Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dollar Family Days

In a world where everything is so instantaneous, sometimes it pays to wait and be patient.

For my family to go to the movie, it costs us about $40 for tickets and then some for treats. I found a dollar theater near us so my husband and I gave our kids a choice. We told them that we could either see 3 or 4 movies at the regular movie theater or they could be patient and we could see all the kids movies at the dollar theater.

We explained to them the price difference and why it makes sense for us to go to the dollar theater, but left the choice to them. They all 3 chose the dollar theater. The savings for us is huge! It costs us under $10 to take the family to the dollar theater and get popcorn. In fact, this theater even has a family night where everyone gets in for just 75 cents. We recently decided to go to two movies in the same day on 75 cent Monday and it only cost us $7.50 for both...crazy!

This decision we gave the kids helps them start to realize the value of money and that it is important to save when you can.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Get Well Gift

As a get well gift I took a piece of scrapbook paper and cut it to be about 8x8. I secured it into a cone shape and then filled it with various candy bars.

 The saying went like this:
We heard you took a ROLL
and broke your WHATCHAMACALLIT
into PIECES.
We hope U-NO that we love you and will
be there down this ROCKY ROAD.
MOUNDS of love,

Cute Valentine Ideas

A box of raisins - You are always "raisin" my mood...OR...You are the "raisin" I smile...OR Thanks for "raisin" my mood.

Pink treats - Valentine, you tickle me PINK!

Bouncy ball - Valentine, You're a BALL to be around.

Silly bandz - We really BAND together.

Applesauce cups - You are the apple of my eye valentine.

Mini boxes of cereal - Valentine, you are CEREALsly awesome.

Hershey's Kisses and bubblegum - Valentine, Blow me a Kiss.

Bubblegum - BLOWing kisses your way.

Swedish Fish/Cracker Fish - It's o"fish'al, you're one of a kind...OR...You are a keeper.

Chews candy - I "Chews" you valentine.

Crayons - You "color" my day.

Whoopie Cushion - Valentine, you make me laugh!

Glow stick or Small LED light - Valentine, you light up my life.

Small can of soda - Valentine, I "soda" really like you.

Kindness Activity

For Valentine's Day I wanted to do something so that my boys would focus on being kind to one another. I got a small mason jar for each child and filled them with lego pieces.

The object is to get all your legos out of your jar and into the big jar in the kitchen. Whoever completes this task by Valentine's Day receives a special Valentine Day gift from me :) Each time the child does a service or act of kindness for someone else in our home, he may remove one of his legos and add it to the bigger family jar. I started this activity 5 days before Valentine's Day, but you can do it with only a couple of days or extend it to a couple of weeks. It can also be done on Valentine's Day just for the day. My kids are loving it and responding so great!

Fill the jar with whatever you have on hand. Glass rocks, marbles, puzzle pieces, rocks, buttons or even noodles would do the trick. Then watch your kids become kinder...it is working for us!

Monday, February 6, 2012


Just hearing the word budget makes me want to groan out loud! Managing money and family finances is something I don't love to do...even though I love being organized. Go figure. I guess I was suppose to have an unlimited amount of money and somewhere along the way someone else got my share :) Oh well. I will make the best with what I have.

The question is how? How to make the best of my situation or your situation to become financially fit? I suggest a few rules to live by.

1. Live below your means. This means spend $20 less than you actually bring home, not $20 more. It is a simple concept yet often times difficult to put into action because there are so many things to spend our money on. This leads us to the next step.

2. Distinguish between your needs and wants. Once I accept that I do NOT need those cute new boots that are on sale at a killer price...a price I will NEvER find them at again, it will be easier for me to pass them by knowing that yes, I can actually survive without them (although it may not be easy:)

3. Set financial goals. Goals help me know that if I pass up the boots, that money will be going toward paying off a specific debt or maybe even towards a family vacation we are saving up for. Know where you are now financially and where you want to be in 5, 10 even 20 years from now. Plan with a purpose and then check in with yourself often to see how you are doing.

4. Set up a realistic budget you can live within and stick to it. Do not give in to temptations to spend more than you have budgeted. If you are married this needs to be done with your spouse. My husband and I sat down last night and put a new and improved budget into place. We were both happy with it and agreed to live within the parameters set. (I do have to admit that I quickly bought my boots before we did the budget...they were sooo cute!)

4. Find a money system that works for you. I admit it...with plastic I could spend money all day and not worry too much. I found that credit and debit cards are not really my friends. I use the money envelope system. Once the allotted cash is gone, it is gone until the next payday. Here are the envelopes I made to help me.

Today it is so easy to pay my bills with bill pay that I only needed to make myself 6 money envelopes for expenses other than those that I pay on-line. My categories are Food, Fun, Clothing, Sports, Misc, and Medical.

These envelopes I cut out using my silhouette machine. I found a tutorial here if you do not have access to a cutting machine. I chose cute paper and attached tags with the category on it. The money is then placed inside each envelope to be used as needed within that category.

I made a holder that is like a box that holds a deck of cards. This way I can keep the envelopes all together and with me in my purse without having money scattered all over my endless abyss (my purse).

I have found this is the best method for me to stay on track with my budget. My husband and I have found that often times we end up feeling like we have more money when we use this method.

**Update - I now use an on-line money envelope budgeting app that is worth it's weight in gold. The first month I was able to save several hundred dollars. The key is consistent and honest input. The app I chose is goodbudget. Give it a try, I bet you'll love it!

Happy budgeting!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Tomorrow morning starts my official training kick-off. For me this simply means that I will train each day and rest on Sunday. I am going to track my workouts and post total mileage for running and biking. This should be interesting to see what I can do.

Did you pick an event to train for? If so, what type of event or which one are you going for?
Did you know that when we train it is important to have 2 high intensity days/week, 2-3 moderate intensity and 1 easy or recovery workout? Each day needs to vary so that our body will adapt and change as much as possible.

Along with the training comes the healthy eating. You will not get the desired results if you do not eat right. I personally do not believe in dieting. I like to eat and I enjoy eating a variety of foods. I do however watch portion size and amount of food eaten. I can have a piece or a bite, but don't need to eat the entire thing :)

I carry a water bottle around with me to make sure that I am drinking enough water throughout the day. Another thing I find helpful is starting the day off with a smoothie. There is something about the fruit and veggies in the morning that cut my cravings for unhealthy food to the point that snacking isn't an issue for me. When I do not have a smoothie, I always want to snack.

2 cups grapes
1 cup In season fruit (blueberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, etc...and I usually use more than 1 kind)
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach (the bagged spinach can be frozen...the leaves freeze individually)
1/2 to 1 cup frozen fruit
1 cup Ice

Or try this one:
1 cup milk
1 banana
1 heaping scoop of chocolate mix (protein powder, ovaltine, or Nesquik)
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
2 cups Ice
Handful Spinach

I like to mess around and try different flavors together. This is a great way to get kids to eat spinach.