Insight News

Thursday
Dec 18th

Lifestyle

A night on the Town-Unwinding with good Friends and Good Music

A night on the Town-Unwinding with good Friends and Good MusicDo you know Bruce Henry? Well you should-in the musical, sense, that is. I was just introduced to his talent about six months ago. He is this wonderfully versatile jazz singer who my husband and I --along with good friends-- had the pleasure of seeing a few Saturdays past at the Dakota Club. I wish you could have been there, too! It felt less like a performance and more like a party, where one of your dear friends just happened to be a world-class vocalist. There was so much excitement, anticipation, and love in the air as Henry had us singing, clapping and dancing in our seats right along with him. It was my idea of a perfect (and healthy) ending to a long and busy week; unwinding in the presence of soul-stirring live music, good food, and good friends.
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Save $$ by Checking on your Sump Pump

Save $$ by Checking on your Sump PumpIt was late Monday morning and I was walking my husband outside to his car; he was headed to the airport for a business trip in St. Louis. I looked around the side of my house and noticed that someone had apparently left the outside water spigot on-all night. “I’m gonna get those kids!” I thought. I told my husband that we should go down to the basement to make sure no water had trickled in.

Before I got to the bottom of the stairs, it was clear that it was not just a trickle. The area rugs were floating in water. My mind could not figure out how this much water could be in our basement, but the only thing to do at that point was to grab a bucket and start bailing! Long story short, we found out that our sump pump in our less-than-two-year-old house was no longer working, which caused our basement to flood. Thankfully, we had not yet finished our basement, so our losses were not as great as they could have been. So here’s my question to you: have you checked your sump pump lately? If your answer is, “What’s a sump pump?” you probably need answers to the questions below; it could save you big bucks in the long run.
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Home Grown Foods

Home Grown FoodsHave you been driving through your community admiring your neighbors’ veggie gardens and flower beds? Do you feel a twinge of jealousy because you would like a garden of your own, but don’t know where to begin? Are you coveting your neighbor’s cucumber plants?? That was my story last year. From my kitchen, I could see my neighbor’s rather large vegetable garden, and I wanted one, too. The problem was I was unsure about the best placement of the garden-out of the way of my kids and their balls, in enough sun, and in a location that didn’t make the back yard look tacky. Instead of allowing all those questions to overwhelm me this season, I came up with a suitable solution: I created a garden on my deck and you can, too. It’s not too late, really! In fact, this is the perfect time to perk up your porch, patio, or deck with flowers or vegetable plants. Especially in these tough economic times, you could save big by growing your own food. I have recently seen prices slashed by up to 50%. So grab your work gloves, some dirt, and let’s create something tasty and beautiful!
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Keeping food fresher longer

Keeping food fresher longerIt’s true what they say about opposites attracting. I like my food spicy; my husband likes his bland. I like my fruit cold; he likes his hot. Well, not exactly hot, but at room temperature. The problem is that all day the fruit sits in our excessively warm house-he likes it that way-and it quickly goes bad. In the name of marital unity, I have finally convinced my husband that the jumbo bag of oranges from Costco can remain in the fridge and then be taken out to “warm up” one by one, on an as needed basis. I am also faced with the challenge of my three little blessings leaving the boxes of cereal and crackers open. By the time I reach for the crackers for my tomato soup, it’s usually too late. I have started hiding my own stash of crackers in a secret location. Aside from hiding your food, here are a few more ways to stop throwing money down the drain and keep food fresh longer.

Microwave Magic-If the cereal box at your house is left open, just pour it onto a plate and pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. It will be good as new!
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Handout vs. Hand-up; Helping Others A Win-Win

Handout vs. Hand-up; Helping Others A Win-WinA couple of days ago I went over to the Minneapolis Habitat for Humanity office to complete my volunteer orientation. I’m so excited because within a week I get to start helping to build and rehab houses for needy families.

Before you start thinking that I am wonderfully compassionate and selfless, I want to let you in on a little secret; I am not just doing this to help others-there is something big in it for me. I want my basement finished, on the cheap, and I want to learn some money-saving construction skills. Do you want to stop waiting for your Honey to get started on that Honey-Do-List you’ve assigned?? A great way to learn how to tackle minor (and maybe a few major) home repairs is by becoming a volunteer at Habitat For Humanity. You will accomplish the perfect mix of helping others while learning valuable skills that save you big bucks.
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S-N-D’s: The "How to" guide to camouflaging flaws

S-N-D’s:  The I remember when my husband and I had to buy our very first washing machine. We were living in the Milwaukee, WI area; it was our first big appliance purchase, and our budget was extremely tight. As we went from store to store, comparing prices, a Sears employee told us about the nearby Sears Outlet and its great prices. That was all I needed to hear and I was off to find it.

As we approached the location, it looked a little scary; it sat among some abandoned buildings in an industrial park, near the railroad tracks. Having heard about the deals that were waiting inside, I pushed past my apprehensions and went in. I was amazed by what I found; brand new appliances and furniture discounted by 50% or more off regular store prices.
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Getting "a steal" at garage sales

Getting I just got off the phone with my girlfriend Danielle. She was calling me to be sure that I had set aside time on my Thursday morning calendar. See Danielle and I have taken a strong liking to garage sales and Thursday is our day to hit the sales. Garage sale season is in full swing now and it’s a great place to get mega-bargains. I know you are wondering why we could be attracted to the act of rummaging through other people’s junk that has been hauled from inside their home to the garage. (Often in preparation for the donation truck that will arrive in a couple of days.) Well here is the answer: There is often hidden treasure to be found (imagine my best pirate voice). Garage sales are perfect for tight budgets or for the person who simply wants to stretch that dollar as far as possible. If you have never garage-saled before, or if it’s been a while and you are a bit rusty, I want to give you some ideas on how to snag a steal this week.
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