Saturday, January 20, 2007

My husband's place of work has potluck quite frequently. Sometimes, I'm at a lost for what to make or purchase. Here's some quick and easy recipes from Erika Matthews.

Pot Luck? By: Erika Matthews

If you’ve been asked to bring a dish to share at a potluck dinner and you’re short on ideas of what to make, here are a few crockpot recipes to make your life easier:

Crockpot Ham
Get a nice sized cut of pre-cooked ham and place it in your large crockpot. If you have a smaller crockpot, purchase a smaller ham…
Make a paste with some brown sugar and Cola. Put just enough soda in it to make it pasty. Spread the paste on top of the ham and place cover on crockpot. Let it cook all day on low heat for 8-10 hours.

Crockpot Meatballs in Sauce
Take a pound or two of hamburger (depending on how many meatballs you desire). And place into a large bowl.
Mix in the following:

1 Egg (per pound of hamburger)
1 package of onion soup mix, diluted with ¼ cup of water
¼ Cup of breadcrumbs

Take a small melon ball scoop and make meatballs.

Place meatballs into a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes or until meatballs are done to your liking.

Pour spaghetti sauce into your crockpot.
1 Large Jar per pound of hamburger.

When the meatballs are cooked, place them into the sauce and put cover on crockpot and let cook on medium heat until sauce is warm. You can keep this on low heat until you’re ready to serve. Slice some Italian bread and wrap in foil to bring along to serve with your dish.

Quick Fix Soup
If you’re in a real pinch for time, purchase a couple of large cans of your favorite soup and prepare it according the directions and let it simmer on low. Serve with some nice French bread and you’re good to go! Hey, no one said you had to be a professional chef to bring a dish to pass did they?

Article by:

Erika is an author and the editor of Her site if full of original content on topics spanning: Christian Lifestyle, Home Based Business, Homemaking, and Frugality to name a few. She’s posted hundreds of free recipes on her blog at to please your family. She strives to publish quality, original content to help moms in all areas of their everyday lives. Pay her site a visit today to see what’s new just for you!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Today is A Friend Raises Your Spirits Day

Let's all say some nice things about our best friend today!

My best friend, Jean, and I have known each other since high school. We got to know each other better years later. She's been there for me during the bad and good. I still have the beautiful blanket and baby book she gave me, at my baby shower, 14 years later.

She's the very best. Thanks for being there for me Jean!

A New Apron from ScrapHappy - Check It Out!

I recently ordered and received my garden theme apron from ScrapHappy, an online store, owned by turkey blues. She sells other handmade items, such as fabric bags, sachet mouse squeeks, tea towels, dolls and more. Click here to few my new apron. I absolutely love it!

Thank you turkey blues!

A Response to My Beginner's Knitting Question - Tammy's Time

One of my frequently visited blog's, Tammy's Times, has responded to my question. "What knitting projects would you suggest for beginner's?" Please visit her blog to read the response. And don't forget to leave a comment or two, to let her know that you were there!

Thanks for responding Tammy!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Top 7 Ways to Reduce Your Income Taxes by Kristine McKinley, CFP, CPA

Top 7 Ways to Reduce Your Income Taxes By: Kristine McKinley, CFP, CPA

Are you paying too much in income taxes? Are you getting all the credits and deductions you are entitled to? Here are 7 tips to help you minimize taxes and keep more in your pocket:

1. Participate in company retirement plans. Every dollar you contribute will reduce your taxable income and thus your income taxes. Similarly, enroll in your company’s flexible spending account. You can set aside money for medical expenses and day care expenses. This money is “use it or lose it” so make sure you estimate well!

2. Make sure you pay in enough taxes to avoid penalties. Uncle Sam charges interest and penalties if you don’t pay in at least 90% of your current year taxes or 100% of last year’s tax liability.

3. Buy a house. The mortgage interest and real estate taxes are deductible, and may allow you to itemize other deductions such as property taxes and charitable donations.

4. Keep your house for at least two years. One of the best tax breaks available today is the home sale exclusion, which allows you to exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) of profit on the sale of your home from your income. However, you must have owned and lived in your home for at least two years to qualify for the exclusion.

5. Time your investment sales. If your income is higher than expected, sell some of your losers to reduce taxable income. If you will be selling a mutual fund, sell before the year-end distributions to avoid taxes on the upcoming dividend or capital gain. Also, you should allocate tax efficient investments to your taxable accounts and non-efficient investments to your retirement accounts, to reduce the tax you pay on interest, dividends and capital gains.

6. If you’re retired, plan your retirement plan distributions carefully. If a retirement plan distribution will push you into a higher tax bracket, consider taking money out of taxable investments to keep you in the lower tax bracket. Also, pay attention to the 59 ½ age limit. Withdrawals taken before this age can result in penalties in addition to income taxes.

7. Bunch your expenses. Certain expenses must exceed a minimum before you can deduct them (medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income and miscellaneous expenses such as tax preparation fees must exceed 2% of your AGI). In order to deduct these expenses, you may need to bunch these types of expenses into a single year to get above the minimum. To achieve this, you might prepay medical and miscellaneous expenses on December 31 to get above the minimum amount.

The most important thing is to be aware of the tax deductions and credits that apply to you and to plan for taxable events. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. The benefits from consulting an experienced tax professional far outweigh the cost to hire that professional.

Article by:

Kristine A. McKinley, CPA, Certified Financial Planner®, and founder of Beacon Financial Advisors, teaches people how to invest and plan for retirement, college, and other financial goals. Kristine offers financial and tax planning on an hourly, fee-only basis. Learn how improving your credit score can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars each year by signing up for our free ecourse Boost Your Credit Score in Five Easy Steps. =>

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Website Recommendation: High School Ace

High School Ace is one of the few homeschool websites for teens. It makes a perfect home page with links to a variety of references, such as a translator, world maps and street maps. They'll also get great use from the daily question site, word of the day, subject guides, and study tips!

Parents, you'll have fun with this site too!

Promote Your Business Through Podcasting -Sign Up For Shoestring Radio

Are you interested in promoting your home business through an Internet talk radio show and podcasting but don't know where to start? Do you have an interest or skill that you would like to promote?

Kelly McCausey, WAHM Talk Radio, offers her tips on marketing, press releases, and lots more, on audio. You can sign up or find out more by visiting Shoestring Radio.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Free Printables - Homeschooling

Beverly Hernandez, Homeschooling Guide, is offering free downloadable worksheets for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Choose from crossword puzzles, word search, vocabulary and more.

Coupons Don't Always Save You

Please read Pat Veretto, Frugal Living Guide, article, 'Can You Save With Coupons? It Depends'. It will definitely clear up any myths about using coupons, for you.

p.s. I only use them on items we purchase regularly.

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