Monday, May 31, 2010

Money Mondays.

I am going to start Money Mondays. It will cover anything that
has to do with money! So keep checking back :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Basement Update.

I just work on the basement a little bit every day (or try!) It is coming along...we have made $193 through selling stuff. I created to sell or to go through (like papers) for trash...then I have added "I'll think about section"...This section is for odds and ends, I've been trying to figure out what I could make with these items or reuse for something else.

I hope that maybe you have started to look around your house, and think of new organizing ideas or projects that need to be done. Maybe you will share those ideas with me because I need tons! :) If you don't remember how to comment....check back through older posts there is one post that will tell you how to comment on the blog.  Any questions just email me I really look forward to hearing as I post because through this journey I want others' help. Don't be scared...I won't let me ferocious dog bite you....too hard :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Easy Living Defined.

Just for is easy living defined by Maci Dog :)

Life doesn't get much easier than this.
No real worries. Food and Water Provided. Treats Daily. "Spa Days"...includes hair & nails.
Sleep all day, play when you want to.
Notice she is asleep in our bed with her head on the pillow. This was not staged. We let her sleep with us on the nights she has a bath. She really sleeps with her head on a pillow.
Hair did. Before I even get my hair done!??!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Great Blog.

For all my Kansas City buddies...this is a Great blog. If you don't live in the KCK area, you might want to still check it out..there are links to other coupon websites, then just type in your own zip code. Hope you find some great deals!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

meals & what to helpers!

Organization is becoming my new best friend. I have always kept things organized & straight...but this is the next step of organization for me. I know the thought "I don't have time to do all of this" has probably ran through your mind. I am realizing, I don't have time NOT to do this. By organizing, it is making my weekly duties easier and faster. So I have more time with Mason man :) I usually keep a list of items we need to buy, or if I forget to keep an ongoing list last minute I try to write down items before running to the grocery store (which causes me to spend more!) I also spend time trying to figure out what I have or don't have before cooking dinner. Here is my new set up on the inside of my pantry door!

-two clear sheet protectors
-note pad (I know you probably have a couple free
ones laying around like we do)
-extra removable wall hooks
-pen or marker
-The first one contains meals I want to cook for the week. I know that I have all ingredients for each meal before it goes on the list. This helps me avoid starting a meal then realizing I am out of something or staring in the pantry or freezer for thirty minutes trying to figure out what to cook that night.
-The second one contains items I am out of. I put a star by the ones I need to buy on my next shopping trip. The items without stars are ones I am out of or even items we are running low on (like dish detergent), so I need to start looking for coupons or specials. This also helps me know what I can cook. For example, I am out of stuffing mix and cream of celery so I know I can't cook recipes that need these ingredients.

I really like this because it is in the kitchen. The notepad is not laying on the counter where something can spill all over it. Being organized in the kitchen makes me enjoy cooking even more. It is stressful trying to figure out what to cook when you are already hungry OR starting a meal to realize you don't have any milk!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

recipe book.

I have tons of recipe magazines. I would just find myself making the same meals because I didn't want to spend the time going through every magazine. I kept trying to figure out something to do with all the magazines....a basket? a rack? just pile them on a shelf? but nothing was really organized. I saw on the Internet some lady made a recipe book with a 3 ring binder and clear sleeves. It was a cute idea, but I didn't want to spend the time gluing or taping all the recipes on paper. As I am cleaning out the basement, I am finding more stuff to use for other projects. It is exciting, making a lot of stuff without spending any money! :)
Here is my new recipe book! Ah, the little things in life that make me happy!!

One pile of my magazines. Who wants to go through all those every time you cook??
I found picture albums that I wasn't using...I have two of these picture albums. So my idea was to make two recipe with all dinner recipes (meats, pasta, soups, casserole) and the other recipe book for bread, breakfast, side dishes, desserts, and anything else!
I like using the picture albums because...
-I am a visual person..I don't have to dig through
papers for a recipe.
-The recipes slide in the pockets so they can be easily removed. I'm sure I will find new recipes and then get rid of some old recipes.
-Index cards fit great in the pockets.
This is very organized which makes my life soo much easier. I already used two recipes last night for dinner!
I went through all the magazines...which really didn't take much time...I cut out all the recipes I wanted. Then Heath went through and picked out a couple more recipes that he wanted. So I am cooking things he likes too.

This picture keeps uploading upside down...but you get the idea.

I did keep three magazines that are a 'collection of best recipes.'
Instead of having like 20 magazines, I now have two recipe books all organized. If I need a recipe for chicken, I can just flip to the chicken section...and pick out one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

flashcard book.

I wanted to make Mason a flashcard/picture book with images that relate to his life...A lot of the books will say "mom" but then it has a picture of some random woman. I found a couple cute ideas...then I looked around the house to see what I's what I came up with.

-Ziploc bags (I bought a brand of these, but they make the food taste weird so I was trying to figure out what to do with them) Ziploc bags are good because at this age, Mason is putting everything in his mouth...Ziploc bags will keep the paper dry!
-Construction Paper (or any scrap paper you may have)
-A Marker
-Rubber Cement (You can use glue/tape/or whatever you have)
-Pictures....I had banners from KinderMusik so I cut the animals out to make an animal book. Then I have one with different plants that I am going to use for a color book. Then I am using copies of pictures I have for dad, mom, grandparents, maci dog for the people book. I have found pictures of different body parts from an old anatomy book. Heath did print a few images for me (like ball, car) that I couldn't find in magazines at our house.

So I have easily made 4 no cost, just using stuff at the house! I am currently working on these books. I just have to actually put all the "Ziploc pages" together to make a book! I will take pictures of the finished products.

Friday, May 21, 2010

ways to say i love you.

I'm pretty simple when it comes to this area. We all like to get nice things every now and then. BUT sometimes the best are the simple things in life...I found this reading a free Parenting magazine I get in the mail. I carefully tore this out of the magazine, and I placed it where Heath always puts his keys.
One of the best gifts a mother can get....and it doesn't cost a dime!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the WANT.

I started this blog a week or so ago. I did a post on Need vs. Want. Having Mason has really made me rethink. I don't want to set the wrong example, make him believe that it is all about STUFF. I realized it’s really not about having the stuff or actually wanting the stuff we have. It’s about wanting the stuff because others have it. I started this journey….and the next few days I realized how many emails I had received for retail sales…one ad actually read “the summer must haves.” Then Mother’s Day ads were sad….tell mom you love her with this diamond necklace. How about just spending time with your mom? How about just actually thanking your mom with words, that would probably mean more to her. Then after noticing all the ads…I signed on Facebook. Sally has this. Bob has that. Johnny went here.
I WANTED IT! Did I need it? Did I actually want it? No.

I’m trying to change the mentality my family has….make our wants sound more like this…I want to hear Mason laugh more. I want to teach Mason. I want to take care of my husband. I want to give more. I want to help out more. I want to hear those little feet walking to me. I want to cook dinner. I want people to know how much they mean to me. I want to take more pictures. I want pray more. I want to focus on what really matters.

See I realize all those new clothes I buy (yes, I love the feeling of ripping the tag off right before I put it on! AHH!) will be out of style next season or I might spill something on it that will not come out (yes, Heath I know I can make a mess) then I would just want to buy more…the cycle would not stop, I would never be satisfied….some one would always have something newer and better. I read this comment today “Once we stop comparing ourselves to others it is amazing how we become truly satisfied with what we have.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I love children's books. Most of the time the books are expensive. I keep books laying around for Mason to play with, and when he picks one up I read it to him. Plus I try to read to him other times. Yesterday, I went to Manhattan, Kansas with Heath for a meeting. I walked around the mall with Mason while Heath was at the meeting. There was a bookstore in the mall, so I went in to look around. The bookstore had great prices on books for Mason in the bargain section. I don't want to spend a ton on books...Mason likes to chew, tear pages, and just drop the books as he is walking. I was super excited about  finding the "Wee Sing book and CD collection." I had this book and cassette tapes (sounds werid, huh?) when I was little and I loved it.

I purchased 5 Number books with stacking blocks, ABC learning center with 8 books, Learn the 50 States Book for when he is older, 2 Finger Puppet books, and the (4)Wee Sing books with 4 CDs. Total of  20 books, 4 CDs and stacking blocks....for $35.44! Little things like this make me sooo happy.
...and I did not purchase anything else at the Mall!

Lesson: Shop around before buying anything. ALWAYS CHECK THE SALE RACKS.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Start Digging up Recipes. Start Sharing your favorites. I like to cook. I actually enjoy it. The part I don't like is trying to think of new meals. I don't want to just rotate the same seven. I think that is how it is tempting to eat out. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack, Dessert....get ready to start sharing. If it sounds good, I might ask you to make it for I can try it out :) haha

Sunday, May 16, 2010

grocery shopping pt 1

I am LEARNING but I am still not very smart in this area. I would have to say this is one of my weakest areas. I want to retire one day, and I feel like I could retire at least five years earlier with all the money I waste at the grocery store. I am beginning to plan out my meals. I found that if I just made a list of stuff we need without having actual meals thought of, I was buying way more than needed and it was a lot easier to get off track. -One of the major problems I have is too many servings. If it says two servings, then Heath and I can get four servings. So I fix dinner, we eat. We eat leftovers for lunch, and I still have more. I want to learn more about freezing food. So as soon as I fix a meal, I can freeze half of it. (Which would be a plus because I wouldn't have to cook as much!)
-Another problem I have is still trying to "learn" the grocery stores in my area...figuring out what to buy where and when.
-Another problem is fruit. Heath and I eat soooo much fruit. I don't think you would believe me if I took a picture of all the fruit (maybe I will try to) and then tell you how many days that would last. I watch for the best deals on fruit...but I still think we spend more on fruit than meat!
-Coupons....that is such a love/hate relationship. Yes, I use coupons....but a lot of the coupons are buy three get one free. That is great if you use all the food, but the chances are we won't before it goes bad.

What are ways you save money at the grocery store? HELP!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Comment.

I would love to hear lots of comments! I had the comment settings for only people with a blog, and I didn't realize it. Here's how you can leave a comment.

1. Under every post....beside the time, it will read a number (0,1,2...) then the word comment.
2. Click on the word comment then a different screen will appear.
3. Write your comment.
4. Select Identity Option...if you do not have a blog account, you can just select the name option. Just type your name in the name box.
5. Then click Publish!

If you have any questions just ask me! Hope to hear your comments!

Basement Update

I've been working every day in the basement while Mason takes a nap. So far I have several books on and clothes/purses on Craigslist. We have made $69.00 so far and the basement is looking better and better! Yay! I started a trash section, a sale or donate section, and a needs to be organized section.

My Plans.
1. Papers...I sat down and went through every paper we had....shred, file, toss. That was a boring afternoon.
2. Clothes...Organize all of my clothes, Heath's clothes, and clothes we are keeping in case we have another baby one day. AND get rid of a lot of clothes. I really don't know why my parents did not turn me into some kind of rehab for shopping....I currently own four 18 gallon totes of shoes, 3 totes of handbags/purses/other bags, and I will not mention the clothes :)
3. Organize Holiday decorations.
4. Figure out something to do with all of Heath's hunting gear.
5. Keep asking "do we really need this?"
6. Take pictures of a well organized clutter free basement! (WoOhOo)

Friday, May 14, 2010

finances at the moment.

I know for this journey I have to open up and share…that is probably the hardest part for me. I don’t really discuss a lot of this stuff with people. I don’t know why. So here I go….

Heath and I have the same views when it comes to money. Let me clear that up, we have the same overall views...sometimes he wants to buy a new tree stand and I want to buy something for the house. We have read the Dave Ramsey books. We have read many other financial books. We both believe that debt free is the best way. I read this quote yesterday "I don’t know if this helps you at all but financial freedom is just that, freedom!" Pretty much sums it up. I think about how many people are going to bed at night with the worry of how they are going to pay the lamps off (that are on a credit card) that they purchased 4 years ago.

We are not better than anyone else. We are not trying to come off as that. We have chosen to live differently. We have chosen to watch our expenses so money automatically goes into our IRAs/Mason's college fund/401k plans/life insurance/stock every month. When Heath and I were married he had two small debts (my ring and a doctor's bill from just two months before we were married) besides his truck. On the other hand, I had almost 10k in the bank with me just owing a little bit on my car…which my parents paid off. The majority of my money came from school money. I was fortunate to receive scholarships and I would put the extra money back every semester. Heath had his money (a couple G's as Heath would say) working in an IRA, I just had my money sitting in a bank account drawing very little interest.

Heath is very smart when it comes to finances. Our first year of marriage, we were very fortunate to have a great set up with his company. We paid off the two small debts. We completed funded an emergency fund. We probably wasted some money. We bought a few pieces of furniture and other items for the house. Heath started my IRA. He already had an IRA. (Heath will probably do a post on the importance of retirement very soon, so I will not get into that right now) I was approved for life insurance. Heath was later approved. I have to say that we do have a credit card. Heath purchases so much stuff for work (then he is fully reimbursed) but it is easier then tying up our money. We have Mason a small savings account started. We do have his college fund started. We just have the truck left to pay off. This will be our last car payment, we do not like having a car payments!! One reason I love my scion...because it is paid off! :)

Now it seems like we have everything pretty well set up. I am happy with our set up, but I think it could be better. I think that we don't always know where are money is going. The debit card is easy to swipe for $20 here, $10 there. I feel like the grocery store is taking part of my savings sometimes!ha Our mindset is probably our biggest problem right now. We are trying to live like no one else, so one day we can live like no one else (I love this quote, you will probably read it a 100 times!)...but sometimes it is discouraging. We know our money is going into retirement, but it does get aggravating when we listen to other people talk about buying, spending, and doing...and we are trying to figure out if we have extra money to go out to eat or not! Do not get me wrong, we do not sit at home and stare at the walls because we are too tight. I know what Heath makes a year. I know what little I bring in. I know what we are trying to make do with our money. and I can't help but wonder....HOW DO PEOPLE DO IT?!?!?!

I am so glad people have already shared some stories! It is exciting and encouraging to read! KEEP SHARING. Share creative ways that have helped you cut back or just share your story. Or if you are swimming in debt, I want to encourage is not to late to change your ways, do not give up!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mason's room & toys.

A friend of mine brought up a good to organize toys. Even at Mason's age there is too much stuff just sitting around. I was looking for something that I could use to put Mason's toys on....but it couldn't be too tall (I didn't want him to pull the toys off on his head)...has to be sturdy so he can pull up on it....the shelves have to be wide and tall enough for the toys (I looked at several shelves but the toys would hang off).
I don't know if you have looked at baby or kids furniture...but a lot of it is expensive. I thought of getting baskets at first....but baskets can get expensive too.

Here's what I came up with....Heath had a media/book shelf that he used before we got married. It was one of those items that came to Kansas with us, but we really didn't know what we would use it for. One night, it just hit me that I could use that for Mason's was perfect. It is not too was sturdy with metal sides...the top shelf is not as wide as the others which is good for soft animals/toys.

For all the small teething, rattles, squishy books, etc. - We have a Nebraska Furniture Mart next to our house...One day I was in there and found a huge basket (almost as tall as Mason) for $14.99! At Target the small, very small baskets start at 9.99. So I thought this was a good deal. Plus, I am not stepping on rattles in the middle of the night!

Another neat piece of furniture in Mason's room is the filing cabinet. Yes, a filling cabinet. My in-laws purchased the crib for us. Heath and I were planning on buying the chester drawers to match, but it could not be delivered to a JCPenney the shipping for this one piece was almost $400. I just thought that was crazy...for $400 we could by another piece of furniture or take a trip! Mason's crib is a very dark, cherry...very pretty...but it is hard to find anything to match. After Mason was born, my dad and Heath went everywhere trying to find something to come close to matching...we even thought about staining. In Nebraska Furniture Mart there is a clearance room. I thought we should just check the clearance room in case there was an odd piece that would match. I found this filing cabinet that almost matched perfectly. The more I thought about it, it was perfect. A lot of the bedroom furniture is if you have clothes in the drawers the kids can't reach them. I want Mason to be able to get his own socks or underwear out without climbing on something to reach it. This piece is one that will be great for Mason until he is a lot older. You would not know it was a filing cabinet...the only way you can tell is if you hear the "click" when you pull the drawer out. So instead of paying almost $800 for the chester drawers and parents purchased the "filing cabinet" for $129.99!

So be creative, shop around. Set a budget. Check out Craigslist. Your newborn is not going to be mad at you if you do not purchase the whole bedroom suit from a name brand company. I promise.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

clean out.

As we begin this journey, it begins to be overwhelming. There is so much one can do, but I want to start by taking small steps, completing those goals (the feeling of accomplishment is great fuel for continuing). I don't want this to be just one of those ideas we came up with but never did anything with it.

My first goal is to get rid of a lot of unused stuff in our basement. I am so overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we have accumulated since getting married two years ago! As a newly married couple, we have the "well what if we need it one day" mentality. My mom always said if you haven't used it in six months, then you don't need it. I think this is pretty true (unless it is seasonal like Christmas decor or outside furniture) I was not going to take pictures of our basement. I am actually embarrassed by how much stuff we have stored down there. BUT if I don't take pictures, I will not be as accountable. Please do not turn me into the show hoarders (haha).

Questions for this Project.
1. What are some great local places to donate to?
2. How much stuff should I keep for, if there is another baby?
3. Any advice for filling documents?
4. What are some places like Craigslist that I can sell some stuff?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lost in thought.

I have sooo many ideas for this blog....I don't even know where to start. I could write about 100 things just today. So stick with me! :) We will cover all kinds of topics from recipes to activities to money to anything I can think of!  I just really want to organize all my ideas. I can't decide whether just to roll with it or start a series (maybe do one week about money the next crafts). Guess you will just have to keep checking to see what I can come up with.

For today....stop for a moment and ponder all the stuff I have been talking about so far. What are your own ideas about each topic. If you don't is a good time to start thinking about it. I am searching for new ideas and advice. I want to be a great mom, I want to be a great wife, I want to be financially stable, I want to help others, I want to start Easy Living.  (Please note: by the word "easy" I mean not adding more live a simple yet fulfilling life)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Need vs. Want

This is the ongoing battle. Today we use the word "need" for things we really don't need. We want a lot of stuff. We feel that we have to have everything. One goal I have is realizing what we can actually live without. Dave Ramsey has a quote "Live like no one else, so one day you can live like no one else!" Today, we have the mentality to get everything NOW. My husband and I were married two years ago today. (YAY!) As a newly married couple, there is the pressure to have everything that our parents have worked many years for. Most of the people our age already have better houses than my ask them how they are paying for it...and they really don't know. I don't want to live in the stress of how am I going to pay for the TV, cars, chairs, video games, trips, etc. that are maxing out all the credit cards possible. I don't think it is suppose to be that way. I don't think God wanted it to be that way. "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7 Money is considered to be the top stressor in America. I don't want to add more stress to just everyday I'm trying to change the mindset my family has. Rethink what is important. Get back to the basics. Think about our financial plans for the future. Learn what I can live without. Spend more time with my child instead of just buying him toys. Enjoy Easy Living.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ever wonder...Where your money goes? How other people make it? How to plan for the future? What is important to teach your child/children? What can we do today? What are things I should be working with my children on? Are we being wasteful? How do we have so much stuff/junk? Etc, Etc.

We wonder these things all the we have decided to search for new ideas, change things we are doing, get opinions from other people, all in hopes of starting a new part of our lives....
                           Easy, Simple Living