advice

January 1, 2020! New Years Day

Happy New Year! If your bleary eyed and looking for Asprin, that was an energetic whisper instead of a yell…

Pensacola Pelican Drop with great friends.
The Pelican Drop may be gone but the memories live on!  Happy New Year! 

Well 2020 is officially here. Now if I can just train myself to write that year, on important things like billing, receipts and checks. If you haven’t adjusted your organizer, calendars, and yearly to-do lists, it’s a good day to spend quietly preparing to rejoin the world. (If you’re lucky enough to have time off to do so.)

First make it a point if you’re not totally digital to transfer any dates, notes, or important information to this tears planner. Sync the digital, worlds of desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile so you have your information handy. You should do a complete backup of your contacts, calendars, and any other vital information.

For digital media burn real back up disks. I know, it sounds old fashioned today, but that thumb drive, external hard drive, micro sd card can all be wiped out. The wrong delete command can undo all your hard work. What would you do if you lost all those irreplacable photos?

The Cloud?

Ok, like most of us I have cloud storage. So why do I need to do anything physical like a real disk? Cloud storage has gotten better but, experts still agree if you go with this method, you need more than one. A physical disk also lets me keep my private files…Private!

Data breaches happen all the time. Google, Banks, Stores where we shop, they appear in the news all the time. Sensitive information like credit cards, financial records, taxes, contacts, and any photos, you don’t want out there don’t store it anywhere that has network access. Yes, it makes it easier for you to get to your files but internet security is really only good until the next hacker breaks it. Do you really want to learn through social media that “That” photo is out there. With identity theft rates going higher, do not want to take chances with your sensitive information?

Staying on Track

As a blogger, and in charge of the family finances, I safeguard this information. I use a variety of both physical and virtual tools to make my life easier. To keep my days on track and remember appointments I still use a paper planner. Everything from holidays, birthdays, and planning for both my family and my blog go here. I find it easier to stay focused, complete tasks in a timely manner and use things like alarms on my phone for special reminders.

Blue Sky 2020 Weekly & Monthly Planner, Flexible Cover, Twin-Wire Binding, 5" x 8", Laila

by Blue Sky
Blue Sky 2020 Weekly & Monthly Planner, Flexible Cover, Twin-Wire Binding, 5″ x 8″, Laila

by Blue Sky


Outside of that and a secret stash of sensitive login information I’m fully digital.  We use app named Prism to keep track of paydays, bills, credit cards and so on. It let’s me track and make payments easily with an easy to understand interface that covers everything. It reminds me when the water payment is due. Keeps my bank balance, tells me the car insurance is next week and keeps up with my automatic payments. With bank-level security and automatic locking features even if I lose my phone no one else can get in.

Prism Bills & Money (Kindle Tablet Edition)

BillGO, Inc.

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NATIONAL BICARBONATE OF SODA DAY – December 30

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day or Baking Soda day recognizes a staple of the home kitchen on December 30th. 

Just a spoonful of sodium bicarbonate doesn’t have the same ring to it. But this extraordinary, naturally occurring substance provides health benefits while cleaning the house.


We add baking soda to recipes as a leavening agent to make our baked goods rise. Baking soda reacts with other acidic ingredients to make that happen. Many of us have combined baking soda and vinegar and seen the chemical reaction. When carbon dioxide is released, our baked goods rise.

It’s the exciting chemical makeup and physical characteristics of baking soda that enable it to be so effective. Since it is mildly acidic when it is mixed with water, dirt and grease dissolve more efficiently.

As a gentle abrasive, baking soda makes an ideal cleaning product for kitchen appliances, pots, and pans. It’s even recommended for chrome and the exterior of our automobiles.

The ability to neutralize odors is one of baking soda’s most powerful properties. By bringing the pH of the more acidic molecules into a more neutral balance, baking soda makes our homes…and us fresh again. Use it as a mouthwash, toothpaste, and deodorant for the mouth, feet, and underarms. Beyond personal hygiene, baking soda takes care of smells from pets and food, too.

It may even help prevent some powdery mildew or other fungal diseases on plants. While not always be effective, it doesn’t harm plants when appropriately mixed.

Most of us recognize this box when we think about baking soda.
Most of us recognize this box when we think about baking soda.

HOW TO OBSERVE #BicarbonateOfSodaDay

Share your favorite uses for baking soda.  Use #BicarbonateOfSodaDay to post on social media.

Fun Holiday – Official Lost and Found Day

The second Friday of December is celebrated every year as Official Lost and Found Day. This year that will fall on Saturday, December 14, 2019.

  • someone is holding it for the owner to claim it.
  • Though not technically lost, items sold at thrift stores and flea markets are certainly forgotten. Take this day to visit your local thrift store and find something that will be loved in your home.
  • If you are prone to losing things, perhaps today is the day to figure out a way to make sure you don’t lose things frequently. Some ideas include putting a name tag and contact information on your belongings and creating a process to check if you have all your things with you when leaving the home, getting off public transport and leaving any public area.
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Did You Know…

…that the lost and found system in Japan today dates back to a code written in 718?

COMPUTER SECURITY DAY

Computer Security Day on November 30th reminds us to protect our computers. Every day, computers become faster and more advanced. Protecting the resources, tools, and information on them protects the people who use them, too. 

Since the first home computer, how we use them has changed. Today, we use computers to stay connected. We bank and work from home. While computers are on every campus in every school, many gain an education right from home. We do our taxes, attend meetings and research complex issues all on computers. 

Wouldn’t it make sense to do everything possible to keep these powerful machines secure? Some of them hold a lifetime of data. Precious and irreplaceable photos, journals, novels, passwords. It’s vital to protect even a portion of that information. Our very identity exists on computers. 

Identity theft, fraud, ransomware, viruses, and more constantly attack our computers. They seek the most vulnerable users. In an instant, they take us offline, derailing a lifetime of accomplishment. Protect your family and business by giving your computers a security check-up.  

HOW TO OBSERVE #ComputerSecurityDay

Use the checklist below to secure your computer. It’s important to review your computer’s security on a regular basis. If you use social media, it’s a good time to review your settings. Social media is another way identity thieves, viruses and computer fraud is committed.  Spread the word on social media using #ComputerSecurityDay to inform others how they can secure their data!

  • Enable Windows Update.
  • Install and keep running antivirus software.
  • Turn on Windows Firewall.
  • Keep all software updated. 
  • Always use strong passwords.
  • Don’t share passwords and don’t write them down. 
  • A password is required to access my computer.
  • Remove unused programs.
  • Secure your wireless network. 
  • Back up critical data. 
  • Use caution when browsing the Internet. 
  • I log off the computer when I’m not using it.
  • My web browser does not store or remember my passwords.
  • Periodically remove temporary Internet files.

COMPUTER SECURITY DAY HISTORY

In 1988, the Association for Computer Security launched the first Computer Security Day to raise awareness concerning computer security issues.

Black Friday tips from an Insider

There are two kinds of people who venture out for Black Friday. The first is the ultimate bargain hunter. Then there are those who are going out for the fun of it. Both have different styles and goals in mind. Which ever you are here are some great tips, even if you are in an in between category.

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Is it worth it? My retailers have given up the holiday of Thanksgiving itself. The practice started as retailers began to compete. Every year the store opening and crazy deals have gotten earlier in an effort to beat out their competition. Several years ago some started at 6am. Now they’ve backed into Thanksgiving Day itself. I worked these crazy schedules for years. I can vividly remember my first Black Friday morning. When pulling into my mall and seeing the lines stretched around the buildings in the freezing weather.

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Opening the doors has to be done with great care to avoid being trampled. As I was behind a vast counter, I’ve never been so thankful for the two feet separating them from me. One year they even had a stampeding hoard going up the escalators behind me. I’ve seen the news reports of violence and thought wow I’m glad i don’t live there. Then people did it in my store over $15 toasters.

I decided upon witnessing this i would never need a toaster it waffle iron that much. The danger is just not worth saving $5.00. While I did work this for many years, I’m thankful I’m not giving up my family time anymore.

As you venture out this shopping weekend please remember to be patient, kind, and respectful to the retail personnel who work so hard for you. Many have to now completely give up their family Thanksgiving to be here and ready for your shopping pleasure. Here are my insider tips after so many years behind the counter.

Do you really need it on Thanksgiving Day? While fun, you give up that precious time with your family. Those moments once gone can never be reclaimed. Like several of my close family, and indeed myself coming to close to having no more of those moments I appreciate them more profoundly. I remember my dad’s smiles and hugs, his military service humor. The warmth is given to each other as we spend a relaxed afternoon sharing stories, memories, food, and catching up on experiences. So decide if you really want to give that up.

  • If you are venturing out have a game plan.  You should rank items in terms of importance. 
  • Divide and conquer- Go as a group.  It adds to both the fun and makes it easier to find and get what you want.
  • Coupons and deals – Make sure you know the store policies on both the deals and coupons.  If you find them in the sales ad or online read the fine print.  Some cannot be used until after a certain time or even date.  Lots of retailers give out coupons at the door Thursday/Friday for Saturday and Sunday.  Knowing this in advance makes it easier to both budget and keep transactions smooth in the stores.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!For most this is a beverage we use to kickstart our days.  If this sounds like you make sure you have some both before venturing out and throughout the day.  Being tired or exhausted lead to shorter tempers and less patience.  On this day your experience will prove much more pleasant if you have these qualities in abundance.Limited Quantities – The deals you see can only be anticipated to a certain extent by retailers.  It is also a gamble on their part.  They have to bet on what items you will buy.  This represents a good amount of money invested to have an item in stock at your local store.  Some items can have the special pricing locked in by order that day.  Keep in mind the clerk in front of you in all likelihood had no part in those decisions.  As they also do not have the final say in some policies.  Knowing this will help you make choices on these items.  It will also keep lines moving so the people behind you will stay happier.

For most this is a beverage we use to kickstart our days.  If this sounds like you make sure you have some both before venturing out and throughout the day.  Being tired or exhausted lead to shorter tempers and less patience.  On this day your experience will prove much more pleasant if you have these qualities in abundance.Limited Quantities – The deals you see can only be anticipated to a certain extent by retailers.  It is also a gamble on their part.  They have to bet on what items you will buy.  This represents a good amount of money invested to have an item in stock at your local store.  Some items can have the special pricing locked in by order that day.  Keep in mind the clerk in front of you in all likelihood had no part in those decisions.  As they also do not have the final say in some policies.  Knowing this will help you make choices on these items.  It will also keep lines moving so the people behind you will stay happier.



Where ever your adventure takes you make sure to bring your smile, your patience, and anything you need such as credit card, photo ID, cell phone charger, phone, and any apps you may need to keep it fun.

Listen to tens of millions of songs on any device anywhere, available for both Prime and Non-Prime members.
Listen to tens of millions of songs on any device anywhere, available for both Prime and Non-Prime members.

Turkey

I have a short cut I’ve used for years. I worked in retail for almost 20 years. Due to health issues I can ignore Black Friday.

While having to get up for work at 1am…no that’s not a typo. Get up at 1am be at my store by 3am. While I do not miss those schedules I learned some tricks that I still use when cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The biggest one hear is how much work it takes and spending all day in the kitchen. So with that in mind here are my turkey tricks

If doing a whole turkey, even for just a few do the bigger on. The work to cook a bird big or small is about the same. 10lbs or 22lbs, you still have to defrost, clean, baste, roast, etc. So do the bigger bird and make it worth your time. Turkey’s go on great sales and leftovers and 3 or more meals is a great investment of your time and money.

Just you 2? If your staying in and still want that traditional turkey? Try a turkey breast. Bone in or a Butterball Turkey breast roast are great alternatives. We like the roasts with both white and dark meat. You can cook traditionally in the oven, but a great time saver is your crockpot. You can add broth and water to keep it moist. Put it in the night before and you’re done. You can even toss potatoes and veggies in too. We do this other times of the year too.

Set it and forget the basting, constant lifting, turning it over… On low with plenty of broth makes it almost fool proof.

Crock-pot 7 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Countdown Timer|Polished Platinum

by Crock-Pot
Crock-pot 7 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Countdown Timer|Polished Platinum

by Crock-Pot

NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR DAY November 15th

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day on November 15 encourages us to prepare for the upcoming holidays. Get together a soap and hot water filled bucket, disinfectant, a sponge and a garbage bag. Then you will be ready for the day!

With family gathering and a large turkey waiting to be roasted, cleaning out the refrigerator makes sense. Not only will we need room before the meals, but we also need space for all of the upcoming leftovers. Many dread this job. However, it is an important task none the less.

Due to our hectic and busy lifestyles, the cleaning of the refrigerator gets neglected. hence the creation of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  There may be a surprise or two found at the back of the shelves. Things are often pushed back as new food is put in the front and gets forgotten.

Replacing the refrigerator water filter
Replacing the water filter now puts the six months schedule both before your holiday season and before the summer. The times you are likely to use it the most.

Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International found that the meat and vegetable drawers were the dirtiest spots in our kitchens – well with regards to causing disease.

However, those who clean their fridges more often tend to waste more food. There’s plenty of advice available on the frequency of fridge cleaning. Understanding food labels and the meanings behind “sell by” and “best by” dates are also important. These labels don’t necessarily mean a product has gone bad, but that the quality is best by the date on the label. However, “use by” leaves some of us wondering.

Greenco GRC0250 Fridge Bins, Stackable Storage Organizer Containers with Handles for Refrigerator, Freezer, Pantry and Kitchen Cabinets, BPA, Standard, Clear

by Greenco
Greenco GRC0250 Fridge Bins, Stackable Storage Organizer Containers with Handles for Refrigerator, Freezer, Pantry and Kitchen Cabinets, BPA, Standard, Clear

by Greenco

HOW TO OBSERVE #CleanOutYourRefrigeratorDay

Some suggestions for your refrigeration cleaning are:

  • Empty each shelf.
  • Completely wipe down the inside of the refrigerator.
  • Wash drawers and underneath the drawers.
  • Throw away all expired food.
  • Throw away any moldy food.
  • Get rid of anything that you do not use.
  • Vacuum condenser coils.
  • Vacuum out under the refrigerator.
  • Restock shelves and drawers with good food.
  • Enjoy your nice, clean, organized refrigerator.

Use #CleanOutYourRefrigeratorDay to post on social media.

Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh Refrigerator Air Filter (Pack of 4)

by Arm & Hammer
Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh Refrigerator Air Filter (Pack of 4)

by Arm & Hammer

NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR DAY HISTORY

The home economists at Whirlpool Home Appliances created National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day in 1999 to encourage people to clean out their refrigerator in advance of the upcoming holidays.  At that time, the company even had a toll-free hotline that people could call into for cleaning tips.

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