Savvy Chic

tidbits, thoughts, and ramblings. . .with a Mormon twist

CheckMyFees.com–Loan Tool To Compare Your Rate September 18, 2008

I just learned of a new website (www.checkmyfees.com) that will help homeowners and prospective home buyers.  It allows those who are looking for a new loan or a purchase loan to compare either their current rate or the rate they have been quoted by others to people in their area.

There is a very short survey (about 30 seconds long) for people who have recently gotten a home loan, or have recently looked into it and have been given a quote for one.  If that description fits you–you should take the survey! (This is a new website, so getting this information will help the site to be an even better tool.)

The site doesn’t require any confidential information, no addresses, or personal information required at all. The only required information someone would need to know is:

* Approximate credit score (or you can assume it is the highest available)
* The approximate value of the property
* The desired loan amount
* The rate quoted
* The APR quoted (annual percentage rate will typically be higher than the actual interest rate)
* The fixed term of the loan – most loans today are 30 year fixed but some are adjustable rate loans

P.S.  This is a perfect tool for those of us who are always wondering if we are getting a good deal.  This helps us to make sure we are getting the best rate possible.  Also, this site is in both English and Spanish! (In the top right hand corner it says, “Translate to: Espanol.”)

Check it out!

 

Getting your Political Facts Straight September 11, 2008

Filed under: savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 12:49 pm

I wish people would just be honest and nice to each other. The world would be a much better place if that were so! Unfortunately, that is not how it always is, and during an election year, it seems to bring out the worst. Actually, the opponents try to bring out the worst in each other, and when the facts don’t do the damage they want, the candidates tend to make things up. But this is nothing you didn’t know already.

So, how do you separate the facts from the outlandish lies? In this day and age it isn’t so hard. We are blessed with some great resources. One of my favorites is Snopes for all those chain letters and downright mean emails that are passed along. Snopes sets the record straight on these rumors stated as facts. (I believe that is also called gossip!) Please check your emails through Snopes before passing them on.

Another favorite fact source is FactCheck.org. I receive email updates from them (you can also RSS feed) and find the information particularly useful when trying to decide on a national candidate. I am amazed, or rather appalled, by the outlandish lies that some of these politicians come up with. Also, I find it hard to believe some of the things I thought had to be wrong were actually right.

FactCheck.org was recently named one of the 20 best political websites by PC Magazine. They praised FactCheck’s extensive research team. I have also been very impressed by their impartial view on all candidates. They really are just checking the facts and getting them straight.

Another helpful news source for all things political is Politico. This news source started while our family lived near Washington DC. (Not that that has anything at all to do with their validity, it’s just a little tidbit of info.) They have some of the best people working on their staff, those that wanted the truth out rather than being so influenced by the agendas of those in control of their paychecks.

There is so much riding on this election and we are all obligated to truly make a valiant effort to decide who would be the best leaders for our country. And then, GET OUT AND VOTE! I won’t endorse a candidate here because I still need to know more. I am very grateful for the work of those who are diligently trying to get the real truth out, rather than hearsay or outright lies.

Again, here are those links:
FactCheck

http://www.factcheck.org/

Politico
http://www.politico.com/

Snopes
http://www.snopes.com/

 

Teach Me Mommy Preschool curriculum book September 8, 2008

A few years ago, when my first child was three, I started thinking about preschool. As a stay-at-home mom with a graduate student husband, a commercial preschool was out of the question. Besides, I wasn’t ready to send my little one away from home for the day. Some friends were starting one of the paid curriculum programs and I thought about it until I saw how much it was and realized that I could easily do that myself without the cost. However, it would have been time consuming to gather all the materials and to create all the lesson plans.

Fortunately, I came across a great book called Teach Me Mommy. It was put together by a mom for moms who wanted to teach their little ones. The lessons plans are simple to follow, the supplies needed are things you would have around the house anyway, and there is no need to pay monthly fees–just buy the book and use it for all your kids! There is minimal preparation for the lessons plans since everything is laid out in the book. I also use the lesson topics as ideas for lesson plans of my own.

A friend and I both bought the book and created our own preschool. First we went through the book and marked which lessons we would teach and who would teach them. We met two times a week and took field trips too. Our kids loved the interaction with each other and the special time with their moms.

One very memorable field trip we went to a dairy farm while learning about farm animals. We actually milked some cows, drank fresh milk, and watched the whole process of cow-to-milk pumps-to-pasteurization tank-to-collection in the big milk truck that took it to the factory. The farmers gave us some dairy memorabilia and we were off with a memory that we still laugh about.

I’m now starting preschool with my second child and excited to have this book with everything ready to go. I noticed that there are new resources on the Teach Me Mommy website and a new blog with ideas of activities to do with your child.

Check it out. I think you will like what you see.

 

Unique baby gift

Filed under: baby,frugal,fun,kids,savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 9:32 am

Looking for a unique baby gift to give a friend? Want something fun for your scrapbook? How about a letter from the President of the United States of America welcoming your new baby!

This is for real! I received a letter after my second baby and just requested a letter for my third. The only requirements are that you make the congratulatory request AFTER the baby is born and that the baby was born in the past 12 months. (There may be more rules, but these are probably the only ones you need to be aware of.)

To receive a congratulatory letter from the President for your baby, you will need to submit the following information:

1.Name and home address of baby
2.Baby’s birth date
3.Your name, daytime phone number, and your email address

Just go to this website:
https://app1.whitehouse.gov/greetings/baby

Notes:
*Let your husband know that you’ll be receiving a letter from the White House so he doesn’t get overly excited and rip open the letter in a non-scrapbook-friendly way.

*It takes about 6 weeks to get the letter after you have requested it.

*You can only submit one request per day, so don’t go too crazy!

 

Happy Pioneer Day! July 24, 2008

Filed under: children,kids,mormon,savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 11:52 pm

I’m so grateful for the many brave pioneer, both ancient and recent, in my life.  To those who left their homes and countries to seek out a better life for their family and future posterity.  And to those, like my father with my mother, who courageously blazed new trails in my life time.  I am indebted to them and give them my respect and love.

So, how are you celebrating Pioneer day?

To honor those of the past, there are many fun activities!  Here are a few ideas:

Make butter!  Have the kids shake a pint of whipping cream until it sounds like there is something solid in there–it will be butter!  Spread it on warm homemade bread.

Make stick horses!  Using a dowel, a tube sock filled with batting, either large googley eyes or marker drawn eyes, and some yarn for the mane, put it all together and add a ribbon/bridle/reins.  Glue the sock onto the stick for added stability.

Play some pioneer games–stick pulling, blindmans bluff, hopscotch, leapfrog, drop the handkerchief (like duck duck goose), three-legged race, gunnysack hopping race, jump rope, or tag. (Here are some more ideas)

Make a cornhusk doll.

Sing songs together.

Make a fun summer meal including corn-on-the-cob (let the kids husk the corn) and shelled peas.

Learn some survival techniques or camping skills.  Better yet, go camping!

Have a campfire and tell stories!

(Here are some more ideas)

What are your ideas?

 

Moby Wrap vs. Ring Slings, and other carriers

Filed under: baby,savvy thoughts — savvychic @ 11:28 pm
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I have all sorts of baby wearing gadgetry–padded ring slings, unpadded ring slings, hot slings, mobys, rabozos, backpacks, etc.  I also have three kids, all of which I have worn (for about three years each) or currently wear!  So, I have had a lot of time to figure out what I like and what I think is most useful.  Your experience may be different, but unless you make your own gadgets (like I do), or know someone with all these things, it would be rather pricey to experiment with everything to find what works for you.  (On the other hand, what works for me may not work for you and in that case, good luck!)

Each of the carriers have their own benefits and drawbacks.  Here is my personal evaluation of the various carriers.

I like hot slings (a sling without rings) because they take up very little space when folded up. They can hold the baby in several positions so they are fairly versatile.  However, they have to be fitted just right (within a half inch) to be able to feel really comfortable.  That is annoying because I still have some baby fat after having a baby yet I still want to use my baby carrier 6 months from now when I have lost that baby fat! So, I will wait until I am at my normal size and then keep one of these in my car, or diaper bag, or both.)

Rabozos should be fabulous because you can use them as a sling, a back carrier, a nursing cover, or a table cloth, and they are infinitely adjustable as well as small when folded up in the diaper bag.  However, I didn’t like having to tie the knot nor untying the knot when I wanted to adjust things or change my baby’s position.

A backpack is great for wearing a heavy baby for a long time.  I like this for grocery shopping or walking to my friends’ homes.  It is bulky though and not something I keep in the van.

Then there is a moby wrap.  I love how the wrap distributes the weight of my baby over both shoulders and on my hips.  I love how he is so close to me and within perfect kissing distance.  I can wear my baby for a long time in the moby comfortably.  There are some drawbacks for the moby though.  First of all, 6 yards is a lot of fabric!  Even though it is easy to put on (see my tutorial), it still takes a few minutes to put it on and get my baby situated.  And then my biggest qualm is that breastfeeding isn’t very convenient.  So I only use my moby right after feeding my son and then when I know I will need to have him right next to me until the next feeding.  I imagine I will use my moby more after I wean my baby.

(Another con for the moby I have heard from other mothers is that they are hot–6 yards of a thick knit fabric can get toasty in the summer months!  I don’t have that issue since I made mine from a lightweight woven fabric.)

Ring slings, I have to admit, are my favorite carriers.  Adjustable, comfortable, convenient, compact, and so versatile, I really don’t leave home without one.  (Here is more info about ring slings.)  I usually use my padded sling, but I keep an unpadded sling in my van just in case I forget the other one.  The unpadded sling is great for keeping my baby really close to my body since it is easiest to adjust.  I can even wear him on my back with it.  However, I can’t wear him as long without the padding–about an hour is my max.  With the padded rails and shoulder pad in my primary sling, I can wear my baby for around three hours without any uncomfortableness.  I love being able to simply slip the sling on, put my baby in, and we’re off–usually in less than 10-15 seconds.  And I can adjust him equally fast–from the kangaroo carry to a snuggle carry to a hip carry.

My kids love(d) being in the sling as well.  My second would actually bring the sling to me and ask to be worn.  The sling truly is a bonding tool as well as a convenience!

There are other carriers–many that I have tried and some that I haven’t.  Those listed above are the ones I have liked the most.  What have you tried that you liked, and why?  Best wishes choosing what will hopefully work for you and your baby.

 

LDS News Source July 10, 2008

Filed under: mormon — savvychic @ 10:45 pm

I just learned of a new news source for everything LDS and Mormon:  LDS News Source.  The site searches over 5000 newspapers throughout the world every hour.  Then they put that information all in one convenient place for anyone interested to read.  Check it out and then RSS feed it so you will be current on what up in the Mormon world! 🙂