How to Financially Survive COVID-19

Let’s start with the good news.  Many people will actually thrive in the coming weeks.

If you’re still working- whether from home or otherwise- you may find that you actually have more money.

Number 1- if you’re home all of the time, you’re about to find out exactly HOW MUCH you spend every month on convenience food, entertainment, gas, and so forth- and you’re about to save it!  It’s more than you think.

Number 2- If you were planning on an overseas vacation this year, it’s probably been canceled- whether the government mandates it or not.  You may save money by vacationing regionally in the upcoming months instead.  It might also be a great time to make upgrades to your home, particularly since interest rates are so low.

Number 3- Gas prices have fallen dramatically & they’re not likely to rise as quickly.  When you do go back to driving everywhere, you’ll find that you’re spending less on each tank of gas.  The US has also been shoring up its oil reserves in recent weeks.  This will protect against future inflation and help to keep prices lower.

Number 4- As big box stores are picked over and backed up, people will become more resourceful and begin buying from smaller online retailers.  Example: Amazon just announced that they will only fulfill orders for essential items.  Small businesses who also sell through the online giant are not subject to the current ban- they can continue to sell and ship any type of item.  Buy from them.

Number 5- The government in the US is doing many things to shore up and stimulate the economy.  Stimulus checks, while small, will still be arriving soon.  Interest rates on federal loans have been waived for a time.  The iconic April tax deadline just got pushed back, and many other helps are on the way.  Many companies- utilities, mortgage companies, telecommunications, etc., are either waiving their fees or allowing customers to pay over time or not receive penalties for late payments.

Your best bet, if you can’t make your normal payments is to call every company that you owe & see what kind of help they can offer.  You can also try for a consolidation loan or re-fi to lower your mortgage payment.  Even if you aren’t hurting as much as others, knocking a few years off what you owe could be a great blessing.

Now- if you have lost your job, had your pay or benefits reduced, had your business income effected, or were hurting to begin with, there are a number of things that you can do as well.  States are moving to provide economic stimulus and help in many forms to the business community.  Churches and non-profits are providing meals and grocery packages that you may be eligible for.  Many states have also moved to make unemployment more accessible than ever before.  There is help if you look for it.  While a few are hoarding unnecessary amounts, there are many stories of stranger kindnesses- little libraries turned into neighborhood food pantries and even children who have cleaned out their piggy banks to buy food for the elderly and children in need.  Look for help.  It is there.

Next, do your own part.  It’s time to re-examine what you normally consider a necessity.  It might be time to:

Revise your menu.  

  • Convenience items like frozen and canned goods, expensive cereals, snacks, and energy bars should be the first to go.
  • Buy basics and learn to cook.  You will save a tremendous amount of money this way.  You’ll also feel better and may eliminate or reduce some health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure/cholesterol if you continue long term.  Check out cooking tutorials and easy recipes online.
  • Grow a garden.  Even if it’s just in containers on the patio, what you harvest will save budget a few months from now.  Dirt doesn’t have to cost anything and seeds are usually no more than $2/packet.  If you get 6 tomatoes, you’ve saved more than that.

Cancel or reduce services.

  • Review how many subscriptions you have to things like tv & movie channels, commercial free viewing/listening online, product trials/samples, etc.  Be selective in what you keep.  Make sure it’s something that you use enough to make it worth the expense.
  • Reduce packages and plans that you don’t want to completely cancel.  It might just be a temporary reduction- or you might find that you rarely used the service and don’t really need it.

Get creative with entertainment & work together with those you live with to try new things that don’t have a fee.

  • Read more.  Most libraries have online collections.  Blogs and free reading sources abound.  Organize the books that you have in your home and re-read old favorites.  Find books that you meant to read and never did.
  • Try all of those things that you put aside for someday.  The puzzle…the card games…the craft projects…the book that you wanted to write…the exercise program that you were planning to start…the room/drawer/closet that needs to be cleaned…  Now is literally the time.
  • Recycle.  Find new uses for old things instead of solving a problem with a trip to the store or online marketplace.

Find a side-hustle.

  • You may be home, but you can finally start that Etsy shop that you’ve always talked about, teach something via Skype, etc.
  • Teach English in China.  I have a ton of stay-at-home mom friends that work for VIP Kid.  They teach beginner English to kids in China who need to hear American pronunciation or practice with a real English speaker.  It’s fun, it pays decently & it is legit.
  • Look for online jobs.  There are a TON of scams; so BEWARE- BIG TIME!  But, there are also some good ones.  I suspect that more companies than ever before will soon be moving towards having their employees work from home permanently.  It reduces overhead and often results in higher productivity.  Start looking now.

Some more extreme measures:

  • Did you know that you can park one or more of multiple family vehicles and temporarily reduce the insurance on the parked vehicles?  Just be sure to rotate which vehicle you do this for every other month so that you don’t end up with car problems from a vehicle being parked for too long.  Start them up and move them around your yard or driveway 1x/week to avoid too much pressure on one point on the tires.
  • Temporarily reduce or halt investments.  While it is one of the best times to buy stocks while the prices are so low, spending money on investments when you are struggling to pay rent, a mortgage, or a car payment may not be possible.  Keep putting money into your retirement if it is possible at all.  You don’t want to get out of the habit, but don’t lose your shirt either.  Pause or reduce if you need to.  Rebuild as soon as you can.
  • Downsize.  Perhaps you bought too big of a home in the first place.  Real Estate is already booming with the lowered interest rates.  As soon as the travel bans lifts, it’s going to be open season.  Maybe now is the time to get into a more affordable future?
  • Make alternative plans- if the worst happens, what’s next?  Keep perspective.  Losing a home or a vehicle in bankruptcy is not as bad as losing a loved one.  “Kon Marie” everything.  What can you keep?  What do you need?  Process the emotions.  It is hard.  Don’t take it out on loved ones.  Learn from the downturn & start over smarter.  Things will work out.  They will get better again.  Often the fear of what you will lose is the worst part.  Take time to study how bankruptcy works.  In some cases, you can keep your home or your vehicle.  You don’t usually lose everything- sometimes just debt.  You can rebuild credit.  You can buy things that you lost again.  Get a reputable law firm that deals with it all of the time.  Realize that you might begin the process and be able to get out as things get better.  You might not have to go through full bankruptcy.  —And you might.  Swallow the pill and move on.  Sometimes the fastest way out of a personal Hell is just to go straight through it.

More than anything else, it’s important to begin solving the problems instead of dwelling on or fearing them.  Pick what you can work on and solve that first.  Then move on and solve some more.  Eventually it gets better.  I promise.  It really does get better.


Prepping/Food Storage is Always a Good Idea

March 20, 2020

If you are leaning towards prepping (even after the pandemic) or already stocked up to some degree, you’re not alone.  It’s hard not to do so out of some level of fear.  Our world is a pretty messed up place right now.

As I write, I have seen things unfold this week that I have only ever heard predicted or experienced in faraway cities and lands.  Some people began stocking up as soon as word came of China’s shut down.  As each day and week has passed, the panic buying has included more and more people stockpiling and preparing to stay at home.  We have seen drastic measures taken such as big box stores limiting hours so that they have the time to re-stock, online giants restricting order fulfillment to essentials only (not to mention running out of those essentials), special shopping hours for the elderly & pregnant, and government mandated shutdowns of nearly everything.

People who never bought guns before, lined up to buy anything they could afford, anticipating the need to defend their home in case the panic rises to the next level.  Now there is talk of curfews and the National Guard being brought in.  Alcohol and gun sales have been temporarily banned in certain areas.  I have heard store managers talking about breaking up fights and many began imposing limits on certain items.  I have seen police stationed at the quiet Amish grocery store every time I have stopped & I have seen people who put off panic buying suddenly appear searching now empty shelves for their weekly grocery list.

Older folks say it looks a whole lot like it did during the Great Depression.  We’re in a rural area; so I suspect that we have fared better than the cities, but it’s been several weeks of terrifying days and it’s not over yet.

We’re already beginning to see the rich from the cities buying farms and rural homes in our area, eager to escape the illness and unrest they are experiencing in more populated regions.  Businesses are likewise panicking as they shut their doors and try to figure out how they will pay their bills and be able to re-open.  Businesses that have operated heavily in debt are particularly at risk.

It can be a terrifying time to be alive.  It can also be an exciting time.  Many things are about to change & those who can will shape what the world looks like next.  Make no mistake- many businesses will close.  Many jobs will be lost.  Many people will panic.  But many good things will happen as well.  Small businesses will pivot and move online in a way that they never have before.  As big box giants are overwhelmed, many people will begin to buy from those smaller suppliers and habits formed during this time will stick.  New industries will emerge & manufacturing will be brought home again.  The largest boom our country has seen came after 2 world wars and a Great Depression. We rebounded, developed new technology and grew in ways that we had never grown before.  Likewise, we will rebound, rejoice, and in time we will face both hardship and then growth again.  We need to retain the lessons we are receiving right now.

My instinct when I’m afraid is almost always to fight- or in this case, to prepare.  Despite working hard and being successful in my career, as a result of medical problems, I have suffered many financial setbacks in my life- setbacks that have prepared me for what we as a world are experiencing right now.  I don’t feel as panicked as many because I’ve lived through something that was worse.  I learned then how to stretch dollars, what we could give up, where to look for help, etc.  I also learned that storms do run out of rain.  I learned to have faith instead of fear.

I also began to prepare more and more each time I have faced something hard so that I am ready both financially and with food storage because I know that there will always be a next time.  To me, prepping is not an end of the world scenario.  It is, or should be, a normal response to the ups and downs that each generation will inevitably face be it health problems, war, a pandemic, or just a simple job loss.

How do you get started?  Look at where your main weaknesses are and make plans to shore them up.  In the Book of Mormon, there is a military general that knows an invading army is coming.  He doesn’t rush his armies into his strongest city; he works to strengthen the weakest one.  He knows that if something bad it coming, it’s going to hit  where they are the weakest.

I took this approach when I was rebuilding.  Finances and food storage were where we were weakest.  I made a plan to get out of debt and we have been slowly working towards it.  I started putting cash aside from each grocery trip so that I had cash on hand.  I bought a little bit extra with every trip to the store until my pantry was stocked up to a decent level.  Then I began buying long term food storage- 1 can per month.  Some months, I spent the money on canning supplies instead. I am currently working on learning to garden and beginning to can more of our food.

We’re not “there” yet.  In fact, in my eyes, we’re nowhere near where we need to be for a truly long term emergency like a world war or extensive depression, but we’re not panicking over a couple of weeks of shut down.  We have a “little” bit of savings- & I do mean only a little bit.  We have a couple of cans of food storage- enough to not worry right now.  We have some home canned apples and applesauce.  It’s a good start.  Next, we need to significantly build savings, turn a lot of our yard into edible plants and gardens and master yearly canning while continuing to build long term food storage.  We need to continue to eliminate debt.  I have faith that we will get there & I have faith that anyone who wants to can begin.

Be at peace.  Remember that things always work out.  -And begin today to prepare for a better future.


Beating the COVID-19 Divorce Curve…

One of the newest reports coming out of China is how high the divorce rate is after 2 months of COVID-19 confinement.  Marriage is hard to begin with.  There are all kinds of normal money, health & family stresses.  When you add a pandemic, the tensions are bound to soar.

While I haven’t been through a pandemic before, I have been confined with my spouse for long periods of time.  A few years ago I injured my neck and ended up in spine surgery.  My husband had already begun having serious health problems and was no longer working.  We had insurance to cover 60% of my pay, which helped, but our finances changed dramatically overnight & there was no escaping the stress of that.  We went from 2 incomes to half of 1!  We were scared but thought that we could survive for the 3 months that it would take for me to recover & resume work if we just powered down & relied on savings and a stocked up pantry.

At the 3 month mark, I still wasn’t driving, was still in a significant amount of pain & most notably, was still in a neck brace; so I wasn’t going back to work anytime soon.  There was talk of a possible 2nd surgery.  Then I found out that the first surgery had an 18 month recovery- not a 3 month recovery, & realized that I had essentially been scammed by the guaranteed 3 months recovery from the surgical center.  I fought for & lost my job during those 18 months.  I looked for every way that I could to work from home.  We cashed out almost all of our retirement investments.  We parked cars & took insurance off of whichever one we weren’t using at the time.  We ate simple things like oatmeal a lot of days for lunch.  It was an incredibly stressful time that we thankfully did  recover from.

We went to counseling during that time just to deal with the stress.  The counselor couldn’t believe that we hadn’t turned on each other.  One of the most common things that happens during times of high stress is that we, as human beings, take it out on the people that we are closest to.   We get annoyed more easily, we find fault faster, and we fight a whole lot more!  Sometimes we try to push each other away on purpose believing that it is for the best.  It’s tough not to do because all of the little things that you can usually tolerate as the “human” component in your spouse are magnified during times like those.  It becomes so much easier to lose your cool or act on anxiety.

As a couple, we know this because, as health problems have continued to impact our family, we did eventually start to take it out on each other.  We didn’t snap in the short term, but we really started to in the long haul.

What saved us was really incredibly simple.  We started keeping a daily gratitude log.  I wrote down every single thing that my husband did RIGHT everyday and it completely changed the way that I felt about him, the things that I said to him, and the way that I saw him.  I didn’t feel grateful when I started keeping the journal, but focusing on the good in him brought out the better side of me.

In turn, all of the frustrations that had been building up on his side of the fence came down.  He really needed to feel admired, loved and appreciated much more than I could have possibly known.  Taking the time to compliment him and to begin to notice how much he complimented me changed everything.  He started to soften and to find more ways to show me love.  We started to talk more and work on really hearing each other.  We began solving problems instead of just arguing about them.

We also learned how important it was to stop criticizing each other.  In your head, it always seems helpful!  If the other guy would just listen, they would be a better person, right?  Nope.  The answer is almost always “Nope!”  Yes- you still need to discuss things that bug you, problems to be solved, things that you would like to have changed.  No- you don’t need to do it in a way that is a personal attack on the human creature that you’re supposed to love more than anyone else.

We really don’t hear how often we do this to one another very easily, but when you really, really hear what you’re saying to the other person & how you would feel if it were said to you, you do want to change.  The object is not- or should not be to hurt the other person.  It is to communicate something that we need, want or feel.  It took some time, it took some boundaries, but we learned to change the way that we were saying things (not necessarily what we were saying) so that it wasn’t as hurtful.  We learned to both take responsibility and not just blame the other.

As a result of some pretty severe trials and long term stress, we really grew and so did our love.  We are still facing most of those trials and have now added a pandemic into the mix, not to mention a newly leaking ceiling…  Yeyyy.

We definitely haven’t fixed everything that annoys the heck out of each other.  And, I have to say that it was far from easy to go from screaming at each other to complimenting each other.  But- the good news is that we are a whole a lot better and I truly am grateful now.

I hope that sharing this experience can help someone else through the difficult days of confinement ahead and maybe save a marriage or two.  Even if it isn’t perfect, even if at times it’s a long way from what you want, a family should be saved when it can be saved.  We start marriages and families out by doing thoughtful things for each other & by saying nice things to each other.  Maybe we just need to follow the directions on the shampoo bottle & “Rinse & repeat!” with generous portions of love, approval, & kindness… Maybe.

Here are some examples from my gratitude journal.  The hubby was pretty happy that I wanted to share them…

  • Thank you for making me laugh. You’re so good at making me laugh!
  • Thank you for saving Shark Tank tonight & finding special things for us to do together. That means a lot & I’m glad that you’re good at it.
  • You fixed us both dinner!  So thoughtful and so yummy. I was especially grateful that I didn’t have to cook. Thank you.
  • Thanks for understanding when I’m kinda zoned out lately. And thanks for pausing everything so I could call my parents. You’ve been very thoughtful.
  • Thanks for cleaning up the toilet when it overflowed.  You win the husband of the year award!
  • Thanks for appreciating what I know and for loving my weirdness. You made me laugh today when you said that you loved my Coronavirus preps & my weirdness.
  • Thanks for listening to my worries and for praying for my sales. It always helps & I love you for it.
  • Really appreciated our talk last night. You are good at seeing things that I don’t & that helps to calm me down.
  • Thank you for being kind tonight even though you weren’t feeling good. It was fun to laugh with you at Back to the Future & spend a few minutes together.
  • Thank you for being calm & patient with Mia when she was sick & for complimenting me on knowing how I took care of her.
  • Thank you for complimenting the pictures that I took at WWE. I was focused on catching the action & you caught that. I always like compliments on the quality of my work and you have picked up on that as well. Thank you.
  • Thanks for putting CBS Sunday Morning on with the spotlight on the Missouri Star Company & thanks for being patient with me all of the times when I zoned out tonight. I just needed some down time.
  • Said a really beautiful prayer with me last night. Prayed for everyone we love. Even though you weren’t trying to impress me, I was impressed & happy for how happy you were.
  • Pizza & salad was fun at lunch time. Thanks for running to pick it up. That was a huge help. I really appreciated it when work at home was crazy for me today.
  • Thanks for sitting down to play cards.  Doing something different was fun.
  • Thank you for finding something every day to apologize for & try to do better. I am so grateful for how hard you try to make me happy. Thank you.


Slow Your Mojo on the Meat!

Its not too early to start talking about rationing the supplies you’ve got.  We all hope that this (COVID-19 pandemic emergency) blows over in 2 weeks, but if we look at other countries, we can see that’s just not the case.  Today (March 16, 2020), in the Presidential Press Conference, Pres. Trump mentioned July or August as the expected peak of the virus and turning point where things will start to get back to normal.  That’s 5 months away!!!  So, if you just bought 2 weeks of TP, meat, & snacks, you’ve got a long ways to stretch them.  The good news is that stores that sell essentials are expected to remain open.  In China & other countries, this has been the case as well.  People have still been able to go out and buy food; they’ve just closed or recommended closing all non-essential businesses.  However, the flip side of the equation is that a vast majority of our country is about to be out of work, on a greatly reduced schedule or struggling financially in one way or another.  So- it doesn’t matter whether the items aren’t available or you can’t afford them, you should still go slow on what you’ve got.

Meat is one thing besides TP that has been completely bought out in the stores.  As Americans, we used to eat meat 1x/week- Sunday dinner!  Now, we eat it 2-3 meals a day… (And heart disease is a bigger pandemic than COVID-19…)  No wonder everyone panic- bought meat!  And, even if they stocked up on a lot, I suspect that the majority of people will be eating through their pantries faster than expected because we’re not used to being home all day everyday.  What happens when the food runs out & your normal cash flow isn’t there?

This calls for some careful meal planning!  How can you maximize the items you bought? The first thing is to drastically reduce the amount of meat at each meal.  We don’t need anywhere near as much as we typically eat & we can still get full if we try a few simple tricks.

  • Make casseroles and crock pot meals!  If you know anyone who has a large family, you can almost count on every meal being a casserole or soup of some sort.  That’s because it’s filling, typically more nutritious and there is a lot less meat per person  when the ingredients are layered together.  You might eat 2-4 oz. of hamburger in a casserole serving instead of a 1/2 lb. in a hamburger!
  • Use bulk food items.  Most casseroles contain rice, pasta, potatoes, beans, a bread topping, etc. as the bulk of the dish.  This is what fills you up.  You can also use certain combinations, like rice & beans that make a complete protein when eaten together, and completely skip the meat.
  • To extend the amount of meat you have, you can also mix lentils or beans in with ground beef or sausage when you cook it.  Beans make great fillers because they will absorb the taste of the meat they are cooked with and have some similar textures.  Lentils are especially great to use because they are the only hard bean that you don’t have to soak overnight and they only take a few minutes in water to cook (then fry them with the hamburger).  They’re also cheap & you can find them at dollar stores, supermarkets, bulk food stores & online.  Bonus- they’re not a typical buy; so they’re not picked over yet & they are PACKED with vitamins.  Try different colors/flavors, too!
  • Use what’s going to expire first!  The first thing I noticed when we started to stay home more is that we are in the habit of cooking what we’re hungry for instead of what we have expiring ingredients for.  I have been not more than a little shocked to realize how much food (& money) we have become accustomed to wasting this way.  There are plenty of nights where we throw a freezer meal in the oven because we’re going somewhere or just too tired/lazy to cook.  That can’t happen with a lockdown.  In most families, there’s not enough money or freezer space for a lot of easy meals and they’re extremely expensive!  Processed food is also horrible for your health & doesn’t go very far in filling you up & making you feel good with the vitamins you need.  So- it’s time to get creative with the menu & look at what you’ve got to work with instead of just what’s easy or what you’re hungry for.  How long before the cheese goes moldy?  What can you use it in?  Are the potatoes starting to wrinkle?  Look up a recipe with potatoes!  You’ll save money, eat healthier, and not have to break quarantine as often for supplies.
  • Decrease the portion size of meat for each person & increase other options at the table.  Cornbreads, muffins, & biscuits are some of the easiest breads to learn how to make and will be filling.  You’ll typically need some sort of flour (there are lots of different kinds if you want to experiment!), a fat, baking soda or baking powder, salt & sometimes an egg or two.  A lot of times you can add fruit or nuts to increase the flavor profile.
  • Find ways to use up every last item that you’ve got.  I’m thinking of the 3 little tubs of fruit that I just bought for crepes.  I doubt that we will eat that many crepes in a week.  I would normally freeze the left-over fruit for a smoothie, but my freezer is full right now.  So that’s out.  What I can do is smush it all up, add a few tablespoons of water & sugar & cook over medium heat until it turns into jelly.  Then I have a reason to eat the 2nd half of the loaf of bread that I bought before it goes bad!  I’ve also thought about dipping that bread in egg & milk & making French Toast with some fruit on top.  Yummm…

Speaking of “Yum,” there will be more of a temptation to snack during quarantine.  (See all of the Memes about having eaten all of the quarantine snacks already for proof!).  Strict budgets might require you to simply close the kitchen in between meals.  But, if you’re on the snack train- look for things like popcorn that doesn’t cost much or take much room to store & will fill you up.  Hint- buy the $1-$2 bulk popcorn & learn to cook it on the stove instead of the microwave packets.  Those aren’t cheaper by a long shot & definitely aren’t healthier.

I’ve been so proud of my husband during all of this.  He was a heavy soda drinker- up to two cases per week or around 200 (12 ounce) sodas per month.  He recently started to drink a glass of water in between each soda.  I can’t believe how much more slowly we are going through the cases & he seems to feel better, too.  That rule could apply to any flavored beverage to make your stores last a little longer.

Some other things that can be rationed to spread the budget out a little is TV time and even the electricity.  We are thankfully going into spring; so it’s not too hard to turn the temperatures back just a degree or two or wait longer to turn the A/C on.  If you get cold, get up and move around more- or grab a sweater, socks, blanket, etc.  We might be accustomed to walking around in undies, a T-shirt & stocking feet at home when the thermostat is warm, but it won’t hurt to wear a few more layers, either.  Small changes make a big difference in budgets and pantries.  And- the shut down won’t last forever.  Make it an adventure!


Educational IDEAS for Homeschooling or Kids at Home

A pandemic has shut down the world, schools, daycares, banks, restaurants, and all entertainment centers/venues are shut down…

As a society, we used to joke about stuff like that & say that it would never happen.  But now that it has, what do you do with everyone at home & not more than a little bit of nerves about how long this will last & what it will mean both economically as well as health related in your own sphere?

I think my dad would say, “More PT Drill Sergeant!”

Nope.  You didn’t read that wrong.  That’s not “more TP,” that’s “more PT,” as in physical therapy/training.  My dad was both military & police; so whenever we got in trouble as kids- or just had too much energy for him to deal with, he had us run laps around the house, dig ditches, paint walls, do push-ups, weed the garden, vacuum the house, and a million other physical things.

I wasn’t too crazy about his parenting skills when I was the one running the laps & painting the walls, but I have definitely appreciated it as I have grown up.  I appreciated the memories we made and talks that we had as we painted those walls and I appreciated the work ethic that he took the time to instill in us.

As a teacher,  I appreciated it as well.  I can remember whole weeks where we were stuck inside with rain or temperatures too cold to go out for recess.  Indoor recess is an exciting change for a day or two- not so much for a week.  The kids really, really, REALLY need to get outside.  So, what did we do about it?  Most of the other teachers in the building just complained about the extra discipline problems and restlessness.  I took every batch of kids that came through my art room to the double flight of stairs at the beginning of each class & made a game of seeing who could go up and down the stairs the most times in 5 minutes.  I actually had to stop some of them after 20+ trips!  And, I lost an extra pound or two myself that week because I did it with them.

Was that a punishment?  Absolutely not.  They participated voluntarily.  Nobody had to make any more trips up and down the stairs than they wanted to or were able to, but a lot of kids really got into it & encouraged others in doing the same.  Then, we had absolutely focused, FUN, 0 discipline problem classes the entire week.

I learned from that rainy art camp week & when I started teaching Spanish class, I would regularly surprised the kids with commands to stand up, sit down, jump, squat, etc. for a few minutes each class.  They always had to be ready for it because the last one up might have to answer the next question.

I also worked exercise games into the actual education time. We went outside & played dodgeball with our Spanish vocabulary words.  We picked a couple of the vocabulary words to use as the “safe” word that you could call out before being hit or catching the ball that would eliminate you from being out.  The rest of the time, when you got ‘out’ you had to come to the teacher (me) and either give me a Spanish vocabulary word from the unit or use it in a sentence (depending on their level) to get back in the game.

In 3rd Grade, we set up obstacle games for our “Commands Unit.”  Every child had the opportunity to be blindfolded and followed directions through the obstacle course or be the one giving the directions to a classmate.  They learned commands very quickly!  In fact, 100% of the students got 100% on their exam for that unit.  BONUS: They voluntarily added extra vocabulary to their lists after the first time we practiced because there were more things that they wanted to be able to say, like “Watch out!”

In my 1st Grade Spanish class room, we brought in old cereal boxes, colored pictures of people with different characteristics and cut tabs on the cereal boxes to glue those pictures to so that we could make our own Guess Who? games.  Then the kids got to play the games in Spanish, asking “Does he have glasses?  Does he have brown hair?”

My point is that movement is great for learning.  It squashes the heck out of discipline problems and it helps us remember things more easily.  Why?  When we move, we get more oxygen to our brain which makes it easier to learn.  When we use what we are learning instead of just reading about it, we have an easier time retaining the information.

So, pandemic or not, it’s time to get your kids (& yourself) up and MOVING!!!

  • Teach them how to do laundry
  • Begin learning a new language.  Download a list of household vocabulary words in a new language & make signs for the vocabulary words all over the house.  Put them up with non-damaging tape or sticky tack.  Begin using the new words when you ask for that item.
  • Go to the park- dial up an app that will help you to identify trees, plants, etc.  Make it a science lesson day!
  • Go to a nearby stream.  In most places, it is not too early to find salamanders or to even see some fish!
  • Try to identify different types of rocks at the stream or in your backyard.  Test the properties of the stones.  Do they break apart in layers?  Can you scratch messages into them?  They’re probably slate.  Can you grind them into sand?  They’re probably sandstone.  Both of these types of rocks are softer or crumblier.  What rocks were better for crushing other rocks but couldn’t be crushed or scratched themselves?
  • Clean out all of your old magazines- use them for art projects or get them ready to donate to a nursing home or local VA.
  • Clean out old sweaters.  Cut the hem & unravel the yarn.  Make a ball out of the yarn.  Dial up YouTube & learn how to arm or finger knit.
  • Clean out old clothes.  Cut them up & make new teddy bears/dolls, blankets for dolls, etc.  Use glue if you don’t have sewing supplies.  Look online for ideas and tutorials.
  • Melt old crayon nubs to make new colors. Red & Orange?  Blue & Green?
  • Have a backwards day- brush your teeth with the wrong hand, try writing messages to each other backwards, have supper for breakfast and breakfast for supper… This is extremely good exercise for the brain!
  • Learn how to make liquid soap from an Ivory bar.
  • Put together a puzzle/ make a puzzle out of empty cereal box or cardboard.
  • Melt old candles down & make new ones.  Dip string or cord (an old shoelace?) in the wax & use for a wick…
  • Melt old candles down & have a spa day!  Dip your hands in the wax.  When you crumble it off, save it to remelt & use again later.
  • Paint everyone’s nails & toes.
  • Try a new hairdo.
  • Change & wash the sheets on all of the beds.
  • Take a cardboard box apart at the seams. Look at the shape. Draw & cut out a miniature version of the same shape. Try to fold it & glue it in the same placez.  Did you make a miniature box?  If not, where did it go wrong?  Try again.  (Just don’t use Mom’s sewing scissors!  Ha!)
  • Finger paint with melted chocolate chips.  Better yet- finger paint with melted chocolate chips or jam on toast or a cookie & then have snacks.
  • Start a family book club.  Discuss over dinner or have a home theatre where you act out the story, draw pictures or make dioramas related to a scene in it.  Apply this to you’re religion’s scriptures/Bible.
  • Save up the empty TP rolls & set up bowling in the hallway or on the porch.
  • Make mud pies in the back yard. (Maybe in a designated place like the garden?)
  • See if you can find natural clay when you dig in the dirt.  What does it look like?  What can you make from it?
  • Have sword fights with empty paper towel rolls.
  • Build miniature pyramids with stones in the yard.  Build artistic cairns.  Hike to the cairns around the yard.  Set up a temporary “camp” at each cairn.  Tell a mythological tale or appoint a “Baird” to tell a story.
  • Mix Epsom salts, baking soda, coconut oil & scented oils together to make bath bombs.  Check YouTube or Pinterest for recipes.
  • Begin teaching yourself an instrument with online tutorials.
  • Make homemade instruments with rubber bands, boxes, empty containers, etc.
  • Teach yourself or family to draw with online tutorials.
  • Learn how to cook something (YouTube if you don’t know, yourself!)
  • Build blanket, cardboard or pillow forts.
  • Rake up leaves and get the garden & flower beds ready for planting
  • Save seeds from things that you are eating, rinse & plant.  Use empty yogurt cups or egg cartons & some dirt from your yard.  (Things you can get seeds from: oranges, grapefruits, apples, fresh green beans, peas, dried beans.  Sprout the ends of carrots & celery in a glass of water before planting.  Cut potatoes up- plant a piece with an “eye.”)
  • Make homemade glue out of flour & water.  Try a small amount of pancake mix if you don’t have flour.  Start with a tablespoon or 2 of flour.  Add a 1/2 teaspoon of water. Add a little more water at a time. How much water does it take to make glue?  Which works better as a glue- regular flour or pancake mix?
  • Dare I say it?  Ride down the stairs in a laundry basket to a pile of pillows & cushions at the bottom!  (Well, I can’t actually recommend that, but we did it as kids!  Ha!)
  • Teach kids how to wash dishes.
  • Vacuum
  • Scrub baseboards
  • Clean out old paperwork, gather sticks and winter debris from the yard & have a campfire.
  • Watch the stars.  Find all of the constellations.  Find the planets.  Watch a documentary or read a book on historical map making or charting the seas by the stars.
  • Send the kids on a cleaning mission around the house.  Make a game of finding the dirt that is “hiding!”  It’s the enemy!  Wipe it out…  No literally, wipe it out!  ha.
  • Dust- where are all of the places in your house that dust lives?  How does it get there?  How many days does it take to come back?
  • Give the dog a bath & a good spring brushing!
  • Wipe down all of the door handles.
  • Clean out & organize the cupboards.  Throw away old food.  Wipe out the fridge, too.
  • Scrub the tub & sinks- Bubbles are fun!
  • Turn backyard games into learning games.
  • Clean out a closet.  Teach your kids grouping as your organize.
  • Re-arrange a room.  Have older kids re-arrange their bedrooms.
  • Start a Goodwill box- Have everyone donate 1 thing each day.
  • Clean out the garage/attic.
  • Go for a walk or a hike.  Look for something specific: birds chirping, how many white cars you can see, how many fenced yards you pass…
  • Make cards to send to the nursing homes & VA while visitors aren’t allowed.
  • Paint, stencil or wallpaper a room.
  • Check Pinterest for every DIY project, home schooling lesson or game, and recipe for food, cleaning supplies, play dough, etc., in the world!

Good luck & have fun!

Where Can I Find Supplies in an Emergency?

One of the hottest topics up for discussion right now is where to find everyday essentials like….I know…don’t say it, right?  Toilet Paper.  There are discussions on where it still is, why people are hoarding it, what to do without it- & the Preppers are all online laughing and saying “I told you so…” because they’ve already got theirs.

Now- 9 times out of 10, those funny Preppers would have been wrong, & who knows?  Maybe they still are.  Usually what the media hypes is way off point, but with the economy tanking temporarily & everything closing to stop the spread of disease, they might just have a point, too.  Take a threat seriously & react early.  You’ll usually be better off.

I keep thinking of the man in Texas who spent $3k on a dam for around his house when Hurricane Harvey was projected to make landfall in 2017.  Everyone thought he was nuts, but he wasn’t wrong when the flood waters rose.  He didn’t lose money on his “panic buy;” he saved his home.

I also keep thinking of the 10th Jewish Man in the movie ‘World War Z.’  He explains to Brad Pitt’s character that when 9 out of 10 people on the counsel agree on anything, it is the job of the 10th man to play devils advocate.   Thus, when they intercepted classified intelligence that mentioned the word ‘Zombie,’ he took the stance that it was real & they ended up taking drastic measures before everyone else.  I think it is particularly important that he notes that they learned to take this approach because they had dismissed threats in the past and been wrong…the Holocaust being only the most recent case in point.

So it is today with COVID-19.  Some people took it seriously right away & topped off their home storage.  The rest have progressively panicked leaving the shelves of most of the major chains predictably empty.  It remains to be seen who is right & where needed items can still be found.

Everybody that I have talked to that IS panic buying or even getting to the stores and just finding that they can’t get what they normally do seems to be heading to Walmart, Target, Sams Club or similar large chain.  This is probably the biggest mistake they could make.  

Never go where everyone else is going.  The prices will be gouged & supplies limited.  Check the smaller stores.  I haven’t seen any of the grocery stores stripped bare yet.  Staples had hand sanitizer at the check out for sale a few days ago.  I know that Michael’s & JoAnn Fabrics sell soap making kits if anyone is really desperate + they typically have gift soaps (already made if you’re worried about that!) and yes- hand sanitizer- in their check out aisles & $1 bins.  Places like TJ Max, Boscov’s, & Ross also frequently have scented soaps and hand sanitizers in their gift section, not to mention Bed, Bath & Beyond + Bath & Body Works.  All of the Dollar stores are reported to still be stocked as well.  Places like Big Lots & Ollie’s that get overstock items typically have a lot of shelf stable items as well as cleaning supplies & TP on a more limited basis.  You just have to think outside of the box!

Something else to consider is supporting small businesses during this time. In every town, there are some local gift stores that carry fancy scented soaps that would be happy to help you stockpile or just get everyday supplies. We have one in downtown Altoona that has everything from indie shaving bars, to soap to cleaning supplies. In our area and other rural areas like it, there are often ‘scratch-n-dent’ stores as well.  Here, they’re usually found in the Amish & Mennonite communities.

You can go online as well. There are a million small companies that offer green cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, TP made from quick growing bamboo, soap, toothpaste & mouthwash in various forms. The Bite brand has been doing a ton of commercials here lately…

Our local pet food shop, Just Jak’s, has top quality pet food from American manufacturers and ships to anywhere.  He also has CBD products for humans & pets for pain.

Don’t forget your local hardware shops. They usually have a limited amount of cleaning supplies, but if you’re home foran extended period of time you’re going to need to stock up on DIY materials anyway, right?

The point is, in a panic, DON’T go where everyone else is going.  Go where everyone else is not.  In this case, you are less likely to get sick and you’re much more likely to find what you’re looking for.  You might even help a small business in the process!

It’s also important to look for alternatives to the things you can’t find.  Cheap napkins instead of TP?  Or, worse case scenario, cut up some old towels or T-shirts & make use of your washing machine.  (I know-Gross!, right?  Buy how do you think cloth diapers work, anyway? Scoop the poop & wash, people!) Newspaper anyone?  Not the nicest idea, but hey- Zombie Apocalypse…

And, who knows, when we’ve survived this pandemic thing, maybe we can take this little jaunt through shopping you-know-what as a lesson as well.  We need to think beyond this week.  We need to put a few dollars aside at home for financial stuff we weren’t expecting and begin to pay off debt so that we are less susceptible to ups & downs.  We need to have a few weeks of basics at home at ANY given time, not wait for an emergency to storm the stores.  And, even if we go shopping in an emergency & can’t get exactly what we want, we need to simply think of alternatives.

Panic makes it worse, problem solving makes it better and preparedness prevents a lot.

If everyone in America who was financially capable of keeping a basic supply on hand actually had it, would there be a run on the stores right now or would we just sit back and hang with the fam?  It’s something to think about…


What Kinds of Items Should I Stock Up On?

So- global pandemic.  That’s a thing now.  Some people have stocked up on canned goods, filled their freezers, bought extra of all of their normal stuff.  It sounds like grocery stores will be stocked for the foreseeable future, but what if someone in your household is sick and you need to quarantine?  Do you have enough supplies?  If you didn’t stock up, how can you best use what you’ve got?  If you’re still thinking about stocking up, what are your best options?

Many people will be concerned with cost.  We are a society that, for the most part, lives paycheck to paycheck.  Stocking up 3-4 weeks of goods all at once may pose a problem and you don’t want to be paying off a credit card for longer than the pandemic lasts, right?

There are some simple things that you can stock up on that won’t cost as much.  Grains as a whole are more filling, more nutritious than the media leads you to believe and are typically much cheaper than anything else to grab a lot of.  The trick is in which grains you get.  A $3-$5 box of cereal will feed a family of 2 one meal a day for a week if you’re lucky.  Probably about 3-4 days.  A large can of quick oats (not the enormously expensive flavored packets) costs $2-$3 and will last the same family about a month, maybe more.  Add brown sugar or maple syrup- about a tablespoon.  If you grab a bag of Crasins to add into your oatmeal, you’ll spend another $3-$10, depending on the size of the bag & you’ll make your kidneys healthier.  Add in a bag of sliced almonds or pecans for $5-10.  That’s a month of breakfasts or lunches for $20 or less.  Contrast cereal & Milk at approximately $10/week ($5/box of Cereal + $5 gallon of milk) and you’ve spent $40 minimum.

Now- canned goods.  Everyone is grabbing those as well.  #1: Soup is not that filling without crackers, bread or something else to go with it.  You’re looking at $2-$5 per 2 person serving can.  If you can’t leave your house, you won’t have fresh bread (or milk in the above cereal example) so you may be eating more of the soup than you normally would.  So, figure $2-$5 per person per meal.  (Also consider the high salt content and the heart health impact of eating a lot more canned goods!)  The better option is DIY or powdered soup options.  I found a bag of powdered potato soup at Aldi’s a couple of days ago for around $3-$5.  It feeds 8!

So- if you go the DIY route, it’s great to have some canned beans for quick meals, but if you’re spending all of your time at home, who needs quick?  You actually need something to do!  Most dry beans need to be soaked overnight and cooked longer, but they’re the same thing minus the salt from canning.  They’re also cheaper by far & will last longer.  What if you buy all of this stuff & don’t need to stay in for awhile?  You need it to last longer so it doesn’t go bad before you use it all.

If you’re worried about illness being in the house, Jello is great to consider & also cheap.  It tastes like a dessert, but it’s actually bone broth, sweetened.  This means that, aside from the sugar, it has some stuff that’s good for you, particularly if you’re sick.  Try drinking it warm before it sets.  It’s good that way, too.

A good food storage for emergencies plan (whether it’s a loss of a job, an injury that requires long term re-hab, or currently a pandemic) includes both long term and short term food storage.

Short term is your pantry- it’s a 3-4 month supply of the stuff that you use everyday, rotated by date to make sure that nothing gets wasted.  It is equivalent to an easy access savings program that has a small rate of return or in the case of the food a short shelf life.  It’s there to help stretch the grocery bill if a big repair comes up that you weren’t expecting, or for any short-term emergency like being quarantined for a couple of weeks.

Long term food storage is typically dehydrated, #10 cans of food that are able to last 10-25 years if unopened.  Not everyone will have this- just like not everyone has a 401k or retirement plan.  This is for real emergencies.  It is typically a little more expensive to buy, but not always.  I have found canned, dehydrated soup mixes for $14-$17/per #10 size can.  One can has 40 servings.  The example above at Aldi’s is cheap at $3-$5.  Most packages like that will cost at least $10-$12 in other stores.  But, it serves 8; so we would need 5 of those packages to equal the 40 servings in the #10 can.  5x$5= $25 for the same amount of servings as the #10 can AND, it won’t last as long in storage.

Something to consider in favor of short & long term food storage is that we don’t always get 3-4 weeks of media warning before something big hits.  Most of the time an emergency is really that- it’s something happening immediately that you didn’t plan for.  It’s flooding, tornados, pandemics, long term disability or job loss.  That’s when food storage comes in handy.  And as you can see- it’s not as expensive as it looks.

So, even if you aren’t stocking up for a pandemic, what if you see the value in being more prepared and want to begin to build up your supplies at home without breaking the bank?  When my budget was really thin, I started out by buying 1 extra item each time I went to the store.  I chose things like oatmeal & rice, extra soap or shampoo when it was on sale, etc.  Over time, I saved money by being able to buy what was on sale, not just what I needed.  For example, Target frequently does a “Buy any 4 of these items and get a $10 gift card.”  I just bought 4 laundry detergents.  We’re good to go on laundry for awhile now & I saved $10 off!

A friend mentioned that she & her husband bought a large freezer & they go to the store every week & buy the marked down items.  They keep a sheet with dates & simply rotate stock.  They traded a friend an heirloom coat for a generator that had never been used & viola!  No worries about the freezer going down in a storm.  They are not worried at all about being quarantined and still eating very well…

For long term food storage, I set a goal to buy 1 #10 can per month and I started out with things like oatmeal and rice that were, again, cheap.  The basics are always the way to go. I added in powdered milk & a more expensive item- powdered eggs, which are still cheaper for the amount you get than if you were buying an equivalent number of regular ones.  I have used them to stretch budget before and always want to be able to bake- which requires eggs.  So, they were a priority item.  I added in things like dehydrated vegetable soup.  If you’re stretching things, you need to make sure that you still have the vitamins that your body needs or you are going to be a crabby, nasty mess- not to mention more susceptible to illness; so dehydrated vegetable soup was high on my list.

We have also had months where we bought things like a solar/crank radio/flashlight/phone charger combo for around $15.  That came in handy tremendously in snow storms and power outages & was much safer than candles.  (Plus, candles can’t charge your phone!)

Some months, we’ve invested in more canning jars or stuff for the garden.  I’m nowhere near as good as my mom at canning, but I am learning.  This year, we’ve only got applesauce and jelly canned, but I plan to expand my efforts.  100 years ago, it wasn’t unusual to grow a large garden & can everything that you would need through the winter & spring.  Perhaps we need to get back to that?

Whatever you do, it’s good to know that it’s okay to build it up a little at a time.  Will we get through this pandemic?  Yes, of course.  Will there be some hardships?  Yes- probably.  The bigger concern for me is that diseases like COVID-19, SARS, Ebola, etc., are coming at a rate of approx. every 2-3 years.  We’re seeing major wildfires worldwide.  Markets are shifting drastically when a lot of people are affected or there is a need for a big clean-up, & with epidemics of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and lung disease (all from lifestyle choices- myself included, although I’m working on it!), a lot of people are much less healthy than they used to be, which means that there are a lot of risk factors on a lot of fronts.

It pays to not panic and to know that life will go on, but it also pays to prepare.  We all know that we will retire someday, that the car will break at the worst time possible and that various economic bumps will come along that we need to be prepared for.  If we’re smart, we do all that we can to get ahead of those.  Preparing your family with emergency supplies is no different.  If you plan for it, you’ll have a much easier time whatever the emergency is!




Handfuls- The Story of a Sugar Cookie

Attics are incredible places!  As long as you’ve taken measures to keep the mice away, you have got yourself a proper time machine right above your head.  There’s just something haywire in a human’s brain that says, “Don’t throw that away; you might need it someday.”  And into the attic it disappears.  Sometimes, that’s not so great.  Piles and piles of STUFF can be hard to navigate, but when it’s been there for a generation or two all of that STUFF goes through a magical transformation and becomes this thing called a memory- a wonderful little portal into a time gone by.

One day, my aunt went into my grandmother’s attic to do some much needed memory mitigation (a.k.a. plain old cleaning!).  While she was up there, she found my Great Grandma Grace’s hand-written cookbook.  In it was my Great Grandmother’s grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe!  (Yeah, that’s a BUNCH of grandmother’s!)  The fun part was that the measurements weren’t exactly measurements.  It didn’t say “6 cups of flour”; it just said “flour” & I guess you were supposed to make the dang old batch of cookies often enough that you knew how much to put in just by looking at it.  My favorite item on the list was “A walnut shell of baking soda…”  What a hoot!  So THAT’S how they measured things before there were measuring spoons!  Huh.  Mystery solved!

It took my mom & aunt quite a bit of experimentation to translate that hum-dinger of a sugar cookie recipe.  Later, when Mom and I were making it, she told me about the “test cookie” that Grandma Grace had always baked first when she was a little girl helping with the cookies.  With an old wood-fired stove (and walnut shells to measure with!) my great-grandmother would determine when the temperature was right to bake with by STICKING HER HAND IN THE OVEN & COUNTING TO 7!  If she couldn’t get to 7 it was too hot.  If she could get well past 7, it was too cool.  If it was right around 7 she stuck the test cookie in and timed it to see how long it took for it to come out just right.  Then she knew how long to time the rest of the batch for.  Mom said that she & Grandma Grace always ate the “test cookie” together while the others baked.

The older I get, the more I want to slow down and wait for the test cookie.  Modern life is full of instant conveniences that we spend every waking minute working to have enough money for.  We work like crazy so that we can have all of the conveniences that make it possible for us to work like crazy.  I can’t say that I really want to go back to all of the hardships of yesteryear, but I think it’s important sometimes to slow down & share a test cookie.  We don’t have to have the best of everything to be happy.  We really don’t.  We just need each other…

What Does Stress Cost?

Hi.  Bargain shopper here.  Just your average, run-of-the-mill person looking for the best bang for my everyday buck.  So, Mr. Modern Life, I see you’re selling STRESS.  How much does it cost?  

“It depends.”

It depends?  It depends on what?  

“It depends on how much you buy.  The more you buy, the more it costs.”

WHAT!?!  I’ve never heard of such a thing in all my life- well, except for my cable bill, but still!  Isn’t it supposed to be ‘the more you buy, the LESS it costs?’

“Ah, well- that’s true of most things, but with stress the faster you go, the less you accomplish.  The harder you push yourself, the more problems you have because you’re more inclined to make mistakes.  So, you see, the more you buy, the more it costs- exponentially, of course.”

Why exponentially?  

“Well, problems caused by the modern lifestyle aren’t isolated in themselves.  They tend to multiply; so the more stress one takes on the more it costs them exponentially- in relationships, in lost dreams, in bad decisions, in preventable mistakes.”

I’m beginning to think that I don’t want to go shopping for stress, but everyone else has it.  It seems to be required.  In fact, my list (job description, current situation, etc.) says right here that I’m supposed to get it.  

“That’s what the stress wants you to think so that you will put it on your list, but I’ll tell you a secret that I learned from this guy named Walt Disney.  Strange name, but one heck of a fellow!  He said: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.””

What does THAT have to do with how much stress I’m supposed to get today?

“Do you exercise regularly?”

What?  Why?  Well, sometimes.  I mean, I try to.  When I can, I guess.

“Have you ever noticed that if you haven’t been exercising for awhile & you start it’s really hard at first & then, if you continue, it gets easier?”

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Everybody knows that.  But come on, Old Man!  We were talking about how much stress I’m supposed to buy today & I’m getting impatient.  I don’t have time for your silly stories.

“Well, let me speed the story up for you.  You see, anytime you start something worthwhile your body & your mind lies to you.  It tells you that it’s too hard, you don’t have time, there’s no way to change, and why bother?

Okay- so?

“So, how do you feel about not buying some stress today?”

But I HAVE to…  Oh- I guess I see what you mean.  It does seem impossible to make the change, but it would be kinda nice if I didn’t have to deal with all of those problems that you were talking about.  I don’t even know where to start, though.  It really does seem impossible to get all of the other things on my list without getting stress to go with it.

“You want to know the secret?”

Yes!  Absolutely!

“You don’t have to get everything on your list.”

Oh, but I do!  You don’t understand.  I HAVE TO….

“I actually do.  Saying no to stress means saying no to some other things on your list.  It seems more than impossible when you first start, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty great.  You start to see solutions that you never had time for before.  Opportunities open up that were always there- you just didn’t notice them before.  The only thing that’s stopping you is your fear.”

My fear?  What am I afraid of?

“Making a change.  Doing something different.  Everything that might happen if you do.  But I’m telling you, it’s great!  Like Walt says: “It’s kinda fun to do the impossible!””

“Cross stress off your list and see what happens.”

Okay- uh… I’ll think about it.  

“Here’s another secret.”


Make the change one thing at a time.  Just pick one thing that comes with major stress & determine what it’s going to take to dial it down.  Pretty soon, you’ll be the one that’s in charge of your list.”



“There were a couple of seagulls that I knew once that were pretty wise old birds.  One of them said to the other one day when he was having a hard time achieving his dreams, “Poor Fletch, don’t believe what your eyes are telling you.  Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you’ll see the way to fly.” (Book: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by: Richard Bach)”

You sure know some interesting people- & gulls…

“Thanks, kid.  Now, get outta here.  Live a good life.  Be happy.  Look beyond the fear! There’s life out there just waiting for you.”

You got it!


-Happy Stress-Reducing & Prioritizing.  It’s all about what’s important & what’s going to set you up for success in the future!