Friday, August 28, 2009

Important to Remember

Craft experiences are not for creating perfection, but rather for creating memories and relationship.

Thank you I Have to Say for this reminder.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baby Swing

Thank goodness for the baby swing.

We had a swing with LM, but he really didn't sit in it very often.  On the other hand, L prefers the swing over almost every other place.  

Sometimes I feel almost guilty about putting him in the swing rather than holding him.  But this afternoon, for example, he was terribly fussy.  I tried holding him, rocking him, nursing him--nothing making him happy.  Literally two seconds in the swing, and he is asleep.  Hmm...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fun with Whipped Cream and Food Coloring

I saw this post with shaving cream and food coloring and thought it looked like great fun...all except the shaving cream part. 

I had visions of LM getting shaving cream in his eyes and screaming because it burned.

So.....we used whipped cream--no burning eyes (and you could even eat it)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gluten Free Summit

How absolutely wonderful does this Gluten Free Summit at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY look!!!

I've always wanted to go to a cooking class but never have because I know I cannot eat much of what is usually cooked.

Maybe next year when I am not attached to an infant....

Selling Books

Like any self-respecting, overeducated individual with two Master's degrees, I have a lot of books.  

I am ready to part with many of these books.  The question then becomes, "what is the best way to do so?"  Here are some of the options:

1. Yard Sale--The family yard sale is in a couple of weeks

Positive:  Little preparation or research needed.  Throw (gently place, of course) the books on a table marked $1.00.

Negative: Likely to get very little monetary return.  Many books will likely not sell.

2. company owned by ebay

Positive: Much larger audience than our yard sale.  Can set own price.  Likely to get a little bit more than yard sale prices.  Reimburses sellers for shipping costs.

Negative: Have to research market price.  Must package and ship the books as they sell.  If books don't sell, I still have them in the house. charges a commission of a percentage of the selling price.  15% for the price range my books would be in ($0.75-$50.00)  

3. to  Amazon collects a commission of 6-15% of sale price, 0.99 per transaction, and a variable transaction fee ($1.35 for books)

4. have a sell online feature.  Type in the ISBN, and almost immediately a price is returned for what they will give you for the book.  You can get the credit as cash paid via PayPal or as a credit in the Powells store.  The store credit is twenty percent more than the cash option.

Positive: Powells pays for shipping.  No pricing research required, no listing or packaging to different customers necessary.  Make more than at a yard sale or library donation.

Negative: Make less per book than potentially with and  

5. similar to Powells online buy book feature

6. Library Donation--The local library is having its annual book sale soon and is soliciting donations. 

Positive: All I have to do is drop the books off at the library.  Done deal.  They are out of the house--all of them in one fell swoop.

Negative: No monetary return.  Many of the books will likely not sell at the library sale, leaving the library trying to figure out what to do with them. 

Conclusion:  I know some people really get into listing things on ebay, amazon, etc., and I do not doubt there is money to be made if you are willing to put in the work.  For me, right now in my life, I think I am going with the Powells/Abebooks option.  At least I will get a little bit of money for the books.  For those that Powells/Abebooks will not take, I may investigate whether ebay or amazon would be good options.  Otherwise they are going in the yard sale.  If not sold there, then on to the library.

Quite frankly, the whole textbook industry burns my ass.  I pay $40 for a used book.  I can sell it back for $5, and then the book store resells it for $35.  

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Millionaire Next Door

I just finished reading The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, and William D. Danko.  New York: Pocket Books, 1996.  It was a quick read.  Maybe because it is 13 years old now, I did not find anything too revolutionary in it.

In it they outline seven factors for millionaires: 

  1. They live well below their means 

  1. They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conductive to building wealth
  1. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status

  1. Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care  

  1. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient 

  1. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities 

  1. They chose the right profession 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Side Hustle

On a regular basis, my brother-in-law and I come up with ideas to generate income outside of our regular jobs.  The Frugal Dad gave our potential activities a name:

"side hustle is a sort of part time job, but it typically involves you building something around your current trade."

This also goes along the lines of "minding your own business" from Rich Dad Poor Dad.

OK, so what is my business?  What is it that I know about, am interested in, have a unique contribution?  

General Ideas
  • archives
  • preservation
  • organization
  • technology
  • motherhood
  • gluten free eating
  • beginning investor
  • travel in area with kids

More Specific Ideas
  • Consult with local businesses/individuals on preserving archives
  • Offer a service like This Young House with advice on preservation
  • Become a personal organizer
  • Work with churches to improve their websites/start new outreach like blogs/facebook/etc.
  • Blog about journey as a beginning investor
  • Develop a blog/site about places to visit in the area with kids.  I actually think this idea has some merit.  As far as I can tell there is not a consolidated site that has descriptions and reviews of places of interest--especially from a mother's point of view.  On the weekends, we say, "ok where should we go?"  It is a real pain to visit all of the web sites of potential places, and it is difficult to find out relevant information or even come up with ideas.  I would love to have reader-submitted reviews as well as my own.  It could be tied to Flickr, Google Maps and all kinds of exciting things.  Not sure about the income-generating part though???  

My Life in France

I just finished Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France.

Quick, interesting read.  I was struck with how incredibly focused and driven she was.  

These seem to be traits of other super successful people.  

I am going to read a biography of Child next to see how it compares with the memoir.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baltimore-Traveling with Kids

Despite, the wicked heat, we had a great time in Baltimore visiting the Maryland Science Center and Port Discovery!

Three adults and six kids (2 six-year-olds, 1 four-year-old, 1 three-year old, 1 one-year-old, and 1 three-week-old)

Things we did well:
  • Had printed directions for various routes
  • Got a late checkout of 2:30
  • Saved the food from the night before for lunch
  • Minimalized walking to and from activities
  • Brought an extra stroller
  • Brought plenty of snacks
  • Stayed in a hotel with a microwave and refrigerator
  • Focused on a couple of activities rather than rushing to a whole lot of things
Things may want to do for next trip:
  • Research local eating options prior to arrival
  • Printed reverse directions for getting home (especially in a town that is full of one way streets)
  • Pack hats and spray-on sun screen in the stroller

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kids and Going to the Store

We went to the grocery store today, and LM wanted a Curious George book that cost $3.

No big deal, right?; we could afford it, and I would much rather buy him a book than some dumb plastic toy. 

I tried something new today though because I would like him to learn that there are consequences associated with purchasing items.  

I told him that he could have the book but that he would have to "pay" me with one of his toys from home.  He said OK.  When he got home, I told him to pick out a toy in exchange for the book.  At first, he offered up his tricycle, but I didn't think the "worth" of the book and bike were equal, so I told him to pick another toy.  He picked one of his trucks--not an absolute favorite one, but not a clunker either.  Perfect.   

I took the truck and put it up in the closet.  He didn't even fuss about it. 

Don't know if this is the right path or not.  Maybe I have been reading too many financial books lately...

I want him to have and to see different money patterns than that with which I grew up, and I want him to understand that he has the power to make choices about his money and life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Can't Afford It

I recently read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki.

One of the ideas that has stuck with me is the difference he talks about between "I can't afford it" and "How can I afford it?"

The first is a statement that shuts down any thought process or creativity and puts one in the role of victim.

The second is a question that really opens up possibilities.  It puts one in a position of control.

I have been experimenting with the two options.  I REALLY want a new laptop ~$1500.  This big ticket purchase is definitely not in the spend plan for the immediate future.  Instead of saying, "I can't afford it," I have been saying "How can I afford it?" and have been brainstorming ways to come up with the $$.  I haven't come up with anything concrete yet, but I have a few ideas for generating the funds to purchase it.  

Although I don't have the laptop yet, this approach has been much more positive of an experience.