Thursday, December 1, 2016

10 Ways to Develop Intimacy in Relationships

Let’s play some Freudian free association. When you hear the word ‘relationship’ what comes immediately to mind? For me and I suspect for others, some type of ultimately sexual relationship comes to mind first: a couplet, a marriage, lovers. But there is a whole realm of relationship that can be in some ways, just as sustaining as a sexual relationship.

Friend, comrade, freund, ami, Amigo/amiga, amicus in every language, the word for friend or companion has a really lovely sound. The classical poets, painters, writers, composers and playwrights have for centuries dwelt upon the wonder of friendship. Any ultimately sexual relationship must first, last and always be a friendship. Let’s explore some ways to develop, build or maintain a friendship. And let me define friendship as I consider it for this article: friendship is any non-sexual close relationship. It might be friendship between people of the same or opposite sex. These tips apply to both.

Listen more; talk less. Most of us love the sound of our own voice.That’s great; be confident. But when you are in a conversation with someone, hear them out. While she’s talking, don’t be planning what you are going to say as soon as she ‘shuts up’.

Compliment your friend, but not just on outward things he has little control over (clothes, hair, etc.). I find that one of the things people love best to hear are compliments like, ‘I like the way you put that!’ or ‘Here, here. Well said!’. Compliment a person on his effort and work, not banal things that he was born with. Be specific too. This shows that you are really paying attention.

Laugh when your friend is funny. It makes people feel warm inside if you aren’t afraid to laugh at something funny that they have done or said.

Cry or be sad when your friend is sad. Show that you respect them by allowing them to express their angst. Don’t try to ‘cheer up’ or find words of comfort. ‘Cheering up’ a person who is sad can worse than a slap in the face. It’s patronizing. It’s very much okay to say to someone who is sad or upset, ‘Wow, that really sucks! I am so sorry for you. ‘

Let your friend express anger. A listening friend When you are ready to chew someone a new one, a listening friend can help you regain your balance. This isn’t a carte blanche invitation for the angry person to spew venom, but can help to avoid an ugly heat of the moment confrontation. And don’t try to change their thinking; you may not agree. Just listen and let them find their center.

Don’t always give; take too. Bad grammar; good idea. If you are in a friendship in which you are doing the bulk of the work, take a step back. If you are doing all the work because you love control, then forget it; you’re not ready friendship. If you are doing all the work because your friend is giving nothing, then take the hint that your friend is just not that interested and find a friend more worthy of your friendship. But If you are doing all work because you don’t know how to give, then you just need to work on learning how to take. You deserve it.

Never try to sell your friend anything. Never try to get your friend ‘on board’ with any program or ‘great deal’ you’ve heard about. There are many organizations that pose as reputable that offer you an lucrative income. In return, you have to do one of two things; you either have to sell their junk to your friends or worse yet lure your friends into selling their junk with you as their ‘supervisor’. This ‘sweet deal’ is otherwise known as a pyramid scheme. It will kill any friendships you try to pull this on. My husband and I have both lost several friends who got sucked into some scam or another. Oddly, they never made their money and most companies went bankrupt soon afterward.

Make time for your friend. So you met a really great guy . You want to spend 24-7 with him and you always have an excuse for your other friends. Why do they stop calling? Because a friendship needs time too. And your love relationship will be healthier, if you don’t wear it out in two weeks.

Remember special days. Everyone appreciates a birthday call or card. Better yet, surprise him and take him out for a beer or lunch (or both!). I just got an email from my penpal in the Philippines. She remembered my birthday. Wasn’t that sweet?

Forgive. This is the key to any relationship. Ask for forgiveness too. Forgiveness is a magic wand for any relationship!


10 Ways to Celebrate Christmas with Santa

It never ceases to amaze me how different many ways we can bring jolly old Saint Nick into our homes for the holidays. After all, can you really say you decorated for Christmas if you don’t have at least one Santa-themed object in the house? I think not. It’s pure tradition. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of items to help you think of ways to celebrate with Santa this Christmas.

1 – Ceramic Santa

Look through your Christmas decorations and I’m sure you find at least one ceramic Santa in your stock pile. Whether you’re sporting a dollar store find or an ornately-painted high-end masterpiece, Santa always looks good in ceramics. Sit him on the mantel or use him as a centerpiece for your Christmas table to invoke the holiday spirit.

2 – Wooden Santa

I love anything made from wood. It’s no wonder my own personal collection contains a number of different wooden Santas. I’ve got tall, hand-carved Santas and wood-painted cut-out Santas. When it comes to making them special, it’s all in the detail – the more elaborate, the better.

3 – Santa Gourd

Gourd painters have to be one of the most clever country artisans I’ve ever met. But, with a playful little grin and pot belly figure, it’s not a far stretch to turn a gourd into a Santa figure and it’s sure to be a conversation piece.

4 – Santa Bear

For those of us who just cannot resist the charms of a cuddly teddy, I highly recommend celebrating Christmas with a Santa bear. Just add a red hat and sack of toys to your plushie and he’s ready to go.

5 – Shabby Chic Santa

As for the softer side of Santa, how about going shabby chic? Father Christmas would be oh so adorable in a Victorian-inspired outfit in white or pastel tones.

6 – Santa Christmas Ornaments

Dressing the Christmas tree just wouldn’t be the same without at least a couple of Santa Claus ornaments. Whether you make paper-craft Santas with the kids or shop for that one-of-a-kind store-bought ornament, Santa will reign supreme anywhere on your Christmas tree.

7 – Edible Santa

For the foodies among us, check out recipes for making edible Santas. My favorites are bite-site strawberries for a Santa Claus base, whipped crème faces and another small slice of strawberry with a dot of whipped crème for his hat. Set a host of these little fellas out on a platter for your guests and watch them disappear.

8 – Santa Dog

Want to get your furry companion into the holiday spirit? Then shop for a Santa dog costume. My pug loves to dress up and visit the children’s hospital every year and the kids love it, too.

9 – Santa in the Flesh

If you can’t get your dog in a Santa suit, recruit your favorite human. But, promise you’ll do jolly old Saint Nick justice – no cheap Santa suits – spring for a really nice one this year.

10 – Toilet Cover Santa

Surfing the web, I came across a Santa novelty that I’m tempted to buy. It’s a toilet tank, seat and rug cover set that turns the throne into Santa. What a hoot!

Check out the pictures and the inspiration for this article in the There’s Something About Santa ideabook on Houzz. You’re sure to find a way to celebrate with Santa that will make your holiday complete.

Enjoy more home decor ideas from Terry Mulligan:

Ideas for the Perfect Christmas Table Setting
Lavish and Luscious Ideas for Your Christmas Mantle
How to Make a Christmas to Remember for Your Children


10 Ways to Create a Scrapbook Page Title with Paint

Titles are one of the key components of a scrapbook page. While the focus of a layout will almost always be on the photos, the name of the page gives the viewer a context from which to interpret the story of the page. In this article, we’ll look at paint’s unique properties and how it lends itself well to creating visually pleasing title treatments.

1) Use foam stamps. Foam stamps are, first and foremost, cheap. You can usually find an alphabet set for $3 at a discount store or on sale at craft stores. Paint, too, is cheap–less than a dollar for a bottle that will last you forever, and 25 cents for a foam brush… Just squirt some paint out onto a piece of rigid plastic for a paint tray, dip your brush in the puddle, and apply to the letters. Be careful not to apply too much, or the stamps will slide around and you won’t get a clear image.

2) Paint just the edges of your foam stamps. Paint is a thick and fluid medium, and will stay wet while you apply paint to the outside edges of your stamps, allowing you to create unique variations on images with just one stamp set. Play around with this, using a smaller bristle brush for a cleaner, more detailed line. If you desire further definition, just outline the letters with pen after they are dry.

3) Layer your title over a painted image. Foam image stamps are cheap, too–usually costing less than 50 cents apiece. Find a nice, versatile one, like the fleur de lis used here, and stamp it first. Paint is flat and most adhesives will still adhere to the base cardstock over a thin, dry coat of paint. Simply layer the remainder of your title on top of the stamped image to create depth and texture in your title treatment.

4) Add a metallic mixative to paint. This will add shimmer and depth. You can find these in craft stores or discount stores, next to the paint.

5) Overlap parts of a painted title. Since paint is completely flat and becomes part of the background when dry, overlapping letters, images, or big swaths of paint can form unique blends and designs. Here, I overlapped the two big letters in the title, making it look as if the C linked through the opening in the D.

6) Layer dimensional embellishments on top of paint. Again, since paint is flat and essentially becomes part of the background when dry, it provides a great backdrop. In this example, I’ve used rhinestone brads and flowers to create the “periods” in the D. C. title.

7) Use paint to layer your title over other elements. Paint adheres to any surface, even smooth or slick ones, such as photos or blocks of paper. Overlapping elements like this is a good way to direct the eyes. Here, the eyes hit the title, and then move seamlessly down the page to the journaling, which wraps around all of the photos.

8) Use a large swath of paint as a mat for your title. A large block of paint makes a visual pop, and the brushstrokes add non-dimensional texture and movement.

9) Enhance painted images with handwriting and doodling. Again, since paint is flat, layering other mediums on top is a cinch. Here, I’ve used handwriting and doodling to contrast with the more formal foam stamp font I used with paint.

10) Kiss foam stamps to add texture. Load up your letter stamp with a very thin coat of paint. Next, load up an image stamp with a contrasting color of paint. Press the image stamp onto the letter stamp, and then press on your page. Work quickly! You will be rewarded with a wonderful variation on your letter stamps, loaded with great texture and interest.


10 Ways to Go Eco Friendly at Work

Living an eco friendly lifestyle is something many of us try to do at home, but what about work? Because we are only at the job for about 8 hours a day, that makes it so easy to eco friendly at work!

Get your co workers involved and all of these ideas for being eco friendly at work will be so much easier!

#10 Set the Thermostat

This easy way to go eco friendly at work is two fold. First of all, lower the thermostat when everyone is leaving the office to go home. No one is there, so there is no need to waste the energy to heat it. Try lowering the thermostat to 50 degrees to save a noticeable amount of money and energy.

Now, while you are at work, try lowering the thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer. Simply changing your thermostat a few degrees in the same direction as the temperature outside will drastically save energy and money as well as the environment.

#9 Open and Close the Blinds

Try opening those blinds at the office. This is a great way to let in the warm sunshine. The opposite is true in the summer. Some eco friendly blinds can reflect up to 100% of the sun rays, which keeps the office cool.

#8 Clean With Eco Friendly Cleaners

Using eco friendly cleaners to clean the office is as valuable as using them to clean the home. Try using a simple put sweeper to pick up small messes off the office floor on a regular basis to save using the large electric vacuum cleaner.

The cleaners you sue to clean office furniture, windows, and computers is also a great time to use eco friendly cleaners. The emit less toxins into the environment and I bet you will appreciate that they do not smell and burn your nose.

#7 Get Rid of Disposable Dishes and Utensils

So, many of use Styrofoam and paper cups to drink coffee at work. Why not introduce ceramic mugs into the mix! Encourage employs to bring a favorite mug that is appropriate for work. It will reveal a little about their personally and add some fun!

You can also quit using packets of sweetener and creams. No need to waste all those tid bits of paper. Use large sugar pours and clearly label them with which sweetener they contain.

#6 Set Up Recycling Bins

This one is something everyone can do to go eco friendly at the office. We all know how to do this one!

#5 Use Recycled Copy Paper and Office Products

You can buy very affordable 100% recycled copy paper at any local office supply store. This has become increasing easier over the least five years. Amazingly enough there are also may recycled office supplies out there as well. So, do a quick search on the web for recycled office supplies before you load up on all new.

Tip: Try refilling those empty ink cartridges. It costs less and save plastic in the land fills.

#4 Turn off Lights When You Leave

OK, hopeful everyone does this, but if not, please start! Who are you lighting the place up for anyway?

#3 Print on Both Sides of the Paper

Back to that recycled office paper. If you print on both sides of the paper, you will cut your paper consumption by 50%! That invoice for office paper will also be cut in half.

It is also a great idea to take a second look at what really needs to be printed on paper.

#2 Replace Old With New Energy Efficient

As old electrical components end their life span in the office, start replacing them more energy efficient versions. This applies as much for the office refrigerator as the light bulbs.

#1 Turn Your Computer Off

Ok, this is so easy; everyone can use this step to go green at the office. Each day when you leave the office to go home, make sure the computer gets turned off. The energy bill will be lower as well!


10 Ways to Beat Holiday Loneliness

There are a lot of lonely people during the holidays, and one can choose to sit around and feel unhappy and alone, which can lead to even more loneliness, or nip it right in the bud, and enjoy the holiday season to it’s fullest. Let’s take a look at ten great ways to stop being lonely, and start having fun during the holidays.

Share The Holidays with The Elderly-

There are many places you find the elderly who are alone during the holidays. They are in nursing homes, assisted living homes, and maybe even a neighbor, and they would love someone to visit and share the holidays with them. When you reach out to someone else who is lonely, it lessens your loneliness as well.

Volunteering at Shelters-

Volunteering to either serve holiday dinners, or passing out presents to kids who wouldn’t have a special holiday without a charitable organization, can help lessen your loneliness, and truly help you understand just how fortunate you really are. The happiness you see on their faces, will help to wash away your feeling of loneliness quickly.

Visiting Hospitals-

Arrange with your local hospital to be able to visit some of the people who are stuck in the hospital during the holidays. You can read holiday stories to children, or read to other patients that are unable to read for themselves. You can also just visit and spend time listening, to those who would like to talk about their fond memories of holidays past. Just knowing someone cares means a lot. This will take the focus off yourself, and what you may be doing without.

Holiday Parties-

Don’t be afraid to attend holiday parties by yourself. Being around other people and celebrating the holidays, will help take the edge off your loneliness. You would be surprised just how much fun you can have if you just make a little effort.

Holiday Activities-

Try and get out and do as many fun holiday activities as possible. Dig out the old ice skates, and give it a whirl. Take in a funny holiday movie at a movie theater. Don’t stay at home and watch it at home alone. Laughing with and enjoying the movie with a whole bunch of other people will do more for you than watching it at home alone. Take in a holiday concert, go shopping in the stores, not on-line. You want to do everything possible not to isolate yourself during the holidays.

Visit Family Members-

Having family around during the holidays is usually plus for most people. There’s nothing like sharing the love and joy of the holiday season with those you really care about, to help beat the loneliness a single person feels during the holidays.

Decorate for The Holidays-

One thing I have found in common about people who are alone during the holidays, is they don’t make the effort to decorate. I guess they figure there’s no one else there to enjoy them. Well, you are, and that means everything. So, don’t skip the decorating, this just adds fuel to the fire that you are either alone, lonely, or both. Decorate like you matter. You would be surprised at how different it will make you feel.

Spoil Yourself-

When you focus on doing nice things for yourself you are less likely to focus on being lonely. So, make that special holiday meal, bake those cookies, take that luxurious bubble bat, whatever makes you feel special, do it. I bet you will feel so wonderful spoiling yourself, it will be hard to remember why you ever felt lonely.

Call Old Friends and Catch Up-

You know I have some dear friends I have known for many years, and every year during the holidays we talk for hours, catching up on what happened all year long. What fun this is! You will never feel lonely when you reach out to old friends that you have shared many good memories with.

Adopt a Pet-

I know some people say you should never adopt a pet during the holidays. I agree in some instances that may be true, but certainly not in all. What better way to feel less lonely, then to share your love and companionship with a pet that may have had to spend the holidays in a shelter. It’s pretty well known that pets can add much happiness, and improve the lives and health of those who have a pet to love, and a pet who loves them. I adopted my my last two dogs, and have never regretted it. They bring much joy to my life all year long, and especially during the holidays!

Well, there you have, ten ways to beat holiday loneliness. Now, if you can do all ten, chances are you will be way to busy to think about being lonely. If you can’t do all ten, do a few of your favorites. Focusing on others, and sharing the holidays with others, is a sure fire way to ever forget you even thought about being lonely. Happy Holidays!


10 Ways to Use Cranberries at the Dinner Table

‘Tis the season for cranberries. Hurray!

If you love the flavor of cranberries, but do not like cranberry slices or sauce which are traditional staples on the Thanksgiving dinner table, try these alternative recipes that will allow you to enjoy this delicious berry in a new and fun way!

1). Cranberry Orange and Nut Muffins are delicious and this is the perfect time of year to serve them. Put a grouping of them on the appetizer table for Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations, or serve them on the breakfast or brunch table, and watch them disappear.

2). A cranberry nut salad can be the perfect holiday accompaniment to a holiday meal. It just looks and tastes festive, and it’s good for you!

3). Cranberry bruschetta. So many people love a good bruschetta. Using cranberries in one for a holiday recipe provides an extra treat for you and your guests.

4). Chutney. Make a holiday chutney with cranberries and apples and you are sure to please. Since chutney is not a condiment commonly served throughout the year, having it on the holidays makes it extra special.

5). Ambrosia. Put together a light cranberry ambrosia salad for the table. These are sweet and tart at the same time, deliciously light on the tummy, and a great way to get the wee ones in the house to eat their fruit servings for the day.

6). Cranberry Squash is a perfect match for holiday turkey if you are looking for traditional dishes to serve. It is unique and delicious, and not at all hard to make, and no one can deny the authenticity it brings to a traditional table during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.

7). Cranberry Crisp. Make a cranberry crisp for one of the desserts and you are sure to delight. You can add apples, pears, or just about any other fruit to complement the cranberry flavor.

8). Cranberry Pastas. You can add cranberries to your pasta dishes to make them more flavor-enticing and attractive. They go well in light pasta dishes that are full of vegetables, such as linguini or fettuccini dishes.

9). Non-alcoholic drinks. You can make a variety of non-alcoholic beverages that are festive, such as Cranberry Punch, Cranberry Orange Refreshers, Cranberry Lime and Ginger Spritzers, Cranberry Apple Cider, etc. They are refreshing and festive, and you can add real fruit treats to add to the mood.

10). Alcoholic Beverages. You can serve anything from the classic Vodka and Cranberry, to the richer cordials, to hot ciders to add to the holiday spirit in your home.

Cranberries are just one of those foods that depict the Fall and holiday seasons. Use them to your advantage to help create a meal or drink your family and guests will remember all year round.


10 Ways to Find Balance in Your Life

Pressure from everyday can overwhelm us. If you feel as though your life is spinning out of balance, here is 10 ways to try to focus and bring back the balance.

Have a mantra

A mantra is the main focus of meditation, a word or a phrase that you use to center your mind, bring calmness to the body, and assist with concentration. Use whatever word or phrase that bring you to meditation, and use it throughout the day to gain more control and feel calmer.

Maintain rituals

A routine is something you do habitually, like drinking a cup of coffee in the morning or sit quietly in your favorite chair. Ritual or routine keeps your emotions in check, and convey the balance on a regular basic.

Do one thing at a time

We become experts with multi-tasking these days. Try to do just one thing at a time. Carefully pay attention to what you are doing, and where you are at the moment. When you feel panic, ask yourself what one task has to be done first.

Just say thank you

Keep a gratitude journal will give you a better self-esteem, more energy, and felt more alert. Write down three things that you are grateful for every day, and make it a habit to say thank you to someone you admire, love, or has done you a favor.

Practice acceptance

Acceptance means peace, and also means you are willing to face it without reacting or blaming, or getting angry. When you feel annoyed or irritated, try to connect with yourself, and then the other person. Practice acceptance to feel calmer.

Do something for others

Kindness acts give us a deep feeling of purpose. When you do something nice for other, you have a sense of connecting to that person, and it does wonder for the mind.

Do something for yourself

You will not be able to take care of anyone or anything else in your life if you’re burned out or run down. Have at least 15 minutes every day to do something pleasurable just for yourself.

Learn to say no

It is challenging to say no on the spot. If you have a hard time saying no, then just tell them the famous phrase that we’ve heard all the time: “Let me get back to you.”

Tune in to nature

Spend time listening to the sounds of nature, bird singing, leaves rushing, rain drops, ocean waves, wind blowing to alter out the noises of modern life.

Clean up your surroundings

Simplify your desk, kitchen counters, or any other spot in the house that collect clutters. You will have more time to do what you love, less stress if you are not overwhelmed with your environment.

Try it out, even if you just do one of these suggested ideas, you will feel better. For example, when life throws you a lemon, take a different approach of looking at it by counting your blessings and giving gratitude to what you already have. Doing this will keep you focus on the positive things in life rather than drowning in sorrows.


10 Ways to Easily Save Money in a Recession

It is possible! You can save money even in these tough economic times.
I enjoy a challenge…at first trying to live on less money made me angry, sad, thought God was punishing me, filled with self-pity…I think that about sums it up. Now, I have come full circle and I enjoy the challenge.
When I was in my 20’s I did the starving college student thing, I have done the newly married and just starting out thing. I thought I was done with that. In my 30’s and 40’s, I thought I had it all. The perfect husband, a house that was almost paid for, 2 kids, 2 cars, a job I loved. How that can all change in a blink of an eye still floors me sometimes. There really is a positive side, however. I love the challenge of living on a budget (not at I said above). I love learning how to repair and reuse items. I love researching how to save money! Here are some very effective ways to cut your spending.

1) Get rid of the gas guzzler!
Now that Cash for Clunkers is over, you may not get the trade in value you want for your old car, but you can still get a new car….I have always been in to buying used cars. Back in the 80’s before it was cool to be green, many people already had it figured out. Of course now, the rich are being green by buying the new Prius with the solar panels on top, they hybrid Toyota highlander…and so on. What about those of us who do not have the money for the cool, new green cars?
Here are the top used, fuel efficient cars_
From the top 25 used fuel efficient cars.

At you can do a used car search in your area.

At our house, we have a 1999 Ford F150 and a 2003 Hyundai Elantra. We use the F150 for hauling trash, big items. Most of the time it sits in our driveway. My husband drives the Hyundai to work. When I was working we needed both cars. Now that I am at home, we use one car. We cut at least $150.00/month (Yes, I said MONTH!) on gas expenses by using the more fuel efficient car.

2) Unplug!
Did you know that if you leave your computer, cell phone, ipod charger in the wall socket that it is using electricity EVEN when not in use? Unplug! Also, turn your computer off and do not leave it on ‘stand-by’ 24/7. You can save up to $200-$300/ year by unplugging!

3) Use a low flow shower head
If you can not afford a new shower head, go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a low flow insert for your shower. Twist off your current shower head and insert the water saving device. You will not lose any pressure, actually you will find it is the same if not better. Since our daughters hit their teen and tween years, it has saved us hot water draining nights.

4) Repair and re-use
I said in an earlier post how much I love E-bay and YouTube. I have learned how to repair everything from Ipods, computers…how to strip wallpaper….how to cut hair at home…how to train my dog…anything that I would normally have spent money on is at my fingertips. Instead of throwing out your broken items, challenge yourself to educate yourself on repairing them. My Grandfather taught me that almost anything can be repaired.
Re-use plastic baggies…rinse and reuse.

5) Consider a Pay as You Go cell phone.
My first cell phone service was Verizon. I liked the service but I am not a huge cell phone user. I switched to Net10. I spend approximately $15.00 month as opposed to $40.00 a month. With $15.00 I still get 2 1/2 hours of talk time (which I rarely use up), I can text and I get the same coverage as my old Verizon plan. $25.00 a month savings right off the bat!

6) Go Green and Save Green!
By investing in items such as CFL light bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) is not only good for the environment, it can save you a bundle. They cost a little more upfront BUT they can last up to 10 years and the cut your electric bill. You actually end up saving money in the long run. You do not have to replace all of your bulbs at once. Simply replace burned out bulbs with new CFL bulbs.

7) Go to your local library!
I love to read. I used to think nothing of dropping $200.00 on books…at one time! My daughters love to read as well. We make a weekly trip to the library and get books, movies, music CD’s..all for free! My daughters love picking our new books every week and it encourages them to read what they have since they have to return it.

8) Reset that thermostat!
If you adjust your thermostat by just one or two degrees, your body will barely notice the difference but your pocket book will.

9) Get a good travel mug!
Why? Make your own tea or coffee and put it in your travel mug every morning for your commute. If you are used to spending $3.00 or more on Starbuck’s, you will not only be saving a bundle but you will also be saving our landfills from paper and plastic cups!

10) Buy Local!
Have you tried your local farmer’s market? Buying your produce closer to home not only helps the local farmers, it lowers your carbon footprint.

If you grandparents lived through the depression, they probably taught you how to save and reuse. When the 80’s hit, we became a ‘throw away’ world. Prosperity is not always a good thing.
A little dose of financial humility is not only good for the soul…it can be good for our planet.


10 Ways for Children to Help Lower Your Energy Bill

1) We can start off with the most simple: Turn off the lights when you don’t need them. This is the most commonly said, but also the least commonly followed.

2) Encourage your kids to do things that don’t require electricity. Tell your child to forget about TV and come play Cranium Cadoo with the family. If you provide a fun alternative, you can keep the TV off for possibly a couple hours.

3) Make sure your kids don’t leave the fridge open. This is a huge energy waster that adds loads of unnecessary money to your bill

4) If your child has friends over and they want to play video games, try to encourage them to participate in a large in-house all lights off hide and seek game. The kids will have a blast and will want to keep doing this for a long time. With everything off in your house, this can provide quite a bit of money savings.

5) Provide your children money for helping lowering the bill. Heres a reccomended technique:

Look at your bill right now and see how much you have to pay. Tell your child that you will pay him/her half of how much they deduct from the next bill. So if your bill is $1000 right now, and your child agrees, and he lowers it to $980, that’s twenty dollars saved, then give the child 10 of those dollars, and you make a net saving of 10 dollars. This will encourage your child to save even more energy.

6) Sign them up for sports. Not only is this healthy for them, it also provides something for them to do rather than just sitting at the house using all the electricity.

7) Get more sandwich items. Stop promoting the use of the microwave to make food. Sandwiches require no energy to be expended, but taste delicious.

8) Make a fun game out of taking quick showers. Whoever can get the most clean in under 5 minutes gets a prize!

9) Teach them to turn off the Power Strips in you house.

10) Keep all the things in your house fully charged. If you have to constantly recharge something then that is a waste of energy.

I hope these tips helped!


10 Ways to Entertain Your Family on a Budget

With the current economic crunch, families are looking for ways to cut their budget. Often times, family entertainment is the first thing to go. Don’t deny your family the fun they deserve. Just revise your methods for providing activities to help cut the budget. Here are 10 inexpensive ways to provide family recreation:

Forgo the movie theaters. Movie theaters are costly because they charge by the person. Even if you take in a matinee, your bill totals up quickly. Adding popcorn and soda to the deal could quickly break your bank. Save some money by visiting your nearest Redbox (located at McDonald’s). You can rent several movies for a buck each, leaving enough to take home some snacks.

Pass on eating out. Even if you opt for the dollar menu, your food bill hits high notes by the time everyone gets soft drinks. Purchase some wieners and hot dog buns and have a wiener roast, instead. You’ll likely be able to spring for marshmallows with the money you save.

Take in some culture. Many art and culture museums hold family night, charging a group rate for the entire family, or they might even hold a free night for the family. Call ahead to find out what night this occurs. Then pack everyone up and go take in some culture.

Visit the animals. You never get too old to enjoy the zoo. Visit the animals to see what’s new. Be sure to wear sunscreen to help prevent sunburn while you’re soaking up the sun.

Tell ghost stories. Storytelling is an activity that is sure to thrill. Turn off the lights in the house, light some candles, and share ghostly stories way into the night.

Play Penny Ante poker with beans. Break out a big bag of dried beans and use these to bet on your best hand. The winner has to donate the beans back to the household for a good meal.

Break out the family photo album. Everyone grab a glass of tea or a cup of hot chocolate and gather in the family room to look at old pictures and reminisce.

Visit the elderly. Spend some time together making another person happy. Visit an elderly neighbor or relative. If you run short on these, you can always visit a nursing home.

Hold family Bingo night. Bingo is a sure-fire pleaser, especially when the winner gets a prize. Give away candy bars (or some other snacks) that you buy from the dollar store. Not only will the winner appreciate the prize, it will also save money on afternoon snacks.

Play Truth or Dare Spin the Bottle. This game will help reduce the generation gap between parents and children. Spend extra minutes during the week trying to think up fun questions (or dares) for the one that the bottle will land on. Just hope the bottle doesn’t land pointing toward you.

The above suggestions serve as only a portion of the many activities a family can do together without spending an enormous amount of money. The key to family entertainment is just being together, not how much money you spend. So try new things together, while doing your best to avoid the issue of spending. You’ll soon find your family engaged in new activities.


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