Wednesday, August 20, 2014

House Proud

Hello Friends,

Happy Autumn!

With fall approaching and children returning to school, it's time to think about a deep cleaning in our homes. I do a deep cleaning in my home twice a year fall and spring. Clean out from underneath beds, dressers, sofa's and large appliances. Start by dusting down furniture with a rag and furniture polish instead of a feather duster.  Take down curtains and dry clean or wash them. Then follow up with vacuuming and washing floors.  I clean in and under everything that I have not touched previously. Hit the refrigerator with a blast of Lysol disinfectant cleaner and ditch the leftover condiments sitting longer than 6 months.  Pay very close attention to all the details. For instance, the kitchen cabinets. You can't see it but it's there, a very slight film of grease that you get from cooking.  Use a mixture of water and ammonia to get the grease off the cabinets, then wipe dry.  Clean inside drawers and cabinets, and add new drawer liners. This can be done once per year if you choose. Wipe down ceiling fans and wash glass globes as well as the blades.  Have carpeted areas steam cleaned by a professional too. It takes away all the allergens that have made home in our rugs. This will also keep our wall to wall carpets looking their best over time. Keeping our homes clean and free of debris is one way we show the love we have for our families and ourselves. Take care of your biggest asset and it will take care of you.

 Try these tips for cleaning other areas in your home:

- Salt and lemon juice gets stuck on stuff off pot bottoms. The acid in the lemon mixed with the salt can give them a new glow. ***Never use this on non-stick pots.

- Use a steam mop to kill germs on hard wood floors. I usually mop my hardwood floors with boiling hot black tea. But in a rush I will go for the steam mop which does the same job with quicker drying time.

- Dont forget closets. Reorganize linen and clothes closets to make every item is easy to find. Then place natural cedar planks in them to keep fabric loving bugs out. In addition to adding cedar planks, I made lavender sachet's and hung them on every third hanger to help keep my closet smelling fresh. Men would prefer tea tree scent or clove over lavender. Clove sachet's can easily be made with whole cloves from the spice rack. *Tip:  I place my top, fitted and one pillow case of sheet set inside one of the matching pillow cases to keep the set together and easy to find in my closet. Each sheet set is then neatly stacked in my closet. :)

- Use a stiff brush to remove dust from lamp shades, and free standing fans. Then place them out on the sun for an hour to kill any dust mites before replacing them on lamps. Same goes for silk flowers.

-  A big must.... vacuum then hang large area rugs outside in the sun for one hour. They will smell better and dust mites are irradiated. Wash smaller area rugs then hang to dry instead of simply shaking the out.   :)  There is nothing better than sunlight and a little time to freshen up items that can't be washed.

Finally, make it a habit to deep clean at least two times per year. Put it on your calendar and stick to it. More frequent deep cleaning is best, but with work and family requiring most of our time twice per year is good enough.  I love doing this in chunks so that it does not so overwhelming. Choose a chunk of time to do a few things and finish them before moving on to the next. You will be happy with the outcome. If you hire a professional to do your cleaning, make certain they use good products and follow your instruction precisely. Cutting corners is not ok. Inspect everything before paying the bill.

One final word before I say goodbye, don't forget the exterior of your home. You can buy siding wash from home improvement stores or hire a professional  to do your windows and siding all at once.

Love and hugs,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Clearing out the closet and finding $$$

Hello Friends,

I am still going through all my stuff in the house and organizing everything.  I want to be certain of what I have on hand so I don't repurchase items I already own but didn't know.  This is the most frugal way to save space, money and time. Keeping organized will also keep your mind at ease because things are neat and orderly, you aren't visually bombarded by stuff. This will help you feel more comfortable in your surroundings. Having to clean out old stuff from my house made me think about what I was going to do with what I found and so I decided to return items that I bought but never used to put the cash back in my pocket.  Returning past purchases is the best motivation I can conjure up to even start cleaning out the garage. 

Think about the items that you bought in the past year that are still sitting in their original box, still have the tags on or at least appear resell-able. You most likely aren't going to use it if you haven't already. Don't hang on to it for that "someday when I get around to it."  Bring it back to the store where you bought it even if you can't find the receipt. Most stores will give you cash back with a receipt, but if you don't have one then you can at least get a store credit. Some stores, like Wal-Mart, and Home Depot have easy return policies that allow you to return items that cost  $25 or less without a receipt for actual cash. The Home Depot will give you cash for up to $50 if they sell it and if it is not opened.  Or, they can look up your original receipt by swiping your credit card then scanning the item. Money is money so store credit or refund, it's all good! At stricter or smaller stores, the best you can hope for is store credit. But that's ok too if you shop there or can use it right away.  Plan your returns time so you are not waiting on long lines. The best time to go is in the morning any day of the week. Also, plan it around other errands so you are not waiting gas just going to one place.

Well, I'm off to the store. Yes I am returning my findings from the garage. Not sure if it can all go back to the store, but it doesn't hurt to politely ask.



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Entitled to a

Hello Friends:

I have had a circumstance happen to make me think about what I am entitled to. When I review what I and other people are truly entitled to I examine and comment from the current value system here in Monmouth County NJ (that is not to say that all New Jerseians are this way either). I would speak of all of America but since I am not fully informed of the opinions all Americans then I will only comment on what I live with here in my local area.

The definition of Human Rights by Amnesty Intl. is:

Human Rights Basics

Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or other status.
Human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty and freedom of expression; and social, cultural and economic rights including the right to participate in culture, the right to food, and the right to work and receive an education.  Human rights are protected and upheld by international and national laws and treaties.

Nowhere in this statement do I see the right to the following:  FREE FOOD, FREE ROOM AND BOARD, FREE CELL PHONE, FREE MEDICAL COVERAGE, THE RIGHT TO A GOOD OR HIGH PAYING JOB, OR THE RIGHT TO OTHER PEOPLES MONEY OR PROPERTY BECAUSE "ITS NOT FAIR THEY MAKE MORE THAN ME/US".  I wrote this in capital letters because it needs to be said boldly.  I am not shouting as some would have you believe. However, it could be shouted in an attempt to get other's to listen.  We are all individuals who can create our own future. Yes; we all have ups and downs in life, we all disagree with others at times and we all want a great life. You cannot have good without bad.  No one is responsible for giving you anything. You are responsible for getting the things you want for yourself. 

I have seen and heard people close to me (they have no clue who they are btw) complain about how they  "should" get, have, or otherwise be given what they want instead of earning it for themselves. This is a newer concept. I "SHOULD HAVE" is something that slowly became popular in the last 25 to 30 years or so. I so dislike the word should, I tell people "Don't should on yourself."  I have removed the word should from my life because I too was measuring with that word.  "I should be, or should do, or should buy, or should own or should _________ (fill in the blank).  This is nothing more than your expectation. No a RIGHT. I do or don't. I will or won't. I have or have not. But I should nothing...

I remember when I was growing up our parents hold us to get a job and move out. Some parents let you live at home till you got married, or got a good paying job, or graduated college.  Most made you pay rent if you were not going to school full-time or if you were needing some motivation. And College was for you to pay off by yourself, not your parents job. We had to earn or own way. Never did we just stay home playing games, buying random stuff and being lazy. Not after high school.  If we did that, we got physically thrown out. "Shame on you" they'd say.  I agree it was harsh, but if that happened to you, you got up, went to work and got a life. For most of us we would not be lazy because we wanted to get what our parents had. There wasn't one parent who was going to just give it to us either. They gave you a start. They taught you how to act in public so you could be accepted by others (manners). They told you to read and get educated in some way. They told you to save your money for the future. You were told you can do whatever you want but you have to get it for yourself.   So we went to look for a job, or apply to college, or asked a friend or family member for a job. We worked to be productive, to have possessions, and to be proud of who we are. 

Shame on you if you expect your family or community to give you anything. I'm just saying.

God Bless America
Peace to all

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spending time

Dear Friends,

This past month my sisters were in from out of state. We were gathering to place our mothers remains in her final resting place. We created our own ceremony, ( thanks to my middle sister) hired a singer to sing hymns, bought some flowers, and placed our mother next to her husband in their plot here in NJ. It was an exceptional time. We rarely see each other because of the distance between our homes so this gave us reason to gather. I am pleased that it wasn't an expensive visit either. All in all we spent very little money celebrating birthday's, and celebrating life. What I noticed was that we enjoyed our time together more by cooking together at home, watching movies, playing games and talking. We ate one meal out and bought pizza another day. The rest of the time we went sight seeing, and chatted about old times. The food was spectacular and the time, precious. My sister and her family were able to stay at a family members summer condo, saving them $250 per night at a hotel and from squishing themselves into our tiny home. Her children went sight seeing with my children and really got to spend quality time together. Our eldest sister lives in PA so she was just here for the day, but we will see her at the family reunion. :))

Next we travel to see other family members whom we haven't seen in many years. We are staying at my aunt's house because it's so difficult to get a good hotel room that allows pets. Lucky for us to have generous family members. Everyone is contributing something to this reunion in order to share in the joy of giving and spending time with loved ones. My eldest cousin will pay his guitar along with my husband the bass player, I'm sending bouquets of flowers to decorate the tables with, my eldest sister and other members are bringing food. My other cousin is opening up her home for the reunion to take place at, and my aunt and uncle are providing sleeping quarters for as many people as possible. Together we can make it a great gathering without spending ridiculous amounts of money and still spend all our time together. The money we do spend will be spent with great joy in creating this time together.

All we need is each other. Reach out to family and pose the question "can we visit?" Put differences aside, respect opinions as just that, opinions. Create a good gathering, choose love and maintain closeness with family. Our lives are rich. We already have everything we need, but sometimes we just don't see it.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Garden Happenings

Dear Friends,

As the season has progressed, my garden has come along way. I added more fertilizer mid way through the season and can now see the results. I have been harvesting zuccini as have so many other gardeners, along with arugula. Sharing with my friends is one of the best parts to gardening. It brings me much joy to see their delight at my gift. Yesterday, I received in return for my gifts, a larg head of butter lettuce. I truly appreciate the thought, care and love that went in to his garden and the kind gesture on his part. Mutual appreciation all around.

I also have been reseeding some plants for fall harvest.  I have now started carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach and peas. Hopefully they will grow and I'll reap the rewards of a successful veggie garden.  I bought a soil test kit to see what nutrients my soil lacks if any. I feel I should do this test after my season has ended because I'll not be able to amend the soil now.  Regardless, my garden thrives.  For the first time since living here I have a garden.  I guess it's the time, water and fertilizer that has paid off.  Prior to this year I had little time to contribute, and I did not fertilize enough to grow anything.

No mirical grow here. No roundup here either. I pull weeds or douse them with vinegar, and I feed my plants with manure and 10-10-10.  It has been a little difficult to do all this work since my car accident in March. I sustained back, neck and arm injuries that are healing slowly. However, I do only a little at a time and aquire help for the really heavy stuff.  Proof that a garden can be made with only a little time and effort.

More to follow as I progress. I will add some phots to my sight soon.

Peace, love and happiness


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cost of Living

Dear Friends:

Over this past few weeks I have been sprucing up my home by painting and cleaning. I have posted all along mentioning my adventures and my discoveries. I have a good life. I have good solid assets. My house for one, a reliable car, good furniture and dependable appliances. I follow the belief that if I "take good care of my assets, my assets will take care of me" so to speak.  Investing in quality has proven that to me over time.  If I buy that needed item and know I will need it for years to come, then cost may not totally be a factor.  There are few really great things that are cheap. Sometimes its better to hire a professional to do the work and other times I can do the work.  Like painting or cleaning.
The things I do are in a certain order and done from start to finish before starting another project.  This saves me from wasting money on items that I think I might need and will never use, save me time and effort because there is a specific start and end, and it keeps me from feeling stressed out by the unfinished mess in my home.  I have great discipline when it comes to projects and time management.  Skills I learned when I owned my own business.  I do not like unfinished things like business with a person, big projects, and so on.  I personally find it appealing to see the completed job so I can then make changes or sit back and reap the rewards.

All the things we do to protect our assets and still the cost of living keeps going up yet somehow we still continue on living life and making our dollars stretch. With rising costs in, well, everything taking care of my home and saving for my future have become more of a challenge than before. Its funny I heard my parents saying this same things in the 70's and 80's.  Still I am surprised at the low wages being paid and rising cost of so many of our everyday necessities.  It seems that everyday I hear of companies eliminating jobs and squeezing the existing workers to do multiple jobs under one job title.
Well, because of constant uncertainty in my earnings level, I have learned how to "play the rules".  Not break the law or get government handouts. Just play the rules. To clarify I will attempt to journal what I buy, what is deductible and what I can make myself.  I can deduct certain things from my taxes like medicines as we all know but did you know it is not limited to medicine?  Medical expenses are not just doctor visits and RX, Its the miles traveled to get such medical attention, (medical milage) and the out of pocket expenses you incur as a result of the diagnosis, like bandages, alcohol and, medication not covered by insurance and so forth.  In the following posts, I will show you just how much you can save if you know how. This is what I am talking about.  I don't presume to know everything, but I have a clue and am I always open to learning more.

Keeping it simple.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Before you hire that painter read this

Good Morning:

I have been working on my home for several weeks now.  We are cleaning and purging what we don't want. This all started when I decided to make our lives more comfortable and relaxed. Along with cleaning I decided we need to paint our moldings in the house. Looking to hire a painter and exploring the cost vs. my time, I decided I could paint the interior trim one room at a time. I bought paint and planned to go over all the trim room by room. While cleaning the bathroom floor today I was thinking while cleaning like I always do (It's kind of like meditation for me) my mind wandered to a line in the film Bruce Almighty where Morgan Freeman (who plays God beautifully) says to Bruce (played by Jim Carey) "life can be messy, but you can always clean it up".  While on my hands and knees cleaning the floor I wiped over the moulding with my sponge revealing fresh white paint. I thought it was chipped paint but turns out dusting I do didn't remove all the dirt. I did all the trim in the bathroom with vinegar and water solution which I mixed with citrus cleaner, and the moulding looks new.  Whoever painted my bathroom used high gloss oil based paint and it really has held up. I'm scrubbing down all the trim now in the house noticing only some areas need painting. This is saving my self a lot of work, and money. I can return some of the paint which I never opened, and I feel content with the job being completed.  Well almost. I still have some trim to paint that is in fact chipped but it's only one or two areas!

Peace and Joy to all