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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): November 2007

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Will Be at Commander's Wives' Conference Next Week

You didn't know there was such a thing, did you? Well, I didn't either til my husband came home one day, slapped a plane ticket on the table and said we were going to this thing. Apparently, not only do future battalion and brigade commanders get a little hand holding, so do their wives! I didn't ask what would happen if I didn't want to go? As with anything, I looked on the bright side and hoped they had perfected the thing, to give us something useful to take back home with us. I'll have to report back first week in December...this course is actually a week long! Will we be in a classroom all week? Will we have any homework? Do we get a letter grade after we finish? Anyway, have a great week, and if you haven't already, please visit some of the Blogrolls and Websites listed and reviewed here. I'll be back in about a week!


Getting Through Gully Low

It happens to the best of happens to all of time or another...more often than we would like. We reach a point where we just stare off into space..the thousand yard stare they call it in military lingo. My grandmom calls this feeling "gully low", cause I guess that's about as low as you can get. We're feeling "gully low", "dragging the black dog", depressed and hitting that low point. It can hit us at any time, but most of us wives know we get it often when our husbands are deployed or around the holidays. Why is this so and what can we do about it?

We're human. I'm not going to go into the science of it all, but everyone from Groucho Marx to Hillary Clinton to Ellen DeGeneres has felt it, and more than once too. Life takes us through cycles. That's how we grow and learn. Knowing what to do when you hit the low note and how to recognize where we are, are the first steps in moving back up again.

Here are some thoughts and tips to consider:

  • When we are overwhelmed, our body's tendency is to want to shut out all outside stimuli. Recognize this fact and start prioritizing what you have to do. Make and list, and if some things fall off the bottom...IT IS OKAY.
  • If you have too much going on, then you haven't delegated. You can't do everything. Ask your husband, friend, coworker or neighbor for help. It makes people feel good to help, so in a sense, you are helping them too and giving them a boost in the process. Do be prepared to help in the future, preferably without being asked. Good leaders delegate. You are a good leader.
  • Get some sleep. A good rest can do wonders to reinvigorate.
  • Get some sunlight. Scientific research shows it works.
  • Listen to some relaxing music. Music can destress you and lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Pet your dog or cat. This has the same effect as music but is even more powerful. Put everything down. Turn off the stove. Put out some crackers and cheese for the hungry kids and take a walk or a romp with Peaches.
  • Play a fun, simple game with your children such as hide and seek or tag or read a book together.
  • Don't overanalyze things or be unrealistic with your expectations. Sometimes, just let things be, or hit the rewind button and start from scratch. As long as no one is getting hurt and you can sit back and reflect, that's what should be top priority at the moment.
  • Keep a journal to help you find out what time, day or place is the most difficult for you. Learn to recognize it before it's coming, and redirect your energy to something else before it starts. Or, if it's something that has to be done...eventually...then approach it from a different angle than you normally would.
  • Complete a task you have been putting off a long time. Sometimes these things fester in our head without us even realizing it. You'll find you get a renewed sense of energy and accomplishment if you redirect and do something that's been sitting on your back burner matter how short the task.
What tips would you like to share?

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am Thankful

Let's take this day to give thanks, in more ways then one. I also decided that from now on, the glass would always be half full instead of half empty. Find the bright side in everything, and you will find plenty to be thankful for. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Check these out:

What are you thankful for this year?


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Best YouTube Fare

I used to think YouTube just had homemade, silly videos with some taped stuff from TV and of course the latest bloopers..throw in some music videos and some funny clips and that about did it. Much to my surprise, on a day when I was searching for a particular video, I came across some interesting fare. I didn't know you could use YouTube for that?

Did you know there is a host of "how to" videos out there? I don't know if they always were there...but they are there now. Check these out and be sure to add some of your own favorites to share.

Morning Yoga

How to Cook a Holiday Turkey

How to Fold a T-shirt in One Step

10 Minute Cooking School

Exercise Band Workout (great for travel)

How to Work Your Abs Without Buying Stupid Crap

How to Survive a Knife Attack

How to Clean a Bathroom Sink

How To Deal With Telemarketers

How to Gift Wrap a Box

How to Pack a Field Trip Friendly Lunch

If you know of any other great videos or sites, please post them below!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Four Days Til Black Friday

Are you ready? Are you going to shop the day after Thanksgiving this year...the biggest money-making day for retailers EVER... along with being the busiest shopping day of the year, which translates into big crowds and long lines for you! Wait...keep can still participate in Black Friday without ever leaving the house if this is what's holding you back this year. It's okay to sit in your PJs, eating your Turkey Day leftovers. You can still get great deals. Online stores also "celebrate" on Cyber Monday, so check them out then too! Whether you go out or stay in, here are some tips to get your holiday shopping, over and done with.....and with less cash leaving your pocket in the process.

The absolute BEST site to do your research beforehand and to see the advertised store specials is:

Also be sure to check:

Black Friday Ads

Make sure you also visit the Forums at, as lots of individual deals are discussed there, as well many tips and goodies to be found from the veterans of years' past. There's no need to re-invent the wheel. Read about some of the peoples' strategies so you will get what's on your list, so you don't waste time and most important of all, so you don't get run over and trampled.

There are a few other blogs and sites discussing Black Friday below.

Share Your Black Friday Thoughts, Stories and Strategies

Black Friday and Buying out of Budget

If you absolutely refuse to deal with the crowds but still want a piece of the action, then you can find some great deals online too. The Gottadeal site has an entire area dedicated to online deals. Amazon and some of the other big retailers are also going to have changing Black Friday fare....and if you really like cheap electronic and interesting products, I bet Woot will be throwing out things left and right. Be sure to visit and read their blog on each item up for sale. The place really has a cult following. Read some of the discussion comments in each blog entry for each deal. Not only do they have deals on Black Friday, they have deals on items all throughout the year...only selling one item at a time until it's gone, and then popping up the next item! I got some great gifts, such as Sansa 2 GB MP3 players for about $30 and 80 GB Zunes for just under $90. I guess the kids and their dad are going to be smiling this year:-)) Well, I sure hope so, because that's pretty much all they're going to get! We've decided to tone it down this year...but that's another story all together!

Where do you do your Black Friday shopping? Anything you'd like to share? If you don't shop, tell us what you do instead while everyone else around you goes wacko!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Overnight Guests Anyone?

With the holidays coming up, some of us are going to have overnight guests. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. How it pans out for you and your family, boils down to your attitude and preparation. Here's how to make sure your houseguests are low hassle...or as hassle-free as you can make the also wouldn't hurt to make them comfortable and happy guests, because a happy guest is one who doesn't complain and won't tell the rest of your circle of friends or relatives that you are a bad, bad host! But on the other hand, if you are known as the bad host and you don't like company....well, let's focus on the good here...

Before your guest arrives:

  • Gotta hash out the sleeping arrangements. Is Junior giving up his room or are you lucky enough to have a guest room? How many guests will you have, and do you need to get out the sleeping bags and air mattresses? Make sure everyone has a place to rest their head.
  • Have you actually slept where your guest will sleep? I know it sounds like a dumb question, but it helps to put yourself in your guest's shoes. Is the area a quiet and private place? Or as much as you can make it so? A well rested guest is a happy guest.
  • Have easy bathroom access. Don't send them down to the basement if their sleeping area is upstairs. Have their toilet place somewhere nearby. If you have to switch your kids' bathroom or something else, then do it. If you have only one bathroom, be sure to clean it and declutter it. The bathroom is how guests tend to gauge you as a person...fair or not. Cleanliness and orderliness of bathrooms and kitchens are a top priority when having people over, even if only for a day...or be known as the slob of the family or the talk of the town.
  • Have an end date for their visit. This is EXTREMELY important. Do whatever you have to do to get them commit to a day when they plan to leave. Make sure you put it on a calendar (their arrival too) in plain sight, so they know you mean business. You know the old saying about fish and's true. Don't let them overstay their welcome.
  • Find out about any special needs or wants. Does someone have food allergies or are they allergic to pets...and you have one? If they collect stamps and there is a stamp show in your area, get that information for them. Be a good host, and go the extra step to make the visit memorable..and not a disaster should they need something you can't provide.

Some items you might want to think of providing:

  • An alarm clock with a luminous dial. I know I hate to be in a strange place, where I can't wake up and immediately see what time it is. Most houseguests have insomnia or a derivative thereof when they first arrive. Don't have them wandering around the house in the dark wondering what time it is.
  • Extra blankets or comforter and two pillows. Most guests don't want to bother you and will shiver through the night before asking for a blanket. Many like to read and prop themselves up with two pillows...wouldn't it be nice if all that stuff was already there for them?
  • A place to put their suitcase. I once found a nice luggage rack at a yardsale, which spent it's non-working days folded up in the guest closet. You may not have that opportunity, so please keep some floor space free. If you have a cedar chest or a low table, that can work too. Guests tend to be as neat as their environment, and if you help them with a place to set their stuff up, it will earn high marks and should keep the place orderly.
  • Extra hangers in the closet. Again, most guests won't ask and will be perturbed their stuff is getting wrinkled or your cat is using their neat clothes pile as a cat bed. Why do all cats do this? Most guests won't say anything, so be one step ahead of them.
  • A small dish on a dresser or table. They can put all their little items in there without getting them lost. I have searched for enough lost earrings in my time.
  • A little table by the bed or mattress with a reading lamp. I personally didn't like putting my stuff on the floor when I was a guest. The host dog would always lie all over my stuff, or I would step on my watch when I suddenly woke up in the, where do I put my alarm clock and stuff I need right away after I get up...not to mention the water glass I just knocked over. Most guests also like to read a little before going to sleep. It defeats the purpose of getting warm, tired and snuggly if I have to get up and walk over to turn off the light that didn't provide enough light to read by in the first place.
  • Their own set of towels and washcloth. I would suggest giving them the nicest, fluffiest fare you have. It makes them feel welcome and wouldn't this be something you would like yourself?
  • A small basket or bowl of hotel toiletry leftovers. My husband travels a lot. He brings home tons of this stuff. I like to make a little basket of all the necessities with lotions, shampoo, soaps and such. I then add some other stuff he typically doesn't bring home such as toothbrushes and paste.
  • Have a stack of travel brochures. You know the ones you see in hotels or in restaurants by the highway? There are see-worthy things in your area. You can also visit your local AAA (you don't have to be a member to go inside and pick up brochures) or your local tourist bureau or Chamber of Commerce. I like to keep them nicely arranged in a basket in their room.
  • A key or code. This really makes your guest feel welcome and also encourages them to do some exploring on their own (that is if they drove or if you live in a city with good transportation). This'll let them know it's okay for them to get out on their own and that you think they're responsible enough and care about them enough to return on their own. You'll get some much needed breathing room too. If you don't know them too well, then either make sure someone is home when they return or lock away your valuables. If you don't trust them at all, then they have no business in your home to begin with.

After your guest has arrived:

  • Make them feel welcome but don't be overbearing. You are still going to have your household routine that needs getting do it. Include your guest in your family daily activities but ALWAYS give them the option of doing their own thing at all times. Provide them the resources such as guidance, food and transportation, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • Show them where the laundry room is. Unless they are really close family members...where a lot of this stuff might not apply, expect your guests to do their own laundry. If you show them where that stuff is and how to use it, they'll realize you are not going to be their maid and cleaning lady.
  • Make a few of their favorite foods and have their favorite snacks around. This is just the cost of hospitality. Make them feel welcome.
  • Enjoy your time with them but know that if things go wrong, it's only temporary. You may never see Aunt Gladys again, and she'll be talking about this visit for years to come, should she be around that long. Family is oh so important, and it's important for the kids to see this is how it should be done. Friends should also keep in touch, and this is the perfect opportunity to catch up. If things don't work out as you had hoped, or things are just going badly, take comfort in that this too is fleeting. You can last through the visit and remind yourself that you only have x amount of days left, so just grin and bear it. You'll think better of yourself if you approach it this way rather than blowing your top or getting resentful. After they're gone, you can go back to your routine and the bad memories will fade, while the good memories will grow stronger. That's the way God intended it!
What do you do to get ready for guests and to make them feel welcome?

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Friday, November 16, 2007

If You Haven't Visited these Blogs...

Every once in awhile, I stumble upon a blog I would like to visit again. Today, take the time to visit a few...broaden your horizons...and post some of your own favorites below.

Please check out some of my new favorites below. If you are looking for military spouse related sites, be sure to check my previous list.

  • Movie Mistakes. My husband loves to quote movies. This site has both dialogue and visual mistakes in movies. Having a down day? Go to this site and get a good laugh or two. I didn't realize myself, there are droves of people whose hobby consists of looking for mistakes in movies.
  • Farmgirl Fare. If you ever wondered what it was like living on a it is! The author sold everything and moved on out to the country. Read about her trials and tribulations when she first arrived. Now she shares mostly wonderful photos taken all over her farm and lots of food related posts. When I want to get away from the hustle and bustle, I visit her site.
  • The Mommy Blog. Lots of good mommy advice and musings. Many resources are here too.
  • Family Adventures. Light-hearted adventures of a California girl in Mississippi shares many of her stories.
  • Stuff on My Cat. I just can't believe it, but this site consists of only photos of "stuff on your cat". Everyone loves cats, right? And they can be funny, right? Well, they can be even funnier with stuff on them.
  • Code Blog. Be a fly on a wall as a nurse shares her stories. You learn a lot about patient care, protocol and what to watch out for should you ever end up in a hospital.
  • Cool Hunting. Do you want to keep up on the latest consumer trends? You will find fashion, as well as other new and interesting "things". I just saw a shawl with fringe that looked like human hair....eeeeww!
  • Pop Culture Junk Mail. Want to keep up with the weirdest foods and strangest products? Want to walk back in time to the 1970s and 1980s? Then be sure to stop by for a visit.
  • My Open Wallet. You actually get to look in someone's wallet and financial plan to see how they save, spend and earn. Lots of good tips you can apply to your own life too.
  • Wisebread. Visit a group of bloggers who blog on "everything frugal" on a wide variety of issues.
  • From Under the Clutter. Lots and lots of hand holding in getting rid of your clutter. Many practical solutions and follow ups.
  • Declutter It. Another great decluttering site with lots of advice, photos and interesting tidbits.
Please take the time to post some of your favorite blogs below!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm Vacuuming the Air

Do you vacuum the air? For once, I honestly admit, I don't know what I'm doing! I actually vacuumed the air my house. I will admit...I have thought about it before, but this is the first time I crossed that invisible line and did it. Who vacuums the air and why?

I had to sit on the stairs and ponder this a minute or two. Before kids and pets, I cleaned somewhat fanatically. I really don't remember seeing all those....things...floating around in the air back then. You know, when the sunbeam hits just right. They are everywhere.

I've done just a bit of scientific research in the past and know this stuff is lint, pollen, dust, people and pet know dander...that's pieces of dried skin. Dander sounds much nicer I think. There are also things floating around that I don't really want to know about either...I suspect of course...but I think it's better not knowing.

I am wondering what things I can do to cut down on the floaters:

  • Get rid of dog, cat and/or kids. Well, not an
  • Don't use fluffy towels. Do you ever notice the dust is especially bad in the bathroom? Since I'm saving money, no need to buy any more fluffy towels..I'll use the old ones and leave the really nice ones in the closet til guests come to visit.
  • No more Charmin. I can do that. The fluffier the toilet paper, the more stuff that gets blasted into the air. Ever look at all the dust around the toilet and wonder what that is? That's what it is. Go with the cheap stuff.
  • Close all windows and doors and weatherstrip openings. Well, we still have to go in and out, and now the Florida evenings have a cool breeze...I'm not closing my windows.
  • Take shoes off before coming inside. We try to do this. The Japanese have a point in this arena. What do I do with the dog and cat? I used to babywipe the dog's feet. Yes, I did but please don't tell anyone. They'll think I'm cuckoo. I won't do that anymore...that may have been just over the limit. I'll just put mats by the doors. Ditto for the kitty by his litterbox.
  • Regular vacuuming. You should vacuum at least once a week. With pets, you really need to vacuum more often. If you start seeing dust bunnies, then you skipped an important vacuuming session. Vacuuming is actually good for your carpets...and yes, you should see less stuff floating around. I think I can get one more vacuum least sporadically anyway.
  • Frequent changing of furnace air filters. In case you didn't know, your furnace does have a filter and it does need to be changed. Read the packaging that came with the filter, and it'll tell you when it's time. I write that month in my day planner. Most last three months.
  • Install a whole house filtration system or get one of those spiffy room air cleaners. Well, there's no money for the whole house system, so that's out. I've heard they can do wonders with folks who have allergies. Those Sharper Image-size air cleaners...I don't know...I think the jury is still out on that one. We had a smaller one in our bedroom for a bit. I sure didn't notice a difference, so I returned the thing. Unless I purchase a home with the whole house system already installed, this isn't an option either.
For once, I am stumped. I am still sitting here on the stairs...vacuuming the air....wand held high like the Statue of Liberty. I see the stuff getting sucked in there but you look around, and there is just as much stuff floating as when you started. In fact, it's stirred up even more, like an angry hornet's nest! Arrrggghhh! Is this actually doing ANY good? Does this have any redeeming value? I bet I'm wasting my time...going to stop now.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Package with Care to your Soldier

If you are a military spouse or ever intend to send a package overseas, here are some things to consider. Instead of trial and error, or worse....having your hubby end up with a soggy, chocolately mess...become an expert in what to ship!

I started out myself, many years ago, shipping pre-packaged cookies, beef jerky and that horrible tobacco dip which my husband insisted he didn't need for himself but for his buddies. Eventually, I gathered..yeah...this was all nice but when you send the same thing, week after just gets boring...and as much as it is appreciated, here I was in a rut again...and so was my husband.

So, I started to branch out into other things. You always hear, send them toiletries, DVDs, magazines, books, even newspapers. How about socks, tshirts and Silly String? Well, I sent all that stuff and then some. Then I sent it a few more times. I had a few friends tell me their baked goods came out like rocks on the other end, or they melted into one big mass. I finally did a little research, talked to other wives and came up with a few more suggestions of what to put in that box.

  • The Armchair General magazine. It's exactly what is says. This is a great magazine for your military history buffs and put's them in th general's hotseat. My husband says these were passed around a lot.
  • Disposable cameras. Many have already trashed their digital cameras with all the dust and sand. Plus, they don't have to worry about losing or breaking it.
  • Recent photos of places around town. Take a few photos of that favorite fishing hole, restaurant or place he likes to hang out.
  • Homemade DVD recordings. Don't record just you and the family, how about a drive through town or the latest high school football game? Be sure to pan the crowd!
  • Multi-tools (such a Gerber and Leatherman)
  • Batteries. With all the electronics they have, they frequently run out of juice. Gotta have.
  • Icy/hot patches and stuff for feet (such as powders, moleskins and the like). Sore muscles are the norm, and their feet always appreciate something nice.
  • Stack of holiday cards. But not too many...or else they will feel obligated to use them all.
  • Wiley sunglasses and goggles. These can take a lot more abuse than your average pair.
  • Protective hard cases for electronic equipment and laptops, such as the Pelican brand.
Since soldiers seem to like homemade food rather than store bought, here are a few recipes that actually come out just fine on the other end...and edible too. The key is to stay away from butter, nuts, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey or molasses. Send bar cookies and brownies, which travel better. Wrap the goods tightly in tinfoil and then in a ziploc bag. Pack the goods in a sturdy box with styrofoam peanuts and be sure ingredients don't include pork, allspice or nutmeg if you are sending them to the Middle East.

Here are a few more ideas:

Please share your veteran ideas!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University FREE for Vets til Tomorrow

Dave Ramsey is offering the 13 week course at Financial Peace University for FREE to all vets until tomorrow at close of business. This course normally costs $100. You WILL NOT find any information on this program at his website!

I may not agree with everything Dave Ramsey says (such as paying off your house), but he has some very sound advice on getting rid of your debt, saving and all those other money things.

From the site:

FPU is the most important step to changing your financial future. It is your Total Money Makeover Program. It takes the head knowledge from the books and the radio show and turns it into real action.

FPU is a 13-week, life-changing program that empowers and teaches you how to make the right money decisions to achieve your financial goals and experience a total money makeover.

Also visit the site below to learn more about Dave Ramsey:

Dave's Radio Show

Please pass this on to other vets you know before this offer expires this Wed close of business. It's the first time he's offered this course online for absolute free with no catches:-))

Here is what you do:

  • Be sure to send an email to and say you are a veteran and what branch you were in and say you are interested in taking his online course for free. Say you heard it on his Monday radio show!
Update: will send you an email with a link and coupon code. Be sure to use the coupon code in lowercase or you will get an error. Please let me know how the course works for you! I will post a review once I'm done!

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The Lunch Riot

My kids this morning shouted "No more!". It seems we had gotten into a lunch runt. If it wasn't PB&J, it was turkey on cheese. Yes, every once in awhile I packed them a different kind of sandwich, but for the most part...the stuff was incredibly boring. Are you in the same shoes? Here's how to rev up your lunch fare, and avert the next lunch riot.

Start thinking outside the box. Instead of a sandwich, how about this fare:

  • Sandwich wrap. Get those flour tortillas and spread them with mayo or cream cheese. Put on your favorite meat choice and add sprinkled cheese. Roll up and wrap with plastic wrap. These also make great party food, either cut into slices (so you have nice spirals) or cut them in half (thru the plastic) and lay them in a dish at an angle.
  • Chicken strips. Cut leftover chicken into strips. Pack something to dip them in such as ketchup, BBQ sauce or ranch dressing.
  • Hotdog poppers. Cook a hotdog or two in the morning. Cut it up. Use those ketchup packets from the fast food joint. Let them dip their hotdog chunks at lunch.
  • Soup. I bought a few small Thermoses a few weeks ago. The little one likes the change of pace with chicken noodle. Heat it up in the microwave that morning.
  • Homemade Lunchables. Use your own crackers, cut up lunchmeat and cheese so kids can make their own stackers.
  • Salami/pickle rolls. Spread thin slices of salami with mustard, lay a pickle spear on top, then roll and secure with toothpicks.
Sometimes, it is just the presentation that is "off". How about presenting the same things a different way?

  • PB&J on graham crackers instead of bread.
  • Instead of PB&J, make a sandwich with bananas and honey.
  • Use a different kind of bread for that sandwich, such as some of the Italian varieties, sourdough, different grains, Hawaiian bread or a nice hoagie roll.
  • Use frozen waffles (toasted) instead of bread slices with PB&J.
  • If your child likes salads, fill a pita pocket with the ingredients and then send in some salad dressing, so they can pour it over the ingredients themselves.
What else can you put in that lunch to make it special?

  • Baggie of cereal. The kids love it anyway, so why not indulge them every now and then.
  • Bag of dried fruits. You can get the large slices and cut them up with kitchen shears and put 'em in a bag. The more colorful, the better.
  • A hardcooked egg. Make it pretty by slicing it almost all the way thru with an egg slicer, so the pieces look like an accordian.
  • Use colored plastic wrap during the holidays.
  • Cereal bars are okay, and even a Pop Tart every now and then is okay too.
  • Don't forget to add a special note, joke or thought. We like to add sayings, such as the ones mentioned in this article.
Here are a few more ideas:

What do you do to make your child's lunch special?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Store Things Together that Work Together

Sounds simple doesn't it? Then why do you walk the length of your kitchen, more than once, when you make your coffee in the morning? Do you go get your filter, then get the water, then back again and oops..where's the coffee. What if you could do all this standing in one spot?

I think you've already gotten my drift. Let's use coffee making as an example since I already mentioned it. How about putting the coffee maker near the sink, so you can get your water quickly. Store your filters, coffee and mugs in the cabinet above? Hogwash you say or perhaps no big deal? Okay, so you save only one minute a day doing this which translates into, let's see... six hours a year! IS a big deal.

Along those lines, you can do this with any activity in your house. Put all your baking stuff together. Keep your bowls, whisks, rolling pins and measuring cups in one area. What about keeping pots and pans near the stove? If I had a higher end kitchen, I would surely put one of those faucets over my stove. Have you see those things? Anyway, I'm digressing again.

Go right now...or when you get a chance...stand in each room in your house, and think of the things you do in that room. Or sit down and think about what you do on a daily basis. Write it down. If you are walking all over a room or God fobid, the entire house...then you need to rethink how you do your thing! Take the time to streamline your life, and you'll thank yourself for it.

I think you've gotten the idea, and we can move on. What do you do to streamline your efforts at home? Be sure to read Streamline your Kitchen if you haven't already.

What do you do to streamline your daily life?

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Messy, Messy Kids' Rooms

What is wrong with this picture? Other than the young man playing with his action figures. A lot apparently, if he were to leave it that way. Does it remind you of your room when you were younger? Remember your mom shouting for you to clean up your room? Is this now your son's or daughter's room? There is a way to break the cycle.

Follow these steps below:

  • You and your child must declutter the room before any more "clean your room" episodes, There is a right way to do this. Check How to Declutter a Room.
  • You must have ample storage space for all their stuff. Storage cubbies and bins work best. Toyboxes...not so good. Everything gets too junked up in there.
  • Straightening up must be part of a nightly ritual. I do mine throughout the house before I go to bed. It only takes 15 minutes. The kids can take 5 minutes to put away the things in their room too.
  • If there are items still strewn about tomorrow morning, they magically disappear. When the kids wake up in the morning with key toys, Gameboys, favorite pairs of pants or shirt…missing. Well, let's say it'll leave an impression on them. Yes, I have actually taken things to Goodwill. It only takes one or two times to let your kids know you are serious and that if things aren’t put away. they will be donated to a child who does care. If you are not that militant...hide the garbage bag full of their stuff, and get it out at a much later date.
  • Having too many things laying around is a sign YOUR CHILD HAS TOO MUCH STUFF. Get away from the consumerism…buy less, or if you’ve already bought, rotate the stuff or donate the excess. As long as you have ample storage space for your child, there is no excuse for a mess.
  • For younger ones, don’t say “clean up your room”…break it up into sections and have them clean each subsequent’s easier on the mind and psyche!
  • Remind yourself, by having an orderly room, you will be setting your youngster up for success. Let's face it, messy adults are looked down upon as disorderly, dirty and not smart. That is obviously not so in many cases, but why set your child up with the chips stacked against him? Do the right thing as a parent and show the kiddos NOW, while it's still easy, how to keep their stuff organized. If we were to actually add up the minutes we look for things on a daily basis, it would amount to something like 10 years of our life or something to that effect!

    What do you do to teach your kids organization and responsibility?

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sending Christmas Cards This Year Should Not Be a Chore

Do you buy Christmas cards at retail price or have cards embossed with your family name? Do you send out some generic card with just your signature on the bottom? Do you get started in the weeks before Christmas, or even AFTER the holiday? No wonder Christmas cards = drudgery to you. Here's a better way, and here's why I am already talking about this in November.

This year:

  • Buy Christmas cards AFTER Christmas (remember this for next year)
    • Print out return address stickers on your computer or get ready to use the ones charities regularly send you thru the mail
    • In the months BEFORE Christmas, start labeling the envelopes with the addresses of folks you want to send cards to. Look, I know some of those people are going to move, but would you rather redo a few envelopes for those who moved or sit down when time is tight and address the whole stack?
    • People want to hear what you and your family are up to. They do not want some generic card with nothing personal on it. Ditto on just the signature line. I like to include a simple letter with a few scanned photos at the top in each letter. You don't need any special Christmas stationery. Plain white copy paper will do! One year, I even sent out just this letter in a business envelope. I also have a website. It doesn't change, website address-wise, and every year, I update it with the family goings-ons and new photos. I do this every year around Thanksgiving. Make sure to have a guestbook, so visitors can say hello.
    • Photo cards can be inexpensive. Check Sam's Club or Costco for the cheapest prices I've seen. Last year, I was even able to get a photo card at Sam's, where I could put two photos on the front. It's sometimes hard to get everyone together, so having two spaces for photos really helps.

      What do you do?


    Wednesday, November 7, 2007

    A Better Way to Sort Laundry

    I absolutely HATE doing laundry. It's like every day is "Ground Hog" Day. You do a load of laundry, and I'll be darned if I don't look in the laundry hamper the next day, and there is more stuff in there. Then you have to do it all over again. It's never ending, isn't it? There IS a way to get a handle on it, to where it doesn't halfway ruin your life...or your peace of mind.

    Wouldn't it be great if all houses had laundry rooms right next to where you take your clothes off? This is most times in your bathroom or bedroom, right? I never understood, why we, in a two story house, have to carry dirty clothes downstairs (sometimes even down two stories to the basement) and then have to carry them back up again, clean. What bozo came up with the location of the laundry room in most houses? Well, I have been pleased with a few of the new houses around here when I went on a local Parade of Homes. Some DO have laundry rooms upstairs. Now, I just hope they are soundproofed. A washing machine banging against your bedroom wall as you are trying to sleep is not my idea of a peaceful night's rest.

    Anyway, so that is something you can't really change about your current situation. So, let's focus on the things you CAN change. If you take your clothes off in the bedroom, the laundry hamper needs to be in there. Do your thing in the bathroom? Then put it in there. I actually go one step further and have two laundry bins, one right next to the other. One is for lights and the other is for darks. My kids have their two hampers in their bathroom, and my husband and I have ours in our walk-in closet...which just happens to be in the master bathroom. I know, that's strange, but it really works well. Don't tell me that laundry hampers are too ugly to put anywhere either. I've seen some nice ones at some of the specialty stores, such as Bed, Bath & need to use those ugly plastic things!

    I do laundry every few days. I'd rather do a few loads here and there, than wait til the weekend, to see an overflowing heap of dirty clothing that has already overflowed the hamper. Try'll like it. I typically, take a large armful (or take out the bag inside the hamper) and take it to the laundry room. You really don't need a laundry basket, although I sometimes use mine to fill with sheets and in the evenings, when I go through my 15 minute pass thru of the house.

    Now comes the interesting part. Again, here's another opportunity to teach your kids responsibility. Have a dishpan in the laundry room for each child. Fold up their clothes and put the neat stack in there. When they come home from school, they are to check if their bin has clothes in it,and if so, they take it upstairs and put the things away. When they're done, the bin gets brought back to the laundry room for the next time. It's that simple.

    I go ahead and take care of mine and my husband's stuff. It's the least I can do to help him out, right? He works hard everyday. I also don't iron, BTW. I feel lucky that the new Army uniforms don't have to be ironed. They come out of the dryer looking nice and smooth. And that's the soon as your dryer buzzes, take that stuff out of there! The "sitting in there" is what causes the wrinkles, not the washing! Now, I must admit, if there is a dress blouse or a dress with material that wrinkles easily, I do go ahead and iron...but I like to stockpile a few articles of clothing behind the laundry room door on hangers, before I get to that point. In our house, there is no place to conveniently put an ironing board, so inevitably, it's a huge hassle to get the thing out. Don't pull it out for just one item.

    What do you do in your household to make the laundry sorting easier?


    Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Life Lessons for Military Wives Carnival, Issue #3

    It was so nice to hear from so many of you this month! Please keep up the wonderful blog articles! I really enjoyed reading your posts! Thank-you for sending them! Please see below for the informative and thought-provoking posts submitted for this month. Be sure to check back next month for Carnival #4.

    Here are the articles:

    Daily Life

    Warren Wong presents Why You Should Show Appreciation posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Why you should show appreciation for the little things people do and how to go about doing it."

    Daylle Deanna Schwartz presents Carrie Bradshaw Finally Got it Right! posted at Lessons from a Recovering DoorMat, saying, "Learning that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself really is fabulous--making other relationships healthier."

    Michael@TSM presents Fall TSM Travel Writing Contest: Win $125! posted at Traveling Stories Magazine.


    Wenchypoo presents Holiday Dinner Rip-offs posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.

    Juan Millon (1mil) presents Got Military? Get Access to the Best Bank in the Nation posted at, saying, "Saving money means having the right financial services... hurry find out about USAA"

    Alanna presents "Active Duty" Alerts for Deployed Military Personnel | BBB Consumer Education posted at BBB Consumer Education.

    Dimes to Dollars presents "How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off By Your Landlord"


    presents Interview with a Car Thief posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.

    Lessons from a Recovering Doormat presents Carrie Bradshaw Finally Got it Right! saying, "Learning that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself really is fabulous--making other relationships healthier."


    poetloverrebelspy presents Comparing Foreign Websites for Deals posted at Less Than a Shoestring.

    That concludes this month's edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Life Lessons for Military Wives using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. If you are interested in hosting a carnival, please do let me know.

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    Monday, November 5, 2007

    Grocery Shopping and "The Game"

    Yes, I am calling grocery shopping a game...a game to get the most stuff for the least money. I started out watching my mother clip coupons here and there on Sundays. Now, she wasn't really into it too much. She just clipped a few coupons of things we regularly buy. Contrast that with the lady I was behind in the checkout yesterday and wow! She pulled out a HUGE billfold, secured with a heavy duty rubberband. I stopped counting coupons sometime after she handed the cashier her first 25. I kid you not! Her final bill for a cart overflowing with groceries was just under $30. So, that got me wondering of did she do that? It also got me thinking, what's the best way to approach shopping to get the most value for my money? I know I'll never be like this lady, but what can I do to make my grocery shopping more successful?

    Before you go:

    I always start out with a plan. I keep excerpts of recipes in my day planner. Read here how to do that. You'll always know the ingredients and the quantities of your favorite recipes.

    Keep track of things you run out of. Keep this list by the refrigerator, and if you run out of an item, immediately write it down. You are most likely not going to remember it, and it will annoy you to no end, when you try to put together a grocery list every time you want to shop.

    Clean out your fridge. There's nothing worse than coming home with bags full of cold stuff and nowhere to put the stuff. Get it organized ahead of time.

    Make a price book. In the spiral notebook I carry in my purse, I actually have a few pages in the back where I write down the items I usually buy and the best price for that item. I can't commit this stuff to memory. I'm not that smart. I do it in pencil should prices change drastically. Find out more about price books here.

    Take this list to the store with you at an off shopping time. Try not to shop after work or during the popular hours on the weekends. Try for early morning, at the crack of dawn, later in the evenings or Sunday morning. Also don't go right at mid month or the end of the month...that's payday for most folks. Stick to your list!

    Do check those circulars that come in your mail. These leaflets are one thing you can't opt out of apparently. So, make use of them and scan for items your family uses. I like to look at these things for deals on meat and fish. That way I can buy a slew of it, and then store it in my freezer. You can also get these circulars delivered to your email inbox, if you'd rather look while you're on the computer.

    Do take your coupons with you. Don't buy something just because there is a coupon. Use only the coupons for items you purchase regularly. If you want to try something new, it's okay to use the coupon for it...but don't buy multiple new things or else your cart will be full, and you'll wonder why your bill was so high. New products ALWAYS have coupons...just give it a few weeks to show up in your Sunday circulars or check online at coupon sites or the company's website.

    Don't go there hungry. No need to explain why.

    Shop at the commissary if you can as there are no mark-ups, no sales tax and only a 5% surcharge at check-out. You can save about 30%, and I like that the commissaries carry lots of international fare, such as food from Germany, Japan and Korea. It seems wherever servicemen's wives come from, there is a food section for it! I love at Christmastime when they have all the German baked goods and the Advent calendars with the chocolates! If you are not near a commissary, it is worth it to travel once a month to one and stock up. Bring a cooler if you are getting cold stuff! I used to buy all those frozen drink containers to keep my other things cold. With that being said, it is a myth that commissaries are ALWAYS cheaper. Many times I have gotten better deals locally. You do have to compare prices!

    At the store:

    Before putting items in your cart, check the price per unit or ounce. Almost all grocery stores have this next to the price, in tiny lettering. You want to compare this with other brands and sizes of the same thing to make sure you are getting the most for your money.

    As you put items into your cart, make sure there is a price tag or barcode on the item, especially on fruits or vegetables. I've wasted enough time myself with price checks up at the cashier.

    Do try the store brands. Give them at least one chance, and then if you don't like it..say never again. But, how will you know the stuff is or isn't good if you don't at least try it once?

    Be aware of the store's marketing gimmicks and tricks. Stores spend MILLIONS of dollars on trying to figure out how your brain works so you can buy more stuff! See the sites below to learn more about it:

    If an item is out of stock, it's okay to ask for a raincheck. If the store is having a huge sale on something, and their flyer does not say "while quantities last", ask for a raincheck at checkout. They are obligated to give you that item at that price the next time it comes in.

    At the checkout:

    Put down the Enquirer and watch the scanner.
    You'd be amazed at the mistakes cashiers make and also how things can mis-scan. Barcodes are great, but it's still humans who input the data...and humans make mistakes. Last time I was in a grocery store, the cashier accidently scanned something twice and didn't even notice. It's a good thing I was watching.

    Put like items together on the conveyer belt.
    This will help tremendously when you get home, when it's time to put your stash away! Put all your fruits and veggies together, your meats together, your pantry items on the belt...together. I like to put the frozen "brick like" items first, then drinks, then meats (all the heavy stuff up front in case the bagger is clueless). Then come the boxed things, toiletry items and last of all, the breakable and squashable items such as eggs and bread.

    When you get home:

    Get the kids to help you put the dry goods away.
    Yet another way to teach them responsibility!

    Since you saved money by buying some things in bulk, you are now going to portion down the sizes.
    I use heavy duty freezer ziploc bags for this and label each bag with today's date and what's in there. With ground beef, it works really great because you can flatten those packages as flat as a pancake, and they stack so very nicely in the freezer.

    With all that being said, I have investigated a few other ideas to save money. I am always trying new and novel things....I sometimes think it is a bad habit of mine, because sometimes, it costs me too much time and money...but I will continue to try things, because...well, I like doing it! I didn't want to end this post without mentioning a few other methods to save money. Let me know if you've tried any of them!

    • The Grocery Game. This is a paid membership site where you use a combination of coupons, sales and "heads up" from people in the know, when to buy a certain item. Members rave about tripling their savings, but you'd better have a place to stockpile these items! Be prepared for oodles of rolls of toilet paper and the like!
    • Coupon Mom. Similar site but free. Get a heads up on sales and coupons!
    • Local food coops. These are becoming more and more popular. The gist of this is that a group of people pool their resources and buy in bulk and directly from the wholesaler or farm. You may also find yourself off-loading a truck or organizing the goods to keep costs down. Many times, the goods are super fresh, organic and of better quality than at the supermarket.
    • Farmer's Markets and local farms. Remember in the old days when you drove along some country road and saw a sign to purchase eggs or vegetables? Well, you can still do this...or go to a "pick your own" farm. This can be a fun family event. I have such good memories of taking my then 4 and 5 year old blueberry picking. Check your newspaper, call your chamber of commerce or check this farm directory or list of farmer's markets.
    What do you do to save money on your food bill?


    Friday, November 2, 2007

    Don't Wish for Them to Grow Up and Here's Why

    Remember when you were running around with your diaper bag on one arm, purse on the other and then the baby in the stroller with all the accouterments and things you schlep around with babies? Or maybe you're still doing that. I don't know. All I know, is that I better not wish for the next stage. Remember when you said, "I can't wait for him to crawl" or "I can't wait for her to start kindergarten". Here's why you shouldn't be wishing for those thing and what you really should be doing.

    If you still have your first baby in the house, you will most likely have no concept of the worries you heap upon yourself as your child gets older. So let me give you a preview.

    • Toddlers are always getting into dangerous things, and even if we baby proof our house, we always worry when we go somewhere else. We also worry a lot when there is water nearby and are constantly looking what our child is putting in his mouth.
    • With preschoolers, often times, they are with other people, such as a day care provider, plus they can catch every little cold or illness. So, we worry about all that.
    • When they start going to school, we worry because they are out of our sight for most of the day. Will Junior get whacked in the head with the kickball again? Is he going to choke on food in the lunchroom?
    • Now they are well established in grade school. They want to go to a friend's house...without you. Do they have dogs over there? What about guns? What are the parents like? Will my Susie be okay at school, because last week the school bully was chasing her around? They want to do their first sleepover, should I let them?
    • In middle school, add all the issues from grade school. They will be around kids who smoke, drink and are s.e.x.ually active...YES, it already starts in middle school and more than the average parent realizes. They get a peek already in grade school, but this stuff starts full force in middle school! You also start seeing "the wrong crowd" and how do I keep my child away from those kids. Will my kid make the right choices?
    • In high school, many of the same worries still apply. Now we have the added fact of driving, more drinking, s.e.x. and smoking and more "wrong crowds"! Are the teachers top notch and are there any molestors in the bunch? Will my kid continue to make the right choices?
    • Friends who have kids in college say they worry more about their kids now than any other time before! They are really on their own now, and all you can do is hope you raised them right and that they make the right choices....again and again! The worst part is you don't see them on a daily basis. At least before, you could rest easy when they came home at night. It's not an option now.
    • Do you think when they get married or get their first job the worrying stops? No, now you worry if your child has a good paying job and can support themselves...and about their family and children. Now the worrying has grown exponentially!
    As you can see, it's never ending. If you let it, it can get the best of you, and you can really waste time, effort and to some extent, your health, worrying about things. Obviously, with some of the examples above, you can control a lot of these situations, particularly when they are younger. As they get older, you have to have faith that you raised them to be able to make their own decisions. This is why I cringe when I see parents doing everything for their children, even at a young age. Teach your kids some responsibility and how to problem solve on their own. Teach them to do simple tasks for themselves. You can already start this with your preschooler.

    • A preschooler can sort laundry and help unload the dishwasher. They can also straighten out a blanket on their bed and carry their dishes to the sink.
    • A younger grade school child can empty the dishwasher, set the table and do a little vacuuming. They can also clean their room (split it up into sections) and help put away laundry.
    • An older grade school child can take out the trash, clean the catbox, feed the dog and do some dusting. They can also help in the yard.
    • A teenager can do almost everything you can do. Give them something to do.
    I have two grade school boys, age 8 and 10. In addition to a few chores, they are also responsible for getting themselves up for school. They have an alarm clock, and they also get themselves ready in the morning, make their beds and do their own breakfast on the weekdays. They do their lunches the evening before with my help, and they stage their backpacks and what they need for school the next day by the front door. It only takes one time to forget something and it most likely doesn't happen again. It's okay to let your child suffer some consequences if they forget something or fail to do something. My kids have had a few cheese sandwiches at school (forgotten lunches) and even suffered grade-wise (by forgetting a school paper), not to mention not attending an activity somewhere (because they forgot about it completely or they didn't prepare ahead of time). But guess what? It only happened a few times. How is your child ever going to learn in life if you do everything for them? What happens when they are on their own? Anyway, just some food for thought on this fine Friday...something to mull over on the weekend.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Read this article and many others over at the Carnival of Family Life.


    Thursday, November 1, 2007

    Don't Waste $$ on Your Next Hotel Room

    Are you sorely in need of a vacation but just don't want to give out your hard earned cash right now? With the holidays coming up, you'd rather save up a bit, so you can buy a few gifts here and there.'d really like to take a long weekend...or even a short weekend at this point, to get some well deserved R&R. If you have a sense of adventure or even a sense of trying something different, here's a way to do it from next to nothing, to a few dollars and some spare change! How about skipping the hotel room this time?

    Let's start with a destination close by. Hit the internet and google tourist attractions in your area. You can also call your nearby chamber of commerce. Is there anything famous or see-worthy in your area? Is there some kind of seasonal festival or event coming up? Now, I'm not talking in your direct town or city...I'm talking at least a few hundred miles want to be able to really relax, and being at home "on vacation" usually ends up with those chores and misguided or half baked projects beckoning you to a point where your vacation ends before it even begins.

    So, now you've googled, and you've found a place that could be interesting and worthwhile. You also have a date in mind, or if you are flexible, a set of dates. Now here is where it gets interesting. Here are some options you may not have considered...or even known about.

    Option #1. You are going to enter the world of "Couch Surfing". You may already be a couch surfer and not even know it. Perhaps you couch surfed at a relative's house once. Now you are going to do it at a stranger's house who is willing and happy to have you come visit. See the websites below to find others who are willing to give up their spare room, couch (and sometimes even floor), all for free. Some even go as far as filling in as your personal tour guide and chef!

    Not quite at that level of freedom yet? I admit, if you have a slew of kids in tow, it might not be the best option. So let's go on to the next level.

    Option #2. Did you know that there are hostels world-wide, even here in the US that are low frills but high value? Now, don't get jaded here. This isn't just for young folks. If you don't mind low frills, backpack or no backpack, and don't mind sharing bedrooms and possibly bathrooms, why don't you give it a try? My brother, who works for one of the airlines, regularly uses hostels, and I am always in awe of the prices he pays to stay at these places. Now granted, some are on the dumpy side (so read reviews online), but who can say they stayed in a castle for next to nothing (yes, in Europe) or in a small motel in his own room, with a bathroom and clean sheets for about as much as you pay for two McDonald's Value Meals? Yes, he can...and so can you. There are some real hidden gems here.  UPDATE:  Now Hostelworld has MANY private rooms with bath for only a FRACTION of the cost of a regular hotel room.  I've stayed at quite a few, and you get such value for your money!  I also like that they have reviews....a huge plus!

    Option #3. In addition to hostels, you can sometimes stay at a local college or religious retreat. Now, colleges mostly offer this nifty idea in the summer, but you can sometimes find a college that has extra rooms at other times during the year. To find religious retreats in your area, call the chamber of commerce or a few of the local churches.

    Option #4. How about exchanging a home with someone? This endeavor will probably involve airfare. Read my article on finding the best deal. If you have a friend or even a friend of a friend who works for an airline, don't be shy about asking if they can help you. Airline workers get a set number of companion passes each year, which they can't carry over to the next year. October and November are good times to ask these people if they would be willing to give you a set of their passes. Now, these tickets are NOT free, but they are VERY lowcost. Do realize you will be flying stand-by, so you need that person to check "behind the scenes" on the flights to make sure they are "wide open" as they say. You want to have somewhat of a guarantee as to the availability of seats on that plane. If you travel during the down season, you'll have a better chance of getting on. This will also probably be your only chance to fly First Class without paying for it. Dress nice and book "stand by" for First Class, and you'll most likely get it (unless you're traveling to Florida on First Class on Ted...bummer).

    Anyway, back to home exchanges. Check the sites below to read more about the concept. You basically switch homes with someone for a set timeframe...what's yours is mine. It's not as scary as it sounds, and you'd be surprised at the number of folks who want to come to your hometown! I know a few people myself who are addicted to this!

    Are you saying...naaawww...I don't want anyone in my stuff or stealing my stuff. Well, it's surpising how many people will not be interested in your stuff and remember, you are surrounded by their stuff! And if there is something you are really stressing about, just take it out of your house and put it somewhere else for the duration. Really, you'd be surprised what "not a big deal" it is.

    Option #5. Still here...guess those options didn't work out. How about about paying someone to rent our their vacation home or even their other home or even their main home while they are out? If my grandmom hadn't lived in Chicago on my last trip, I would've gotten one of those downtown condos for a fraction of what a hotel room costs downtown. You also get the added benefit of hob-knobbing with the locals and being part of the scene. You may even get a sympathetic neighbor who will show you around...under the auspices of watching out for their neighbor, but are benefiting from it nicely, so who cares? Check these sites below.

    Option #6. Okay, just not up for the adventure, are you. Well, there is one more option a step below searching the deals online at the run-of-the-mill sites, such as Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline, to name a few. Many times you can benefit greatly with last minute deals. These hotel rooms and flights will go unsold, so this is the last chance the vendors can get rid of them...and many times, they will be sold for anywhere from 30-80% off retail! It's worth it to check these out in the weeks before you want to head out. On some of these sites, you can even choose trips the day before you head out!

    • Check the travel section of your newspaper; sometimes last minute deals are listed there
    • Call the resort you have in mind (know what their regular prices are beforehand) and ask if they have any last minute deal for this weekend or even tonight (you'd be surprised what can come out of that conversation); you can also have a back up room booked at a local cheap motel if you already made other travel plans to this location
    • Call a bed and breakfast that week or even that morning; they are sometimes more flexible than major chains in bargaining down the rate, just to go without an empty room is worth it to them
    Hopefully, you've come away with some tools to help you find that next best vacation, even if it is only for a few days. Please do share your ideas, and let me know if you are able to book any nice deals from using any of the sites above! Happy hunting!

    Read this article and many others on personal finance at the Carnival of Personal Finance.