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July 10th, 2018 10:48 AM

SMART SAVINGS

Barbara’s Blog:

With gas, food and utility costs rising, we all look for ways to save money, especially those who are on a fixed income.  The recent AARP magazine had an article on great ways to save, many more than I can list here.  But I chose some of the ones that interested me, and I hope they will help others as well.

  • Don’t pay fees for movie tickets. Some online sellers (or theaters) charge a “convenience” fee per ticket for pre-buying movie tickets. Instead, buy at the box office, or join the “Movie Pass” club where you pay a small monthly fee, but can view numerous movies per month at various theaters.
  • Get free E-books. You can download nearly 60,000 public domain e-books at Gutenberg.org and save $3 to $10 per e-book.
  • Dine out for less. Restaurants.com offers discounted gift certificates to eateries all over the country. You could pay only $10 for a $25 gift certificate.
  • Give your time as a gift. Write out redeemable coupons for babysitting, free drives for someone in need, or home-cooked meals instead of purchasing a gift card.
  • Use cruise control. It can reduce your fuel use by 7% on the highway.
  • Check for promo codes. Online retailers offer discount codes. Check RetailMeNot.com for codes before finalizing a purchase.
  • Use Gas Buddy. The Gas Guru and GasBuddy apps show you prices at all area gas stations, so you can find the cheapest gas in your location.
  • Get a tankless water heater. These units produce hot water on demand. They are up to 30% more efficient than tanks that waste energy keeping water hot all the time.
  • Raise your deductible. Boosting the deductible on a homeowners policy from $500 to $1,000 could save you 25% on your annual insurance premium.
  • Seal your home. Inspect for leaks at windows & doors with a lighted incense stick. Sealing them could cut a $1,000 heating and cooling bill by $200!

These are just some of the many ways to save money, so if on a strict budget, be creative in changing your spending habits.  Every little bit will help.

Written by Barbara Doeringer


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November 21st, 2017 9:13 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans gather for a day of feasting, football and family. While today’s Thanksgiving celebrations would likely be unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal, it continues to be a day for Americans to come together around the table—albeit with some updates to pilgrim’s menu.

The first Thanksgiving meal occurred during November 1621 at Plymouth between the Wampanoag Indians and the Plymouth settlers. The meal was held to celebrate the autumn harvest and was thought to have featured dishes including various types of fowl, venison, vegetables and fruits.  This first celebration feast lasted for three days.   The amount of time it took to prepare is not known, but before the feast Governor William Bradford sent four settlers to hunt fowl, and Massasoit, a leader of the Native Americans who were invited to the feast, sent some of his men to hunt deer.

As of 2014, no records have been found to indicate that turkey was consumed during the first Thanksgiving. There are records of a fowling party sent to catch various birds, but it is unknown what types were caught. A record made by the chronicler Edward Winslow, however, indicates that the Native Americans brought with them five deer for the feast.

 

So, even though we have added some items to the menu, Thanksgiving continues to be a time of joy, giving thanks for all of our many blessings, as we enjoy a dinner with family and friends.  We have an abundance of food in this country that so many others lack, and so while watching that football game, overstuffed with the celebration feast, remember those who are without and truly thank God for what you have.   

 

Allen and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!         

Written by Barbara Doeringer

 


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                                    LIFE, LIBERTY & THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Barbara’s Blog:                                                

We currently live in a country divided by many issues, but we tend to forget how this country was founded on the many freedoms that we still enjoy today.  The Representatives of the 13 colonies of the United States of America met to appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world that they should be free and independent states, able to make their own decisions over war, peace and commerce, and any other acts which independent states have the rights to do.

In Congress on July 4, 1776, the unanimous “Declaration of Independence” was signed and published absolving all Allegiance to the British Crown, and stating that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain was totally dissolved. 

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This was just the beginning of our beautiful United States of America, and those original representatives of 13 states had a firm belief that “In God We Trust” and “for the support of this Declaration, we have a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”

As a country, we continue to be blessed and as we pray for future guidance, may “God Bless America!”

Written by Barbara Doeringer

Allen and I wish everyone a very Happy 4th of July!!

Please note:  there will be no Blog next week; on the go again!

 


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May 30th, 2017 8:04 AM

MORE HIGH VISTA TALENT

Barbara’s Blog:

Most of the High Vista residents are well aware of some amazing talent in our community after enjoying some of it at the Talent Show in February.   But there is a wider variety of talent here than realized and one most recently discovered was when we sold a home to a wonderful couple from Illinois this month. 

Frank McRae has already published two incredible murder mysteries and is currently working on his third, which will make a “trilogy” of books connected to each other.  His careers began in engineering, business ownership and construction expertise, but he marveled for years at the talents of many of his favorite writers, and then found himself inspired to transform his imagination into words. 

His first novel, “Premonitions” is about a group of top local plastic surgeons in the Chicago suburbs, whose lives are suddenly ripped apart by a series of unexplainable murders.  The wives belonging to this group of surgeons are being systematically found in their locked homes murdered, with alarms set and no apparent clues for motives.  Believe me when I say this novel has mind boggling plot twists that will wow every reader!  I simply could not put it down and the ending will shock you.

Next, is the second novel, “Vengeance” which I am told is even better than the first!  I will be starting that book this week.  So as not to ruin or give any hints about the first book, I will only say that this one entails the same Inspector who now tries to find a different serial killer who has taken on the persona of a black widow spider, leaving no witnesses behind.  “She” seeks justice and plans revenge for those she has admired by developing three versions of a deadly drug. 

Frank McRae has certainly engaged close attention to details and has a knack for developing unexpected plot twists to keep readers glued to every page.  I am personally thrilled to have met this author (and his lovely wife) and honored to have two autographed copies of these books. 

You will find both books on Amazon, if not in the local book stores, and they are both rated high.  Personally, I give the first one FIVE STARS!  And all I can say is, “Frank, hurry up and get that third one written!  You certainly have talent!!”

Written by Barbara Doeringer


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August 9th, 2016 10:31 AM
Barbara's Blog:?

Moving to a new home usually brings a lot of stress, headaches and anxiety.  So here are 12 tips to make a "smooth move" whether to a new state or just across town:
1.  Plan your move well in advance. This will help avoid a last-minute frenzy.  Use timelines and checklists.
2.  Protect critical photos and files.  Store copies on a  portable hard drive you carry with you, or upload them to a free cloud server such as Google Drive or Dropbox.  
3.  Photograph your cords. Shoot images of the connections on your TV, sound system, modem and computer so they are easier to reconnect in your new home.
4. Make plans for pets.  Reduce the moving stress for pets by  boarding them at a kennel or with friends.  
5.  Get a Movers Guide from the Post Office.  This will help you notify service providers of your new address.  It also includes $750 in coupons for businesses and services you might need.  Your post office has printed copies.
6.  Color-code your packing boxes.  This will make it easy to match them to the right rooms in the new house.  
7.  Mark essential boxes separately.  Anything you will need immediately after move-in should be marked in red.  And make sure the important boxes get loaded last so they come off the truck first.  
8.  Create a first-night box of essentials.  Include medications, toothbrushes, changes of clothing and anything else needed immediately.
9.  Do not box valuables or important documents.  Put jewelry, passports, birth certificates, etc. in a special Move File and hand-carry  them in your own car.
10.  Pack a first-day cleaning kit.  Include a vacuum and cleaning supplies so you can freshen cabinets, closets and counters before you move possessions in.
11.  Make a furniture map.  Plot where all the large furniture pieces will go to simplify set-up.  Use graph paper or a free layout tool like homediary.com.
12.  After the move save all receipts.  If the move is associated with a new job or a transfer, you may be able to deduct some of the expenses.  

These are very handy tips offered by the Florida Realtor Magazine and I felt they were great ideas to pass on. Everyone is faced with a move sooner or later!

written by Barbara Doeringer

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May 10th, 2016 2:44 PM

Barbara’s Blog:

 

There was a time in the past when booking a flight to a destination was exciting, fun and something to anticipate.  The very first time I was on an airplane, everyone was dressed professionally, including the passengers; the staff went above and beyond in service, and the passengers were polite and courteous.  At that time, even the pilot came out to greet children and give them a special airline pin, telling them they had “earned their wings.”  What a difference several decades have made!

The airlines themselves have now made flying miserable for most.  Not only have prices skyrocketed for air fares, but add on fees for luggage, for food and drinks, and now for special seats on the plane, such as window or aisle seats, have made tickets almost unaffordable for many people.  Misery is added by the TSA for extremely long lines through security, and sometimes embarrassing body scans.  Yes, we live in a different world where security is necessary.  However, there should be additional staff or ways of speeding up this process in airports where traffic is exceptionally heavy.  Lost luggage is on the rise, and so are unruly passenger incidents.  It simply is not fun to fly anymore.

Airlines boast exceptional profits each year, yet continue to charge passengers for more services.  Many different airlines have had mechanical or cosmetic issues that make us wonder if inspections are as good as they used to be.  Passengers would rather be on their cell phones or playing games than engage in conversations with others and many are rude and impatient.

No, flying is not as enjoyable as it used to be.  With a transportation choice of “planes, trains, or automobiles” I think planes might rank as a last resort for many in the future. 

Written by Barbara Doeringer


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April 12th, 2016 10:50 AM

Barbara’s Blog:

Safety in the home is always a major concern, but so many little things escape our notice specifically in the kitchen.  Here are some strategies to keep a kitchen safe, according to AARP:

Contrary to what we have heard, there is no need to rinse meat, poultry or fish before cooking.  Doing so can spread bacteria to the sink, counter tops and other kitchen surfaces.

Illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours.  So put leftovers in the refrigerator as soon as possible, even if they’re still warm.

Marinate in the fridge.  Harmful germs in marinade or food can multiply quickly at room temperature.

Don’t be tempted to save energy costs by setting the refrigerator and freezer at slightly higher temperatures, as it beckons bacteria.  Keep the fridge 40 degrees, the freezer at 0 degrees.

When frying food, keep a lid nearby to smother a small grease fire.

Microwaves cause more emergency room scald injuries than any other kitchen device.  Let food cool a few minutes before removing, and be careful touching a hot container or removing a cover.  Allow scalding steam to escape. 

Don’t stick to Teflon cookware.  Pans coated with Teflon that were made before 2012 contain perfluorooctanoic acid, and studies in lab animals have found exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of certain cancers.  Stainless steel and cast iron are the better choices.

And “beware the bagel!”  Nearly 3,000 people in 2014 cut their hand or fingers while trying to slice a bagel.  Either buy them presliced or purchase a bagel slicer.

Simple awareness of small kitchen safeties can prevent future injuries or illnesses to adults and children, especially with the summer months ahead, full of family reunions and indoor/ outdoor entertaining. 

Written by Barbara Doeringer


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January 19th, 2016 10:14 AM
Barbara's Blog:

Fitness and diet routinely figure into people's New Year's resolutions, but they usually turn out to be short-term commitments.  Instead, consider focusing resolutions on improving home and financial future.  Here are 16 possible to-dos to consider for the new year:

1.  Home energy audit.  Schedule an energy audit through your local utility company to identify the upgrades that will immediately reduce utility costs.  

2.  Green your home.  Pick some green upgrades and do one each month.  They can be simple 10-minutes projects, such as installing LEDs or using power strips to cut electricity loads.  

3.  Refinance your mortgage.  The Feds are talking about raising interest rates, so look into whether refinancing now would be beneficial.

4.  Age-in-place upgrades.  Take steps to make aging in place possible.  Install lever-style doorknobs when changing doors and add handrails when re-doing stairs, showers or pool areas.  

5.  Safety.  It is a good idea to do an annual walk-through to be certain that a home is safe.  Check smoke detectors, alarm systems, electrical outlets.

6.  Fall prevention.  When doing a safety walk-through, look for and eliminate any fall dangers:  check area rugs, entrances and any steps or loose bricks/ concrete.

7.  Systems upgrades.  Before the water heater or AC quits, get up to speed on the most energy efficient models.  That way, an informed decision can be made when the time comes.

8.  Emergency preparedness.  It is always good to have a plan for emergencies, whether those are natural disasters or a local power outage.  Keep a list of items needed and update each year.

9.  Financial review.  See a financial planner early in the year to review your financial picture and determine how to make goals a reality.

10.  Up savings.  Increase regular contributions to a savings plan, even if only by $5 per week.  

11.  Will updates.  Review your will and those named as beneficiaries on your accounts.  Life events change from year to year and it is important to stay updated.

12.  Tax preparations.  Get taxes ready early in the year, rather than waiting until the last second.  It will give your accountant more time to identify tax breaks.

13.  Image your future.  Investigate your future "dreams" and develop a plan to make it happen, whether it be travel or a new hobby.

14.  Work.  Do you want to work part-time or seasonal?  Will you seek a complete change of pace from previous  jobs and do something just for fun?

15.  Boost technology skills.  Knowing how to maneuver a computer and smart phone can help as we age.  Don't let technology intimidate you!  

16.  Volunteering.  Think about your passion:  animals, children, gardening?   Choose what most interests you and use opportunities to volunteer in that area.  

written by Barbara Doeringer







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Posted by Allen Doeringer on January 19th, 2016 10:14 AMLeave a Comment

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November 18th, 2014 10:04 AM

With my birthday just days away, it is time to prepare growing older gracefully once again.  Each year is different and none will resemble another.  Some events that have unfolded in life have left deep emotional impacts and scars that have healed, but have not been forgotten.

But birthdays are new beginnings and moments of personal closure.  Every birthday, not just the ones marking a new decade, is a significant milestone.  Every age brings with it three hundred sixty-five real life lessons.  We become more certain of ourselves as we reach "Act Two" and more sure of what we want in life.  Many of the struggles that sapped so much energy and time in earlier years have now subsided.  There is now more effort to enjoy those  things we always wanted to see and do.

So, grow older gracefully.  Nature gives you the face you have when you are twenty.  Life shapes the face you have at forty; but it is up to you to earn the face you have at sixty or seventy.  The most dominant influence on a person's well-being is being happier growing older, for we turn not older with years, but newer every day!

Happy Birthday to you, and to me!


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October 28th, 2014 10:26 AM

As Jiminy Cricket sings in the movie Pinocchio, "When you wish upon a star" . . . . . . your dreams come true.  If only it were that easy!  However, it is possible to make dreams come true with positive choices and working with what you've already got.

Many think they need for life to become "perfect" before they make any changes or major decisions, so it becomes a waiting game of "wishing" and "hoping."  But the actual "craft" of wishing is to acknowledge that life never calms down long enough for us to wait until the perfect tomorrow.  Life is always movement, change, and unforseen circumstances, and there is never the "perfect" time.   So we should work with what we have and get going.

Wish that you can get the highest possible price for the sale of your home, but acknowledge that any loss will be offset with other savings, such as lower closing costs or in the lower price purchase of another home.  Wish for the economy to become better, but call forth the riches from everyday life that you currently have.

Procrastination robs us of too many opportunities.  We often hear, "I WISH I had bought when prices were lower."  "I WISH I had listened to your advice."  "I WISH I had taken that offer."  There is a "craft" to wishing:  it is by adjusting one's outlook that things change.  Don't let your wishes become your regrets;  instead make them come true.

AND WE WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY HALLOWEEN, FULL OF CRAFTY DREAMS THAT COME TRUE!


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Posted by Barbara Doeringer on October 28th, 2014 10:26 AMLeave a Comment

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