Thursday, October 31, 2013

Results: October goals

  1. Be active
  2. Stick to a budget
  3. Put myself out there
Just three goals this month which I think was more manageable than September goals. I feel good about this month. 

Being active as a family has gone very well. We went fishing and hiking one Sunday, went bike riding one Saturday afternoon and overall just tried to spend more time outdoors to enjoy the weather while it lasts. We even rode our bikes to my packet pick-up for my race and I rode my bike to and from the race later that day. Plus all that walking for some Halloween candy totally counts :)
My last race of the year
Oh the budget! I've been listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts on iHeartRadio for the entire month and learning a lot from reading his book Total Money Makeover. It's a good thing that this was a goal for the month because we had to evict our tenants at the beginning of the month and we are in for a bunch of rental house repairs next month once they are gone. That means we also have to make two mortgage payments out of our own funds for the month of November which won't be any fun in the money department. Budgeting has become extra strict this month because of all these unexpected expenses. No more going out to eat during the week for lunch (I only use to go once a week but I've cut that out). No more chai lattes from Starbucks to keep me awake a couple times a month at work. No extra spending aside from what we absolutely need. Any time the hubby says something from a restaurant sounds good to eat, I come up with an alternative to eat at home. The kids are having a hard time getting used to the spending restrictions but I know we'll all come through alive. 
We played BINGO at school one night as our cheap entertainment. Total spent = $6!
Budgeting is hard, but putting myself out there was even tougher for me. I desperately want a new job and I look daily at the job postings and apply for anything that sounds remotely interesting to me. I finally scored an interview for a position that I applied for. Turns out I was qualified for two positions they had open in their marketing department so I felt better about my chances. The interview went well and I got asked back for a second interview before even leaving the first one. Unfortunately, I've heard some not great things about the people who work there which is making me very nervous about the position. It's a software company so it is very male dominate and my new boss actually worked for my current company before I started and I've heard stories about his behavior. I could probably deal with the male dominate environment but I'm not sure I can deal with a douchey boss. I haven't scheduled the second interview yet so I'm continuing to look.

Come back tomorrow and see what I have planned for November. It's getting crazy around here!

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'll take the cash

With the holidays approaching I thought others might enjoy knowing about this site. Let's start off with, I was not paid to say any of this, I found the site all on my own and used it and this is my experience with it. ... take your unwanted gift cards from $20-$5,000 and get paid cash for them! Or you can get back even more by getting an Amazon credit. 

I received a $25 gift card for the Olive Garden last Christmas. We don't eat at the Olive Garden, and it is on the opposite side of town from us so it's been sitting in our drawer. I went to their site and within minutes had sold my $25 gift card for $20 cash! (I could've taken $21 Amazon credit but I like cash!) You can also buy gift cards from them at a discount as well, some up to 10% off the card value. I had to pay for the stamp to send in my gift card but I think it was worth it. They sent me an email when my check was on the way so all I had to do was wait for Mr. Postman. Now what to do with my $20?

Friday, October 25, 2013

I did it again!

Remember when I hit my reading goal for the year so I decided to up to 45 books for the year? Well holy moly I did it (I even threw in an extra because I didn't realize it)! And it's not even November! Here's what I've read this year ...

Favorites: Fifty Shades series, Born to Run, Body Movers series, anything from Gillian Flynn

Worth skipping: Girls in White Dresses, My Fair Lazy (Jen has so many better books), Friends Like Us

What's next: Finishing out the Pretty Little Liars series, I like that it is an easy read but still can hold your interest. And then I'll move on to Sylvia Day's Crossfire series. I'm seeing a bit of a series trend here :) Oh I also can't wait to read book #7 from Stephanie Bond's Body Movers series. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Four Favorites: Halloween edition

Four Favorites: Halloween edition

Carving pumpkins //  Dressing up 
Candy // Cute snacks for kids

What are your favorite things about Halloween?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall in love

The leaves are changing and fall has arrived. I'm sad to see summer go but it did make my run Sunday afternoon a little more enjoyable without being so hot. 
We picked out our pumpkins this weekend and the girls can't wait to carve them. The decorations are also up in the house so bring on Halloween!
Fall wouldn't be complete without my Starbucks chai latte. Keep those nasty PSLs away from me, I'm a chai girl through and through. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Just call me ...

... the Domestic Crock Pot Diva! Yep, this Mama got it on in the kitchen this weekend. Ok well I got my food on, not the other kind of getting it on. Let's move on ...
This made it's way into my crock pot and made my kitchen smell delicious!
Yes that's apples, cinnamon and brown sugar that turned into this goodness
Applesauce! Oh yum it was delicious and simply spectacular. 
Here's the recipe I used (adapted from this recipe)

  • 12 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 (I used Jonamacs)
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
Cook for about 4-6 hours or until mushy. Smash with your potato masher. Add additional cinnamon if you would like. And eat your deliciousness!

And then this happened in my crock pot
Photo not from me, but yep that's the makings of mashed potatoes -- in my crock pot! They were served with pork chops, green beans and the applesauce from above. Quite the easy homemade meal if I do say so my self!

What's your favorite thing to make in your crock pot?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Family: fun & cheap activities

One of my goals for October is to be more active as a family and to stick to our budget. We are cutting costs which means cutting out the expensive family outings  That doesn't mean cutting out the fun though. I want my kids to have lasting memories. They won't remember whether we spent a bunch of money on a fancy trip but they will remember the time we went bike riding with our matching tie dye shirts and shouted "Team Awesome!" when we took off on our adventure. And you know what, those shirts and bike ride cost us about $20 for the first time and FREE after that. 
So I've been trying to find new and exciting things to keep everyone occupied without breaking the bank. Here are some thoughts I have ...

  • Geocaching {price of gas and you'll need a GPS, just use your phone}
  • Letterboxing {price of gas and an ink pad}
  • Bike rides {bike maintenance}
  • Hiking {price of gas to get to your location}
  • Movie night {$1.20 from Redbox or $1 theater just make sure you eat beforehand}
  • Crafty things around the house {cost of paper, paint or whatever else you use}
  • Make a meal together {cost of food supplies, it's more fun if you try to use what you have on hand a-la-Chopped}
  • Visit the library and let every take turns pick books and movies that the whole family would enjoy {FREE!}
  • Explore your city, I bet there are tons of things in your city that you've never done before look for the ones that are FREE!
  • Visit a pumpkin patch and carve your pumpkins together {price of pumpkins and gas}
  • Rearrange your house - my girls are obsessed with moving things around their rooms. By using what you already have you can give any room a new look and feel without any money. Maybe the kids have a better idea about where the book shelf should go so let them plan too. {FREE}
  • Picnic inside, make whatever you want, spread out a blanket on the floor and eat!
  • Go fishing {if you already own a pole then this is FREE!}
  • Visit nearby family - a good way to take a mini vacation is to visit relatives out of your home town but within driving distance or go spend the day with Great Grandma you know she'd love some company. {price of gas}
  • Indoor mini-golf or bowling, when it's cold this is a fun option if you have something available to you {price of admission}
  • Order take-out and serve it "fancy" style at home, if you order an entree or two from a nice restaurant and pair it with sides you made yourself you can have the kids set the table and everyone can drink from wine glasses. You'll be surprised how well behaved the kids act when they get the grown-up cups :) {cost of food}
I'm sure there are many, many, many other ideas but these are the ones I could come up with easily. Spending time together doesn't have to cost a lot of money. 

What does your family do to stay active and have fun together on the cheap?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Goals

  • Be active: (yep it's on the list again!) This time I'm going to try being more active as a family. I have my final race of the year planned for Oct. 20th, it's a 5K run that supports the trail systems in our city that I frequently use. But more than that I want to get the whole family involved in being active because pretty soon we'll be stuck inside with snow on the ground. And Mama don't like snow activities very much.
  • Stick to the budget: Spending is on the halt for awhile until we can build up a substantial savings account and save some money for our (sshhh!) Disney vacation in March. 
  • Put myself out there: This is in regards to finding a new job. It was a goal for this year to get a new job and we are 10 months in and nada. I had one interview but didn't land the job :( I'm going to focus on networking to find something perfect for me.
That's all this month. Three goals. Three manageable goals. I know all of these goals will in the end bring me happiness and less stress in my life. And that's the whole point, right?

What are your goals for the month?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top 5 for Fall

Here are my top 5 best ideas for fall ...
Healthy Halloween Snacks {original post} // {pin}
Mini Apple Pies {original post} // {pin}
Cheerio Bars {original post} // {pin}
Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes {original post} // {pin}
Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins {original post} // {pin}