Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blog surfing

My favorite wait-for-whatever to happen (usually hubby to get back so we can continue watching Dave Ramsy on YouTube or Hulu or here) is to blog surf. Alphainventions is my new favorite blog surfing mechanism, just wanted to share..


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tax Relief

Boy do we know about debt right now. We did the typical generation Y thing and bottomed out financially a few years ago. We're still recovering, but we know about everything from how to get Tax Relief from the IRS (paid that off out of 2008's refund... they had been on our backs since 2005), to how to settle credit card accounts (US Bank... finally), to how to negotiate a workout payment on the truck that we bought when we were first married, but couldn't afford, and ultimately had to have repossessed. Lots of Americans are having trouble with this right now, with the first downturn of the economy in our generation.

As Larry Bourkette said, debt isn't the problem, it's a symptom. And whether you are having trouble with the IRS or your credit cards, student loans, or vehicle payments, the issue needs to be addressed from the inside out. For us now I'm thankful that we bottomed out when we were in our 20s (23 and 25 actually) so that we can now live like noone else so that later we can live like noone else (thanks Dave). We've had multiple creditors calling us daily, had threats of lawsuits, learned how to negociate with the IRS to be put on noncollection status, and been so much a slave to the lender. The Good Book is right. We don't want to do that any more, so two years ago now we cut up our credit cards and have been slowly been paying them off. The first to go was the dirt bike loan, sold the dirt bike and that covered it thankfully. The next was a couple smaller credit cards when we sold our property and moved into a rental in town that we could afford. The IRS was paid out of both our 2007 and 2008 tax refunds. Another credit card was settled for 15 cents on the dollar out of the 2008 refund as well. Now we have Sallie Mae, Discover, 1st Financial, and USAA totalling 12K that we're working on, and the balance due for the truck that was reposessed that we are going to try and settle with our 2009 tax refund.

Next step will be to save 3-6 months of expenses (for us that is 6,000- we've gotten good at living on beans and rice) and then saving 20% for a down payment to buy a home. Dave Ramsey says that we should take out a 15 year fixed mortgage with 20% down, but we're going to do a 30 year fixed unless hubby is blessed with a huge pay increase. We are done with car payments. We drive an old, paid for car (and yes, we have to budget for expenses, but it doesn't even touch the $385 car payment that we used to have) and we're saving to buy another old car in cash so I have something to drive around town.

We are living like noone else so that later we can live like noone else. And lovin it. We are so much more at peace now that we're not spending money that we don't have. Call us weird, Dave says that's a good thing..


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Knitting websites

I'm a beginning knitter, my friend showed me a year ago and then I borrowed Knitting for Dummies last summer and learned the rest of the way. Now that I feel good with the basics, I'm venturing into things like cables and colorwork. Here are websites that have helped me:

The Knitting Cables for Dummies web page is understandable now that I have mastered the general knit and purl. I looked it up this morning, and have a cabled hat for my daughter half way done this evening!

I was working on the Almost Famous Luggy Bonnet out of Weekend Knitting after my son was born this fall, and knew I would have to figure out how to do stranded knitting to complete it. This video on Philosipher's Wool was what taught me. I had to learn to 'throw' since I knit continental, or German. It was worth learning to use my right hand, it makes colorwork fun, not tedious.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Taking Ebay and Etsy Pictures

Using Picasa back here I showed some tips on taking pictures. Here are some more, that were kind of fun. Ebaying off hubby's lego sets... to fund an electric guitar... :oP

See, this one wasn't taken with good light. See the ones below for the difference lighting makes.

Using Picasa back here I showed some tips on taking pictures. Here are some more, that were kind of fun. Ebaying off hubby's lego sets... to fund an electric guitar... :oP


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Google Picasa

Google's Picasa (You may think I like Google- G-mail, Picasa.... Not everything. Some of their stuff is lame). But yes, Google is superior. LOL

Free program and it absolutely rocks. I use it for my Etsy photos. I'll go step by step as I touch up a photo. Starting, I use a white or pastel solid background in outside light. Light clouds are ideal, we don't like harsh shadows.

Raw photo

Cropped. For Etsy, crop to as close to square as possible, the first image that you upload really needs to be square. Etsy will show it as square on the search page and if it's too out of square, it'll look really odd and people aren't going to click. Unless it's very abstract- then people still click if they can tell what it is from the title

'I'm Feeling Lucky'
This doesn't always work for me. Sometimes it turns it weirdly pink or green, but this time I was lucky ;) You can always click 'undo' if you don't like it.

Still needed some sharpening- so I went over to the 3rd tab "Effects" and chose sharpen

Brightened some more. I have a phobia of neon colors and washed out pictures, but brighter really is better.

To an extreme.

Too bright 'Undo'

Soften edges? Are these angelic play veggies? :)

This is what my thumbnail would look like

I prefer to have a thumbnail that's more of a closeup. I'd use a diagonal carrot if possible. Diagonal looks better, in my opinion- it appears to take up more of the picture, yet still gives detail.



When looking for a new watch, why not check out Best of Time - Where Time Lasts Forever? For deeply discounted prices you can afford a quality watch. As I've learned, and we're all learning in this recession, there is a shortage of money to be spent. So when you are looking to purchase something, purchase something that will last both in style and in mechanics. Best of Time - Where Time Lasts Forever is the place to start when looking for a high end watch. I know that I look at my watch 50 times a day or more. When you use something that often, you don't want to sacrifice on quality. But you also don't want to pay a huge markup. So shop around, but start at Best of Time - Where Time Lasts Forever.


My sweet boy is teething still. He has his first lower tooth barely poking through, and I'm pretty sure he's working on his second since he nursed last night all.night.long and only slept for an hour this morning on his own after I got up.

Clove oil works well for teething pain, but you want to dilute it in a carrier oil like almond oil. We opt not to do that, but instead do a lot of snuggling. Once he's over a year I'll consider giving him some clove oil for those teeth.

We did get our laundry done yesterday, and 3 loaves of soaked wheat bread made. A load of diapers in the wash right now, and then we're going to spend the day preparing for tomorrow when we do our errands. Packing lunch, packing breakfast, making dinner so it's ready when we get home, making our lists, and cleaning the bathrooms is what that consists of today.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dog Training

My husband is more of a dog person than I am (though I don't mind outside dogs), but since I'm home all day with the kids, and before we had kids I was home all day doing medical transcription, the bulk of the Dog training falls on me. When I was a teenager I used to do Dog training for Canine Companions for Independence in Ronert Park, CA and so that's where I picked up my training style. For those who aren't experienced with dog training, and are too busy to take a weekend class, I'd recommend training DVDs to show you how to take command over your dog.

The Dogfather will teach you his method of dog training using his command collar technique so that you can take control and start enjoying your family pet rather than just dealing with him. Check out the testamonials about his success stories, you will find lots on his website! Whether you have problems housebreaking your puppy, teaching your older dog to not jump on company, or keeping your pup off the furniture, I strongly encourage you to look into an intensive training course for your dog. Everyone in the family can participate, and Fido will become a loved addition to the family, that brings you joy, teaches your children about responsibility, and serves as a discuoragement to intruders.

I know that we love having our dog, Riley, at our home and when we go on walks. And since he's trained well (He's a border collie) I don't even have to bother with his leash when we're walking. He walks right along side the stroller and sits with a snap of my fingers. He loves it, and we like it, as we feel protected when he is with us.


In addition to laundry, today we are going to make our soaked wheat bread, order more wheat from Wheat Montana (we're going to try Bronze Chief this time), call the Billings Gazette to ask them to stop delivering the paper that we didn't ask for, and if we have time we'll go up to the park that's close to us. Yesterday we all went down to the little toddler-sized park that's a little over a mile away, but I think it was too much sun for the baby who was in the Ergo on my back. So we'll stick to closer parks unless the Lord blesses us with a double stroller with a sun shade this summer :)


Finding a dentist

When looking for a dentist, where do you start? Do you ask friends or family? What if you're new to the area? Most of us now are on the computer, so the internet is a logical way to start. You can search for a Sacramento Dentist any other type of dentist by doing a simple search.

When we look for a dentist, we prefer to find one that will work with the whole family. Children learn and are comforted by seeing their parents do things, so if they visit the same dentist and go after the parents, they are likely to feel better about the experience. To us, another important topic in finding a dentist is finding one that doesn't use fluoride, as fluoride is known to be a toxin to the body. In Europe they don't use fluoride, and there isn't an abundance of tooth decay. We also choose not to use amalgam (silver) fillings because of the heavy metals in them that leach into the blood. Searching for dentists in this family is no easy task!



Must be Wednesday. We have more of a weekly rhythm now, and on Wednesday we catch up on laundry. Looks like we have about 3 loads to do; whites/diapers, jeans, and mediums. Living in an apartment now, so it will all be dried in the dryer. It's a shame to waste the drying power of the sun and gentle breeze, but I don't mind not having to haul the laundry all out and then back in again.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When your car is broke

As a previous teenage driver, I'm well acquainted with autobody shops like the excellent ones at auto body shop ontario Search that and you can get autobody shops near you, quickly, when you need them. Now that I'm a mom, I've slowed down and am much more cautious. But when I was a new driver, depsite informing my parents that I was very slow and cautious, I drove like a complete idiot in my Volvo. Reminds me of George Carlin's 'safe car' routine :) So look for your auto repair experts at and remember to buckle up and drive safely, whatever your age


Back to blogging

After taking a long break, I'm back and ready to blog again. Toddler is sleeping, baby is attempting to teethe on the stool, hubby is watching a space movie. And some moron is peeling out outside the window...


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