Thursday, February 26, 2009

We're gettin' the Elephant off our back!

Jeff & I are doing something with our finances/debt that has been AMAZING!! It has helped us feel a little bit of peace with our money. And, since there are soooo many people in the world today who are struggling financially, I thought I'd share it on my blog.

Have any of you heard of Dave Ramsey? We bought his book called "Total Money Makeover". I originally only bought it because it was on sale & I thought it would be interesting. Truly, I thought I knew would it would take to fix our financial situation. However, this book is eye-opening! I couldn't put it down. And, it is very easy. It's all about going back to the basics & not using credit cards to pay for everything!

Here's the basics of how it works:
1. You need to get a $1,000 emergency fund in cash. Keep the cash in a safe place in your home - NOT in the bank. This money is for you to have a back-up for emergencies & not to rely on any credit cards in this program.

2. Make a budget of exactly where your money goes each month. This has to be down to the penny. Then, you make envelopes at the beginning of each month & put cash in each envelope for that amount. When it's gone, it's gone - no dipping from extras anywhere! It's amazing how much we spend on stuff that's really not needed!!

3. Make a list of all your debt starting with the smallest first. You start to pay off the smallest debt first. Not the biggest interest rate, the SMALLEST debt. There is a good reason for this! People are more likely to stick with a program if they can see results! :) Chances are that your smallest interest rate is also you biggest debt & It may seem like you're never making any progress of if you start on that one first. Stick with smallest to largest. It works!!

4. Just by paying for everything in cash, you will be amazed at how much money you have at the end of the month to put towards debt!

The plan is very simple & easy! It's just a matter of doing it & being ready for it. You may have to give up going out to eat or buying fancy clothes. For me, it's all about having peace of mind.

We have a LONG way to go....but I feel much better knowing that I have a plan. I'll keep you posted on how it's going!!

Check out Dave Ramsey's website. I've attached a link. And no, I'm not getting any kick-backs from promoting him. LOL!! It's just been a great help for us & I'm all about sharing what works!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

100 pink roses for Valentines Day!

He did it!
My husband actually bought me 100 pink roses for Valentines Day!
Isn't that just sweet? Since several people know our financial situation & know that buying 100 roses is NOT in our budget, rest assured that he got them for a VERY good deal. :)
Since it is Valentines day, & my husband totally scored, I thought it might be appropriate for me to tell you all the wonderful things I love about him.
Here goes:
1. He is the "fun" dad. I'm the "stick with the schedule" person & he's all FUN!!
2. He is smart as a whip. His mind amazes me. His brain functions a step above most.
3. When I am sick, he is THE BEST nurse. He takes care of the house, the kids & gets me anything I need. It's almost fun to be sick because he treats me like a queen. :) I said ALMOST.
4. He is very service oriented. He LOVES to mow peoples lawn without them nowing. He's the first to help someone move into their house. He's always willing to help at the drop of a hat.
5. He's overcome a great deal in his life & honestly, I'm not sure most would come out as fair as he did with what he had to face. I'm amazed at his strength.
6. He genuinely loves his kids & has a strong desire to be a great Father.
7. Jeff loves me for me. He doesn't criticize, give tips - he just let's me be my true self.
8. Jeff trusts me 100%! I never need to explain anything.
9. Jeff loves to surprise me! He'll do anything to try to surprise me.
10. He's a great on the grill!! Salmon is his specialty.
11. He's pretty dang cute! :)
12. He's the best travel companion. He drives, makes the schedule & does it all!
I just sit & enjoy the ride. Love it!!
13. He's the best with directions. It's easier to call him then to go to mapquest.
14. He's a baby whisperer. He has a secret way of getting babies to sleep. It's magic!
15. He does a great elephant impersonation.
16. When he REALLY wants to do something, nothing stands in his way. He'll go without sleep for days until it's accomplished. This is a wonderful & terrible thing about him. HA!
17. Jeff is a thinker. His mind holds a lot & I can always tell when he's pondering something new.
18. The best gift I ever received was the day he cleaned the entire house & gave me the day off!! LOVED IT!! Don't know too many husbands who are willing to do that. :)
19. He is Mckenna's 100% supporter in Volleyball. He hasn't missed a practice, a game or a tournament. She's pretty lucky to have such a dedicated dad.
20. Beging married to Jeff has been like a rollercoaster - lots of ups & downs, but a great adventure!! :)
I love you honey!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blender pancakes & coconut syrup

I've had requests for my multi-grain blender pancakes & my cherry & coconut syrup. I decided it would be best to post them here. They're healthy, easy & very cheap. Great if you're on a budget. ENJOY!

Whole grain Blender Pancakes
1 cup whole grain soft white wheat kernels. (Or, I use a combination of pearled barley, kamut, spelt, brown rice, oat groats & whatever I have in my food storage.)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk (I use tofu milk)
1 egg
2 Tbl canola oil
1 Tbl honey
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbl Rumfords baking powder (MUST be Rumfords!)

In blender, mix water, grains, & dry milk on high for 3 minutes. Add egg, oil, honey & salt. Blend for 20 seconds. Add baking powder & pulse 3 times. Mixture will foam up & get very light. Cook immediately on a hot griddle.

1) Buttermilk pancakes - use buttermilk in place of the water & omit the nonfat dry milk. Add in 2 heaping tsp of cornmeal & 1/4 tsp baking soda.
2) Fruit-filled pancakes - Prepare pancakes as directed. Pour onto hot griddle & top with blueberries, sliced bananas, strawberries or other fruit.
3) Apple buttermilk pancakes - Use Buttermilk recipe & fold in 1/2 cup finely grated apples.

Cherry Syrup
1/2 cup water
2 Tbls cornstarch or Ultra Gel
1 12-oz can frozen unsweetened cherry-apple Dole juice

Using a wire whisk, stir cornstarch into water in medium pan. Add juice concentrate. Bring to boil & stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes.

Use any unsweetened juice. We like strawberry-kiwi, peach, grape & raspberry.

Coconut Syrup
16 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar or fructose
1/2 cup water
3 Tlbs Ultra Gel (If using cornstarch, use 2 Tbl & combine with water first to dissolve & then add remaining ingredients.)

Mix all ingredients together adding the ultra gel little by little. (keeps it from clumping) Bring to boil & boil for 1-2 minutes until thickened.

What's this weight thing about anyway?

So, as most of you know - my weight fluctuates A LOT! I've been at all kinds of weight in my life. I'm currently "okay" with where I'm at, but would LOVE to be a much healthier weight. If I lost 25 lbs I think my body would feel & function better. I am a pretty healthy eater most of the time. I don't cook with sugar, white flour, or yucky additives. It's not even in my house. I also don't eat large portions. However, I am an emotional eater. Yes, that's me! When something is bothering me - it seems like a big Dr. Pepper & chocolate cures all. (Wouldn't it be nice if it really did?)

Is there anyone out there who has successfully conquered the emotional eater demon? I'm a pretty self-disciplied person & can accomplish whatever I put my mind to, EXCEPT for this eating thing. It kinda bugs me that I can't seem to get this down! I mean, what the heck?!?!

I've heard that I should try to replace my emotional feelings with something other then food. Like what?........knitting??!?! I had a friend who told me she started exercising when she felt the strange eating thing comin' on. Well, that may work great for her, however; sorry to say - but that really isn't likely to happen with me. Exercise is more like a punishment then a replacement for something I enjoy. Don't get me wrong - I still exercise, but I don't enjoy it. I do it because It's good for me. :) (Kinda like an enema. It's good for you, but does anyone really enjoy it?!?!)

Maybe I should just stop stressing? Easier said then done, but let's just humor this topic. Say all my stress was completley gone. Just zapped away!! (LOVELY!!) Unfortunately, emotional eating isn't just about stress. It's so much MORE!! I eat when I'm happy! I eat when I'm excited. I eat when I think I did something really well & need to be congratulated. I eat because it's Friday & party time! Are you gettin' the idea here?!?!? :) Food is my friend! I celebrate with food. In-N-Out Burger and I are great friends.

Truly, I am okay with me the way I am. I have a good self-esteem. I'm not slowed down in any way because of my current weight. Some days I just think - why worry? But, I ain't gettin' any younger if you know what I mean. I'm 38 & living a healthy life at ALL ages is pretty important to me. I should really figure it all out right NOW. Don't ya think?

I know I can lose the weight, but I am not confident that I can KEEP it off. :) So, why go through the effort to lose it in the first place? Oy....all these crazy things that go through my head.

Yeah, this is just a ramble. Thanks for reading. :) If you have any insight, send it my way.

Until my next rambling session... Over & out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

25 random things about ME!

25 Random Things About Me
1. I once ran over myself while driving my own car. (Think about that for a few minutes - is it possible?) Yeah, it's a long story. Ask me about it next time you see me.
2. I was dared to drink a "concoction" during a chemistry lab in high school. I made $20 bucks & was the sickest I have ever been. I ran out of the room & all the way home immediately afterwards. The teacher never knew I was gone! ha.
3. My heaviest weight was 260 lbs. (oy...why am I typing this?!? Because I am REAL!!!)
4. I have 2 personalities. :) One part of me loves to stay home & do absolutely nothing when I get a chance. The other part of me really wants to go out, have fun & laugh until it hurts.
5. I was baptized in a dirty, disgusting muddy pond when I was 8 yrs old. I did it because the pond was in the backyard of a "cute" boyfriends house. Oh, the things you'll do when you're in love. :)
6. I see dead people!!!!!!!! (Okay, my dad's a mortician - calm down.)
7. I once made spaghetti sauce using El Pato sauce. :) (Hey, the side of the can says tomato sauce - go read it!)
8. I went to a company party a few years back & they were serving cute little squares of jelly in different colors. I downed several of them & had a great ol' time at that party!!! I found out later what they really were & why I was having so much fun! (If you don't know what they really are, you're as nieve as I am!!!)
9. I enjoy finding out who people "really" are deep down inside instead of what they want you to think they are.
10. I wish more blogs would tell us more of their life then just the perfect parts. We know your life reallys isn't that way ALL the time. Right?! You're all making me feel very guilty. :)
11. I'm eating eating a bowl of cooked beats with a splash of vinegar & oil as we speak. Yum!
12. My biggest weakness is hostess donuts that come in chocolate, plain & powdered sugar. You know what I'm talking about. :) Those & a big class of 2% milk. This is my 1st choice on junk out night at our house. (Although, I have to admit, I can't remember the last time I ate them. Probably a good thing. See #3.)
13. I won several writing awards in High School. I've always secretly wanted to write a book or short story. I'm just waiting until something "brilliant" pops into my head.
14. Some of the best times I've had were hanging out with my friends that are boys. :) (No, not boyfriends, just friends who happen to be of the male version.)
15. If I could change one thing about the world it would be that everyone would stop judging others & just accept people for who they are. Leave the judging to God.
16. If I could change something about myself it would be to be a better friend to my friends. I get too caught up in life & don't keep in contact with them as well as I should. Hello all my friends out there!
17. The highlite of my whole year is when I get together with my 8 sisters & mother for Girl's Weekend! We hang out for 2 days in a hotel - NO KIDS! - & talk, play games, eat & have fun! Nothing better the those 2 days. It reminds me how lucky I am to have them!! I will cancel anything to be there!
18. I love to read books but NEVER do. Truly, I get so involved that my whole life falls apart. It takes me days to get caught up. I just don't even go there. :)
19. I had a very special friend who was struck by lighting & died when I was 17 yrs old. I truly believe she is up in heaven & is watching over me now. I know that she sees everything I do! It helps me make better choices in life. It's been 20 years & I still miss her.
20. When I was 9 yrs old, I was called into the police station & questioned for stealing my neighbors 3 green marbles. (Hey, I grew up in a small town - think of Mayberry!) The marbles were later found under my neighbors couch & I was released. Shew!!!
21. My dad once told me I could sell anything & dared me to sell a smooshed banana. He said he'd give me double of what I sold it for. I sold it to my 6th grade teacher for $2. I told her I forgot my lunch money & my parents could only afford this smooshed banana. I got $4 bucks out of the deal!!!
22. My nickname my entire life up until 20 yrs old was Frog. My brother gave it to me when I was little because of my long legs, long tongue, green swimsuit & flippers. It stuck. People from college to this day still don't know my real name. It was so bad that in the choir concert flyer it listed my name as Frog. I've thought of listing my middle as "Frog" in facebook so people would actually know it was me!! :)
23. I like you for you. No need to hide your flaws. Let 'um all out & just be YOU!!
24. I believe that hardest part of my life is yet to come. God is only strengthening me for what lies ahead - whatever that may be!
25. Well, after reading the above I think I've found my topic for my book! :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

My crazy, wild hair!!

I had a conversation wtih a friend recently. She was asking about my hair & how I got it to be so "full". I then said back to her - "You mean "flat". And she repeated - No, I mean "FULL". I laughed!!! I explained to her that I worked very hard ever day to get it to be flat & not so crazy. She was in disbelief. Since I refuse to actually go out in public with my wild & crazy hair, I thought it would be appropriate for me to take a picture of my wild mane as proof! :)

The before was taken after I let my hair dry. It has lots of crazy waves that don't all like to wave in the same direction. The next one was taken 30 minutes later after I straightened it & tried to make it presentable.

Don't you just love these self-portraits that make your forehead look gigantumous (a new word I just made up) & cuts the top of your head off??!?!