Friday, April 22, 2011

Product Recalls

1. Photon Climbing Carabiners and Quickdraws Recalled Due to Risk of Injury

2. Aquarium Heaters Recalled by United Pet Group Due to Fire and Laceration Hazards

3. June Deadline Set for End to Globe Fire Sprinkler Model J Sprinkler Recall; Property Owners Should Act Now To Request Replacement of Sprinkler Heads

4. Disney Princess Plastic Trikes Recalled by Kiddieland Due to Laceration Hazard

5. Children's Scooters Recalled by Kiddieland Due to Laceration Hazard

6. 75 Drownings and Near-Drownings in 15 Weeks; Pool Safely PSAs Urge Parents to Watch Children At All Times Around Pools and Spas This Summer

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Frugality Saves Money and the Planet

Being Frugal = Being Cheap! This attitude is pure BS. We was fed this notion during the affluent years immediately following World War II by advertisers who simply wanted to make a buck. While I can’t begrudge them for wanting to earn a living I can tell you that each one of us who bought into the idea that we simply must have the latest make and model of everything from cars to electronics are creating more hardship for the rest of us. This artificial ‘need’ drives product prices up and allows manufacturers to handout latest updates in piecemeal fashion in such a way that they make the most money from the consumer. You need only look at how Apple releases small ‘improvements’ to their latest product and then a few months later releases a newer more improved version when they could have released all of the latest techs at one time. It’s become the American way.

Now that I’ve had a chance to stand on my soap box, I’ll get to the point of this post.

Many of our parents and/or grandparents went through many financial hardships due to our nations involvement in World War II. They learned how to be frugal, to save a buck by reusing items for other purposes and to simply get the most out of everything they owned. Most of us seem to have lost the drive to practice this same frugality due to the abundance we have been fortunate enough to experience. Those days of abundance are slipping into our past and we must learn how to stretch our dollars much the same way our parents and grandparents learned.

Frugality is a label that far too many people associate with being poor. But many others - and the number is growing – see the wisdom of being frugal, not just for the sake of saving money, but also for the sake of saving our planet. What we can learn from this group of non-conforming, trend-bucking, advertisement-rejecting, maoney-saving heroes is we can live without stuffing our landfills with items with still-useable life left in them.

There are many great tips for saving money and our limited resources:

Saving paper and the trees it comes from
Save paper and ridding us of the temptation to spend by getting rid of unwanted catalogs – and hopefully eventually scale back the US Postal Service.
Send an e-mail to with your name and mailing information. Abacus is the database used by nearly all product catalogs.
Create a free account at, and choose the catalogs that you'd like to unsubscribe from. They'll take care of all the details, so you don't have to.

Stop unsolicited credit card offers:
Go to, and follow the instructions on the website to opt-out of "firm" offers. These are the credit card offers that come marked as "pre-approved."

Saving Water and the cost of using it and cleaning it
We flush a lot of water and money down our toilets. The easiest and of course more expensive way to control this loss is by replacing your old standard toilet bowl - uses up to 7 gallons per flush – with a low-flow toilet – 1.6 gallons per flush. Pennies and gallons do add up quickly.

Other, less expensive methods are:
1. Install an adjustable flapper.
You can save up to three gallons of water per flush by replacing your current flapper with an adjustable flapper. Find them at any hardware store or home improvement store.

2. Install a tank bag.
Purchase a tank bag; fill it with water, and hang it in your toilet tank. It'll displace some of the water, thereby reducing the amount of water needed to refill the tank after each flush.

3. Install a fill cycle diverter
The toilet tank and bowl may fill at the same time, but they don't fill at the same rate, (the bowl fills faster) and since the fill valve doesn't shut off until the tank is full, this means that water continues to be fed to the bowl. So, where does this extra water go? Straight down the drain! Install a fill cycle diverter, a small piece that connects to the fill line and overflow tube, and that water will be diverted back to the tank where it can be put to use.

4. Check for leaks
Most home improvement stores will offer a free leak detection tablet to drop into your tank so that you can find a leak. This is a great way to pinpoint what needs to be repaired or replaced.

Replace disposable products with reusable products
One-time use products are very wasteful. Here are some that will help save money, time and the environment:
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Cloth diapers
  • Refillable cooking oil sprayer
  • Refillable ink pens
  • Safety razor or an electric razor
  • Homemade dryer sheets
  • Cloth napkins
  • Wash cloths or rags
  • Food storage containers
  • Reusable sandwich bags

I’m sure that if you look around your home you will find many other ways to save a few pennies here and there. Also, while grocery shopping, take a look at the packaging and see if maybe that coffee can or butter container or cool whip tub just might have an additional use or two,

We can make it if we try.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Choose Happiness

Many people live in the past, brooding over bad choices they'd made or someone's negative behavior to them years ago. Others live in the future, worrying about events that may happen --- or may not. Here is the way to achieve lives of joy, courage, love and serenity is to live in the moment, to see the wonders of the present, to feel gratitude for what is happening right this minute. Right now we're writing our life stories, and we can choose how the script will read. Right now we can put behind us self-doubt, anger, frustration. 

Right now, we can choose happiness.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to buy Groceries Wisely

I found these tips in Farmers Almanac and want to pass it along. Some of them may seem logical and you may have thought briefly of them before but now is the time to test them for yourself.

  • Avoid buying items on shelves at eye level. Sure they’re easier to get to—and that’s why grocers put them there! Better buys are usually found on the highest and lowest shelves.
  • Avoid special displays at the ends of supermarket aisles. Many times, grocers doctor up those areas to make the items look as though they’re on sale.

Store brands are generally cheaper than the heavily advertised name brands and many store brands are manufactured by the same folks who make your favorite name-brand product. The difference is not in the quality of the product but, especially with canned goods, in the uniformity. Maybe all the green beans aren’t the same length, or perhaps the corn kernels are smaller than the name brand’s. Check them out before you dismiss them; nine times out of ten, you’ll be satisfied with the quality, and they’ll save you money.

When you compare prices, especially on nonfood items, always make sure to compare the unit prices (the price per pound, ounce, or other unit). Normally, the unit price is listed on the same shelf tag that lists the product price.

Save money on your food bill by opting for less tender cuts of meat—flank steak, for instance—and marinating it overnight before you cook it.
  • Store-bought oil and vinegar dressing make an easy marinade.
  • Place the meat in a sealable plastic bag, pour in the dressing squeeze out all the air, and place the bag on a plate.
  • Put the plate in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. The acid in the vinegar will break down the tough connective tissue in the meat, tenderizing it.

One way to reduce the amount of time you spend food shopping is to pick one store you like and always do your shopping there. Once you’re familiar with the layout of the store, you’ll be able to find what you need quickly. Knowing where to go also decreases the chances of making impulse purchases, the bane of the bargain hunter.

If you have a hard time sticking to your shopping list, try eating just before you head to the grocery store. Shopping on an empty stomach makes everything look good. Your willpower is likely to be a lot stronger if you plan your shopping trip for after a meal.

To get the biggest saving with coupons, use them only where and when you can double or even triple them.

Food co-ops are grocery stores run by their members. They generally offer better prices than their commercial counterparts. Unlike those larger stores, many co-ops sell certain foods in bulk. Some co-ops run on a membership basis; others allow anyone to shop but offer discounts to members.

To find a food co-op near you go to Co op Directory Service

The most dangerous thing you’ll do all day

A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise conducted by scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks.

That is a very shocking statistic.

Similar research actually dates back to 1953, when British researchers found that (sitting) bus drivers were twice as likely to die of heart attacks as (standing) trolley operators.

It doesn’t matter how much you exercise or how well you eat. If you sit most of the day, your risk of leaving this world clutching your chest—whether you’re a man or women—as much as doubles.

This is going to cause a re-thinking in desk height. I’m going to push my chair back and kneel on a pillow. But then I’ll probably debelop knee joint problems.

Researchers don’t know why but suspect an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which breaks down fat in the bloodstream and turns it into energy. Researchers found that standing rats have ten times more of the stuff coursing through their bodies than laying rats. It doesn’t matter how fit the rats are; when they leave their feet, their LPL levels plummet. It is believed the same happens in humans.