Monday, November 2, 2009

Giving thanks

Ok, Here's a quick blog to let you know what I'm doing with my Bear den. This month we're going to focus on the scout motto of "do a good turn daily" and record the boy's good deeds. We're going to fill a jar with buttons and record the good deeds on a calendar. The plan is to send both to Pres. Monson for Christmas. A monthful of good deeds by about 18 boys should be Lots!
What kind of ideas do you have for the month of Thanksgiving? Are you remembering your family members near and far? Try to do a kind deed everyday for a family member and see how our family bonds are strengthened and our love for family grows. Give me your feedback!
Love you all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 R's in the Ralph Family

OK, I'll admit that this is not an original idea. I got this one from Education Week, but the presenter just happened to have a name that started with "R" so it works for us. He said that you could label the qualities that you desired to have in your family. Since you have 5 fingers it was stated that you could use a handful of R's to remember the important aspects of family. He used RESPECT, RESOURCEFULNESS, REVERENCE, RESPONSIBILITY, and RESOLVE. Imagine posting those attributes on a family logo. That would really be cool. I realize that some of you don't have "R" for the beginning of your last names but you could pick other attributes that started with "H" such as HELPFUL, HALLOWED, HONOR, HONESTY, HOME, etc....
We could change these to and add RIGHTEOUS or HEAVENLY. Just thinking. Let me know what you think too!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ben's Dance Performance

Here's a couple of videos of Ben's performances. He and his partner received 1st in Latin and 2nd in Standard in silver division during the Northwest Dancesport Championships. His partner was Melissa Marisich.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Need to Read Book

Hi Everyone,
So I've been telling everyone that they need to read a book. The Richest Man in Babylon. It's a quick read and it has some very important ideas (wisdom) that I feel would be very helpful to all of my family members.
The biggest key is to Save at least 10% of your earnings. Pay yourself right after you pay your tithing. Try and live off only 70% of what you bring home. Be frugal. Be wise. Think of your future as well as the present. Plan, budget and save.
For those considering the purchase of a house. Please read the book Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley. It has a great chapter on purchasing homes that anyone that is considering this step should know.
I know that this is full on financial info but right now I'm rather focused on this aspect of our lives. Hope that you are all well and loving life.
Love, momma Ralph

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Budget Plan

Susan wrote that she wanted some examples of how to go about strengthening our financial health. It's all about budgeting and staying within the budget and investing all extra funds into paying off your debts and/or saving for a "rainy day." I have a budget sheet that I will post (if I can figure out how to do it) so that you can get an idea of what to plan for. You have to keep all your receipts for 2 months or so. Each week you need to sit down with your spouse and go over all expenditures and put them on the budget sheet. If you do this for a whole year you will know exactly where your money went and where you can make adjustments to be able to save more and get out of debt. Remember to sit down with your spouse weekly. I can't emphasize this one enough. It takes both of you to get out of debt (or into debt). This weekly meeting is so important that I would put it up with family home evening in its value.
For simple budgeting, start with an excel spreadsheet and put all your income and expenses for a month down one column. Then add 5 more columns for the weeks in a month and fill in the blanks when you spend any money. Keeping track of expenditures helps you see where you may be able to cut down so that you can save more and waste less.

Here's some ideas for items to add to your budget:

Dad's Employment
Mom's employment

Variable Expenses
Groceries (Store)
Groceries (Store)
Groceries TOTALS
Auto #1
Auto #2
Water bill
Cell phone
Medical Copayments
Dental Copayments
Auto Maintenance
College Fund
College Books
Home Repairs
Food Storage
Fast Food/Restaurants

Fixed Expenses
Car & Home Insurance
Home Owners Assoc.
Continuing ED. Classes
Home Mortgage
Rental payment
Loans (school)
Credit Card (#1)
Credit Card (#2)
Union Dues

Club Dues
Life Insurance
City Utilities/Fees
BYU Annual Fund


Hopefully this gives you something to start with. It's very basic. There are also websites that discuss budgeting - just don't pay for anything fancy, it's not worth the expense.
When trying to teach kids about budgeting try this website: . It was great.
Have a great day and start living providently!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

H1N1 influenza or Swine Flu

It seems that some family members have come down with the Swine Flu. It appears that this influenza is very prevalent right now and many people are becoming infected. Though some have serious complications, the majority of people who are infected weather this strain of influenza very easily (though they may not agree with that statement during their bout). It appears that the major symptoms end in 24 to 48 hours for normal healthy adults. The people who have problems are infants, toddlers, children and the aged, in that order.
The major issues are maintaining temperatures at a lower end fever level and not allowing infants to have high fevers also maintaining hydration. This influenza seems to cause vomiting and diarrhea. Both cause dehydration particularly in infants and young children who don't have a lot of fluid to spare. The aged usually have poor immune systems and they don't fight off the infection easily which makes it harder on them also.
The key is to wash your hands frequently. Don't cough in your hands. Don't rub your eyes with your hands. Although the virus may be airborne it probably is passed more readily by contact with mucous membranes (rubbing the eyes) after contact with inanimate objects (books, desks, etc.) that have the virus on them (fallen droplets from sneezes, coughs etc.). Again, the key is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
For more information you can go to this Medscape site - it updates info frequently.
Hope you all are well and happy! Take care!!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Education Week Financial Ideas

These ideas are from my notes in Scott Marsh's lectures, they concern the marriage relationship and money. I'm going to number them so that you can look them up easily.
1) Marriage partnerships could be more important for success in money than how well you take care of money.
2) Meaningful shared goals are the essence of eternal energy and are those you can share together.
3) The four C's of a great marriage - Chemistry, Communication, Committment to Christ and Cash Savings.
4) Money management is critical to marriage and marriage can be critical to financial success.
A) 89% of divorce can be traced to accusations over money.
B) Money causes more problems in marriage than anything else.
C) A supportive spouse was one of the five most important factors that led millionaires to their success.
6) Define what your hopes are for yourselves and your children. Create a plan of reaching those goals. Committ to living well below your means. Have friends that are committed to the same goals.
7) Don't share resources with your children - share opportunities to be creative. Openly discuss finances and expectations with children.
8) Make sure your goals are visual!
9) Have a FAMILY SIGNATURE - a humanitarian cause.
10) Make Heavenly Father a partner financially.

There are other ideas but I thought I'd start with these.
Hope you have a thrifty day!!! Love you lots.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ralph House Debt Reduction

This week Dad and I worked though our finances and mapped out a debt reduction plan to help us get out of debt and became financially independent. We planned a budget and then mapped out the major debts and how we could pay them off in a "snowball" fashion. Our plan is similar to the Dave Ramsey "Total Money Makeover" plan but I mapped it out on a visual chart so that we could "x" out the debt as we paid it off. For me it a major reminder to stay on task.
Another recommendation is to plan ahead for weekly expenses. I know that I like to "shop" and I usually come away with much more than is on my list. My goal is to map out the store and clip coupons and only purchase what I plan to purchase - the needs. I have found that it is the woman that controls the finances more so than the man in the household purchases. Any major purchases costing over $100 should be discussed together and both should agree on the expenditure.
Moderation in consumption is the key to wealth attainment. Live below your means and save and invest what you can. Millionaires are usually "cheap dates" because they don't need to spend money to enjoy themselves. Find activities that are free and enjoy yourselves knowing that you are saving money and developing your relationships which is the most important thing that you can do in this life.
Relationships are more important than "things" but wealth can allow you to have more time to develop those relationships. Have FUN!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Today I would like to add a little financial advice for my kids. This is not my original idea. It came from the book, Millionaire Women Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley. I would love for all of my children to read his books. They are great resources for staying "out of the water" and living a much better life. This quote is by a millionaire woman who made it big as a single person. "Success should not be measured by... how large the house, how expensive the care. ... I detest flaunted wealth. Success should be measured by what a person does in regard to business practices, ethics, environment, and human kindness.... Money should be the pleasant outcome of one's endeavors, not the main goal.... Be kind, be honest, stay focused and unafraid to go after your dream.... the main lesson in becoming financially successful is never spend more than you make and ... always save and invest."
Start now to save and invest. Live below your means - live frugally - and when the winds of financial ruin swirl you won't be caught up in them. Make saving money and living frugally a game - a sport- a competition. Which one of you can live on the least amount - live happily and content with the blessings you already have? Are you prepared for the downturns?
As a family here in Washington we are working toward getting out of debt as fast as we can. It would have been better if we never got into debt in the first place other than our home but we didn't know that back then. If we didn't have debt now all of our earnings could go into investments and we'd be making far more than the value of the assets that we are paying interest for now. It's a learning situation. Save now so that you can pay cash for investments that will increase your cash flow, then you won't be paying a mortgage company for the "privilege" of owning an investment property.

Monday, September 14, 2009

These are the six areas of personal and family preparedness as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would like to touch on each of these areas, giving links, advice, counsel and ideas that might be of benefit to each individual that reads this blog. My hope is that you will learn things that I wish that I had known much earlier in my life and that you can use this information to make better decisions than I have made. Time is a great teacher. Unfortunately, I feel that there is never enough time to learn everything by experience. Why create the wheel again. Let's learn from others and each other also. I would love to get your ideas and opinions on the various topics that will be bought up on this blog. Another purpose of this blog is to stay in touch with the most important people in my life - my FAMILY. I hope that we can learn and grow together.


This is an attempt to connect with family members and friends and to perhaps give some advice and receive some wisdom from the young as well as the more seasoned members of society. My hope is that we can share our thoughts, insights, talents, ideas, etc. in bringing the family closer and providing a defense against the storms of life.