Thursday, January 22, 2009

Envelope System Wallet GIVEAWAY!

Well, I have had it. I am tired of my debt. I don’t have a lot of debt, thanks to my ever mindful, responsible, and thrifty spouse, but my debt remains. A friend said recently, “In order to eliminate debt, you must consistently spend less than you make”. Uh yeah, I got that part. Another well intentioned friend said, “You need to set up a monthly budget”. Yep, I do that too. Over the years I have slowly come to understand why I can plan the month and still over spend. One, plastic isn’t “real” money and two; I am in charge of 90% of our family’s discretionary spending. You know; groceries, clothing, birthday party gifts, haircuts, presents, etc. Now that my real problems have been identified, I have found a remedy. It is known as an Envelope Based System. How has the Envelope System helped? Let me count the ways!

1. It is so easy to put $50.00 on that little plastic debit card and really hard to break a $20.00. I don’t know why, it is just a fact of life. A study several years ago showed that people who used debit/credit cards spent at least 15% more than planned compared to those that used cash.

2. It helps you stick with the budget that has been set up. I determined that I could spend $200/wk and have plenty for gas, food and small incidentals like paper cups for a school party. That is $800/month. That leaves me $600 to put towards savings and debt. Before using the Envelope System, I was always sweating for the next paycheck because I had spent all $1,400.

3. Using the Envelope System has made me prioritize my spending, rather than wasting it on impulse purchases.

4. The Envelope System helps prevent dipping. I definitely have a more define perspective on where my money goes and what I will need in the near future.

Sounds perfect, right?! Almost. Paper envelopes wear out quickly, don’t fit in my purse well, coins fall out everywhere and they aren’t fun to look at! But I love my new Envelope System Wallet! It has 3 labeled envelopes, a quilted change purse, and a single pocket wallet. The envelopes can have any labels you choose including your favorite Bible verse or special saying. The zippered coin purse can also be used to hold plastic, like membership cards, emergency credit cards, and insurance cards. The wallet is large enough to hold a checkbook, deposit slips and coupons but small enough to fit in your purse.

Join the Envelope Revolution by participating in N’ STITCHES DESIGNS FIRST GIVEAWAY!!
Visit Organization Junkie for details!! See ya there!

Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII

1. Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

2.Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

3. Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

4. Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

5. Only for today, I will devote ten minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

6. Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

7. Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and it my feelings are hurt, I will make sure no one notices.

8. Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

9. Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

10. Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for twelve hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

I was so proud of myself yesterday! I actually spent less than $100 for groceries. I did go to 3 different stores though: Family Dollar for cleaning supplies, Sav-A-Lot for items that the family is not picky about the brand, and finally Ingles for our favorite (and of course more expensive) needs. I was able to do it in about 1 hour and 15 minutes but most importantly, it was under $100. And....I forgot to get toothpaste. Never fails. Anway, here is this weeks menu. Go to Organization Junkie for more great ideas!

- Pesto Chicken and corn on the cob. Top it off with Caramel Squares. See recipe at bottom.

Monday - Black beans and rice with smokes sausage and sauted cabbage.

Tuesday - Baked meatballs and Trader Joe's frozen lasagna.

Wednesday - Dad cooks! Burgers and roasted potatos.

Thursday - Bruswick Stew and cornbread,

**Pesto Chicken**
2T. balsalmic vinegar
4T. olive oil
1/2t. dried thyme
1/2t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1c. slide mushrooms
Bag of fresh spinach
2T. butter
1 1/2c. chicken broth
2T. flour
1/3c. milk
1/4c. store bought pesto

- Combine first five ingredients and pour over chicken. Allow chicken to marinade anywhere from over-night to 15 minutes. Heat skillet over medium high heat with 1T. olive oil. Add chicken (marinade can go in to if you like)and mushrooms. Saute chicken until thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken and set aside. Add butter to skillet and melt. Add flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in broth, milk and pesto. Bring to a simmer and let thicken. Place a handful of spinach on the plate and top with chicken and mushroom sauce.

**Caramel Squares**
1 stick butter, softened
1/2c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1t. baking powder
1 1/2c. flour
1t. vanilla
2 egg whites
1c. light brown sugar
1c. pecans, chopped

-Cream butter and sugar; add egg yolks. Sift dry ingredients and add, mixing well. Last add vanilla. Mixture will be crumbly. Spread on a buttered 8-inch square pan.

-Beat 2 egg white for 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and nuts and and mix until combined well. Spread over first layer.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown. Cool and cut into squares.
By the way, this is great with vanilla ice cream!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Housecleaning Schedule

Trying to live the walk and not just talk the talk, I have come to the realization that I am not disciplined in my housekeeping. Yesterday, it was suggested to start becoming more disciplined by beginning with the small things in life and getting organized. So, here it is! I sat down last night and constructed a housecleaning schedule / planner. I started by listing all the household cleaning needs then marked them as daily or weekly. I then organized the list into a chart. Here is my chart, feel free to download it and change it to meet your needs! Do you use a cleaning schedule?

Cleaning Chart

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Building the Discipline Bridge

Simple Mom calls it “Eating a Frog”, Biblical Womanhood calls it “Getting Back on Track”. Everyone seems to be talking DISCIPLINE. I believe that God calls us to be disciplined in our daily lives. Here are just a few verses that discuss discipline:

Psalm 94:12
Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law…

Deuteronomy 8:5
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

Job 5:17
Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

A friend was once telling me of the most frightening event of her life. It was when a fierce tornado ripped through her small town in the mid-west. Rain poured down and debris (if you call whole trees debris) flew across the yard. Once the storm had past, rescue workers rushed in. Several areas were so badly damaged that people could not access the area safely. The rescue workers responded by building bridges to the demolished areas so, they could repair or rebuild the buildings.

This bridge building is a fitting analogy for Christians. Bridges provide an access to areas of our lives that are otherwise unreachable due to a major obstacle. That bridge has a name; discipline. Discipline bridges are not easy to build; they take time and effort but once in place, actually make the journey easier.

John MacArther offers some practical advice to building bridges of discipline:

1. Start with small things like a morning routine, housekeeping goals, etc. Conquering small things help prepare us for larger things.

2. Get yourself organized. If you don’t control your time, then someone/something else will.

3. Be on time. Being on time acknowledges your responsibilities and the importance of other people.

4. Keep your word. For me personally, this means learning to say “NO” to things that I cannot fully commit to.

5. Do the most difficult tasks first. Eat that frog, right?

6. Finish what you start.

7. Accept correction from others.

8. Practice self-denial. Learn to say no to your feelings and desires. For me, this has been financial. I am denying myself of several material pleasures such as new clothes or the periodic housekeeper, in order to achieve financial goals.

9. Welcome responsibility. Volunteer to do things that need to be done. This will force obligations into your life that need to be scheduled.

Good luck! Let me know ways that you have built discipline bridges!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Book Review of Parenting with Love and Logic

I have been going through “Parenting with Love and Logic” for a while now. I must admit, when I first got the book, I was afraid it was going to be one of those feel good books or a new parenting trend that would be rendered useless in a couple of years. However, in this case I was pleasantly surprised.

“Parenting with Love and Logic” bases parenting around allowing your children the opportunity to make mistakes and then learn to deal with the consequences. As parents we are constantly directing (or re-directing), our children even in the minutia of daily life such as, “Put on a coat, it is cold outside” or “Tie your show before you fall”. Cline and Faye advocate giving your children information but then allowing them to make the choice. A typical example of their practice would be a parent informing the child that it is cold out and suggesting that they wear a jacket then allow the child to go outside or to school without the jacket if the child chooses. If the child gets cold, so be it. They will be more likely to remember or heed your warning next time.

My favorite aspects of the book are the example conversations that are given between parent and child to illustrate the author’s practice and advice. I found them to be practical and ‘real life”. I have employed several statements during family conversations that were used in the book. Topics and sample conversations are given on a variety of situations such as homework, whining, sibling rivalry, etc.

I highly recommend this book to any parent at any stage of parenting. The practices discussed here can be used with a toddler, grades-school child and teen. If you have read this book, let me know your thoughts on it too!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Menu Planning Monday!

Ok - I getting back on the bandwagon! I have been so excited the response that my Envelope System wallet has received! Orders and requests are keeping me plenty busy! Thanks to everyne who has left a sweet comment and helped me promote this item. I received some more fabric over the weekend and will be making the wallet in them too.
My menu plan for the week has already been messed up - in a good way. I was planning homemade chicken fingers last night, but my husband returned from a father son camping trip with left over fried fish. So we had fish sandwiches instead.
Monday - Baked Chicken, zucchini fries, brown rice.
* The chicken is in a great marinade - about 1/2 balsalmic vinegar, 1 T. fresh chopped pasrley, 1/2 t. crushed red pepper, a pinch of dried thyme, pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Wisk in about 1/2 cup olive oil and pour over the chicken. I did this yesterday and it has soak overnight.
Tuesday - Dad Cooks - Burgers with over roasted potatoes and sauted asparagus.
Wednesday - Crock pot roast beef with potatoes and onions. Served with green beans.
Thursday - Trader Joes Frozen Chicken Kabobs, with spinach salad, corn on the cob.
Yum! Have a great week! Find more great meals at Organization Junkie!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Spring is here!

Yes, I have been very busy, but I couldn't wait to show everyone the newest edition to N'stitches Designs! I hope this makes you think sunshine, green grass and flowers!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Budgeting Wallet

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to move to a more envelope based spending system. Why is it so hard to break that $20 bill in your wallet, but so easy to write a $50 check?? Anyway, I received Dave Ramsey’s book, "The Total Money Makeover" for Christmas. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. Dave Ramsey advocates using the envelope system for many of your daily spending needs as a way to curb excess spending. You allocate your money into the different envelopes at the beginning of the week/month and when the money is gone…it’s gone.

In honor of my New Year’s resolution I made the “Envelope System Wallet”. I am so in love with it and couldn’t wait to share it with you. The wallet features a Velcro closure and one main pocket, in which the envelopes fit using Amy Butler’s Gothic Rose fabric (gorgeous!!) The three envelopes are made in a coordinating fabric and can be removed entirely from the wallet to further enable you to stop unwanted spending. For example, if you are going grocery shopping and know that you have plenty of gas, you can remove the gas envelope to prevent "dipping". I transferred labels to each of the wallets for easy reference. I would be happy to transfer a Bible verse, saying or other labels at your request. Last but not least, there is a zippered pouch for coins, driver’s license and pictures of the kids (plenty large enough for up to 10 cards). I will be selling these on
Etsy. Come over and see!!
Do you need some extra reasons to go cash only? Be sure to visit Simple Mom!