Life Update

For those who’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to and also have ever wondered about how I ended up with published books, I took a few minutes yesterday to write a brief history on my other blog of my writing life and online activities, plus  a little update about where things stand now.

You can find it at:

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Cute Christmas Story – The Cow that Ate Baby Jesus

My daughter, Kelsey, has a cute Christmas story on her blog from last year.  I always smile when I read it.  :-)

Surviving Christmas, One Year at a Time

This is a link to a blog post my daughter wrote last year but I only just now read:

Surviving Christmas, One Year at a Time

It brought tears to my eyes several times as I remembered some of those difficult Christmas’s Past.


When there’s a hole in our hearts where someone should be, that hole feels more like a canyon during the holidays. When finances are tight, things feel more desperate, frustrating, and depressing. Everything is intensified. Everything.

So, whether Happy Holidays or Bah Humbug seems like the greeting for you this year, I hope — whether fun or not — that you survive this yuletide season without too many scratches.

True, that.


Saving on Winter Home Energy Costs

by Debi

Approximately 40% of winter home energy bills involves heating. Here are some simple tips for cutting back on your home energy costs this winter:


  1. Change furnace air filters regularly (once a month or according to manufacturer’s recommendations).
  2. Schedule a cleaning/maintenance call each year for your furnace.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat.
  4. Turn down the heat one degree during the day. Lower the heat by ten degrees at night.
  5. Make sure your furniture and carpets don’t cover or block vents or air ducts.


  1. Add weather-stripping around doors and windows.
  2. Install thermo-pane windows in your home.
  3. Insulate your top floor ceilings and attic.
  4. Replace window screens with storm windows.
  5. Close the damper on the chimney flue when not in use.
  6. Cover your windows with insulated blinds or curtains. Or make window quilts for the winter months.
  7. Insulate yourself! Wear a sweater and insulated slippers in the house. Buy a down comforter for your bed.


  1. Use compact fluorescent lights, especially in outside lighting like porch lights that are left on for long periods of time.
  2. Use photo-cells or motion sensors for outdoor lights.
  3. Open drapes when the sun is shining in your windows (helps to provide both light and passive heat), and be sure to remember to close the drapes at night to keep the heat in.
  4. Turn off lights when you leave a room.


  1. Insulate your older water heater.
  2. General rule of thumb: If you aren’t using it, turn it off!
  3. Unplug electronics and electric appliances when not in use (battery chargers, hair appliances, computers).
  4. Use a power strip as a central turn off point for electronics, videos games, and computers when not in use.
  5. Use the right size pot on the stovetop.


  1. Always run full loads of both laundry and dishes.
  2. If you have a newer model dishwasher, don’t rinse dishes prior to putting them in the dishwasher.
  3. Install an energy efficient showerhead which will not only save on water usage, but also save money on water heating.
  4. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Hot water heating uses 90% of the electricity used to run your washing machine.
  5. Use the correct water level when washing clothes.
  6. Don’t over-dry your clothes. Hang to dry — or to finish drying — whenever possible.
  7. Empty your lint trap before each load.


“A Simple Christmas” Workshop is on my other blog

a-simple-christmas2Several years ago, I put together a week-long workshop on simplifying the holidays called “A Simple Christmas.”  The original intent had been to make it an email course, but that year life got in the way and so I just added it to my blog instead.

Fast forward to this year.  Once again, I’d intended to do the email version but life got in the way again.  I’m beginning to sense a pattern.  The email version just isn’t meant to be.  ;)

If you missed the workshop the first time around, you can access the seven day sessions on my other blog, A Frugal Simple Life.

Here’s the link to get started:  A Simple Christmas Workshop – Day One

At the end of each day’s session, there’s a link to the next.  Since they’re all published now, feel free to work through them all at once.  Or take them one day at a time if you want to make it a more thoughtful — and thought-provoking — process.

However you choose to celebrate, have a wonderful holiday season!