Hurricane’s Coming! What Should I do?

Posted by Admin on October 5, 2016 in Personal Thoughts |

We were ready to travel to my niece’s wedding in Charleston this weekend.  We worked to get clothes ready, gifts ready, and preparations for someone to care for our home and pets for while we were gone.  It was to be an exciting weekend with family while we celebrated their commitment to love each other.  Then came Matthew! Totally unexpected Matthew began to churn our way.  Matthew is a hurricane that is currently wrecking havoc on Haiti and Cuba.  Now we are stuck at home and they are having to evacuate Charleston because predictions have him heading our way.  After all of their time planning their perfect day, I am saddened for them and all of us who were looking forward to time to celebrate them together.

Now we suddenly have to switch to emergency prep.  We basically have a one day warning to get our stuff together.  Now where to start?  Below is my preparation list. Feel free to use it to help you if you need direction.  But please keep in mind.  I am not an expert.  I have had some experience in this as I’ve grown up in Central Florida but use your own judgement and follow this at your own risk.  😉 (my disclaimer)

  1.  Find important papers, (insurance papers, birth certificates, social security cards, etc.) and seal them in a waterproof container such as a zip-lock bag and place them in a safe place or pack them to go with you if you are evacuating.
  2. Take stock of what you have in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer.  Start eating from fridge and freezer to reduce possible loss of food due to lack of electricity.  Make a menu “canned” menu in case you loose electricity.
  3. Make sure you have a manual can-opener!  You will need this to open cans if you lose electricity.  Check a hurricane preparedness list such as this one http://www.mynews13.com/weather/hurricane-center-checklist.html#supply to ensure you are prepared.
  4. Make your list and head to the store.  The sooner, the better.  Stock will be depleted quickly. Don’t forget personal care items like medicines, feminine hygeine items etc.  While you are out there, fill your gas tanks, and fill your propane tanks.
  5. Next step is to prepare you home.  Pick up anything in your yard that can become a flying missile!  (Chairs, garbage cans, trampolines)  Secure them. If you have a pool you can throw your outdoor chairs in the pool.  We remove the jump pad and netting on our trampoline to prevent the wind from catching and tossing it. Then we secure the poles as best we can.  We bring our garbage cans into the garage.  Do whatever you can to protect yourselves and your neighbors.  If you have a neighbor who has not done this, offer to help them move their outdoor stuff.
  6. Next, prepare the inside of your home.  Board or tape your windows if you are going to do so.  Make a living space to wait out the storm in the safest room in your house.  Usually near the center of the home where you have no windows or the fewest number of windows.  Put your battery operated radio in there with pillows, bedding and games to wait out the storm.
  7. After you have done all you can to prepare and helped those around you prepare, keep a close eye on the news.  Make sure cell phones are fully charged.

Extra tips:

-Put your expensive china or anything you want to protect in your dishwasher.  It is one of the safest places and is sealed to protect from the elements.

-Clean your bathtub and fill with water.  This is to use if water use is lost.  (Think flushing toilets etc.)

-Pack necessary items for last minute travel into backpacks that can be quickly grabbed if needed. (Think medicines, change of clothes, important papers, personal care items)

Please feel free to share any of your tips below.  I’m always looking for different ways and different ideas.

For anyone in the path of this storm, you are in my thoughts and prayers.  Stay safe and prepare!


Phishing Scams

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2016 in Personal Thoughts |

I get these in my inbox daily! What drives me crazy is that it must be profitable and someone is falling prey or it wouldn’t continue. I decided to share this little masterpiece (I am sarcastic there in case you missed it!) and explain a bit on how to spot a phishing email.

What is a phishing (pronounced fishing) email? It is an email where a third party (someone we don’t know or do business with) sends you a message disguised as a second party (someone we do know or do business with) in an attempt to get you to provide personal information, like your bank account number, social security number or credit card information.  If you give them information, they can go shopping on your dime.

In this example, someone is pretending to be Amazon in hopes I will push the little button and give them my password for Amazon. Then they can access my account, place an order and have it delivered to their door.  In actuality, they send it to someone else’s door and watch for delivery, then nab it.  That way it can’t be traced to them and someone else gets the blame.  UGH!

sample phishing email

So how do I know it’s not from Amazon?  The fact that I don’t have an Amazon account would be a clue.  But let’s say I do.  Notice in the greeting they do not address me by name.  It says, “Hello, From Amazon!”  If this were a message from Amazon, and I had an account with them, they would address me by my name,  “Hello Mrs. Sarcastic!”  That is your first a big clue.  The next clue would come in the form of grammar.  Amazon and other financial institutions hire people and pay them good money to write grammatically correct messages.  In this example, the first sentence states, “You have entered wrong password for many times.”  I think a fourth grader would be able to correct that grammar. Let’s see if the second line is better!   “As our security measure, we need more informations from you.”  Are you seeing the pattern here?  If the grammar is poor, it’s a fake.

So what can you do if you get these emails?  My first advice, “DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS.”  There are two ways to handle the emails.

  1. One is to be proactive and attempt to help the organization that they are pretending to be.  This helps to protect others who may not be as savvy about the email as you are. If this is the route you chose, contact the company (In this case, I would go to Amazon.com and search for their phishing department.  When I put the words phishing email into their search engine, directions come up telling me to attach the email to another email and send to “stop-spoofing@amazon.com” It tells me they take it seriously.  Then leave it up to them to find out who is using their name and potentially causing harm to their customer.  Delete the email from your account.
  2. The second option is to just delete the message from your inbox and be done with it.

I find some companies to be very happy to get the information and give me every indication that they are working to stop it. They have departments that seek out these creeps and shut down their organization.  Other companies seem to be less appreciative.  I like to give them the option to deal with it and I choose not to do business with anyone who doesn’t take it seriously. The sad part is even after being shut down, these folks turn right around and set up other scams. And they set them up because they are successful in enough instances and enough people fall prey to them that is it profitable. I feel obligated to do what I can to stop it.

Steps to protect yourself:

  1. Do not open any links in an email that you do not expect.  I even question friends before opening their emails if I have something without an explanation.
  2. Do not reply to any unknown emails, this includes unsubscribing to the email.  It’s better to block them.
  3. Even if you suspect the email is valid, do not reply to the links.  Go directly to the website of the institution you do business with and make your adjustments from there.  Do not click on a link from an unknown email.
  4. Report suspect emails to the company they are posting as
  5. If you do fall prey, contact the “real” company immediately and let them know.  Change your password and add additional security to all of your accounts.



Great New Find

Posted by Admin on August 15, 2016 in Homeschool, Organization, Personal Thoughts |

Try Grammarly

I found a great new program to help with blog writing, my daughter’s school work and checking for plagiarism.  The program is called Grammarly, and I love it!

I am one of those people who struggle with a brain that moves much faster than my fingers when typing.  As a result, I usually have a mistake or two (or three, or more) in my work.  When I proofread right after writing, I have a tendency to miss the errors.  I usually wait a day or two before I reread.  Then I always find more mistakes. Grammarly makes it easy to double check myself and find those errors the first time around which saves me time and reposting my blog again.

I can find many uses for the program in work, homeschooling, and household tasks, like term papers, essays, writing our Christmas newsletter and other correspondence. The most fun benefit for me is the email I am sent each week which tells me the types of mistakes I make most often.  That helps me to identify my common mistakes and work to improve my writing.  

The program is fabulous and very easy to use.  I highly recommend checking it out. Grammarly offers a free and a paid version.  There is a link on the graphic at the top of this post that will take you to their site. Check it out!  I think you will be amazed. 




Posted by Admin on August 2, 2016 in Personal Thoughts |

I am always looking for positives.  Staying positive is not always easy, but it has a profound effect on how you feel about yourself and the world around you.  I found a web page where people shared things others said, that changed their life. One of the stories was the following:

Think of a time you were embarrassed, easy right? Now think of a time someone else was embarrassed. It’s a lot harder to do isn’t it?” I don’t really worry about being embarrassed anymore if no one but I will remember it! ” 

I laughed out loud.  Once at a high school football game (10th grade),  I was sitting with some friends on the bleachers, in front of several from the “popular” crowd, watching the football game.  Long story short, I slid down the bleachers in a very dramatic way (I fell).  Laughter broke all around me.  Because nothing was hurt but my pride, I insisted my friends move on to another location on the bleachers and convinced myself that no one would ever remember that event but me, and I just needed to get over it.  And in truth, I didn’t hear anything else about it until…

Fast forward four years.  I was living on campus at the University of Central Florida.  We had suites with three bedrooms, a shared living room, and a shared bathroom.  I walked into my living room and met up with one of my suitemates and a guy she was dating.  She introduced us to which he replied.  “I know you!  You’re the girl that fell down the bleachers!”  Okay, so I wasn’t the only one who remembered my embarrassing moment after all.  But in learning to laugh about it, we even feel joy in those instances.  Did the ideology that no one else will remember “my moment” change my life? Nope!  Maybe it got me through the first few days of my embarrassment. But meeting my high school classmate after four years and him remembering the same event, I didn’t take stock in it.  I think the better quote may be this one by Christian Bale:

But I learned that there’s a certain character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly. If you can sit happy with embarrassment, there’s not much else that can really get to ya.


It’s Almost Olympic Time!

Posted by Admin on July 28, 2016 in Homeschool |

olympicadvertismentOur family is preparing for back to school and also the start of the Summer Olympics in Rio.  We look forward to celebrating athletes from around the world while they are competing in the Olympic Games.  Terri from Knowledge Quest has a great Summer Olympic freebie to share with you and your children.  The digital download has a great project for you and your children that will give them opportunities to use their creative energy.  Your children will be encouraged to record their favorite Olympic moments while learning geographic information in a fun way.  When all is said and done you will be left with a wonderful compilation to remember this years games as well as fun memories of your work together on this project.

You can go HERE to read about the free download and pick yours up.  We are excited to use this opportunity to learn more about the countries that are competing and where they are located in our world.

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