Monday, November 19, 2012

As we rush into the holidays

I wanted to take a minute as we rush into the holidays to ask you to consider helping a child or family in need.  Many families struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table and a holiday gift is out of the question.  It is easy to help someone.  Many areas have the Angel Tree program where you can pick a child and buy a gift.  Some of them list wants, some only needs.  I personally try to get at least one of each if possible.  Years ago, when I was with my ex husband, I got help at Christmas for my son.  Now, I try to repay it every chance I get.  This year, we are able to adopt a family and even provide the Christmas meal, due to using coupons and such.  As of right now, I only need to get green beans and a turkey for their box of food.  I am considering giving a gift card for the turkey haven't decided yet.  The family has two children that Erica and I will shop for, we always have great fun doing that.  There is nothing that sets you in the mood of Christmas more than giving in my opinion.  If you have never tried it, I challenge you to it just may push you right into the true spirit of Christmas.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Double or more with your shopping dollar anyone can do!

Some awesome freebie deals this week!  Some things I was able to double or more my dollars worth!  Anyone can do this, and I will show you the great deals on my private blog.  If you have not asked for an invite, go ahead and message me here with your name and email address.  I will be posting these deals over there later this evening!  With the holidays approaching, these deals can be even more important, and most of them used for the holidays!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Creative Christmas gifts challenge

Seems that Christmas is everywhere we look.  In some ways that makes me sad.  I love Christmas lights and decorations and music, but they start it all so early anymore, I get burned out on it.  I almost fear it will never come down in between.

But I am one who starts planning the day after Christmas each year for the next year where gifts are concerned.  I am always looking at thrift stores, or clearance sales and the like to try to find gifts on the cheap for the next year.  I am thrilled we started doing three gifts and a stocking a few years ago.  It greatly cuts down on spending and expectations as far as the kids are concerned.  And we try to get them some wants and some needs in the mix.  Of course some gifts are really a combination, so maybe two things wrapped in one gift.  We would do that in the case of  headphones with a radio perhaps.  This year one gift both my kids is getting is a junk food basket.  This will contain things I know they like, that I don't normally buy.  For DD for instance, she is getting poptarts as part of her gift this year.  She loves them, I never buy them they are solid junk as far as I am concerned.  But a treat here and there doesn't hurt anyone, so as part of a gift, I have no issue.  She is also getting some Pepsi in hers as it is her favorite soda.  These are things that unlike the normal home groceries, the receiver is not expected to share.  They can share if they choose, but they are not forced to.  This is a fairly inexpensive gift that I work in as I grocery shop for the couple of months before Christmas.  I combine sales and coupons on all my shopping as much as possible (even these gifts).  So in my grocery budget, if I have used coupons and have $10 left over, I can put it towards one of these gifts.  Not everything in the box is "junk" food, but much of it is since I hardly ever buy them that any other time.  I will give a list of some of the food gifts that are a hit in my family!  Of course there are more, and it differs by person. 

pop tarts
flavoring for bottled water
choc. milk powder
marshmallow creme (for making fluff)

I challenge you to come up with a creative gift this year, hopefully one that will save you money!  Keeping in mind, that the amount of money you spent almost never has anything to do with how much someone enjoys it!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Prayers for my husband tonight!

Tonight my Beloved is really on my mind.  I just don't enjoy roll out day at all.  Ok, truth is I hate roll out day.  Beloved always rolls in sometime Friday, usually late and is home until Sunday morning.  Friday is always wonderful because we know we will have him all day Saturday.  But Saturday always goes just to fast.  Then comes Sunday morning and he is off again.  I have noticed this is for many truck drivers.  There are a few that live near us that work for other companies than my Beloved.  I was driving to town this afternoon to pick up something for Erica's school project and noticed that rigs that were parked safely in their driveways yesterday were gone today.  It is hard not to notice, they stand so proud and ready roll.  When Beloved makes it home during the week, it is late and he eats, goes to bed, gets up in the morning and showers and woosh off he goes.  Sometimes it seems on those short nights we hardly get to even really talk.  Often on those short nights, Erica is in bed bed before Beloved gets home, then she is off to school in the morning and she never gets to see him.  So for Erica, Saturday is her only real day to see him each week. 

Many people don't really understand truck drivers.  Many people think they are nasty, rude, angry men.  I can tell you from being around them at truck stops and such that nothing is farther from the truth.  Never have I seen men rush to open a door for a woman the way they do at a truck stop.  When a truck driver at a truck stop is having trouble, there is always help from another driver, almost always without being asked.  Many times Beloved is having issue getting his tandems to move to get his weight evened out, seems every time he tells me another driver shows up to help him.  The other day he had a headlight out.  Not only did another driver holler at him on the CB to tell him, but when he got to the truck stop to fix it, another driver saw his hood open and came over to see if he needed help.  I can tell you that drivers don't do this for each other because they have time on their hands, nothing is farther from the truth.  They do it because they are polite and caring people who know the power of teamwork.  Can you easily anger a truck driver?  Sure!  Change lanes to closely in front of him.  Change lanes in front of him and slam on your brakes.  Do any other number of things to endanger YOUR life, his life and the life of others on the road.  Truck drivers are big on safety! 

So tonight I found a couple of poems that really fit how I am feeling tonight.  I would like to share them with you!

Prayer of a Truck Driver's Wife

Dear Lord,
Please bless my husband while he's out on the road. Please protect him from the wind and rain and cold. Help him to keep that big rig between the white lines so he can make it to his destination on time. May he find his back-haul quickly and make it home soon. Please light his night on the road with your stars and moon. Let him rest peacefully in his sleeper's bed, and please let there be a good meal and fresh coffee at the truck stop ahead. Help me to keep the home fires burning while he's out there movin' on. And give me the strength and wisdom to take care of things while he's gone. May the road he travels be clear and dry, and may not temptation catch his eye. Help him remember when he's all alone that his loving wife and best friend is waiting for him here at home.

Copyright © - Linda Smith
A Truck Drivers Wife

People often ask me,
How do you get thru?
You live your life alone,
And it is only you.

That is where they are wrong,
I don’t live my life alone,
I just live a lot of it,
By the ringing of the telephone.

I know how to handle things,
That most people couldn’t,
I even have had to handle the things,
My husband thinks I shouldn’t.

No I don’t live in a mansion,
But I do have everything,
I have a wonderful family,
And a husband who thinks I’m his queen.

Do I miss him while he’s out?
Every second I’m awake.
There are nights I go to bed,
Thinking how much more can I take?

I often go in circles,
Trying to handle things each day,
But being a truck drivers wife,
That is the price I have to pay.

I have the kids to raise,
And the paperwork to go through,
Then he calls and tells me,
That Diesel prices are going up again too.

He might have to take an extra load,
To make up the difference in the pay.
So he might just not make it home,
For just another day.

So tell me how many men,
Would sacrifice their life.
That is why I am proud,
To be a truck drivers wife!!

Copyright ©2004 Daubenmire

Friday, November 2, 2012

Making frugal uses of all these wonderful fall items! Customer Service issues

This fall I wanted to share some of the more frugal uses I find for my fall items.  So since we just finished Halloween, I thought I would start with pumpkins.  Every year my daughter likes to do a jack-o-lantern.  She finds a pattern online and goes to town.  We scrape out the seeds and insides.  We roast the seeds, and the guinea pigs like the stringy pulp that many times gets thrown out.  We wait until a day or so before Halloween for Erica to carve it.  As soon as she is done with it, I bake it down and use the fruit for a pie or pumpkin bread or the sort.  The bigger pumpkins are not as sweet as the pie pumpkins, but that is easily fixed with just a little extra sugar.  The rind after baking usually gets thrown out on the garden to compost over the winter and get tilled in when spring comes.

We also always go shopping after Halloween and look for the party favors.  I put those away for next years "beggars night" as we call it around here.  Again this year, I bought a lot of the decorated pencils at half price.  The last time we gave those out, they were a huge hit and I didn't have nearly enough.  They were gone before most of the candy was touched that year.  This year the weather was icky,  Hurricane Sandy was making her appearance on our beggars night.  So I have a lot of left overs that will be held to next year.  Mini puzzles, animal planet tattoos, small coloring/activity books.  I also picked up some stickers this year.  I always do pick up a bit of candy when the time comes, and sometimes I pick up some of the McDonalds coupons for free items, but picking up these party favors at half price saves me a ton on those years we have 300 kids!  Usually I allow them to pick two items and many children will pick the party favors over candy.  I wish I had found pencils last year, because the year before I ran out of them in a hurry.  This year, I think they had fifteen 12 packs when I made it to the store.  These were .48 cents each.  That works out to around .04 cents a pencil.  Far cheaper than the candy costs each year.  Of course there are kids who pick two candies and that is fine, I don't need all that left over anyway! 

I also wanted to talk a little about Customer Service Issues in this post.  I am a huge believer in the customer always being right.  But, having worked in CS, I can tell you that in this day and age that sometimes customers can be downright rude! 

Over the past few days, we have had some issues with Beloved's sattelite radio.  Being in the truck so much, he counts on it.  Without it, one has to change music channels all the time going from city to city and such.  But he has had that problem for the year that he has had this radio in a way even with it.  It picks up an FM frequency with your vehicle radio, and if you hit an area that uses that frequency for a station, the station overpowers it and you have to change it.  Beloved keeps looking for ways to be safer, so he wanted to get away from changing the settings for each unit.  So his truck radio had a cassette player, so we bought a cassette adapter in order for the cassette to run the sat. radio right to the stereo.  But it wouldn't work.  We assumed the tape deck in the truck was bad.  So we picked up another stereo for the truck that had the AUX adapter on it.  With the radio plugged in, it wouldn't pick up the satellite correctly.  It picked it up, but with the volume all the way up you could just barely hear it.  Between us, Beloved and I called them four times.  Got hung up on three of the four, and never got the issue fixed.  He came home, I took my sat. radio out (he bought it for me for the house my last birthday because living in the boonies we don't get reception here well).  Mine worked fine out there.  The easy answer would of course be to switch units, but he has the NFL package on his for his football, and his won't work on my unit for in the house without me buying a new unit.  So today he bit the bullet and called again.  Only this time, he ended up calling the line to cancel his subscription.  He basically told them that if he couldn't use it as safely as he felt needed in his semi because it wasn't functioning right, he didn't need the service.  The person looked up the account and saw all the calls in the past couple of days and wanted to know if they solve the issue would we keep it?  Of course we would he told them, that is after all what we really wanted anyway.....  A solution!  Well finally the nice man got us one!  He looked up our account and saw what he was allowed to offer us.  He then offered us a HUGE discount on a new kit.  It was less than buying a refurbished one, and the refurb would not come with the cables and such just the unit.  On top of that he offered us free shipping, and waved the charge for switching the service from one radio to the other, since they normally have a fee for that. 

The moral of the story is that sometimes you get a great CS agent, other times you just can't buy a good one.  But keep trying and above all, BE NICE!  You may have had issues with the last CS person, but you are now talking to a new one who was not part of that problem.  If all else fails, first ask for a supervisor.  If you can't get a supervisor, try to get a retention specialist.  But remember that you want help from them, so it pays to be nice to each person you talk to.  CS people as a rule have a tough job, and if you can be the one person that is easy to work with, they will want to be easy to work with also.