Tuesday, November 20, 2012

5 Tips For Black Friday

I admit it, I think Black Friday shopping is kind of fun, up to a point.  Here are some tips to help you get through it.  Remember, whatever you do, don't fight with some knucklehead, it is not worth it.  Especially old lady knuckleheads...don't ask how I know.

1) Have an overall detailed plan

This is the biggest key to success.  Make a list of items wanted at each store.  Then make a route plan of each store you will go to.  Prioritize and stick to your plan, if they don't have the item you came for, move on.  This is not the day to come up with an alternative gift. You can sometimes go a few days before and see where the items are to get the plan together.

2) Take a partner

A partner is great for scouting and retrieving priority items.  You can split the store in half and cover the area in much less time.  Take your cell phones and look out for each other.

3) Don't overspend

Keep your wits, don't get caught up in all of the hype.  That is exactly what retailers are hoping you do.  They will get you used to spending and hope you open your wallet to them.  Stay focused!  If you need financial tips, checkout my other site....largefamilyfinances.blogspot.com

4) Save the unfamilar for last

 This is not the day to window shop.  If you are going to a new store, save that one for last, or go with someone that already knows the ropes.  Save these stores for last.  Treat it as a learning experience for next year.

5) Shop Online

Do it the easy way.  Stay at home and skip the crowds and the stress, but stick to your plan. Many retailers are giving codes for extra savings online.  Check out the Kohl's ad below:

18022_BF Code: Everyone saves an extra 15% off w/ Code: BLACKFRI + Free Shipping on $50 (11/21-11/23)

May the force be with you...

If you like this post and think it would be valuable to someone you know, please share it on the social network of your choice for me, okay? All you have to do is click one of the buttons below. Then add me to your Google+ circles.

Thanks --Rick


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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Organization time!

 With six kids and an extremely  hot wife, I am easily distracted and struggle keeping things organized.  It is probably one our biggest downfalls as a family.  This weekend we came together and started to change things for the better.

Our first step in this process is to organize the entry or "foyer" in our home.  After all this is the first thing that everyone sees when they walk into our house.  With so many kids and our busy lifestyle, our foyer is a mess!  There were shoes, coats, jackets, umbrellas, sweatshirts from all of the kids that would get strewn everywhere.

The entry of our house is way to small to keep all eight of our "going out" things together.  We had to come up with a better solution.

We have a space in our house that is completely wasted.  Realtors like to call it a "sun porch".  I like to call it a dumpy area that we never go into that stores some of our remodeling remnants.  This place was bad!! It had green '80s astro turf and the roof leaked badly.  I patched up the roof several months ago thinking it could eventually be a useful space.  Don't get me wrong, there is still so much more we have to do to get it ready for prime time, but now that it is dry, it will make an excellent mud room.

Here is a picture of the rough plan.

Here is a very bad picture of the plan we have sketched out

That is exactly what our kids need.  A MUD room!  Four boys and one little girl that could beat up any boy make a big mess!  So we are converting our sun porch to a mud room  From sun to mud, sounds glamorous doesn't it?  No, no, no, this is my wonderful life, you can't have it!  :)

So, first the clean out.  That was a Waste Management Bagster and a Saturday afternoon.  There was a lot of help from my hot wife and little girly.  It was not fun, but we accomplished fairly quickly. We can now walk in the mud room!  Next, cut out the 80's astro turf.  I felt like Nolan Ryan walking on that stuff, that is the only reason I will miss it.

Next, we purchased some shelves much like these and some crates to stack on the shelves.  Every child has their own crate to store their shoes.  We also have crates for hats and gloves and other winter type clothes.  We have another bin for shoes to grow into, the hand me downs that we are saving for the smaller kids.  Another crate for jackets that are not in use. Yet another crate for our wonderful pet cat Moe. It is not big enough to store his attitude, but that is another story. We also added several hooks for coats and backpacks for everyday kid living.

We are planning a small bench for the kids to sit on while tending to their shoes. We plan for the bench to have even more storage.  We are still working on what else we can organize out there.  Comments/suggestions are appreciated.

Here is a picture of the work in progress...

Next (in the future) we have to scrub and paint the concrete floor and replace the entry door and lock with one of the combination deadbolts  the older kids can use. Then long term, we need to replace the siding and the windows.  One project leads to another!  It feels great, we are making progress and simplifying our lives. Do you have some organization projects in your future?  Please support our blog and check out my favorite place to shop and get ideas for storage and organization here.


If you like this post and think it would be valuable to someone you know, please share it on the social network of your choice for me, okay? All you have to do is click one of the buttons below. Then add me to your Google+ circles. Thanks --Rick    http://gplus.to/rickbolt

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Monday, October 29, 2012

This Is Why I Will Never Be Able to Retire!

 The family October 28, 2012....

If you like this post and think it would be valuable to someone you know, please share it on the social network of your choice for me, okay? All you have to do is click one of the buttons below. Then add me to your Google+ circles. Thanks --Rick    http://gplus.to/rickbolt

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Friday, October 19, 2012

The Reds Missed This Year...

Every year we try to go watch a Cincinnati Reds game.  It is usually me and my dad and a few of the boys that are still into baseball.  Three generations at the ballgame. We always try to sit on the top row to catch the breeze. It is a good time.

This year was Sammy's first year at the ball park.  He was fired up!   You notice he has his T-ball medal on too? It was even free Joey Votto batting gloves day.  This is one of my favorite pictures.  It makes me chuckle every time I see it.  Joey Votto even hit an exciting homer in the eighth that day. The post season ended too early.  Maybe next year Reds...

If you like this post and think it would be valuable to someone you know, please share it on the social network of your choice for me, okay? All you have to do is click one of the buttons below. Then add me to your Google+ circles. Thanks --Rick http://gplus.to/rickbolt

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Top 5 Questions A Father of a Large Family Gets Asked

Top 5 questions I get asked because I  have six kids:

1) Are you Catholic?
2) Have you had a vasectomy yet?
3) How many mothers go with those kids?
4) Don't you know how that happens?!?!?
5) Are you done having kids?

It is true I get asked questions all of the time when people find out I have six kids.  These are the most frequent.  It does not really bother me.  I get  all the jokes to...."Don't get within three feet of him, you will get pregnant."  Really people, I enjoy a good conversation starter, but maybe try something other than the list above.  :) 

Maybe I will make a list of my most common answers next....

Here is the gang....

If you like this post and think it would be valuable to someone you know, please share it on the social network of your choice  for me, okay? All you have to do is click one of the buttons below. Then add me to your Google+ circles. Thanks

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tech Punishment For Kids??

Is this the new Millennium punishment?  Maybe....

I will admit, I am a pretty geeky guy.  After all, my day job that pays the bills is as a Network Engineer.  You can't survive in that world without embracing your inner geekiness!    I am also a parent of "digital kids". I am amazed at how quickly my kids can pick this technology stuff up and use it so naturally.  My youngest, who is four, is known for stealing the older kids devices to play games on and watch videos...

I found an article on Mashable that discusses what I like to call "tech punishment".  Basically it discussing setting the boundaries and consequences up front, before the inappropriate behavior happens.  Then the kids know they are going to be punished by having their tech time taken away.  I know that with my older kids, this would work like a charm.  They are constantly connected to their devices!

The article I reference is here;


This is a breakdown of the article is in Proactive Consequences and Reactive Consequences.  Proactive of course being predetermined punishments.  Reactive being an immediate reaction when you have had enough. I have to admit, I have been a very reactive type parent. I am the type of parent that can take quite a bit and then fly off the handle when I have had enough. Usually taking all privileges away from the kids when they misbehave.  That is something I really need to improve upon.  Don't get me wrong, my kids are usually very well behaved and I am thankful for that.  At the same time, they are kids and they will still push the limit at times. I am going to work on being a more proactive parent by setting up some guidelines ahead of time so the kids know what will happen before the inappropriate behavior happens.  Taking away tech devices is the perfect start.   I will continue to write update posts on this subject in the future to let you know how it goes.

I post this hoping it helps other parents that may not be as "geeky" as me.  It is hard enough for me to keep up with the kids, so I feel for you.  I regularly share stuff like this on Google+  take the dive and add me to your circles.  If you need more info on Google+, I wrote about that here.

If you like this post and think it would be valuable to someone you know, please share it on the social network of your choice  for me, okay? All you have to do is click one of the buttons below. Then add me to your Google+ circles. Thanks


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More Google+ Tips

 google plus

This Google+ thing is awesome!  I am meeting so many interesting people.  It is so much better than Facebook or Twitter.  It is so easy to connect with people with similar interest. I think it is a much better way to develop more professional relationships to enhance your business or personal growth opportunities.

I will admit, it is sometimes difficult to weed through all of the Google+ people searches.  Never fear, there is a site out there to make it much easier.  It is really a well designed search engine for G+ users.  It is called findpeopleonplus.com

The site has a very simple Google like layout.  It is not to busy and easy to navigate. When you go to the website, you are presented with the top Google Plusers and a menu down the left side. If you look down the left side, you can see how you can narrow down to certain aspects you are seeking.  Let's say you are looking for photographers, go to the left menu and find the occupation option.  Look down the occupation list to find photographers.  Click photographers and the website will then give you a list of photographers to the right.  You can scroll through and find the ones you like and add them to your circles.

You can also narrow it down further.  Let's say that all male photographers creep you out (except for me of course).  Via the menus on the left, under gender click female.  Under occupation, click photographers.  There you will see a list of female photographers on Google+. 

Findpeopleonplus.com is a great search engine for G+ users.  I highly recommend it.  If your profile has changed, be sure to go to findpeopleonplus.com and update it.  As I learn more about Google+  I will post more tips.  In the meantime, here is my findpeopleonplus link.  Be sure to add me to your circles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I have been playing around a lot with Google+ lately.  I know, I know, you are saying "You are just now getting into Google+, you are such a technological visionary.......not"   Be nice!  I am a busy guy.  OK, OK, no more excuses.  On to the Google+ post.....

 I guess it is touted as the perfect mix between Twitter and Facebook.  I have to admit that I don't know either one of those very well, but I have been learning Google+ over the last several days.  I must say, I really like it!

First, if you are not familiar with Google+, it is a social networking application that is based on groups called circles.  You can create all kinds of circles to follow people.  For example, I have some circles called Family, Friends, Photographers, Photoshop, and Bloggers.  I can add different people to each of these circles and follow their work.  If they feel like they want to see my posts, they can add me to one of their circles. 

The main reasons why I like Google+ are because you can add people to your circles that have similar interests.  In other words, you can follow people that you don't even know, but may be an authority on something you are really passionate about.  For example, I love photography, so I have added several photographers to my photography circle so I can follow their work.  There are some amazing photographs on Google+.  The beauty of the circle concept is that I can send only my photography related content to my photography circle, or only my jokes to my friends circle, or even send a note to all people (public setting).

I am still building my circles.  Once I have them close to finished, I can then share a circle.  This will allow people to "subscribe" to the same people that I have built in my circles.  This is an awesome concept that allows people to connect and share easily.  This is where I think Google+ is better than Facebook,  although I do admit, I am not a Facebook expert.  What do you guys think about the comparisons of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

I would love to have you guys add me to one of your circles.  Even if it is your "dorks" circle.  I am OK with that. This blog is integrated with Google+, so if you add me, you will see all of my blog posts as a Google+ post.  So please get to adding!

Here is my profile:

Or you can click the add to your circles button on the upper right area of this blog...

Friday, August 31, 2012

2011 Kids Eden Park Picture

Every year now for a few years we always take the kids to Eden Park for an annual picture. Since we are former Cincinnatians, we feel obligated.  I absolutely love Eden Park and the Mt. Adams area.  I hope to retire there one day, if I ever get to retire!

This is the picture from 2011.  We found this spot where they have these rocks laid out in this awesome arrangement that fits the group well.  I put everyone in there places and started snapping away.  This is one of those moments that just make me chuckle. (click the picture to get the full view)

 You can see that they are all smiling nicely and looking good.  Sammy decide to go into a Buddha moment and put his hand up.  I guess it matched him having his hood up. And let's not mention the trash in the photo on the bottom step to the left.  This is why I am not a professional photographer!

Despite all of that, this is probably one of my favorite pictures of the kids.  It is one of my favorite places on Earth with all of my kids there.  No professional photographer in the world could have captured the fun personalities of them all like I did here... so there!

Add me on Google+

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Flashback---The Peyton Manning Autograph

If you are a regular reader you know that we are all diehard Indianapolis Colts fans.  It was very devastating this year when they released Peyton Manning.  He was great to watch and we will miss him.

All of this got me thinking back.  I remembered a funny story about our oldest son who is the biggest Peyton Manning fan in the entire universe. That is not an exaggeration either.  He even knows his birthday, shoe size, and kids names. He has always been kind of a shy and quiet kid. Nicolas was trying for several years to get Manning's autograph and was never successful.  We were at training camp right after it moved back to Anderson University.  Practice was over and everyone was leaving. He was standing there telling me about how he wished he could just get Peyton's autograph.  There was a guy standing next to us that spoke up and said "Hey kid, he is over there signing on the other side of the field, you better run over and get it NOW!".  Up to that point, I have never seen him run that fast!

I was walking around to the other side to wait for him.  The crowd was huge and I thought we would be there for a while.  I wondered over to the bleachers and climbed up far enough to see if I could spot him in the crowd.  I could not see him but I could hear the big security guy by Manning yelling at someone,  "KID!!!!  Calm down!!!  Take a step back!  KID!!!!  KID!!!" He kept saying it more forcefully "KID!!!   TAKE A STEP BACK!  YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN!" I wondered what all the trouble was down there, but I didn't think much of it.  And then the guy continued on ""KID!!!   TAKE A STEP BACK! CALM DOWN!!!" I am starting to think to myself...what kind of knucklehead kid is causing trouble down there?  I snapped a quick shot of the commotion with my camera.  I could not see the kid causing trouble.  The guy in the large floppy Colt's hat to the right of  Peyton is the guy that was yelling at the kid.

Then just after a couple of minutes I see Nicolas walking back towards me staring at his autograph Superbowl ball with a huge smile on his face.  After a moment Nicolas asked me "Did you hear that security guy yelling at me?  There is no way I was walking away without an autograph this time."  I have to admit, I laughed....  Then we promptly left!  Here is the autograph:

This I believe was at the 2010 Training Camp.  He never did get Peyton Manning's autograph again.   It sits encased in a plastic container (heavily guarded with lasers and motion detectors) and is forever cherished by my goofy kid,  This is a memory I don't think I will ever forget.

How we did hate to see Manning go.  Now Nicolas keeps asking me to take him to Denver.....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Noblesville Football 2012

Noblesville 2012 football is getting off to a slow start this year, but I have still enjoyed watching Nicolas play.  He has come a long way since the days of sixth grade when he broke his arm playing in the elementary league.  He has grown up a lot and worked very hard.  The amount of effort he has put in is phenomenal. Most of all, he is finally gaining confidence and can see what he is capable of doing.  I am very proud of him.

Now he is a sophomore and a big bad defensive end.  He is listed on the program as only 156 lbs and regularly takes on guys that are 250 lbs plus.  Although they have played two games and not won one yet (today was close 13-7), I still look forward to every game, if nothing else, I enjoy watching him develop as a player.

I have added him as an author to this blog.  He is officially now the resident expert in this family for all things football.   He knows more about the Indianapolis Colts than anyone I know.  Since he just visited training camp with his camera and autograph book, I am pretty sure his first post will be about the Colts and the new QB Andrew Luck.  By the way, he did get Luck's autograph....

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's me, Ellie!

This is a guest post by my lovely little girl Ellie.  She is an eighth grader and a wonderful babysitter.  We will be seeing more posts from her in the future.

Well... hello there! I'm Ellie! The second child of this interesting family!

Most people tell me, "Wow Ellie! How do you deal with all these brothers and little sister?!" and most of the time, I dont know what to say. But truth is, I don't handle them well. When they drive me crazy, I either sit on them, yell at them, or make them cry. Great sister, right? But when it's my older brother driving me crazy, I actually don't do anything to him because he's stronger than me... But no matter how much they drive me insane, my life would be SO boring without them. I love our family. :)

Oh...And Just to make this clear, we don't ALWAYS fight. We laugh and do a lot of stupid and fun things together too! :)

Roku, It is so easy....

One thing I am always trying to accomplish in our house is to reduce some expenses.  Hey after all, we do have six kids! One expense that I can't stand every month is cable TV.  If it were up to me, this would be gone.  Fortunately for the cable company, it is not all up to me.  The rest of the family seems to have embraced them as a member of the family.  I don't get it.

I have introduced a couple of things in our house to try to persuade the family that the cable guy is a crook.  One of these is the Roku.  I have to say that I love this little device!  It is so easy to use a four year old could run it.  Go ahead, ask me how I know?  Because my little Maddie is using thing to stream her shows constantly.  Now there are a few things that you will need when you get your Roku.  You will still need your high speed internet connection and a subscription to Netflix.  You probably already have your high speed internet connection.  Netflix is only $9/month for unlimited streaming.  This is worth every penny.  There are so many movies and shows available.  Even the most entrenched coach potato will be entertained for hours and hours...

Some recent movies I have viewed on Netflix...From the Terrace, The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, Scary Movie, Cat on a Hot Tin, Roof, The Three Stooges, Lucy, A Hard Days Night, etc....

Some recent shows that my four year old watches on Netflix...  Dora the Exploer, Kickin it, Pink Panther, Good Luck Charlie, Dora the Exploer, Kickin it, Pink Panther, Good Luck Charlie, Dora the Exploer, Kickin it, Pink Panther, Good Luck Charlie....Over and over and over and over....you get the point!  But she does love it.

The Roku has several other options besides Netflix.  For example, you can get Amazon Video on Demand, which is a video streaming rental.  If you are an Amazon prime member, you can get quite a bit of streaming free.  You can also add other channels such as Crackle, BlipTv, Classic TV, etc.  Check out the Nowhereman's link to see some awesome channels you can add to your Roku.

I have not been able to persuade the family to dump cable tv yet, but I will continue to work on it....After football season.  Support us and check out the Roku here:

If you like this post and think it would be valuable to someone you know, please share it on the social network of your choice for me, okay? All you have to do is click one of the buttons below. Then add me to your Google+ circles. Thanks

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OK...It is time to relax.. I am getting my top wisdom teeth out in a few minutes. I am sure it won't be an issue.  It is not like I have six kids running around the house while I am in pain and trying to heal! Time to get out some favorite CDs from my favorite local singer.  Jennie DeVoe.  I absolutely love her music.  Awesome!  I have been to several of her shows now.  I had my camera with me at the Superbowl show she did when the big game was in Indy earlier this year.  It was freezing out that night, but worth every minute out in the cold.  This was the first show that I was able to take Nicolas and Ellie with me. It was an awesome night! Here is a picture I took that night and obviously did a little Photoshop work to.  This displays proudly on my bookshelves here at the house.

I am thinking future album cover!  How could it not be?

Seeing her show is a great outing with friends and some great music.  I am going to see one of her shows again on September 7th.  I hope to see you there.  Now to relax and make this pain go away....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Can't Believe It!

I can't believe it.  My little neice Tana is engaged.  Of course she is not the tiny little girl I still see her as...She is in her last year of college before she goes on to be a teacher. Congratulations to you and Adam, kid!   Tana asked me to take her "save the date" pictures.  Of course I was happy to do it.  I think they turned out wonderful...Congratulations guys!

Has it really been.....

Has it really been three years since I posted here?  I need to add an updated picture of the family, ASAP!

I guess when you buy an old house to renovate, especially one that is in as bad as shape as ours was, you lose track of things. Well, we are slowly coming back! I just did a quick run through some "recent" posts and I can't believe how much everyone has changed!  They are growing up fast!  The baby is not a baby anymore.  She is four! Also, I really had no idea how hard it is to teach someone to drive!  Thank you my dearest for taking that over so I don't die of an early heart attack...Let's see, what else?  Changing jobs, parental stress, etc we all have them....Anyway, those are my excuses.  Time to get back to it!

Plans for the future of this blog.  I want to make this a complete family blog.  Since they are all growing up, they will all take a part. I am going to have guest posters.  These guest posters will be all of my family members.  They will be able to pick a topic of choice and discuss it here.  Of course, me being "Editor in Chief", I will keep watch and approve the topics (can you say teenagers?!?!?!) We will do experiments with monetizing without taking over the general character of the blog.  The monetization efforts will go directly to an account that will service only the college fund of the kids. We need all of the help we can get there!

I have taken on a couple of other projects also. I am on a mission to help fund all of the kids college expenses. So, I plan to be here at times, some other things will take over.  Luckily, this is fun....