Friday, December 24, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Day 8-Letter to Santa
I know I've been blessed with so many amazing things in my life. I don't really want many material things for Christmas so here is my perfect Christmas list.
1. To find joy in the little things in life. I know most people say they want to be happy, but for me happiness is a mood...not a destination.
2. To find more comfort in my faith. This has been such a battle for me over the past year and I'm not sure why. I continually pray for God to move my heart back to him and provide me with His comfort, yet I still struggle with this on a daily basis. I'm not sure what's wrong, but I pray for my relationship with the Lord to become stronger over the next year.
3. To not be RIFed this year. It added so much stress to my life last year, but it taught me how to be more responsible with my money and to be much more frugal. I was thankful that it happened once...I'm not sure I could take it again.
4. I would love a multitude of 2 hour delays this winter. We don't have to make it up and it allows me to snuggle with my pup for just a bit longer in the morning. Just enough of both worlds.
5. World peace
And now for my material list (all dreams of course).
1. Colts season tickets
2. A return trip to Europe
3. New TV for my living room (saving is in the works)
4. A new dishwasher that ACTUALLY cleans gunk off of my dishes
5. An organized garage
Hutch in the kitchen with all my houses on it
Train on top of the TV
Sophie and I in front of the tree! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Today in the link up is thrifty Christmas ideas! This is the first year I've really reined it in on my Christmas spending. I've learned some major things this year so here are a few from my newly acquired thrifty side.
-Use your stockpile for gifts!
Hate to say this, but I am going to admit that I use some of my toiletry items from playing the drugstore game for gifts. My family does stocking stuffers of toiletry items so I stock up all year long. Bodywash, razors, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and contact solution are great fillers!
-Shop online and use coupon codes
This year I bought a number of things on the internet during Cyber Monday and found online coupon codes to make things even cheaper. I didn't have to make a trip to the store and had everything sent to me in great packaging for free.
-Don't just buy at Christmas time
Why not be on the lookout for closeouts or clearance items that will make great gifts all year long? My favorite places for clearance and closeouts are Target, Walmart, Marshalls, and Big Lots.
-Collect MyPoints giftcards for shopping
I mentioned in a prior post about Mypoints! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE them! You get points for reading emails and making online purchases. You can then redeem points for giftcards. Why not rack up the points all year long, order some giftcards, and purchase Christmas gifts with those? Interested in Mypoints? Send me a message with your email address and I will send you a referral link to help out my classroom fund!
-When in doubt, don't buy it!
Cait said it first, but I'll be reitterating it over and over. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Your friends and family members will NOT care if it costs hundreds of $ or if you get it from the dollar store. It is the thought that counts.
Head over to theblessedlife to link up!
Monday, December 6, 2010
This is my "wreath" on my front door. I took a silver wreath that I got the day after Christmas last year at the Dollar store for $.50 and wrapped it with some blue and silver ribbon I also got for $.50 at Dollar Tree. I used my lovely hot glue gun to tack it down and secure it. Then I attached various blue, silver, and white ornaments I got at Dollar Tree in packages of 5 last year. I think it looks pretty good and I've gotten a number of compliments on what I've started referring to as my "Colts Wreath." Since I have been given so many of my grandmother's ornaments, I really had no need for them to be on the tree anymore.
I'm not too crafty, but I think this works. I also bought 2 premade stockings last year on clearance and had the family and consumer sciences teacher at school embroider them with Sophie and Kelly. I'll show pictures when I get them back from her at the end of the week. Cheap, custom made certainly sounds good to me!
Don't forget to head over to theblessedlife to link up with your favorite holiday DIY projects!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Today Cait @theblessed life asked us to share our favorite holiday recipes! Here is mine!
2 (8 ounce) cans Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups finely chopped assorted vegetables (I use bell peppers, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, carrot, cucumber and green onions)
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove dough from cans in rolled sections (2 sections from each can); do not unroll. Cut each section into 8 slices (16 slices from each can).
Place slices, cut side down, on ungreased cookie sheets to form trees. To form each tree, start by placing 1 slice for top; arrange 2 slices just below, with sides touching. Continue arranging row of 3 slices, then row of 4 slices, ending with row of 5 slices. Use remaining slice for trunk. Refrigerate one tree.
Bake one tree at 375 degrees F. for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; carefully loosen with pancake turner and slide onto wire rack to cool. Bake and cool second tree.
Place each tree on serving platter. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder; blend until smooth. Spread mixture over both trees. Decorate trees with assorted vegetable pieces. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate until serving time. To serve, pull apart slices of tree.
Head over to theblessedlife to link up!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Cait @theblessedlife has posted Day 4 of the 12 days of Christmas! Today's subject: Christmas memories.
We've had some very funny Christmas memories over the years. Like the year we were all sick on Christmas and we couldn't eat anything. The Christmas when my mom stayed up all night trying to keep the goldfish alive, yet one didn't make it. We named our remaining fish Holiday and he (or she?) lived for like 7 or 8 years! The Christmas with the infamous picture (one of the FEW in this department) of Kristin and I actually hugging each other. Plus we have to love the year my dad bought her a Purdue sweatshirt with his IU credit card since she was looking to attend Purdue (Thank you Kristin for picking a better Big Ten school-Ohio State). The hysterical memories of dad buying me sweaters with shoulder pads since he thought they would be great for teaching....seriously? Memories of reading Kristin Twas the Night Before Christmas and planning out our notes to leave with the cookies for Santa. Even the year I insisted Santa must be diabetic since he was so fat so we left him sugar free treats.
This year will be my 2nd Christmas on my own and my first with a puppy so I'm sure there will be many interesting tid bits since with a 1 year old dog and a tree in the house. I can only imagine how this is going to end up! My favorite memory from last year was getting my first Christmas tree. My parents helped me pick it up from Lowe's and bring it home. I spent the whole night listening to Christmas music, drinking hot coco (that was spiked with some Bailey's) and finished up the night watching Elf. So wonderful! This year I haven't gotten the tree up yet, but I'm pretty sure it'll be Monday night when it happens! I can't wait! Here is a picture of my tree from last year. I'm hoping this year it will be just as beautiful.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
So today we're talking about Christmas traditions on the link up. We have so many I cannot even begin to name them all! My favorite tradition is drinking eggnog and watching Christmas movies on Christmas Eve. We also drive past the Reynold's Farm Equipment store in Fishers after church to see all the beautiful lights on Christmas Eve. For those who aren't from this area, the John Deere store decks out several acres of their property with Christmas lights and moving animations for the season. We compare the new additions every year. It is the coolest!
Here is my first shot at my Christmas card tradition I mentioned yesterday. I finally got Sophie to pose (sit still with lots of bribery) for this pretty shot in front of our fireplace. I had originally wanted a colorful and spunky card, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE how classy this looks. It made me feel like a real grown up. What do you all think? I couldn't be happier with it. I've made a few projects like this, but this is BY FAR my favorite! Visit Cait @theblessedlife for more of the 12 days of Christmas!!!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Love, Dave, Sue, Kristin, and Madison
Ummmm...was I no longer in the family? I felt like perhaps I had died. I'm not going to lie...I cried. What would everyone think? Why did I feel so hurt by something so small? The answer: tradition. I had expected those cards over the years, be it my college dorm room or apartment, but I was always ON the card. Even the dog made the card, but not their own daughter?
And so begins my new tradition this year. Photo Christmas cards from Shutterfly! Sophie, my perfect pooch, and I have been attempted to pose for some pictures in front of the fireplace a la classic American family because I'm so in love with these designs. I've only managed to get one decent picture since she is a wiggle worm, but here are a few of my favorite designs (you can click on the card for direct links if you like the design).
Simple and elegant, I believe this would be perfect for the a busy family.
This colorful option would be great for those black and white photos of the kids. I think it would be awesome paired with a picture of kiddos in the snow. I love the classic and colorful blend.
Noel is my favorite word of the season. My mantle has a large decoration with this word, my stocking holders contain the word, and my favorite Christmas song is The First Noel. Simply beautiful...
This card perfectly matches my personality. A little tradition, a little modern, a little funky, and yet it contains a certain simplicity.
Not only do they have photo cards for the holidays, but they have cards for just about everything you could need! Consider Shutterfly for other big life event announcements. I've included links to my favorites in these categories as well!
Although I don't need any of the above quite yet, its nice to know that its really a one stop shop for all major event announcements! Enjoy hunting for your favorite Christmas cards! Maybe it'll start a new tradition for you as well. Happy holidays and merry Christmas!
I am linking up today with Cait @ theblessedlife to talk about my favorite holiday ever...Christmas! The question today is: What does Christmas mean to you?
Growing up, Christmas was about presents. I'm not going to pretend that my family was deeply religious or overly materialistic, but indeed the joy of the season came from getting exactly what I wanted. Once I got to college, it became more about family because it was one of the few times I would get to go to Indianapolis to visit my family. Last year was my first Christmas living on my own and it certainly got me thinking more about the meaning of Christmas. Christmas for me has become about tradition. We do the same things at my parent's house every year and now that I have my own home, I've started to follow my own traditions. I am so thankful for all God has blessed me with so many of these traditions, I feel closer to Him and to my family. I have posted in the past about receiving my grandmother's hand me downs upon moving into my house. Many of these include Christmas decorations that are now placed all over my home. It makes me feel much closer to her knowing that even when she is gone, her memory is still there everyday. I find comfort in the fact that she is in heaven looking down at her decorations adorning the walls and tables of my beautiful home.
Head over to theblessedlife to join in the fun Christmas link up! Cait will have this going on for 12 wonderful days!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Take an extra 25% off clearance items (most are 60-75% off already) with the code NIKEAIR. Then enter code JUSTDOIT for free shipping on all the items. I bought some soccer shorts for myself and a couple of items for my dad since he is a big soccer referee. All total I saved 18.72 with my coupon codes.
They have college sweatshirts on sale 2 for $30! Use coupon code BFSHIP50 and WELCOMEBACK if you buy two sets of these for free shipping and $10 off your $60 purchase. This made each sweatshirt about $12.50 each.
I got two $25 gift certificates for the Sushi House (Fox Road, 46236) for $2 each. They are regularly priced for $10, but add coupon code DEAL to take $8 off each. You have to spend $35 to use it, but I'd gladly get $35 of sushi for $17. Makes eating out so much more affordable.
In addition to buying all of these things, I shopped through my Mypoints account to receive points for my purchases. Both Finish Line and Nike are 3 points per dollar spent. I also receive points for my local purchases (the gift certificates). All in all I should receive 246 points for my purchases which is a good step toward getting a gift card from Mypoints.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Today's edition is getting the guest bathroom ready for guests for the holidays! Bathrooms (I find) are the rooms that should be easy, but always seem to take forever! Here are some tips to have your bathroom company ready in about 30 minutes.
-Give it a scrub
Put on those rubber gloves and get to cleaning. Make sure you get the sinks, mirror, shower/tub, and toilet really well. Use the toilet wand to clean the underside of the seat and the whole bowl area. Make sure you also wipe down baseboards, cabinets, counter tops, and behind the toilet. Empty the trash and double line it (put 1 trash bag inside of another one) so you can take it out quickly.
Make sure you have plenty of toilet paper, soap, and paper towels (if you use them) for guests to use. New rolls/bottles of each will probably save you time and effort later. Use the half full stuff just for you later on.
-Add a touch of flare
Dress things up with some decorative, but useful hand towels. Dollar stores are a great place to find these. Put your best towels out if you have a towel rack in your bathroom for decoration only. Crisp white towels are always classic and clean looking although I prefer patterned ones. Now is also the time to add holiday accents. Consider adding some holiday scents (candles or potpourri), a garland on the vanity behind the sink, and holiday soaps in a clear dish.
If you know you're having 4 guests, why not make individual packages for them to save you time and effort to find things later on. Consider putting one full set of towels (bath, hand, washcloth) for each person, along with some of the gender specific samples (mentioned in the first post). Package them all up by tying the towels up with festive ribbon. Then fold the washcloth into a triangle then fold into a smaller triangle. You can then use it as a pouch to slide the samples into and slip under the ribbon. Label with some name tags to personalize. Check out one of mine below :)
How do you get the bathroom ready for the holidays?
Monday, November 8, 2010
1. Waking up under my electric blanket and being SOOOOOOO warm and comfy
2. I got 2 sets of red plum coupons in the mail today and one of them had my favorite thing inside of it....Einstein bagel $2 Tuesday for a bagel, smear, and coffee! Good through the end of the year too!
3. My back cracked (those really deep cracks that make posture seem important and all) and it felt AMAZING!
4. I made homemade marinara sauce using tomatoes from my garden. It smells delicious!
5. Spending time with Sophie :) She is so cute!
What made you happy today?
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I have to admit that I was never a budget girl before, but seeing as I am a teacher on a limited budget, I've become one as a result of necessity. Many a time, I've forgotten to pay a bill here or there. This even resulted in a rather embarrassing moment where my water was turned off while a friend was over for Final 4 basketball games! My way around this...automatic bill pay.
Every fixed monthly expense I have comes directly out of my account every month on a specific date. The only variables then become food, gas, entertainment, and other miscellaneous costs. I have a set cost of $200 a month that covers these 4 areas. If there is an emergency, I have a specific fund for that to be pulled out of so those situations, like my garage door breaking last week, are already accounted for. This helps me stick to my budget so much better because I know how much I can spend for my variable costs since I've already accounted for all of my fixed costs.
I know for some people this might not work because there may not be enough money at different points throughout the month to cover costs, but for me, this is the only way.
Here is your turn to chime in on all things budget related! Comment away and be sure to link up with The Newlywed Swarbricks for Proverbs 15:22: Seeking the counsel of the wise!!!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This is my crock pot...ie my life saver! I love making soups, stews, slow cooked meats in this buddy. I figured I would share my favorite crock pot recipe with you today since it's worked for me many times. Share your favorite crock pot recipes in the comments!
Easy Crock Pot Lasagna
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
32 oz jar pasta sauce of choice
8 oz bag egg noodles, cooked and drained
16 oz cottage cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
Mix beef and pasta sauce. Mix noodles, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese. Layer 1/3 of the beef mixture, follow with 1/2 the noodle mixture in crock pot. Repeat layers, ending with beef mixture. Sprinkle as much parmesan as you want. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. This tastes great with a green salad and garlic bread!
I also want to wish a very happy birthday to my mom! I'm lucky to have such a wonderful woman in my life! Happy birthday Mom!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I've decided to try a little mini series to help you out with the holidays just around the corner. Drumroll please...7 Tips for a Harmonious Holiday!
In the series 7 Tips for a Harmonious Holiday, I'm going to share some tips for getting each room of the house in place just in time for the holiday season! I have 7 rooms that need to be ready before the holidays can really take place at my house. Guest bedroom, guest bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, pantry, and entryway. I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house in just 3 1/2 weeks so I will be doing all of these lovely things along with my bloggers!
The series begins with: Guest bedroom
To start the guest bedroom organization declutter all horizontal surfaces in the room: floors, bed, dressers, and nightstands.
Once you've completed that, use these tips to help get you get going:
1. Make the bed: Take a few minutes and change out the sheets on your guest bed (even if they haven't been slept in). I place dryer sheets in between every layer of bedding until just a couple days before people arrive. This helps to keep them smell fresh and adds a nice fragrance when the sheets are pulled back.
2. Bedside basics: Clear any unnecessary items off the bedside table so your guests don’t feel surrounded by clutter when they go to sleep and wake up. I limit it to a lamp and picture frame.
3. Check in time: I use many of the samples I get for free in the mail to provide my guests with a hotel like feel. Fold a clean towel and place it in a basket with shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, or any other samples you have on hand. It's a nice way to make sure your guests feel relaxed and at home.
4. Space planning: Make sure you have a dresser with at least 2 empty drawers for guests to place belongings or clothing when they get into town. I put sachets from the dollar store inside of them for guests to use when they are here and to prevent them from smelling musty when they aren't in use. Place 5-10 empty hangers in the closet for gues use as well.
5. Bed skirt savior: If your bed skirt is dragging the floor, getting dusty or looking askew, employ the help of bed skirt pins. These simple spiral pins are available at home goods stores and without any sewing or cutting, can keep your bed skirt from shifting or drooping.
6. Don't go overboard: For a clean, classic look that’s also easy to maintain, limit your throw pillows to one large pillow for the center of the bed or two smaller pillows to set in front of each of your regular pillows. This will make the bed look cozy, yet uncluttered.
Link up to share these holiday tips with your blog readers by pasting the image below!
Monday, November 1, 2010
2 half gallons of egg nog-$.40 each
2 organic Caesar salad kits-$1.49 each
2 packages of huge portabella mushroom caps-$1.49 each
4 pack of chibatta bread $1.19
Lays Garden Tomato and Basil chips $1.99 on sale through Wednesday (THESE ARE THE MOST DELICIOUS CHIPS I'VE EVER HAD!!!!)
All in all my extra purchases cost me $11.93, but probably saved me quite a bit in the long run. Here is my plan to incorporate these into meals.
Freeze the egg nog and use during winter break.
Take the salad for lunch tomorrow and Wednesday and add some of the leftover chicken from my baked whole chicken last week for some protein.
I will marinate the mushrooms since their sell by date isn't until the 4th in some balsamic vinegar and grill them with some chicken later this week.
Add some sliced tomatoes and basil from the garden to the cheese to make some caprese salad as an after school snack a couple days this week.
Bread for sandwiches tomorrow night for dinner (with soup) and on Thursday and Friday at school.
My plan is for the chips to make it throughout the week as a salty addition to my lunch, but the Colts game is on tonight so I'm not going to hold my breath. I'll probably go get another bag to be perfectly honest.
Be on the lookout for markdowns on your next shopping trip!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Leigh Anne @The Newlywed Swarbricks asked me these 8 fun questions! I'll write my questions and pass the game on to 4 more people with 8 new questions for them!
1. What is your most favorite thing about fall?
Wearing sweatshirts and watching the leaves change colors.
2. How would you spend your perfect Saturday?
Sleep in until about 9 am. Drink coffee and enjoy a asiago cheese bagel with veggie cream cheese on the back patio while watching my dog play and reading a good magazine. Head down to the lakehouse. Enjoy some time talking with family and floating on a raft in the cove. Get out and throw the ball with Sophie while talking with family. A huge lunch/dinner (we do both together) with the family. Take a long boat ride and anchor by the dam for awhile. Enjoy a beer while floating around with the family. Head back to Indianapolis and hang out with some friends for the night.
3. What is something you've learned recently?
I've learned that sometimes life just isn't fair. I have to trust that there is a reason for everything, but that is a very difficult thing for me to do at times.
4. Do you like the seasonal drinks at Starbucks or stick to your year-round favorite?
Pumpkin spice lattes are my absolute favorite. I like most of the seasonal stuff they make so I tend to go with that.
5. What is your favorite meal to make?
I loved making my first Thanksgiving meal last year. It was wonderful to have everyone enjoy the awesome food and the holiday together. My favorite meal to make regularly is chicken tacos.
6. How do you spend your evenings?
I spend most weeknights at the house, cooking dinner and watching tv or reading. On the weekends, I'm normally hanging out with friends or family. On Sundays I'm playing soccer.
7. Are you passionate about anything? Why?
I don't know many things in my life I'm not passionate about. Teaching, coaching, special education students, alternative education, making a difference, football, my life. I figure if it's in my life, I better be passionate about it or it probably doesn't deserve my extra time and effort.
8. If you were given $20 to spend on anything, what would you spend it on?
I'd honestly probably save it. I'm not much of an impulse buyer so I think I'd save it for a rainy day or maybe go for dinner out with friends or family.
So here it goes! Here are my questions:
1. What big plans do you have for your life over the next year?
2. What movie is most like your life? Why?
3. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
4. If you had to choose between a wonderful romantic relationship that would end after only a year, or a so-so relationship that would last your entire life, which one would you choose?
5. What problem or concern in America would you work on first if you were President?
6. If you were a color, what color would you be and why?
7. What is your favorite season and why?
8. What is something on your life "bucket list"?
Cait @ theblessedlife
Nicole @ Art to the Extreme
Shanon @ Modern meets Traditional
Natalie @ Extraordinary Love
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I like things to be clean and decluttered. For those of you who knew me prior to becoming a special education teacher, you might be choking on your drink after reading this. I think it started when I bought my house. For me, part of taking pride in my home is keeping it clean. I shared over the summer my daily cleaning routine. As much as I would love to admit it, I can't stick to it when school going on. I'm just dead on some days and have a ton of energy on others. Here is what I do to maintain my home's cleanliness.
Dance and Clean---I made a 5 song playlist on iTunes and loaded it onto my iPod. I plug it into my iHome and get out the cleaning supplies and go at it. I get as much done as I can during the playlist then I am done. Do this once every day during the week or a few times over the weekend depending on how much you need it. I do this once every other day most weeks and it keeps things in order for the most part. Here is my playlist...adjust as necessary!
All I Want to Do-Sugarland
Bombs Over Baghdad-Outkast
All at Once-The Fray
Lookin' For A Good Time-Lady Antebellum
Friday, October 22, 2010
Head of lettuce $1.29-$1 off produce coupon from website=$.29
Bananas (2.18 lbs) $1.04-$1 off fruit coupon from booklet=$.04
French bread $1.49-$1 off bakery coupon from website=$.49
Whole chicken (3.8 lbs) $3.49-$1 off meat coupon from booklet=$2.49
Dannon Activia $1.42-$1 MF coupon=$.42
2 packages of Caesar dog treats $2.99 each- (2) $2 off MF coupon=$.99 each
Chef Michael's wet meal $.75-Get it free Target coupon=Free
Campbell's V8 soup $2.29-$1 off MF coupon=$1.29
Herbal Essence travel size shampoo $.97-$1 MF coupon=Free
2 Merona Sweaters $15 each -(2) $3 off Target web coupon=$12 each
6 Xhiliration panties marked down to $1.98 per pair
Gallon of skim milk $2.00
Oscar Meier Deli Creations $2-$1 off MF coupon=$1
The best part of the whole fall break has to be that after working all day today refereeing, I have made enough money to pay for all my fall break purchases, my garage door repair last week, and a tall pumpkin spice latte. You sure can't beat it when it isn't even putting a dent on the monthly budget :)
What awesome deals have you found lately?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
So I guess my advice is to do research on things and never be afraid to ask. If the worst answer is no, it certainly won't hurt. After all it can turn into a large money saving possibility for you! As I reworked my monthly budget tonight, I couldn't believe how much more I was putting into my savings each month and what extra flexibility it would lead to in the long run. Over 10 years, that's a whooping $17,600! All you teachers out there....check with your loan providers to see if you qualify as well :) Sounds good to me!
Friday, October 1, 2010
1. I'm learning to be very mindful of the impact of my words. I am a sarcastic person by nature so this can sometimes be taken in the wrong context. It is my goal everyday to think faster and speak slower. I've had far too many times where I am being too quick witted instead of reflecting before I talk. My words can be far more powerful than even I am aware.
2. Being positive is key to all things in life. I have been around far too many negative people this year. I am trying to stay positive despite this, but it can sometimes be a very steep uphill battle. When I find myself start to focus on the negatives, I think of how blessed I am to have loving people in my life, a home, and a job I am passionate about.
3. Today I rewarded my students with an incentive since they have recuperated 10 credits in 6 weeks in my alternative program. Only one student said thank you. I know this shouldn't bother me, but they were constantly complaining that they didn't have coke or that the paper plates were too thin or something else. I have to admit that it upset me a lot more than it normally would. I am trying so hard to get them on the right track, but there are days when my frustration gets the best of me. It is at these times that I read a wonderful letter written to me by a student last year. She constantly thanks me for helping her get on the right track and for caring enough to set up boundaries for her. I have to focus on these situations. I know I cannot change every single child that comes into my program. I have to focus on the fact that I am changing a few of them. These are the most challenging students in our school. Most teachers kick these students out on a daily basis. I get them to work. Maybe not the whole entire time they are with me, but they DO what I ASK them to DO. It might be behaviorally or academically, but they are improving. That in itself is a success. Find the baby steps to successes in your life.
What challenges are you currently facing that you have learned life lessons from?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
2. Using candles
Clustering neutral and fall colored candles on a simple brown patterned tray created a nice addition to my bar top. I love clustering candles of different sizes together to add some visual interest to an otherwise bland area. Here are some examples.
3. Dollar store accessories
Towels, candles, picture frames, and other various accessories don't have to be expensive. Check out your local dollar store to find some of these things on the cheap. I have a magnetic hook on my front door where I hang a sign for every season. Here is my fall one.
Some hand towels I got at Dollar Tree.
Kitchen dish towels I got at Dollar Tree.
One thing I love to do is save the corks from my wine bottles. I keep them in a glass holder to add a wood feeling to the room. I love the aged look and people always compliment me on how creative it is. You could do the same thing with wood shavings, coffee beans, flower petals, fallen leaves (real or fake) or branches/twigs.
I hope you enjoy the feeling(although not quite the temperature) of fall by partaking in your favorite fall activities. Mine definitely includes drinking my favorite pumpkin spice latte and stepping on crunchy leaves. Last year I even had the inspiration to take up some photography of some trees at the park down the street.
Link up with my friend Cait's fall day at theblessedlife! What a great and inspiring blog :) She is truly an inspiration for the creative frugal outlet in all of us! Sounds good to me!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
1. Crock pot meals-my quick fixes for the next 2 weeks will be 2 different chicken recipes and one for pot roast. One chicken breast, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup teriaki, and 1 cup mixed stir fry veggies. One chicken breast, 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous, 1/3 cup water, 3 cloves garlic (smashed), 2 sprigs of rosemary, 6 mushrooms, sliced. 1 pot roast, 1/2 cup water, 1 potato in chunks, 1 carrot, sliced, 1 onion, chunked. All can be cooked on low for 6 hours.
2. Macaroni Grill and Bird's Eye Voila frozen meals-I personally love the Chicken Florentine(MG) and shrimp scampi (Voila). Both are delicious! I used $1.50 off coupons to get the MG ones for about $4.00 each. I used $1 off coupons to get the Voila ones for about $2.50 each. I can definitely get dinner and a lunch out of 1 of these.
3. Weekend cooking-Over make weekend meals then package them up in individual portions for the whole week. Throw some yogurt, string cheese, or a fruit cup in the lunch bag for a well balanced meal.
4. Quick cook recipes from cookbooks and my Food TV magazines. I love Rachael Ray....that being said, I have a number of her 30 minute meal cookbooks. I've used post it flags to mark some of my favorite recipes that I can make in 30 minutes or less. I was also fortunate enough to receive a one year subscription to Food TV magazine using points from My Coke Rewards. I am about to extend this as a paid subscription because it is such a wonderful magazine...plus I got an offer to get the whole year for just $5 that I couldn't pass up. Food Network also has a database of all their recipes online. You can just enter the ingredients you have on hand and it will find a meal for you.
What resources do you use to try new meals with limited time and a limited budget?
Monday, September 6, 2010
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white sugar --I use Splenda :)
1 cup fat free milk
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger brewed espresso
Brew espresso. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and milk. Warm over medium heat, whisking constantly, until hot and frothy. Do not bring to a boil. Pour the espresso into a mug and pour the pumpkin spiced milk over it. Top with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
***If you have a milk frother, use that instead of a whisk. It works to froth the milk much better than the whisk.
What are your favorite fall recipes? Share away!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
1. Recycling-I am all about being green so it was only fitting that I got into our city's recycling program wholeheartedly. I am lucky enough to live in a place that picks up my recycling at my curb every other week. There are many things that can be recycled (particularly in the bathroom) that many people don't think about! Here is just a quick list of things to consider.
-toilet paper rolls
-lotion or product containers
-boxes from products (toothpaste, lotions, ect)
-any sort of plastics
I have extra space in my master bath to have 2 trash bins. I use one for recycling and one for trash. My trash container normally has hardly anything in it when trash day comes! Find ways to reduce your environmental impact and recycle things you previously threw away!
2. Recycling bins-Ok so this is my second ditty on recycling. As I'm sure you know, I use coupons to help with my weekly grocery budget. One of my tips is to look in newspaper recycling bins for newspapers with coupons! I have one that I regularly check that is very clean and normally very full. I tend to go after the brown paper bags of newspaper that I can pull out and go through fairly quickly in my search for unused coupons. Yesterday, when stopping by I hit GOLD!!! Sunday newspapers still in the PLASTIC!!!! Plus some Coke rewards points that put me over the top for a new magazine subscription :) I brought the newspapers home, went through and found TONS of coupons and put the papers in my own recycling bin.
What works for you this Wednesday?
Friday, July 9, 2010
My works for me Wednesday this week is more of a confession and a plea for other people to confess in a sense as well.
There are some people who would like to live their lives like that of the movies...I am not one of them. I much prefer to live my life through songs. I have songs associated with almost every important event in my life, every day to day thing, and most cities I've visited. For example, Walking in Memphis reminds me of my club soccer team from high school. I listen to Take Me or Leave Me from Rent after a bad breakup. Lessons Learned puts things into perspective for me when I have major decisions to make. I'm sure I could essentially make a sound track of my life. So that is my challenge to you all, my lovely blog readers....I know you're out there somewhere!!!! Comment what the soundtrack of your life would be with these 10 stages. Feel free to share what song goes with which or leave us guessing. See mine below!
3. College/Young Adulthood
5. Most important life decision
6. Biggest regret
7. Greatest love story
8. Best day of your life
9. Worst day of your life
1. Born to Fly-Sara Evans
2. Wide Open Spaces-Dixie Chicks
3. I Gotta Feeling-Black Eyed Peas
4. No Such Thing-John Mayer
5. You're Gonna Miss This-Trace Adkins
7. Haven't Met You Yet-Michael Buble
8. Don't Worry Bout a Thing-SheDaisy
9. Stand-Rascal Flatts
10. Have a Little Faith in Me-Joe Cocker
Monday, July 5, 2010
First in 2002, I was involved in a pretty bad car accident with her on my way to school. I learned to slow down because being late is certainly better than being dead. She took me to Bellarmine University in the fall of 2004 and I learned that home was never more than a car ride away. She was driven over a median by a young man who offered to be our DD in college and I learned that I will likely take better care of the things I work hard for than other people will. My car radio broke my freshman year of college, so I replaced it with a CD player, which then proceeded to stop working as well my senior year of college. It tends to work once the car is warmed up (sometimes after about an hour of driving) which confirmed to me that the Neon is indeed a woman with a bit of an attitude. It also taught me that sometimes silence and a little bit of fresh air is the best way to get your brain working. My driver side door lock was broken while trying to be opened during the 2008 Louisville ice storm causing me to unlock my passenger side door and reach across to the driver side for the past 2 years. It taught me that sometimes problem solving isn't as good as just fixing something that bothers you. This past winter I slid on the ice going about 15 MPH in my neighborhood and hit a truck destroying the back passenger side door. I was ridiculously sick and had taken a half day. I only went to work because I had a case conference that afternoon that had already been rescheduled about 3 times. I learned that in the end, I need to take care of myself first and foremost. I've cried or talked my way out of numerous speeding tickets in this car. She took me to high school, soccer practices, graduation, college, my first derby, college graduation, job interviews, house hunting, my first day of teaching, and to my first home. It will be difficult to give her up tomorrow, but I know its time for me to get a big girl car that is more reliable and safer.
In searching for a new car, I knew there were 3 things I could not live without and 3 things I could not live with.
1. Power locks/windows
2. Cruise control
3. Working radio
1. Leather seats
3. Any model other than a 4 door sedan
I ended up with a 2006 VW Jetta 2.5 that has less than 40,000. The car is in great shape and I could not be more excited! Buying used is definitely the way to go for me. Paying cash and driving a car til it's dead is certainly better than making car payments in my book. I figure I can put that extra $200 a month into savings to buy another car free and clear down the road. If you figure that SuzieQ has been around for 8 years, I have saved $2,400 a year to not have a car payment. Over the lifetime of the car that adds up to a whopping $19,200!
So my plan is to save $100 a month for a car down the road. If I save $1,200 a year for 9 years I will have another $10,600 to spend for another car. I can always save more than that if needed, but I figure my plan works for the time being.
What is your opinion....new or used cars? What are some features you can't live without? Do you have a financial plan to make big purchases like a car? Comment away.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
1. A cleaning schedule. Since I am off of work for the summer, I find that messes accumulate much quicker than they did during the school year. I created a cleaning schedule so everything gets done. I use a dry erase board in my laundry room to manage and remind me what needs to be done. Here is just a little tid bit of how I have things scheduled.
Tuesday-Mow the grass/outside work
Friday-Vacuum and bedrooms
2. Getting freebies in the mail! Just this week, I've gotten about 8 samples in the mail. My favorites have been the dog food samples I got from Walmart.com. They are perfect for traveling with my puppy. I cannot believe how much money I am saving by using freebies and the high value coupons that often come with them.
3. Menu planning. I have attempted to do this since moving into my house as a means to save money. I'm really seeing the money saving effects now that it is summer though! Check out this link for some awesome menu planning worksheets! Thanks Money Saving Mom!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
2. Brillo pads. This is my cleaning secret for all things stainless steel. I use them to clean my sink once a week, the tea pot, and those pesky spill savers on the stove that are always getting dirty. I cleaned these today and although they aren't immaculately shiny, they are certainly substantially shinier than they were.
After 3. Playing the Drugstore Game. I'm finally getting good at this. I'm doing both Walgreens and CVS right now and last night I had a semi unplanned trip that worked out perfectly while I was waiting for my sushi take out. I got all of these items between the two stores for $1.64 which was mostly tax. I had $6 RR at Walgreens from last week that I used and $4 of my $7 of ECB at CVS. I earned $6.50 in RR at Walgreens and $4 in ECB from CVS. This means that if I factor in my RR and ECB, I got all of this stuff for $1.14! I am not sure if I can beat it, but Walgreens has some other awesome deals I will be going back for later in the week once I have a chance to go through coupons and plan it out. I really want to get the conditioner to match up with this shampoo so I need to plan out the deal since I cannot use the $2 RR I got on the shampoo for the conditioner or it won't print out another one.
What works for you this Wednesday? Feel free to share any tips that you've discovered that make your life a little easier!