Thursday, October 27, 2011

November Little House Month of Simplicity

“The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” -Laura Ingalls Wilder

The first set of books that my mother bought me were the "Little House on the Prairie" series.  I read "Little House in the Big Woods" and fell in love with the characters immediately.  Pa and his fiddle, Jack the dog, Carrie the little sister, and Ma and her understaning ways.

I made a list from memory of items that they had in those days, items that would still be reasonable to use now:
  1. Oil lantern- I've seen these at the thrift stores and have two on my table now.
  2. Bread and Pie Crust- Recipes using the staples of wholesome flour
  3. Handicrafts-Conversation while creating something from nothing-coffee filter wreaths, rag rugs
  4. Agriculture- Grow from seeds, plant bulbs, plan gardens
  5. Barter- Ma took her eggs to Mrs. Olsen for store credit.  What ways can we exchange and barter?
  6. Hard work- Gratitude and upkeep.  Have a porsche or a pinto? Does it matter if it runs? Keep it clean, tuned up and paid for. Be proud of what you've been given.
  7. Simple Christmas and Holiday Season-gift giving streamlined.
  8. Patience with difficulties.
  9. Look for lessons in life's struggles.
  10. Do  more, Spend less and Save.
As November approaches we look for more ways to have a month of "Little House" Living. If you have ideas on how else to live a month of simplicity please leave a note in the comments.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frugal Updates Moving Into November

This journey of blogging and posting began with a simple question of a mother facing an empty nest: "Time or Money" ? It seemed to me that I have been continually blessed with one or the other- but never both at the same time. When working outside of the home I had "extra" but not a lot of time to listen, cook, clean, craft, decorate or rest-but I did feel fulfilled by accolades, personal accomplishments and success. If working inside of the home I was rewarded daily with great conversations with family and friends unhurried, a project in every room, great recipes, candle scents billowing, time to exercise, to plan vacations, do coupons and redecorate on a budget...

Having done both, I personally feel that there is no "right" way, but that each individual has to weigh those decisions based on their own journey. I'm still weighing my decisions and options. :)

September we did a no spend challenge with a goal of saving $1,000 for our emergency fund. We reached that goal 2 weeks into this month of October. However, our cat of 9 years developed Lymphoma, and last week had to be put down. It was considered an emergency and cost $162. We will have to replenish this amount. This was unexpected, but it was encouraging to know that those funds were available.

October we are trying a checklist of 10 items that will make daily decisions for health, wealth, and wisdom easier. It has been going very well. (My checklist can be found in the Blog Archives) I have only checked the entire sheet 3 times this month. However, having the list is a tangible way for me to see that I've accomplished my goals for the day. I may tweak it for next month, but I think I'll try to keep it around. (Not everyone is a list maker, so if this is a drag for you ignore it ;) It keeps me motivated :)

On our car ride to Pittsburgh yesterday, I wrote some ideas down for November. One of the most important things that I would like to try, in addition to the Cash Envelopes and Daily Checklist is to have a "Little House on the Prairie" style month. Just 4 weeks. Make it like a game. For example:


Right now as I sit typing the kitchen light is on, the living room light is on, the space heater is on, the den light is on, the television is on, I left the radio on in the studio, the dryer is going......lots of electricity is being used. I do not  want to become the person who shuts the light off when someone is trying to read, but if you've left the room and left a light on, that's a waste. So I read that anything that is plugged in uses phantom electric and is causing the meter to go round and round racking up $. It is my intention to go around to every room in the house and use surge strips to plug everything into it. (extension chords would work too.) Then I only have to unplug one chord at the outlet for many appliances, lamps and electronics. If it is not plugged in except when you use it, it can't draw electric and cost $.


I know that we all need the phone. Do we need 3 cellphones in the house? Can one person get by with none? Maybe not. Maybe so....this is on the table for discussion.


Is it possible to save water? Think of the ways we use it in the home. Do we have rain barrels? What do we do with the grey water from the dishes? Do you water the plants? How many times do you flush? Do you let the water run when you brush your teeth? Showers, are they 30 minutes or 10?

Do you recycle?


How long is the television and computer on at your house? What did they do in Ma and PA Ingalls day? They were outdoors, by the fire, reading, playing games, music and the home was filled with conversation.

This is the November plan. Continue to save. Continue to move forward with healthy food and fitness. Begin to have more of a Little House on the Prairie experience if only for a month.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Watching a Parade through a Hole in the Fence.

MS Clipart
I heard a story once, I don’t remember where, or even when any more….but I summed it up in the following quote:

 “Life is like watching a parade from behind a tall solid fence through a fallen knothole.” –Tammy Bennett

The story, as I remember it, suggested that there was a grand parade taking place, with activity and spectacular displays of merriment. So much fun happening that to not be a part of it would be an exponential loss.

 However, since the solid fence, in theory, separates us all from the full grandeur of Life in all of its glory -we are oftentimes looking to some extent through a knot hole in a solid fence.  The view that we see of the parade is limited by our own view from the parade route.  We can’t see what others see along the route, just our small portion of it.

Think about it, we are in our own individual circumstances, looking through the small hole, and we subscribe to what is before us. You can neither look down the street to see what is coming, or up the street to see what has gone before. We are here, in the present with what is in front of us. I pray today that we do not judge the lives of those who have much, or those who have little.  But be where you are, and be grateful. The prayer of St Francis has always resonated with me:

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy. –

(First Stanza) St Francis

 Please know that we are looking on only in part, we don’t see the whole parade of Life in its entirety. Understand that you are gifted with your view, use what you have been given, share with others, and enjoy with gratitude what you have. Blessings~

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cleaning out the Nursery

Today is a day that will be a crossroads for us. We have no more babies in the house. Yet, we have a room that was a nursery for our now grown children. How does that happen? The years pass by so quickly, and we find ourselves parents of adults.

The door has been closed, there is an ironing board set up in there for quick access. However, it is in need of an update. It's time to create a space for the time of life that we find ourselves in.

It's time for an artist's studio.

Photography, wreaths, floral arrangements have all been hobbies of mine--A way to make presents, and home decor for others and ourselves. A friend asked me why I haven't opened a store on Etsy to supplement the Emergency Fund...I hadn't thought of that before. In truth, I don't want to be pressured to create an object-wreath, arrangement, or find the perfect picture. But the way I understand it, items may be listed, like Ebay, when you have them finished. Simply work and list as they are completed. I think we will try this. I'm excited because we came up with a name: "Abundant Harvest Creations". We should be open by next weekend. (Wish me luck, not 100% sure of it :)

I'm going to keep a spreadsheet of time spent in the studio, and the time that would be spent at a career position out of the house, and compare the productivity of two. This blog began as a reflection on time and money, working outside of the home or being a stay at home mom. Where does a mom go, with an advanced education, or not, after the children are grown.... We're converting the nursery today....wherever you are on your journey know that where you spend your time and money is very revealing.

Blessings on your journey. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Frugality, Fitness and Fun

Only leaving out the 'food' part of Food, Fitness, Frugality and Fun today....

Since exercise has become so important and central this week, and I've been faithful each day to working out, I have SO Much energy! It is exciting how much I can get accomplished in a day not being tired! (at all) The Couch to 5K program has been a blessing. Five minutes of walking, 60 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of brisk walking, alternating to 60 seconds of jogging again. This continues for 20 minutes for the first week. (I have also been doing 20 minutes eliptical and 20 minutes of weight training)

Frugality is Fun, but we'll keep the two topics separate here :) The pantry has become a little sparce after the September No Spend challenge. However, there are items that should be used or tossed. There is a key lime pie cheeseball from Pampered Chef, that I don't ever remember purchasing....should I just toss it? Or give it a whirl? Other items like horseradish dip mix, and alot of canned milk that I'm not even sure are in date anymore... It will feel fantastic to clear all of this out. Even though it may be wasteful to toss an item, if it is not going to be used, or can't be given away, it shouldn't be given a place in the pantry.

Fun is really my new focus. Life is so full of opportunities! For example, I'd only heard of Etsy just recently, and I know that I really love making handcrafts, so when it was brought up that I should open a store I thought it may be a perfect fit. There are a lot of questions that I still have before I would open the doors of a store, but I did come up with a name :)  "Abundant Harvest Creations" I may actually list some things after I become a little more comfortable with the whole process. Kind of exciting, and fun.

Blessings, you are all so great! I appreciate your taking the time to stop by the blog :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


In the process of clearing out unwanted items, there have been some things that have been placed on Ebay. It is an online yardsale, and it is a lot of fun to watch the items go up in price. Earning money for something that was not needed anymore feels great, and also gives the item a second chance to be appreciated.

An online site that I had never visited before, called Etsy, has been mentioned alot lately on the blogs and pages that I visit. I decided to take a peek over on the Etsy Site and see what it is all about. There are some remarkable hand made items! Beautiful wreaths, jewelry and art abound. Since I've been slowly working on the oval braided rug, I know what kind of time it takes to make something handmade. Most of the items on Etsy are handmade. There are inspirational pieces, and practical pieces alike. It is super easy to set up a store.

I think this is a great way to contribute to the family income, while at the same time doing handycrafts that you enjoy. There were many items on the Etsy pages that I lingered on wondering whether I should purchase as gifts.  Do you have an Etsy Store? Please leave your store link in the comments section. We would love to visit :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kitchen Aid Mixer: Is it worth it?

Is it better to buy a quality mixer like a Kitchen Aid, then to suffer through with a hand held mixer? I've always been a frugal, economically minded person, so it hadn't dawned on me until recently that having something of quality may last many many years, and may be in the end the more economical way to go.

I think I may set aside money weekly to make this purchase. Planning to:
  1. Get it on sale
  2. Use a coupon if possible
  3. Research the best model (hopefully one with attachments for making pasta:)
At the grocery store today I priced frozen ravioli, it is not cheap-and rarely goes on sale. Making homemade ravioli, hopefully with sprouted flour, would not only be more economical but healthier!

I understand that a Kitchen Aid Mixer has an attachment for bread dough too....I'm hearing such good from so many people that have one, it almost seems like a necessity in the kitchen. Is it? or Do I just want one? Telling the difference is sometimes hard. Sometimes it is even legitimate for a "want" and a "need" to be one and the same. That's what I'm calling this one. I think it will pay for itself with the first case of fresh ravioli that is made.

So today I've accomplished my checklist already, have been to the gym for the Couch to 5K workout, and now it's time to research the Kitchen Aid Mixers. Please weigh in on how you like yours if you have one? If you know of a better mixer? Or if you think mixing with a hand mixer is the way to go....
P.S. I still mash potatoes with a non-electric potato masher ;)

Monday, October 17, 2011

First day of the Couch to 5k Challenge.

I'm so excited to begin the Couch to 5K program this morning even my Coffee cup is smiling! The plan looks  fantastic! It looks feasible. Today is the day! Treadmill 20 minutes. This is what is required for the first day of the couch to 5k program. I'm planning to work out on the eliptical for 20 minutes after the walk run routine. Then we are going to go for another 20 minutes in the weight room-equipment machines, not free weights.

I know that this isn't for everyone, each of us has our own levels of fitness, and should go to the doctor before starting a program-but for me....this is going to be AWESOME!. In about an hour I will be on that treadmill, and to be honest, I am completely pumped! Have you ever looked at exercise that way? With excitement?
Music playing, working yourself at your own level, seeing improvements every time you step on to the treadmill. That's the best part, I think....the improvements that happen when you take the initiative to begin.

My fitness level today, won't be the same next week. The Couch to 5k outline it for you. It's pretty cool the way it lays it all out. The goal is a 5k at the end. (If you're competitive) Otherwise, the weight loss, increased energy, and new found confidence might be enough :) 

Remember to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, I did. Here is the link to the Couch to 5K Plan:

"He who has begun is half done. Have the courage to be wise. Begin!" Horace Epistles

Saturday, October 15, 2011

No Photos in Blog and Faith

I still can not see the photos in my blog. Not exactly sure why? However, it got me to thinking about the need to "see" things before we "do" them. Posting, without knowing what my post looks like, takes a bit of Faith. (Sort of like curling your hair, and putting on make-up in the dark with no mirror) I have to trust that it will be alright if no photo shows up, or if one is too large, or too small while hoping it will be as it's supposed to be.

We aren't guaranteed the outcomes, or opportunities...but if we act on Faith in every moment, then we're moving forward. Typing my blog, knowing I can't see what it looks like, and that everyone else can, could stop me from posting at all. Or I could have Faith that it will work out.

It really is the same with our incomes, homes, and the cars we drive don't you think? We aren't guaranteed the opportunities or the outcomes of each. But we can choose to have Faith and do the best with what we've been given.

Checklists, downsizing all of the stuff in our lives, exercising, and eating right are choices. It has been a fun challenge to stay on budget using the envelope system, and eliminating white sugar and  flour from the diet. Taking time to accomplish things, without unnecessary pressure to be perfect, is refreshing. Posting when you can't see the pictures, and trusting that they are there for others, to see takes Faith.

I trust you can see my Maple Syrup and Coffee photo :) My apologies if you can't. (I can't) Blessings~

Friday, October 14, 2011

Update: 31 Day Checklist and Healthy Eating

Last Night, after dinner, my husband turned and said to me in all seriousness: "We need to eat less grease." We had cheesesteaks and white rice. (I didn't make pasta, my intentions were good, but it never happened.) My reply was quick, and to the point. Yes, I agree.

Having always been an exerciser, it has never been an issue. The metabolism seemed to take care of the calories from the energy that was spent in exercise. No more. Healthy and fit are the new mantra. This morning I did not have sugar in my coffee. I used PURE maple syrup instead. We are not going to fry foods, instead we will bake. No more white flour, instead I'll be using sprouted flour. I discovered Essential Eating with Janie Quinn. It is a fantastic site and very informative. I went to one of her classes on whole foods and essential eating several years ago, but it didn't last more than a fews days...I claimed it was a lack of time.

This time feeling better is the motivation. More energy and hopefully droppinga few pounds. I don't claim to be a food expert, only a Mom who has realized that simply drinking some water, and following a checklist for 2 weeks, has invigorated me! I think I'm ready to change the food that we eat as a family. I'm not sure if it will be less costly, in fact I'm expecting that it may cost more. However, cooking from scratch, even when purchasing more expensive sprouted flour and pure maple syrup, has got to be less expensive that eating out.

In order to not set myself up for complete failure, I am doing this for two weeks. The 31 day check list is going fantastic! The cash envelope system for our daily expenses is in place. It is time to try Sprouted Flour, and Pure Maple Syrup to replace refined sugar and white flour. Gosh I could eat a Spinach Salad. Sounds like lunch! Please share your whole food experiences. I am so new at this, and I am VERY interested to learn.

Please check out Essential Eating with Janie Quinn for more Information on Sprouted Flour and Maple Syrup:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Listening with Your Eyes

Whether you are a stay at home mom, or a mom that works outside of the home, do you listen with your eyes?

My son said to me when he was seven, while I was frantically cleaning the kitchen and moving between the laundry room, "Mom, you aren't listening to me." To which I replied; "Yes, I am!" I was right there, listening as I worked. I had so much to get done. We were both in the same room. I was listening!

The fact remained. I was NOT "listening with my eyes". The kind of listening that says, I understand what you are saying. Not the I only hear you, but the I understand what you are saying kind of listening. It makes all of the difference.

Short post to ask: Are you "Listening with Your Eyes?" To your husband, friends, children, parents.......Listen with your eyes. See the difference it makes.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Envelope System

Using the Envelopes

This morning I distributed cash into 7 envelopes in the drawer. We've decided that Friday to Friday will work better than Wednesday to Wednesday. So this is day 4 (Tuesday), I put $11 in each envelope. We put the excess money in the "Fun Cash" envelope at the end, there is currently $65 there.

Hopefully I can continue to build that $65 to $100 by the end of next week. That would be fantastic, and is my goal. On Saturday, the envelopes will replenish to $11 a day, with any excess going into the "Fun Cash" envelope.

We are selling our truck, so there will be money to set aside for a new one. We will have an account to hold the money until the right time comes along. Until then we will be a 1 car family, plus the company car that my husband uses only for going to and from work. Do any of you have teenagers that drive, and have only one car between you? We are hoping to save on insurance for the two months that we will be a one vehicle family. This money will go to the surplus account as well, so we can pay cash for the next vehicle.

The envelope system has served us very well. Paying cash is much better then plastic! Knowing exactly how much you have to spend, and the amount that is left, is very freeing. Even if sometimes the answer to buying something, if the money is low is: "I'll have to wait".

Blessings on this positively gorgeous October Day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Traveling and the Budget

Returning home from our trip to New York City yesterday I was both excited by everything that we'd experienced: great food, city views, and culture. Yet, I was also concerned that I'd maybe spent too much, or gotten too far off budget.

Today, although tired, I find myself doing laundry, dishes, and running the sweeper to catch up on the two days that it wasn't done. Almost caught up, I'm feeling the need to sit with my finances and 31 day checklist to be sure that I am back on track. Doesn't it seem that when you are having a lot of fun, traveling and shopping (even window shopping) that a well developed budget can fly out the window?

I spent $180. I had a marvelous time. We took many taxi rides, stayed at a hotel with a great view of the Empire State Building, had a dinner of homemade pasta with Sea Scallops and Shrimp.  We ate outdoors in the Chelsea District, shopped on 5th Avenue and atThrift Stores, saw a show and had breakfast in a NYC diner. It was great! I would do it again. In fact, We've signed up for Martha Stewart Show tickets for the Nov 2nd taping. Will will not stay overnight. I will spend  significantly less next trip. However, we are scheduling a trip out west to California, Arizona, and Nevada before Christmas to see some property that my husband inherited (which we've never seen)-this will require us to budget some extra spending money.

Our trip out west is already paid for with airline and hotel loyalty points. I feel good about that. How do you budget for travel and activities that you do during the year? Do you plan ahead? We love to travel and go out to eat, but it is not always economical to do so. Are there any pointers that you can share on traveling and eating out? Ideas on how not to break the budget?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Update: 31 Days of Following a a Top 10 Checklist.

The Check list is going SWELL! Seriously, yesterday was a first completing it!

I jogged, and rode my bike-even though I may be a little sore today, I'm going to do it again. I went 2.1 miles, making it about 1.5 miles before it was necessary to stop and walk for a minute. Not thinking that I should be able to jump right back into jogging after taking such a long break from it. For Me, consistancy of the checklist is going to be important. Gradually building up to our goals, in my opinion, is so important. Often times, we think we can't do this or that amount, so we don't even begin. I don't want to be that person. So again, I'll jog as far as I can personally, and then do it again.

The water drinking habit is starting to kick in, and I feel so much more energy it seems. Is that a product of drinking more water? Energy? Maybe it is the combination of exercise and water. Or the great October weather, or sunshine. Or maybe even having a checklist...but I like it. So going to continue to drink the 16.9 oz bottles of water.

I spent time outdoors decorating for fall-Jack o'lanterns in the windows, Mums on the corner of the property, Orange Pumpkin lights in the tree, and a Pumpkin Banner flying in the autumn wind. (Does anyone else simply enjoy the sound of wind chimes?) In the evening the orange hues of the fall lighting is enchanting. I do think that I spent waaaaayyy longer than 1/2 hour outdoors (time alotted on my checklist) in the yard. It was just so beautiful that we didn't want to go inside.

The indoor cleaning for a 1/2 hour was timed-because it was so nice outdoors, I wanted to simply get it checked off of the list. Quick Sweeper run, laundry, and dishes.

So Day #6 of the 31 Days of Following a Checklist is Complete. It was a Good Day~

Yesterday I gifted someone from the abundance that we have. We were both happy. Giving has a quality to it like no other. A gift well received is like Eating a Pan of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls and not being charged with any calories. It is just gratifying. I'm making a daily habit of giving something out of our abundance. More on that next week.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To all Things There is a Season

Letting go. How do you "Let Go?" Of stuff, memories, jobs, and people when it's time to move on...

I went to the attic today. I was looking for the rest of my fall decorations that were put away in haste last year and buried under the Christmas decorations. While I was up there I took note of all of the many boxes, bags and totes....Thankful that we have such a large attic I began to root through a couple of the boxes of my grown children's items.

I don't know if you've had this experience, but seeing tiny shoes, ballet tutus, and baseball gloves for tiny hands when your children are out of college set me on the floor. I just looked at them, held them for a few minutes and put them back in the box.  Next, I came to their Halloween costumes. Their Grandma bought them each a new Halloween costume for their school parade each year while they were young. I pulled them out and took them downstairs, to wash them up with the intention of listing them on Ebay. There is no sense leaving them in the attic, right? Someone should enjoy them as much as we did. They are in excellent shape, and were in a rubbermade tub.

Those were my intentions until the children stopped by and saw them laying on the floor. "Oh MY look at those!!" overjoyed and excited as 7 year olds. I asked sheepishly: "Would you mind if I put them on Ebay?"  The reply: "Well, I thought that we were keeping them for my children?" My reply: "Oh, okay. I'll put them back up in the attic. I didn't realize that you would want them."

The question remains-When is it time to let go of 15 year old Halloween costumes? Is it ever? I thought I would take a photo of them, file it with the photo of the children wearing it when they were small. I still haven't listed them on Ebay, but I'm still considering it. Still trying to decide when and what should be left go of. We cannot keep everything! We just can't. Since we are considering a move, in the next couple of years, it will become necessary to let go of items. Not the memories, but the items. I'm considering creating a shadow box of my son's first baseball uniform and glove and my daughters tutu and ballet slippers, along with photographs. Giving items, like Halloween costumes, to the grown children is always a possibility...

"A Day Hemmed in Prayer is Less Likely to Unravel."-Author Unknown

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days of Following a Checklist

            "Like the caterpillar that will one day be transformed, our daily habits transform us." Tammy Bennett

We're on day 5 (of 31 days) using the 10 item daily checklist, and I've yet to check off every item each and every day! I can't seem to drink 8 bottles of water, or list items on Ebay.  Today IS the DAY. I am sticking with the list before all else. Once again this is my daily checklist for keeping goal oriented one check at a time:
  1. List on Ebay/Etsy
  2. Write-Tweet-Blog
  3. Exercise
  4. Dinner from Scratch
  5. Clean indoors 1/2 hour
  6. Clean outdoors 1/2 hour
  7. Drink 8 glasses of water
  8. Eat Less Fat and Sugar-more vegetables
  9. Write Down all expenses
  10. Have Meaningful Conversation
To have the satisfaction of checking each and every one of them off is on my agenda for today. Some of the items that I was able to acomplish from the list yesterday were: Write, Tweet, Blog. Made Lasagne from scratch. Vacuumed, did 4 loads of laundry, 2 loads of dishes. Drank 3 bottles of water, and had several meaningful conversations.

Today's meal will be cheesesteaks and fried potatoes. Will be riding the bike and doing crunches and push-ups. Is it sunny where you are? We are so grateful that the rain has stopped here, and that the sun is shining brightly.

Gratitude List:
  1. Our warm home
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. My old Bicycle
  5. Our Chickens
What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chickens and Chow.

                   "These eggs were both laid by our backyard chickens. We have a Henrietta who lays 3 yoke eggs. It's Amazing."

We have back yard chickens- it's the first year that we have had them. They were raised last spring as peeps, hand fed, and kept under a warming lamp. Gradually they made their way outdoors. We are learning as we go, but daily gathering the eggs never seems to get old. Farm Fresh eggs are amazing. The chickens are a happy bunch of 12.

I'm not a "Chicken farmer" by nature. We happened into a local pet store for our cat 'Mittens' last April, and found ourselves leaving with 4 of the most adorable peeps ever! (Yes, I said 4 :) We then went back 3 more times for other varieties because they were so darn cute!  It took almost 5 months until the first egg appeared. That was an exciting moment around here...."WOW an EGG!" Now we are BLESSED with an Abundance of eggs every single day. They are really fun to watch and not that much trouble to keep. We have a chicken wire run for them, a hen house (we don't have a rooster), and an enclosed portable chicken tractor so they continue to get fresh grass in different areas of the yard.

I've been coming up with different egg recipes over the last few weeks to use up some of the many eggs that we've been getting daily.
  • Quiche
  • Pound Cake
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Omlets
I didn't think that I would ever own my own chickens. I'm really glad that we do, they have been a real joy to us, and the neighbors too. Everyone enjoys watching them strut around the yard. As the weather gets colder I'm trying to discover how much time that they should be spending outdoors. If there are any of you who are experienced chicken farmers, please leave any pointers that you have for us either on raising them, or egg recipes, in the comments :)

Blessings~ Tammy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Discipline and the 10 Item Daily Checksheet

-If you look at the word you sort of think "Hard Work", at least I do.  What does the word discipline mean to you?

Lacking discipline creates a gap in what we intend to do, and what actually gets done. They just don't match up.  That's why I think that the Top 10 Daily Checklist is so important.  You create goals and set the bar at the level that you think you can succesfully accomplish. 1/2 an hour of indoor cleaning isn't much, but if done daily and consistantly it adds up to 3.5 hours a week.  1/2 an hour gets me a check mark of accomplishment for the day.  Crunches and push-ups may not seem like a "real work-out" but if done faithfully everyday, 10 push-ups= 70 push-ups for the week.  They only take 2 minutes to do, so it's not a lack of time for anyone.

It's simply a matter of discipline. Even if we aren't feeling motivated, the checklist offers the opportunity to remain disciplined. Consider creating your own Daily Checklist of 10 Goals to Accomplish, or take a look at mine under the post "checklist".

Enjoy the October Day!

"It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through." --Zig Ziglar

PS I've tossed 32 items today so far.....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Store Incentives for taking Credit

It's October. The autumn air reminds us that Thanksgiving and Christmas are not far behind. Planning is really important in order to get everything done in time-at least if it is going to be done in an enjoyable way. The sales are simply terrific in the stores right now-I know, I know... I was out in the mall October 1st-the first day that the NO Spend Month of September was over. <ugh> BUT, I had a reason, my husband needed a new suit.

We shopped the department stores and he found a $530 suit for $148! Also, I found Christmas presents galore for people on my list with high regular prices marked down in a similar way. Then came the question at the register.....If you put this on our store credit you will save an additional $42......Normally it would be a direct and immediate "NO". But, $42? That's significant. I'm kind of regretting our decision, but I said yes to save the cash! So now we have a store credit card. They are also offering 10% cash back through February on all purchases-then they are sending out the accumulated rewards gift card of 10% back. Do you think that it is worth it? At the time it seemed like a no brainer. Now, I feel like I owe money on a card. I don't like it. But we saved So Much! Which is the best way to think?

Cash is so much better to keep track of. When it's gone, it's gone. However, when signing up for hotel and airline loyalty program visas a year ago, we are now able to fly for free round trip with points for the 3 of us. Plus we have hotel rooms for 6 nights free with points. We don't carry a balance, and the rewards have been fantastic. Still the feeling that we get from paying cash is so much better than plastic. How do we balance the rewards and benefits (points and savings) with a hard line pay only cash rule? If not for the rewards programs we would not be able to afford the vacations that we've gone on. Feeling a little bit torn. Your comments are welcomed :)

Happy Fall! Welcome to the lovely month of October~