Go Outside (77/365)

March 18 2012

Over the last week, I’ve mostly discussed indoor activities when discussing inexpensive ways to spend time with your family. Art projects? Usually inside. Reading? Usually inside. Making things in your kitchen? Usually inside. We’ve just been through an Iowa winter. Much of the last few months was spent on indoor activities. Today, though, the weather is beautiful. The sun is shining. The temperature is warm. Open up your front door, and there’s much more to explore. If you can’t find …

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A few days ago, I spent more than two hours dismantling and reassembling the guts of a toilet tank. There were some issues with flushing, and I wanted to see if I could diagnose it myself (I did, actually; there was a small broken part that was simple to replace). A plumber could have done it in ten minutes and probably would have charged me $25 or $50 for the service (in our area, anyway; it would likely be more …

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Whenever I tell people about the family activities I’ve talked about over the last week – art projects, lots of reading, making your own crayons, and so on – they usually end up asking “where do you find the time for all of this stuff?” Our secret is a simple one: we drastically minimize television time. In our house, there is a simple “no television” rule from Monday to Friday between the time the children get up and the time …

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Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Minutes.io Over the years, I’ve served as secretary for several different groups. I’ve mostly used Microsoft Word and Microsoft OneNote for taking notes during meetings to prepare meeting minutes from, but I’ve always looked for a tool that really took care of my specific minute-taking needs. Minutes.io pretty much hits a home run in …

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If there’s one thing our family has an abundance of, it’s books. Nearly every room in our home has a bookshelf in it, and most of them are full. Reading is not a “sometimes” activity in our home. It’s an every day activity. Part of the reason for that is that Sarah and I are passionate readers, period. We’ve both been avid readers since early grade school, with barely a day going by without a significant reading session. Books teach …

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If you’re passionate about something, you can make money from it, because people will pay for passion. Sometimes, it’s enough to earn a living, and on occasion, you can make really good money from your passion. Whenever I tell people this, they usually scoff. Usually, they don’t believe it’s really possible for anyone to do it, or they believe that people who do make money doing something they’re passionate about had someone financially helping them to get started. I can’t …

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Whenever I watch my one year old at play, I can’t help but notice that there really are only a few requirements for entertaining him in a safe way. The item needs to be fairly sturdy, as he can get mad and throw it. He’s one, so emotional control isn’t really part of the equation, nor is an understanding of any sort of “correct” way to play. The item needs to have virtually no intricate parts. If it does, a …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Handling leg injury 2. Selling video games 3. Vegan eating challenges 4. Challenged by controlling spending 5. Corporal punishment 6. Choosing a debt to repay 7. Next move with underwater house 8. Protecting cards 9. Portable washing machines 10. Managing new baby medical expenses When I was a child, my school …

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Our children have several small tubs of playdough, both the name brand Play-Doh and other brands of similar material, that they’ve received as gifts over the years. The contents of those tubs have been played with, sculpted, mashed, combined, and used in countless different ways. It’s actually a toy that Sarah and I quite like as it encourages our children to make whatever they want from it. It’s an incredibly open-ended toy (as long as you avoid the various plastic …

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I consider the switches to and from Daylight Savings Time to be largely useless in the modern era. It disrupts sleep patterns, causes people who forget to adjust clocks to miss appointments, and adds something else to worry about to our hectic lives. I understood the need for it in the past, but as the economy changes, the case for the switch gets worse and worse. I look forward to the day when the time change completely goes away. (Of …

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