"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

White Trash Water Slide

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

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It's (A)live!

>> Monday, May 25, 2009

After much work and frustration (and a lot of help from my in-house super geek- thanks honey!) the new site is up and running!

I invite you to visit the brand-spankin'-new Iowa Geek. Check out the new theme (Lifestyle by StudioPress) that has been tweaked and made my own (with a lot of help from their great support staff). Check out the super cool Featured Content gallery on the main page and my new series Make Me Over, which is just beginning.

And don't forget to change your RSS feed so you don't miss anything! Here's the new feed: http://www.iowageekonline.com/?feed=rss

I've got a couple giveaways ready to hit the blog- you don't want to miss them!

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Check This Out!

>> Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For Local Blog
in Des Moines
I'm not quite sure how I ended up on this list, but I'm pretty honored to be there. Do me a little favor and vote for me. You can vote once a day... Just click here... Thanks!

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Live Like No One Else

I want to introduce you all to Eat, Scrap, Love, a fellow Iowa blogger & Dave Ramsey convert (yes, it's my fault). She's got a great motivator for the first few comments on this post.

I've got one on the way...

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Progress is Being Made

>> Sunday, May 17, 2009

Slowly but surely progress is being made at my new bloggy home. It may be a few days before it's completely fit for habitation but if you want to take a look at what's going on over there here's the link.

I'll be trying to get on schedule again, so posts will be showing up on my sites. Now that I have a better handle on what I'm dealing with I hope to have the switch complete sometime this week.

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A Bit How I Feel...

>> Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm working on switching to Wordpress and I think I am making things more difficult for myself than they need to be. I feel a bit like this:



OK, back to work...

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Ugh... It's Time to Move

>> Monday, May 11, 2009

I have no idea what is up with Blogger... For some reason posts aren't saving, photos aren't loading and I can't seem to do much of anything. I think I may have a serious virus.

My sincerest apologies. I'm going to be making some changes behind the scenes this week so I probably won't be around much.

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Revisiting My Moleskine Hack

>> Saturday, May 09, 2009

Remember when I did a Moleskine hack for scrappers back in January? I utilize my Moleskine all the time and love it.

If my hack isn't for you, I want to direct you to the Definitive Collection of Moleskine Hacks. It icludes my hack and many, many others.

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Mom's Night Out in Des Moines

>> Friday, May 08, 2009

OK, I've been a bit busy & haven't even downloaded photos from last night's event yet. And I'm not going to do it tonight. But when I do I have a giveaway to go with it!!

So I'll just tell you all to head over to Paula's very humorous post about our event.

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Des Moines National Mom's Nite Out : The Lineup

>> Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Wow... It's finally here! My dining room is packed with great bags that need stuffed and the giveaway list has grown! This should be a great event and if you're a mommy in the Des Moines area (or any part of Iowa) I hope you can join us!

Thursday, May 7
7-10 PM at All Play (formerly In Play)
A Nite Out for Mom's Only

(There will be no child care and the building is expected to be quite busy. Please do not bring your children)

First, the big list of "many thanks":
All Play for giving us the space to get together and play!

Kangaroo Boo and WalMart for supplying tote bags for all the swag!

Veridian Credit Union for sponsoring some of the food.

Little Debbie 100 Calorie Snacks for the boxes of goodies!

Hip Mamas Des Moines & Des Moines Moms Like Me for their support & help.

And, of course, BSM Media, Mom Select, Mom Talk Radio & New Baby.com for sponsoring the national event and coordinating so much!

Here's what you can expect at the Iowa event:

Representatives will be on hand from the following companies to pamper & indulge you. Many will also have items for sale (remember, Sunday is Mother's Day!) And ALL will be offering a great prize to give away!

More door prizes from:
You can see we have a lot going on! We should have fun, so please come join us if you can!

The Des Moines Mom's Nite Out is locally hosted by moi (you can also find me at Have Kid Will Travel) and Paula from Boogers & Burps.

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It's NOT Our "Dave Car"

>> Monday, May 04, 2009


Doug and I went to Kansas City this past weekend to see Dave Ramsey speak live. We had taken the FPU course last summer and have done incredibly well on it... But after being away for 3 months, having half of our expenses covered by an expense account & not using our envelopes... Well, we needed a kick in the pants.

And boy, did we get it.

Did we learn anything new? No, not really. But we were able to get our minds back in the "no more debt" frame, which we really needed.

Our general admission seats were quite good. I was able to see Dave's face without looking at the big screens over his head.

Kemper Arena was packed... Seems lots of people are interested in dumping debt...

We got to "meet" Junior, the star of Financial Peace Jr. We picked up the great kids' set for the girls- books, CD, commission & savings charts... I wish I had known about money when I was young. Since my family didn't have any I suppose it was difficult for them to teach us about it...

But what we really went for was the jolt to get us back in gear after being lax for three months. And we got it.

As you may recall, we have had only one vehicle for the past 4 months. While we were in Massachusetts it wasn't a problem. But, since we've been home, it's been difficult. Friends & family have helped out, but there are days that it just doesn't work out.

We had been discussing taking out a small loan, $6000 or so, to get a "decent" vehicle; one that would last a couple years and we could pay off quickly. Well, Dave got us thinking straight again- no more loans! When we got home Doug went to work looking for a vehicle we could pay cash for.

And here it is... Doug is now the (proud?) driver of a 1994 Nissan. It's clean, it runs nice, it has about 160,000 miles on it, and we paid $1600 cash. Oh, it has no radio (but it does have Bose speakers!) and the lock on the door has half a key broken off in it... (But at least there's no radio to steal!)


It should easily last 6 months. By which time it won't have depreciated much more and we will have another $2400 in cash. We'll slowly upgrade until we have our REAL "Dave cars", which, at the moment look a little like this:




Which we will pay cash for, too! (Maybe we'll even go crazy and buy them NEW! OK, not likely, but we will be able to if we want to!!)

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What We Did Instead

>> Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Caelan has preschool once a week for 1 1/2 hours. That's not really enough time to go home and get anything done before picking her up so Brenna and I usually run errands. Today, however, we had no errands to run.

My first instinct was to pack up the small laptop and head to Panera. I even loaded some free games onto the iPod Touch for Brenna to play while I worked.

And then I thought about it... How much work would I really get done? And, since my job is one I created for myself my deadlines are often self imposed (sometimes I have "real" deadlines, but most often they are my own).

Then I looked at the weather and saw that today may be the only day this week without rain. Surely I could do something with Brenna that she would enjoy more than sitting indoors- even if it would involve a yummy pastry!

So I took her to our local sports complex which is filled with winding pathways and helped her learn to rollerblade with the great 3-wheeled blades we found at a garage sale last year.

Definitely time better spent...


Look at that smile! And she was doing quite well by the time we ended.

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More Great Stuff Happening at the Des Moines National Mom's Nite Out!

National Mom's Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of Motherhood


Wow! I am collecting sponsors for Mom's Nite Out and am hearing great feedback from the Des Moines community!

I've got lots of great giveaways from companies like Archiver's, CJ's Bagels, Your Online Go To Gal & Janine King Designs!

Godiva will be at the event all night dipping lots of goodies in chocolate...

I just got word that I will be receiving swag from some of the national sponsors including Little Debbie 100 Calorie Snacks, Welch's juice, books, gift certificates and other great stuff!

Companies like Premier Designs, Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Beijo Bags, Hair West & Discovery Toys will have representatives on site to pamper you... And each company will have a door prize to give away!

Be sure to register on the National Mom's Nite Out website for other great prizes!

And keep checking back with me for updates! I've got some things I'm working on...

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Finding Your Own Hope in this Economy

>> Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm on a Dave Ramsey roll right now. Last summer when I told Doug I had enrolled us in FPU I know he was skeptical. He had skimmed through The Total Money Makeover and had plenty to say about what was wrong with it. But, good husband that he is, he joined me and- to his surprise, I think- enjoyed it and got on board with the plan.

It's been almost a year since I found out about Dave and the difference in our lives is pretty amazing. We've paid off our vehicles (ok, one was totaled in an accident, but it is still paid off!), paid off over 18,000 in debt (loans & credit cards), cut unnecessary expenses and moved to a cash only system for most expenses. To say our lives have changed is an understatement. To try to explain how nice it feels to have money left at the end of the month (instead of the opposite) is impossible unless you've experienced it.

During our time in Massachusetts we fell off the wagon a bit, though. Being away from our credit union made it costly and difficult to withdraw cash for our expenses. Living on an expense account makes it easier to forget about cost. And being away from home made life feel more like a vacation. We need a kick in the pants.

I registered us for Dave Ramsey Live in Kansas City this weekend. It won't be anything new but it will give us back the intensity we lost the past 3 months. It will also be a welcome weekend away for me from the girls- I was with them 24/7 for 10 weeks. I need a break!

Last Thursday we got a bit of Dave intensity at the Town Hall for Hope. It wasn't anything we hadn't heard before but I was a good refresher. Here are a few notes I took:

Failure- if it's chasing you- will run you towards excellence.

Success is merely a pile of failure you are standing on.

Embrace personal responsibility!

Three things to do if you're struggling with hope:

  1. Get up and take action! Get off the couch! Do something! Your best chance at success is you!
  2. Don't participate in loser talk! If you surround yourself with losers, well, you must be a loser, too! Feed your brain with good stuff! Surround yourself with people you want to emulate!
  3. Learn to give again! Give your time if you don't have the money. Giving not only makes you feel good but volunteering may make you realize just how good you have it!
Get informed and choose not to participate in the recession! And, if you haven't yet, now is a great time to locate an FPU class near you!

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Well, That's Certainly the Pot Calling the Kettle Black

>> Saturday, April 25, 2009

Surely I'm not the only one who saw the hypocrisy in the government recently calling the credit card companies to the White House for a "stern warning".

It seems that the credit card companies are "taking advantage" of people. Hmmm... I just want to look at something for a minute...

Credit card companies vs. taxes:

  • Credit cards are an option. Taxes are mandatory.
  • 76.2% of Americans have credit cards. Which is a higher number than I thought. BUT 100% of Americans pay taxes (show me one who doesn't... even children pay taxes when they buy a candy bar)
  • If you have a credit card balance you may pay as much as 24% monthly. If you have a tax debt you will pay an interest rate equivalent to the federal short-term rate plus three percentage points, compounded daily.
  • A credit card companies "fine print" may take up a letter size page or small pamphlet. The US Tax Code, according to the US Government Printing Office, is 13,458 pages in total. The full text of Title 26 of the United States Code (the part written by Congress) is a mere 3,387 printed pages, bringing the adjusted gross page count to 16,845.


"Hey Pot, this is Kettle..."

Here's a really good article: The Truth About Credit Card Debt on MSN.

A little FYI for those ultra sensitive types:

The phrase "the pot calling the kettle black" is an idiom used to accuse another speaker of hypocrisy, in that the speaker disparages the subject for a fault or negative behavior that could equally be applied to him or her. In former times cast iron pots and kettles were quickly blackened from the soot of the fire. The pot would then be hypocritical to insult the kettle's color, since both are black with soot.

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FREE GODIVA CHOCOLATE at Des Moines National Mom's Nite Out!

>> Friday, April 24, 2009

I am Celebrating National Mom’s Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of Motherhood


Des Moines National Mom's Nite Out
Thursday, May 7, 7-10 pm
At All Play (formerly In Play) 615 3rd St., Des Moines

I knew that would get some attention... Yes, ladies, it's true, there will be free chocolate at the Des Moines National Mom's Night Out. Our local Godiva retail store in Jordan Creek Town Center will be bringing a mobile dipping booth filled with warm chocolate- and plenty of goodies to dip in it!

I have some great sponsors lined up, with more signing on all the time! Here's what I have currently:
I also have representatives from:
  • Mary Kay
  • Pampered Chef
Did I mention they will all have something to give away?

More local businesses are signing on daily! (If you are a Des Moines area business and want to take part in the great event contact me. Let's talk!)

Don't forget to visit the National Mom's Nite Out site to register for great prizes.

Can't make it to an event but still want to be part of the fun? There will be over 100 giveaways on Twitter (#mno-09).

Keep tuned to Iowa Geek for more information as it comes!

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Well, The Evening Began Idyllicaly

>> Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This evening was gorgeous. It was warm & sunny; Doug pulled out the patio table & chairs so we could eat dinner outside. We had gnocchi and salad. Had we been surrounded by grape vines and eating on a rustic wooden table it couldn't have been more ideal.

After dinner we all did some yard work (Doug picked up poo while the girls and I pulled weeds). I began taking plates into the house. I was in the kitchen when I heard a thump. You know the sound- kind of like a melon hitting a cement slab.

Except it wasn't a melon. Unless you're using speaking slang for head... Then I suppose you could say that Caelan's "melon" hit the patio slab. Hard enough for me to hear it in the kitchen- one floor up and indoors.

Somehow she had missed the seat of our patio swing, or she slipped off... I'm not really sure. Doug said it happened in a split second... She was on and then she wasn't.

Oh how she cried.

Her eyes didn't dilate, she didn't lose conscienceness or vomit. She was groggy and dazed.

We made a trip to urgent care. Where she wasn't the only child visiting for a head bump.

By the time we saw the doctor she was telling me, "My head is ok, Mommy." But with the whole Natasha Richardson thing in my mind we weren't leaving.

The doctor we saw was very understanding. He checked her eyes, ears, blood pressure... He asked her questions and had her walk.

We left with instructions to wake her twice tonight and make sure she is fully conscience. And no food lest she vomit. I made mention that my worry was bleeding. He said that is really the only worry but that he didn't see any signs of that. I commented that they were probably seeing a lot of worried parents for this reason and he said, "Yes. And doing a lot of unnecessary cat scans. The case with Neeson's wife, that is incredibly rare. In a child your daughter's age a cat scan probably wouldn't show anything, anyway."

Right now Caelan is fast asleep in our bed. I'm thinking about taking the computer upstairs and sitting by her as she sleeps...

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Mom's Night Out in Des Moines

I am Celebrating National Mom’s Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of Motherhood


I am so excited to share this with you all! The Des Moines Area National Mom's Night Out will be held at All Play in downtown Des Moines from 7 - 10 pm.

If you've never been to All Play (formerly In Play) let me just tell you that this is a great place for the entire family. Food, mini-bowling, arcade games and big screen TVs make this popular with everyone. (There is even wi-fi if you're a geek like me!)

All Play has graciously donated a conference room for us to use (and we may even get to utilize the mini bowling alley later in the evening!)

I'll be listing giveaways that we will have at our local event as they come in. And don't forget to visit the National Mom's Night Out site to register for great giveaways there! And be sure to check out the companies that are offering discounts!

Keep checking in with me or Paula to stay up to date on all the great goings on!

If you are a central Iowa business and would like to be showcased at the Des Moines Area National Mom's Night Out contact me via email. Help me make this a great event for Moms!

UPDATES HERE

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I'll Let Jennifer Share Our Time Together...

>> Monday, April 20, 2009

OK, I'm exhausted, my toiletries bag is in Michigan & NBC won't come in on the antenna so I can't watch Medium.

And I haven't had a chance to edit any photos from our time in Ontario because we had a great time with Jennifer & Adam and their kids. All the kids got along great (after a dramatic entry when I managed to pop Caelan's wrist out of the socket and have an hour long episode in which I actually thought we would be making a visit to a Canadian ER. I'm betting they wouldn't have taken my insurance...) and played so wonderfully.

Go over to Jen's blog and take a look. She's got some great photos from our visit.

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It's Amazing How Much a Town & Country Can Hold...

So... We're home. I have much to do. Saying much doesn't even begin to describe what I need to do... But I do want to show you something... But I had to show you these photos.

Here is the van packed and ready to go. It's a good thing I enjoy puzzles... Because this was! But I gotta tell you, I LOVE the stow & go storage. WOW! I fit a ton of stuff in there.

What? You don't believe me? Here's all the stuff that was in the van unloaded into the house:
Storage totes, boxes, suitcases, bags... It's almost like a clown car full of stuff puked in my house.

Gotta say, I really, really liked that van. And I'll be sorry to see it go back to the rental company tomorrow. And I need a vehicle (remember- Doug totaled the truck a few months ago) but the expense of the Town & Country isn't anywhere in my budget right now.

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Des Moines Area Moms! Join Me!

I am Celebrating National Mom’s Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of Motherhood

Want to join Paula & me IRL (in real life) to celebrate being a mom?

The first annual Mom's Night Out is May 7. Because I am currently on my way home from an extended stay in Massachusetts details are still in the works.

If you are a business local to the Des Moines area and want to be noticed by the one person in every household who makes the majority of purchases and influences everything from dining to entertainment, clothing to travel contact me! Let's discuss how you can help make this an amazing event!

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Bloggers Meet IRL!

>> Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our trip home is filled with bloggy meet-ups. Last night we had dinner near Rochester, NY with Practigal and her family. We had a nice steak dinner and great conversation.

Today found us in Ontario, Canada with Jen & her family near Niagara Falls. We spent the day doing touristy stuff- riding the giant wheel, viewing the Falls, walking a lot. Oh, and checking out the Hershey store...

Dinner was created at home- grilled brats & hot dogs and pasta salad. Mmmm...

I have a great video from Horseshoe Falls... It's just taking forever to load.

Tomorrow is a bit more sightseeing then we head back to the USA. Going through Michigan, Illinois & Iowa on the way home. Anyone else wanna meet?

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Cold Beachy Fun

>> Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Who cares if it's cold & windy? A bucket, a shovel & sand... Nuthin' better...

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Tax Day Tea Parties

Here's a map to all of them.

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At My Other Sites

>> Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just in case you don't read my other stuff, I wanted to share a few things:

I've got a book giveaway going on.

I got my Crocs- and I love them!

Here's some of what we've done during our time in Massachusetts.

Only 2 1/2 days left here... Boxes are piling up, the refrigerator is getting bare and the girls are saying goodbye to new friends and teachers.

We're looking forward to meeting Practigal and her son as we pass through upstate New York. And all girls involved (little and big) are excited for the geeks to enter Jennifer's World as we cut through Canada on our way home (yes, I've got the passports ready).

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Remember when...

Remember when $750 BILLION was a lot of money? Well, hidden in last weeks love fest for the President, is his agreeing to send $750 Billion to the International Monetary Fund. Where will we get the money? I don't know and I don't think Obama cares.

You know, the best thing to do when you are out of cash is to stop spending! The Chinese aren't buying many of our T-bills and the UK and Germany can't sell theirs. The bill is coming, Mr. President, and soon our creditors will expect payment.


Here's what I would do:

  1. STOP GIVING MONEY AWAY! That includes earmarks.

  2. Sell Amtrak and allow private companies to provide rail service. Congress has enforced a monopoly long enough. Then, instead of a tax drain because bureaucrats don't know how to run a rail road, there will be tax revenue from those that do.

  3. Sell NASA and allow private companies to launch space vehicles from US soil. The US Air Force already has more space launches than NASA and can easily accept any strategic assets.

  4. The Federal Department of Education hasn't done anything except inhibit education since the Carter administration. Each state has their own bureaucracy and a Federal department is redundant. Every time local and parental control has been tried, it has succeeded. Get government out of the way.

  5. Scale back OSHA. It has gotten well past it's mandate and is more about paperwork than actually caring about worker safety.

  6. Here's the big one - entitlement spending. Medicare, Medicaid and and Social Security are half to two-thirds of the Federal Budget. All other budget reductions are minuscule in comparison. The Federal government's role is to provide for civil and national defense, protect interstate commerce, diplomacy & international treaties, and a common legal framework. All other programs are optional. Currently, 12.4% of your paycheck goes towards Social Security and Medicare. Because Congress has stolen, I mean, reallocated the surpluses from this fund EVERY YEAR, there will come a time when there are more benefits being paid out than is being garnished from your paycheck. It depends on when a large mass of Baby Boomers want to retire, but analysts estimate that it will happen within a few years. One of two things will happen then, benefits will be reduced or the money will be reallocated from other areas.

  7. Farm Bill. What do I need to say about a program that pays farmers not to farm, or promotes farming illogical crops. Oh, and this bill may be one of the main reasons a small (less than 250 acres) farmer cannot make a living. This bill encourages large farms and corporations.

  8. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Unneeded at the Federal level. Let local communities do things in their own communities.

  9. I know there is more. What would you do?

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Wow... 2 Months Gone

>> Sunday, April 12, 2009

At times the days seemed to crawl by... And other days I wished for more hours.

While it seems entirely possible that our final week in Massachusetts is upon us it doesn't quite seem plausible. I still have so many things I would like to do, so many things to see.

Ah, well, those will all have to wait until another time, I suppose.

We had a great weekend. On Saturday the girls got to see their first musical: Thomas the Tank Engine Live. They loved it! We finished the evening at our favorite Irish pub: the Black Rose. Sunday we ventured to the Cape to explore Falmouth, a town we passed through on our first trip. We didn't make it past Falmouth as the girls wanted to use their new sand pails & shovels on the beach. Then into the village where a few shops were open- as was a great Irish pub. No live music but the food was really good!

I have so much yet to share from our time out here- my articles are ending up longer than I anticipate and are taking a while to write. I don't want to miss anything! Be sure you're subscribed to Have Kid Will Travel or following me on Twitter so you can keep updated!

Tomorrow I have a few things to share on the review site- my Crocs arrived last week!- and I hope to finish the article about our "home away from home".

Also on the agenda... Beginning packing. What can be packed, what has to wait, what will we need for the trip home, what won't we, what has to be done before we leave... I anticipate a hectic week. But there's nothing new about that...

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Happy Easter

>> Friday, April 10, 2009

We are staring forward into our final week in Massachusetts. I'm not sure how the time passed so quickly... Especially when it seemed like it would never end.

I have so much to share and didn't get the time. This week we took the girls to dinner at a Hibachi, visited the Roger Williams Park Zoo and spent all last weekend in Plymouth. Tonight we are having dinner at a local cafe with live music. Tomorrow we are heading into Boston for Thomas the Tank Engine Live (thanks MomSelect!) and then to the Black Rose for dinner & music. Sunday we are hoping it will be nice enough to head to the Cape... Or we'll go to an Easter egg hunt in the garden of the artist who illustrated The Velveteen Rabbit.

I hope everyone has an amazing Easter.

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I Refuse to Participate in This Recession

>> Tuesday, April 07, 2009



I just found out that my church will be hosting Dave Ramsey's Town Hall for Hope on April 23rd.

Info: 7pm CST in the Neveln Center,
406 SW School Street
Ankeny, IA 50023
room 103

Consider this your invitation, direct from me. The event is free.

If you have any questions leave me a comment or drop a note to the church.

If you're looking for more common sense answers to your debt issues why not meet Doug & me in Kansas City on May 2 for Total Money Makeover Live!

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This hasn't happened to me...yet

>> Monday, April 06, 2009

Since I'm taking the train on a daily basis and know exactly how train stations operate, I couldn't stop laughing at this video. Good for the people that organized this!

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Kinda Waiting for My Senator's "Outrage"


I'm waiting but I haven't received an email from Senator Harkin detailing his "outrage" over the Fannie & Freddie bonuses that were handed out last Friday- when the media had other things to focus on. You know, like what outfit Michelle Obama was wearing or how to spin the Presidents continued bashing of America (I must say the NY Times did a pretty good job glossing over it...)

In case you missed it, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac execs received bonuses in the area of $210 million dollars. I don't hear Barney Frank spouting his "give it back" mantra. Nor do I hear Senator Grassley saying these execs should "follow the Japanese example", though he, at least, has said it is an "insult to taxpayers" - I had to go to a UK newspaper, however, to find that information.

This is insulting:

In the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Lockhart defends the bonuses as vital to retaining talent at the two companies, the main providers of funding for U.S. home mortgages. Fannie and Freddie, which reported combined losses of about $108 billion for 2008, are being propped up by capital infusions from the U.S. Treasury.
So, people who worked for AIG and had NO involvement in the losses that led to the insurance company's downfall don't deserve their bonuses but we need to pay bonuses to "retain talent" for two federally funded companies that lost $108 billion last year?

I'm thinking we can do without that kind of "talent".

Want to tell your politicians?

Click here to easily contact the House of Representatives.

Click here to contact your Senators.

Are your fed up yet? The Iowa branch of the 9-12 Project has a Tea Party on the west lawn of the Des Moines capitol building beginning at 2 pm on April 11. The info as I have it:
*April 11, 2009 Tea Party @ 2pm West Lawn on Finkbine St.

*Signs are not allowed to be on sticks (per the Iowa capitol request). BUT do bring signs to get our message out

*No smoking & no alcohol

*Pick up your own trash (please lets send out an extra powerful message by being responsible, remember the filth on the National mall after Inauguration...that was embarrassing!)

*We are working on a series of speakers and a special emcee for the event.

*We are working on finding a venue to gather after the protest to fellowship and yes to once again...TALK ABOUT PRINCIPLES and to fellowship.

*Get the word out!!! We want to get well over 1,000 Iowans to speak out! Remember, this is not about politics...this is about principles. Principles #9 The Government works for us...we do not work for them. And #7 I work hard for what I have. I will share it with who I want, when I want. The government cannot force me to be charitable.

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For Miss Amy

>> Sunday, April 05, 2009

I've been bad about the promised updates and we've been so busy that I am far, far behind on our travel adventures at Have Kid Will Travel. So I wanted to share this photo of the girls from our visit to Salem a couple weekends ago. We stopped in the Maritime Museum and the girls were dressing up as sea farers... The outfits were just a bit big...


Dress Up at the Salem Maritime Museum


Even with our great adventures the girls are ready to be home... And I am ready to be back on schedule!

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It's Nice to Hear

>> Saturday, April 04, 2009

Today we toured Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was incredibly cool- we may go back tomorrow to see more & go on a whale watch. Unless we go to the Cape...

We wore the girls out; we toured the Mayflower II, Plimoth Plantation, Jenney Grist Mill & then we took a walking tour of Plymouth (more on all of this another day at Have Kid Will Travel)...

After all that adventure we stopped in a rather nice restaurant for dinner- recommended to us by the great folks who run the Jenney Grist Mill. The girls were good, a little fidgety as they were trying not to fall asleep, but they weren't being too noisy.

As we got up to leave an older gentleman at the next table motioned for me to come over. He said to me, "When you get to be my age you're sure to tell people things... I've never wanted grandkids. When I saw you being seated with your daughters I thought they would be noisy and disruptive. Now, I don't know how they are normally, but your kids were so well behaved and well mannered I just wanted to thank you, you're raising them right."

I thanked him as Caelan charmed his friends. I found out that it was his birthday, he, his wife and another couple visit this restaurant annually for his birthday. It's their tradition to buy cake for everyone at their table- and their waiter. We all wished him a happy birthday as we left.

We've heard a lot since we've been in Boston how well behaved the girls are. I guess he must have been right... Somehow we're not doing too bad in our raising of them...

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You knew this was coming

>> Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Well, President Obama is in the United Kingdom of Great Britain for the G20 summit. You knew he would do something to screw up our relations with our 19 biggest trading partners didn't you?

Well, evidently, he didn't know that England is only one of the crowns represented in the United Kingdom. As Redstate put it, how would you like it if a head of state came here and used a single state's name when they should have said the United States? That lake of preparedness demonstrates a complete disregard for the history and make up of the UK.

An iPod? Really? Um, she already had one at the advice of her grandson. I found that using Google. In 20 seconds. A staff flunky in the White House should have called a staff flunky in Buckingham Palace and received a list. Just saying.


About the summit itself
: Obama does take some of the blame for the financial mess. That's responsible of him considering liberals in Congress (both side of the aisle) started that ball rolling and human nature filled in the rest. However, he then goes on to pass on the leadership of the recovery. He doesn't say that we will lead the way out, as we have in the past. We need to do it all together, but does nothing to get it started. And everything he has done to date lengthens the time we will be in a recession. Excessive governmental involvement got us in this mess. Getting the government out of the way will get us out of it.


UPDATE: This is sarcasm, but had me going for a moment, considering how graceful the Obama's have been to foreign heads of state.


UPDATE2: Evidently the iPod had Obama speeches loaded going back to when he was a mere state senator. Ummm, okay.

UPDATE3: Dude, the hits just keep on coming. This time from Secretary Clinton's staff. The comedy just writes itself.

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The Coolest Thing About Blogging

I have friends all over the world. So if I happen to mention I'll be heading someplace I usually get emails that say, "Hey, if you have time stop in my town. I'll show you around, we'll grab ice cream." Which is way cool and I'm bummed when I can't take up my bloggy friends on those great offers.

Well, I happened to mention that we will be making a stop in Niagara Falls, Canada on our way back to Iowa (it's winning in the poll on Have Kid Will Travel) and I got this email:

"...we have extra rooms if you don't want to pay the insane prices for hotels around here. It wouldn't matter what time you got here and can spend more on "tourist" stuff if you like. I know we've never actually met before, so it sounds weird inviting you to stay here, but I'm pretty sure that after four years of reading your blog I know you pretty well :)
Now, how cool is that? So not only will I be meeting Jennifer but she is gonna be hosting us for a night. She's been reading me for 4 years but I'm not sure she really knows what she's in for!

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At Iowa Geek Reviews

Just in case you don't subscribe to the Reviews portion of Iowa Geek (why not? You should... That's where giveaways are ending up...) I want to let you know what's new over there...

I'm giving away another book: Laura Rider's Masterpiece.

If you blog you'll be interested in this free blog back-up.

A great reason to join MomSelect: free stuff! We get to go see Thomas & Friends!

Have a child with asthma- or know one? You can get a free asthma storybook, Breathless Bethany Buttercup.

I got to review a fun and inexpensive game from OTB (makers of Apples to Apples): Zen Benders. Check out my review- it's a great game for those Easter baskets you'll be stuffing soon! BTW- OTB games will be sponsoring a giveaway during Bloggy Giveaway Carnival the first week of May!

So, while you're over there checking out all my great posts, don't forget to subscribe (it's easy- the buttons are at the top right) because I've got another giveaway going on soon and a great opportunity to share.

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According to Facebook, We're Related

Today this came in my inbox:

Hi,

Barack Obama (Washington, DC) has confirmed you as his fourth cousin once removed on We're Related.

Follow this link to see how you are related:
(ok, I removed the link... You all don't need access to my Facebook page...)

We're Related Team

I'm afraid to click the link- it may be some nasty virus. Or, worse, I could find out that it's true...

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It's Tax Season - Hey, Iowa - Want Some Good News?

>> Monday, March 30, 2009

Yeah, me too. This ain't it. (Sorry for all the political stuff lately... It seems we're losing our freedoms faster than anyone thought possible...)

Anyway, it seems the Iowa legislature is looking to do away with the federal deductibility with Bill HSB284. Don't know what federal deductibility is? In a nutshell:

In Iowa we have the opportunity to deduct our federal income tax burden from our ordinary income prior to calculating our taxable income. This is regardless of whether or not you itemize.
Democrats claim that eliminating federal deductibility will allow Iowans to pay their bills, pay for college tuition and cover day-to-day expenses. But according to their own math, it will only give the average Iowan an extra 17 cents a day.
Now, I'm not a tax accountant. Luckily this guy is. So I'll let him break it down...

- $63,350 is the new $125,000.
The promoters of the repeal say it will only affect "households" with incomes over $125,000. Wrong. The top rate, and the tax increase, kicks in at $63,350. The "$125,000" figure apparently assumes two-earner couples with each earner getting at least $63,350. Iowa's rate structure taxes each earner separately.

Making it worse by comparison: The Legislature Democrats would eliminate the deduction for federal taxes paid while lowering the top stated Iowa tax rate from 8.98% to 6.98%. They tout this as making Iowa's top bracket "competitive" with Nebraska's top rate of 6.84%. They are right, but not in a good way. When you do the math, you see that they are increasing Iowa's top effective rate from lower than Nebraska to higher (and, of course, much higher than South Dakota's top rate of 0%).

I especially loved this quote from Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, in the WCFCourier:
"The most well-off Iowans are likely going to pay a little more.

Says the tax guy:
Making it look like they really just want to raise taxes on somebody. If they wanted to make it look like real reform, they wouldn't be focusing on making somebody pay more; they'd be looking at what system would best finance the state budget needs at a low compliance cost without driving businesses and jobs from the state.

Well off, of course, meaning anything over $63,350. So, let me ask you punk: do you feel wealthy?

FYI: The bill is being debated at the committee level today and there is a public hearing at the State Capitol on Tuesday, March 31 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm on House Study Bill 284. You can support efforts to protect federal deductibility by being present and showing your support during the discussion.

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Shared Sacrifices

How is a 9% increase in spending sacrificing anything?

“We made the tough choices,” Paterson [governor D-NY] said in a statement released yesterday night. He said the spending and tax plan called for “shared sacrifice” that “stabilizes our finances.”

Governor Paterson is not talking about the government sacrificing anything - he is talking about the New York taxpayer sacrificing their livelihood. Taxes in New York state just jumped for "the rich", you know, any family making over $40,000 a year. Oh, and additional, hidden taxes will come from "...increased fees on utilities, excluding telephone, as well as higher levies for vehicle registration and licenses for hairdressers."

Somehow, I don't think Gov Paterson will equate this action with the last paragraph of the article, which ends with "In New York City, the jobless rate rose 1.2 percentage points to 8.1 percent in February." When it's hard to stay in business, businesses close or move and take their jobs with them. That fact has been proven and recorded throughout history. It shouldn't be a surprise to the looters. And maybe it's not.

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Step Back in Time

>> Sunday, March 29, 2009


We visited Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago. Visit Have Kid Will Travel and step back in time with us.

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This is what 52% of American wanted?

In what way and on what planet is this a good thing? I don't care if the GM CEO needed to step down or not. The point is that it is the Board of Director's decision, not a politician's. What President Obama has done now is cause insecurity and panic with that company. Why? Because they are now slaves to Obama...Just like AIG.

How could Obama ever consider this to be a good thing? Ever? This is going to make it worse. This will install a political insider, not someone who knows how to manufacture cars that people are willing to purchase. Wesley Mouch would recognize this. Is Directive 10-289 coming soon?


UPDATE on Monday: The market falling was an obvious response. Either President Obama thought of that or he didn't. Neither answer reflects well upon him. He has hurt a lot of people and a lot of companies. Not because of his specific action listed above, but because of the THREAT of that action.

UPDATE Monday Evening: I like PJTV's take on this.

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In Soviet Canada....

This one is for you Joe. No, I really don't think "Soviet Canada" as we are much closer to having fewer rights and freedoms in the US than the USSR. And if many of the leftists get their way, we'll have the purges here too.

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Another Busy Saturday

>> Saturday, March 28, 2009

We had actually planned to have a relatively relaxing Saturday...

HA! The weather decided to turn gorgeous so we went to Fall River and toured Battleship Cove. Practically every area was accessible on the ships and the submarine. We spent almost 4 hours there and didn't see everything.

We left there, got a bit lost and missed the last tour of the Lizzie Borden B&B/Museum.

No worries- Doug decided we would just take the short drive to Newport, Rhode Island... Just to look around. In the 4 hours we were there we barely scratched the surface of the town. We arrived too late to get on a tour of the incredible mansions or to begin the beautiful Cliff Walk. We need at least a weekend- preferably 4-5 days to really take it in.

Which leads me to ask... Niagara Falls is currently "winning" the poll of what we should see on our way home. Should I add Newport & reset the poll?

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May I Interest You in Some Tea?

>> Friday, March 27, 2009

desmoinesteaparty_blog


So, in two months our elected officials and our President have spent more money than the entire US grosses in a year. Timothy Geithner has requested the ability to take over any financial company he thinks is failing (because, you know, he did so well with the whole AIG bailout). California is looking to ban black cars because of the energy it takes to cool them (I'm guessing dark blues and greens will be swept into this as well). Under Obama's cap & trade plan "energy costs will necessarily skyrocket".

Is this what you voted for (I didn't!)? Have you had enough of this abuse of power? If you're like me you've called the offices of your elected officials (some aren't so pleasant), sent them letters, or picked them apart online. Have they heard you yet? I wonder...

If you're in the Des Moines area (or just want to drive in and join up) and you're sick of all the "taxation without representation" consider yourself invited to the Tax Day Tea Party. If you're in another state go to the Tax Day Tea Party site to find a location near you.

We will be in Massachusetts and plan to head into Boston for the third Boston Tea Party. (Did you know there were two before? Yep, the one we've all read about, and a second one, March 7, 1774.)

Don't forget your video cameras- local media probably won't cover the Tea Party; they will instead focus on the small band of protestors.

If you tweet I suggest following #tcot.

Suggested reading materials:



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I'm Not Sure the "Expert" was Really Such an Expert

>> Thursday, March 26, 2009

You may remember that I took the expert from Family Circle's Financial Planner: Expert Money Advice to task the other day for doling out bad credit card advice.

It seems I should have pulled apart the entire article because, with the exception of the first piece of advice (yes, keep contributing to your 401k) I don't agree with much else that was shared.

Let's move on to the next question:

Q. How much should I have in savings?

A. At least six months of living expenses. The general rule of thumb has always been that dual-income families should have three to six months of living expenses accessible in a savings account earning at least 2.5 percent. But fewer than 40 percent of adults have enough savings to tide them over for even three months, according to Bankrate.com. And now that the economy is so uncertain, experts are leaning toward six months. "If someone loses his job, it's anybody's guess how long it will take to become employed again," says Donald E. Whalen, a certified financial planner in Alpharetta, Georgia. But don't get overwhelmed by the thought of having to save so much money -- "living expenses" doesn't mean cash for leisure activities. It's the money needed to cover bare essentials, like mortgage, food, and health insurance.

To beef up your emergency fund:

A. Set up a weekly automatic debit from your checking account into a high-interest savings account, and increase the amount when you can.

B. Raise the deductibles on your home and auto insurance, or shop around for a better deal, then stow the difference in a savings account.

C. When you finish paying off a credit card, keep making payments -- to your emergency fund.

D. Try bundling expenses (like getting phone, Internet, and cable from one company) then stash the savings.


I am going to disagree right away. If you have any consumer debt the most you should have in savings is $1000. That is enough to cover *most* emergencies. Now, if you have no debt then, yes, 6 months of living expenses is what you need. Now, on to the tips to beef up your savings...
  • A) Sure, deduct a weekly amount into your emergency fund until you reach $1000. BUT a high interest savings account is still much less than the interest on your credit card debt. Work on a snowball to pay off that debt (trust me, it works! We've paid off over $17,000 since last summer using this method)
  • B) Yes, increase those deductibles! The savings can be significant. In fact, you should review your policies annually with your insurance agent to make sure you have the proper coverage. But use the savings to pay down debt!
  • C) When you pay off a credit card roll that payment into the next item on your snowball. It will disappear faster and give you more money to toss at the next bill... And the next... And the next... Until they are gone!
  • D) Sure, go ahead an bundle your expenses. But if you really want to save money get rid of those expenses all together! We got rid of our home phone and cable- a savings of $100 per month! And we don't miss them! (You can watch many shows online for free!) Throw the money at your snowball!
  • How we got our emergency fund & started our snowball:
  1. I had a huge garage sale. Everything that was stored in our basement & attic, clothes that we didn't wear, toys the girls had outgrown or just didn't play with, CDs we didn't listen to, DVDs we didn't watch, books we didn't read anymore... I sold a ton of stuff! Books, CDs & DVDs can also be listed on Half.com (I've made a nice amount on there), items on eBay (the nicer stuff) or Craig's List, kids clothes can be taken to a consignment shop where you can get store credit ('cuz your kids are gonna be needing clothes) or cash, or donated to Goodwill (where you get a tax credit). Sell it- it's just "stuff". You can get more when you're not broke!
  2. We got rid of cable TV, our home phone, eating out & any unnecessary expenses. I started using cash only (sign up to win an envelope system here)
  3. We let the land we owned in Missouri go back to the man we bought it from. Sure, we were out thousands of dollars but what good is land that you spend $400 a month on and never use?
OK, on to the fourth question in the article:

Q. Is it okay to ignore my bills if I can't afford the payments?

A. No way. Ignoring your bills will result in late fees, negative credit, and higher interest rates -- to the tune of as much as 32 percent on your credit cards, according to a study by advocacy group Consumer Action. Foresee a problem making a payment to your credit card or your mortgage company? Pick up the phone. "If you proactively call and explain the situation, you'll probably get better treatment," says Ken Robinson, a financial adviser in Cleveland. You may be able to work out a different payment plan or lower your interest rate. The same goes for taxes: File your return on time, then contact the IRS to talk about an installment plan, if need be.

I almost think this contradicts what she just said in question 3. This is why it is more important to pay off those bills instead of building a huge emergency fund. The bills will continue to come - even if you don't have any money! And, as was stated in the previous answer, your emergency fund is for bare essentials- not debt!

And now, "advice" on what to do if job loss is imminent (I'm going to hit these one by one):
Before I Lose My Job

It seems like the headlines are announcing new layoffs every day -- more than half a million jobs were lost in December 2008 alone. Luckily, even in this shaky economic environment there are a few things you can do to prepare.

Apply for a home equity line of credit. If you're unemployed, you'll have a hard time persuading a bank that you can repay this loan, so now is a great time to secure a line of credit in case you need it. You pay interest only if you have to tap into it. The bad news: It's harder to get a HELOC than it used to be. Aim for a bank that will waive all application fees and charge an annual fee (once approved) instead. "I'd rather do that than pay $150 up front and then find out they're not going to give me the loan," says certified financial planner Constance Stone.

Do NOT go get a line of credit "just in case"! You don't want to build up more debt- especially when you don't have an income to pay the bills when they come due. And paying an annual fee to borrow money, on top of the interest rate? Do people really do this? Oh, and if you can't pay? You can lose your house! Bad, bad, bad advice!
Get a physical. Encourage your husband to get one too, and take the kids to the pediatrician and dentist. You don't know what kind of health coverage you'll have in the future or how much it will cost, so get care while you're still on your employer's dime.
OK, this one is not so dumb. Healthy people spend less on medical costs.

Downgrade your health coverage. When open enrollment comes around, try a less expensive health insurance plan for the upcoming year, if you can. That way, if you end up having to pay COBRA (your current health plan at full cost), you will pay less.

I'm not really sure about this one... What worked for us was to switch to an HSA. We pay less per month on our premium + our deposit to cover medical expenses than we were on our full coverage insurance (and by less I mean a few hundred dollars). But we are self employed; no employer covers our health insurance. I would say look into this option with your employer, or if you believe a lay-off or firing is imminent.

Adjust your withholding. Reduce federal and state withholding to get more cash in your paycheck -- then don't spend it. Sock away the extra money in a high-interest savings account. If you remain employed, you can use the money to pay your taxes. But if you or your husband gets laid off, the money will be readily accessible so you can pay your bills.

Again with the high interest savings account... Use the money to pay off debt. When you are ready to build your emergency fund talk to your bank about easy to access money market accounts- they have higher interest than savings accounts and you can usually get your money in a day or two; some even have checks.

Check your credit report. Potential future employers will likely be checking your credit. Everyone should get a free report from annualcreditreport.com and fix any errors -- now.

You should get your credit report annually (it's free) and check it thoroughly. Identity theft is rising. We subscribe to LifeLock. They watch over our credit and let us know if something fishy arises (I've been very impressed). Sure, you can do what they do- but it is very time consuming and annoying (I've tried, it's worth the cost to me for someone else to handle it).



indiv_promo_banner_468x60

The items highlighted in green were Originally published in the April 1, 2009, issue of Family Circle magazine.

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I Think Capital One May Have Read Iowa Geek... (aka Credit Card Rewards)

>> Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Because I don't recall contacting them about my rewards issue. If you recall I was lamenting that I hadn't accumulated enough rewards to actually "earn" anything as the smallest "cost" was 5000 miles and I only had 2173.

Today I got a call from Capital One. Again, I don't recall sending them an email about this issue. The very helpful representative said that she understood that I was "having a problem redeeming points" before I closed my account.

"Yes," I said, "the lowest value is 5000 and I don't have that many."

"We can just send you a check for the value of the points," she replied. "They are worth 1%, so we will send a check out for $21.73 today and close your account if you wish."

I said that would be great and thanked her.

No, it's not much, but I am impressed all the same. Those miles really aren't worth anything to me and Capital One didn't have to call and let me know they could convert them to cash. I'm pretty sure that if I had just closed my account online that those miles would have just disappeared. So, kudos, Capital One. That's good customer service.

Now, if I could only remember if I contacted them about this or not. 'Cuz I really don't remember doing so...

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I Hate to Disagree with the Expert But...

>> Tuesday, March 24, 2009

April's Family Circle magazine has an article titled Financial Planner: Expert Money Advice. And while I hate to disagree with the expert I have to when it comes to advice #2...

Q. Should I stop using credit cards?

A. Not necessarily. Some advisers suggest hiding credit cards under the mattress during tough times, and, indeed, wielding a debit card has become a popular alternative. But using your debit card exclusively has disadvantages -- fraud and error protections aren't the same -- and credit cards can be part of a responsible spending plan. They can also help you establish a solid credit history. "Unfortunately, some people misuse credit cards by thinking, 'I'll do this now and get myself out of it later,'" Stone says. "But balances grow, and these people are in trouble before they know it." So treat your credit card as if it's a debit card, recording each transaction and subtracting it from your bank balance. Then pay your bill in full each month.


I want to point out that if your debit card carries the Visa or Mastercard symbol they carry the SAME fraud and error protections that credit cards have. (See this great debit card article.)


Also, it is very, very easy to only pay minimum balances on a credit card. If you are disciplined enough to not run up your credit card and pay it off each month, well, good for you! Most people are not that disciplined. In my opinion, credit cards are not part of a responsible spending plan. It is way too easy to say "I'll pay it off next month" and let the debts ride until you have too much debt and not enough money to pay it off.


I have been following Dave Ramsey's plan since early last summer and we have paid of thousands and thousands in debt. It really works. Our goal is to pay off our home in 10 years and have a zero credit score in 20!


One part of Dave's plan that I was hesitant (ok, practically had to be forced to do) was the envelope system. I didn't want to be "limited" to the cash in my pocket. But what I found was that my spending was more controlled, I bought only what we needed and those things I thought I had to have really weren't worth it if I was paying cash. It hurts to pay cash! (In a good way!)


Want to win one of Dave's envelope systems? Go visit The Trendy Dollar. Leave a comment for her then search the rest of the site. She'll get you pointed in the right direction. (Did I mention her family recently paid off all their consumer debt?)

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Obama reaches out to France

>> Monday, March 23, 2009

President Obama sent a love note to Jacques Chirac of France. That's all well and good, however, the current President of France is Nicolas Sarkozy and he's NOT HAPPY. Not happy at all.

Pretty soon, we'll be talking about "former ally" France and "former ally" Britain, along with "former allies" Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Czech Republic, Pakistan, India, Canada, Japan...

Who have I missed? Ah, the lovely "overcharge" moment with Russia...


You have to see what Obama's Teleprompter says:

Somebody poked him on this story and the TOTUS responded thusly:

***************

Obamas Teleprompter at 10:35pm March 22

Dude

Its FRANCE ok...heck - even I have trouble stomaching those surrender moneys...its not like he insulted the UK or embarrased himself with Russia...I mean c'mon...FRANCE

BTW - I have to tell you. I had to talk him off the idea of sending the Statue of Liberty back to them...he's just not that into it...I'm not either but it would look bad. Warm Regards TOTUS **

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New Looks at Have Kid Will Travel!

As I get busier I find it to just be more efficient for me to pay to have things done. Like designing the new website... Sure, I could do it (as many of my bloggy friends can attest to since I have helped them with designing their sites) but the time it takes... Well, I just don't have it. So I hired a web designer who was referred to me by my incredibly talented friend Elaine...

Destri sent me a super cute logo last night and I can't wait til the new website debuts to share it!

Super cute, no? And the girls are pulling Trunkis! I love it! What do you think?

If you're in the market for a new look to your blog or want to design a whole website from the ground up I am having a great time working with Destri. I can't wait to see the whole site together!

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A Star is Born

>> Sunday, March 22, 2009

We had a very busy weekend... Grandma (my mom) made a trip out to Boston to visit and we kept her busy! Saturday we visited Salem and Sunday was Boston. I'm working on articles & photos for Have Kid Will Travel- I'll let you know when I get them posted. (I'm having HKWT redesigned so things are a bit wonky right now. Hopefully they will be righted soon. Until then, have you seen my article on Cohasset, Massachusetts?)

What I really want to share, though, is this bit from today. We had dinner at the Black Rose (probably our favorite restaurant in Boston). There was live entertainment tonight by Frank Ryan, a Dublin native, who performs around the Boston area with his band Celtic Clan. As we were preparing to leave I sent the girls up with a tip for him. He asked if they wanted to get on stage & sing! Brenna, my little performer, was all over that. Caelan followed but wanted nothing to do with the singing...



Frank gave the girls a CD of his band's Irish tunes as a prize for singing. For Brenna, though, the applause may have been the best payment... We stayed for one more song (Wild Irish Rover) and danced, clapped and sang (OK, I sang. I had a pint with dinner...) before we had to leave.

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Apparently Our President Can't Bowl

>> Thursday, March 19, 2009

But should he have said it this way?


Appalling. Oh, thanks Keith for sharing. How's that shiver running down your leg, now?

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Thank You, Senator Harkin, But I Think My Outrage Points a Different Way

And that would be at you and every other senator who voted to bail out AIG.

Today I received this in my inbox. It's a message from my esteemed senator titled Outrage Over AIG Bonuses.

The first paragraph goes like this:
This week, I was just as outraged as I am sure many of you were, when I learned (I bolded the words) that millions of dollars were paid out in bonuses to employees at companies that received bailout funding. I am dumbfounded to think that some of the very people at AIG whose recklessness caused such harm to the financial system and our economy are now being rewarded.
Maybe, Senator, you would have known about the bonuses if you had read the entire bill before you signed it... Do you remember the conversation I had with a staffer in Harkin's office just last month? The one in which the staffer said to me: "So you expect the senator to read and memorize this entire bill?"

You're damn right I expect him to read the bill! That's what he is paid to do!

The message went on:
What’s more is that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department knew about these bonuses before they went out and did not aggressively act to stop them. The Treasury needs to step up oversight of those companies who have received federal bailout dollars and become a much more forceful watchdog of taxpayers’ dollars.
Not only did they know about the bonuses, Senator, they specifically worked them into the bail out. Chris Dodd owned up to that... (which means he lied and should be impeached).

And now we see what our Senator really thinks of Iowans...
Up and down Main Street, businesses are closing, homes are being foreclosed on and people are in financial trouble, while workers on Wall Street continue to profit. But, folks in Iowa look at that and see business as usual. They see one set of standards for ordinary working families and a very different set for the privileged and wealthy. They see the federal government requiring union workers at GM and Chrysler – some making as little as $14 an hour – to renegotiate their contracts and accept lower compensation as a condition for federal relief for their employers. But the bonus contracts for millionaires at AIG are held up as somehow untouchable. Iowans are sick and tired of seeing those who break the rules get richer and richer.

I hate to tell you, Senator, but us "folks in Iowa" don't see different rules for others. In fact, us "folks in Iowa" believe in the inherent fairness of life. I believe that's why we live in Iowa. Of course you may not spend enough time in your Cummings shack or your Indianola rental properties to really know how Iowans really are. Your Beltway mentality is showing, Senator. Oh, and $14 an hour is "middle class", sir. Of course it won't buy much in Alexandria, VA.

He finishes:
Congress must act now to recoup the bonuses paid out. We need to pass legislation that completely taxes those bonuses away. We need to send a message to AIG and other companies who received bailout money. They need to know business as usual will not be tolerated, incompetence and recklessness will not be rewarded and this kind of insult to Iowans and all Americans will not be allowed to stand.
Hasn't congress done enough? If you "pass legislation" on these people who, themselves, did nothing wrong, what's to stop you from destroying any contract that gets in your way? It is unconstitutional. But John at Powerline (he's a lawyer, too), says it better than I can.

So, Senator, I am unswayed by you hypocritical rant. In fact, I hold you responsible. You are, after all, supposed to be representing me. I expect you to do your job.

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