Saturday, February 28, 2009

The February Edition of the Family Life Blog Carnival Part 2

We were flooded with submissions for the February edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival, so we decided to have a second part to that edition. You can find part 1 here. It is so good to see so many people participating! The next edition is currently planned for March 16th, so feel free to make suggestions about what you'd like to see or to submit articles.

The Shark Investor
presents It?s Not Hard To Be Good posted at The Shark Investor.

Concerning Kids presents Healthy After School Snacks For Kids posted at Concerning Kids.

KCLau presents Procrastinator, plucker, plotter, and prober posted at KCLau's Money Tips, saying, "Recently I was reading the book titled “The Number: What do you need for the rest of your life and what will it cost?” A rundown on what the book has to offer"

singlemomsrock presents 7 Steps to Economic Empowerment: It Begins Between the Ears posted at Rich Single Momma.

Praveen presents That Will Be 50 Dollars! posted at My Simple Trading System, saying, "My 3 year old son seems to understand money, but overcharges. $50 for a pretend Happy Meal or taxi ride..."

NetBiz presents Free Home Budget Software For Beginners | Free Money Management Programs posted at Money Galaxy - Make Money | Save Money | Invest Money, saying, "Making a budget is the key to maintaining the family finances in order. Try one of the many free online options available"

Carnival of Financial Goals presents WTDirect Review | Cash Money Life posted at Cash Money Life, saying, "Every family needs a high interest savings account - and WTDirect offers some of the highest rates in the nation."

Patrick @ Military Money presents Free Tax Preparation for Military Members posted at Military Finance Network, saying, "Military members are eligible for free tax preparation through their base services or through some commercial tax preparation companies."

Raily Arena presents Tips To Get You Started On Selling Your Home posted at How to Sell Your Own Home.

Joe Manausa presents Real Estate Sales Success | Tallahassee Real Estate Blog posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog, saying, "By tracking movement of inventory in the MLS, one is able to tell if the market is expanding or contracting, and whether property values are rising or falling. With this information in hand each month, you can best understand a great strategy for selling a home (or one for buying a home)."

Concerning Kids presents Tips To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night posted at Concerning Kids.

Lisa Mitchell presents Teaching Your Children About Money posted at Let's Talk Babies.

Patrick @ Military Money presents Money Management and Money Saving Tips posted at Military Finance Network, saying, "Money Management and Money Saving Tips -"

Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents How to Save Money on Your Homeowner’s Insurance Rates posted at Cash Money Life, saying, "Tips on how to save money on your homeowner’s insurance rates."

Patrick @ Money Saving Deals presents 50 Free Photo Prints at SnapFish posted at Cash Money Life Deals, saying, "50 Free Photo Prints at SnapFish - Available to new customers!"

Lauren Rose presents Never Use Copy Paste for Your Credit Card Number and Internet Explorer | No Debt Anymore .org posted at No Debt Anymore .org, saying, "Under certain circumstances, your clipboard contents from a copy and paste command can be stolen from the Internet. And that includes your credit card number!"

Wenchypoo presents Rethink the Value of College posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.

Wenchypoo presents When Nutrition and Need Collide posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.

BankMan presents Why You Need a High Yield Savings Account posted at High Yield Savings Accounts, saying, "Everyone needs a high yield savings account to maximize their savings returns, earn more interest, and stash their cash for a rainy day."

Heather Levin presents Coupons For Organic Food and Eco-Friendly Products posted at The Greenest Dollar.

Woman Tribune presents Living Off of Your Credit Cards posted at Woman Tribune.

Victoria presents DIY Taxes posted at Turbo-Mom's Guide to Saving Money Without Wasting Time, saying, "Pitfalls of DIY Tax Software"

julie presents A Tip for Planning Thrifty Shopping Trips posted at Thrifty Frugality, saying, "An easy way to save money on your regular shopping trips. Thrifty and organized!"

FIRE Getters presents Smart Refrigeration Lowers Electricity Bill posted at FIRE Finance.

Robert Hazlewood presents A Survival Guide For The Economic Times posted at Ways to Survive Life, saying, "A guide with some great ideas and tips you can start today and begin saving money."

BankMan presents Never Pay ATM Fees Again posted at High Yield Savings Accounts, saying, "The AllPoint ATM network provides free ATM transactions to customers of member banks. Why pay ATM fees when you don't have to?"

Raily Arena presents Sell Your Own Home: Can Be Very Difficult in Today?s Terrible Economy posted at How to Sell Your Own Home.

Patrick @ Military Money presents What to Do About a Lost or Stolen Stimulus Check posted at Military Finance Network, saying, "If your stimulus check was stolen and cashed, you may be a target of identity theft, which will ruin your credit score. Here are the steps you need to follow."

Patrick @ Money Saving Deals presents Entertainment Book - Save 35% Plus Free Shipping! posted at Cash Money Life Deals, saying, "The Entertainment Book is a coupon book that will easily pay for itself after 2-3 uses. Right now it is 35% off with free shipping!"

Len Penzo presents Plan Dinner Menus In Advance to Save Big Money posted at Len Penzo.Com, saying, "Just make sure you involve the kids in this activity. So, who wants spaghetti tacos!? :-)"

The Investor presents 10 reasons to be cheerful as an investor posted at, saying, "We've been hit with a lot of bad news in 2008 and 2009 hasn't started much better. But families investing for their long-term future have reasons to be cheerful as well as much to fear this year..."

The Shark Investor presents Strategies For Raising Funds: Saving posted at The Shark Investor.

Raily Arena presents Why Making Money Online is NOT so Easy posted at Make Money Easy Online.

Julie Guarnizo presents Beef Up Your Piggy: What To Do When a Relative is a Financial Train Wreck posted at Beef Up Your Piggy, saying, "An article relating to helping a parent in a dire financial situation."

David presents The Business of Banking posted at Personal Finance Ology, saying, "The differences between banking institutions are subtle and have become blurred with the deregulation of the banking industry. Discover the differences between banks and decide which is right for you."

Piotr Stepien presents Visualization Trial posted at we overstep, saying, "Summary of my recent 30 day trial. Use it for making money and bringing peace in your family."

Piotr Stepien presents Money Free World posted at we overstep, saying, "It is good to have money but it is better not to have it at all. Surprised? Read the whole story."

Josanne Anthony presents Money I'm Entitled To Throw Away posted at Brilliant Babblings.

Jacquelyn presents Easy Ways to Save Money posted at - Wise Parenting Guide, saying, "Learn about practical money tips and ideas to save money extracted from the free ebook offered at"

Stephanie Ann presents Improve you Finances While You Wait posted at The Cheap Diva.

Pinyo presents Life Insurance and Medical Information Bureau (MIB) posted at Moolanomy.

Brian McKay presents What's in the Stimulus Bill for You? posted at, saying, "We have listed all the benefits for individuals in President Obama's stimulus bill that was just passed."

This concludes Part 2 of The February Edition of The Family Life blog Carnival. The next edition is currently planned for March 16th. You can submit your blog article to the March edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival by using our Submit an entry form to “The Family Life Blog Carnival”. Past posts and future editions can be found on our Blog Carnival index for “The Family Life Blog Carnival” page.

Photo credit: Reading books at home courtesy of hortongrou.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Remember Katrina's Victims As You Celebrate Fat Tuesday

Many of us will be celebrating Fat Tuesday soon and I remembered how devastated New Orleans (and much of the Gulf region of the well) had been left by Hurricane Katrina. It occurred to me that we should all take a few moments out of our celebrations to remember the victims of that awful hurricane.

Why not make a donnation to the Red Cross or United Way in honor of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the city of New Orleans? If you don't have any money to spare maybe you could donate blood as it is almost always needed. you could also donate clothes and maybe some canned goods.

Why not make remembering Hurricane Katrina part of your Fat Tuesday/Carnival/ Mardi gras celebrations and have fun while helping out others.

Photo credits:
Capt. Doan 2 courtesy of carterboy

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Do You Have A Broken List?

Have you ever had something break on you and then had to rush out to get it repaired or buy a replacement? Since most everything is throw away today, that is that it is cheaper to buy a new one than to get it fixed, chances are you'll be replacing many things in the next few years, so why not start thinking about some of the things that you'll need to replace. The idea is that you keep track of the features that you'd like to have in your next model, so that you're ready to buy it when you need to replace the current model.

My beard trimmer has been acting up and this reminded me of the this idea I first heard from Merlin Mann in a podcast that he did "A Phone Made of Human Ass" (you can find it at Podcast Alley). Merlin Mann is the man behind 43Folders. Because my beard trimmer isn't holding a charge very long now, I'm afraid that its days are numbered and I'll have to replace it soon.

The idea is to look at the items that you currently have and will need to replace in the near future. You should note any features that the current device doesn't have that you would like or think that you need. You might start looking at various models and brands so that you could buy the replacement tomorrow, next week, next year, or whenever you need to replace it. You can also note the features and functions that annoy you so that you don't have to deal with those annoyances again. This is something you might want to add to your GTD Lists, so that you can keep track of it.

So when your cell phone dies, if you have a broken or replacement list, you know which one you'll replace it with and you're more likely to be happy because your new phone is more likely to do what you want it to do because you've give its purchase some thought. Are you keeping a broken/replacement list?

Photo credit: Cell phone courtesy of zd.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are You Using Multiple Inboxes in Gmail?

Do you have one or more gmail accounts? I discovered multiple inboxes last week and am really enjoying it. Setting this up allows you to have a view of your inbox, drafts, and various labels that you can select in a quick view.

To set it up you'll need to "enable" the Labs tab from "Settings". It is pretty far down the list of options, more towards the end. Pane 0 and I are your "starred" and "drafts" are in by default, while Panes 2-4 are open and you can add whichever of your labels that you'd like to see in your multiple inboxes. The box after "Pane" should start with "is:" followed by what you want to be displayed, so you'll want to make sure that it matches the "labels" that you want to be displayed.

Some of you might wonder what "Labels" are? Gmail doesn't have folders but offer "Labels" instead. If you have a type of email, from one person or organization, or a theme, then a label would help you keep it organzied and aid in finding it later. On the left side of gmail, just below "Contacts", you'll find your "Labels". You can select "Edit labels" from there to create and edit them or you can select "Labels" from your settings.

So now that you've set up multiple inboxes you can see your inbox, drafted emails, starred emails, and some of your "Labels", you can see your email in a glance. Have fun. What other goodies are making use of from gmail?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Rules for CEOs

Executive pay is a topic du jour with all of those companies taking public money to "survive", but public desire to curb it has been brewing for a while. I've been thinking about this for while now and thought that we really need some new rules about executive compensation and engagement, so here they are.

  1. You are stewards of your company. You've been entrusted as stewards of your company to look after its entire well-being, you need to look after the shareholders (many of whom are employees), and the employees, as well as making your bottom-line look good.
  2. Focus on the long-run. You can lead the company to a bright future, if you can battle the stormy seas today. Don't fall to Wall Street pressure for quarterly results if it will hurt the long run viability of the company
  3. The buck stops here. Don't let management throw their ethics out the window.
  4. Listen to the employees. They do the work and know the company, they have lots of ideas of how to improve things and want the company to succeed. Isn't that what management wants afterall?
  5. Don't do things because your competitors are doing them. I have heard the argument made so often that companies have to do this and that because their competition does it. You can lead, you can do things differently and market it as such. Did your parents always ask you if your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?
  6. Focus on quality over being cheap. Trying to do things to make things cheaper is often easy to do but once you've positioned yourself as the low-cost leader in your industry, you get yourself in the position of having to constantly reduce costs and be cheaper still. Wouldn't you rather be the company that others look to wishing to emulate? Wouldn't it be great to be able to say that "I work for this company" have have a huge feeling of pride!
  7. Your company needs to think globally but act locally and be good corporate citizens of world. If you pollute in a country that is happy to get your business, you're still polluting. Why not make your company greener and work on leaving the planet better than we found it? Don't take tax incentives to move a factory or plant and then move again when the tax incentives are up. That local community made those allowances hoping that you'd stay and help that community to prosper through local employment and the tax base that they would eventually see. Many smaller towns are totally dependent upon one or two companies and are devistated when that company closes or moves.
  8. Remember that the bottom line is more than the botton line. Why not grow your business to match the number of employees you have instead of getting rid of people? Be creative and innovative. Anyone can fire people or relocate to cut costs. Think beyond the "normal" fast and easy solutions
  9. In our trying economic times, think of ways that you can hire more people instead of adding to the unemployment lines. If you truly need to make people redundant, maybe you can hold off for a while, but this should be a last resort, not a first step.
  10. Lead by example. If you're asking your employees to take pay cuts, you should be willing to do the same. Your employees are more than a "liability", everyone's cost of living goes up and many of them are struggling to live on the money they make now, how are they supposed to get by with less? If you put excessive travel and expense restrictions on the employees trying to do their jobs, you shouldn't be living high on the hog, entertaining would-be clients,upper management, and family.
  11. There should be no incentive or targets to get rid of people. If you have to lay off 1000 people (or you choose to do so without really needing to for that matter), you should not get any bonus for doing this. How are those 1000 people going to find new jobs, pay their bills, and feed their families, are you willing to share your bonus with them. If the company is doing poorly do you deserve a bonus just because you can have one? Do you feel proud about taking it? Did you truly earn it?
On a personal note, my company was bought by another large global company last year and we're in the process of realizing the "promised" synergy that is always sold with these deals, so my future with the company (as well as my co-workers), is being decided as I write this.

I do hope that our world's CEOs will see these rules and be compelled to act for the greater good of their companies, employees, localities, and the the world. Lee Iaccoca worked for $1 when Chrysler received government help. He engaged the employees of the company and they turned things around (too bad that leadership afterwards seem to have lost sight of their stewardship role!). I believe that he received stock as compensation, so he didn't starve, but his leadership is legendary, something that should be strived for by others. Sure CEOs and executives should be compensated but it is time to show some true responsibility and be stewards of your company.

Photo credit: Wall Street courtesy of linder6580.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February Edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival- Part One

Welcome to the February Edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival. There a wide variety of articles this month and we're pleased with the great response that we've had in submissions. I don't know the number of submissions that I received but it was over 100. I"ll be running a part two to February's edition due to the large number of submissions that I received, so stay tuned! I was please to see some nice activities that can be done with our kids in this edition. There are some articles about Weddings and Divorce in this issue but because the nuclear family doesn't apply to many families today, it made sense to do so. The next edition regular edition is planned for middle of March. If you have any suggestions for things that you'd like to read about or any other input, feel free to leave a comment.

Savings Toolbox presents 5 Tips for Starting Your Savings posted at Savings Toolbox.

Travel Advocate presents
Air Safety Awareness Heightened Resulting from US Airways Miracle Landing posted at The Travel Advocate.

Ben presents Tax Preparation Services: Should You Use One? posted at Money Smart Life.

Debt Free Destiny presents 5 Ways to Save With Your Bank posted at Debt Free Destiny. presents Don't Treat Your Credit Card Limit as Income posted at Credit Card Assist.

Deposit Accounts presents Money Management During a Recession posted at Deposit Accounts.

Ralph Jean-Paul

How To Make Important Decisions Quickly posted at Potential 2 Success, saying, "Quick decision making is critical in just about every aspect of life. Every decision you make produces a result. In every line of business, quick decision making is crucial for success."

Josanne Anthony
presents Saving Money, and a Great Coupon Tool posted at Delightful Domestications.

Matthew Paulson
presents Tools For Managing Your Home posted at American Consumer News.

Debt Freedom Fighter presents How to Compare Mortgage Rates Online posted at Discover Debt Freedom!.

Travel Advocate presents Top Snow Tubing Travel Destinations Revealed posted at The Travel Advocate. presents

5 Tips For Using Your Credit Card Safetly posted at Credit Cards Blog |

Debt kid presents The #1 Reason You Can’t Get Out of Debt posted at DebtKid.

Deposit Accounts presents Savings Accounts for Children posted at Deposit Accounts.

DebbieDragon presents Win a House in Hawaii Essay Contest posted at Empowering Mom.

Concerning Kids presents Tips And Idea To Help Child Proof Your Home posted at Concerning Kids.

Erika Collin presents 50 Tools to Research Your New Home, Neighborhood, and Community posted at e-Justice Blog.

DebbieDragon presents Tips for Choosing the Right Tax Preparation Service posted at American Consumer News.

Matthew Paulson presents Beware the Insurance Sales Pitch posted at American Consumer News.

Ben presents 7 Things Your Insurance Company or Agent Won't Tell You posted at Money Smart Life. presents Credit Card Habits and the Recession posted at Credit Cards Blog |

Apply4-credit presents Why Your Credit Card Application Was Rejected posted at Credit Card Applications Expert |

Debt Free Destiny presents 3 Tips to Stablilize Your Finances posted at Debt Free Destiny.

Tisha Tolar presents Work at Home Discipline: Find Some posted at Empowering Mom.

Concerning Kids
presents Choosing The Right Pediatrician For Your Baby posted at Concerning Kids.

KCLau presents

Would you pay RM 1200 for a concert ticket? posted at KCLau's Money Tips, saying, "On whether it is essential to spend big money on a concert ticket given the recession"

Khordaddy presents DHG4 - Finding Time posted at Khordaddy's Dad and Husband Survival Guide.

Stephanie Ann presents The Cheap Diva: Free and Cheap ways to Get Organized posted at The Cheap Diva.

Matthew Paulson presents Safety Reminders For Winter Weather posted at American Consumer News.

Savings Toolbox presents

How to Save Money on Healthcare if You're Recently Uninsured posted at Savings Toolbox.

Deposit Accounts presents Stimulating $400 Per-Worker Tax Credit for 2009 and 2010 posted at Deposit Accounts.

Kate presents Cherish the Time posted at Advice on Love, Life, and Everything Between, saying, "A reminder to cherish the time with loved ones and building lasting memories"

Becca Glouzstein presents 5 Things to Tell Yourself when Angry with the Kids posted at Inspiration for Mothers.Com.

Jeonard Cook presents Looking for Information? Reverse Cellular Phone Lookups Do Work posted at How to Find Phone Number.

Avdi Grimm presents Agile Living Part 1: The Iteration posted at The Lazy Faire, saying, "I've started writing a series on how we're applying lessons I've learned from agile software development to our family life."

Dagmar Bleasdale presents Rethinking Noisy Toys posted at, saying, "Learn about the dangers of noisy toys! I thought they were just annoying, but they can pose a hearing risk for children."

Carole Fogarty presents Happiness Is Going A Little Bit Greener Every Day: posted at THE HEALTHY LIVING LOUNGE, saying, "# Switch to bamboo chopping boards. I love my bamboo boards. They have a naturally high antibacterial quality and are very environmentally friendly."

AEDINSY presents Signs Your Man Is Cheating On You posted at Signs Your Man Is Cheating On You, saying, "If your intuition has been triggered, and you know there's something's wrong with the relationship, then you shouldn't ignore your feelings. Learn how to find out if your man is cheating, and if not - whether or not he is good marriage material in the first place."

AEDINSY presents Alcoholism and Marriage posted at Signs Your Man Is Cheating On You, saying, "ALCOHOLISM is a marriage killer! It can rip apart and threaten the core of ANY relationship and undermine the foundation of the whole family. Learn to recognize the problems and get solutions to dealing with ALCOHOLISM AND MARRIAGE. Don't become a statistic, start improving your marriage by reading this informative article today!"

Patrick @ Cash Money Life presents Top 10 2009 Super Bowl Commercials posted at Cash Money Life, saying, "Just a little fun for the weekend! Thanks for hosting! :)"

Adam presents Parenting Teenagers - Blog posted at Successful Parenting of Teenagers.

OurBlogs presents

Leadership - Key Competences posted at A Guide to Raising Great Kids.

Tami Blodgett presents FAMILY MATTERS the Soul of a Family posted at Online Wellness: A Safe Haven, saying, "Catherine VanWetter, MSW, will introduce you to a different way of looking at inherent problems and solutions within family systems. Online Wellness Association provides a safe platform for online practitioners and clients."

Relax presents 5 good reasons why you should buy a lot of books posted at The Wise Curve, saying, "Most of my monthly spending goes to books. Before you say that I’m crazy, please let me share with you why we should buy a lot of books."

EGM presents Will Anyone Buy Hybrids Now? posted at Increase Gas Mileage, saying, "After the recent plunge in gas prices, will anyone be interested in buying hybrids?"

Finance Tips 101 presents Identity Theft Prevention Tips posted at Finance Tips 101.

Finance Tips 101 presents Credit Card Debt It Is Not Always Your Fault posted at Finance Tips 101.

Finance Tips 101 presents Drowning In Debt? Bad Credit Loans May Need To Be Considered! posted at Finance Tips 101.

Gary R. presents Great Campground Games posted at Camping Tips, saying, "Camping can be a great family activity, but don't expect your children to sit around and enjoy reading or relaxing like you do."

Gary R. presents Preparing for a Backpacking Camping Trip posted at Camping Tips, saying, "Backpacking isn't for the faint of heart! instead of pulling into your designated campsite and unloading your camping equipment from the car, you'll have to be prepared to camp in uncertain situations, carrying everything you need on your back."

Finance Tips 101 presents

The Pros And Cons Of Personal Loans posted at Finance Tips 101.

Kristen Garcia presents Divorce Mediation|How To Get A Divorce posted at Divorce Mediation, saying, "Divorce mediation is a helpful, more economical method of going about a divorce than more traditional, adversarial methods."

Finance Tips 101 presents Answers About Home Equity Loans posted at Finance Tips 101.

Finance Tips 101 presents Alarming Identity Theft Statistics Are Cause For Concern posted at Finance Tips 101.

Piotr Stepien presents Be Mass Media Free posted at we overstep, saying, "Improve your awareness and mental health. Stop addiction to news, television shows and any low level mass media. Be mass media free and turn your time into something productive."

Ken presents Get Help In Overcoming Infidelity posted at Cheating Detective, saying, "When infidelity occurs, it is a good idea to seek help from others."

Dog Lover presents Alternative Wedding Meal Options posted at Affordable Wedding Planning, saying, "With the recession, why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars on a home security system when good ole Fido can be trained to be a good watch dog!"

Vicky presents Your Wedding Planner Checklist posted at Affordable Wedding Planning, saying, "Planning your wedding can be an exciting adventure, but you've got to be prepared for the process so that you don't get frustrated."

Lance Cooper
presents How to Invest with $10,000-$50,000 in the Current Market Condition posted at Recession Thoughts, saying, "The stock market has experienced tremendous volatility in the past 3 months leaving many of us wonder what and how to invest our money in 2009."

Kiddie & Family Activities

Dana presents A Buck A Book posted at The Sunny Side, saying, "Get kids motivated to read the Thomas Edison way."

Talk Prom Dresses presents 2009 Prom Dresses posted at Prom Dresses, saying, "Don't even try to kid yourself, prom night is one of the most important nights of your high school years."

Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice) presents 11 Free Family Bonding Activities to Do in 30 Minutes or Less | Homemaker Barbi posted at Homemaker Barbi,

Catherine Eagleson presents Clue Detective Puzzle Club posted at Crosswords For Fun, saying, "Puzzles are a great activity for all the members of your family. They are fun, relaxing and are great for building your general knowledge, vocabulary and logic skills."

Vera Lang presents Inspiring Stencil Projects posted at Fine Craft Guild .com, saying, "This is such an inspirational article, I want to share it with everyone. Stencils can be used to decorate your coffee table, a homework folder, a pillow case, or simply to make some interesting paper-art. Article filled with resources to help you with your projects."

Asheesh presents Numerology - Astrology - Pseudomathematics posted at My Free Horoscopes, saying, "Numerology is a system, as per which every number has specific meaning. Each of these numbers has an esoteric or mystical relationship with living things or other physical objects."

Kristen Garcia presents Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Child posted at Life Of Kristen, saying, "Summer camp can be a memory that lasts for a lifetime, good or bad, for a child. Hopefully this article can help make it a good memory!"

Kevin Heath presents Weekly Parenting Tips – Building Self Confidence posted at More4kids.

One Family presents Stamp Collecting – Introducing Philately to Kids and Free Stamps Giveaway posted at One Family's Blog, saying, "An introduction to philately (stamp collection) for kids and free worldwide stamps giveaway."

Gary R. presents Traditional vs. Rustic Camp Sites posted at Camping Tips, saying, "An increasing number of campgrounds are offering visitors the choice of both traditional and rustic campsites."

Money & Finance

The Smarter Wallet presents Family Budget For Frugal Living: Living Cheap Can Be Fun, Too! posted at The Smarter Wallet.

Stingy Student presents

Don't be a Sucker for Circuit City while Drinking Your Juice in da Hood posted at Stingy Students.

Heidi presents Take a Family Vacation with Free Plane Tickets! posted at Little People Wealth.

This concludes this edition. Stay tuned for a second part of this blog carnival. You can submit your blog article to the March edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival by using our Submit an entry form to “The Family Life Blog Carnival”. Past posts and future editions can be found on our...

Blog Carnival index for “The Family Life Blog Carnival” page.

Photo credit: Winter Walking courtesy of tlst.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Next Edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival Delayed

I've been busy putting the next edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival together and I won't be able to publish it on the originally planned date of February 16th (at least not within my time zone that is). I hope to tie things up and publish it tomorrow. Till then.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine Suggestions for the Romantically Challenged

So for many couples Saturday (Valentine's Day) is coming up soon. I know that there are a lot of guys out there (maybe some girls as well?) that are romantically challenged and will be scratching there heads about what to get their sweety for the big day. A little while ago I asked the readers about what their suggestions were, so here they are along with some of my own.

Alan Roberta suggest some nice craft projects including a picture frame that you make yourself. Another reader had a suggestion of a gourmet gift basket from gift-baskets-4u. The Dating Papers had their own Love Hack,which included a silly gift, sending/giving half of a note (the remaining half to be done later), and some other neat ideas that aren't too expensive. Thanks to DesignPepper for turning me on to that last one!

While chocolate and flowers are going to be welcome by many women, what they want to see more is that you thought about them and how much them mean to you. As the expression goes, its the thought that counts and just a little bit of thought can really brighten up their day. Here are some other ideas...

  • Be creative- write a poem about your love for your sweety, write a song, or maybe draw a picture of them or the two of you together
  • Be creative (part 2) burn a CD (or fill their iPod) with their favorite songs or songs that mean something to the two of you as a couple. You could make your own liner notes saying what you think each song means to them or what it means to the two of you
  • Give a puppy/kitten/other pet- because a pet is such a personal thing, I suggest giving a stuffed animal version of what you plan to give, with a note that the two of you will select it together. Maybe you can later pick up an animal from a local animal shettler later
  • Take them to their favorite restuarant- but don't do it on Valentine's Day, this is a big day for people dining out and you're not too likely to get that romantic feeling in a huge crowd. Promise to go on another day, perferably at off-times when the you have the restuarant practically to yourself (maybe you can even arrange this)
  • Buy them a massage- or some other way that they can feel pampered
  • Write a little story about how the two of you met and how this has changed your life.
  • If you're a busy person who's cell phone is always going off when you're together, turn if off, at least for a few hours, make your sweety feel like they are the center of your world
  • Cook them a meal. I know that many of us aren't good cooks, so maybe make something simple and try to dress things up. You could lite some candles, decorate the table nicely, play some romantic music or something that you know that they like
  • Take a nice walk in a scenic place. Go to the park, in the woods, on the beach, in the mountains, some where that nature provides a nice backdrop
  • Spend the night at a nice hotel. You don't have to go to an expensive one, but just something out of the ordinary, maybe even a nice bed and breakfast
  • Go for a drive. Pick a destination where you can enjoy the scenary along the way
  • Do an activity that you both enjoy but don't do that often or just make something you enjoy doing special. If you both like to go bowling why not have them make a nice announcement over the loadspeakers. Be creative
  • Watch a movie that you both love together, or a favorite of their's (especially if it is one that you don't like that much, by accomodating a little you can really set the mood). You could also select a movie that will put you both in a particlar mood (happy, sad, grateful for each other, you pick)
  • Propose- I'm not suggesting that you do this just to do, it should be something that you want to do and that you think that your sweety wants as well. A Valentine's proposal can be very memorable.
  • Tell them that you love them and how much richer you are with them in your life.
So I hope that your creative juices are flowing now and you have an idea of what you're going to do for Valentine's Day. I hope that everyone has a great Valentine's Day. Do you have any other suggestions, feel free to write about them in the comments.

Photo credit: Heart shapes courtesy of iprole.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February 10th Edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival

Welcome to the first edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival. We hope that you find some articles here that interest you. There is a wide variety of articles aimed at helping you to have a better life, regardless of if you're raising a family, single, rich, or living paycheck to paycheck. The next issue is planned for March 9th. Feel free to submit articles for the next edition or if you have some topics that you'd like to see written about please tell us about it in the comments.

Praveen presents
Tao of Simplicity: 100 Ways to Simplify and Slow Down Your Life
posted at Tao of Simplicity.

Savings Toolbox presents

Reducing What You Waste Will Save Some Cash posted at Savings Toolbox.

DebbieDragon presents
11 Tips for a Successful Home-Based Business
posted at Empowering Mom. presents

Is Credit Card Insurance a Scam? posted at Credit Cards Blog |

Deposit Accounts presents
Top 10 Free Online Money Management Tools
posted at The Money Blog.

Broderick Allen presents
Suspend Disbelief
posted at Broderick Allen - Personal Growth and Enjoying Life's Journey.

Tiffany Washko presents
Save Money on Healthy Organic Foods
posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

Heather Johnson presents

50 Free Online Tools to Discover Your Strengths, Weaknesses, and Hidden Talents posted at Best Universities.

Travel Advocate presents
Air Safety Awareness Heightened Resulting from US Airways Miracle Landing
posted at The Travel Advocate.

Debt Free Destiny presents
5 Ways to Save With Your Bank
posted at Debt Free Destiny.

Destroy Debt presents
It's No Secret Keeping Money Secrets From Your Partner is Not the Ideal Way to maintain a Relationship
posted at Destroy Debt.

Deposit Accounts presents
Money Management During a Recession
posted at Deposit Accounts.

Erika Collin presents
100 Fabulous iPhone Apps for Your Health and Fitness
posted at U.S. PharmD.

Matthew Paulson presents
Tools For Managing Your Home
posted at American Consumer News.

Debt Freedom Fighter presents
How to Compare Mortgage Rates Online
posted at Discover Debt Freedom!.

Travel Advocate presents
Top Snow Tubing Travel Destinations Revealed
posted at The Travel Advocate.

Deposit Accounts

Savings Accounts for Children posted at Deposit Accounts.

DebbieDragon presents
Win a House in Hawaii Essay Contest
posted at Empowering Mom. presents
Credit Card Habits and the Recession
posted at Credit Cards Blog |

Tisha Tolar presents
Work at Home Discipline: Find Some
posted at Empowering Mom.

DebbieDragon presents
Things to Think About When Setting Your Prices posted at Freelance Sprout.


Joanne presents
Supplies For Homemade Gift Baskets
posted at Homemade Gift Baskets.

Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice) presents
14 Home DIYs Every Homemaker Needs to Know
posted at Homemaker Barbi, saying, ""Not only does being self-sufficient give you a good feeling from knowing that you can take care of your home’s preventive maintenance as well as being able to fix problems should an emergency arise, but DIYs also have an added financial bonus."

Frugal Living

Richer Richard presents
Make The Switch! Save Money Going Green by Buying Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL)
posted at Richer Richard, saying, "A detailed calculation of how much money I would save a year if I switched every incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) and how it betters the environment consequently."

Condo Blues presents
How to Get Three Meals from Leftover and Seemingly Stripped Turkey Bones
posted at Condo Blues.

Ms. Smarty Pants presents
The 2008 Netflix Cost-Analysis Breakdown posted at Ms. Smarty Pants Know It All, saying, "The Netflix service saves me money and simplifies my life."

Carole DeJarnatt presents
Raising Baby Chickens in Florida
posted at Fowl Visions.

Mike King presents
Simplify Your Life and Mind
posted at Learn This.

makingthishome presents
English Magazines Offer a Glimpse Behind the Clouds
posted at Making This Home, saying, "Thank you for hosting. Hope my discovery in the meaning of books in our lives is of interest"

Amanda CMJ presents
Monday Morning Memo #4: Inexpensive Ways to Make Birthdays Memorable
posted at Extra (Hour)dinary Parenting, saying, "Thanks for the chance to participate. Hope you enjoy this!"

Joe Manausa presents
Tallahassee Foreclosure Report | Tallahassee Real Estate Blog
posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog, saying, "There is plenty of news in the national media about foreclosures. From everything that I have read, I suspect for every 100 foreclosures that have and will hit the real estate market during our current housing crisis, we have only seen 2 or 3. The bulk of the foreclosures have yet to hit the market."

Vihar Sheth presents
Convenience Over Conscience? posted at Vihar Sheth.

Abigail Perry presents
February 15th: The frugalist's Valentine's Day
posted at i pick up pennies, saying, "Reasons to take a new perspective on Valentine's Day."

NetBiz presents
Free Home Budget Software For Beginners | Free Money Management Programs
posted at Money Galaxy - Make Money | Save Money | Invest Money.


Broderick Allen

Personal Development for Smart People posted at Broderick Allen - Personal Growth and Enjoying Life's Journey.

Relax presents
“Bad people” are everywhere, maybe not!
posted at The Wise Curve, saying, "You can live on the wise curve if you choose to improve your soft skills and interact with others positively. It’s also good to learn to tolerate all kinds of people and accept that people are diverse"

Jim Jackson

Choosing Your 2009 Outcomes posted at The Harley Attitude Blog.

Peak Personal Finance presents
New Credit Card Laws Will Give Consumers a Break
posted at Peak Personal Finance.

Finance Tips 101 presents
Credit Card Debt It Is Not Always Your Fault
posted at Finance Tips 101.

Karen S Murphy presents
The Lesson of Perfection
posted at Polaris Rising, saying, "I have a confession to make: I'm not perfect. For that matter, neither are you. I'm totally okay with your non-perfection, and in fact I see perfection in your non-perfection—the very humanness that makes you the unique and loving person that is YOU. But in me it's another matter. I "should" be perfect...NOT!"


Playing Is Happiness posted at axel g.

Relax presents
How I overcome my fear instantly
posted at The Wise Curve, saying, "I was experiencing fear, and I was aware of it. I identified the fear stimulus, and I should overwrite the fear by creating new memory that counters it."


Second Stimulus Check For Obama 2009 Economic Stimulus Package? posted at Money Blue Book.

Finance Tips 101 presents
The Pros And Cons Of Personal Loans posted at Finance Tips 101.

Jon Beebe presents
Personal Advancement
posted at Blog, saying, "Advice On How To Advance Your Life From It's Current State." presents
Trip to Kanyakumari: Chapter 11: Chothavilai Beach or Sothavilai Beach: Part 1
posted at

Asheesh presents
Chinese Astrology Years - Chinese Astrology - Animal Zodiac
posted at My Free Horoscopes, saying, "Chinese Astrology years are named after one of the twelve animals featured in Chinese astrology. Chinese astrology years are devoted to the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey,"

Ozone presents

Guest Commentary from the Aussie Millions
posted at Online Poker Strategy saying, "Commentary about several poker events during the Aussie Millions poker tournament"

That concludes the of first edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival. You can submit a blog article to the next edition of The better life carnival using our Submit an entry to “The Better Life Blog Carnival”". Past editions and future editions can be found on ourThe Better Life Blog Carnival” index page.Till next time, heres hoping that we can and will lead a Better Life.

Photo credit: Yawn courtesy of vivekchugh

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Blog Carnival to be published Tomorrow

I just wanted to announce that The Better Life Blog Carnival scheduled for today is now planned for tomorrow due to an illness in the family. I didn't have time to put the post together this morning, so I hope to do this tomorrow. At the moment the illness doesn't look to serious, but you do always worry when your kids are sick. Please check back tomorrow for the blog carnival, or maybe you can subscribe to the blog, so that you don't miss a post.


Friday, February 6, 2009

What Are Your Valentine Gift Ideas For The Romantically Challenged

As Valentine's Day approaches I know that many of us are wondering what we should get our Sweeties for this day? I know that some of us talk about how this is just another Hallmark holiday, created only to sell more greating cards, candy, flowers, and other trinkets, while that might be all very well and fine, if you forget you Sweetie on Valentine's day you're likely to end up in the dog house. If you do something memorable, you can make their day and wouldn't you rather do that?

Gifts don't have to always be expensive some of the best gifts are ones that you made yourself. The gift needs to show that you thought about person. Besides the obvious gifts that you can buy, you could go out for a nice dinner or just do something nice where you spend some quality time together.

I know that there are a lot of us who are romantically challenged, so I'd like to ask the creative people out there about Valentine ideas. Think it over and add your comment. Ideally it would be great to have a bunch of ideas a few days before Valentine's Day, so that our romantically challenged have time to make the necessary arrangements. I'll post a follow up article with some of more interesting ideas next week. So let's get creative.

Photo credit: Love Box courtesy of djayo

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Having Fun on

I recently noticed a lot of music being "blipped' on Twitter and decided to check it out. You could call a social internet radio station but it is so much more.

As long as I can remember I've been a huge music fan. I'd always ask what song was playing on the radio and who was playing it. Over the years I've built up a large CD collection and converted much of it to MP3s for portability. One of the joys of music is finding people that like the same songs, artists, and types of music and being able to compare notes. Your friends can introduce you to music you might never have heard before. I remember as a kid I went over to visit a friend that had a large LP collection and we'd play music for hours talking about bands and music and other young boy stuff. brings that social aspect to the internet allowing you to create your own radio station built on your own playlists.

On Twitter, you might have noticed a "tweet" like the one pictured just above this. This is a song that has been "bliped" on and using API integration to Twitter was "tweeted". A DJ, in this case Dave Malby. has selected this song from Heart to broadcast. A great way to find music that you might want to hear is by looking through what other "DJ"s have "blipped" or by looking through their "playlist". The "playlist" is what you would think it is, that is a bunch of saved or favorite songs by the "DJ"s. You can also seach by artists and song titles to find songs that you can listen to.

Above you can see a portion of my profile The country where the "DJ" is located is listed as well as the number of "props" that they've received and that they have left to give as well as their website (if you have one to list). Props are a way of showing support for DJs, kind of saying I like the song that you "bliped" or that you have in your "Playlist". You can earn these by blipping songs or by others giving you props or reblipping songs that you've blipped or saved to your playlist.

Above is the lower part of my profile box. You'll notice that it shows the number of songs in my "Playlist", "Blips" that I've made, "Replies" that have been made to blips I've made, number of "Props" I've received, "Favorite DJs", and "Listeners". "Favorite DJs" are other users that you've decided to follow. "Listeners" are thouse that have decided to follow you. When you "Listen" to someone anytime that they blip a song it shows up on your homepage.

Above you can see a blip that was recently on my homepage from vaniakg for a song from Slumdog Millionaire. The "DJ"s profile picture is displayed you can also choose to play the song (in this picture pause is displayed because I was listening to it when I did the screen capture). In the lower right hand corner you'll notice 4 different symbols. The circular one allows you to "reblip" the song, the start adds it to your playlist, the plus sing allows you to bookmark it to the various sites that you've set up with, and the thumbs up allows you to give "Props" to that "DJ".

If you decide to integrate it with Twitter, whenever you "Blip" a song it will appear as a "Tweet". It is a nice way to share songs that you're listening to or that have had an impact on you. So that you don't scare people away, you might not want all of your "Blips" to appear on Twitter. You can stop "Blips" from going to Twitter by putting an "!" following by a space before you write the text for your "Blip". It will then show up as a blip, but won't be tweeted on Twitter and the "!" won't show up in your blip. You can always reblip it later at a more appropriate time. This can also save you the embarassment of those silly songs that some of us like but don't want the world know about!

You can use the search box (screenshot above) to find a song or artist. After you "Blip" a song you'll find other "DJ"s that have blipped that song or other songs by that artist or similar songs. You can then check out their profile to see what else they have blipped and songs are in their "Playlist". If you like them you can become a "Listener".

Here are a couple articles about as well as their FAQ page, and blog:

I hope to see you at Feel free to "listen" to me if you like some of the music that I have "blipped" or that is on my playlist. Pump up the volume.

Monday, February 2, 2009

5 Things The NFL Has Taught Us

Super Bowl XLIII is now history. While it was an exciting game (especially the last few minutes) it goes to show that the N.F.L. has taught us some things.

  • Its not over till its over. When your goal is in sight do not let up and watch it slip away.
  • Even talented people need luck to succeed. Sometimes a little luck can catapult your success.
  • You have to manage your clock or it will manage you. In American football if the game is close, and you manage the clock properly, you can still win, but if you don't manage the clock properly, those close games will often be lost.
  • Be strong in the basics. When you're playing a good game and not being sloppy you can succeed, but if you get sloppy, it'll be that much harder to succeed.
  • The little guys can win. The Green Bay Packers are one of the smaller N.F.L. markets but they've managed to not get left in the dust by the larger television market teams and have won a few Super Bowls. They're a community owned team, so they can't be moved by a greedy owner looking for a better stadium deal. In business most of the big guys started out at little guys. Sometimes they need to be knocked down a notch or two by an upstart with a new idea or two.
  • A bonus lesson. If you know what you're going to do, you can run the no-huddle offense.
Sports can teach us some valuable lessons. Are there any lessons that you've learned from the N.F.L.?

Photo credit: Passing the Ball courtesy of mrwrite.