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Hashing Through Insurance Policies

June 25, 2010

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It’s a good thing The Hubs is familiar with all the technical lingo for insurance policies. As I’ve stated before, part of the reason that we are renovating is because our home insurance policy, at over a decade old, is set to review and revise. At the time, our kitchen was falling down over our heads, half the house had no electricity, and the plumbing drains were iffy. I decided I would MUCH rather spend money renovating the house than spend money on paying a higher insurance premium. It was difficult enough to get the house insurance 10 years ago. We are in a mixed residential/business area, and therefore most insurance companies were hesitant to insure the house (we are very close to a parking lot and are surrounded by businesses). Of course, we could always get business insurance quotes, right? We’re not a business, exactly…. well, I do work at home, on my business.
Anyway, insurance costs are *kinda* hard to control these days. I think it’s very unfair that I have to pay for knuckleheads who live in flood-prone, hurricane-prone, earthquake-prone areas… why do I have to pay for those decisions?!

Anyway, it sure pays to shop around for insurance. All insurance is expensive, especially in New York, but many mortgage lenders and banks will not fund your home loan or home renovation loan without it. And in my opinion, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 😀 Thanks to the dudes at for giving me the opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of insurance!

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Dreamhomes for Sale

January 21, 2009

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Am I an eternal optimist? I keep entering sweepstakes to win my dreamhome.

By the way, my definition of dreamhome: electricity in all the rooms; plumbing that WORKS; no leaks; new kitchen; nice floors. I guess I’m pretty easy to please, huh? 😀

I know the odds of me winning those sweepstakes is next to nil. I’m not counting on winning them, though. I’m just hoping! 😀 But I know I can’t wait forever to get one. I’m working on the house I have. I’ll be happy to have a new kitchen! But if you’re making plans for your dreamhome, check out one of the top-notch crafters of dreamhomes in Louisiana: Schumacher Homes. I’ll bet they are seeing a lot of business, rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina! Schumacher builds homes all across the United States, not just Louisiana. Look them up when you are ready to build. Then YOU can stop entering those sweepstakes and give me more of a chance to win! 😉

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Make Your Lamp a Touch Lamp

October 26, 2008


I found the absolutely COOLEST thing at the home improvement store last week! I am still congratulating myself for finding it.

I was looking for a lamp to replace the bad one in our bathroom (YES we have a floor lamp in our bathroom, because we still have no electricity for the room yet! I’m getting to it…). The lamp switch was going bad, and I wanted a touch lamp to replace it. I figured a touch lamp would make it easier than fumbling around for the switch in the dark. I went to several stores, and just couldn’t make myself spend $35 for a touch lamp that I just wanted as a “kick around/temporary” thing in the bathroom. I asked the salesman if he had any other touch lamps, and he showed me an aisle where— lo and behold– there were all these little gadgets and attachments that you could connect your existing lamp to and make the lamp a touch lamp! Wowee!

Touch Lamp pkg

The package is empty because I was so eager to try out the gadget that I didn’t take time to shoot the photo first. Here’s a better photo of the actual gadget.


This particular gadget plugs in to your receptacle, and you plug your lamp cord into it. The gold-colored disk has a lead line (ten feet long). You can place the disk anywhere. I put the disk near the entrance to my bathroom. Ignore the staples. And yes, that is duct tape holding the disk to the wall. I was in a hurry, ok?

Touch Lamp button

You leave the floor lamp switch in the “on” position, and touch the gold disk to turn the lamp on. The disk has three settings- dim, halfway lit, and full lit. The neat thing is that you don’t need a 3-way bulb– you can use a regular 60-watt and this thing will work with those settings. To activate each setting, you just touch that gold disk each time! I just love it!

I don’t think this gadget works with the newer CFL bulbs; I think it only takes the incandescent. So the downside is that I will soon be unable to use this lamp– New York State is making it illegal to buy incandescent bulbs soon (dumb, I know). So either I get on the ball and start wiring this room for electricity, or I stock up on incandescent bulbs. Or, I can smuggle them in from Pennsylvania or New Jersey, maybe…

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Wordless Wed: To Sleep like a Baby

October 15, 2008


She’s growing so fast! She’s losing her baby fuzz, getting razor-sharp teeth (chewing on everything), and developing the long and slender Siamese physique. She can also plop down and sleep anywhere.

Livvy baby

Waking up.

Livvy sleep

She looks good in pink. 🙂

Livvy napping

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Don’t Do What the Cat Says

October 1, 2008


OMG!! I have found it! I’ve discovered it! The hilarity of LOLCats at I Can Haz Cheezeburgers! These are just TOO funny! This one is my new favorite.

more animals


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I Might As Well…

September 30, 2008

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I’ve gushed about my new baby kitten on my other blogs, I may as well gush about her here, too!

I cannot believe how nuts I am over this kitten. I am spoiling her rotten. :S Already she drinks out of my tea, eats scraps from my dinner, and sleeps in the crook of my arm. I must be getting old or something. :S I never even treated my kids so well, lol.

We’re looking into teaching her how to be toilet-trained. I just HATE the smell of cat litter. I already have some Austin Air air purifiers (or something like it) running at night, because the slightest pungent smells wakes me up at night. I know next to nothing about toilet-training a cat (it was hard enough with kids). Anyone have any tips? Any of you accomplished cat owners out there have any advice? What age do I start her? She’s so tiny right now that I’n afraid she’d fall in and go down through the sewer system or something! Like this poor cat, lol.

You do realize that’s a parody. right? 😉

ANYWAY, I’m not quite sure how to go about this…. will take much study.

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Know Your Contractor

September 30, 2008

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Every year, hundreds to thousands of homeowners get ripped off by unscrupulous contractors. New York State’s attorney general has compiled a database of hoodlums and crooks who have been reported by homeowners. The state is encouraging homeowners to add to the database if you are burned by a crook.

Office of the Attorney General provides New Yorkers the tools they need to make informed decisions when it comes to hiring a home improvement contractor. You can search to see which contractors have been subject to legal action, and which contractors have had substantiated consumer complaints filed against them.

Additionally, you can access helpful tips that will assist in selecting a reputable contractor, and links to state and county agencies which offer consumer assistance and the ability to check the status of a contractor’s license. Home improvement professionals can find information on New York’s laws and procedures that govern the industry.

If you are the victim of an unscrupulous contractor, we encourage you to notify our office, just click on the “File a Complaint” link.

So once again, the web comes to the rescue. You can see the link to the site here. There are plenty of reliable and honest contractors, handymen, businesses, and moving services in New York. But it’s nice to know that we have a voice should we wind up with a rotten apple!

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Chicken, Shrimp, and Pasta

September 30, 2008

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I have a great recipe for you! It’s a “cheap” recipe, too. I haven’t made it in so long, and decided to do it again this week. So I thought I’d share, because sharing makes you feel good inside, HA! :D.

Chicken, Shrimp, and Pasta

Will serve a small army or 3-4 Italians

4-5 chicken breasts, deboned and skinned
5 pounds of pre-cooked shrimp (frozen bags of cooked shrimp are perfect- just thaw before using)
i bag (10 oz) frozen string green beans
chopped fresh basil or dry basil
olive oil
2 pounds spaghetti, cooked
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Throw in a large wok with enough olive oil to coat the chicken.
Throw in the green beans and shrimp. Add more olive oil if mixture gets too dry.
Add basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
When chicken is done and the beans and shrimp are cooked thorough, toss into spaghetti and mix.
Serve with salad greens and bread!

It’s a yummy meal and so easy to make. You can even get varied and add other ingredients.

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Suburban Homesteading

September 28, 2008


So it has a name. The thing I’ve been slowly attempting to do for the past 5-6 years. It’s called “suburban homesteading”! Yeehaw, I have a name! I found this terrific blog, The Little House in the Suburbs, and found someone else who is doing everything I want to do. What a great blog!

But I’m a poor homesteader; I’m more like a wannabee homesteader. I don’t can, I don’t make soap or paper, and, worst of all, we have no chickens! (But I’m still working on convincing the husband about that). I have two fruit trees, a large vegetable garden and am learning about energy conservation and healthy cooking, though! And I am definitely a conserver and not a consumer. And Little House in the Suburbs says that this lifestyle is COOL right now. Well, well!

I found a book in her Amazon library list, and it looks great. It’s called “How to Survive without a Salary” by Charles Long. It looks like a good book.

Being chained to a salary is probably the biggest obstacle to my homesteading adventure. We are in debt, and I feel we are slaves to our salaries. We must work to pay off the debt, and all the while, that time spent working keeps us from renovating the house and from building a small farm off which to live. Right now, we can’t break out of the cycle.

So I’m going to get the book. And like the good conserver that I am, I’m not going to buy it. I’m going to borrow it. It’s available through my local library system, and should be here in a few days. 😀

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Handheld Water Sterilizer

September 24, 2008


I saw this neat little gadget at HipCompass. It’s a handheld water sterilizer, called the “SteriPEN Adventurer Handheld Water Purifier.” When swished around in a glass of dirty water, it’s supposed to destroy the DNA of nasty microbes. It uses ultraviolet light to do so. Interesting! I don’t know if I’d be so brave as to try out the water to make sure the gadget works. And it’s $78 at Amazon, gulp. 😐 So next to travel insurance, this could be quite the expensive little carry-all. They have bigger filtration systems, too.

Water filtration is on my mind because Health Nut Wannabee Mom had a great post about bottled water versus tap water. She wrote about the benefits of tap water versus the expensive bottled water. And I agree, tap water can be just as good or better than bottled water. But it really depends on your source. If you live near a bunch of landfills or toxic waste dumps, you can be assured that bottled water is a better choice than tap water. I wrote in the comments:

Tap water has so much junk in it. It’s basically sewage liquid, run-off water, and ground water that goes through a treatment plant. My tap water is loaded with chemicals. I know there’s flouride, chlorine, and lead in it, and God-knows what else. In Arizona and Nevada, there’s tungsten in the tap water which has led to a leukemia epidemic there. The water in Albany, NY, was recently tested and was found to have exceedingly high levels of Cialis in it. How on earth did Cialis get in the public water supply? The water is treated WASTE water– people who took Cialis (and I guess there are a lot of men in Albany who do) pass the drug into their urine. The urine goes through the septic system, to be recycled and treated for our drinking water. The chemical treatments might remove cholera and typhoid, but not a lot of the prescription drugs that people take.

There are increasing levels of chemicals — purposely added, and some are there from industrial waste run-off that I just don’t trust tap water…

I’ve been puttering around, looking at water filtration systems and wondering if I want to install something when we redo the kitchen. I guess I just don’t trust the tap water anymore. More to think about…

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