Sunday, December 20, 2009

German Shepherd Puppies are the Cutest!

When you're looking for a dog, what kind do you go for? Before, we've just gotten border collie mixes since they're so common in the Montana area.  We do really like the way German Shepherd dogs are easy to train and are nice fit healthy breeds.  I've found that dogs of different breeds can vary wildly in temperament, intelligence, and health.  Some dogs seem to have been over bred to the point where they have many health problems.  Great Danes, for instance, have a shorter life span than most dogs.  German Shepherds are one of the nice dog breeds for a family to have, since they're pretty easy to train, loyal, and healthy. 

When looking for a puppy, it's good to see that they're friendly, interact well with their littermates, are clean and well taken care of, are old enough to be taken away from their mother. 

Puppies are fun to play with, my puppies have always liked playing fetch, playing with Kong toys, playing tug of war with different ropes, and some dogs take to frisbee and tennis balls as well.  I like to get them little collars, as well as a Halti to train them on a leash.  We give them their own food and water bowls and keep meal times consistent. Bedtime is also something that has to be worked on when they first come home, we choose to crate-train our new puppies and they always seem to really enjoy it.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Training puppies

I learned how to train dogs when I worked for Canine Companions for Independence back in high school. I guess I didn't really work for them, but volunteered. They use volunteers to train dogs for handicapped people, as service dogs. I did some foster care, taking care of little puppies until they were matched with trainers, and caring for older dogs in various stages of training while the trainers took a pup-less vacation. I loved learning about dog training, and as a result I was able to train our dog we have now pretty well. Like children, dogs need consistency. I'm a big fan of 'teathering' and crate training. If you see puppies for sale at some place like you can get one with confidence if you know how to train them. To teather, you literally teather a new puppy to my waist with a leash. Then I can correct every misbehavior immediately, and this speeds up the training process. If puppy can't be with you, you can put him in his crate. Due to the dog's DNA, he's designed to be just fine in a secure area. He might not like it at first, but eventually he will like his 'den' (crate) or point of refuge from the world. These are the two training methods that I use the most with dogs.

Local places have dogs for sale too, which might be a better option if you want older dogs so you don't have to mess with the chew up everything puppy stage.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Web Hosting

I've found that a good website can actually be profitable enough to make it worth doing, especially if you are staying home with kids. It's something that can be done during nap time, and with scheduled posting a good long nap for both kids can yield a week's worth of content. I use website hosting because I'm not technologically savvy enough to do it myself. Check out if you're looking into paid blogging or another website that makes money. Paying someone to host your site that really knows what they're doing helps you to look more professional.

Dave Ramsey is always trying to get people to think outside the box and find unusual places to make a little extra money. While he does support moms staying home with the children, or just to be homemakers after the children are gone, he also encourages us who are in Baby Step 2 and 3 to be gazelle intense, and squeeze a little extra out of everything. For me that means doing some crafts and selling them online, and doing money making blogs. When you trim your budget down to nothing but the essentials, and then follow through on your budget, it's easy to see that even a little money here and there makes a huge difference. Back when we had no plan, I made substantially more money than I do now, but we never had any. Now we're living on 2/3 of my hubby's income, and the other 1/3 of his income and all of mine goes towards debt. It's nice to see some progress being made when we get those card statements in the mail.


Dumping Debt

We reserved Dave Ramsey's dumping debt DVD from the library, and it came in. But the librarian forgot to undo the lock on it, total bummer. We looked online and it looks like you can undo the locks with really strong magnets, but we didn't have any strong enough.

We're still working the baby steps, and enjoying envelope budgeting. Especially since we came to terms with how much we really need to spend on groceries. Dave said on the air when I was listening a while back that a family of 4 can't eat for less than $600/month. That's good to know, since sometimes you read about people spending $25/week on groceries and I felt like I should be able to do that, as a homemaker. We spend $425/month, which does include a few nonessentials, like chips and one 18-pack of beer. But after cutting out sodas, fruit juice, and using dry beans from scratch a few times a week, this is just fine for us.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Public Safety Products

Public Safety Equipment is available online from a company that has been in business since 1977. Whether you need EMS gear, wholesale police equipment, or firefighter equipment. They are a friendly company where you will be treated with respect. Fast friendly service, quick shipping time, and attention to detail are what are important here. There is a toll free number, or secure ordering online, so you're covered however you want to order. I like when a company has their 800 number right where I can find it easily. It shows that they're not afraid of customer service, so I likely will not be disappointed in buying from them.


Dave Ramsey's Grocery $

Thankfully as I've been listening to Dave Ramsey, he finally cleared up what his 'Beans and Rice' means. He doesn't mean literally beans and rice while you're getting out of debt, but just to pay attention to your grocery dollar. He said that no matter where you are in the country, if you're a family of 4 you should be spending about $600/month on groceries. I feel better now, since we're a family of 4, but one is still nursing, and we spend $425. After coming up short every month, I outlined all the stuff I needed to buy, cooking from scratch, and it comes up to $400. Then add in the incidentals like baking soda, spices, having friends over, and it pops up a little bit more. Good to know.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Autobody repair

If you're looking for auto body repair it pays to look into who you're dealing with. Autobody repair can make or break the sale when you need to sell your current car. Ask to see examples of how they match paint, take out dings, and scratches. I was kind of a dumb driver when I first started driving (I thought that faster was better) and ended up plenty of times in an autobody repair place. Twice just for them to tell the insurance company that the car was really totaled, and once that they fixed it after I got in a fight with a guard rail. Go ahead and search online for autobody work, and see who has a good reputation in your area.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Best way to host a blog giveaway

I have a couple blogs, and in an effort to get more Google hits through SEO, I thought I'd try doing a couple giveaways.

At first I just put them on my blog with a post up at the top letting people know that they were there. Even though I get about 40-100 hits on each a day, and have a multitude of subscribers, there were very few comments made.

So next I looked to see where I could post online to let people know. The best, and easiest to use, application that I found was at BigListofGiveaways (this isn't a sponsored post, it's just what I found). I found that my giveaway for something useful (dish cloths) got the response. Something obscure and targeted doesn't get as many people signing up, apparently.

Also, in an effort to get the most comments and hits, I marked that it's an 'easy giveaway- just leave a comment with contact info' since that's what I was after anyway.

Just sharing my findings.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Multi Player Games

Do you like to play multiplayer games? My hubby does, and I think that if I were to be into video games, the only way I'd stay interested is if I was playing against real people. Hubby likes the challenge of another person's unpredictability, especially with war games. He spent a winter outfitting my work computer (!) with all sorts of software to enable him to play against others online. Where he prefers more war and strategy type games, I prefer simpler ones like Tetris and Solitare. Whatever games you like, there are some out there online for free. Go check out - they have a fast site and you can sign up for free at this quickly growing network community.



We're moving our checking over to one that allows us to pull out all our 'envelope' (food, fuel, entertainment, household, medical, etc) money from the ATM since our local credit union has a daily limit that is kind of annoying. We're using USAA, where we also have all our insurances through, and have one credit card that has the lowest rate/highest balance so is last in our debt snowball to be paid off. They're great, they have the lowest rate for car insurance that I've found. I don't think their life insurance rates are the best, it sounds like Zander Insurance that Dave Ramsey supports would be cheaper, but hubby was none too happy about the whole 'physical' thing and I don't think he'll consent to go through it again. I suppose I could change mine, maybe I should call and see if it would really be that much cheaper. We have 100K on me, I stay home, 15 year term, and 250 on him, 30 year term.

I'm glad that I can get life insurance on myself. We chose 15 years because it's cheaper, and if needed I can renew it then. And also, likely if it was a real emergency (ya know, I think it would be if I DIED) my now toddler should be able to step up and 'do' most of what I do in 15 years. I'm not able to get disability insurance on myself, which is something I looked into because if I become permanently or long-term disabled, someone is going to have to take care of the kids. But they only cover loss of income for disability. Hubby does construction, and I'm pretty sure disability insurance is way out of our price range for him.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Start Page

This browser start page is a cute way to customize your internet experience. It's not affiliated with Google, but is very googlish. Uses Google search, though.


Switching banks

With our envelope system, we end up withdrawing an awful lot of cash (for me, at least). Honestly, I feel like a drug dealer asking for all these specific denominations (this many 50s, this many 20s, this many 10s, this many 5s...) though the bank teller assures me that it's not abnormal. We do that so they split into the envelopes easily; ie 75 to Clothing, 300 to groceries but I don't want 100s, 250 to fuel but 20s are easiest to deal with there.

Anyway, with our local credit union I have a limit on our ATM with drawls; 200/day. Which would be fine, but I like to do all our envelopes in one day and I have a pretty strong aversion to unloading the kids just to walk in the bank. And I don't like going through the drive through, it seems to take quite a while. So I called our bank that we get insurance through, USAA, and switched our checking over to them. Seriously, now they own our life. We have life insurance, renter's insurance, car insurance, a (closed) credit card, and now our checking through them. But we can withdraw 1000 a day and they reimburse the atm fees for using other bank's atms. And we can call ahead and get the w/d limit raised if we're doing something like pulling out cash to buy a car.

We have to mail in our checks, but since we're not cutting it so close any more, the 3-4 day wait time for the deposit is fine with us. Honestly we end up holding on to our checks for 3-4 days anyway before we actually make it down to the bank.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Custom T-shirts

Do you want something to get the word out of your business? Printing you own custom T-shirts is a great a business tool. You can let your satisfied customers advertise for you at surprisingly low rates with free or low-cost shirts that bear your business name on them.

Hint: people are more likely to wear your shirt if it's tasteful. Most people prefer a little image on the upper left chest and a larger image on the back, rather than a large image across the front. The more they wear them, the more exposure for you.


Work ethic

My hubby's work ethic amazes me. Last night he brought home a whole set of plans, and made a lumber list for an entire house. What's great about his current boss is that he recognizes that my husband is a great worker, and has been increasing his compensation to reflect that. It's nice to be noticed for working.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Singing bowls

Crystal Singing Bowls are available at Silver Sky Imports. They are an online retailer specializing in Yoga and meditation needs, as well as natural hand made goods. Their singing bowls really are unique; they are hand made and listed individually so you really choose which bowl you are buying. Listen before buying as well. A timeless technique of relaxation, check out their website for more information about using singing bowls to center your thoughts. Each bowl comes with a striker and cousion to complete the set. They have other hand made items out of natural materials to use in your home and for yourself.


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