Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Winter Skin Care

Even though we can feel that Spring is just around the corner, our skin still needs special care during these drier and colder months. Some suggestions:

1.       From WebMD
a.       Find an “ointment” moisturizer that is oil-based, rather than water based.  The oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion.  Many lotions labeled as “night creams” are oil based.
b.      Drink water!!!!  Drinking water helps your skin to stay young looking. 
c.       Mint lotions are great for summer months, but in the winter your feet need something stronger.  Try to find a lotion that contains petroleum jelly or glycerine.  Also use exfoliants to get the dead skin off.

2.       From Huffington Post
a.       Brush your lips with a toothbrush to get rid of excess skin from chapped lips
b.      Have dry patches under your eyes?  Try Aquaphor, it is part of the Vaseline family but specifically for those areas
c.       Ditch the drugstore makeup remover wipes and use the cold cream cleanser.  The towlettes do their job, but the cleanser moisturizes and removes makeup.  The towlettes can tend to dry out skin especially in the winter.

3.       Pinterest
 Here is a link to help cure your dry cracked heels from Pinterest. Lots of ideas to prepare for sandal season!

4.       From Readers Digest Best Health, here is a link for 21 tricks to young and healthy skin:


1.     PLAN for the types of disasters that can happen in the area where you live.  You may need to plan for a snowstorm instead of a hurricane.
2.     CREATE your own personalized list.  You may not need everything included in “ready made” kits and there may be additional items you need based on your personal situation.  For example, if you have pets, you may need special items.  Don’t forget to have supplies in your car and at work.
3.     BUDGET emergency preparedness items as a “normal” expense.  Even $20.00 a month can go a long way to helping you be ready.  Buy one preparedness item each time you go to the grocery store.
4.     SAVE by shopping sales.  Make use of coupons and shop at stores with used goods.  Don’t replace your ready kit items annually, just replace and cycle through those items that have a shelf life (e.g. batteries, food).  You may want to test the radio and flashlight every September to make sure they are in good working order.
5.     STORE water in safe containers.  You don’t have to buy more expensive bottled water, but make sure any containers you use for water storage are safe and disinfected.
6.     REQUEST preparedness items as gifts.  We all receive gifts we don’t need or use.  What if your friends and family members gave you gifts that could save your life?  Don’t forget to protect them by sending preparedness gifts their way, too.
7.     THINK ahead.  You are more likely to save money if you can take your time with focused and strategic shopping.  It’s when everyone is at the store right before a storm hits that prices are going to be higher.  Use a list to avoid duplicating items when you are stressed or panicked.
8.     REVIEW your insurance policy annually and make necessary changes.  When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will help you get back on your feed.  Renters need policies too, in order to cover personal property.
9.     UPDATE contact records.  Have an accurate phone list of emergency contact numbers.  If you are prepared, you may be able to help friends and neighbors who need assistance.  By sharing preparedness supplies, you can help each other.
10.  TRADE one night out to fund your 72-hour kit.  Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80-$100.  Just one night of sacrifice could fund a 72-hour ready kit.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tips For Protecting Your Backyard Birds From Avian Influenza

From the Utah State Department of Agriculture . . .
Backyard bird owners are advised to take steps to protect their flock from the highly infectious avian influenza or “bird flu.”  Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was recently detected in waterfowl in Utah prompting state and federal veterinarians to reach out to domestic and commercial poultry owners to increase safety measures for their flocks.  HPAI spreads rapidly and has a high death rate in birds.  The discovery of HPAI in Utah poses a threat to the state’s $150 million dollar turkey, egg and chicken industry.
Bird owners are advised to adopt the follow measures:
1. Keep your distance. Restrict access to your property and your birds. If visitors have birds of their own, do not let them near your birds. Your birds should not have contact with wild birds and migratory waterfowl because they can carry germs and diseases.
2. Keep it clean. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after working with your birds. Wear clean clothes and scrub your shoes with disinfectant. Clean and disinfect equipment, including cages and tools, that comes in contact with your birds or their droppings. Remove manure before disinfecting equipment. Properly dispose of dead birds.
3. Don’t haul disease home. Buy birds from reputable sources so you know you’re getting healthy birds. Keep new birds separate from the rest of your flock for at least 30 days. If your birds have been to a fair or exhibition, keep them separated from your flock for 2 weeks after the event.

4. Don’t borrow disease from your neighbors. Do not share garden equipment or poultry supplies with your neighbors or other bird owners. If you do bring these items home, clean and disinfect them before they reach your property.
5. Know the warning signs. Early detection can help prevent the spread of disease. While it may be hard to tell if your bird has AI, when you check your birds frequently, you may be able to tell if something is wrong.
6. Report sick birds. Don’t wait. If your birds are sick or dying, call UDAF at (801) 538-7161. For dead wild birds, call USDA toll free at 1-866-536-7593.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Goal Setting

“Decided to cut hay. Started to harness up the horses and found that the harness was broken. I took it to the granary to repair it and noticed some empty sacks lying around. The sacks were a reminder that some potatoes in the cellar needed the sprouts removed. I went to the cellar to do the job and noticed that the room needed sweeping. I went to the house to get a broom and saw the wood box was empty. I went to the woodpile and noticed some ailing chickens. They were such sad-looking things that I decided to get some medicine for them. Since I was out of medicine, I jumped into the car and headed for the drugstore. On the way, I ran out of gas.”

Ever feel like this farmer? Staying focused on our goals will help us accomplish more in our lives, and accomplish the things most important to us.

These concepts can help us set worthwhile goals:

  • A goal is an anticipated accomplishment.
  • The value of a goal helps determine its priority.
  • Prioritizing goals means to put them in a desired order.
  • A calendar helps us schedule all that we need to accomplish.
Most successful people set goals. If we set long-range goals, then set shorter term goals, including daily tasks, that will help us accomplish the long-range goals, we will achieve the important things we set out to do to live more productive lives. Setting goals and working to achieve them every day helps us more effectively manage our time and gain control over our lives.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Building an Emergency Fund

Life rarely goes as planned. That's why it's always good to have an emergency fund in the bank.

Brad Smith, CEO of debt management company Rescue One Financial in Irvine, Calif., works with more than 100,000 clients trying to avoid bankruptcy.

"Many of them could have avoided enrolling in a debt management plan had they had any type of emergency fund set up," he says. "There are many people out there who are living so paycheck to paycheck that a blown transmission would send them into bankruptcy. An injured child or a natural disaster could easily be handled with additional funds."

Avoid letting unexpected expenses or events lead you to financial ruin. Build your emergency fund by using these tips:

Start building your emergency fund with a specific goal in mind. While your savings goal will depend on your income and expenses, a general rule of thumb is to save enough to cover four to seven months' worth of expenses.

"Everyone has wants, needs and desires when it comes to spending money," says Pete D'Arruda, financial radio show host, author and president of Capital Financial Advisory Group in Cary, N.C. "Make sure you have seven months' worth of emergency income available for the needs."

Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Debt Relief, says to focus on having enough to cover expenses when setting your savings goal, not on replacing your entire income.

"Remember, in an emergency, we don't fund vacations, fancy new clothes, dining out or other luxuries," he says.

While you may aim higher eventually, Smith recommends making small goals at first, such as saving $1,000 and working your way up to a reserve to cover several months' worth of expenses.

Your rainy-day emergency fund should be easily accessible, but not so easily accessible that you'll be tempted to make withdrawals for everyday spending.
"I like using an account away from my normal checking account to build a psychological wall between my spending habits and my emergency fund," says Ray Lucia, a Certified Financial Planner and nationally syndicated radio host. "Credit unions work well because they normally allow you to start with smaller amounts of money."

Online banks also are good locations for your emergency savings account because you can't just walk into the bank and withdraw your cash.

Danielle Marquis, adjunct professor of personal finance at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colo., recommends keeping emergency funds in a combination of locations and/or saving accounts, including an online savings account, in savings bonds and as cash in a lockbox at home.

If you can't stomach keeping a significant amount of money in a standard savings account with a low interest rate, consider a money market account that allows withdrawals only at certain minimum levels, or purchase short-term certificates of deposit with three- or six-month terms on a regular basis. You'll earn some interest and be required to constantly reinvest.

Establish a monthly savings goal and make it part of your regular budget. Marquis recommends setting up an automatic monthly transfer, just as you would with the electric bill or fitness club membership, to ensure the money is saved each month.

"The forced savings should feel like a bill pay transaction that is done on the same day of every month," Smith says.

Paying yourself first through a direct deposit from your paycheck into your emergency fund account will help you build your fund steadily. But make sure you've created a balanced budget so you know you have enough money to save, says financial coach Matt Wegner of Matt Wegner Coaching in Sheboygan, Wis.
"Too many people direct deposit money in their savings accounts, only to turn around and pull the money back out to pay bills," he says. "A solid monthly spending plan can help avoid this situation."

 "An emergency fund is for the unexpected," says Carrie Coghill, a Barron's Top 100 financial adviser and the director of consumer education for "For example, appliances that stop working, getting laid off from a job, a long illness or an accident. You use an emergency fund for any expense you cannot foresee."

One of the most common problems people have with emergency funds is forgetting to plan for one-time expenses each year, Coghill says.

"People budget to save and put away an emergency fund, then they forget to budget for an annual insurance expense or car expenses, etc.," she says. "You can foresee your car insurance expense next November, for example, so it is not an emergency."

One way to avoid using the fund for nonemergencies is to make access to it somewhat difficult. "Do not get access to it via debit card," Smith says. "And if you are issued a checkbook, hide it."

"Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is an emergency fund," Gallegos says. "Any action you can take to establish an emergency fund will do you good. If you transfer $10 to a savings account each week, you'll have $500 in a year."
Don't be afraid to start with a small amount of savings each month, but try to increase it whenever possible.

"When you pay off a credit card with a $50 monthly payment, increase your savings by that $50," says Gallegos. "With the same outflow you have today, you'll be paying yourself."

When you get a tax refund or commission check, add it to your fund, he says. And gradually boost your savings by selling items you don't need on eBay, holding a yard sale or putting change into a jar every evening.

"Save rather than blow your excess money," Gallegos says. "By stashing the extra, in addition to your regular predetermined amount from your budget, you'll see your savings soar."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Power Outage Preparedness

Power outages can be common during the winter months. It is important to be prepared in case of an outage, as well as to know what to do during an outage to keep your family safe.

Rocky Mountain Power suggests preparing an outage kit. This could include ready to eat foods, a can opener, water, a battery-operated radio, a flashlight or lantern, extra batteries, a first-aid kit and blankets.

The following safety tips can help your family stay safe and comfortable during an outage:

  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. NEVER use candles during a blackout or power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary "surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
  • Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.  If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Listen to local radio and to a battery- or generator-powered television for updated information.
  • Leave on one light so that you'll know when your power returns.
  • Use a standard telephone handset, cellular phone, radio or pager if your phone requires electricity to work, as do cordless phones and answering machines. Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 for information—call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not work during a power outage. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Build a 72-Hour Kit a Week at a Time

If the thought of putting together a 72-hour emergency kit is overwhelming, consider using a plan such as this. You can add one item a week and at the end of the year, you will be much closer to having a preparedness kit for your family. Of course, these are only suggestions -- feel free to substitute and customize for your personal needs. Be sure to check and rotate food items every 6 months.


  1. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors
  2. Select a suitable family sized 72 hour container
  3. Add 1 1/2 gallons water
  4. Add 10 $1 bills
  5. Add 1 blanket
  6. Add pocket utility knife
  7. Add a can opener
  8. Add 2 $5 bills
  9. Add 2 cans tuna or other canned meat
  10. Add 1 large roll of paper towels
  11. Add 4 rolls toilet paper
  12. Add 10 $1 bills
  13. Add 1 bar soap
  14. Add toothbrushes and toothpaste
  15. Add 1 container baby wipes
  16. Add 2 $5 bills
  17. Add 1-2 changes of clothing per person
  18. Add 1 48 oz. bottle of juice
  19. Add 1 can fruit and 1 can vegetables
  20. Add 10 $1 bills
  21. Add 1 box of matches
  22. Add 1 package hard candy
  23. Add 1 jar peanut butter
  24. Add 2 $5 bills
  25. Add paper plates
  26. Check smoke detector batteries and practice home escape routes
  27. Add 1 box crackers
  28. Add 10 $1 bills
  29. Add plastic utensils
  30. Add 1 100 hour candle
  31. Add 1 box graham crackers
  32. Add 2 $5 bills
  33. Add flashlight and set of spare batteries (check batteries every 6 months)
  34. Add hand sanitizer
  35. Add paper cups
  36. Add 10 $1 bills
  37. Add basic first aid kit
  38. Add 1 pound dried fruit
  39. Add 4 cups dried milk in zip lock container
  40. Add 2 $5 bills
  41. Add battery/solar powered radio
  42. Add any individual medical needs
  43. Add diapers, feminine hygiene items
  44. Add 1 entertainment element (books, magazines, handheld game)
  45. Add 1 hand shovel
  46. Verify that all family immunizations are current
  47. Add 1 large roll of aluminum foil
  48. Add 1 hand axe
  49. Add zip lock bags (variety of sizes)
  50. Add 1-2 boxes favorite cereal
  51. Add photocopies of personal documents
  52. Send 1 copy of personal documents to family member in separate location
You'll probably want more food, and want to personalize, but this will give you a great start!