Holiday Shopping: Is Layaway Right for Parents?

Parents comprise the bulk of holiday shoppers. No surprise there. I don’t know many moms or dads who look forward to disappointing their flesh and blood on Christmas morning. On the contrary, the majority of parents–regardless of their socioeconomic status–are willing to do just about anything to ensure their children enjoy a very merry holiday. Despite the fact that millions of Americans are out of work and the economy is still in the dumpster, retailers are still pushing their wares–mostly to pint-sized customers. So what’s a cash-strapped parent to do when her kid’s wish list is taller than the actual … Continue reading

Flood Insurance Bill Delayed by Unrelated Amendment

The current flood insurance program will expire at the end of July of 2012. The Senate has been working on a bill that would reauthorize the program. Unfortunately, Senator Rand Paul decided to add an amendment about abortion to the flood insurance bill. This is causing a delay, right before a national holiday. A typical homeowners insurance policy excludes coverage for damages due to flooding. If your home is located in a flood zone, then you may be required to purchase flood insurance. Many families get it from the National Flood Insurance Program, (or NFIP). The current insurance program from … Continue reading

Organizing Grad Layouts

Most graduation ceremonies are over and the members of the Class of 2012 have moved on to the next chapters of their lives. However, before your grad celebrates yet another major milestone, it might be a good idea to put the finishing touches on his or her commencement-themed scrapbook. Now is the time to collect mementos you want to feature in the album, or at least figure out alternative ways to include special items, such as a class ring. Memorabilia like class rings or graduation gowns are difficult to add to page designs; however, you can still make them part … Continue reading

Must – Have Baby Items

In my last post, I talked about baby products that you don’t need. The logical follow up to such a list is a list of must – have baby items. Like the last list, this one comes with the caveat that all parents have different parenting styles and will therefore find different items useful. Here are the baby products that my family found to be the most useful. Baby slings are amazing. What’s more, they are simple and easy to use. When Dylan was born, I registered for and received a couple of baby slings. My parenting style largely follows … Continue reading

Is Layaway Your Way to a Debt Free Holiday?

It is Halloween, and it seems as if holiday merchandise has been creeping its way onto store shelves for about a month now. In fact, today we received a toy catalog from Kmart with images of Christmas trees and jingle bells all over it. The next two months are not only a busy time of year, but they can be expensive too. I have noticed lately that stores like Wal Mart, Kmart, and others are advertising that they now offer layaway. When I was younger (back in the 80’s) I remember seeing signs in the stores for layaway. I do … Continue reading

Have You Started Christmas Shopping?

Our neighbor from down the street, a single dad of two young children, announced yesterday that he is done with his Christmas shopping. Apparently, he went to Toys “R” Us last weekend and purchased five toys for each kid, and officially called it a day for the year. He’s done. He’s delighted. He’s so not me. I barely made it through September and am slowly limping my way to the end of the week. Christmas? I can’t even see beyond Columbus Day. Yet, like it or not, the gift-giving season is quickly moving in for the kill. My 7-year-old has … Continue reading

Food Play: Haba’s Pretend Food Toys

It’s okay to play with your food. Especially if that food is pretend food. No mess or worries of a kitchen disaster made my little hands. HABA is a toy manufacturer whose endless supply of imagination sparkers and creative toys will keep children engaged for hours. Now you can find brand new pretend food to keep your little chefs busy. The Food Sets: Grill Set Sizzle: From personal experience I can tell you this is adorable. The little grill has kept my three year very happy grilling away even on a rainy day. The set comes with a steak, little … Continue reading

Go Green This Summer

My daughter went to summer camp and all she got were green stains on her shirt. No, they weren’t grass stains or remnants from an art project gone wrong; rather, they were much tastier. This is the second year that my daughter has attended Cooking Day Camp, and I must say; the results were even better than I had expected. The week-long camp is designed for kids 6 to 8 years old and includes a special emphasis on getting children (especially picky eaters) to try new foods. The idea is that if youngsters have a part in making the recipe … Continue reading

Must Breathe …

There are certain places in your home that need proper air ventilation. Let’s take a look at some of them. 1. Your shower curtain goes through a lot in a day. It is pelted with water and then pushed back, and the water that hasn’t drained off is trapped between those folds. The water contains bacteria, and this leads to mold. It’s best to pull the curtain closed after you step out and allow the air to circulate freely around both sides to dry that water. Open a window if you can to facilitate the process. If you’re the kind … Continue reading


My husband and I are considering a move to Arizona. Among the excitement about the adventure of living in a new state, I am anxious to have a gas clothes dryer again. I am not even a little bit dreading shopping for new appliances. Sears is running a commercial offering layaway on major appliances and it makes me a little nostalgic. My family took advantage of layaway a lot while I was growing up. With layaway you could put a deposit down on your purchase and make payments at agreed upon intervals until the purchase was paid for. When the … Continue reading