Friday, December 21, 2007

Last Minute Holiday Checklist
NOW IS THE TIME to check for any last minute items you may have overlooked for your holiday entertaining.
1) Is your bottle of hydrogen peroxide fresh? If peroxide is more than four or five months old it will not work to remove red dye or red wine stains. Please don't pour white wine in your carpet to get rid of red wine stains unless you want an army of ants parading across your carpet. See my stain removal guide for instructions. Print it out and keep it handy.
2) Have you planned to have punch that contains something other than red, purple or orange colors? The dye from those colors is quite difficult to remove.
3) Do you have a trash can for each room of the house where guests will linger?
4) What about candles? Are there coasters that will go under each of them?
5) Is your bottle of all purpose cleaner filled and handy under the kitchen sink along with a few towels for quick clean ups?
6) Have you cleaned out your chimney or wood stove pipes?
7) Are there plenty of extra coasters for glasses, plates and anything that might be hot?
8) Have you taken time for a long hot bath?
This article may only be rewritten with reference to Mary Findley, owner of Mary Moppins and her website

Thursday, December 20, 2007

     Winter and the holiday season is upon us as well as the loosening of our belt buckles when we overindulged with that last cookie or helping of mashed potatoes and gravey. Diets get blown away this time of year faster than the kids can figure out your new electronic gadgets.
     Then comes the traditional breaking of the New Years resolutions made after eating that piece of pecan pie. Oh I've heard the words all too often "I'll never induldge like that again. I promise to take brisk walks every day." So what is stopping you besides that sleet and 12 inches of fresh snow on the ground?  
   Just how do you drop that weight and get back in shape when the weather is nasty and the warm fire convinces you to stay indoors? Grab your coat, jump in the car and and head for your sporting goods or video store for workout tapes. Buy four or five tapes not only to prevent boredom from having to repeat the same one over and over but also to give your body a thorough overall workout. The ones I enjoy the most are a Salsa workout tape by Crunch. I have two pilate tapes by The Method and another by The Firm called Tough Tape 2. To really get your heart rate going try the Boot Camp - jumping jacks and skipping rope included. Then also pick up a beginners tape of Yoga for the stetching and flexibility to help prevent arthritis and stiff joints.  
   Next set your alarm 30 mintues earlier in the morning and stop whining. Your joints ache, your back hurts and your pants won't zip.  After a week of dedicated effort trust me you won't miss a day. Your new found energy will amaze you. You will  breeze through your work and still have enough energy at night to walk that new puppy. It opens your breathing, gets your blood circulating and puts a glow in your complexion. No amount of prescription medicine or face cream can put the kind of glow on your face as that of a good diet and hearty workout. 
     Beat the rush and start you New Years resolution now!
This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley, her company Mary Moppins and her website       

Monday, December 17, 2007

My precious daughter-in-law recently sent me her connection to a popular social website, My Face. When I began entering information to join, I was shocked to see along with your name they ask for your date of birth. With identity theft in full throttle around the world please always remember to keep your personal information personal.
Here are a few general guidelines:
1)  NEVER give you birthdate to any website etc on the internet. Write them and insist they remove that requirment. Do not have anything to do with any site that asks for this information. When the money stops flowing because people stop using them they will change their ways and quickly.
2)  Take this a step further. Do NOT disclose your mother's maiden name or the city where you were born. No one needs this information for any reason. 
3) NEVER let anyone write down the expiration date on your driver's license. Most of them are the day and month of your birthday. This practice must stop so write your congress persons to change this law.
4) NEVER allow a clerk to write down your driver's license, birth date or any other personal information including your address when you pay with a credit card. I am a Visa Master Card merchant. Anyone asking for such information should be turned into the bank processing companies.
5) Follow your table host or hostess when you give them your credit card to pay for a meal. Make certain they do not place your card in their pocket. Some tuck small recorders in their pockets that scan your card number and 3 digit number on the back of your card.
6) I recently read where debit cards are dangerous to use. Stop using them. If someone lifts your debit card number, they can wipe out your bank account within minutes and you have no recourse for reimbursement with a Debit Card. Credit cards are safer and carry a small limit should someone steal your card to make fraudulent charges.  
7) Stop using ATM machines. It is easy to hide a very small camara just above the card swipe that records your card number. Take the extra care to get to the bank before it closes for extra money if you think you will need it.
With a little care and planning you can keep your identity safe and save months of anquish.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Holiday Season brings good cheer and gathering of friends and family. It also can be the most dangerous season for fires. With a few precautions you can enjoy a worry free holiday.  
1) CHECK THAT LIST TWICE! Make sure your chimney has been cleaned and the soot scraped off the walls of your fireplace and doors.
2) NEVER LEAVE a room unless you extinguish all candles. Do not place candles near flammable material such as on window sills, near lamps or walls. Burn only lead free candles  preferably made with soy. Soy produces minimal smoke and burns longer without leaving black soot residue on surfaces like a wall or the side of a candle holder.
3) NEVER MOVE a lit candle. Extinguish it. Always place a candle on a decorative plate or coaster. Candle wax permanently stains furniture including wood, counters, table tops etc.
4) CLEAN your clothes dryer vents after each load to prevent dryer fires especially this time of year when the dryer sees more activity than any other time of year.
5) CHECK YOUR FIRE EXTINQUISHER. Make sure you have a fire extinquisher on each level of your home. Show each capable member of your home how to use it. Make certain it is current and in working condition.
6) When you deep fry with oil, keep a large pan lid next to the stove in case of fire. Also keep a shaker container of  baking soda next to the stove to extinguish any flame that might arise from cooking fried foods.
ONE FINAL NOTE: Purchase an excape ladder for each floor of your home if you have more than one floor in your home. Do not store it in the box, remove it. Each second is valuable in a fire and taking the time to remove it from the box can mean the difference of life and death. Test run the ladder making certain you and every member of your family knows how to use it.  MOST IMPORTANT, establish a meeting place outside of your home for family members if your home does catch on fire.You know instantly if anyone is missing and where to find them. Go over escape routes and make a practice run using the ladders if required.
This article may only be reproduced giving full credit to Mary Findley, owner of Mary Moppins and her website

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here are a few easy tips to help you stress less for the upcoming Holiday Season.
1) Double Up!  If you fix a stew, meatloaf or any meal that freezes easily, double what you normally cook freezing the other half. Chili and soups are fast and easy to toss together yet you can make enough for usually three to four meals. One leftover meal for the current week then freeze another for later. 
2) ALWAYS double check your shopping list to prevent making two trips. Have your menu for each meal written down and check it to make sure everything you need is on your grocery list. In fact take your menu with you! Most people only take their grocery list. It has saved many a second trip out just by having the menus handy while I'm shopping.  
Purchase double of any item you use frequently like butter or margarine. Those can be frozen if they are not used. Also buy double of any liquid item like Whipping cream to save a disaster if the original spills or you have more guests than you planned to have. Make sure your condiments like baking soda, corn starch and white vinegar are fresh to prevent recipes from not turning out correctly if the product is old. Check your cabinets.  
3) Save your menus, shopping lists etc to an Excel worksheet program if you have one, to prevent having to make grocery lists year after year. They are easy to change and can save hours of time.
4) Double up on your trips. We are all creatures of habits and one is making separate trips for everything. You will save not only your time but at the gas pump as well. This also works well around the house. Going to the mail box? Take the garbage with you. Headed to the garage to do laundry? Get meat out for tonight's dinner if your freezer is out there. 
5) Get in a good 30 to 45 minute workout each day. You will be amazed how much faster you zip through your work when you are in shape. This will also help you from putting on those unwanted pounds. Yes it means getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning but your body will love you for the effort. There are several excellent workout videos out including a Boot Camp workout, a Salsa workout, Pilate tapes and some by "The Firm." A variety keeps you from getting bored with just one or two and the variations of exercise provide the best complete body workouts. You will stretch, work and invigorate every bone and muscle.
This article may only be used with proper credit given to Mary Findley and her website

Monday, December 10, 2007

The SWSWSWWNs of Cleaning part 1


   Please see prior blogs like 11/26/06 and 12/5/06 for my Holiday Cleaning Tips.  If you go back to most articles dated in November or December of any year, you are likely to find still more holiday cleaning tips. 

Are You Cleaning too Often? Not Enough? What is Just Right?

     This is a 2 part series called SWSWSWWN. It's a saying I learned with sales work. Some Will, Some Won't, So What, Who's Next. In sales it means some will buy, some won't buy, so what can you do to convert the "some who won't buy" then determine what's next? Stop to think about this catchy little phrase. Much of life revolves around this same principal including cleaning.

     Some will overkill on the cleanliness issue, some won't clean but the basics. Others say "so what, it's only going to get dirty again so why clean." So what's next?  Let's take a look at what might be over kill and what is under kill and how to find that even pace. 


Are You Not Cleaning Often Enough?


  Face it, If you spray paint your cobwebs orange and black at Halloween, then perhaps you might want to take a closer look at your cleaning schedule. Another good test is to run your fingernail along the bottom of the shower wall. If your fingernail turns white, that is soap residue buildup. It indicates one of two things: either your product isn't working or you aren't working.  


    The final check point is whether or not you turn on your ceiling fan. If you leave it off to avoid scattering the accumulated dust then your cleaning outlook needs some dusting. This type of buildup happens only because you are not cleaning effectively. These areas are avoided because time just doesn't permit the attention they need.


    Hang in there I am writing a short booklet that puts speed cleaning into the horse and buggy era. 


      You can keep your home clean with minimal effort and without over doing on the clean scene. Here is a general rule of thumb to follow to help determine a cleaning schedule suitable for you.


  1. Singles or couples with no pets, children or hobbies that create dust like woodworking can squeak by with an every other week cleaning.  I do recommend vacuuming carpets every week to prevent the buildup of damaging dust and dirt. The frequency of vacuuming depends on your individual circumstance.
  2. If children or pets are present in the home, then a weekly cleaning schedule including vacuuming, kitchen and damp mopping floors is necessary to keep the home clean. Dusting can be alternated with bathroom cleaning every other week to help with busy schedules.  
  3. Busy homes with several children or pets inside the home or those who live on farms, ranches or dusty roads need weekly maintenance and possibly twice a week.   

     People can become excessive with cleanliness and disinfect every surface each time it is used. I have known people who spray down their toilet seats every time they use it. That is excessive. If you have a spill or accident which produces bacteria like feces, urine, milk, raw meat, eggs etc then that surface must be disinfected every time. Otherwise regularly scheduled cleaning will keep your home in top shape, your sanity in check and keep the clutter away.


     Next issue we will talk about hidden dirt in the home and how to apply the SWSWSWWN to cleaning.      


This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at Copyright @2007 All rights reserved worldwide