How To Choose A Right Digital Camera For You

Like many people now, we have been using digital camera for taking pictures. After buying a few expensive ones and few cheap ones, I decided that there has to be a proper way to buy a right digital camera for us that works perfectly for what we need, is not too expensive and durable for family with kids.  I am not the expert photographer but love taking pictures, so I looked online and asked family and friends who have more knowledge compared to me and combined whole research that worked for us.

While I found what worked for us, I thought many people might in similar predicament so I am sharing my digital camera research in general way that will suit and fit most people looking to buy a right digital camera for you and your family.

First of all let me tell you why I like digital camera over 35mm film cameras;

Reasons Why I like To use Digital Camera:

  1. You can view images right away. Too many times we have asked someone to take our family picture, not knowing if it came out fine when we used 35mm film roll camera. That moment will be gone.
  2. Take as many shots without having to worry about wasting film roll.
  3. Delete photos as needed, saving disk space. Keep photos as you need.
  4. Sending pictures to family via email or website is quick as images are already digital and do not need to be scan unlike print photos.
  5. Now with large memory storage (tiny) one can take as many as 1000’s pictures while traveling. Download as needed.

Tips on How to Choose a Digital Camera:

Here are a few simple tips on how to choose a digital camera that is perfect for you, no matter if you are single or family with kids. Based on my research for getting right camera, budget, features and how you will use the camera will make difference. Buying the most expensive digital camera is NOT necessary. It is all about functionality and ease of use.

  1. Knowing how you will use camera will make difference. Unless you are professional photographer, who needs to take high speed or high resolution pictures, you do not need to buy $2000 digital or SLR camera. For most people wanting to take personal and traveling pictures digital camera with right features with right budget price will do.
  2. Many digital camera comes with plastic lens or glass lens. Not knowing and having used plastic lens which scratches easily and images comes distorted, I would strongly recommend to buy digital camera with glass lens.
  3. Many digital camera comes in high resolutions, for most people 3 to 4 mega pixel resolution is enough. Buying higher resolution means pictures will be much clear and focused, so buy highest resolution that you can afford.
  4. Many of us will be using zoom features to zoom in and zoom out features, so get digital camera with optical zoom and not digital zoom capabilities.
  5. If you choose flash modes, compare it will other digital camera features. I did not even know what it was for.
  6. Buy camera with auto focus and smart auto picture features for casual picture taking. Other features that are important to look for are, macro features, shutter release and its lag times.
  7. Another important thing for digital camera is to have optical viewfinder as well as LCD display finder. What it means is that one take picture through looking at LCD display or through the view finder both.
  8. Buy a Digital camera with high RAM (Random Accesses Memory), so you can store more images on camera without having to download in middle of event or vacation. Or buy extra memory chip for backup.
  9. Having large LCD panel will help during video taking mode.
  10. Compare and know more about charging the digital camera, type of batteries its uses and other savings features.
  11. See if your digital camera is compatible with downloading on your laptop or computer and if not what devices you may need to do that.
  12. For those who are not professional photographer but still want better images can look for interchangeable lenses, steady shot feature, auto white balance, variable shutter speed, self timer, manual and auto focus, burst mode features in digital camera to make pictures more professional and crisp.

Other Buyer Beware Tips:

  • There are many high resolution cameras are selling for low price however, these high resolution may only apply to software interpolation and not true optical resolution for pictures. So be aware of that.
  • Buy Digital camera with CCD which means Charge coupled device, otherwise you will be spending more money for extra stuff.
  • Always check return policy before buying camera. Once our friend who opened the camera and wanted to returned it next day were denied as they had opened the boxed package. Knowing what you can do will save you much hassle later.
  • For many digital camera owners, means pictures are always on computer, to print out right images make sure you have at least 720 dot per inch printer and somewhat high resolution digital camera else images will be blurry. There are many places will take and print your digital images as well.
  • If you are planning to use photos to send via email, webpage even inexpensive camera with 640 by 480 pixel resolution will do. Do not let anyone tell you that you need spend fortune to buy right digital camera.

Best Rated Digital Camera:

Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

Product features:

  • High resolution and Super-Density horizontal type Vari-Angle LCD Monitor
  • In-camera Special Effects Mode
  • In-camera HDR (High Dynamic Range)
  • Stunning Full High D efMovies with Full Time Auto focus

Best Value: Best features with budget Price Digital Camera:

Panasonic DMC-FH25K 16.1MP Digital Camera with 8x Wide Angle Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 inch LCD (Black)

Product features:

  • The high-speed, high-performance and recording of beautiful images.
  • The Sonic Speed AF system includes numerous re-engineering enhancements.
  • Battery is included.
  • No need to know all modes and technical know how; Just choose the iA Mode, aim at your subject and shoot.
  • Optical Image Stabilizer compensates for the blurring caused by hand-shake, making clear picture.

Best High End Digital Camera:

Nikon D800 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Product feature:

  • High Resloution 36.3-megapixel (35.9 x 24.0mm)  and CMOS sensor
  • Full High Def. broadcast quality video and minimized rolling shutter
  • View simultaneous Live View output on external monitors and record uncompressed video via HDMI terminal
  • Multi-Area Full HD D-Movie Video Recording Mode
  • Comprehensive high fidelity audio recording and playback control

How to Get Rid Of A Mouse Naturally

Do You have a Mouse in a House?

Have you seen a mouse up close? When you are least expecting it? It happened to me once, as I was cleaning out a shelf in my garage, something black and furry jumped over me. I was startled and screamed like any girl would do. That was small tiny mouse, who hid behind the shelf quickly. That was the first time I ever saw a mouse up close. For days, I thought he (don’t ask me why, I thought mouse was “he”) stayed in the garage but one day, and I thought of my self kind enough to co-exist as long he stayed in the garage and did not bother me or kids inside the house.

One day, I saw a mouse running behind sofa in the living room and then I saw another in the kitchen. So, I knew I had two mice at least. I thought it was okay if they stayed in garage, but not inside the house as I am so scared of mice and cockroaches. But once they moved in the house and started running around my counter and behind the shelf, I was out of my wits. I had to found some solution fast with compassion.

Looking for Solutions:

I got my brave self out during day time to do research on how to get rid of mouse in house. I was shocked to see many cruel and inhumane ways to get rid of mouse and that did not appeal to me. I wanted to get rid of mice naturally, live and without hurting them. Was it possible? Yes, I found a few ways to get rid of mice naturally. Will it keep them out? I am not sure, but I am hoping it does.

I am sure, I am not the only one with mice in house problem and want to get rid of mice naturally, so I thought of sharing my research and finding here to help those you are in similar situation.

  • I have 2 years old and 6 years old boys at home, my 2 years puts almost everything in his mouth so whatever I find has to be safe, non toxic and contain in box.
  • I myself did not want to kill the mice, so I had to find natural ways
  • Cheapest thing I found was glue traps. Please do not use them, it is horrible and cruel. Mouse gets trapped in glue and can not escape and snap trap sometimes does not kill them instantly and it is horrible to any living being.
  • There are poison tablets or poison in food for getting rid of mice but sometimes they die inside the wall and you will have a stinky house and fixing and finding that odor with breaking down walls would be very expensive and inconvenient to say the least.
  • When I called the pest control to find natural ideas, they were no help. They suggested that I should “tent the house” as I said I have 2 mice, they concluded that I had a large mice infestation. It is similar to getting termite tenting where they put toxic chemical in your house under tent to kill anything living. The cost of tenting was about $800 and they did not guarantee that mice will not be back. Even if cost was free, I would not have done it as I did not want toxic chemicals and killing the mice.
  • So, did I find any solution? I sure did.

Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Mice

After unsuccessfully trying to find solution to get rid of mice from the house, I have a few sure ways to get rid of mice naturally and not come back. There are two important ways to do this, one is prevention and other is taking care of mice naturally without killing them.

1. Finding Entrance:

First of all, you need to find out where the mouse is coming from. House mice are tiny and they can get inside the hole as large as end of pencil rubber. The best way to prevent any future mouse coming in is to seal up all tiny holes from inside and outside. Many of these places can be found around the water pipes, heating pipes or cable wires are coming in or out.

We (Zenguy actually) used inexpensive Caulking tube to do the job. If you are sealing the hole around bathroom or water pipe area, you may want to use water proof or pool sealant to make sure it stays on.

2. Use Humane Mouse Traps

There are many types of rodent humane traps, here are two types that I like, pick the one that works for you. Sometimes buying 2 types of humane traps works.  Why? Mice are smart creatures and once one is caught in one type of trap, other mice will avoid it and will not fall for it. So after some research we got 2 different types of humane mouse traps to catch mice before they got used to it and avoided it.

Smart Mouse Trap: Humane Mouse Trap

Multiple Mouse Catch and Release Humane Mouse Trap





Benefit of Humane Traps: This humane traps are great for animal lovers. It keeps mice alive, it is humane and there are no toxic chemicals or dead mouse to deal with it. It is safe around pets and kids as well. Endorsed by humane societies and animal rights organizations in the U.S. and worldwide.
How it works? It is very simple, we put some food that mice like to eat inside. Contrary to belief, mice does not like cheese, it is only in story books. What I found worked the best was peanut butter or chocolate chips (Yes, we also think we had sweet teeth mice at home!) and place it along the sidewalls where mice like to venture in to. Check it daily to see if you have caught a mouse as we do not want to keep scared mouse inside for too long.

Although it is not necessary, we also left little water and few shredded paper inside for little mouse. Once you know you caught one, you can take the trap wooded area, away from other homes to set him free. You can wash the trap and reuse it, until all mice problem is gone.

3. Fill the hole with Steel Wool:

Mouse can chew through almost anything, including plastic, boxes, clothes and so on, except metal like steel. Steel wool pads will prevent mice from using the hole to get back into your house. It will be also hard for mice to chew through it. Steel wool pads are one inexpensive and permanent solution to fill the mice holes around your house.

4. Keep House Clean and Put all food in Tight Lid Containers:

While there are instances where clean house have the mice inside it, generally keeping the house and kitchen area clean will prevent any mouse from coming and staying in. Put all food including seeds, pet food, grains and flour in tight lid container where it is not easy for mouse to get the food. If mice does not find food to survive, they will not stay inside longer and move on.

5. Keep your Trash enclosed

Our house was relatively clean but we found mouse droppings near our open trash cans where we may have some food leftover. Mouse can have strong smell of food and it will attract them near it. Empty your trash can everyday while you have mouse in a house or keep the trash can with lids where it might be hard for mouse to get to it.

Keep in mind, mouse can climb up with little help to counter top and closet cabinet as well, so do not think just because you have kept food high up, mice can not get to it. Keep everything securely closed.

6. Peppermint Oil to Get rid of mice

Believe it or not, mouse does not like the smell of pepper mint oil as it is deterrent. The smell is simply too intense for rats and mice and they will try to avoid going near it. Another benefit of peppermint oil is, it masks the smell of other food which mice are attracted to.

Just remember to buy 100% natural peppermint oil and not the sugary synthetic one (that does not work). Just use a couple of drops on a cotton ball and put it under aluminum foil and poke tiny holes all around it. The reason for doing it is that once peppermint oil smells goes off (in week or so), mice will come and grab cotton ball for nesting material but mouse will not take it if it is wrapped inside a aluminum (metal) foil.

The best place to place these cotton balls are near heat vents, along the walls, behind furniture and so on. You can buy 100% pure peppermint oil at most health food store or amazon. I had hardest time finding it so I bought it here, and my house smelled like Christmas for weeks! It is a good idea to get little bigger size, as you may have to replace the cotton balls once the smell evaporates.

Other people also suggested using fresh mint to deterred Mice from house.

7. Electronic Pest Repeller

Electronic Pest Repeller  AC powered Deluxe Electronic Pest Control Systems emit a child and pet safe variable soundwave pattern of ultrasonic frequencies to help remove pest such as mice rats chipmunks and squirrels. Satisfaction ensured. This is easy-too-use electronic pest control without hazardous chemicals or traps that get Rids home of mice, rats, and roaches by sending electronic impulses through home wiring. One unit is effective for 1 level of the average size home and it is humane way to get rid of mice and other pests. You can find more about it here.

8. Electronic Mouse Trap

If you have tried all the tips and you just simply want to get rid of mice for once and all then humane electronic zapper does the killing the mouse electrically in micro second. It works on the batteries and when mouse is caught, it blinks red light.  You can catch small mice to large rat inside it. Smaller electronic trap is good for one or two mice, if you have large mice group like I did, then larger electronic mouse trap might be better as it can catch multiple mice in one time.

9. Get a Cat:

All though I was not going to get a cat for mice problem, it seemed to be working for many people who swear that having cat in the house has prevented mice getting inside the house for long. You make the call.

10. Moth Balls

Mouse somehow does not like Moth Balls Smell and they go away. This is natural solution that does not harm the mouse. It did not work for me as my house mice seemed to do okay with moth ball smell. It started to bother me and I discontinued using it. However, this solution has worked for many others so try it out as moth balls are inexpensive for trial.

Additional Products for Getting rid of mice naturally:

Durvet Motomco Tomcat Mltpl Catch Mouse Trap 33511/33515

Fatal Funnel FFM1PP Mouse trap

Electronic Mouse Trap

Image Source: House Mouse From Wkipedia

Barefoot Running: Fad or Great?

Barefoot Shoes

I like to walk bare foot on soft grass around my house, and have walked barefoot in garden often time, but sometime going barefoot, means getting splinters or hurt where there are thorns or pebbles around. The very first time I heard about barefoot shoes was last year sometime on one of my favorite blog Zen Habits, that I started following before even I had a blog along with a few others. Like Leo, I am a parent, and believe in simplifying, minimizing and decluttering stuff and not buying un-necessary stuff. One of the caveat when you stay home with kids and homeschool is we are living simplified life if not minimalist life. Health is important part of simplifying life to the best for all of us. I think, I was always frugal but learned lot more about simplicity to make living in reduced income comfortably so I can stay home with my little ones.

While I am working on finding harmony in many things in my life such as financial, health and fitness, relationship with people I care for, I find ways to achieve health and fitness in a simple ways such as walking, dancing and running after kids. Sometimes that is enough, and other times I think I need more push. So, when I read  Barefoot Philosophy post from Leo on Zenhabits, I was intrigued with a concept of  Vibram FiveFinger shoes as I love to walk barefeet often moist grass in my garden during morning. With the Vibram, I can almost go anywhere and have benefit of open free barefeet feeling. The only issue was that cost of Vibram Fivefinger, so I decided to dig further to research and find out more and share it here just in case if any of you are in same boat as I am. In recent times, shoes price have dropped to bit reasonable compared to when it was new! Check here.

What are Barefoot Shoes?

barefoot shoes2

Barefoot shoes kind of contradiction as how can one be barefoot and still wear shoes right? However, our city living is best suited for barefoot running or walking as once maybe our grandparent’s time. This type of barefoot shoes gives us benefits of going barefoot and still protecting our feet.

I am okay runner and athlete but I love walking and hiking. I am usually not in brands or new fads in footware, these Vibram FiveFingers are sure funny looking but I heard that they are very comfortable and functional for many minimalist fitness. I heard many people use it for biking, hiking, aerobics, gym exercise class, cycling and even walking. Barefoot shoes are flat and fits your toes like a glove which supposed to strengthening muscles on you ankles, toes and calves. It claims that your feet’s movements will be natural as possible with protecting your feet.

Click here to see Vibram Five Finger in Field Test Video
Barefoot running Frequently asked Questions for users

Barefoot Philosophy by Leo of Zen Habits

Until now we have been told, that high cushioned running shoes were the best for any runner, now these may seem like total 180 degree to be told running barefeet is best. Do they really work? Is barefoot shoes a fad? Is this invented by some green minimalist guy?

To find out these answer to these questions, I dug further and here is what I found:

These Vibram FiveFingers are created by Robert Fliri and Marco Bramani. Marco Bramani is grandson of Vitale Bramani who first invented rubber soles in 1935 for mountain boots. These shoes were meant for people sailing and climbing at comfort without actually going barefoot. However runners started using barefoot shoes enjoy the sport and reduce the injury and pain during running. It is one of the hottest trend that Times Magazine also name these shoes is one of the best invention of 2007 when they were first made.

How do Barefoot Shoes work? Some of Benefits and Issues?

barefoot vs. Traditional

According to the Vibram FiveFingers website:

“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.”

Wearing barefoot shoes are supposed to remind us and bring us to natural state of walking and running.  Our leg and foot muscles can get stronger to support knees and reduce pain and injury to hip and back while improving balance and posture.

Barefoot shoes changes the bio mechanics of your run or walk as you land on your foot instead of heel strike as you would in traditional shoes. For some it can change gait and biomechanics too much, so many expert recommend that when you start wearing them for short time and slowly start wearing it longer to adjust your muscles. It can take up to weeks or months before you may feel completely comfortable in it. Those who have stuck by it, swear of positive changes in to their running and muscles strength.

Pros Of Barefoot Shoes:

  • Allows for proper biomechanics in walking, running and hiking
  • Comes in many colors and styles
  • Natural way of walking, running without being hurt
  • Shoes fits perfect like gloves
  • Using proper leg muscles to avoid injury and pain
  • Cost ranges from $40-$125
  • You may  find bargain on Craigslist

Issues with Barefoot Shoes:

  • Not the cheapest but traditional running shoes can as high
  • It can take time to adjust and the shoes, up to weeks to months
  • Not recommended for long distance running
  • Might be less durable than traditional running shoes
  • Funny looking and feeling

If you afford it and want to buy, you can click here (aff. link)  Vibram FiveFingers.

Am I using these barefoot shoes Yet?

As much as I am intrigued about it and like to walk and run barefeet, I am sticking to my old running shoes for now. Maybe one of these days when money is not an issue, I might buy these and try it out. Are these type of shoes right for you? Only you can tell. I wanted to share what I have learned while trying to find out more about the barefoot shoes Vibram FiveFinger shoes.

Being healthy and keeping fit is essential to all of our well being. Many things can be done without spending money or spending less money. You can run bare feet as it is if money is an issue. Sometime prevention of better than cure. Maybe taking care of health now, will save us tons of money in medicine cost later.

Have you used these Vibram Five Finger shoes or ran barefoot? I sure would like to hear your thoughts on it.
Keep healthy and be healthy!