Showing posts from November, 2019

Steps to a Budget-Friendly Holiday Season

Shopping for the holidays can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Planning ahead can help make sure that you don’t overextend yourself when shopping for loved ones. Check out these steps for a holiday season that won’t break the bank. 1.        Make a list. Write down the names of everyone you wish to buy a gift for this holiday season and the items you would like to purchase or the amounts you would like to spend on each one. 2.        Set a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts for your loved ones this season, and make a pledge to not go over that amount. 3.        Research. Start checking prices on the items you listed in Step 1. Go window shopping at stores and check prices online. Add them all up and compare this amount to the amount you budgeted for in Step 2. If it exceeds the total you want to spend, it’s decision time. Go back to Step 1 and either cut some items off your list or choose less expensive gifts for c

“We Bought My Sister at the Airport”, Our Adoption Story

A doctor’s mis-diagnosis nearly took my life when I was eight years old.  It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned the full extent of the damage that was done from a ruptured appendix.    After eight attempts at in-vitro fertilization, we began the adoption process.  This will be easy, right?...…wrong.  There are so many things to learn, decide and complete.  What type of adoption, domestic or international?  What country?  It costs what?  We have to fill out an application.  What paperwork?   More paperwork?   It takes how long?  We have to wait?  Fingerprints at the Federal Building in Des Moines.  A physical exam with a doctor and a blood test, seriously?  A social worker will visit us, and we need personal recommendations.  We must attend a class?  Why doesn’t everyone who wants a baby have to go through this?  This must be like the application process for a job with the FBI!  This is not fair! The paperwork started and the wait began.    We had a checklist that I re

State Fair Camping

I’ve been going to the Iowa State Fair for as long as I can remember.   Up until just a few years ago it was typically just a single day trip up to Des Moines to watch a pig show with a return trip home at the end of the day.   A cinnamon roll, a meal at the Pork or Beef Producers, and about half a dozen lemonades made it a day.   I’m big on routines and this was my state fair routine. The last few years I’ve been actively involved helping Jacob and the Scotton family exhibit their pigs at the state fair.   The first year they showed in Des Moines I planned be at the fair for 3 or 4 days with them. My wife asked me where I planned to stay at night.   “I’ll drive back and forth from home or stay at a friend’s house in Des Moines”, was my response.   “Well, they’ve offered to let you stay with them in their camper on the fairgrounds” was my wife’s response, meaning, my idea wasn’t very good, without saying so directly. I wish I could remember the exact words of my response, but