Saturday, September 29, 2012

Finding Balance...

30 Day Spending Freeze - Part 3

We are 14 days into our 30 day spending freeze. We did so much better this week!  I am pretty excited about it too. And it sure does seem like all the charities and organizations are on the prowl right now. Yep, I said it.  Everyone is asking for money…11 different charities to be exact. And I get it. They are good causes.  But most will have to wait until next month.

I think that even when there is a spending freeze, you still need to have a sense balance in your life.  For instance, I need new sneakers for working out. They can wait for another couple weeks.  However, 2 nights ago there were sign ups for Boy Scouts at my son’s school.  And since he is really interested, how could I say no to that cute little first grader.  Balance.  Sometimes a “fun extra” really is a necessity.  After a few Miner adjustments, to our thinking, we signed him up. Pinewood Derby here we come (or whatever)!

So my tip for this week is simple. 

Find balance.  Some things, while not a necessity too living, are a necessity for personal growth and quality of this short and lovely life.

Here is the break down on our 2nd week of spending.

Gas  for Car - 

Birthday gifts

Tire Repair (bummer)-
Gas for car -
Boy Scouts -


Van Heusen (returned a shirt) -  

Spending this week


Total spending since Sept  16th

Remember...the goal is to not have more than $1500 in spending until October 16th (the end of our credit card cycle).

Enjoy the day freely!


PS...We are in my hometown this weekend. The hubs and I wanted so badly to stop at our favorite pizza place for a slice, but we didn't.  I just took a picture and kept right on going. Frog and Toad would be proud of us!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

22 Things to do with Your Kids at Bedtime

Bedtime is one of my favorite times of day with the kids.  And not just for the obvious reason that they will soon be asleep. It's special one on one time that is usually pretty low-key and full of snuggles. Life sure didn't have much meaning for me before those snuggles. 

Here is a list of low-key things to do with your kids in that small window of snuggle time.

Talk about your favorite part of the day.              
Ask what they can do to make tomorrow better. Then tell them how you can make your day better tomorrow.

Make up stories using your kids as the characters.

Read books.

Play letter/ sight word/ spelling word games.

Sing songs.

Thank God for the people and things in your life.

Tell each other how much you love them.
            “I love you as much as the sea is wide.”
            "I love you more than all the stars in the sky."


Talk about the schedule for the next day, so that there are no surprises.

Play a board game.

Write a letter to a grandparent.

Ask what your child’s favorite food was today and why.

Draw a picture describing the day.

Talk about different jobs and explain what they do.

Reread books.

Tell jokes and giggle.
          Our current favorite...
                       "Why did the horse cross the road?"
                        "He wanted to say hi to his NEIGH-bor."

Make shadow puppets.

Play flashlight tag.

Talk on walkie-talkies between the kid’s bedrooms.

Give Eskimo kisses.

Whisper in their ear all the hopes and dreams you have for them.

What are some things you do with your kids at bed time? Maybe we could make a few Miner adjustments to our list.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Will Power according to Frog and Toad…

More tips for not spending any extra money

Last week we started our 30 day spending freeze. Yesterday, I let you know how much we spent in a week. I feel like it was a lot, but there were things that won’t show up again this month. And like I said yesterday, all we need is a little of will power.

Temptation is everywhere.  And I think, do I really need it or do I want it? I was talking to some people about it yesterday and someone said, "I could never do that." Yes, they could if they really wanted too.

Some things that I will not be able to take part in while on the spending freeze…

  • My family photographer is having a great session deal this weekend.
  • Banana Republic Outlet just emailed me a coupon for an extra 30% off everything.
  • Mommy’s night out at a really yummy restaurant.
  • No pumpkins for decorating until after the 16th

But I have will power.  So I will say no.  And saying no is tough.  No one likes to disappoint others. 

Here are some more tips for more will power in your journey this month.

Will power

  1. Skip the Sunday circulars in the newspaper.  It is all psychological…they make you feel like you need what they are selling.
  2. If you feel the urge to “shop”, set your timer for 5 minutes and browse a couple websites, but do not have your wallet near you.
  3. On the weekends, take a walk with your family instead of getting in the car. (Added bonus…saving money on gas).
  4. If you are running errands, take your list and add the necessary places to it and only give yourself 1 hour.  When the time is up, come home! If you know exactly where you are going and how long you have you will spend less money.                                                                            
  5. There always seems to be things you want to buy when you aren’t “allowed”, so make a list of what you want.  At the end of your spending freeze look over the list and ask “Do I really need/ want it now?” If you do, then put it in your realistic budget. Try not to go crazy after the freeze, or the whole thing was for naught.

You can do it! We can do this!

Have an amazing shopping free week!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

30 Day Spending Freeze – Part 2

Week 1 - Total Spending

Last week we started our 30 day spending freeze. Today it is time to be accountable and let you know what we spent this week.  

We didn't spend any cash.  It is more difficult to keep track of cash purchases. All necessities were bought with our VISA, and we will pay the balance in total at the end of the month.  

Disclaimer: I do not advocate credit card debt.  In fact I hate it.  We thought long and hard about how we make purchases.  Going this route gives us travel points. Using a credit card wisely can work in your favor.

Anywho...the spending....

Groceries               $270.29    (This is for 2 weeks)
Gas in Car #1        $53.97
Gas in Car #2        $58.66
Grocery                 $ 5.08        (Oops, I forgot to take my lunch to school one day)
ADT                      $ 31.02
Itunes                     $10.69     (Nothing fun here. An app Matt needed for work.)
Netflix                    $7.99       (Forgot to suspend it for the month)
Gas in car #1         $56.23
After school care    $58.00 
 Total (Sept 16- Sept 22)                            $ 551.93

Wow! Seeing it totaled I am thinking that is a lot, but we can do this! No more than $1500 on our VISA this month.  It is usually $2000 or more.  All it takes is a little will power.

Free fun we had this week...

  • The balloon festival moon glow and fire works
  • Water skiing and boat ride on the lake with our dear friend who we haven't seen in 11 years!   (Thanks, JJH!)
  • Angry Bird Pizza Party (made by the hubs, I might add)
  • Watching B. play in his soccer game
  • Family game night

How are you doing with your spending freeze?

Happy Saving!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mudroom Cubbies

A couple winters ago we had an empty walkway in our house that needed a purpose.  Really, all it did was collect junk.   So we built cubbies.  Ok, I lie.  My dad and hubby built cubbies. I was a very good foremen though!

And over the last two years I have loved these cubbies.  Sometimes I have even hated them...when they were overflowing with craziness. But those moments are rare.  These cubbies complete the space.

Here is the point of this post....I know...finally, right?

I need to make a Miner adjustment to this beloved space...just a teeny tiny adjustment.  

Label each cubby.  

And if you know me you know that I love to label things. And I also love chalkboard paint. So stayed tuned! I will be back soon with project for you!

Happy Chalk Board Paint!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

30 Day Spending Freeze 

How to find more money in your monthly budget

A couple years ago the hubs and I did a 30 day spending freeze.  We didn't buy anything that wasn't a necessity. No date nights, no restaurants, no coffee,  no Target (gasp)!  At first I went through withdrawal, especially when it came to driving past Target without stopping.  But after a couple days (OK, maybe a week) I forgot about it and didn't think about shopping. I even started to enjoy going for groceries because if gave me a chance to get that shopping itch out of my system without breaking our freeze.  

What the spending diet taught me...

  1. I don't need half of the things that I buy.  
  2. The kids don't need half of the things we buy them. 
  3. And saving some extra money feels so good!
So here we are again...spending freeze time from September 16th - October 16th. 

How it works...

The budget for the month only includes

  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage
  • Necessities (food, gas, daycare)
  • No extra "fun"
Since we put all our spending on the VISA and pay the balance off at the end of each month we should be able to track it fairly easily. We usually have the same budget every month for the VISA, but a lot of the time it ends up being higher. Ugh! 

Here is a sample budget that I made on excel to give you an idea.  I balanced the income with bills down to $0. Sometimes I leave $100 for any miscellaneous expenses that pop up.  But as you can see in this budget the person would be able to save $1000.

 $       3,000.00
Income 1

 $       3,101.00
Income 2

Total Income
 $       6,101.00

Total Expenses
 $       6,101.00

 $                   -  

September 2012

$ 1,500.00
VISA  - (Sept 16 - Oct 16) *
$ 1,400.00
HOA Dues
 $   80.00
 $ 108.00
Cable. Internet. Phone
 $ 185.00
 $ 115.00
Car Insurance
 $ 140.00
Life Insurance
 $   73.00
Taxes/ Home Insurance
Student Loan
 $ 300.00
 $ 750.00

Total Expenses

Savings Account
Extra Money Saved
$ 600
*Usually the VISA might be $2000, which means by cutting out all the unnecessaries this person found and extra $600.

What goes on the VISA
After School Care $249
Groceries $ 600
Gas $400
Karate $120 (Sept 11 - Oct 6)
Alarm   $31.00

Why do it for only 30 days?

We could continue this for longer. And trust me after you do this for a month it is a lot easier to continue.  However, we figure we have to have a little fun in this life of ours. So 30 days here and there doesn't make it seem like a chore.

How do I avoid spending?

1. Don't go to the stores, coffee shops or restaurants.  Simply avoid them. 
2. If you have to go shopping (only necessities) make a list and stick to it.  Buy nothing extra. 
3.Do not make extra trips to the grocery store. Those little $3.99 trips really add up! And you can live without those grapes until the next shopping day.
4. Leave your wallet at home or in the car.  If you have to go outside to get it, then you will most likely think twice about buying.
5. Feel the need to bring something home?  Go to the library and load up on books and movies.

How much extra money did we save the last time we did the Spending Freeze?

The first time we did it, we ended up saving an extra $400 that month.  Not to shabby. After making a few Miner adjustments, this time our goal is to save an extra $500.  

Goals this time around...

Every Friday this month I'll give you a weekly update on our spending.  It will keep me accountable. 

To budget for the VISA is $1500 (it is usually $2000).  We cannot go over it to make our  goal of saving an extra $500 above what we normally save.

So how about it? Want to join the spending freeze with us?  It is so good for the soul....and your bank account.

Happy Saving!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whatcha Working on Wednesday - Link Party!

Take a look at these cute ideas from last weeks link party!

Kirby over at Kirb Appeal took an old cabinet and transformed into a sweet liquor cabinet.  Now if my kids weren't so energetic and curious, I think I might want one of these.  Although, I would have to raid my dad's pie safe full of "fun juice" in order to fill it!

Check out this very swanky home movie theater that Laura from Top This Top That created.  I want one and am trying to imagine making a few Miner adjustments to our basement playroom for the hubs. Maybe for Christmas (Honey, if you are reading this, forget that last line).

Angela over at Unexpected Elegance got creative with a scrap of wood and some fabric to make a No Sew Balloon Curtain. She has a great tutorial for how to make it.  I love a project that uses a staple gun!

I am currently working on AJ's bedroom and with the anchor on his nightstand it is taking on a nautical feel.  I never expected to go that route.  I wish I had this mirror that was painted over at Stone Gable. Check out the great tutorial on how to paint a mirror.

Thanks for sharing everyone!! Unfortunately, I couldn't find the time to get creative this week.  Back to school has zapped all my energy. But it feels so good to be back at work.

So now its your turn....Whatcha Workin' On


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Always Remember

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001?  

I doubt that most people will ever forget. And I will spare the story of where I was, as it is boring and unimportant.

Instead, I will take a moment to be still and silent for all the people who were lost that day 11 years ago.  

With Love,


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall into Christmas Planning

Technically, it is still summer until September 21st, even though we are back to school and fall decor is trending all over Pinterest. And all to soon we will go apple picking, to the pumpkin patch, and possibly hit up a house or 50 on Halloween. For right now though, it is a good time to "fall" into a Christmas planning mode.

In past years, I have been known to start shopping for Christmas in January.  In past years, I have been the first on Facebook to announce that I have started my shopping.  That was not the case last year or even this year for that matter. The kids are busy, playing sports and going to birthday parties and I have little energy time to think about stocking stuffers now.

However, the countdown has begun.  So let's make a few Miner adjustments this year and get in the right mindset! Are you with me?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My First Linky Party...

What Have You Been Creating?

I thought, why not? I love linking up with others and I love seeing what you all have been creating.  So here is my first Linky Party.  If it goes well, I think I will do this every Thursday.

My top 5 favorite link-ups from this party will be featured next week!

This gallery includes my favorite summer projects.  Enjoy!

Now, let's see what you've got!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to School Mantel

I have literally had the same mantel decoration for the last 3 years, well except for Christmas time. And while it is lovely, I am so bored. Yawn!  And one of the pictures is even sun faded, it has hung there for so long.

This past weekend, I got busy with a few Miner adjustments and came up with a BACK-TO-SCHOOL mantel.

We head back tomorrow. All of us. 4 people, 4 different schools. Kind of makes my head spin. However, this is the last year and then we will be 4 people in 3 different schools, when the boys are together.  That will be nice on the gas tank and nice on our wallets! Bu-Bye full day daycare! 

Anywho...this is what I came up with. I made the chalkboard with left over luan (Thanks, Dad for the correct spelling). 

Have you changed your mantel decor lately?

Happy School Year!


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