Sunday, January 30, 2011

Say No to Large Houses!


I spent the day with my daughter in law, daughter and her friend cleaning my father in laws house. My father in law lives in the same home my husband grew up in. It's a large home with 6 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 half baths with three levels to clean. This is one big house for a single man to clean on top of having his own business in his home. So us girls set out to deep clean while the men went hunting. Lets say after 5 hours of deep cleaning, we never got to the basement level. Only two levels clean! I thought with the four of us we would knock this house out in two hours, NOT.

While there, my mom and sister and her kids showed up to visit. My mom kept saying, wouldn't it be nice to have this much room to live in. I thought she had lost her mind. Sure it's nice to have the extra room when you have company come to stay, but who wants to clean it? As I grow older, I realize big houses are over rated. I am happy with our smaller ranch style home on a basement. On a bad day it would never take me 5 hours to deep clean the whole house and the basement. Why heck, I would have time to spare to weed a few gardens and mow the lawn. With less to clean there is more time for fun in the sun.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spring Weather in January


WOW, today it was in the high 50's! I was so excited I had the sliding glass door open and aired out the house. My dog ran around the yard doing laps. I put chicken on the grill and lapped up the sunshine. We will have one more day of this warmer weather and on Sunday it will be cold again, reminding us it is still winter. Counting down the days until spring is officially here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deal of the Day


I'm not sure if any of you have heard of deal of the day sites? I absolutely love them and check them daily. My favorite is woot.com. You never know what they are going to have listed, sometimes they are new products and sometimes they are refurbished. I have bought both and have been very happy with the purchase. I usually check these sites as well, 1saleaday.com, dodtracker.com . DODtracker (deal of the day tracker), is another favorite because it has all the deals on one location.

I buy items on these sites and put them away for gifts. Living in the country, it's not always easy to get to the city to buy gifts. So, if an occasion comes up and I need a gift, I go to my handy storage area and pick a gift that I would have purchased earlier. These sites can come in handy for us country girls. Although, they are a great place to find good deals for anyone.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Promoting Your Web Site


In the process of looking at creating a web site for my husbands business I have ran across some interesting information. As a blogger, one of the things I have learned is promoting your web site to attract more traffic is the most important tool. Having a great web site isn't enough if no one knows it's there. Using a site that has free link exchange creates more traffic for your web site.

When you build links to your site the opportunity for exposure greatly increases. It reminds me of exchanging business cards with someone. How many times have you placed your business card at another business location? When someone places your free link on their site, it's the same thing. With the the world wide web you have a larger exposure that will help you build your business.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Website Design


I ran across a new website design Ottawa recently. I was looking for something for my husbands' company web site. I am always checking different designs. They have templates or custom design to suit each persons needs. On this web site the customer friendly templates give you more options then basic template packages. With several different template packages you can have more personalized features that are easy to work with. I have tried several different sites for web design and have yet to find one that I am comfortable using. I will hopefully be able to use one of these templates that can make both my husband and I happy with creating a web design.

Rural Route Mail


Living in the country something most people don't think about mailboxes. You would be amazed at how people express themselves with their mailbox. I have also noticed that others encase their mailbox in stone. Not a bad idea out here in the country. Most peoples mailboxes are not close to their home, but up a long drive and some are out of the sight of the home. We even have vandalism out here in the "sticks". So it's a matter of taste and practicality on what type of mailbox you might choose.

I personally don't like the expensive decorative mailboxes. They are just not practical out here. I would probably invest in locking mailboxes, as the mailbox is so far from the house. I'm not sure if our mail lady would appreciate it, with the extra work of unlocking it. I have to admit though, last year I saw on craigslist a gentleman that made a concrete tree where your mailbox slips inside of it. It was painted and looked so real, like a real tree beside your drive. It was so unique, but too expensive. The day after I noticed it, the county tractor that mows the grass on the side of the highway hit our mailbox and munched it. I figured, it's a good thing I didn't invest too much money in the mailbox. Such is life in the country.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Valea's Thoughts

I have another blog and mostly the same stuff is on there. But wanted to share it with you all in case you felt the need to stop by and visit. The new site is valeasthoughts.blog.com

Fun Web Site


yearbookyourself - 1986



yearbookyourself - 1970



yearbookyourself - 1962



yearbookyourself - 1952



yearbookyourself - 1966




Tonight I stumbled onto a wonderful fun web site and I could not resist sharing this with my readers. The site is www.yearbookyourself.com, my daughter and I played around on it for over an hour. We laughed so hard, I am sure my husband figured with were up to no good on the internet. I am going to embarrass myself here by posting some of the pictures I saved from this site. I won't post any of my daughter, because she knows where I sleep. I do need to state at no time have I ever worn my hair in any of these styles.


Parents


As I write this post, I am listening to my husband help his father decide which laptop computer would be best for him to purchase. I can hear the frustration in my father in laws voice and the more frustrated he becomes the more patient my husband becomes. I know he is feeling frustrated himself, because I can not count on my hand how many times I have had to help my mom with her computer. My mother has no idea what the computer terms are, like icon. So when I am trying to help her fix her computer, I come up with some really unique words to describe what I am trying to get her to click on.

The difference with my mom and me is we usually end up laughing about her lack of computer knowledge and my creative ways to help her fix her computer. She laughs at me when I say to her, "I'm blind here mom, tell me what you are seeing on the screen". Then she will go into great detail telling what is on the screen. Making memories and laughing about it. I wonder why it is that some people can't laugh at the little things in life. I figure life is too short and I have way too many BIG things in life to be serious about. I will state that my daughter may view this differently when I am irritated over something that seems so little to her.

Looking at my mom and my father in law with their lack of computer knowledge, I can foresee my future with my own kids. Actually it's not so future on some things. My family has our television, dvd player and stereo so rigged that it is some times difficult to figure out if I am turning on switches to the space shuttle or trying to watch a movie. When all the little lights don't turn on right I yell for my daughter to come fix it. When my son hands me his cell phone to make a call I look at it and for the life of me can't figure out how to make it turn on. Apparently, you just have to touch the screen and with a flick of your finger you can be on the internet. Although, if you flick to much you can completely screw the phone up. I know this from experience. I suppose when my kids are on their own and I call them with a silly little question. They will either find humor in my lack of knowledge and make memories or they will patiently tolerate my phone call until we fix the problem. Either way, I am sure I will be grateful.

Monday, January 17, 2011

One Way to Prevent Foreclosure


As our economical times are not improving, many people are looking at the possibility of losing their home to foreclosure. There are several things the borrower can do to possibly prevent foreclosure of their home. One of the things they can do is to check out Loan Modifications. A loan modification is any change made to the original mortgage. It could be as simple as a change of interest rates or go from a floating to an adjustable or fixed mortgage. Loan modifications purpose is to lower the mortgage monthly cost for the borrower. The lenders are willing to help the borrower out in these situations because they will lose more money if they foreclose on the home. While they have to endure the cost of trying to resale the home and not recouping the cost of the original loan.

If you choose to go with a loan modification through a lawyer, a loan modification firm or the lender directly, it is imperative that you keep good records. Take notes of the names and phone numbers with extensions of everyone you speak with during this process. Outline your current financial situation and outline the outcome you would expect with the loan modification. This will show the lender your intent to meet your financial obligation. In your outline you will need to list all of your monthly expenses. Including fuel cost, groceries, monthly bills, debt payments and health and car insurance. Balance this against your monthly income. You will be proposing that with the lenders help, you will be able to meet the loan modifications expenses and your monthly financial obligations.

By getting a loan modification you are going to keep a good credit rating and continue to have a mortgage which is a tax benefit vs. renting. As our home is an important safe place for us all, losing our home is devastating and leaves us feeling unstable. Loan modifications give us a chance to remain in our home at a reasonable cost.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Lawrence Welk Show

Last night while my granddaughter was spending the night, she woke up around 11pm and decided she had slept long enough and was ready to play. Grandma on the other hand had other plans. So I began singing the first song that popped in to my head. It was the closing theme song from the Lawrence Welk Show. My daughter who was sitting next to me asked me what I was singing. Thus began the search of youtube.com for Lawrence Welk. With my granddaughter sitting on my lap and my daughter sitting next to me we watched for an hour Lawrence Welk clips. My heart swelled with lovely memories from when I was a child and would sit with my grandparent and watch this show. I would get so excited at the beginning of the show when the bubbles would appear. Below is a youtube.com video of the opening credits. I love the Geritol sponsor.




But the song that stuck into my head was the closing credits song. My dance teacher that I had growing up was a big Lawrence Welk fan. So we would end our recitals with this song.





It's funny how these stored memories pop up at the least expected times. Not that I am complaining. My granddaughter loved it and it put her to sleep. She loves big band and older styles of music. I went to bed and had wonderful dreams about my grandparents. Thank you Lawrence Welk, for giving me these moments to share with my granddaughter and daughter.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Facebook and other social media


If you would have asked me ten years ago if I would have anything to do with a web site that promotes you to put your personal information on the internet, I would have laughed at you. Some where within those ten years social media web sites gained popularity and society has been doped into thinking this is a good thing. Encouraging people to sign on and hook up with long lost friends or to find new friends. It is such a catching concept that I fell for this and allowed my young teens to even get a facebook page and a myspace page. Adding friends that you never call or write to the old fashion way with a pen and paper or the use of a telephone. Sharing personal information that you would never mention if you were speaking with them on the phone. Creating drama with the keyboard and misunderstandings because you can not tell if the person is joking or being serious. There is no inflection of the voice for you to understand their meaning. You can not tell if they are screaming at you or forgot that the cap lock was on and were too lazy to rewrite their comment.

As of this past week, the last member of my family closed their facebook account and I can not tell you how relieved I am. One by one each person realized the deception of such a site. Even with media attention of the lack of privacy this site provides with the sharing of your personal information without your consent. People still blindly offer more information to be exposed. One of the things I have noticed is that it can be a habit to "check" your facebook account to see what your friends posted or what pictures they put on their facebook. I found myself going there more then to post information about me. So the question begs to be answered, are people whom you know or don't know doing the same thing. Spending hours on facebook, looking at other peoples pictures and comments. Making these social media sites a play ground for pedophiles, stalkers and other demented minded people.

Which brings me to another point, should children or teens be allowed to have a social media account? Most of these kids see their friends on a daily basis at school. Is there really a need for a social media page? Allowing other people you probably would not want having access to your child's life are reading every random thought your child post and viewing the pictures they chose to place up on their page. Developing a friendships with people they have never met face to face. There was a time when a parent would not consider allowing their child to hang out with "friends" that the parent had not met. Did we teach our children to NOT talk to strangers? At what point did we as parents become so lax in our parenting that we see these social media web sites as innocent? Once you have cracked the door to allow the freedom to have these types of web sites, you have tied your hands when you child ask you for another type in the future. Who knows what the future holds on what type of social media web sites will be available and we sheeple will be encouraged to join up or be uncool.

The main thing I want to relay with this post is that I regret not discouraging my children when they were younger to not have a social media web page. As they got older and it was out of my control to say if they could have one or not, they continued to have their web pages. Thankfully, they came to realize the unnecessary need for these web pages. Let's hope we do not become doped with the next wave of high tech communication.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Real Estate


Depending on who you talk to the real estate market for 2011 is either going to improve or continue to lag. In 2010 we saw interest rates at all time lows at 3%. One thing everyone agrees will happen is that the interest rates in 2011 will continue to increase. The soonest we can expect to recover from the real estate crumble is 2013.

With many people having their homes foreclosed some people are using this situation to their advantage. There are those that are in the mindset to invest in real estate while the interest rates are low and the houses/property are at a low as well. In other words buy at a low price, fix it up and sit on it for several years then sell when the market is up again. Not a bad plan in my opinion, but who has that kind of money to invest in commercial property or a house your not living in? You would definitely get into a landlord/tenant situation to help with this investment. I am not so sure that buying commercial real estate and getting into retail leasing wouldn't be more profitable.

We can always dream and have fun looking on the internet at homes and retail property we would love to own. If a suddenly come across an inheritance from a long lost great aunt, then I would seriously give real estate investment some thought. Until then, happy dreaming of my new investment idea.

Hypothyroidism


Almost 24 years ago, my husband and I became aware of a medical condition called hypothyroidism. Our first son was born April 13th 1987 and on April 20th we received a phone call around 7 am from our pediatrician. He called to inform us that our sons PKU (phenylketonuria) test results came back abnormal. The state of Kansas requires every child born in the state to have a PKU test. One of the test in the PKU is to test for congenital hypothyroidism. The doctor told us we needed to take our child to Childrens Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, to have a thyroid scan done. The scan showed my son was born with a thyroid gland, but it did not function. I suppose there are worst things in life and the only thing would be our child would have to take synthroid for the rest of his life and see a doctor for regular checks on his thyroid levels. We would then repeat this same routine with the next two children born to us. Three children born with congenital hypothyroid condition is very rare. Back in the late 1980's our pediatric endocrinologist informed us that there were approximately less then 1000 cases in the world where every child in a family is born with congenital hypothyroidism. We also learned that it was a genetic trait passed down from both my husband and I. Normally, when both parents have this genetic trait 1 in 4 of their children develop congenital hypothyroidism. So, our family was an interesting case for our pediatric endocrinologist. Using our family to write a paper for the Medical journal on the subject.

One of the puzzling things for myself was trying to locate members of my extended family who might have had or have hypothyroid conditions. There were none. My husbands side of the family had several female women who developed hypothyroid problems later in life and this is common for older women. Still I was stumped as to where the link was on my side of the family. I approached the doctor with my questions. He informed me that most likely I would be the person that would develop hypothyroidism. With my youthful mind set, I store the information in the back of my mind and forgot about it.

At the age of thirty, my husband and I had a lot of spiritual and intellectual growth. We decided to change our life style. We became vegetarians. I suppose I should also mention my husband is very much a carnivore at heart. So we began replacing the meat in our diet with TVP (textured vegetable protein) which is made from soy. Without doing any research on soy, I was unaware how soy blocks the thyroid. With in a couple of years the symptoms of a hypothyroid condition could no longer be ignored. I tried several natural approaches without success. So, then after 5 years and alot of excessive weight I succumbed to taking synthroid. Within a month, I was already seeing some much needed changes in my body. I could actually make it through the day with out a nap and my hair was no longer falling out. Those are just a few of the changes that you could see, the ones that were most important for me were the changes that others could not see. I finally had a clear mind. I didn't forget words and my memory was much better. When you are struggling with these types of problems, you learn to hide them from others so that you do not appear "strange". The relief I had that I no longer needed to struggle with these things was amazing.

So now it's been about 16 years and I have taken myself off of synthroid. Most people would think I am nuts. I must admit, sometimes I wonder if I am. Although, deep down I have never wanted to succumb to taking the synthetic medication. I know in my heart that there is a better way. So after much reading and research I had decided to stop taking the medication and allow myself approximately six months to let it get out of my system. It's been about 4 months. All my symptoms have returned. I have purchased an herbal supplement called "Bladderwack". Basically, this is a seaweed that is high in iodine. I started taking it three times a day. Since the thyroid gland was blocked and unable work as it was intended. I know that it just needs the nutrients to give it a kick start. I will also be taking a natural form of thyroid derived from bovine. I will keep you all posted on the results and how I am feeling. I am hoping that this information can help inspire others to do some research. Mostly I pray this natural approach works.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Event Displays


While searching Google the other day I ran across another cool site that I thought I would share with my readers. This web site sells products for trade show displays. You are probably wondering why I am thinking about trade show displays. I'm looking for different ways to market me husbands construction company and I know that once a year in Kansas City they have a Home and Garden Show. Many contractors set up trade show exhibits to show off their goods and talents to all the people wondering how to spend their extra money on improving their home.

You can have table covers and director chairs with your companies logo printed on them. I liked the fact that they are eye catching and would stand out from the hundreds of other exhibits. If you aren't interested in having tables and chairs printed with your logo, you can save a bit of money and go with a blank table cover and chair. Either way, they have a variety of styles and colors to choose from. They also have a full selection of table top displays. You can choose from pop ups, panel systems, hybrids, briefcase style and more. This company is definately one stop shopping for trade show exhibits.

While I am not sure how I am going to market the company. I will keep Camel Back Displays in mind for future reference.