Welcome to the Medina Ohio

This is the handiest local reference guide you’re ever going to find and the most in-depth Internet guide to Medina, Ohio and the Medina County area available, bar none. Here’s where you’ll find all of the Medina businesses, schools, churches, news sources, and libraries.

Take a moment to check out our photo gallery where you’ll find photographs of the Medina area, or our Alphabetical Business Directory which holds some of the stories we’ve written on over 525 Medina County businesses.

Our Categorical Business Directory is designed to make finding a local merchant or service effortless and our Business Spotlight is where you can peruse profiles of the most prolific merchants in Medina County. If you need to obtain an EIN number for your business visit Online SS4.

The Medina County Community Advocate offers printable coupons from your favorite Medina merchants and our new “Help Wanted” section makes finding a job in Medina County as easy as 1-2-3. We’re the “Number 1” place to stop when you’re planning a shopping trip, looking for news, trying to find a local church in Medina, checking the local weather, or just taking advantage of our Online Fireplace to take the chill out of these chilly Winter days while enjoying our weekly columns!

Preparing for Divorce

How To Prepare For Divorce


Before planning for divorce, it is a good idea to determine if it is something that you really want. Discussing your marriage problems with a counselor could save your marriage. However, if there is no way that the relationship can be saved, then it can be good to start preparing for divorce proceedings in the following ways:

Look for a lawyer

The lawyer will advise you on the best course of action to take when filing for a divorce. He or she will also be able to determine what kind of outcome you can expect at the end of the case.

Many family law attorneys offer free initial consultations and it may be a good idea to meet with different attorneys before choosing one who will handle your divorce case.


Gather important financial documentation

Documents tend to disappear or become inaccessible after a divorce is filed as your spouse will also need them. Therefore, it is a good idea to get copies of financial documentation as soon as possible. You can either keep these copies in a safe place or give them to your attorney.

Some of the most important documents you should look for include supporting documentation for all your income and your spouse’s income, assets, debts, and expenses.

For example, tax returns, W-2’s, credit card systems, recent paystubs, bank statements, and retirement account statements and bank statements are most helpful. You should also look for copies of the titles to your real estate, real estate tax bills and mortgage statements.

divorce help

Consider the financial aspect

If you have made up your mind to file for divorce, think about the financial aspect of it. Are you financially dependent on your spouse? If so, how are you going to handle the consequences? It is important that you think about your immediate financial plans. Speak with a family lawyer to determine if you are entitled to alimony.

Talk to your kids

Do you have children? If so, how will the decision to file for divorce affect them? It is a good idea if possible to sit down with your husband or wife and talk it over with your child or children. Tell your child or children that you and your husband or wife will always be there for them.

Lawn Care Services In The Buckeye State

Ohio Lawn Care Services

Using a lawn care service will help you save time and will make your property look amazing with very little effort required on your part. These companies usually offer a number of services, including soil aeration, installing turf, mowing the lawn, landscaping and getting rid of pest and weeds.


Why Should You Use An Ohio Lawn Care Service?

Mowing your lawn can be tiring and time-consuming. If you would rather relax or spend time with your family during your weekends, find a local lawn care service and get some help with maintaining your property. These services can also help you with things that would be difficult to do without professional knowledge and equipment, such as restoring a damaged lawn, fertilizing your lawn or aerating your soil.

How Can You Find A Great Lawn Care Service In The Buckeye State?

If you have any neighbors who use lawn care services, ask them about their experiences. You can also find out more about lawn care professionals in your area by looking at online directories. You can choose a franchise or a smaller local contractor in function of what your needs are. You should contact different services to ask about their prices and to make sure they offer packages that correspond to your needs.

You can use a lawn care service on a one-time basis if you need to get rid of insects, need help with landscaping or want to have your soil aerated. You should consider subscribing to a service package if you would like to get help with maintaining your property. You can find lawn care services that will send a professional to your home to mow your lawn and perform other services as needed. Compare your options and look for a lawn care package adapted to your needs.

Guide To Smooth and Healthy Skin

Tips to Getting a Smooth and Healthy Skin

Getting a smooth and healthy skin does not have to be hard. You just need to follow some tips so you can get what you want. We will let you know what you can do with your skin so you can get what you want.
Drink Water
To get a smooth, healthy skin, you have to drink a lot of water. Eight glasses of water per day will be fine. You need also to wash your face in the night and in the morning, and you need to do this consistently. You must also use a gentle cleanser when washing your face.
Don’t even try to pick your pimples, as this might have many adverse effects over time. A picked zit might cause a lot of blemishes over time, which is not good for you at all. Using fresh brushes and makeup is also very important.
Remember that you need to drink a lot of water, but you should not pick your pimples. Visit the full list at the MicrodermaMitt website.

Understand The Tax law in Ohio With The Right Experts

Ohio Tax Expertise

If you are yet to file your taxes, then it is the time that you hire a tax an Ohio tax attorney, civil audits attorney Miami, Ft Lauderdale tax lawyer to get the work done.

Instead of having a headache and worrying about what to do, go ahead and hire a tax law attorney in Ohio. They can be your savior with any tax issue. Having specialized knowledge and skill in this particular domain, they are aware of all the taxation policies. In order to get the best out of them, make sure that you provide them with the following:

All the documents, files and folders that has a history of all your financial transactions in the last year.

A list of all the investments that you have made, whether any investment has matured or not. Have you re-invested in the same investment or opted for something else?

Don’t forget to mention your annual income, your assets as well.

Once the Dean Hines tax attorney has access to all these information, he will start working on your case. Ask him whether there is any last minute investment that will allow you to save more. There are many schemes and policies that act as tax exemptions. Many of us are not aware of tax law in Ohio. But the lawyers have an in-depth idea and they will be able to guide and assist you accordingly.


Tax Law Advice in Ohio

Excellent auditing techniques

But taxation is never complete without proper auditing according to tax law in Ohio. If the appointed looks after auditing s well then your problem is solved. But what if he doesn’t? Then you need to hire a civil audits attorney Miami as well. Generally, the Ft Lauderdale tax lawyer offers taxation as well as auditing services as well. For Ohio we highly recommend speaking with Dean. Check him out at: https://deanhineslawyer.com/tax-attorney-columbus-ohio/

But it is advisable that you check out this aspect before you go ahead and hire an attorney. If you need both the services then there is no point in hiring a lawyer that offers a single service. Go for the one who has all the required skills and fits your requirements.

Ohio tax attorney cost

Don’t forget to find out about the fee as well. If you have a regular lawyer who offer this service then the fee charged will be quite less. But in case you don’t have one and is opting for one at the last moment then be prepared to shell out extra money. Anything bought or hired at the last moment costs extra.

Dean hines tax attorneys are well-versed with tax law in Ohio. Hire their services for a clear tax audit that will leave you at peace again.

Tips To Enjoying Your Day At The Spa

Your perfect Mother’s Day present: a spa day!

Last night, did your teething infant wake you up three times? Or are you currently just tired?

This Mother’s Day, tell children and your partner to hold off to the blossoms. You require a vacation to the hot tub.

Here are six strategies for taking advantage of your special day.

We highly suggest Best Spa in Beavercreek OH if you’re in the area!

Research Alternatives
Most hot tubs have a long menu of stuff you’ll be able to pick from. From a manicure/pedicure to your reflexology massage into a wrapping to your facial -your-body in seaweed treatment, you will locate something which can help dissolve away pressure that is mum. Or, in case your kid is in the middle of the terrible twos, you will need a daylong visit for all the above — along with a glass of champagne. Give your loved ones a tip about what seems the most attractive.

In case your financial plan is a concern, a lot of hot tubs have first-timer reductions or run promotions. You may also locate deals through websites like Groupon Spafinder and LivingSocial. Have friends who want a spa day? Reserve together and get an organization deal.

Portion of the pleasure of visiting the hot tub is the before as well as after.

It is simple to bust up a brand new manicure or stress muscle tissue out.

Go Light
The day of your visit, restrict alcohol, caffeine and substantial meals. They will allow it to be more challenging to relax and take pleasure in the full experience.

Take pleasure in the Extras
Going into a hot tub ought to be an occasion! Not only an instant run-in-runout for a massage. Many spas even have hot tubs, steam rooms, etc. Get there to unwind.

Create an At Home Encounter
Your aim would be to create this sort of encounter on a routine basis or in the event the cost of the pampering is simply too much, it is possible to do a few things in the home. Request that nanny, parent or your partner provide you with a little more time on your own.

Handling Your Finances After A Divorce

Mothers are often left with the full burden of raising their children alone after a divorce. Many moms are left without any type of financial support from the children’s father, so they rely on federal government assistance. However, this is not always the case, but nine times out of ten, the mother will end up with most of the responsibilities. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you will need to be prepared to deal with your finances.

Devise A Budget

No matter how much your monthly income, you will need to begin your journey, by devising a financial budget. You must first figure out your net income, which is the amount excluding taxes and other fees. Most mothers will not earn enough to keep up with their pre-divorce lifestyle. This basically means that she will need to start from scratch and learn the ways of a new lifestyle. There are ways to cut expenses, but it will mean that you and your children will need to make some sacrifices.

Credit Reports

Most women are not aware of the fact that a divorce can be detrimental to their credit. Of course, there is nothing that can be done about this, but there are ways to improve your credit scores. First and foremost, request a copy of your credit report, these are available for free on a yearly basis. Once you receive the report, you should view it carefully to see if there are any problems that are linked to your ex-spouse. You can submit an explanation to the three main credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Open A Savings Account

Even if your monthly income is limited, it is crucial to continue saving. Open a savings account and put as much money as you can afford in it every month. It doesn’t matter if the amount is just $5, because the amount will add up over time. You can utilize the savings for emergency purposes, but it is in your best interest to avoid withdrawing any funds from the account. Take advantage of your 401(k) benefits, by taking advantage of your employer’s contributions.

Cut Expenses

Every mother would love to be able to provide their children with the finest attire, electronics, and accessories. However, this is not possible in most cases. By trimming your expenses, you will be able to provide your children with a comfortable lifestyle. Instead of dining out, you should try grilling out at home. Couponing is a great way to cut your grocery bill down to a minimum. Handling finances after a divorce is a bit complicated, but with these tips, you will be a step ahead in the game.

If you have any questions we highly recommend Divorce Lawyers – Columbus, OH

That’s Hollywood!

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 (2004) and Mel Gibson’s The Passion Of The Christ (2004) continued a long line of controversial films. In 1968, John Wayne decided to counter Vietnam War protests by turning The Green Berets, a collection of short stories by author Robin Moore about the superhero like exploits of the US Army Special Forces, into a movie. Eight years before, the Cowboy Star had taken a financial bath while producing The Alamo (1960) and he considered The Green Berets an appropriate freedom-fighting sequel.

Wayne, who never served in the military, hated being called a hero by the press while the young soldiers he visited in Vietnam were accused of being murderers. The Green Berets production problems ranged from a lack of cooperation from the Pentagon to battle scenes repeatedly being ruined when twirling helicopter blades blew the sixty-one year old actor?s toupee off. It took all of Wayne?s persuasive abilities to get Jack Warner to distribute the film. Upon its release many critics who opposed the war called The Green Berets vile and boring, but to their great distress it was a huge box office success. Wayne publicly thanked the East coast reviewers who hated the movie for bringing it more attention, and laughed all the way to the bank.

Controversial movies have been around since the beginning of the industry. In 1915, frustrated by his bosses unwillingness to let him make a feature length film, Biograph Studios Director D.W. Griffith decided to invest his own money to turn Thomas Dixon’s novel The Clansman into a two and half hour, sixty thousand dollar epic: Birth Of A Nation. During filming, some of the crew questioned D.W.’s creative choices. They felt that many scenes, such as the assassination of President Lincoln or a white woman leaping to her death to ward off the advances of a black man, were over staged and melodramatic. They were amazed at the powerful impact the assembled footage made, especially when accompanied by a full orchestra. One thrilling sequence featured horses racing toward the camera making sophisticated audiences duck down in their seats fearing the giant animals would leap off the screen into their laps. President Wilson called the Civil War Epic “History written with lightning.” Press reports exaggerated the stunning picture’s costs at two million dollars, and accurately or not, Griffith was credited with inventing modern cinematic techniques such as close-ups, panning, and crosscutting. For the first time, movies were considered an art form, but because the story featured clansmen as heroes and former black slaves as murderous thugs, the Director was branded a racist and the film was banned from several major cities. Griffith, the son of a confederate soldier from Kentucky, resented the charges of bigotry and went broke trying to prove his detractors wrong by financing expensive follow-up films such as Intolerance (1916). Historians later gave Birth Of A Nation credit for increasing membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

Walt Disney was more sensitive about how black characters in his films would be received by the public. In 1946, he hired old time radio actor James Baskett to play the wise, kindly Uncle Remus and Oscar Winner Hattie McDaniel to be Aunt Tempy in Song Of The South. McDaniel, who had convinced Producer David O. Selznick not to use the n-word in Gone With The Wind (1939), often suffered through long bouts of unemployment and depression. Black activists complained to Hattie McDaniel’s prospective employers that her maid-mammy portrayals reinforced negative stereotypes. Walt Disney appealed to Walter White, the head of the National Association Of Colored People, to read an early Song Of The South script and voice any objections to the story he might have. Walt was not a racist, he simply wanted to present Joel Chandler Harris’ stories in the most tasteful way possible. White refused to meet with Disney, waited till the movie came out, then, without seeing the film, blasted him for showing “happy slaves” on screen. Despite doing fairly good business and James Baskett winning a special Oscar, Song Of The South became a public relations embarrassment for the Disney Company and still has not been released on video or DVD in the USA. Ironically, the movie’s story took place after the civil war and the black characters were free laborers not slaves.

The biggest lightning rod in cinema since Birth Of A Nation and before Passion and Fahrenheit was Oliver Stone’s JFK (1992). The quasi-documentary film featured so many characters that Stone felt the only way for an audience to keep track of them all was to have an all-star recognizable cast. Critics pilloried the movie’s suggestion that Cubans, the Pentagon, President Johnson, and the Mafia had conspired to kill John Kennedy using Lee Harvey Oswald as a patsy before they actually saw the film. They pointed out that Stone misled audiences on a number of issues including that Kennedy was planning to pull out entirely of Vietnam when the actual plan was a partial reduction of troops in hope that the South Vietnamese would strengthen themselves. It was complete fiction that the film’s primary villain Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) had ever visited the office of right wing FBI agent Guy Bannister (Ed Asner). The gay prostitute convict Willie O’Keefe (Kevin Bacon) who first reveals that there was a conspiracy to kill the President was a character invented specifically for the film. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) was remembered as a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist that physically intimated witnesses, not the kindly, Jimmy Stewart type he was portrayed as. Friends of the crazy pilot David Ferrie (Joe Pesci) felt the film maligned his character. Director Stone dismissed the criticisms, pointing out that he was creating a myth to counter the fabrication that the Warren Commission had put out when they ruled that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Eighty percent of the film’s viewers said they agreed with Stone there was a conspiracy despite any evidence to the contrary.

Politics can make it difficult for Hollywood Studios to produce controversial movies. In 1940, Twentieth Century Fox head Daryl Zanuck assumed he would face internal difficulty in adapting John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath for the screen. The story of Depression era farmers migrating from Oklahoma to California in unreliable jalopies to become fruit pickers was scathing in its depiction of bankers and the US economic system. The novel had been banned from many schools and libraries. Winthrop Aldrich, head of the Chase Manhattan Bank, was also the most powerful shareholder at Twentieth Century Fox. Despite his personal anti-labor politics, Zanuck felt Grapes was a great story and decided that making it into a picture was a hill he was willing to climb. Aldrich could block the film and fire him; the Producer was willing to go forward anyway. In a tense meeting, Aldrich questioned Zanuck about whether he really planned to make the hot button book into a movie and the determined Zanuck replied he was. The banker smiled, “You know, my wife made me read that book. It should make a wonderful movie.” He turned out to be correct. The Grapes Of Wrath starring Henry Fonda was the studio’s biggest hit of 1940. A few years later, it was released in the Soviet Union as an intended piece of propaganda with Communist leaders eager to show their people the hard life in the USA. It backfired when many Russian moviegoers came away with the impression that America was great because everyone there owned a car!

Automating Your Internet Business – Marketing

If you have a Web site, you understand the sheer hard work it takes to build the site and then to maintain and update it. It is such hard work that most sites get built and then never get a facelift. This is the wrong way to go about maintaining your presence on the Web. But, it is the way most Web-preneurs go about putting up their site.

When they don’t make any sales, however, they wonder why. I want to give you an overview of what it takes to create a dynamic Web site that practically operates itself and brings in sales for you automatically with low to zero maintenance so that you can concentrate on marketing and developing products.

First, let me say this: if you think that you are going to get into any business, especially this one, and money is just going to fall out of the trees while you lounge on the beach, I have to burst your bubble. It is not going to happen. But, if you are willing to invest your time, blood, sweat and tears into creating your Web site and automating it from the start, then your downtime spent answering e-mail and configuring your Web site can be cut down to almost nothing.

SEO internet marketing

One of the first mistakes my wife and I made with this business was trying to maintain everything ourselves. We put in countless hours designing and redesigning and finally building our site. It has been a very lucrative venture to this point, but, it could have been smoother. Certain methods of automation could have been put in place that would have made the maintenance and administration of our site as smooth and seamless as possible and we could have spent our time marketing instead of programming.

What Does Automating Your Internet Business Mean?

Automating your Internet business means taking advantage of the technology that is available right this moment. It means that you can have tedious, manual tasks handled by technology rather than yourself. There is much to be said about relying on technology. Most of it good but there is always one warning: What is designed and maintained by a machine has a tendency to fail. As long as you are aware of that and accept it, you will be okay.

The tedious, normally manual tasks that you should automate to make your life easier are:

  • Credit Card Processing: – This is one of the smartest tasks that you can and should set up from the beginning to make your life and your customers’ much easier. If you had to process transactions manually, it would be an administrative nightmare once you get to the point where you are receiving more than an order or two a day (that point often arrives quicker than you expect). The confidence that a secure transaction instills in your prospective customers is often an instrumental factor in getting them to do business with you. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes as you imagine these two scenarios:

    • You visit a Web site that focuses on a topic you are interested in, you get all juiced up to buy their product, pull out your credit card and get ready to place an order — when you see a button that says e-mail me with your credit card information. Or even worse, fill out our non-secure credit card form and we will process your information. Do you risk it? I doubt it. Most customers would not waste their time with this kind of operation.

    • Same scenario, only when you get to the order page, you are transported to a secure site that accepts VISA, MC, AMEX, and Discover and you can process your order immediately, receive confirmation and a receipt, and know when you can expect your order to arrive. I know for a fact that more customers would purchase from this site than from the site in the other scenario.

Accepting credit cards and processing them automatically is a vital part of your automated online business model.

  • It builds credibility for you as the merchant and your customers will have no problem referring you to their friends.

  • It makes tracking and processing orders easy.

  • It enables your business to run on auto-pilot since money is deposited straight into your bank account while you sleep.

  • The size of your marketplace will increase tremendously since it would now be easier for people from all over the world to order from you.

  • You will be able to satisfy the instant gratification needs of online shoppers encouraging them to return to your site often.

We will continue this article in the next issue with two more of the five steps to “Automating Your Internet Business.”

If you need marketing assistance with your website we highly suggest Dayton SEO | https://www.mattbrandenburg.com/dayton-ohio-seo-marketing-specialist-search-engine-optimization/

A Bag Lady and Thanksgiving Dinner

It was very cold and a light snow was falling as young Jimmy Dorche piloted his Ford Escort down the street toward the city park. Snow on Thanksgiving was a rarity in this part of the country and it caused almost as much excitement as the traditional turkey dinner, the traditional afternoon of football, or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. But none of these things were on 17-year-old Jimmy’s mind at the moment as he carefully maneuvered his car over the blacktop. He had his own tradition to tend to and what he was looking for he would probably find in the deserted park.

Usually bustling with activity, even on cold days, the park was practically empty now. Everyone was home with friends and family enjoying their Thanksgiving turkey. Jimmy was tempted to have a bit more dinner himself, but his second helping sat on the car seat beside him along with a big hunk of Mom’s homemade pumpkin pie and a Thermos bottle of hot coffee. Jimmy wouldn’t succumb to temptation and eat more today.

For the past two years, Jimmy had established a tradition for himself. He had never suffered a hungry day in his life. The son of an unwed teen-aged mother, he was given up for adoption as an infant and was taken in by a Christian family. When he was fifteen, to honor his Lord as well as his parents, he decided to take his second helping of Thanksgiving dinner to the park to share with a homeless man or woman.

His first year, he had found a man who had been on his own since he was thirteen. In the summer he worked odd jobs, but in winter he lived at the local rescue mission where he earned an occasional dollar by cleaning up the place. The second year, he shared his Thanksgiving dinner with an elderly man whose wife had died long before and his children had moved to another city. They never contacted their father nor offered to help him in any way. “I reckon they’re ashamed of me,” the rheumy old man had said. Throughout the year, Jimmy often thought about the two men. He had gone to the mission to try to find them, but they were gone without a trace. Now Jimmy wondered who he would meet this Thanksgiving.

As soon as he arrived at the park, he saw a ragged woman sitting hunched over on the bench of one of the heavy concrete picnic tables provided by the city. She wore an old battered red coat and a dark wool cap over her matted, graying hair. Close beside her was the tattered bag that carried all her worldly possessions.

Jimmy pulled the car into a parking place and got out. He took the covered dishes and the Thermos bottle from the front seat and began walking toward the bag lady. When he stood in front of her, she jumped as if she had suddenly been awakened from dozing. She looked up at Jimmy. Suddenly her eyes brightened and she started to speak but, instead, she lowered her head and stared at the frozen ground.

“God bless you, ma’am,” Jimmy said, smiling. “I have brought you some Thanksgiving dinner. Would you do me the honor of sharing it with me.”

The woman looked at the food. She was very hungry — she hadn’t eaten since last night’s dinner at the mission. She nodded and Jimmy served her food, uncovered the plates, put a napkin and silverware on the cold concrete picnic table, and poured her a streaming cup of coffee from the Thermos. Then he watched her as she ate. Although it was very cold in the park, he felt warm inside. The God of love was clearly at work within him. He loved his tradition and he intended to continue it — and more — for the rest of his life.

When the woman had finished, he cleared the table and put the dishes into a pile. He poured another cup of coffee into her Styrofoam cup and closed the Thermos. Then he reached into his wallet and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. He thrust the money into her gnarled hand. Then he reached over and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

“May God richly bless you, ma’am,” he said softly. “and thank you for giving me the honor of sharing my Thanksgiving dinner with you.” With that, Jimmy picked up his dishes and returned to the car.

The woman had stayed in the city purposely to see Jimmy grow, but remained carefully in the background and out of sight so she would not embarrass him or cause him pain. Her own life was a shambles, time spent in state mental hospitals and, at other times, living on the streets. But she had seen him grow into manhood and was very proud of his many accomplishments. Today, she had longed to tell him who she was, but could not bring herself to do it. Instead she thanked God that He had so richly blessed her today, in spite of her trials.

Tears welled up in her eyes. She had seen her son on Thanksgiving and felt the love in his heart.

Dealing with Gophers – Medina Problems 🙂

One common, persistent, and damaging pest in our landscapes is the gopher. When we first moved to our property, it was home to literally hundreds of gophers and ground squirrels. I really don’t know what has happened to the ground squirrels over the years, perhaps they have moved on to more remote areas, but if they still were digging tunnels through my yard, controlling these pests might have to take a violent turn.

Similarly, gopher control has evolved from very passive to very active control. In the spirit of nonviolence, we had previously attempted to control these damaging critters by flooding their runs regularly… I believe all we gained with this technique was clean gophers.

Then we were convinced by advertising that a regular, low frequency sound would disturb the gophers and cause them to leave the area. To cover all our gardens, I invested over $150 in these “sonic gopher chasers” and inserted them in the ground at prescribed intervals… this time all we gained was gophers who could appreciate a sonic concerto.

The next rage was an “all natural” liquid that was “guaranteed” to repel the critters when sprayed over the areas with a hose end sprayer… the active ingredient, Castor Oil, certainly didn’t repel the pests. I believe all we gained was some very healthy gophers. Speaking of healthy gophers, during one of our early years here, we lost an entire 50 foot row of garlic to these ravenous pests.

Okay, I finally figured out that if I wanted to maintain my sanity, my blood pressure, my vegetables, and my ornamentals, things would have to change dramatically. I forced myself to drop the attitude of nonviolence (pertaining to gophers, at least) and I purchased a pair of MacAbee gopher traps. These sinister looking, and potentially dangerous, mechanisms were the final answer to the gopher problem.

It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it, but after a short apprenticeship, I was achieving a kill almost every time I set the traps. I still haven’t become completely insensitive to the act of killing these rodents but I imagine it will all be worked out in the end.

Avoiding the Holiday Spending Hangover

Are the bills from last year’s holidays still around to greet you as this year’s festivities roll around? Or maybe you’re just happy they were paid off over the summer. Do you remember promising yourself it wouldn’t be that way this year? Try making your New Year’s resolutions in November and avoid the holiday spending blues in January. By having a firm spending plan for how — and how much — you’ll spend for the season; your first greetings of the new year are less likely to be from the credit card companies, and you might find the holidays are more relaxed, meaningful, and enjoyable as a result.

No single holiday spending plan is right for everyone. That decision is driven more by your values and customs, than your income. Start by thinking about what’s important to you and your family at this time of year. Looking back on holidays, time together is often the thing we cherish most, yet we often let it trickle away rushing from store to store, trying to find the perfect gifts (which probably won’t be remembered a year later), burdened by the knowledge that we’ll be paying off this few short weeks for months to come.

Ask yourself how important the size of those gifts really is to you, your friends, and family. Your loved ones would never want to place you in financial jeopardy, but that’s often what happens at this time of year. If you think you may be spending too much during the holidays, try this rule of thumb: If you spent more than one percent of your after-tax income on holiday gifts, you may be spending too much. For example, if your annual after-tax income is $36,000, your spending would be $360. If that figure took you by surprise, here are a few resolutions to help you get your holiday spending in line:

  • Get real. The holidays are the season of unrealistic expectations. Don’t expect them to do too much and mean too many things and don’t try to pack so much in that you’re running from place to place, with no time to enjoy what is supposed to be a happy time. It’s OK to turn down a few party invitations, delegate some tasks to other family members, or spend a little less time shopping this year if it means you’ll have more time to enjoy the things you choose to do.

  • Plan to avoid using credit. People spend about 30 percent more using credit cards than cash. This year, create a spending plan listing all the people you need to buy for and how much you will spend for each one. Also, be sure to make a list of other expenses including decorations, cards, postage, hostess gifts, gifts for teachers and other helpful people, travel, and extra food. Total it all up and ask yourself if that’s what you really want to spend this year. If not, set a spending cap and plan now to trim those expenses — before you start spending.

  • Change the way you give. Are you exchanging gifts with the neighbors, your golfing pals, or the couple you have dinner with each month? You might want to consider giving that up. Talk with them ahead of time and tell them you want to simplify. You may be doing them a favor, as well as yourself.

  • Look at family giving, too. Are you buying gifts for a large group of family members? Instead, try encouraging a family gift drawing. Others may be interested in making changes, too.

  • Scale down. Go for value instead of price with a gift that has special meaning, like a framed picture for grandparents or a small charitable donation to a favorite cause.

  • Get the kids involved. One thing I did with my children when they were very young was a field trip to the toy store. They could go through the store and list anything they wanted — but only three things could stay on the list at one time. This taught them to make choices and decide what was really important to them. Since Christmas was still weeks away, they also learned “delayed gratification.” Then we’d go to lunch together and make a day of it.

    Another thing we did was to take $20 each and go grocery shopping for a less fortunate family. We’d use coupons and check over the sales ads. We’d try to get an entire holiday dinner for $20. It was always a challenge and they came up with some creative ideas for making sure “their” family had as much as possible.

    Keep in mind, in years to come, your children are more likely to remember the time you spent with them at the holidays than the presents you gave them.

  • Start early. With this year’s spending now firmly under control, it’s not too soon to start thinking about next year. A few easy steps throughout the year can make next November and December a lot less harried.

    1. Set aside a fixed amount for gifts each month. Decide how much you want to spend on holiday gifts next year and divide it into monthly amounts.

    2. Keep a shopping list throughout the year with a list of items that might make good gifts. As the months go by, watch for sales and stash your gifts for later. (Just be sure you remember where you put them.) And make sure you keep track of your holiday spending throughout the year.

Spending less money and more thought on the holidays can redefine “Happy Holidays. Wishing you and your family all the best this Holiday season!”