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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    re going to be shopping on Amazon com anyway that the things you buy at Amazon can support this site All you do is first come to Small Notebook and then click a link over to Amazon like this one or the button on the sidebar before you buy something It s a really easy way to give back and I greatly appreciate those of you who have supported us this way this past year Thank you Many blessings to you this weekend 12 Comments Beyond the Tension Having Christmas with Joy There is something about blogging that gives me incentive to do just a little more for the holidays Sure I would like to have something good to write about but it s not a performance I like how it reminds me to do some things a little bit special for my family because I know my tendency is to get caught up in everyday things and let those early days of December quietly go by I m glad when I see reminders to put the tree up because everything seem nice when you can work next to the tree Or to take a photo each day and look for moments of Christmas joy It s through blogging that I notice two tensions on one extreme you have the hectic stressed out over shopped over spent chaos On the opposing extreme you have the empty Don t have fun and ban the festivities Christmas should be meaningful Joyless on both accounts After sampling both sides I choose to do those things that reflect joy in my activities and attitude Some years it is more some years it is less but there are a few techniques that help us every year Use your personal filters In our house Christmas is

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/63/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    orange slices and buttons and this year maybe we ll string classic popcorn What I m mostly getting ready for are the gifts I made Tom s quilt last year from favorite old clothes and this year Doug wants one for himself He has old pants I can cut up now that the back pockets and cuffs are frayed I love sewing in December I have some worn out sweaters that I think might become a stuffed animal friend for Tom For Lane I m going to record Doug and I reading her favorite stories so she can listen to them on my iPod We also have some LEGO that we bought a few weeks ago and have saved for her What are some ways that you use what you have for Christmas time 53 Comments Yes We re Heading to Florence Writing about it makes it sound more real and it s true We re going to Florence after the holidays to live there for a few months While it was hard announcing it the first time it does sound a little ridiculous at first the more I think about it the more assured I become While it does seem random I am more convinced that the steps that led us here to this place were not and I am looking forward to what s coming next Here s what happened up to this point We made the decision for Doug to take a year off from work He had just turned 40 years old and he has worked hard for 25 years We thought it sounded like a good idea to step back and figure out what he would do for the next 25 years as well as take some time together With our apartment lease ending we were hoping to go live in a different city without having to consider where Doug needed to work Without being tied down by a mortgage or a long term lease we could try a few of the cities we thought sounded like a nice place to live We thought about cities here in the States Austin Portland New York City and so forth We looked at cabins cottages and corporate apartments We thought about living close to the beach in Florida and freezing our buns off in a cabin in Maine What we found is that renting a furnished place for just a short time here can be really expensive People want you to pay a lot to sit on their furniture So one night when I was supposed to be finishing my ebook but instead I was checking Craigslist rental listings obsessively for what was probably the four hundredth time a thought occurred to me Why is it so expensive to rent a furnished apartment during the off season For that much money we could go live in Italy or some place And then it hit me We really could go live in Italy This was in the middle

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/64/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    weeks to get the job done To not overwhelm the troops and keep them on your side it s important to stick to the time limit We sort through their creations and collections using the popular keep give and throw away system We also have a 6 month bin for items the kids can t quite part with but probably will after not seeing it for 6 months I also never get rid of something belonging to my children without asking their permission When each remaining toy and object of affection has a place where it belongs in our case baskets under beds and on shelves the kids know exactly where to put away their stuff 3 Maintain the Peace Daily clean up takes 10 15 minutes when every car piece of paper book ribbon and dolly has a place it belongs But it s no good to get rid of a bunch of old toys only to be back in the same place in 2 months So we have household rules for the acquisition of stuff Only keep what you have room to store If you have a dolly basket you can t have more dollies than fit in that container no overflowing storage Something in something out For each new toy our children acquire as a gift personal purchase or hand me downs from friends another toy needs to leave the house really The only way to not acquire more is to not acquire more The only exception is maybe Lego since one bin can store a lot of blocks Our family system of teaching values de cluttering in discreet periods of time easy daily pick up and not accumulating help to keep our small home a place of peace tidy just the way we like it Renee Tougas is a city dwelling gal with earthy sensibilities She writes about her natural urban family with a bit of homeschooling photography and the Maine outdoors at FIMBY I like how Renee sets the guidelines and her kids share the responsibility How do you de clutter with your older school aged children Any tips to share 40 Comments Moving Day It s moving day on Thursday and we re moving to our new apartment It s something we ve been looking forward to but I m still taking a lingering look around our old apartment that we ve lived in for four years What I remember most about this apartment is the bathroom counter I sat on when I learned I was going to have a baby and then later when we got to bring her home Those peaceful early days that were filled with reading and quiet rest Spending time on the patio around my plants and the tree outside my window And when those peaceful days gave way to adventuresome days and things weren t quite so restful anymore I m glad I get to take those memories with me to the new apartment What is your favorite

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/138/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    room on the side with no closet and no room for a dresser We didn t need a wet bar we needed closet space The shallow glass shelves were not helping We removed the glass shelves and replaced them with two sturdy boards Along the bottom we added a sheet of pegboard covered in white fleece which made a soft surface and covered up the sink We put in a clothes rod baskets and a hanging shoe organizer to organize all the little outfits and baby items These were things we could take with us and continue to use after we moved It was a joy to open those cabinet doors and see all those cute things every day It wasn t hard to change it back to a wet bar either so the next tenant can figure out what to do with it To make a space you love be willing to make some changes even in a rental It s your home Make it yours 28 Comments Kids Compendium Your Questions Answered Katy Jayne age 4 shows off her sewing skills Like Jill said when it comes to parenting I m an Advanced Beginner I m reluctant to share much of my own parenting advice but sharing resources and good advice from others now that I can do What to do with all these Legos I know they hurt to step on One solution is a play mat that can be gathered into a bag so all the of the Lego pieces are collected without having to pick them up See how easy it is to make this Lego play mat from Tiny Happy Should siblings share a room Our kids will share a room at least while they re young Kids crave company Simple Mom shared insights

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/137/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    homemade chicken stock If you make it at home it will be better than anything you can buy at the store So go ahead and make it yourself even when you don t have time for the bouquet garni The cooking time for stock is at least four hours but hands on time is fifteen minutes tops The Essentials Chicken bones Stock is made from bones so you don t need the meat After we eat roast chicken I ll save the leftover bones in the freezer until I can make stock with two carcasses at a time It s the best possible food for a frugal grocery budget when something amazingly healthy and nourishing can be made from what we would have thrown away My family can eat at least two more meals that week for practically pennies If you have a huge stock pot and freezer space you could make more and freeze the rest but I find smaller batches easier to manage which helps me be willing to make it more often Cold water Start with cold water because certain essential proteins only dissolve in cold water Something acidic I add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar though some people use wine or even tomatoes The acid draws calcium and other minerals from the bones into the stock The Extras Do you have any extra vegetables around Toss them in I usually slice an onion down the middle and add it and you can also try carrots garlic or celery All of these are good if you have them Seasoning Salt is important to flavor but don t add it to the stock wait until you re cooking with the stock and add salt in the final recipe to taste In the last twenty minutes of simmering the stock you can add fresh herbs and pepper if you want to Since I start with the remains from roast chicken it often has enough seasoning already and I don t need to add anything The Method Put the chicken bones and any vegetables into the pot and add enough cold water to cover them by an inch or two Turn the heat on low and let the stock heat slowly It might take an hour to warm up and then keep the heat on low so the stock is barely simmering Skim the top as needed Stock requires at least four hours to simmer but how long you let it go is up to you You can also try making it in the crock pot When enough time has passed strain and pour the stock into jars Let it cool and then chill in the fridge Once the stock is chilled there will be a layer of fat that you can remove from the top Chilled chicken stock is thick like Jell O and that s a good thing That means you re getting all the healthy gelatin from the chicken bones I gain about a gallon

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/65/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    home we have to use some filters What do you filter for yourself and for your home 136 Comments I ve Been Cleaning My Home All Wrong This week I noticed a disturbing trend in how I pick up my home so it will look nice For years I ve been doing it wrong Here s a sample 1 Wash dishes 2 Put away clean laundry 3 Pick up toys in the living room 4 Help kids pick up their room 5 Run out of time before I pick up my room Day 2 1 Clean hand prints off windows and mirrors 2 Dust living room 3 Vacuum 4 Run out of time before I pick up my room Day 3 1 Wash dishes 2 Put away more laundry 3 Get the art materials off the dining table 4 Sweep the floors 5 Run out of time before I pick up my room Why do I spend my time picking up every other area in my home except the place that s mine No more My room is going to get first treatment once in a while more than making the bed Right now my desk is topped with papers to go through and remains from the makings of a last minute tiny Tinkerbell costume My hope chest supports a basket full of clothes to store away and the half clean clothes that I left there before I crawled into bed I want my room to give rest and beauty not the projects I haven t gotten to yet My bedroom is not a dumping ground How about you 107 Comments What We Buy Purposeful or Passing Time October brings the return of city camping and Lane fell asleep outside in a blanket tent on our fourth floor balcony every night for a week with the sounds of people walking outside and traffic in the background We brought her inside after she went to sleep She saw the moon and the star Yes just one star which is all we can see where we live I want to take her some place where she can see what the sky really looks like Since Doug decided to take a year off it opened up a multitude of possibilities for the coming year I ve felt like I am writing my own story and anything can happen Knowing we are giving up our apartment so we can travel for the year I ve tried not to buy anything that we won t take with us I ve tried not to buy clothes knowing we ll want to pack light For the past year I ve been trying to buy fewer clothes anyway realizing the number of clothes I own is based more on habit than practicality Since we re reluctant to eat out to take care of food allergies there aren t many places for us to go eat or shop It s felt like No Spend Month if it hadn t

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/66/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    ahead of time Saving money seems to be easier for some people than others 16 Comments 5 Foundations of Personal Finance 2 Earn With Contentment Photo by fjordaan Give me neither poverty nor riches but give me only my daily bread Prov 30 8 In college I didn t have much money My monthly rent was 175 and my food and gas were about 100 Does that make me sound old It was only 12 years ago One morning I was sitting on my back steps and I looked around and realized that I could be completely content if I never owned more That moment shaped my perspective from that day on I learned something important if you can learn to be content with less you ll always have enough I realized I would be ok When my income was meager When my income was reduced to half after a new job change When my income was more than enough Sometimes there is more that you can control about your spending than your income but there are still practical things you can do to help protect and grow your income If you re looking for a new job or asking for a raise I read a helpful practical book called Negotiating Your Salary How to Make 1000 a Minute by Jack Chapman It helps you to talk about salary with your employer Most salary conversations only take a minute and how you handle that minute can make a big difference in your overall pay If you re looking for ways to earn money from home Simple Mom brainstorms ideas for work from home opportunities Mom Advice shares practical advice for balancing home responsibilities and work when you work from home If you re currently employed be prepared for just in case It s good to know how long you could live off of your savings if you suddenly lost your source of income Keep a résumé current and keep a list of your business associates phone numbers and email addresses at home 15 Comments 5 Foundations of Personal Finance 1 Mindful Spending Photo by paveita This is the beginning of a new discussion series The 5 Foundations of Personal Finance I look forward to hearing your perspective too Shopping is easier than ever You can compare prices online find online coupon codes windows shop you don t even have to get dressed Shopping has become a form of entertainment As easy credit became available to virtually anyone our attitude changed from save up first then buy to buy now pay later It can all be paid off in small monthly payments that you ll be making for a long long time I wrote earlier about how my husband and I became debt free paying off 30 000 in debt in less than one year We don t ever want to be in debt again Debt free truly means freedom and I enjoy the flexibility we now have That s not

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/136/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    etc for a period of time For example if the grandparents pay for the ballet lessons it s a gift that keeps on giving Then they can come to the recital to see the results Often they just don t have other ideas hopefully this list will jump start a conversation and reduce the amount of stuff that comes into the house The funny part is that when I started doing this I was a bit concerned that other parents would think I was weird but the gifts we chose were hits It started sort of a trend in my set Go figure Liz Jenkins is a Professional Organizer and owner of a fresh space home staging and thoughtful organizing based in Franklin TN Visit her at www afreshspace com We like to give consumable gifts like art supplies or gift certificates for ice cream or a favorite restaurant Even for gift certificates we make sure it s wrapped up with a big bow and tissue paper since unwrapping a gift is so much part of the fun What other gift ideas for kids can you think of 56 Comments 5 Foundations of Personal Finance 5 Learn to Invest Build your nest egg Photo by mary thompson Most personal financial advice is limited to savings and debt payoff After we paid off our debt we looked around and asked What now What were we supposed to do now that our money was freed up from not having to make any debt payments Should we just save it I used to think saving money was enough and I didn t invest for two reasons I was cautious I didn t know where to start It s good to have money in a savings account that is easily accessible but if all of your money is sitting in a savings account earning three percent interest it will be eaten up by inflation Inflation is caused by the government s increasing the money supply When more dollars are created the existing dollars have less buying power The official statistic for the Consumer Price Index CPI shows an increase of only two to three percent each year but it s been heavily modified It doesn t have to include basic needs like food or gas It s clear that inflation is really much higher when you see how the price of eggs and milk have gone up at the grocery store As we thought about saving for the future we realized that we needed to learn how to invest those savings What We ve Learned Do your research and learn how to read a balance sheet If you invest in individual stocks read up on the annual report and all of the information available to you online If you invest in mutual funds know how the funds are allocated Example After the tech bubble burst in 2001 one of the mutual funds in my 401 k tanked All I knew at the time was

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/135/ (2016-02-10)
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