Three Special Birthday Presents

Posted by Irene on Monday May 13, 2013 Under Uncategorized

Throughout the year, you have plenty of birthday parties to attend. However, after the third or fourth one, you feel as though you giving the same present to everyone. You certainly do not want to fall into this pattern. If you are, it means that you are not really focusing on what the person wants; you are just focusing on buying something and getting out of the store. When you want to give an extra special birthday gift, what are some of the ideas you can consider?

Birthday Presents

Unique Presents

You do not always have to stay within the lines, so to speak, when you are purchasing birthday gifts. For example, a Moonglow moon necklace or a gift certificate for a piercing parlor can certainly be appropriate for someone who has a bit of an eclectic style when it comes to jewelry. If you know someone who really has a sense of humor, you could look into some hysterical gag gifts. Use your own talents as well. If you are a hair dresser and your friend has wanted purple streaks for awhile, offer to do them for free as a birthday gift.

Make Your Own Presents

Lack of sufficient funds is another reason why people often struggle with what to give for birthdays. They want to provide a special present, but they just do not have the money to do so. Chances are, you have some very special talents, so start putting them to good use. For example, you could bake your friend a huge birthday cake with his or her favorite design on it. If you are a crafty person, purchase some scrapbooking materials. You can make a lovely album for a sibling’s birthday that details all of the special moments you have had together throughout the years.

“Going Out” Gifts

People also really appreciate presents that offer them the opportunity to get out of the house for awhile. For example, tickets to a sporting event are an excellent idea, and you might take the person on his or her actual birthday. When you are really close to someone, you might buy him or her a weekend away at a nearby bed and breakfast or resort. Of course, be sure you book it for dates the person can actually attend.
All of these gift ideas should really start to get the juices flowing. Soon, you’ll have a wonderful present for your family member or friend.

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Date Night

Posted by Irene on Thursday Feb 28, 2013 Under Uncategorized

The question that I frequently find myself thinking is, how to bring the spark back into your marriage.  With so much time spent on the kids, work and the day-to-day, I just keep thinking of how to get back into the relationship with your husband.  Too often, in my opinion, conversations are just about the kids, work and logistics.  You can miss the days when conversations always felt like we were growing and increasing in intimacy.  You can miss the days when you felt like you could talk forever about whatever, and it felt worthwhile. You can miss the days when every touch was something significant and meaningful.

You can find one of those rare moments between popping in one laundry and putting dinner in the oven, to talk to your husband about this.  You may realize that  what you really need is a date night.  The problem is that you have kids, work and the day-to-day.  People always talk about date night, but how could you do it?  My two cents:baby steps.





Step 1: Set aside a Monday night, you can  do laundries and clean the kitchen TOGETHER.  Create the rules that you can’t talk about the usual stuff.  If you have nothing more to say, just be.

Step 2: Set aside mini-dates.  Fifteen minutes, once a week, where you can do something which interests both of you.  Maybe a hobby or a sport.  Try not to make it TV or anything which does not allow for real open verbal communication.  Try something different (see this article).  Don’t be afraid to dress up/shower for this date (nothing to elaborate, as the time won’t allow it).  Make it special.  If you can make it longer, go for it!

Step 3: Figure out what works for you.  This is part of the communication, where together you decide what you want to do to make things work.

Remember, you marriage is like a plant.  You need to water it.

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Keeping in Touch with Family While Deployed

Posted by Irene on Sunday Feb 17, 2013 Under Home

091228-A-3108M-001Regular contact with family and friends during a deployment can help lift the spirits of any service member and ensure that they are mentally able to fulfill the mission. While some deployments may allow service members to bring their dependents, many are deployed to areas that are not safe for spouses and children. There are many ways to keep in touch and reduce the stress of being far from home.

Postal mail is the most common form of communication for service members on deployment. Being able to hold a letter in your hand and read your loved one’s words over and over can help you keep your focus. Unfortunately, the mail is not always delivered promptly in all areas of the world. It can takes weeks for you to receive mail from home.

Another popular form of communicating with family and friends is social media. While access to the Internet may not be available all the time, most installations have an Internet connection that service members can use sometimes. Being able to post a message to your loved ones on your social media site and seeing the caring responses of encouragement when you return can be heartwarming.

Some service members are able to speak to their friends and family directly through video conferencing. This technology allows someone in one part of the world to see and talk to someone on the other side of the globe. Through a service such as Cisco video conferencing, you can see your parents, children and spouse while giving them the visual assurance that you are safe and can’t wait to get back home to them.

No matter how you keep in touch with your family during your deployment, it is important to give them peace of mind while you are away. They will worry a little less about you when you send them letters and email, as well as make an occasional video conference call to them. Service members who only have access to postal mail should remind their family that responses to their letters may come later than they expect because of sporadic pick-up and delivery of mail. While social media and video conferencing aren’t always available, they offer more of a personal connection that is very important for deployed service members as well as their families at home.


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Top 9 Presents for Your Sporty Husband

Posted by Irene on Monday Jan 14, 2013 Under Uncategorized

Sports Gifts

Purchasing gifts for men can certainly be difficult as many wives and girlfriends will attest to. When the holidays or his birthday runs around, here are some ideas so that you don’t give him the same presents over and over again.

  • Sports Equipment – If your husband loves to play sports, then look into some fun new gear for him. Whether it’s boxing bags, baseball gloves or a new football, he will certainly be happy with the present.
  • Tickets to a Game – Maybe he is the type of guy who likes to watch sports more than play them, so buy him tickets to watch his favorite team score the winning points.
  • A Sports TV Package – Maybe your house has not had sports on in awhile because you need a special package to get the TV that he loves. Surprise him on his special day by adding and paying for DirecTV or something.
  • Season Tickets – If you have a lot of extra money to spare, then you can get him an entire season’s worth of sports excitement. Once in awhile, let him take his best buddy to the game instead of you.
  • Meet and Greet – Sometimes, famous players will come to local stores to sign autographs for their fans. Be aware of when these dates are going to happen, and take him over to the store. Let it be a surprise, and don’t tell him where you are going until you arrive.
  • A Vacation – Perhaps a stadium exists that he has always wanted to see or view a game at. Plan a little weekend getaway to a local one, or a cross country expedition for one that is hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
  • A Stadium Tour – Whether it is going to occur at a stadium while you’re on vacation or at one near your house, this is a really exciting gift. He’ll get to see where all of his favorite players spend their time.
  • Trading Cards – Maybe he’s a guy who misses the days when he was young and collected cards. Let this hobby come back to life this year.
  • Some New Clothes – Guys tend to love clothes that have the logo of their favorite team sewn into them, so look for shirts, pants, gloves and all of the other wardrobe staples.

When you choose one of these gifts, it’s no doubt that your man will fall absolutely in love with it.

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Finding Time for Myself

Posted by Irene on Monday Jan 14, 2013 Under Uncategorized

One of the things I struggle to do is to find time for myself. The hours and days seem to roll by. There is a never ending amount of laundry to do, dishes to clean and meals to make. When is there downtime for me?

Think if you don’t schedule it in you will struggle. At night when I have no energy, I like to sit in front of the TV and watch some shows. Additionally, I like to work out in the mornings. 20 minutes on the treadmill in the morning actually gives me energy to get through the day.

Ultimately, it is up to us to structure our day around our needs. We all tick differently but what is for sure that if you ignore your needs, you will suffer.

When and how do you like to find time for yourself?

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Easy Ways To Save During Your Remodel

Posted by Irene on Thursday Jan 3, 2013 Under Home

RemodelingRemodeling is a great alternative to selling your existing home and buying another. You may have one or more rooms that have lent themselves to different ideas; now is the time to see how each idea might work. Here are eight tips to help you with your remodel.

Measure the room or rooms to be remodeled; draw a floor plan showing the walls, electrical outlets, light switches, windows and doors. If two rooms will be turned into one, measure both rooms and the wall that will be removed. Make several copies of your work.

Sketch different ideas on your main outlines and hang them on the wall. Look at each design for a week or two. Keep a notebook of ideas nearby; list any changes you would incorporate into the new design. Perhaps the new room(s) will look different than you originally envisioned. After two weeks, use a new outline and incorporate your changes into your sketch.

Enlist the help of a contractor for advice if you will be doing the work yourself. If the wall is a supporting wall, meaning it helps hold up the roof, learn what will be required to take the wall’s place. The contractor may offer tips about how best to perform the necessary work. One of the benefits of doing the job yourself is the ability to find quality products for your remodel in an online store.

Obtain all the necessary permits before beginning your work. Unpermitted work may not be covered by homeowner’s insurance; it could also result in lawsuits or fines. Be sure to have each inspection done as your work progresses. If the inspector says to change something, change it; taking his/her advice will help you in further inspections.

You do not have to perform all the work yourself. In many cases, you can hire your contractor for part of the work. For example, you could perform the construction work while the contractor performs the electrical work. Some states require licensed professionals to perform certain functions during remodels or new construction.

An online store can provide antique or vintage moldings, doors, cabinet hardware, rugs and much more. The prices may be better than in a stick built shop. Rewiring an old light fixture is easy; a plethora of books and websites give clear instructions of the process.

Learn from your contractor and inspector about used building supplies. Your state may require new wood for outside wall framing, but not for indoor flooring, wall covering or non-supporting walls. This can save a tremendous amount of money.

If you are going to hire a contractor to do the work, obtain several estimates. Discard the highest and lowest prices. Research the three or four middle contractors and choose the one you are the most comfortable with and has the best reputation.

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How to Spend Your Extra Cash

Posted by Irene on Wednesday Nov 28, 2012 Under Uncategorized

That extra cash that you currently have may be burning a hole in your pocket. Rather than hanging onto it for a rainy day, why not spend it on a fun-filled vacation complete with hiring an airplane charter company (click here) for transportation. Airplane charter means that you are renting out the entire aircraft to use at your disposal. Whether you’re flying alone, with a loved one, or with friends and family, feel free to take everyone along on your flight! When renting one, you can travel to nearly any area of the world without having to ride with other passengers or deal with airport procedures. It’s the ultimate in luxury!

Choosing a Vacation Destination
From the Himalayan Mountains to the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean, there are so many unique places that are waiting for you. Choose a vacation destination based on what you can afford and what you’re interested in. For example, if you can’t get enough of the beach you may prefer somewhere like Hawaii, Jamaica or Australia’s Gold Coast. Be sure to research each area before choosing a vacation spot.

Spending Extra Cash on Vacation
In addition to putting your money into the airplane charter company rental and the accommodations for the trip itself, you may have some money left over to spend while on the vacation of your dreams. Make the most out of your vacation by seeing the sights and experiencing the local activities at your destination. Whether you want to go on a cross-country skiing adventure, snorkel in the coral reef, rent a jet ski or boat, attend a hula lesson or visit a theme park, it’s all waiting for you at top destinations around the world. Don’t forget to try the local cuisine at 5-star restaurants and sip on cocktails in area lounges to fully take advantage of your luxury vacation.

All-Inclusive Vacations
All-inclusive vacations are another great way to spend your extra cash. Rather than paying for everything separately during your vacation, pay for it all at once upfront and enjoy all that the area has to offer. While these vacations can be quite pricey, it’s a great way to take advantage of all of the area’s activities with ease, and often they are pre-planned so you don’t have to do all the research yourself.

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Three Domestic Woman Cliches

Posted by Irene on Sunday Oct 21, 2012 Under Uncategorized


There are a lot of cliches associated with being a domestic woman. Here are three.

1. Watching Soap Operas

Will Amber find out about Joe’s affair? Will Stacey ever wake up from her coma? Admit it, these story lines aren’t that unfamiliar to you! And there’s nothing wrong with watching soaps. They’re on during the day when you’re the most active around the house. Even if they’re only providing background noise, they are just good escapist fun.

2. Partaking in an Afternoon Drink

Sometimes it’s lonely around the house and sometimes the wine rack looks mighty tempting. A sip or two here and there is all right. Especially if you accomplish a lot of work around the house. Just don’t overdo it!

3. Driving a Minivan

Carpools, sporting events, science fairs… Sometimes you just need space for your kids. Not to mention the groceries you buy every week to feed them. All of this requires a lot of space. Minivans offer comfort and now they’re even more stylish. So while it’s a cliche for a mommy to be riding around in a van, there’s definitely nothing wrong with it!

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Designing Your Kitchen Like Those on TV

Posted by Irene on Sunday Oct 14, 2012 Under How To

Celebrity chefs have the privilege of preparing delicious meals in perfectly designed kitchens. After watching these chefs have everything they need right at their fingertips, I decided my time in the kitchen would be more pleasant and productive if I also had a conveniently organized kitchen. Between checking out some kitchen make-overs on TV, browsing through home decorating magazines, and intently observing the kitchens of celebrity chef’s, I decided to incorporate some of the design ideas I saw there into my kitchen.

One of the first things I noticed was that none of the TV kitchens had an unsightly trash can sitting on the floor. That observation sent me searching for garbage cans and trash bins that were not an eyesore. I decided to take one cabinet and transform it into a space for a pull out trash bin. Browsing through the vast selection from the plain to fancy simplehuman garbage cans, led me to some large, stainless steel trash and recycle bins that I was able to place inside the pantry.

The kitchens on TV always seem to have ample workspace and organized storage space. To clear off my counter tops, I added a baker’s rack to my kitchen. This gives me a place to store small appliances and large bowls. Almost every TV kitchen design has an island. Adding an island to my kitchen design increased both my work space and storage space. It also gave me an additional eating area.

The back splash is one of the most eye-catching features of TV kitchens and the kitchens in decorating magazines. That is why I spent considerable time selecting the perfect back splash for my kitchen design. I also decided to follow the current trend of using two different colors for my kitchen cabinets.

Taking advantage of the many cabinet and drawer organizers available, has allowed me to arrange and organize my kitchen so that the cookware, small appliances and utensils I need are easily accessible. Although many of the TV kitchens feature open front or glass front cabinets, I decided that design idea simply was not appropriate for me. Instead, I decided to have a few cabinets with frosted glass fronts and the remainder with solid doors and simplistic hardware.

Accessibility and organization are key elements in my kitchen design. I borrowed ideas from TV kitchens and used ideas of my own to create an attractive design that works efficiently for me.

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8 Must-See Sites in Israel

Posted by Irene on Tuesday Oct 9, 2012 Under Travel

israel beachIsrael, with a history stretching back thousands of years, affords tourists a bounty of historically rich sites to visit.

The Wailing Wall, situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, stands as the remains of an ancient wall that used to encircle Jewish Temple’s courtyard. A place of Jewish pilgrimage and prayer for hundreds of years, at least half of the wall, encompassing over seventeen courses below current ground level, dates from the time of the Second Temple. Jewish Israel tours often visit this important location.

The Dead Sea, a salt lake between Jordan and Israel’s West Bank, is one of the deepest and saltiest bodies of water on Earth. Attracting visitors for thousands of years, the Dead Sea acted as place of sanctuary for King David.

A place of primeval fortifications and palaces, the Masada is found in the Southern District of Israel. Located on top of a secluded stone ledge, the Masada overlooks the Dead Sea. Notorious for the violence that wracked the area in the first century CE, this site played host to the Siege of Masada during the First Jewish-Roman War. Historical legend supposes that the siege enacted by the armies of the Roman Empire led to the mass suicide of the Sicarii rebels.

The Sea of Galilee, found in the northeast region of Israel, is the largest freshwater lake in the country. Supplied by underground springs, the Jordan River acts as its largest beneficiary. The miracles of Jesus, walking on water and calming the storm, were reputed to occur on the shores of Galilee.

Mount Tabor is situated at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, near the lower part of Galilee. Mount Tabor was the location of the battle between Barak – under Deborah, a judge of Israel – and the Jabin army, commandeered by Sisera. Historians believe that the Mount Tabor Battle occurred in the mid fourteenth century BCE.

Tiberias, a city found on the western shore of Galilee, is a popular stop on many Jewish Israel tours. Considered one of Judaism’s four holy cities, it is venerated for its healing hot springs.

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo exclusively features animals from the Hebrew Bible. This zoo is world famous for its triumph in breeding endangered species.

No trip to Israel is complete without a visit to the Mahane Yehuda Market. Dubbed The Shuk, it is both a closed and open air market with over two hundred vendors hawking a variety of nuts, spices, clothes, and Judaica.

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