Category Archives: Uncategorized

Nationwide Direct Works to Help American Families With Debt

Debt……I have debt. Most Americans have debt.

In fact, according to Fox Business, in the United States, the average household has more than $16,000 in credit card debt.

and the NASDAQ said that consumer debt is rising at an alarming rate and when you compile the debt for student loans, credit cars and automobiles, the American household debt seems insurmountable to most people.

The economy has improved since the recession hit 10 years ago, but the average family has yet to feel the positive implications of the economy as a whole rebounding. And many would say that debt is actually enslaving many American households.

So what has contributed to this staggering problem? When the recession hit 10 years ago the average median income family saw their debt increase as their houses lost value and many jobs went away. In order to get by until things improved, personal loans and credit cards became the norm for making ends meet. With high interest rates, many families were only able to make the minimum required payments, which actually hurt them more, as they were unable to get out from under the debt they were accumulating just to keep their families fed and a roof over their heads.

This has happened so often that many companies have offered to help with debt consolidation. This can help families find a way to put all of their debt together and make one payment to one company as opposed to many payments to many companies. Oftentimes consolidating your debt can also reduce the amount of interest owed.

One company offering help with debt is Nationwide. Nationwide Debt Direct works with consumers like you to develop and execute a professional strategy with the goal of satisfying and eliminating all of your unsecured financial obligations. You can find out more at this website. Nationwide Debt Direct.

In fact, Nationwide is taking it a step further to help families and is offering a scholarship. To quote their website: “The Nationwide Debt Direct scholarship was created with the belief that everyone who wants to pursue a higher education should have the opportunity to do so.  Nationwide Debt Direct is committed to helping students receive a higher education, while also keeping their student debt as low as possible. Student loan debt statistics are shocking and can become debilitating to some students. This scholarship was created to show NDD’s commitment to supporting students who have thought about their financial future as well as their academic future.”

You can find out more about the requirements and scholarship opportunity here:

Nationwide Debt Direct Scholarship

In times like this when so many American families are struggling with so much debt and trying to find ways to help, it is nice to know that a company with such a wonderful reputation such as Nationwide are doing so much to help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Tips for Running a Successful Home Based Business

I have been a business owner for over 5 years. In fact I have owned 6 different businesses over the past 10 years. All of them were/are home based businesses, and while that is a wonderful thing, it is also very difficult because no one will tell you when to do things or how to do things and you have to be able to manage your time wisely.

Using your time wisely is important because some people don’t work enough. They don’t plan well or prioritize well, and spend too much time planning or thinking and not enough time doing. For others the exact opposite is true and they can’t ever turn off their business. It consumes their time and they don’t unplug to do things that are self care. This is a lesson that Marty Stallone has learned. He is a successful Land Development Vice President.

I have been on both sides of the spectrum and have learned a LOT of things over the years.  so I want to offer you 3 tips on how to run a successful home based business.

1) Keep a list of things you want to accomplish each day.

This is very important for me, because sometimes your day is spent putting out fires and you may get to the end of the day and think nothing got done and in fact the things you WANTED to do may not have gotten done, but you need to be able to feel as though your day was spent doing something. So I make a list of the things I want to accomplish each day and also I write down the things I did get done because those might be two very different lists.

2) Time Management

I like to use the Pomodoro technique.  The technique works by getting you to structure your work in 25-minute sessions, each separated by a short break.  The method is remarkably simple. Each 25-minute session is one “pomodoro.” When you complete one, take a five-minute break before embarking on the next. When you have completed four “pomodori,” take a longer break to rest and recharge. At first, it might seem counter-intuitive to take so many breaks throughout the day. But research shows that this can actually enhance your focus when you return to the task you’re working on.

Step 1: Check Your Schedule

Your first step is to check your schedule and think about what you need to do. Estimate how long each task should take you, in terms of the number of pomodori (25-minute sessions) you will need to complete it. Also schedule in time for your breaks: five minutes for each session completed, plus a longer 20- to 30-minute break at a natural stopping point.

Step 2: Set Your Timer

Before you start, make sure that you have everything you need to begin on your tasks. Set your timer for the work period you’ve settled on. You can use whatever sort of timer you like. A traditional kitchen timer or one on your phone is ideal for working from home.

Commit to work only on the task at hand.  You have a limited time in which to focus your attention on it. Then, in your rest break, you can return phone calls or check your messages. With this in mind, do what you can to minimize interruptions before you begin. Shut your office door,  turn off your phone and email/chat alerts. (this is a big distraction for me.)

Step 3: Work on Your Task, and Only That Task

Devote all of your attention to the task at hand for the duration of the session. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted if ideas or thoughts about other tasks pop into your head. Write these down and then set them aside.  You can adjust your schedule to work on them in the next session.  If you complete your work before your time is up, use the remaining time for routine activities, or for other short tasks.

Step 4: Take a Short Break

When your timer goes off, take a five-minute break. You should do this even if you’re “in the flow” because these breaks are your time to rest and “recharge your batteries.” You may worry that interrupting your work for a break loses time, but regular breaks will restore your energy and improve your productivity to levels that more than make up for any lost time. The Pomodoro approach works by maintaining your energy, so that you don’t need to waste time working on tasks when your concentration levels are low. For maximum benefit, use your breaks to get away from your desk. Move around, take a walk, stretch.

Step 5: Continue Your Work Sessions and Take a Longer Break

When your break is over, reset your timer for the next session and continue your work. When you’ve completed four pomodori, take a 20- to 30-minute break. Use it to go for a walk, eat a healthy snack, have lunch, read a book… anything, so long as it takes you away from your desk for a while and clears your mind of what you were doing before. Remember, the important thing here is to replenish your energy levels.

It is important to listen to your body. If your mind starts to wander or you start to feel tired, don’t push through to the end of the session. You might want to experiment with this. It may be that three pomodori followed by a 20-minute break suits you best, or that five sessions followed by a 30-minute break is better.

3) Self Care

Turn OFF! Turn off your phone. Turn off your computer. Unplug. Enjoy time with friends and family. See a movie, play with your kids, go to the park, get a massage or a facial, or just go for a walk. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your business.

Greek Chicken and homemade Tzatiki sauce

We have tomatoes! LOTS of beautiful, juicy lovely cherry tomatoes. So many tomatoes I don’t even know what to do with them anymore. Oh and cucumbers. We have those too! Lots of them.

So with lots of cucumbers and tomatoes, the first thing that came to mind was a cucumber and tomato salad, but Karol said she wasn’t a fan. So I had to think about what she does like. And what she (and the rest of the family) like are chicken skewers. With a greek marinade, and pita bread and feta cheese. We like Tzatiki sauce also, but the boys can live without that. We eat this Greek Chicken and homemade Tzatiki sauce many times in the summer because it is so easy and so Delicious!!

So off to the grocery store I went to get some greek yogurt and pita bread. I always make my own Tzatiki because it just tastes better. One thing I will say is that it tastes even better the day after you make it then the day you make it so if you can have the presence of mind to prepare (as I didn’t) and make your Tzatiki the day before it will be much yummier. In this case they got what they got. Just kidding, we loved it and we like it even more the next day!

First, you make a simple marinade for the chicken and let it sit in there for as long as you have — sometimes I have 20 minutes and sometimes (although not as often as I would like) for as long as 24 hours. Mostly I just forget to plan ahead. Either way the chicken will taste delicious. Then you make a huge amount of Tzatiki. More than you think you will need, but trust me, it goes fast.  You chop lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion (for others than my family I do this, we are not big red onion eaters). Then you grill the chicken. You can either grill your chicken whole or use skewers. For some reason my family just loves food on a skewer. We also always grill the pita bread. Grilling gives it a nice texture and takes away some of the “flour” taste. A super easy way to feed a family or even a large gathering, and you will hardly break a sweat. Added plus of making a light, summer meal that everyone will love and they can take what they want or don’t want, (onions and sauce for my kids, and pita bread for the people not eating gluten) and you can just simply enjoy a lovely glass of whatever your favorite summer beverage is (I like a white sangria personally, or wine spritzer) and enjoy the smell of grilled food and the sound of happy people on a summer evening!

Grated cucumber

 

Yogurt

I put my yogurt in paper towels (because I don;t have cheesecloth) and then put in over a large cup (a tall plastic container works also). I wrap a rubber band around it so the liquid will drip through the cloth and your sauce will be thicker. You definitely DON’T have to do this, especially if you use Greek yogurt which has less moisture. I just like my sauce thick.

 

Tzatiki….yum!

 

We freeze the chicken with the seasonings on them. Makes dinner prep faster and easier.

Chicken done.

 

Ready to assemble. Also, side note I used Naan bread.

 

Ready to devour! Delicious!

Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-4 (depending on size of group) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Tzatziki dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups (554 grams) plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 hothouse, English or seedless cucumber, unpeeled (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Assembly
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (we skip this unless there is company that likes it)
  • About 1 pound small-medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 hothouse, English or seedless cucumber, chopped
  • small can of black olives, sliced
  • 4 large pitas (intending 1/2 per person) or more as needed
  • crumbled feta cheese

Prepare the chicken: Combine all ingredients in a large freezer bag. Rub all around, coating chicken as evenly as possible. Let marinate for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours, whatever time you have. (we put marinade on chicken and then freeze with marinade, easy peasy when thawed)

Make tzatziki: Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Slice your cucumber in half, and remove the seeds. Coarsely grate your cucumber and after sitting for a few minutes, wring it out as well as you can. All of that liquid makes the sauce too wet. Add wrung-out cucumber to yogurt bowl along with lemon juice, sour cream, dill, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill until needed.

Prepare salad components: Arrange, onion, tomatoes, black olives and cucumbers on a platter, or in bowls.

Cook chicken: Heat your grill to high heat or a grill pan to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade and grill on first side until dark lines appear, about 5 minutes, then flip and grill for 3 minutes more on second side. Cooking times will vastly range by the thickness and coldness of your chicken, as well as variations between grills. Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board, let rest for a couple minutes while you quickly heat/toast your pitas on the grill. (or cube chicken and put on skewers)

Cut chicken into chunks. Cut pitas into wedges. Add to platter with vegetables and let everyone dig in.

Recipe Notes

This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. Add the marinade to the chicken, package for the freezer and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then grill or bake in the oven.

We make this a LOT in the summer. Definitely  a family favorite and super easy!!