Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bad News

Well, I think blogging might be a little bit like knitting - it is best done in the winter!!

With the nice weather, all four kids at home and a week off of school, the last thing I was interested in doing was sitting at a computer (plus, there wasn't a lot of "savings" going on in the Garven household). We just dropped Colin off at the airport, so here I am!

Here are a few highlights from the past couple of weeks!

* Colin's girlfriend Jorie came for a visit from Canada! We have prayed for our kids since they were little to marry Christians who are committed to their faith and also prayed selfishly that we would love them too - Jackpot on all requests! We love her almost as much as Colin does - thank you God - 1 down, 3 to go!

* Spent a few days with my brother and family at their cabin - great time with them doing all those fun outdoor stuff (yes, that is a gun in Cam's hand) - until we came home early with two sinus infections and one headache. Our Dr. is loving us!!

* Ryan's volleyball team is in first place in their league - is there a better sport than volleyball - it's indoors, fast moving and done within an hour - perfect! He also had college orientation at PBU where he will be going in the Fall - Health and PE Major. And he turned 18 on Earth Day - yes, an Earth Day Birthday!!

*Dylan is playing in the worship band at church for Youth Sunday - go Dylan!! He is amazing us with his music - mostly self taught and now he is giving lessons - he even has Megan as one of his students - he said she's not too bad!!

* Cam and I drove a group of ladies from Cornerstone Church to see Joseph at Sight and Sound - they had just finished studying this in their Bible Study that a couple women from our church teach  - they were so excited to see the Bible come to life, get out of the city and eat at Cracker Barrel - great day!

* Colin and Jorie got free tickets to the Flyers Game 7 - it's not what you know, but who you know! -Thanks Rick!

* Had a meaningful worship time at church - Seder Demonstration on Good Friday, a phenomenal worship service on Easter and a great dinner with our dear friends the Murrays (minus one favorite - missed you Laureen) We ate outside, had intense volleyball games and a lackluster Easter Egg Hunt - let's kick it up a notch Michael and Sophie!!

* The kids surprised us with an Anniversary/Mother's Day Dinner and a Movie - planned and paid for by the four of them - finally - those diaper changes are paying off! If you have little ones, don't give up - they grow up and bless your socks off!

* And our biggest news was Megan accepting a 3rd grade teaching position in the Dominican Republic! We are thrilled and missing her already - keep reminding me that I want her in God's Will :)

I feel really "full" right now - It's wonderful when all the kids are back home and we are sitting around the table laughing and reminiscing - it's amazing how quickly the time has gone by - we have young adults! My encouragement to you today is to enjoy the time, moment, activity - it will never come this way again. I'm trying to be in the present - not longing for the past, wishing for the future, but living right now - in that way I can make better cents and sensibility!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Some Saved Cents!

So with Colin coming home, Jorie coming for a visit and a week off of school I decided to try a new supermarket - Anne and Janet have been raving about Bottom Dollar Supermarket - with a name like that, it must be good! They compared it to Aldies but with a more consistent selection and a cleaner appearance. You know that I am all about saving money - especially on food, but at this point in my life (that makes me sound wise, doesn't it) saving time is more of a priority.

Thus the reluctance - this new store is not on my normal travel schedule and it requires going down 413 which at the wrong time of day can be a congestion nightmare!

But with Easter, a house guest and birthday party this week, I made the venture. I pulled into the parking lot and got a spot right in front of the store - actually there were 6 open spots - this seemed promising! As I entered the store, it had a good "feel" to it - you know what I mean - when we lived in Dallas, we shopped at a grocery store that when you entered you were greeted with a man being led out in handcuffs for stealing ground beef - oh, I miss those days!

They had a nice produce selection - all in a refrigerated room - nice touch! The spiral ham was on sale for 99 cents a pound and there were plenty to choose from. The aisles weren't crammed with needless display items and knickknacks - liked that! And as you walked down an aisle that was unoccupied, the lights would automatically turn on -nice touch (I actually found that kind of endearing and thought little kids would get a kick out of that!) I found everything I was shopping for at great prices - there were a few things that would be cheaper at Giant, but overall their selection and store brands were great.

When it was time to check out there was no waiting and the cashier couldn't have been nicer - I told her I needed a store card and she said she would scan it now and I could fill out the application after I "arranged" my food how I wanted it on the conveyor belt.

OOOPPPPSSSS! That's when I remembered - both Anne and Janet had told me this info, but I must have tucked it away in that part of my brain where childbirth and dentist appointments go to be forgotten.

They don't provide bags- Let me repeat - THEY DON'T PROVIDE BAGS!! So all my groceries were transferred from my cart, to the belt, to another cart, to my trunk, to my kitchen table and then to my shelves - my bad!

But the cashier gave me 2 coupons for $2 off each that she used right then and then handed me a coupon for $10 off my next purchase.

Yes, there will be a next purchase - I definitely found it worth the drive to shop there - I figured I saved over $50 on the food I would normally buy (with no coupons) Thanks Anne and Janet for your great recommendation - saving me some cents!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Play Is The Thing

In our elementary school they do a play involving the 5th and 6th graders. They start practicing after Christmas and perform 3-4 months later. It's a big deal, a lot of fun and overall a great experience. All of my kids have participated - some in the chorus, one held a sign, another pushed a laundry cart and one was Daddy Warbucks (go Dylan).  I was recruited years ago to help out - they placed me on the spot light - being that the kids got any acting talent from Cam - it fit me perfect!

When Megan performed we gave her the traditional bouquet of flowers. But with 3 boys I knew flowers would be a waste of money (or a really nice gift for me:)

So I got creative - for Colin, I made cut out cookies in the shape of a star - I inserted a skinny dowel before cooking them. When they were cool, I iced them and then wrapped them all in a clear flower sleeve. I made extra and put them in a vase and placed them in the faculty room with a thank you note - needless to say they were gobbled up quickly. This would also work well with rice crispy treats.

For Ryan, I bought a bunch of AirHeads, Snickers and Gum and attached the skinny dowel and put them in the clear flower sleeve - you can pick the sleeve up for free at the grocery store where they sell the flowers.

Last, but not least - our star - Dlyan! I bought Rita's coupons and folded them into "butterflies" = accordion fold back and forth and then held it together with a pipe cleaner - making the two ends into antennas. Attach to dowel. Then I took small Rita's cups and poked a hole in the bottom - I slid a skinny dowel into each cup and placed colorful tissue paper in each. I took the butterflies and "flower" cups and put it into a clear flower sleeve - again!

So if you are looking for a creative way to show people you love them - think outside the box - oh, and I did the Rita's bouquet for a grad party gift and put it inside a long flower box - didn't see that one coming!

The "Bouquets" were a big hit and more importantly the boys knew how proud we were of them - it takes a lot of guts to get up on stage! But the show must go on and I will be there to shine the light!! Keep making cents and sensibility!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why Didn't I Think Of This Sooner!

For years I have kept a pad of paper on my fridge, but it always bugged me that I had to walk the 2 feet to my hutch to grab a pen to write on it. So this year, I took an old pencil box from school, cut off the top and stuck a flat magnet on the back. Yipee - no more extra steps to grab a pen!

It kind of bothered me that I had two different sets of kitchen chairs - the same design but a different stain - so after seeing my sister-in-laws beautiful dining room table complete with black chairs, I bought 4 cans of black spray paint - semi-gloss from Walmart - 98 cents a can and spray painted the chairs. I then took a steel wool pad and sanded them - showing wear in the seat, and around the curved top - finish with a coat of spray polyurethane - "new" "matching" kitchen chairs for under $5!

Just read an article that said that grocery stores rotate sale items about every 3 months. Now I know how much to stock up on items. Before I would guess how much spaghetti I should buy at the bottom price and hope it went on sale again before I needed it. Now I have a good gauge on how much to buy.

Speaking of buying - I got 2 phone calls and many shouts "Mom, come here" last week - there was a new show on TLC" called Extreme Couponing. I was a bit excited to watch, even though I don't use a lot of coupons. By the end of the show I was completely turned off. It should have been called Extreme Hoarding - I am sure there are completely respectable people that do an awesome job with their coupons, but I felt like this showcased stockpiling for the sake of the deal. I never brag about how much I "saved" it is more about what I didn't spend in the first place. If I don't need 30 bottles of antacids, why would I be excited to get 30 bottles for a penny. I am not discouraging coupon use, but be wise, don't mistake "saving" with wasting your time and money on items you don't need in the first place. We live in a world that tells us more is better, well, more is just more.

So there you have it - 3 good ideas and 1 idea I will be skipping - not bad for making cents and sensibility!! Let me know what good ideas you've come up with lately!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Just Do It Already!

Usually before I end up doing something, I talk about it for a long time! I want to make sure it is worth my time, energy and expense! My kitchen cabinets were no different! They are standard cabinets, none descript and perfectly acceptable - but quite frankly a little blah! So for years I talked about painting them. But what color, would the paint stay on, how long would it take, etc. I had a friend who had spray painted the doors of her cabinets, it looked, well, spray painted. And since there would be no hope in replacing them if I screwed up, I took my time.

But over Christmas my boys were looking for "work" and I had decided on a color -  barn red. I had painted my kitchen table 2 summers ago that color and LOVED it and it has held up really well. Black was my 2nd choice - I had already painted my kitchen chairs that color, but wasn't sure if Goth was a decorating style.

So after toying around with the color black for the cabinets, I settled on the red. The boys did all the hard work of scrubbing and removing all the hardware and then we went to work.

First I put on a coat of primer. I wanted black so I could distress it, but it only came in grey. Next we put on 2 coats of red paint. After letting it dry, I got to work making it look "old". I took steel wool and sanded it, but it still looked a little flat, so I did my favorite trick - I took a dry paint brush, put A LITTLE bit of black paint on it and then dry brushed the cabinets. This takes a light touch. Try to emphasis the corners and anyplace that would naturally look worn. I have had a lot of practice with this technique, so if you want to try it, I recommend you practice before attempting it.

I also took the handles and spray painted them black.

I love it!! It turned out just how I pictured it. It was well worth the effort and the price was under $40 - not bad (oh, plus labor ) I went ahead a repainted my kitchen table just so it matched exactly to the cabinets. I feel like I got a kitchen make over - just by making cents and sensibility!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Prom 101

So prom season is upon us! In our house you aren't "allowed" to date until college (if interested, I can tell you our reasoning behind this) but you are permitted to hang out with friends and go to social functions a.k.a. "the Prom".
All of our kids have taken full advantage of this.

Most of you know that a prom can require a serious chunk of money. With Megan we were able to find all of her prom dresses at the thrift shop. Her Sr. year she decided she wanted a "Mall dress" so we went shopping, but after seeing what was out there and the price tag attached, she decided to check the thrift shop and lo and behold there was the perfect dress in just her size!!

The boys have been able to borrow tuxes - if you put the word out, the suits will come! It's amazing what people have hanging in their closet and all it costs us is dry cleaning!

But for years I would call the florist and order the compulsory boutonniere or corsage - gritting my teeth as I paid the price.

Last year I got smart - after once again paying way too much, I took a good look at the product and decided I could make one just as well. Why I have this overconfidence in my abilities is beyond me. My Mom was a natural when it came to flowers, so I always relied on her for all my "arrangements" But since she is no longer with me, it was time to step up to the plate.

With my first "order" I lucked out - the girl wanted a hand held bouquet. She gave me a piece of her dress to match the flowers. It was a nice tropical print so I headed to Genaurdi's and picked out 2 bunches of flowers, cut a few bunches, wrapped them tightly with floral tape and wrapped the strip of fabric around the whole base - PERFECT!! I had offered to make Ryan boutonniere so it would match hers and that was even easier - put 2 flowers and a leaf together, wrap with floral tape and stick in the pins (which I asked for at the desk in the floral dept. - they gave them to me for free) I picked up 2 plastic containers from the deli dept. (the kind they use for take out) put in some shredded paper and viola - prom flowers.

This is Ryan's boutonniere from this year. His friend also wore a floral dress so we went to the grocery store, bought 2 bunches of flowers - 2 for $9, got our containers, and floral pins, but this girl wanted a wrist corsage - yikes!!

After 2 attempts, I got it just right - I floral taped 2 bunches of flowers together and then placed them end to end and floral taped that together. Next I added a gold ribbon bow, that I had saved from a gift. I attached this with a thin wire and this helped to hold the 2 bunches together. Last I made a wristlet out of elastic and sewed it to the flowers - I toyed with using a hair tie and might try that next time - it would give her a cute little memory from the night. I placed it in a box and stuck it in the fridge overnight. Success!! She loved it and so did the other mom's - they kept asking how we got it to match so well - easy when you do it yourself!

The bonus was I had plenty of flowers left over, so I made myself a little bouquet that I have by my sink - I had told Ryan to bring it to the mom, but he thought that was tooooooo much!

 And I also made a little arrangement to give to a friend at work who has a birthday this week.

So for $9, a little sweat equity and a willing child, prom doesn't have to break the bank. Creativity can make you cents and sensibility!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Great Expectations!

We met up with some old friends a couple of weekends ago. We planned to meet half way between our houses. We told them to pick the restaurant and we would meet them there. Now, to tell the whole truth they sent us a link to the restaurant they picked but we really only looked at the address so we could GPS it - food is food - right??

That's what we thought! Cam and I are not picky eaters and enjoy new things, but when the waiter came over and said he would have to "explain" the menu we knew we were in over our heads. We are not "expense account" diners - the church kind of frowns on that so when we pick a place to eat, it usually is reasonable and comes with a tray!

This place was a Tapas restaurant - I'm not even sure I'm spelling that right - it essentially means "little plates" or "tiny bites" - oh, cool, appetizers - Wrong again - why don't I just quick while I'm behind.

There were about 15 items on the menu all exquisitely described and the waiter told us he would arrange when the food would come out - don't all waiters do that??

We ordered 5 items and the first arrived - a cheese plate - yum - with 5 pieces of cheese the size of a postage stamp each - yikes I knew we were in trouble. The food continued in this size proportions. It was a bit awkward splitting a spare rib into fourths - but some how we managed!

In defense this was some of the best food I have ever tasted! It just was in "doll-size" portions. Is it rude to ask for seconds?

Which brings me to my point (finally, I know) If we had taken the time to read the menu before we went, we would have been prepared for the "experience". Which would have involved a pre-meal. But since we weren't we went away a little hungry.

How many times are my expectations dashed because I don't take the time to have a clear understanding of what will take place, what is expected of me, or what I expect of others. I do more communicating in my head sometimes than I do with the person I need to.

If I am mad at my husband, I need to let him know why and how we can work it out. If my kids are disappointing me, do they know what it is I wanted them to do in the first place. If a friend isn't "there" for me - did they know about the "appointment" in the first place.

We are not mind readers! When I was a kid I used to play a game where I would try to guess what card would be picked out of the deck - I lost every time. God has equipped us with mouths not ESP. So use them to speak clearly to others and then listen quietly - it is amazing how easily our expectations can be met when we do that!

P.S. - we had a GREAT visit with our friends and the after dinner coffees at Starbucks seemed cheap after that:)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Impulsive Puppy

We have a social skills unit we teach at school- included in the kit is "Impulsive Puppy". His job is to teach the kids self control. I love impulsive puppy. He is calm, in control and doesn't impulse buy at the grocery store.

No, that isn't part of the lesson, but it should be. There is a reason that we call it "$50 Walmart". If I don't stick to my list it is easy to fill my cart with "necessary" items. Now there are things that I stock up on when I'm at the store, because multiple trips tend to be expensive. But impulse buying shouldn't be part of my checkout. The other day Cam and I went to buy at game for Dylan - he had given us money and that was the only thing we were there to buy. When we got to Walmart, Cam went to electronics and I wanted to check the clearance rack (yes, every store has them, just ask) Lo and behold they had boxes of hair dye for $2 - I loaded up my arms and went to find Cam. He immediately asked if I wanted a cart - of course not, that is my "impulse purchase prevention plan" - If I can only buy what fits into my arms it definitely limits me. Seriously - try it - items get lost inside a big shopping cart and subliminally an empty cart looks sad and pitiful - just begging to be filled. But balanced boxes of hair dye, occasionally slipping to the ground leaves no room for more.

Sticking to a shopping list also helps. While down in Kennsington Cam, Pastor Joe and Tiffany (who happens to read my blog) went grocery shopping for the Sunday meal we were cooking for the church. They had carefully written out a list of what they needed to supplement the meal. When they got back, I got the real story from Tiffany - they had gotten everything on their list and while waiting in line, food started appearing in the cart - it was like a huge arm was swiping the shelves and pushing it into the cart - Tiffany looked Cam right in the eye and said "what would Mary's blog have to say about that?" Nice try Tiff, but he's ignored me for years:)

There are times when "impulse buying" is good. If you come across a great deal and you have the money and place to store - BUY!! My friend Anne called me one day from the grocery store - 25 pound turkeys were on sale for $5! She wanted to know if I wanted any - Heck YES! The price was right and I have a freezer so I had her pick me up 4 - hopefully she had a cart!

So take a cue from Impulsive Puppy  - self control is actually something God tells us we should be exhibiting - it isn't easy but it is necessary if we want to be wise with our money, time and lives. It's OK to say NO to ourselves. In fact it's kind of grown up to be in control of our desires. Once our wants start ruling our lives, it's hard to get it under control but we must if we want to make cents and sensibility.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Weekend Away

Last Friday as school was ending another teacher asked what my plans were for the weekend. I told her that when I got home from school I was packing to go down to Philly with a group from church. She said that sounded like fun. I confessed that I wasn't really looking forward to it. We would be working at a church - cleaning up trash, running a kids play day and cooking for over 200 people. Honestly, after working all week I would rather be sleeping in my bed with my husband, not on an air mattress alone!

Don't get me wrong, I do love these trips, but if my husband wasn't running them, I might find some really good excuses not to go. And I would miss out on the most wonderful experiences!! Here are just a few things that I learned while picking up trash for 4 hours:

Slim Jim wrappers look just like syringe wrappers.

Cock roaches are clean, but bed bugs are dirty.

Hair weaves look just like rats, but rats move faster.

Drug dealers like to play basketball while you are cleaning up their street.

Picking up trash works your thigh muscles but kills your back.

A filthy street can be cleaned up in 10 minutes and littered again in 30.

If a lady comes out of her house and tells you not to touch that pile of wet trash because it came out of that mans toilet - listen to her!

Working with friends is really fun.

Yes, I said fun! That is what happens when I put my own desires aside, listen to what God wants me to do and then obey! Amazing things happen. A friend of mine was planning to go on her first missions trip with her family, she called me in tears - "Why is everything going wrong before I go to serve God?"

I told her if it wasn't going wrong, Satan must not care that she was going!

People assume that I LOVE to go away - actually I'm a big "homebody" and if I wasn't married to a guy who loves adventure I might not ever leave my house. But God is so good to me, every time I step out of my comfort zone, God is right there! And I can honestly say some of my best personal memories and family memories have been made while serving God. Somehow, this has become our "thing" to do as a family. Every summer we plan what our missions trip will be and who will be able to go. Last summer we were all able to go to Peru, the year before Ryan and Cam went to Africa. Some summers it is big trips, others it is local trips, but always it is somewhere. When the kids were little it was just me and Cam that went but as they got older, they were able to join us.

This weekend my friend Tiffany came with us - leaving to little boys and her husband at home. She was so excited to be serving others and to sleep past 6:30 and I was so happy to see this young mom not wait till her kids were grown to start serving!

Another person on the trip told me how he had always told God  he would go on these trips when his girls were older and then when they were older and out of the house, he had run out of excuses. So with fear and trembling he signed up to go down with us - and he loved every minute of it! He told me how great it was to see our 2 teenage boys and their 2 friends serving at such a young age - he wished he had done that with his daughters, too.

So my encouragement to you today is to not let fear, comfort or excuses stand in the way of you serving God. It may be making a meal for a neighbor, teaching at VBS, or signing up for a missions trip. If we only do what is comfortable, we have no reason to rely on God. If we only do what is easy, we have no reason to call out in prayer and if we only do what we want, we have no idea what God wants to do through us - get out of the way and let God show you how big He really is!! This just makes sense!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Adventures in Odyssey

Remember when I told you what good travelers our kids were - well, here is our secret - Adventures in Odyssey.

This is a radio program put out by Focus on the Family. We discovered their tape series when they were put in the kids meals at Chick-Fil-A many years ago. It is a story set in a small town and revolves around an ice cream shop owner named John Avery Whitaker or as he is affectionately called Whit! In a half hour he interacts with the people of the town, listens to their problems and always points them to Christ. There are now well over 500 stories and they are still producing more.

As a family we would listen to an Odyssey as we traveled - we would count the miles by how many more Odysseys until we got there! We learned about Adam and Eve, Daniel in the Lions Den and Jesus on the Cross. We also encountered moral dilemmas, defending of one's faith, and everyday trials. All this was accomplished in a funny, heartwarming and totally entertaining way. So many times we will relate back to an old episode when we are talking around the dinner table or reading the Bible together. What Cam and I like so much about this series is that it brings the Bible to life and is true to the Bible's teachings.

My friend Janet would kid me that my answer to any parenting dilemma is the same.

Trouble sleeping at night? - listen to an Odyssey
Feeling discouraged? - listen to an Odyssey
Constipated? - listen to an Odyssey

But it has influenced our family that much! And it is something that we can all share in together! A few years ago I bought a DVD game based on the radio series (a lot like Scene It) we pulled it out last fall and played with our 22 year old down to our 15 year old - we laughed so hard at how much we still remembered about the show even now and actually the kids were much better at it then us. We also got a kick out of Cam imitating the characters - especially the annoying Rodney Rathbone!

I am so glad that we found this series since it has impacted our family so strongly. It is great to have resources that promote your beliefs and reinforces the Bible's teachings. Even last night Dylan had found an episode on the radio and was listening while doing his homework. I encourage you to check out this resource - surrounding your family with good, Godly influences makes a lot of Sense!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Molasses Drop

Yes, yesterdays blog titled "Procrastination" was an attempt at an April Fools Joke -how did I do??   Anyway...

When someone at home is putting off  a task or taking their time to get ready we have an affectionate name we call them - "molasses drop". At times we have a sticky group of people living with us! Procrastination is something that can drive parents crazy! The natural reaction for parents is to take over for a child when they are taking too long to complete something. When Jr. is dawdling while putting on their shoes, we step in. Taking too long to finish a story, we finish it for them. Slowly putting their toys away, we pick up an arm full and complete it. But we do our kids more harm than good when we take over for them. Part of parenting is getting our kids to independence - do we really want to have to tie our 17 year old shoes and zip their jacket??

We must be motivators when it comes to independence. Teaching our children how to complete the task, clearly  and patiently - oh, did I say patiently! Little kids can only repeat 1 step instructions, by 1st grade they are up to 3 step instructions. We must be willing to break down a task into completable steps for their age, or picture clues as to what come next. In my pantry I had labels for where I wanted the food to be stored, partly because I'm weird and partly because no one had an excuse for not putting groceries away where they belonged. And do you know how much time you can save when you don't have to hunt for the olive oil? This works great for toys, clothing and tools.

Next, it is key to leave "wiggle" room. (no, not for watching a group of men sing children's songs) but margins for completing a task. If you need to be out the door in 5 minutes - you should have given the warning 15 minutes ago to clean up, get dressed, pack a snack. Every Sunday Cam gives us the departure time for that day - there is no excuse not to be ready (one of his famous lines is "I'm in the van"!) We all like to know how much time we have left so use that technique with your kids  and yourself. I tend to get "lost" when I'm on the computer, but if I set a time limit for myself, there is not excuse to look up and realize 5 hours have gone by!This also works well when leaving someone elses house - it helps  to cut down on the departure meltdowns! Give your kids a time warning and then stick with it. Setting timers is a great visual for kids or playing a song - when the song is done, it's time to clean up or you can sing the Barney clean up song while you put toys away. It also helps for homework - if they are dreading a difficult project have them work for 20 minutes - once they get going, it may seem more doable!

As kids become teenagers a different problem crops up - selective hearing! Lists and notes are great for communicating with teens. It takes all the emotion out of the situation - it's hard to roll your eyes at a piece of paper. When I leave for work in the morning I will often make a list of chores they can do when they get home from school - a full, clean dishwasher may seems obvious to you and me to unload, but to a teenager, not so much. I tape the note to the door knob so there is no excuse!

I love lists! What I like the best is crossing off the item once it is accomplished. Sometimes if I make the list in the middle of the task, I will write a finished job on the list just so I can cross it off. Help your child learn to focus on how he'll feel when the job is finished - not how he feels while he's doing it. It's also a good idea to build in small rewards for finishing an unpleasant task - when I finished doing my taxes I had a big bowl of ice cream.

Crummy jobs are part of life - we all have to do somethings we don't like. Putting off, delaying, procrastinating all prolong the agony. But when we set our minds to completing a job, approach it positively, set goals along the way, the self satisfaction is well worth it - and trust me, nobody likes to be called a molasses drop!