Category Archives: Simple Ways to Handle Everyday Problems

Flexibility–A Useful Tool

I wrote a post on flexibility in spending and saving money here.

Recently I thought again of how the attitude of flexibility makes life a little easier.

For three weeks or so, the grocery store I frequent had low supplies of bread. Before the pandemic I used to buy three or four loaves at a time to keep in the freezer. No more! Signs on the bread shelves stated the limit of one bread item to a customer. I put the loaf in the cart, then decided to hunt for bread substitutes. First, I spied frozen waffles. Good—I can eat them in place of toast. Then I saw a container of yellow cornmeal, and I remembered cornbread makes an excellent side dish with baked beans, spaghetti, pork chops, and many other foods.

Having flexibility, particularly in these times, is a wonderful way to avoid stress. You aren’t tied to a certain way to do things, or meet needs, but you have the willingness to look for substitutes. I’ve found the best way to have that attitude is to think in terms of generalities, not to be hung up on (for example) “Well, I’ve always eaten that kind of bread”, or “I always go to the movies Friday nights. What am I going to do?” Generalities say, “I like that bread, but maybe now’s the time to try English muffins; the store has a lot of those.” or “Yes, I like going to the movies, but the reason I do it is to de-stress from work. What other activity can I do that would accomplish the same thing?”

How are you using flexibility to live a little easier these days?

©P. Booher

 

 

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Fighting a War Against Fear

“What if this happens?????? What if that happens?????? What happens then??????” What will I do??????”

These are the questions that popped up in my mind often, even in little situations. You know what’s behind those questions? FEAR. Fear nearly drove me crazy; I mean to the point of losing my mind. What was worse was I knew I didn’t have the answers for those questions.

Last year, after a bout with painful, limited mobility, and depression, I finally said I’ve had it. I couldn’t take any more of the barrage of questions in my mind, or the heavy feeling of responsibility, so—I gave them to God. (I pictured myself giving a huge, car-sized box of fear, anxiety, and blackness to Jesus) I told Him, “Lord, I give this to You. I can’t handle it.” I pictured Him taking the heavy box as though it was a light feather. He said, “Trust Me. It’s OK. I can take it.”

Since then, when FEAR attempts to make an entrance and take over my mind, I picture a soldier standing guard with a spear. The soldier growls, “Don’t even think about it.”, and lunges at the fear-thought, which hastily retreats.

I thank God I don’t have the fear/panic cycle anymore. I’m free, and it’s such a relief; I can just live my life, and let God handle the “What ifs?” etc. He alone is big enough to do it; I’m not.

If you are in the middle of a fear cycle, consider doing as I did. Tell God you can’t do it anymore; give it to Him, and see what He does.

Some resources for fighting fear—please note: the Bible has a lot more.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6, KJV)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  (James 1:5, KJV)

“Casting all your care upon him;  for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7, KJV)

Jesus defeating fear in His disciples: Mark 4:35-40, KJV

©P. Booher

 

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A Remedy for My Impatience

Sometimes I get impatient when helping my mother around the house. I want to move faster, get things done quicker, but she’s not able to. Lately I’ve been praying and asking others to pray about our relationship. One answer that came from those prayers is this: when I’m in a situation and feel impatient, ask myself: what practical steps can I do to move things forward? Is there something else that contributes to the project I can do–move objects out of the way, for instance? Asking myself those questions gets rid of my impatience and the stress that comes from it. My mindset switches from me to her.

©P. Booher

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Easy Tips to Save on Car Insurance

jeep

One tip that’s often listed as a way to save on car insurance is to review your policy and check rates from different companies for the same type of policy. You may find you can save significantly on your premiums by going with another company.

Another way to possibly gain some money is to review the continuation notice the insurance company sends. Make sure the information shown–for example, number of miles driven, what coverage is on the vehicle, and, if the vehicle is paid off, that no liens are listed against the auto–is correct. In my case, I discovered that although my car had been paid off for almost a year, there was still a lien listed on it. Correction of this error and another error on the notice resulted in a savings of $76.00. Taking the time to go over the information yielded money found. Why give the insurance company more of your hard-earned money than you have to?

Last month the premium for my car insurance increased. Reason given? “Change in distance driven”. Knowing I hadn’t been driving any more than usual, I drove over to the agent’s office and after I gave the secretary the odometer reading, the secretary entered the mileage in the system and the bill was reduced on the spot. Lesson learned: know my usage, and speak up if warranted.

©P. Booher

 

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Inexpensive Substitutes that Work

Here’s a couple inexpensive, easy-to-obtain substitutes for more expensive products.

  1. Talc powder is under increased scrutiny because of the ingredients in it. I use corn starch–used to thicken homemade pudding and in other food preparation–for dusting powder. Granted, it’s not as fine in texture as talc powder, though you could sift it and probably get it that way, but it works. I put corn starch in a small container with holes on the top and sprinkle it on.
  2. Readers in the Southern Hemisphere and in warmer areas than here may appreciate this tip: medicated menthol ointment makes a good insect repellent. I read or heard that somewhere and decided to give it a try this past summer. I put it on my arms before doing yard work, and while the bugs come around, they don’t bite. They smell the ointment on my skin and leave! Now I keep a jar specifically for that purpose. Store-brand varieties work fine and are much lower in cost than brand names.

 

©P. Booher

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Ideas for Giving Gifts

paper bags near wall

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Author’s Note: Most of this is a re-post from last year. Hope it proves useful to someone needing suggestions for gift-giving.

While these suggestions are not original with me, they are on a different track from the usual ideas. They do cost you in time/money, but you can easily adapt them to your resources. (Please note: these ideas work best if you are familiar with the recipient’s age, circumstances, and likes/dislikes.)

  1. Is the recipient someone who may not drive or someone “who has everything” and you’re stumped on what to buy him or her? If you are close enough to the person to know what brands of everyday products the person uses–facial soap, body washes, facial tissue, for example–buy some in bulk and wrap the items. Let your creativity come into play as you wrap the items. Some years ago I came upon this idea for gifts for my mother. It made such a hit with her that this is my “go-to” idea for Christmas and her birthday. I buy products in the brands she uses and put them in a basket. I hide gift certificates to restaurants or stores among the items. Depending on the time/energy level I have, I either wrap each item or just wrap the basket. My mother enjoys opening her customized gift basket and finding each item hidden among the tissue paper. True, “everyday stuff” isn’t glitzy. But you know the recipient is going to use it. If the person comes into a situation where money is tight, the person will appreciate those everyday things even more!
  2. Give the gift of time. If the recipient needs a certain project done and you have the skill and the means to do it, schedule a time to do whatever the person needs–then make sure you do it. Your time is worth as much or more than the money you would spend on a gift for the person. You may be surprised how appreciative the person is!
  3. As an offshoot to the above idea, if the person expresses a desire to learn a skill you know how to do, gift the person the skill! Get together and show the recipient how to do it. Again, you may be surprised at how much the person appreciates it.

Happy gift-giving!

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Low-tech Car Care Tips for Winter

photography of red classic car

Photo by Mikey Dabro on Pexels.com

With winter weather here for people living in the Northern Hemisphere, the cold and snow bring challenges in everyday living, especially for those of us who don’t have garages.

Here are a couple car- care tips to make life a little easier these cold mornings for those whose vehicles stay outside:

1. If possible, park your car so the engine faces the morning sun. Even in very cold weather the sun warms the engine, making it easier to start. This tip came from a co-worker of my mother.

2. Many newer cars have a more aerodynamic design. For instance, the doors of my car are even with the body. There’s no overhang to protect the door seals from the elements. That presents a problem in winter when a storm hits: depending on the direction the snow or ice comes, the car doors freeze shut even though unlocked.

For awhile I sprayed cooking spray on the seals. Then a co-worker told me cooking spray deteriorates over time and draws moisture. He suggested buying a can of silicone spray from the auto parts store and applying that to the seals. While the silicone spray costs more than the cooking spray, it lubricates the seals better without breaking down. This is a case where spending a little bit more is worth it!

3. This next tip isn’t for the car, but for animals that may be around the car: Bang the hood with a broom–make some noise– before starting the car. Cats are known to climb up around the car’s engine, seeking warmth, bringing death to themselves, and costly damage to the engine. Taking a few extra seconds to warn any cat will save the cat and your engine.

4. This tip may help those who drive light-weight vehicles: put some weight in the back. I drive a light-weight front-wheel-drive car. Come winter, I throw a 20 or 25-pound sack of cheap kitty litter in the trunk. This “old-school” trick I picked up from my dad, who routinely put extra weight in the bed of his two-wheel-drive pickup in the winter.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

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Nature Notes–Evicting a Feathered Neighbor

tilt shift photo of two white bird eggs on a nest

Photo by Mauriciooliveira109 on Pexels.com

A pair of wrens set up housekeeping on our front porch. That didn’t surprise me because wrens, like American robins and Eastern Phoebes, don’t mind nesting near human activity, and they are opportunistic birds who use human paraphernalia to build nests in. (Once I left a open box of garbage bags on a workshop porch. Imagine the surprise I got when I went out to get a bag and a little brown wren was sitting in the box!) Unfortunately, this spring the wrens built a nest among the leaves and stems of my mother’s spiderwort plant.

My mother and I admired the wrens’ single-minded focus on building the nest. From the living room window we watched the birds make trips back and forth to add to the nest. I saw one wren marching up the sidewalk with a twig in its beak. Evidently the bird decided the twig wouldn’t work, because the bird tossed the twig aside and scoured the nearby grass and weeds for more suitable material.

As much as we admired the birds’ determination, however, my mother didn’t want to stand by and watch her houseplant be ruined. I remembered hearing that birds don’t like peppermint/spearmint scent, so I went to a nearby hardware store and bought some peppermint/spearmint scented mouse repellent. The repellent comes in small pouches, so it was handy for our purpose. I took each of the three hanging planters down and put a pouch in each one. When I took the spiderwort down, I found a 3″–5″ round, thick nest made up of twigs, grass, moss, and a feather or two among the stems and leaves, though fortunately, no eggs were in it. From the wrens’ point of view, it was the perfect homesite. From our point of view, it wasn’t.

Since putting the scented pouches in the planters, I haven’t heard the wrens’ loud calls coming from the porch nor have I seen fluttering wings or leaves among the spiderwort, so I think we accomplished our mission. We’ve been keeping an eye on the plants; so far, the scented additions to the planters hasn’t affected the health of the plants.

For more info. on spiderwort plants, (common names: Inchplant, Wandering Jew, or Wandering Willie), check out: https://www.thespruce.com>Gardening>Houseplants>Houseplant Basics or–https://www.gardeningknowhow.com>Houseplants>Wandering Jew plants.

For info. on the perky little wren, check out: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Wren.

©P. Booher

 

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Getting It Done, Anyway

My pride would like to think I can go all out, that I don’t need any help. My body tells me otherwise.

A few years ago I came up with some principles and practical ideas to satisfy the need and want to do things around the house while avoiding some stress on my body. I offer the following for anyone who’s interested:

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