most common decorations since it is the classic decoration that has made its way through the years. The wreath is a longtime favorite and often the first thing purchased or put up in the home during the season, with many people donning their front doors with the great decoration.
- Christmas tree. This is a very obvious decoration commonly found in homes. The tree makes the holiday for most households. The tree is the place for the gifts, the great ornaments that the children have made through the years and the great lights that show what season it is and just how wonderful it is.
- Christmas lights. While there are many people that are stringing lights outside the home, most of them continue stringing through the home. People line the windows and doorways and give the entire home a look of the season that is wonderful and beyond joyous for children who are enjoying Christmas in wait for Santa.
- Singing and/or dancing Santa. The singing or dancing or singing and dancing Santa is now found in most homes today, with pretty much every single store selling these great knick-knacks for the holidays. The Santa will either sing or dance to one of the many holiday songs, or even a great rock song with a holiday twist.
- Mistletoe. Whether hanging from each doorway or in a special spot in the home, the mistletoe has become a Christmas tradition and has helped land many a kiss throughout the decades. Real or artificial mistletoe is easy to find and can be placed in one spot or in several within most homes celebrating Christmas.
- Ornaments. These are decorations for Christmas that land their way on Christmas trees throughout the nation, making the tree just a bit more special and beautiful. There are several different types of ornaments from the classic to limited editions and collectibles as well.
- Nativity Scene. Whether small or large, there are many homes that choose to use the Nativity Scene for their Christmas decorations, showing the birth of Jesus within the manger on one of the most important days of Christianity. These are found in many places as well and can be the best mantel piece for any home or a great way to line the bottom of the tree.
- Stockings. Christmas stockings are a great type of decoration that serves an important purpose for children on Xmas day. Today’s stockings have come a long way from those in the past, with several that can be personalized and even luxurious and elegant in their design.
- Snow globes. These are great for any time of the year, but when Christmas rolls around, you will find that there are many people that get those beautiful and elaborate snow globes that represent the season. These can be pretty mystical in their design, with wonderful images and figurines on the inside and different types of snow that can flutter around these images.
- Angels. For many years, angels have held a piece of Christmas as their own, as it is the celebration of Jesus’ birth after all. Angel decorations for Christmas can be found in many shapes, sizes and colors, ranging from the elegant to classical and even the cute and adorable.
Christmas is a very fun and joyous time of year and you will find that just about everyone has some kind of Xmas decorations in their home. These decorations are a way of greeting the season and enjoying a wonderful time of year that only comes around once, and should be enjoyed while it is here. It is also the season of great bonuses that employees everywhere can enjoy, along with the wonderful sales.
With the kill or be killed setting in the business world right now, many people have taken the less than noble road of conning people just to get a quick dollar or two. Despite constant announcements and advice, many people are still investing their money on farfetched ideas or very complicated schemes that would most likely end up going to the pockets of other people. Here are 40 watchdog blogs and resources covering Investment Scams:
1. Stock Broker Fraud Blog
– features investment scams inside the stock market.
– website containing various topics on loans including investment scams.
3. Payment Industry News
– financial blog that deals with monetary issues around the world.
4. Money Watch
-includes a webpage for heads up on latest scams.
5. Investor Claims
– site that contains blogs on reactions and MOs of investment scammers.
6. Learn Today Trade Forex
– Contains tips on how to avoid investing on scams.
7. Wealth Management Tips
-management-tips.com/ – provides tips in spotting scams anywhere anytime.
8. Gold Investing Advice
– Includes blogs on scams and predictions for forex and Wall Street.
9. Utah Securities Fraud
– blog created in Utah to raise awareness on impact of investment scams on people.
10. Compliance Building
– This website is about compliance and business ethics also including discussions on investment scams.
11. Investment Fraud Pro
– blog helping victims of investment fraud and scam.
12. Savvy Consumer
– financial site that often mentions reports about investment scams.
13. A Dawn Journal
– a blog on personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship and more
14. Rich Fools
– Provides tips on how to avoid getting conned.
15. Concurring Opinions
– a blog that caters to laws and finance including scams.
16. Investment Fraud Lawyer Blog
– a blog run by investment fraud lawyer.
17. The Personal Finance Program
– blog that gives tips on personal finance including topics on investment scams.
18. Finance Advices
– a blog that gives smart financial advice and tips on avoiding scams.
19. The Digerati Life
– financial blogging site run by blogger living in Silicon valley.
20. Pro Invests
– provides opinions on investments and scams as well as daily updates.
– provides various information including tips on financial sector and more.
22. Capital Conservator Scam
– provides news and articles geared primarily on scams.
23. Debt Settlement Scams
– features tips on avoiding debt settlement and other similar investment scams.
24. Financial Web
– independent financial portal featuring marketing and investment tips
25. Investors Watch Dog
– features heads up on various dealings and scams
26. Jeffrey Darren Gordon Who’s Who
– blog that raises awareness on wanted investment scammer Jeffrey Darren Gordon.
27. Stop Scammers
– site aimed to bring down any and all investment scams.
28. Corporate Financial Weekly Digest
– Weekly digest on financial business world including steady updates and reports on investment scams.
29. Trust Marketing
– blog that gives tips to investors and businessmen alike.
30. Investment Fraud Info Center
– Information center for investment fraud.
31. Internet Scams Watch
– blog where investment scam victims can interact and discus.
32. Wall Street Investment Fraud Lawyer
– blog for victims of investment scams in wallstreet.
33. Securities Lawyers
– blog for investment scam protection and prevention.
34. About Broker Fraud
– Law firm sponsored blog dealing with scams and investors.
35. Denver Securities Fraud Attorney
– blog providing details on various investment scam MOs.
36. Securities Frauds
– bog dedicated to global financial market.
37. Securities Arbitrations
– features simple laws and updates on various investment scam cases.
38. Mortgage Fraud Blog
– clearinghouse for various types of investment frauds and scams.
39. HYIP Daily
– a daily blog where you get the latest information on HYIPs. A great source of info for all investors
40. HYIP Critic
– an HYIP review site where you get an unbiased information about investments and such