Nifty vs. Thrifty

Friday, April 30, 2010

Distraction is Killing People

Isn't it interesting? It is becoming a national epidemic-texting or talking on the phone and driving. I always talk about how being present is good so that you can enjoy the moments but what about being present to stay alive or keep others alive?
I used to work in a brain injury rehabilitation center for people who needed long term care. Let me just tell you that it wasn't pretty. The majority of these people were injured by motor vehicle accidents. These people were young and old and had so many ambitions and goals that were shattered in an instant. Unfortunetly, there is going to be a rise in brain injuries because of texting/talking on the phone while driving.
I signed Oprah's no phone zone document and it got me thinking. Wouldn't it be great if every mom put down their phone (including myself) and starts living in the present for the safety and wellbeing of themselves and their children. Oprah talks about people talking on their phone while driving but I wonder how many deaths have happened another way (drowning, poison, falls, etc.) because parents were on their phone and not paying attention.
How many children have been in a serious accident because they themselves were distracted. If kids see you multitasking they will pick up the trait and start doing it themselves. Next thing you know, they will be skateboarding while playing video games (I've seen this in my neighborhood), texting while riding their bike, and before you know it they might be texting while driving. It's very scary. I know I've been guilty of doing this myself but I want you all to help me as a team and start being present with our children.
Leave your cell phone in the diaper bag or in the house so you aren't tempted or put it out of reach.
Live in the present. Distraction is getting so out of hand it is killing people! Live simply and enjoy the moments so you have more moments in your future. It's easy, start today!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What is simplicity?

Simplicity is an art form or a way of life. To me, living a simple life means that you are focused on certain goals and are able to attain them. If that’s the case than shouldn’t we all want to live a simple life? If we focus on the things that are important to us and we don’t allow distractions, than it is pretty much impossible to not attain our goals. When life has too many distractions it is more difficult to stay focused on what’s important.
Children especially have a difficult time focusing for long periods of time because they have such a short attention span. It is important that we help them to focus by keeping a simple environment and avoid distractions.
What are 3 distractions in your life that keep you from attaining your goals? What distractions can you eliminate for your children to help them attain their goals?

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to stop spending money you don't have

Feeling guilty because you can't buy your kids the toys, sandbox, swing set, video game, etc.? Think of it this way. If you do not spend money that you don't have, you are doing the following great things for you and your family!
  • You are keeping your budget simple and easier to balance (or keep track of)
  • Teaching your children the value of a dollar by not spending money you don't have
  • Giving yourself a feeling of freedom (not guilt) by living with your means
  • Teaching your children to be creative by coming up with their own new games or toys
  • Making less clutter and mess to clean
  • Most likely, making your relationship with your significant other better based on better financial decisions you still want to buy that item??

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Letting Go of our Mistakes

What is a mistake?
A mistake is something that we do by accident. No mistake is ever intentional! I looked mistake up in the dictionary and this is what I found:

MISTAKE - noun
an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
a misunderstanding or misconception.

So, why do we beat ourselves up over the mistakes we make as mothers? Whether we regret something little we have done or something big, we have become experts at holding onto these regrets and beating ourselves up about it.

The way I see it, making a mistake is a good thing. It is an opportunity for us to grow and learn. So why do we hold onto mistakes like they are treasure and don’t want to let them go? The truth is, they can be treasure but only if we choose to learn from our experience. If we don’t learn from them, a mistake can be an anchor keeping us in the same place. Sometimes we make the same mistakes again and again (and that’s o.k) but we are always given the chance to make a change and have a fresh start. The point is, that the mistakes are in the past and we must live in the present or we are only doing ourselves and those around us a disservice.

I have found that talking to a friend or journaling is a great way work through a mistake that we are holding onto. When facing these issues, we begin to see the bigger picture and forgive ourselves (or feel less pressure once we share our concern).

Also, making a mistake is a great opportunity to show our children that no one is perfect and it’s OK if we make a bad choice. Acknowledging our mistakes, asking for forgiveness, and making changes is an important part of life. It’s so amazing to be able to model this to a child and teach them these great lessons so that when they make a mistake they will be able to dust themselves off and keep going without thinking they are a failure.

So, we have covered how we want our children to feel about mistakes but what about ourselves?? Why don’t we start showing ourselves the same kind of love and forgive ourselves for the many mistakes we make???

What other ways can we move forward from our past??

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Finding exercise for you while playing with the kids

For kids of any age:
Walk or run!! With kids of any age you can ALWAYS find a way to run or walk with them! Just get outside or find a large indoor place and start moving!


Even though babies don’t have a long attention span, you can throw different exercises in here or there and it will make a difference!
Do squats while they are in their bumbo or baby swing. Each time you get close to them make a funny face. To really add a challenge, squat then jump facing back then jump and face forward. After only a few of these you will feel it and the baby will love it!
Lift the baby in the air and then bring them close to your chest doing chest presses. Count to 10 then repeat!
Lay your baby on the floor facing you and do a push up over top of them. Each time you come down give them a kiss!
Dance around the house with your baby in your arms. Bend your knees and raise to your toes whenever you feel inclined. You’re baby will love the range in levels and you will get a great lower body workout!
Crawl with your baby. Once they start crawling they love it when you chase them on your hands and knees!
Sit your child on your lap and do sit ups. Depending on your child’s age you can adapt the sit up but you can find a way to make it work!

Just start moving! Babies love movement so start throwing some punches in the air or doing jump rope…they will love it (at least for a few minutes!)

Remember with kids, presentation is everything! If you present these activities in a fun way they will think it is fun! It also helps if you ask them, “Would you like to do an obstacle course or race me-YOU get to choose what we do! And you have all my attention!”

Obstacle course- I have made a bazillion obstacle courses in my day! On rainy days they are great for an inside activity and on sunny days they are great for an outdoor activity. Find things that you can go under, over or through. Once you come up with some ideas and add some obstacles such as chairs or jump ropes, then you can do it going the opposite way or do it while doing a crab walk. They can even do it going backward or hoping on one foot!
Races-You can race kids anywhere and kids love it! I don’t think I need to explain any more than that!! You can do races while hopping, skipping, rolling, crab walking…use your imagination! If you want to add a challenge, touch the ground at one point during the race!
Playing a sport – So you aren’t exactly the athletic type? So what? Anyone can learn to do kickball, basketball, or soccor. The best part is your kids may not know what the real rules are so you can make it up on your own! Remember to keep it simple and not expect a lot. If they want to make up a rule, let them make up a rule! Be flexible and let them have fun….heck maybe you will too!!! If you have a kid who is a little bit older ask them to TEACH you how to play (and make funny mistakes so they laugh and get to correct you!) Act like you know nothing so they have to teach you.

The trick to exercising with your kids is just to stop thinking about what you should be doing and start doing SOMETHING...anything!! Just start moving! Try to enjoy yourself when doing these activities! You will be surprised how easy it is (and how much faster your day will go!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

5 Things Not to Forget on Your Income Tax Returns

1. Make sure you take all the dependents that you can take. Are you taking care of a parent? Do you provide more than 1/2 of their financial support? You can take them as a dependent, even if they do not live with you. If you are divorced or separated and you have a bedroom in your home for a child that is NOT your dependent, that child qualifies you to file as Head of Household instead of Single.

2. This year, working adults get a $400 tax credit for each working adult. You can take this, even if you do not itemize. What is even nicer is that it is a direct credit to the taxes owed. It's as though somebody (namely the federal government) paid an extra $400 for each of you, towards your taxes. You must attach Schedule M. It is called the Making Work Pay Credit.

3. If you itemize, make sure you take everything to which you are entitled. Be aware of the following - Medical Expenses is limited to the amount that exceeds 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income. Miscellaneous Expenses is limited to the amount that exceeds 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income. There are no limitations for Real Estate Tax, Mortgage Interest, Charitable Contributions and Casualty Losses.

4. Even if you don't itemize, there are things you can take off most state returns: Job hunting expenses, expenses that you have in connection with work (not reimbursed by your employer). Do you maintain a work space in your home for yourjob? Figure out the percentage of space you use exclusively for work. That percentage of your household expenses; heat, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, etc. can be taken for job expenses. If you have children or grandchildren, take advantage of the credit that you can take off your state taxes for money you put in a college fund for these children.

5. If you request Direct Deposit of your refund, make sure you have the routing number and the account number correct. If it's wrong, it will get returned to IRS and you will have the aggravation of getting it from them.

-Article written by Certified Public Account Elsie Tarr

Friday, April 9, 2010

Enjoying your spa experience

Well, in case your husband doesn’t believe that you “need” a pedicure, tell him to read this!
I used to get angry when my husband would go golfing with his buddies. I felt like it was unfair since I never got a break. Then I started to think of things differently and realized that EVERYONE needs a break and I just need to make it happen for myself instead of being resentful.
Yesterday, after a very stressful week, I decided it was time for a pedicure! Ahhh…I escaped from the house (avoiding dinner and bath time) and did not feel at all guilty about it. As I sat down, I asked the lady for a magazine (as I always do). As I was sitting in the chair, I got to thinking. Was I really enjoying the moment??
Have you ever sat in a pedicure chair chatting with the nail technician or reading a magazine and before you know it it is over? I know that has happened to me! I challenge you to fully enjoy the experience of your pampering!
I closed my magazine and looked around me. The spa had their lights dimmed, soft music and a great massage chair. No children where screaming. The nail technician was awesome and the pedicure was great. After a long, stressful week of chasing two one year olds around-I really should be appreciating someone taking care of ME! These hard working feet that I’ve been on all week really do deserve a break and so do I…damn it! You know what? Because I had taken a little time for myself last night, today I was such a better, more patient mom because I had had a break.