Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Convert for Weebly

"We may be the oldest troop in Carrollton, but we finally have made it to the 21st century with technology.  Yeah!"

This quote from one of our scout parents really says it all about what Weebly can do at a free level.  Troop 121 never had a website, just a Google calendar with events on it, but from the time I was a Webelos leader gathering information about local troops for my Webelos den I felt 121's lack of a web presence.  When we joined the troop last year, I found and registered a domain, but getting content hosted and site design continued to be a challenge for me, since I needed basically free (or nearly free) services that could eventually be picked up by a scout 11-17 years of age.  Additionally there are concerns about avoiding things like banner ads, popups and anything generally incompatible with the BSA philosophy.

Enter Weebly.

In less than a day, I had a polished website with our basic content up and available to the world.  The professional quality pre-created designs, wealth of customizable features, and the start up price tag (free) all make this service an amazing resource for those who may not have all the skills needed to set up a website from scratch.  Integration with Google apps means that I can set up an entire communications platform for my troop and email aliases on the fly and with an interface that's already familiar to many people.  Is can't say enough great things about Weebly and what it's done for my troop.  I'd almost be willing to keep the "Create a free website with Weebly" tag even if we do decide to purchase upgraded services, just to do my bit to spread the word.

Check out Weebly at www.weebly.com
and see what you can do with it when you
Check out the Troop 121 website at www.scouttroop121.org

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Mission for Moms

Recently, I spent an afternoon with my twenty something sister-in-law and her female cousins, listening to a continuous commentary about their significant others' level of participation in the household.  I smiled and empathized with the next generation of working spouses and mothers who are facing the same challenges I did when I married. That evening, as I put yet another of my husband's dirty plates into the recently emptied dishwasher for him, I wonder how many more significant others are in the same situation I am...and how on earth I'm going to save my son's wife from such a fate.

Men have historically born the brunt of jokes about their deficits in household management skills, eg. an inability to wash dishes, clothing, children... (well pretty much just about anything), shopping, and so on.  The image of the disoriented father surrounded by randomly dressed children wandering around the grocery store surrounded by an aura of defeat springs immediately to mind.  While the gentler sex may enjoy flogging this stereotype in conversation (just as men may enjoy talking about womens' shopping expeditions) surely we can't enjoy living with it quite as much.

But should we expect more?  As our culture has evolved to include increasingly higher percentages of women in the workforce (46.8% of the US workforce in 2009), has the way we run our households kept pace?  We live in an age where a two income household is frequently necessary to maintain the standard of living to which we have become accustomed (or would like to become accustomed to), and in these households, mens' participation  is more vital than ever. Bringing home a paycheck is no longer enough of a contribution in a dual career household.

Our sons can no longer grow up relying on marriage to a domestic goddess to assure order and domestic tranquility in their home, because chances are, that goddess will have  a career of her own.    Nor, with the increasing emphasis on more rigorous academic offerings in public schools, can we rely on the stopgap of home economics classes to teach the skills our children will need to make their own homes.

So how are they going to learn?  Obviously we, as parents, will have to teach them... but teach them what?  What can we do to ease their transition to adulthood so they leave home knowing how to cook something that does not have ramen as the main ingredient, wash clothes so that they neither shrink nor turn pink, or find things in the grocery store?  And what are the most important things we should teach our sons so they can be contributing members of a household?

These answers and more coming up after these messages...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Debt Reduction Calculator

CNN Money has the best debt reduction calculator I've seen thus far. Not only can you enter individual credit card balances, minimums and interest rates, it will tell you in what order is most advantageous for you to pay them off. Beats my spreadsheet any day.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

403b Disbursments Are Fun!

The check from Vanguard came in record time, was deposited, cleared and has now been used to pay off a large portion of our debt. Huzzah for mortgaging my future!
Now that the 2 worst credit cards are paid off, I've discovered my excellent balance transfer rate with Discover and will be saving a cool grand by transferring the remaining balances to that card at a lower percentage. Just as soon as those payments today clear...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Citi Will Pay You Money for Reducing Your Credit Score

I just got this via email from Citibank:

Paying down your balance is closer than you think.

Earn up to $550 just for paying more than the minimum on time.

Lowering your balance makes good financial sense – and the Citi Payment Partner Program can help you achieve it. Call 1-800-961-4839 to enroll now, and Citi will reward you with a 20% statement credit on the amount you pay over the minimum due on time.

  • Get rewarded with a statement credit for paying more than the minimum on time within the next 4 months.
  • Save money through reduced interest charges and no late fees.
  • Build good credit by reducing your balance and paying on time.
Here’s how it works:

  • Earnings will be credited to your account within 3 billing cycles after the offer period ends.
  • Your account will be suspended until your statement credit is posted.
  • Upon receiving your statement credit, your credit line will decrease by the total amount paid over the minimum, plus your statement credit.
So basically, credit card companies are giving you free money to reduce your credit limit. Unfortunately, this does not really help your credit score (unless you don't pay on time now) because your debt to income ratio and available credit ratio just went down. you want to be sure to have a respectable amount of available credit (not used) on your credit report and lowering your credit line reduces your amount of available credit. Not to mention that it in all likelihood shows on your CR as the lender reducing your credit line, rather than it being at your request - another ding.
How does this improve my credit rating again?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Do you hear that?

I'd forgotten the joys of a new washer, specifically quiet efficiency. The new washer is in the spin cycle right now and I can barely hear it. A significant improvement from the loud swishing and banging of the old one.

Other than the fact that they told me between 10 and 4 for the delivery and showed up at 4, meaning I was working from home all day when I could have just come home early, the install was quick and painless and I'm really pleased. Now I'll just see how long the enjoyment lasts.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Yet Another Unplanned Expense

On Friday night, I heard a high pitched squeal and about 15 minutes later the refreshingly sweet aroma of burning rubber wafted through the house. The belt on the washer has broken. Again.

Since it's after 10 on Friday night, this means at least 3 days without a washer while I arrange for service, tell them the belt is broken, they come out, confirm that the belt is broken, tell me they need to order one because they didn't bring one with them and come back 2 days later (while I'm taking another day off work) to replace the belt. I can hardly wait. I called the home warranty company we use to schedule a repairman, and found out from an exceptionally rude customer service rep that they had the wrong expiration number for the credit card on my contract and so my warranty wasn't in effect and would I please go ahead and authorize a $600 charge? Um... no.

So I found a local repair company and they came out Monday morning and for only $64 told me that I needed a new belt and pump, at the discount price of only $300. For that, I might as well just go buy a brand new washer, much as I hate to have thrown away the $200 we dropped 6 years ago on our Amana dent and ding special. Son, happy birthday, you get a new washer! (No actually I took him to Game Stop and he got a new Playstation and DS game)

We found one at Lowe's, a Whirlpool WTW5500SQ Top Load Washer that we got for 10% off a reasonable $440 with free delivery and disposal. I was torn between paying that or the $499 for the 5700 but decided to go midline. Now I've been home and checked out the reviews, it looks like I'll either love it or completely hate it. Kind of wish I'd paid the extra $50 and gotten the more expensive one that everyone loves. It's not set to deliver until Wednesday, so maybe I'll call Lowe's tomorrow and see if they can change it.