Friday, August 31, 2012

$4 Console Table

I told you a few weeks back that the hubs was working on some built-ins...well, he has been doing a great job on them!  Since he was in the building mood, he decided to make a console table with all the scrap MDF he had laying around to hold extra toys. We found our inspiration Here..there were plans, but we didn't have enough MDF to make the exact same table, so there was some improv building. The reason it's a $4 table is because I had to make a quick trip to Lowes to get one 1x3 board. 
I helped a little(held things in place, painted, moral support), but he was definitely the brains behind the job:o) I'm so proud of my little handy man:o)
The canvas baskets came from T.J. Maxx. 
The rug is from Marshalls.
I found this cute little owl and the sign at Marshall's too.
 Lamps and lamp shades(clearance find) from Walmart.
 And here are the beginnings of the built-ins. We recycled our entertainment center, and attached it to the wall. Then the hubs made the window seats. He finished it out with trim across the bottom. Eventually there will be more added on, and the whole thing painted white, but right now he needs to focus on his thesis.
 Hasn't he done a fantastic job?!? 
 I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. We have ours filled with food, football, friends and family...it doesn't get much better than that!

Participating here:


Furniture Feature Fridays


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5 Tips for a Successful Business Card Design

Despite the move to everything digital, the exchange of a printed business card is time-tested tradition in face-to -face business interactions. Whether you are meeting a prospective client for the first time or at a networking event, your card is a critical factor in making a good impression. Savvy, well-connected business people never leave home without a stack of effectively designed cards in their wallet or purse, but what exactly constitutes an effective business card design? These 5 tips should give you some guidelines when looking to redesign your company's business card:
  1. Information: The main purpose of a business card is to make it easy for people to contact you. Include only the contact information that is absolutely necessary. For example, email, phone, cell, website, address, name and job title. You don't need to provide a long list of services or every single mailing address if your company has multiple locations. There is very limited space on a business card, so by limiting the amount of textual information, the overall design will be cleaner and easier to read.
  2. Brand: A business card conveys your brand by introducing brand elements, such as logo, colors and fonts. It is imperative that your card to be consistent with your other branded materials. This helps to reinforce your brands, helping new acquaintances remember you and your company better.
  3. Size: If you've ever thought about making your business cards larger, smaller, or even a fancy die cut to stand apart from your competition, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider. The typically business card size is 3.5" x 2" - meaning wallets and card holders are designed to accommodate this size. If you card won't fit into these items, it may get tossed in the trash - making you lose out on potential business. So it's best to create a design that stands out while fitting within those dimensions so that you're newly made contacts can carry and store your information easily.
  4. Paper: There are 3 things you want to consider when choosing the paper stock for your business card - weight, design, and finish. First you need your card to be sturdy so it doesn't get dented or torn in your wallet or business card holder. Just like a flimsy handshake doesn't make a good impression; neither does a flimsy business card. Next, you want to consider the design of the card and what color paper and texture will compliment the design the best. Simple variations such as an off-white linen paper stock verses a bright white smooth paper stock will really impact the final product. Lastly, you want to consider the finish - is uncoated, matte, or glossy the best? That's up to the designer and printer - but it's always nice to be able to jot down some additional information on your card if need be. Certain types of finishes or coats won't allow this - such as glossy and certain matte finishes.
  5. Design: The business card design itself must present both your contact information and brand elements on a very small space. So it is best to keep the design clean and organized. This can be achieved by making sure there is negative space on the card. Negative space allows your eyes to rest and focused your attention on what's most important. Selecting appropriate fonts and font sizes is also important because it impacts the legibility. It's best to select a font that is still legible at a small size - a classic serif or sans serif font would be your best bet. Lastly, you want to organize the content (information and branding elements) so that it's user-friendly and visually appealing.
Having a strong, yet simple and easy to read business card design will present you as someone who is professional, savvy and tasteful-someone that is enjoyable to do business with. So before you begin your quest for the perfect business card design, keep these five tips in mind: information, brand, size, paper and design.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Should I buy now?

If one can pick just one graph to answer that question, I would suggest this one (From Ben's blog):

Fall Dinner-Chicken Spaetzle & Homemade Bread

I can't stand it any longer...Fall needs to just get here and stay here:o)
It has been a scorcher for the past few days after we were taunted with cooler weather. I am stubborn by nature, and have made soup and homemade bread, regardless of this horrid heat, hoping this will show Summer that I have had enough of it, and am ready for it to go away:o)
 Chicken Spaetzle is one of my favorite soups in the whole wide world. I order it from Bruegger's every time I visit that restaurant...which is a lot:o)
I looked for their recipe, and couldn't find anything but the calorie count online...I DON"T CARE what the calorie count is...IT"S DELICIOUS!
So anywho, I found a few recipes online and kind of tweaked here and there, and this is my version of Chicken Spaetzle.
recipe adapted from HERE
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 1 lb total)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning1 package of potato Gnocchi

    Combine all ingredients, except the gnocchi, and cook on low for 2 hours. After the 2 hours, shred chicken in the soup, and add gnocchi. Cook gnocchi in the soup according to package directions(just don't drain;o). Serve with homemade bread.


    I found this homemade bread recipe to go along with our soup.
    Food Processor White Bread
    from breadworld via Jennifer Judd-McGee
    makes 1 loaf
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 Tbl. sugar
    1 envelope RapidRise Yeast (do not use any other kind - just RapidRise)
    1 1/4 tsp. salt
    3 Tbl. butter
    1 egg
    3/4 cup warm water
    Insert metal blade into food processor. Add flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt; process 5-10 seconds. Add butter and egg.  Begin processing, then slowly pour warm water through feed tube just until dough forms a ball, about 10-15 seconds.  Continue processing for 60 seconds to knead dough (I let it go longer, more like 2-3 minutes, just for good measure).  Remove dough onto a lightly flour surface. Cover and let rest for 10 min.
    Roll dough into a 12 x 7-inch rectangle. Beginning at short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll.  Pinch ends and seam to seal.  Place, seam side down, in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until double in size about 30-45 minutes (I've let it go much longer than this and it is just fine).
    I usually brush it with egg wash or a bit of cream to give the top a nice shine, but you don't have to.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done (30 minutes is always just perfect for me).  Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack (be sure to remove it because otherwise the bottom will get soggy while it cools).  Slice and enjoy!

    This was a wonderful dinner, and I am so glad that we have air conditioning because when you eat soup, it warms your insides...who wants to be hot on the inside and outside;o)
    The kids loved the soup, so we have a winner in this household...when we actually get cooler weather, this recipe will definitely be a regular on the menu;o)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Family Night Recipe


So last night, life got in the way. The hubs needed to get the lawn mowed, dinner was made late, phone calls and emails needed to be taken care of, and S.R. ended up with a fever just before dinner.
Our family night didn't happen...that's just the way things go sometimes. 
But, even though all of this was going on, we still got to take just a moment together and indulge in homemade Peanut Butter Cups....one word....yuuuuum!
I found the recipe in the current All You magazine(September edition)
If you want to take a swing at these little delectables,  you can find the recipe 
WARNING:You will not be able to eat just one!!!!
Have a great weekend y'all!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Allowance/Money Holders

Ok, so I said I would post about these on Monday...well Monday has turned into Thursday for sure...but I am finally getting around to sharing with you our newest endeavor....allowances...enter shiver/shudder.
We now have to make our children be responsible little helpers...which makes us have to be more responsible because we have to remember to remind them to do their chores....and on top of that, we have to remember to keep $6 in 1's on hand, so that we can make sure they get their $3 a week.
Sheesh!
Who knew it was going to be this involved:o) 
I kid, I kid:o)
E and S.R. have been great about getting their chores done for the past two weeks, and we are so grateful. Not only are they learning valuable lessons in doing a job and doing it well, they are lightening the load on their poor pitiful mother;o)
So here are said money/allowance holders.
All items used to make these money holders were purchased from Hobby Lobby except the buckets. I found the buckets in the dollar section at Target.
 I've seen and heard, for the past few months, of parents using three categories...Share(or give), Save and Spend. I think that teaching the kids to divide their money up now is an awesome life lesson. The earlier they learn to save their money and to give of their means, the better off they will be when they are adults. 
Last Sunday they were actually able to give their own money to the collection plate at church. I didn't get to see it because I wasn't feeling well and stayed home, but I know that before they left for services that morning, they were really excited about giving their dollar.
It's the little things, right?
So what do you think? Are you inspired to make little helpers out of your rugrats? I promise it is well worth the effort!
 Here is a list of items if you want to make your own.
1 plywood board
3 oval shape wooden discs(optional)
scrapbook paper
letter stickers
Mod Podge
Paint for the plywood board(optional)
Drill(for holes)
Ribbon(to hang)
3 buckets with handle
3 mini cup hooks 
Wood Glue
I hope that all of you who started school this week have had a fantastic first week back. I know we sure have. I am still adjusting to getting up early....too bad I can't drink coffee...boo!
Family night tonight...I'll post recipes tomorrow...maybe;o)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Islamic Economic System

Interest-free Islamic economic system is partially followed and partially not followed in Muslim countries around the world. The only country, which has followed this system completely in every minute detail is Malaysia. So the application methods in this post are mostly those implemented in Malaysia following the Interest-free Islamic Economic system.

The main feature of the Islamic economic system is that it is Interest-Free. As the Qur'an says in Sura al-Baqara Chapter 2 Verses 278 & 279, "O ye who believe! fear Allah and give up what remains of your demand for usury if ye are indeed believers. If ye do it not take notice of war from Allah and his Apostle: but if ye turn back ye shall have your capital sums; do not deal unjustly and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly."

Qur'an condemn all evil deeds, but never has the Qur'an warned of a war against God Almighty and His Messenger except in the case of taking Interest and Usury.

There are several evils of the interest based economy, the reason why Islam has prohibited it.

For example, if a person takes a loan from a bank and says the cost price of a certain article is 10 dollars and he wants to a profit of one dollar. So the selling price would include the 10 dollars cost price one dollar profit and one dollar interest and the selling price would be 12 dollars. The selling price would go up because of interest and when the selling price goes up the demand comes down and when the demand comes down the supply comes down and as supply comes down production comes down causing labour problem and unemployment.

There is Social Injustice.

For example, if a person takes a loan from the bank and no matter if he earns a profit or goes in loss he has to pay that fixed amount of interest. Even if some natural calamity befalls his family, such as flooding or earthquake, the person still has to pay the loan with the interest and a delay would only increase the amount of interest. It is social injustice.

There is no social consideration.

Suppose, if two businessmen come to ask for a loan from a modern bank and one businessman wants to start a social or hospital while the other businessman wants to start an alcohol factory or a gambling den. But natural the businessman, who wants to start an alcohol factory or a gambling den would have better returns and the loan given to him would be more secure and he would give a higher rate of interest as compared to the business, who wants to open a school or hospital. Modern banks are only interested in getting better and higher returns. That's why they finance gambling dens rather than schools or hospitals. That is why in the 80s thousands of gambling dens were financed by modern banks worldwide. For name sake only a few social projects are financed by modern banks and the majority of their loans are based on better interest.

Modern banks encourage people to store money and keep the money idle for small fixed return on it every year. In the end, power is concentrated in a few hands, the bankers.

In the same way there are several benefits of Islamic banking.

As there is no interest involved, there is profit and loss sharing. So if a person wants to sell his goods, it would only have the cost price and profit in the selling price and instead of 12 dollars, his selling price would be only 11 dollars. If the selling price comes down, the demand increases and if the demand increases the supply increases and as supply increases the production increases resulting in more labour for the people and higher employment. As a result encourages people to work and earn their living.

There is Social Justice in Islamic banking.

If a business takes a loan and goes in loss, the loss is shared by the bank and if he earns a profit, the profit is shared by the bank. If in case any natural calamities befalls him, the Islamic bank gives him more time to repay, unlike the modern bank, where the more time you take to pay the more interest you would have to pay. Many a times if the Islamic bank finds the situation very bad, they even let go off that loan.

There is Social Consideration in Islamic banking.

Islamic bank can not give a loan to any businessman, who is doing any activity, which is causing harm to the society. For example, if a businessman wants to start an alcohol factory and approaches an Islamic bank for a loan, the Islamic bank will not lend him a single penny, not even if he promises to give 100% profit to the Islamic bank. In Islamic banking there is social consideration and they encourage projects beneficial for the society, such as building schools, hospitals and nurseries. In short, the Islamic bank encourages the society to improve.

In the Islamic bank, you are not encouraged to keep your money idle. You are encouraged to invest your money and be a partner in the business and in the end, power is not concentrated in the hands of a few individuals. Because in the Islamic banking the profit and loss are shared by the business, the banker as well as the depositor. The power is equally shared among all the people.

The great philosopher, Aristotle has beautifully defined Interest as "An earning based on the use of money and not on labour, and all such earnings(interests) are against nature."

Lets quickly analyze the objectives of the Islamic economic order before we analyze the theory and practical application of the Islamic economic system.

The Objectives of the Islamic Economic Order

1- Economic well-being

Islam encourages a person to enjoy the bounties of God Almighty, to work for his living and refrain from begging.

2- Universal Brotherhood and Justice

Qur'an says in Sura al-Hujurat Chapter 49 Verse 13, "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you."

From this we come to know the criteria that the criteria of judgement in the sight of God is not wealth, not sex, not color, not Caste, but it is "Taqwa" God consciousness, piety and righteousness.

Qur'an says in Sura an-Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 135, "O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protects all."

According to this we have to stand for truth and justice be it against anybody even against our own selves and sacrifice your own interests.

3- Equitable Distribution of Wealth

Islam is against the philosophy that the wealth should be concentrated in a few hands. The difference between the rich and the poor should be reduced. Otherwise they would become enemies unto each other. For this, Islam has devised a system of "Zakat" that every Muslim, who has excess wealth exceeding the amount equal to or more than 85 grams of Gold. This amount is spent on the poor, orphans, needy and so on. If every individual in the world practices this system of "Zakat", not a single person in the whole world would die of hunger. Islam teaches to find lawful employment for the unemployed and to pay him a good remuneration.

According to Islam if a person dies his wealth should be distributed among his heirs according to the guidelines laid down in Qur'an and Ahadith and it should not go to just one or two individuals in the society as it is done today.

4- Individual Freedom within the Context of Social Well-fare

According to Islam man is born free and nobody not even the state can abrogate his freedom nor subject his life to strict regimentation. Every individual is free as long as he does not harm the society because in Islam the larger welfare of the society takes precedence over the individual freedom.

Working and labour as well as the benefit in business are both important principles of Islam, but working and labour take precedence over the benefit in business. If you are doing business, a big loss can not be inflicted to relieve a small loss, nor can a big profit can be sacrificed for a small profit. In short, Islam believes in individual within the context of social welfare.

There are mainly four factors involved in production;

1- Land

In both the Modern and Islamic theories, you pay rent on the land.

2- Labor

You pay wages on the labour in both the Modern and Islamic theories.

3- Capital

In the Modern theory, you pay Interest on capital, while in the Islamic theory there is profit and loss sharing.

4- Organization

In the fourth factor of production, Organization, there is profit and loss sharing in both theories.

So the major difference in the four factors of production is the third factor of Capital. The Modern Theory says that a fixed interest should be charged on the capital, while the Islamic theory says that there is profit and loss sharing on capital. Because Islamic theory does not differentiate between the third factor Capital and the fourth factor Organization because the money lent by the bank does not belong to the bank itself, it belongs to the depositor. The depositors are the part of Organization and the money deposited in the bank (the capital) should be included in the Organization. In the Islamic theory Capital and Organization are clove together and there is profit and loss sharing on the capital.

When you have to do business, there are naturally two types of units. One is the surplus unit, who have excess of wealth, but do not know how to spend it. Second is the deficit unit, the people who do not have money, but have good ideas for business. The best examples of a surplus and deficit unit in the Islamic history is Lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) had excess of wealth, but lacked avenues to spend in and being a female she couldn't travel abroad too much to deal in business transactions. The deficit unit, in terms of wealth, was Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). He had good ideas and access to business avenues, but did not have wealth. So Lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) gave wealth, which Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) invested in business avenues on her behalf and the profit was shared on a fixed pre-determined ration.

The System of Islamic Banking and Modern Banking

Lets analyze the options open for individual depositors to deposit their money in an Islamic bank.

Current Account

The money you deposit in an Islamic bank is utilized with your permission, but if the bank goes in loss, the loss is not shared by the depositor. If the bank goes in profit, neither is the profit shared by the depositor. The depositor is interested in only the safety of his money, not profit. The Islamic banks gives you a check book and a slip book with the functions as that of a modern bank.

Savings Account

Even here the depositor is mainly interested in the safety of his money. As the bank gets a profit from this money, the bank can gift a portion of that profit to the depositor, if the bank wants, but the depositor can not demand a fixed portion.

In Islamic banking, if a bank goes bankrupt then the depositors get their money first and then, the creditors. While in Modern Banking creditors get their money first and majority of the depositors lose their money. So even if you want your money safe, the Islamic banks are preferable and safer than Modern banks.

Investment Accounts

They are similar to the Fixed Accounts of Modern banks and are further divided into several types

Mudariba (Profit & Loss Sharing)

The depositor deposits a fixed amount of money in the bank for a fixed period of time, which maybe a multiple of three or a multiple of four. Here the surplus unit is the depositor and the deficit unit is the bank. The bank uses this money to do business with the businessmen and whatever profit the Islamic bank makes, it is divided on a pre-determined ratio, which can be negotiated. In the Islamic Banking of Malaysia, the ratio is 7 part to 3 part, meaning 70% goes to the depositor and 30% is kept by the bank. So there is sharing of profit, the greater the profit the greater the share of each.

Suppose, if there is a loss of a hundred dollars, then hundred would be deducted from the depositor's money. So theoretically only the depositor bears the loss. Practically analyzing even the Islamic bank is going in loss because they are paying money for the rent, administration and salary, but the loss ratio of the bank is less than that of the depositor, as even the profit of the bank is less than that of the depositor.

Project Financing in the Mudariba System

If a businessman approaches an Islamic bank with a project idea and asks for a loan for a fixed period, the Islamic bank analyzes the project, then the businessman and the Islamic bank negotiate the profit ratio. In Modern banking interest is negotiated, in Islamic banking profit ratio is negotiated.

Suppose, the businessman takes a loan of $5000 from an Islamic bank for six months and the pre-determined profit ratio is 60% to the bank and 40% to the businessman. If the businessman is working for his business, even his salary would be included in that $5000 and suppose the salary of the businessman is $200 per month.

Suppose, if the businessman earns a profit of $5000, the business would get (his 40%) $2000 from the profit and the businessman would get paid $200 salary per month from the $5000 loan, amounting $1200 for 6 months. So the businessman gets his profit as well as the salary for his labour, if he is working for his business.

But in case of loss, the bank bears the complete loss and in turn passes the loss to the depositors. But technically even the business also goes in loss because he is only paid for labour, not for his thinking and ideas.

In Mudariba System, the bank can not interfere in the management of the business. The business can not tell the businessman to build a 12 story building instead of a 10 story building. The bank can not tell the business to produce a certain article instead of another article. The bank can not interfere in the administration of the business.

Mushariqa System (Partnership)

In Mushariqa system or Partnership the Islamic bank can interfere in the management of the business. The bank can tell the business to build a 12 story building rather than a 10 story building. The bank can tell the businessman to make a certain product instead of another product. In Mushariqa system the businessman has part of the capital and the other part he takes from the bank. The profit is shared on a pre-determined ratio. Suppose, if the businessman and bank give 50-50% capital, they would get 50-50% profit. But in case of loss, loss is shared on pre-determined ration and the Islamic bank bears more loss. The Islamic bank may have to bear 60% loss, while the businessman would only bear 40% loss.

Mudhaba System

Suppose, you want to purchase a particular machinery from abroad costing $10000, in the Modern Bank you open a LC (Letter of Credit) or a TR (Trust Receipt/Sales Slip) and you deposit the money in the Modern bank and the Modern bank charges you a fixed amount of interest on the time it takes for the transaction. If you deposit the money in an Islamic bank and ask the bank to buy the machinery on your behalf, the Islamic bank would charge you a service charge/commission.

If you do not have money to buy the machinery, you can combine Mudhaba System with Mudariba System or if you have the money you can combine the Mudhaba System with the Mushariqa System and share the profit on selling that machinery with the bank on a pre-determined ratio.

Ijara (Leasing or Higher Purchasing)

Suppose, you don't to buy a car, you want to rent it. The Islamic bank charges you a certain profit and rents you the car. The price of the car and the profit are divided by the life span of that car to calculate the per month rent. The Islamic bank provides you Ijara ending with sale and also buying back facility. If you don't the car, the Islamic bank buys back the car, a facility which Modern banks do not provide.

Interest-free Loan

It is the loan the Islamic bank gives to the poor to do business without charging any Interest at all. There is nothing like Interest-free loan in Modern banking. In the Islamic system of banking in Malaysia 10% of profits are kept separately/ reserved for Interest-free loan for the poor. In Islamic terminology it is called "Karze Hasana" meaning "the good loan".

First Day of Pre-K

Today S.R. started preschool. She was so excited, and I was happy that she wanted to go. She was lost yesterday without her big brother to play with. I expected there to be an adjustment period....
 This little thing is a ball of fire, and sweet as sugar.
 I had so much fun taking her pictures. She already has a dramatic flare, and this type of thing was right up her alley...center stage, with all eyes on her.

 This is a rare shot of her being still..it doesn't happen often;o)
 I am so glad that she lets me play with her hair...now that it is FINALLY growing out.
Just like with E, I let her take some goofy shots. I caught her here when she didn't know I was snapping pictures.

 Attitude in it's purest form...:o)

 This has to be my favorite though...daddy's little girl. 
This child has been a light in our lives. She always has a smile on her face, and can light up any room that she walks into. God knew what He was doing when He sent us S.R. She is independent, but still wants to curl up in your arms and snuggle, and I LOVE that.
 She is considerate of her brother and her friends, and is almost always willing to help out.
Speaking of her brother, her demeanor completely changes when he gets home from school now. It's like she hasn't seen him in ages:o) They play together so well.
We are so blessed!!
******
Hopefully tomorrow I will get around to sharing the kids money holders...:o)

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

It's official. I am the mother of a kindergartner. It was a great day for my little guy. He has a fantastic teacher, he knew 6 kids in his class, and he got to do all sorts of fun things that only kindergartners get to do. He was all smiles when I picked him up today, and that made my heart swell because just a few hours prior, I was doing my best to hold it together. Where has the time gone? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was holding a little lump in my arms...and now look at him..all grown up, at least according to him:o)
 We had a little fun yesterday taking some back to school photos. Usually it's a nightmare trying to take shots of the kids. They are always little pills when it comes time to take pictures. You'd never guess it by looking at these shots...
 Mini marshmallows will work wonders on 4 and 5 year olds:o)
They behaved wonderfully when I started popping them in their mouths. 
After we got some serious shots, we started goofing off....love this shot..this book came from the hub's grandfather's farm. I thought it was perfect for this type of photo shoot:o)


 Oh yes, he's really in his element now...Oh, how I love this stinker:o)

I'm so proud of this kid, and I pray every chance I think to, that he will be a strong leader and Christian example to all of those around him.
I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with this child.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chore Charts

Usually on Friday's you can expect to hear about the previous evening's family night. Well, every once in a while, we have what is referred to as a "family date night." That usually includes dinner and a movie...last night was just dinner at Red Robin. We had a delicious but very expensive dinner, and then the hubs picked up some ice cream. We also got to go on an evening bike ride, or as S.R. likes to call it, a "bike walk."

So instead of giving you ideas about how you can spend time together as a family today, I wanted to share with you our latest endeavor...chores:o)
The kids are very good at helping out around the house, and we thought now would be a good time to introduce an allowance.
So, me being me, I needed to make something cute and crafty to help them keep up with all of the chores that need to be completed through out the day. 
I looked online for various ideas of chore charts, and decided to make my own. 
This one is E.'s
 And this one is S.R.'s
 I found the backgrounds at a neat blog named Sprik Space. I downloaded them and used publisher to add the grid and the fonts. 
Super easy:o) 
I also used my favorite self laminating sheets made by Scotch, to make them re-usable.
I found clipboards at Walmart, and used Command wall hooks to attach them to their bedroom doors.
They are at the right level for the kids to mark off their list. 
They think that they are so big, and they are really going to think they are big once they start getting paid.
I have been working on money holders for them, and I will share them on Monday. I like how they are turning out, and I can't wait for you all to see them.
Have a great weekend! We'll be soaking in every minute, since school starts back for us on Monday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is it time to start sniffing around?

I see some comments wondering about whether it could be time to start looking for 'deals'

There is no doubt that there are deals surfacing. Look at Vancouver Price Drop to get some idea about where things are going. Of course there are good deals in the Sunshine Coast, OK and Whistler.

But what about Vancouver? Have we just started the correction or are we just having another dip, followed by a plateau and then up we go again.

Well it may help us to see just how high we went. Here's Larry's Average Price chart:


A technical analyst might say that there is good support at the $1 million level.  What then? Up from there or down further?

It all depends whether we start getting a negative loop. Lower prices and less sales leading to less construction, mortgage and Realtor employment  (10% of employment) leading to a drop in personal net worth and less spending on retail (another 7-8%) 

So you can see how quickly a drop can reinforce itself with negative feed-back. Any further weakness in commodities and it will multiplied.

San Diego which we are often compared to, took a while to roll over, but when it did it went south fast.


So before we dive into the market, we may want to see if this is the beginning of a bigger correction. Looking, however is good.


Gearing Up for Back to School

We are getting ready for school around here. The kids are super pumped, and so are we since both of them got the teachers we wanted them to:o) I have been labeling the day away. We meet E's teacher this afternoon and drop his school supplies off. Just a few more days of last minute play dates and odds and ends that need to be done before they go back and leave me all alone:o)
I am also working on some chore charts and hope to share those with you guys here in the next day or two. Have a great rest of the day!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Family Night-The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's

Friday means it's time to share our family night theme again. 
We watched the Wonderful Wizard of Ha's this week. It was a mix between the Prodigal son parable from the Bible and the Wizard of Oz...it was so cute, and the kids loved it.
For my weekly email to the hubs, he received the menu below. I found the picture from Christians Best, and used Picmonkey to add the menu.
  If you think you might want to re-use this picture, feel free to copy and paste...or go to the link above, and create your own.
Here is our delightful spread for the evening. 
 We had homemade strawberry lemonade in mason jars, and since we were watching Veggie Tales, I decided to add in a few veggies:o)
 We were supposed to have mini hamburgers for dinner, but I forgot to thaw the hamburger meat...we made a quick trip to visit grandparents on Wednesday, so I didn't fix the Ham and Cheese Sliders that evening. They were a quick and delicious fix! The hubs loved them!
For dessert, we had Bob the Tomato cookies. I used store bought cookies and cookie icing. They were fairly easy to make, and you can kind of tell who they are supposed to be;o) We also had a slew of unhealthy candy....we had veggies, so that counteracts all the sugar, right?;o)
 Here is a closer view of the Bob's.
 I also found these cute coloring pages from the same website from above. The kids loved this part as well, especially S.R.
Since the movie was short, we put in the real Wizard of Oz to finish the night off. 
Another great family night!!!