Friday, July 31, 2009

How Do You Treat An Owie?

Mason is always getting bruised, bumped, cut, and scraped. I got the skinny from an RN friend of mine on the right and wrong things to do.

  • Clean with warm soapy water to remove dirt, germs, and "stuff" that sticks to the scrape.
  • Keep the cut moist because that's important to promoting rapid growth of new skin cells. Apply a thin layer of an antibiotic ointment and if the cut is in a place that the medication can rub off or get dirty, cover it with a bandage.


  • Use peroxide or alcohol, which dries the skin and slows the healing process.
  • Pick at a cut or scab. Picking only causes irritation and can introduce bacteria into the wound.

Call your doctor if...

  • You see any discharge or redness around the cut.
  • The cut is really deep, it may need stitches.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The 10 Changes To Credit Card Laws

Finally, the government has decided to do something to stop credit card issuers from taking advantage of consumers. On December 18, 2008, the Federal Reserve approved a series of rules that make major changes to practices within the credit card industry. Here is a list of the 10 main changes of the new credit card rules. Note: the rules listed won't take effect until February 1 or July 1, 2010, I've seen both dates published. We'll know on February 1st which it is.

1. No interest rate increases for the first 12 months of your credit card.
You can enjoy your interest rate for at least the first year after opening your new account with two exceptions. First, your rate could increase in the first year if the creditor disclosed a rate increase when you opened the account. Second, if you don't make the minimum payment within 30 days of the due date you'll be subject to a penalty rate increase.

2. No interest rate increases on pre-existing balances.
If and when your interest rate does increase, the credit card issuer can't retroactively apply the increased rate to existing balances. Only purchases made after the increase goes into effect will be subject to the new interest rate.

3. Rate increases require 45-day advanced notice, even penalty rate increases.
Banks currently get 15 days to notify you of an interest rate increase and they don't have to notify you at all for penalty rate increases. The increased time for an advanced notice will give you more time to respond to an interest rate increase.

4. No more double billing cycle finance charges.
The double billing cycle method of calculating finance charges allows credit card issuers to charge interest on balances you've already paid. The Federal Reserve has outlawed this expensive practice.

5. Limited fees for subprime credit cards.
Subprime credit cards can no longer charge up the cardholder's credit limit with fees. Now, fees are limited to 50% of the credit limit, but only 25% of those can be charged when the account is opened. The remaining fees must be spread over at least five billing cycles.

6. Billing statements must be sent 21 days before payment due date.
The current rule requires billing statements to be sent within a reasonable time for the consumer to make payment. The new rule puts a time period on that "reasonable time.

7. Payments received by 5:00 pm on the due date are on time.
The Federal Reserve recognizes that banks must have a cut-off time for accepting payments and sets that time to 5:00 pm. The didn't specify a time zone, so, sending your payment early is still a good practice.

8. Payments received the next business day after a weekend or holiday are on time.
If your due date falls on a weekend or holiday and your credit card issuer doesn't process payments on that day, your payment is still considered on time if it's received by the next business day. For example, that means the Monday after a weekend or December 26 during the holidays.

9. Payments above the minimum are applied to highest interest rate balances.
The minimum payment would go toward your low-rate balance, while the remainder of your payment must be applied to the balance with the highest interest rate. This reduces your interest cost over the life of the credit card versus the alternative of applying the complete payment to the low rate balance.

10. Billing statements must include year-to-date total of interest and fees.
Now, you'll be able to see just how much interest charges and fees you pay on your credit card. When the rules take effect, your billing statement will have to list the current month's interest charges and fees along with the total amount you paid during the year.

The bulk of this report is from at

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Ice Breaker Speech.

Talks too much. Gabby. Chatty. Loquacious. These are all words and expressions that have been used to describe me from the very young age of four. My mom boasts that I was talking in three and four word sentences before I was ten months old. Some say it’s the gift of gab while others simply think I talk too much. It’s no surprise then that I stand before you at a Toastmasters meeting.

I’m the wife of a Soldier, a winner, an author, and a baker. I’ve been in the military my whole life, I was born in and now I’m married in. Dave and I moved to Auburn in 2003 and we love it here. Shortly after we got settled in, I had Mason and in the same month, Dave got the call that he was being deployed to Iraq. To say it was a tough time would be putting it mildly. But being the optimistic sort, I put my sights on Dave’s homecoming and thought about what I could do with him while he was deployed. In our early telephone calls, Dave asked me to send him new release movies. “Are you crazy?” I asked him. I couldn’t afford to spend $24.99 every Tuesday on a new movie. The problem, Dave explained was that the movies that were available to him to watch, had to be viewed in the MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) tent. He couldn’t take a movie back to his bunk and relax. I contacted Pat and Tom at KNCI country radio station and with News 10, Starbucks and Tower Records we launched Operation New Release, sending thousands of DVD’s, CD’s, and video games to Dave’s unit in Iraq. As the media was collected and sent over, Dave worked with his Battalion to put up a tent and build some shelves to create a rental station for Soldiers to check out a movie or CD, take it to their bunk to watch it, and return it to check out another. It was operated using the honor system and it worked! It worked so well, that the MWR facility at the nearby larger base, asked if they could take control and operate the shop. The answer was yes as long as they let the Soldiers take the media back to their bunk. What started out as a grass roots movement to get new movies and music to Dave, turned into a media library for all branches of the service from all over the world to use.

Having worked on ONR and knowing how important getting mail was to Dave, I realized that the time had come to resurrect a project I worked on nearly ten years ago. I’ve always been a talker, story teller and writer and I wrote a book called Creative and Memorable Ways to Keep in Touch. I’m the kind of person that sends little gifts through the mail. A few of my favorites are the classic care package, the “what if I won the lottery” letter, and even a comic each day for an entire week ending with the full color Sunday strip. We live in a world of instant this and immediate that and it seems to me that we need to touch each other more. When you send something through the mail, it has “you” on it. When it arrives, you arrive, too! I’ve written other things as well, like industry columns, company policy and procedure manuals, a weekly e-mail column for the last 10 years called The Monday Motivator, I manage multiple blogs, and many stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Speaking of chicken soup, I think what’s better for a cold is cookies!

I’m a baker but not so much with bread, I bake cookies and cakes. I worked as a cake decorator for years when I was first out of high school. I loved learning the tricks of the trade like freezing cake before you ice it. It makes it nice and firm so it’s easier to slice, fill, and ice and it actually makes your cake moister when it thaws out. Decorating cakes was a great way to feed my creative urges in addition to making a living. As I moved on in my life and on to other careers, I’ve found that my baking and decorating skills have served me in other ways, most notably as a mom. My mom always made lots and lots of Christmas cookies. When I was old enough to help her, my favorites were the kinds we cut out with cookie-cutters and then decorated with colored icing. It’s no surprise that now Mason loves to decorate cookies with me, the big difference is in our tool and techniques. My mom made basic butter cream icing and we would spread it on the cookies with a butter knife. The icing never got hard so you couldn’t stack the cookies or even let them touch each other. The butter knife didn’t allow much in the way of detail, either. Mason knows how to drive a pastry bag, when to use dragees and when simple sprinkles are better, and he knows that a little meringue powder in our icing makes it “set” so we can wrap, stack, or pack our cookie masterpieces for gifts. All of this information is really great, but nothing is as good as winning the praise of a 5 year old who boasts to all who will listen that his mom makes the prettiest cookies on our street! Has he seen anyone else’s cookies? I don’t know but winning Mason’s praise is right on target with the last 25 years of winning I’ve come to know. I win things.

I have an incredible history of winning things, primarily on the radio, but in drawings, all kinds of contests, and I even won a winning lottery ticket. People who know this about me often ask me how I do it. I tell them I win because I intend to win. I know I can, I play, I see myself being the right caller, or ticket number and I win. But don’t misunderstand, winning is like success, you don’t win every time and you have to play to even have a chance. You can’t succeed in business if you don’t set up shop or open your doors. Same same with winning. You can’t win that CD or those concert tickets if you are not listening and calling in when it’s time. I’ve won many things through the years that include trips to Hawaii, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Mexico. I’ve won skis, dinners, expensive hand bags, backstage Meet & Greet passes with many artists, special events, and the list goes on and on. I’ve met Don Cheadle and had lunch with George Clooney, and one of my favorites, I was in studio with Sammy Hagar. That one took 10 years to pull off! I even won in my sleep once! Honest to goodness, I did! By far my biggest and best prize, the one that can never be beat is the day I won my husband on the radio. Dave called the radio station with an extra concert ticket and no date. He thought he was going to get to play a dating game and instead, he got me! That was in April of 1996, one of my luckiest days. I’ve been telling that story and talking about it ever since, lots of other things, too, but that one is a repeater…like me, it keeps going, and going, and going! Talks too much? Maybe. Has something to say? Definitely!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Friday!

I love Friday! It's the only day of the week that has a buzz about it like no other day. Saturday and Sunday mean different things to all of us, but it all seems to be good. The general consensus is that Monday the least favorite day, Tuesday is almost a non-day, Wednesday is hump-day, meaning we're over the hump and almost to Friday. Thursday is that day that excites you because you have just "one more day!" and then it's here! Friday is the day that holds hope, hope for a fun night out, dinner with friends, if your five, no bed time. No matter what it is, Fridays feel good. I hope you are excited about today, this weekend, and dare I say even Monday! No matter what Have a great day, it's Friday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


When was the last time you laughed? I mean really laughed. The last time I really laughed was last night when Julianne and I were tweeting (yes, I twitter! @Kdpartak), and she told me a story about her family. I could share the story with you but frankly, you won't find it a stitch humorous. Never mind that, my point is that laughter feels so good! Why do we laugh less as we get older? I don't laugh as often as I might like to.

I see Mason laughing everyday. He will have conversations with pretend people and laugh out loud. He plays all the parts as he sees fit and laughs for everyone! He will make up jokes that have nothing to them, they make absolutely no sense, but he will finish with a big belly laugh. I'm thankful for Mason's joy, because he laughs so often, so do I. I don't find his jokes funny at all, but his happiness is contagious.

Find something today to laugh about. Make up a joke and then laugh. It will sound so canned and fake, that in and of itself will make you laugh for real. Try it and let me know!

Monday, July 20, 2009

When Your Hands Are Tied

I consult with individuals who are facing financial difficulties. Many call me with regard to mortgages that are adjusting or credit card companies who are not working with them. It's heartbreaking when I hear one of my clients tried on numerous occasions to work out a payment plan when they had fallen behind due to their hours at work being cut, only to be told that they now don't make enough money to qualify for a hardship repayment plan! Does that make any sense? After three months of no payments, still making the same lower income, the big bank calls her back to offer her a 0% interest plan and offers to match every payment she makes toward helping her pay down her balance! Why wouldn't they help her when she asked for help instead of forcing her hand to fall 90 days past due on the account? She felt like her hands were tied. She couldn't make the payment, they wouldn't work with her and even if she made a lesser payment, her account would still be reported as delinquent, late fees charged, and credit tarnished.

This is my area of expertise so I know what I would do. With the information you have, what would you do if you felt like your hands were tied when trying to get a credit card company to work with you? Share with me what you think they can do to you if you don't pay. I'll be sure to comment and share with you what I know to be true.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How Do They Get The Whole Pear In The Bottle?

Do you know how one would get a whole piece of fruit in a bottle? I came across this French liqueur, with the pear in the bottle and it made me wonder. Here's how they do it:

Poire, which is pear in French and Pear William is an old fashioned liqueur in France known for it's very sweet flavor. The French enjoy this as a dessert drink, for cleansing their palate, and it goes well with cheese and grapes. But just how do they get the whole pear in the bottle

The French actually attach the bottle to the tree covering the blossom. The pear grows in the bottle and when it's grown to size, the pear is nipped and the pear in the the bottle is removed. Before filling the bottle with liqueur, the pear is pricked to release it's natural sweet juice.

I love to know stuff that is nothing more than fun conversation. What do you know that would make me smile and say, "Really, I never thought of that!"?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Do you have a difficult time accepting a compliment? Most people do. As I've gotten a little older, I'm better at graciously accepting the praise of others for one reason; I know how good it feels when I give it.

I realized that when I discount someone who genuinely wants me to know they like or appreciate something about me, I'm in essence telling them I don't think what they have to say is real or valuable. My insecurity, or that little voice that says, "Oh, no. My hair is a mess" is just that, MY insecurity. It has nothing at all to do with the kindness of the other person and may not be based in truth at all.

Next time someone pays you a compliment, pay them one right back and simply say, "Thank you." You will feel good, they will feel good, and this world will be a better place! Smiling!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Letter To My Husband

Dear Dave,

Have I told you lately how happy you make me? You do. I count my blessings every single day that you love me. I've known for many years that you are an exceptional man, but there are still things you do that surprise me.

You bought me a new outfit to go out for your birthday. I love that you picked out clothes that you thought would make me feel pretty. They did.

You embrace being a dad and when I notice your patience is running short, I can say a simple sentence and you let go a smile. It's so clear that you love your family. Your love of family starts with your parents, especially your mom. You make time to see her, spending time and calling her just to talk.

You volunteer your time in our community and practice random acts of kindness on a regular basis. Whether it's helping someone push their stalled car out of an intersection or searching for a dog on a leash without it's person, you take the time to do the right thing.

There are so many things I can write on and on about. The consideration you express for your coworkers when in social situations, the way you think to arrange play dates for Mason, how you stop along the side of the road to cut wild sweet peas for me, and one of my favorites, the way other people see you look at me. I've been told on numerous occasions that people can see how much you love me.

Today, I want to say that I love you, too. More than I love you, I respect you. It sounds so cliche to say, "I married my best friend." But sometimes, cliche is simply the truth.

With all my love,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

America Is Alive And Well - By Guest Writer Jay Kliewer

America is alive and well. I was awakened last night from a late nap, approximately 8:00 PM, by a helicopter flying overhead in a large circular pattern and repeatedly saying something. After six passes and with the help of my roommate, I finally made out the message, “There is a 3 year old child missing wearing a green shirt with red and white stripes. He is wearing a diaper and his name is Daniel.”

What I saw as I came out to the front yard and as I walked down my road was the most incredible thing. People had come out of their houses and were walking, running, driving, and I even saw one guy on roller skates looking for Daniel. Moms with young kids, families, teenagers, and single people were all looking for Daniel.

So why were we out there? Honestly . . . I was out there because if I could help those parents look for Daniel then that is what I wanted to do. I know that if that had been a three year old Jhasamin or Jeremiah, I would want other people looking for them. I also think I wanted to partake in something larger. Be a part of something bigger than myself. I didn’t want to sit home when I was needed and there was something I could give. Maybe in a strange way I also wanted to be seen, as if to say, "Look at me, I am helping too."

By 8:40 pm just as abruptly as it started the helicopter made two big circles and said, “Thank you for your help. The child has been found.”

Recently I had an opportunity to take a four man delegation of Nigerian FEMA leaders around to various organizations in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas to show them how Californians respond to disasters. They said their overall problem in Nigeria with regards to disasters is APATHY. What an awesome thought to know that America is not a Country of Apathy. And just like our fore fathers, those many years ago, whom were willing to make a difference with their fellow man to fight for independence, that same spirit still flows through our veins today as we came together to look for a child that no one knew. Daniel’s parents will never know that a 40 year old man got up from his nap and spent a half hour looking for their child.

As Vincent, one of the Nigerian delegates was being dropped off at the San Francisco Airport he told me that people in Nigeria were praying for America. Well Vincent your prayers are being heard and thank you.

God has Blessed the USA with the men, women, and children who live here!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Join Me And Win!

Celebrate the arrival of summer with the Mom Central Summer Giveaway Bonanza! Each week, Mom Central will post new giveaways just for Moms and their families on We'll have tons of great prizes throughout the summer for you and all members of your family. Some of our giveaways include:

• Hoover Cyclonic Bagless Upright Vacuum: This new vacuum from Hoover removes more dirt than other cyclonic bagless vacuums due to its patented wind tunnel technology and embedded dirt finder. With power controls on the handle, it reduces bending to get to those hard-to-reach places and easily moves from hard floor to carpet.

• Crayola Play Sand: Transform an ordinary sandbox with a splash of color or design colorful art projects with a 20 lb. bag of Crayola Play Sand. The sand doesn't stain hands and features an easy-to-carry handle to make transporting easy on Moms.

• Jeep Tandem Stroller: Built to accommodate your growing family, the Tandem Traveler Stroller features sun canopies, reclining seat backs, car-seat adaptors, and cup holders that will leave you feeling like the coolest mommy on the block.

• Razor Jr. Electric Wagon: Put a modern spin on the classic wagon with the Razor Jr. Electric Wagon. Traveling safely at 2-3 miles per hour, parents have assistance while cruising the block.

Visit Mom Central, check out all the prizes, register and win!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happily Married

As you all know by now, Dave and I are very happily married. I know several other couples that are also very happy and they express their affection openly and abundantly. I asked Dave if he thought we were happy because we tell each other how we feel, and generally focus on being so.

We agreed that being happy is a choice. There are certainly things about each other that are mildly annoying, but it just seems that those things come along with a really great package, thus making them insignificant.

Here again, is evidence that those things you choose to focus on, grow. We focus on the things about each other that we first loved, learned about later and loved, and still have to find out about and expect to love. What about you? What do you choose to focus on in your marriage? I wish for you love and happiness!