How to Create a Modern Homestead

Did you know that Hilary Swank raises her own chickens from eggs? She’s not the only celebrity getting into modern homesteading: Julia Roberts composts her kitchen scraps and chicken poop while Oprah has a 12-acre organic garden in Maui. Even the White House has a vegetable garden thanks to Michelle Obama! Anyone willing to give […]

Your Budget: Rethink These Modern-Day ‘Necessities’

Compare your monthly expenses to those of your grandparents (maybe even your parents), and you’ll probably find that your expense list is quite a bit longer. Over the decades, more and more conveniences, habits, and gadgets have found their way into our everyday lives. And gradually we’ve accepted them as normal, even necessary. (For instance, […]

Financial Literacy an Essential Life Skill for Young People

(MCT)—To improve financial literacy, you have to reach children at an early age so they can establish a strong foundation. Texas is off to a good start. Starting with the current school year, students from kindergarten through eighth grade are required to take financial literacy lessons in their math classes. And high school seniors get […]

Your Place: Relative Humidity Indoors Determines Likelihood of Mold

(MCT)—A few weeks back, a reader contacted me with a concern that the portable humidifier his daughter was running in a bedroom could contribute to a mold problem, although he had seen no evidence of one yet. In my household, we have run humidifiers in bedrooms because, for example, one son suffered from croup-like symptoms […]

Five Mistakes Leaders Unknowingly Make That Scare Employees

Most leaders know that command and control is dead and that fear doesn’t motivate employees. Quite the opposite, in fact. That’s why, for the most part, we refrain from doing scary things. Yet according to Christine Comaford, author of the New York Times best seller How Teams Become Brilliant Together, even good leaders unintentionally strike […]

No More Staycations: Americans Are Planning to Hit the Road

The outlook for family summer travel is bright, according to a new national survey by Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) and FamilyFun magazine. With the economy improving, more than four out of five respondents (83 percent) said they plan t…

Paula Deen’s Firing: 5 Lessons for Businesses

Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been fired by Food Network, which is declining to renew her contract when it expires at the end of this month. The news, of course, stems from leaked court documents that revealed Deen’s use of derogatory slurs, among a whole slew of other offensive behavior and language. Deen’s firing comes […]

Living Smart: Appliance Maintenance

(MCT)—Every day our appliances take a beating. From the constant opening and closing of doors to turning them on and off, our daily actions can eventually lead to a repair call or earlier-than-expected replacement. With a little preventative maintenance and by following the manufacturers’ usage guidelines, though, we can keep our appliances in good working […]

Your Place: Keep Attic-Steps Insulation in Summer

(MCT)—Question: We have an attic with a set of steps that pulls down from the ceiling. In the winter, we keep an insulated foam dome in the attic that covers the folded steps and the trap door that they are attached to. This helps to keep the heat in the house and to keep the […]

Living Smart: Hiring a House Sitter

(MCT)—For many of us, summer is the ideal time of year to take extended trips away from home. It’s also the perfect time of year for burglars to go on the prowl for easy break-in opportunities where their activities won’t quickly be detected or reported. Hiring a house sitter to check in on your home […]