Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Mind is all a Swirl

I have so much flying through my mind right now! I was sick last week and the kids were under the weather this week; so I am totally thrown off. I am late/behind on sending out my Christmas cards. My shopping is behind and I totally need to go to the grocery! I have tonight and Sunday night to get stuff done, no pressure. I don't think I have ever been this behind. I did manage to buy some things online last week. I am hoping they make it on time....

On top of that, I have been seriously considering renting my house out. We have tossed the idea around for many years. We have recently met many people who have 1 or more rentals. A good friend of mine recently acquired her second rental property. Her realtor told her not to sell any of them right now,because of the market, and that renting was the way to go with this crappy market. I have read that the sell of homes are down 6.7% from this time last year. Due to the huge amount of foreclosures and the mortgage industries tightening of standards, there are more people out there renting than purchasing. So, I don't know.....We are both going to pray about it. Renting out your house can be a big deal. So the other half and I are going to pray about it ALOT and have dinner with my good friend K and her Hubs and hear how they have gone about having 3 mortgages and 2 sets of tenants. I have always wanted to have a rental property, weird I know. But they can afford you some financial security when you are older. The properties could also be sold at a later date and pay for C or G's college or any extra expenses we may incur due to G's delays. It's alot to think about. So we are praying about it. We also seem to be running into quit a few acquaintances that have a property or two and have been more than happy to share their experiences with me, which is lovely of them to do.
So my question to any of you is, have you ever had a rental property? If so what was your experience with that, tenants, lawyers, and realtors?


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Have Yourself and Eco-Friendly Christmas...

We are headed to a "Green" Christmas Party tonight with a gift exchange. My first thoughts when I was invited were: is this a spin on a white elephant but I bring something green, and that's a cute incorporation of the Christmas seasons use of the color green. It was good that I asked about the whole "white elephant" thing, because I was sooo wrong! It is to be an environmentally friendly gift. We have to be creative and the gift must be an,"interesting and fun gift that is either made from sustainable materials or will help in some way, by it's very use, to reduce energy consumption to put under the tree for a gift exchange." This struck me as a fun challenge. I mean it's easy to find eco-friendly things, but to find something "fun" and "creative" that seemed to pose more of a obstacle. So I have spent the past week racking my brain and scouring web sites. Last week I read a great article in our local paper that helped me on my journey.

According to the newspaper, "going green" for Christmas is the thing to do. So much so that the accounting company of Deloitte & Touche surveyed on the subject. They found that 12% of people in my state plan to buy more eco- friendly gifts this year. while 20% will use less plastic bags when they make their purchases. 19% of people, state wide, were planing on not wrapping their gifts with traditional wrapping paper. (It doesn't recycle, so it just sits and landfills.) It was good to see I was in good company this holiday season, but this didn't help with where I could find cool, green, gifts pronto! Further in the article I had my answer! It would seem that Home Depot, Target, Yahoo! and Walmart (?!) all have environmentally friendly products on their websites! How great is that?! So I perused Target, Home Depots, and Yahoo!. Great sites all. Great selections. Now I didn't end up buying anything from the site, though I may in the future. (I didn't have enough time for the shipping) But I did do something that I know to be easy on the planet and that is: I shopped local. There is a Wild Birds Unlimited not too far from me. On top of selling bird seed and bird things, they have a good selection of eco-friendly soaps, jewelry made from natural materials,and natural jewelry by women in Africa. So I chose from that and am putting my gift in a reusable tote. I think that meets all the requirements. We'll see. I am off to have a good time and I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with!

More Tips For a Planet Friendly Holiday:

  • Buy a potted Christmas Tree. Replant it in the spring or donate it to your local parks department.

  • Use LED lights on the tree. They use 90% less power that traditional lights, but they do cost more to purchase.

  • Make your own gift. Who doesn't like something so thought full as something made by hand? From candy, to soaps, to scarves, all ways a way to make it creative and personal.

  • Make your own wrapping paper. You can use the comics, maps, brown bags, ect. I did this one year using brown bags and paint. I painted the bags free hand and I used potato and rubber stamps. It was alot of fun!

Links to Websites listed above:

Home Depot

Yahoo! Green


Friday, December 14, 2007

O Christmas Card! O Christmas Card!

I was at a Christmas party several years ago. Someone there expressed how they found the end of year letters, that some people put in their Christmas cards, to be annoying and self important. I was opening cards, yesterday and reading some letters, when I was reminded of this conversation. I love those letters. I am not the best on the phone. My lifestyle does not provide a lot of time for the phone or meeting up with my friends on a regular basis. Plus, some of them live out of state. So I find these letters give me a chance to find out of all the fun things that have happened to them this year. It gives my friends and I something to talk about next time we meet. I also enjoy each persons unique writing voice. Receiving such a letter makes me feel that the giver finds me to be a close enough friend that I probably do care about what has transpired in the last 365 days. So, to all of those out there who fill their cards with an end of the year synopsis, keep 'em coming! You are not gloaters! 98% of we recipients get a joy out of reading your years joys and adventures. Bring 'em on.

And to those of you that feel these letters are "annoying and self important", don't read them. That way you aren't annoyed by someone who has mistaken you as someone who cares. Also, don't complain at parties about these things. You run the risk of hurting the feelings people who only have the best of intentions by sending these letters. If you think about complaining openly then you have to ask yourself ,"Who's the real self important one here?"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

This picture sums up their sibling relationship!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ten Rules to Live by

The topic for Letters to my Daughters writing project is "Ten Rules to Live by." I have tried to give this a lot of thought. I really have. However, I am not sure what my "rules to live by” would be. So we will stumble through this together.

1. I do believe you have to believe in something higher than yourself. It gives some reassurance to know I am here for something bigger than to eat, drink, breath, work and die. I find meaning in believing in a force bigger and more loving than myself.

2. Strive to be and do better. Everyday should be a new day to try to be a better, more loving, more forgiving individual. Making the world a better place starts with you and your smile.

3. Get outside. When we take the time to get outside and take a walk, garden, or just sit, we have the opportunity to unwind and see what it is all about! When one takes the time to observe the outdoors it takes you out of yourself. It gives us a reason to want to preserve the planet.

4. Take risks, stretch yourself. It can be any kind of risk. Go to a new coffee shop, travel to a place you have always wanted to go. There is such a feeling of freedom and accomplishment when you push yourself to do something new, learn something new, or go some where new!

5. Do not be afraid to fail. We are all afraid to fail. Failure is inevitable. Every great somebody failed many times before they succeeded. The secret is to learn from the failure and head back to the drawing board!

6. Never quit, never give up! See #5 :)

7. There is a reason for everything. I believe this with all my heart. Too many things have happened in my life that back up this theory. The trick is being patient enough to find out what the reason is or was.

8. Travel and learn about other cultures. If you can't afford to hop a flight, go to the library and check out a book. Learn about people and countries other than your own. You will find we are all more alike than we are different.

9. Study the arts. There are so many to choose from, you are bound to find something that tickles your fancy and lets you see the world in a whole new light!

10. Love. Love someone, love something. A pet definitely counts! When you love and take care of something other than yourself, you become less selfish and there is such a freedom in that. It is not easy, it never will be, but it is a necessary and useful journey all the same.

Hey look at me! I was able to come up with some stuff!! I think I just learned a little more about myself, this is always a good thing.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love the holidays! One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to have a nice hot cup of Starbucks Christmas blend and mint M&M's. These are two things you can't get any other time of the year other then December. I love them so much that I usually try to stock up on a few bags of both before they leave the stores for another 11months.
Some times it just the little things, ya know?