Saturday, November 11, 2006

Guest Slippers

This post is kind of an extension of my Winter Baskets post. I like to keep a large basket of slippers and warm socks by the front door. This is great in the winter, and also works well on rainy or muddy days the rest of the year. Guests who remove their shoes at the door can choose a pair of slippers or warm socks to wear - this way their feet won't get cold on the wood floors. My basket has slippers that I've sewn and socks that I've knit, but you could just as easily use store-bought ones. Look for sales! Buy several pairs at once. Also try to keep a variety of sizes, for both children and adults. These can really come in handy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Offline Blogging

When I blog I try to save a copy of each post, just in case any unexpected erasing occurs. I've tried out offline blogging programs but they didn't really work for me. What I do now is I either type a post online and copy and paste it into a Word document, or type a post in Word offline and copy and past it into my blog. Whether you use an offline program or simple cutting and pasting I suggest that you keep copies of your posts. Finding out you've lost dozens of posts can be very discouraging!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Winter Baskets

In the winter extra items liks hats, scarves, mittens and gloves can pile up quickly or get left around the house. I use baskets (mine are wicker; wire mesh would work as well) for each type of item. I just set the baskets on the floor next to the boots. As family members come in the house they can put their extra items in the appropriate baskets. Any random gloves or hats that end up in the kitchen, in the car, or on the porch can easily be tossed in the appropriate basket. This is great for matching up missing gloves and mittens! Although you could use boxes instead of baskets, the wicker or wire mesh let air get in so any items that are still damp hopefully will dry instead of mold!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Paper or Plastic?

When I do my grocery shopping I try to use paper bags, although the occasional store only offers plastic. Here are a few tips about using and reusing both paper and plastic grocery bags.
  • Ask for paper! Often stores automatically bag your groceries in plastic, so go ahead and ask for paper if they don't ask you first.
  • Reuse your paper bags. Most grocery stores like when you bring your own bags in. I keep four or five paper bags in my truck so I remember to bring them with me when I go grocery shopping. Remember which stores you're going to! I doubt that any store would be pleased if you showed up with a competitor's bag.
  • Recycle your paper bags. The wonderful thing about paper is you can recycle it. I save grocery bags that are sturdy and recycle those that have ripped or have been used several times.
  • Small garbage can liners. Plastic bags are perfect for small garbage cans. I keep a little can in every room of my house.
  • Tissue box bag holder. Keep your plastic bags in old tissue boxes. This is a great storage method and they're easy to pull out individually. I keep a tissue box of bags near each small garbage can, and the litterbox.
  • Garage sales. A great way to get rid of a large amount of plastic bags is to use them for bagging products bought at garage sales. This could be for your own garage sale, or for an organization's event. Often churches, schools and other community organizations have larger sales and might need the extra bags.
Other bag ideas? I'm sure they're out there. Go ahead and comment!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

That Voting Conundrum

As I left my polling station after voting today I passed an elderly woman, all alone, standing the required 100 feet from the voting booths. She was wearing a sandwich board in support of an issue that mattered to her. I was thinking about the dedication this woman had, to be out there all alone for who knows how long trying to encourage people to support her cause.

At the same time I had the radio on in my car. The DJ was interviewing people who had called in to say why they were choosing not to vote.

The contrast bothered me. One woman taking time out of her schedule in support of something that matters to her, versus many people who can take the time to explain why they're too busy to vote while they could use that time to actually vote.

I think that everyone has the right to choose whether or not to vote. I also think that anyone with an opinion about anything has a good reason to vote. Unless you're someone without opinions on any subject you should actively vote. Just my opinion.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Moving Tip: Emergency Box

A must-have while moving, even just local moves, is an emergency box. You can customize it to your own needs, but here are some items that I've found useful:
  • Copies of important papers, such as insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, etc.
  • Paperwork specific to moving, such as the title or lease to your new house, your landlord's phone number (if applicable,) contracts with any moving companies, codes to any alarms in your new house, etc.
  • First aid kit, and not just a little one with bandaids. During the moving process there could easily be more serious injuries, so keep larger bandages, pain relievers, and anything else that could help in a pinch.
  • Cash - even if you just keep a $20 bill in an envelope, cash could come in handy. Granted you probably won't lose your wallet during the move, but keeping some cash in the emergency box is a good idea just in case.
  • Flashlight, just in case you can't get the power turned on!
There are many other things that might be appropriate to your own emergency box. The important thing is that you plan ahead and gather any materials that would help your family during a worst-case-scenario move. Stay tuned for "Surviving the First Few Days!"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Have I Read This Book Before?

I'm the kind of person who likes to go back and read books again and again. Which books I read really just depends on my mood. The thing that frustrates me is when I get all excited about reading a book for the second or third time and I think I've forgotten most of the plot. I pick up the book and realize I went through the same excitement five months earlier, read it, and I now remember the entire plot. I try hard to keep a book log going, but I read a lot and don't always update. Besides my own method I know people who use several others that seem effective. If you haven't tried keeping a book log before you may want to try it out. If you're an avid reader it can definitely come in handy!
  • Database - This is the method I use. I have a database set up in which I imput the book's title, author, publication date, genre and a brief description. Every time I read it I imput the year and month during which I read it. The database is useful because I can look up books by title, author, or genre, which helps if I can't remember exactly what I'm looking for.
  • Index Cards - This is a long-hand version of the database. All the information goes on index cards (to be stored in a box or binder) instead of the computer. Index cards can be handy because you can take them with you. One idea for new books is to use a blank index card as a bookmark and fill it out as soon as you finish reading.
  • Quick and Easy - This is the fastest method by far. Just use the inside front or back cover of each of your books to write down the month and year each time you read it. I don't use this method because I don't want to write in my books, but I suppose it could also work with post-its or something.
Any other book tracking methods? Please share!