Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Preparations


With Easter little more than a week away are you ready? 

Easter is on Sunday April 8th this year and for most of us it seems to be coming up awfully fast.  Perhaps it is because we feel like we just got done putting away the Christmas d├ęcor.  How can this be? 

This weekend I will begin my preparations for next Sunday.  We will be driving up to my parents for supper so I want to make sure I have everything I need to make the dishes I will be taking with us.  Baked beans and a Jell-O Poke Cake. 

Tonight on the way home from work I will stop to pick up the eggs on sale for 99¢ a dozen at Fred Meyer.  It is perfect timing as we are on our last dozen and we usually dye two dozen every year at Easter.  There will be plenty of potato salad and egg salad or deviled eggs to enjoy the following week. 

Tomorrow I plan to spend a little time first thing in the morning making and addressing Easter cards to send to relatives and friends out of town.  I think Easter is the perfect time to send a little greeting. 

I will need to find the girl’s Easter baskets and make sure I’ve gathered up enough things to put in them.  I may need to make a stop sometime next week to pick up a couple items. 

Easter is a great time to gather with family, make a big meal and have a nice time.  Next Saturday I will put the baked means on in the slow cooker and we will dye Easter eggs too.  My kids really love to decorate the eggs.  I will also get my cake done. 

What are your plans for the upcoming holiday?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Giving Children An Allowance


Do you give your children an allowance? 

I give my children an allowance.  The hefty sum of $1 per week!  I give it to them for no particular reason other than that is what they get.  There really is a reason, which I’ll get to in a moment, but to them there isn’t.  If they want or need more money, well, then they have to earn it. 

I pay them on Monday night after I get home from work.  No particular reason for this day other than it seems to work for me.  That is not to say I don’t ever forget.  Fortunately, my little angels always seem to remember and they are quick to remind me. 

For me the importance of giving them an allowance is so I can teach them how to develop a healthy relationship with money.  I want them to know the proper way to handle money and it is much easier to do this if they happen to have some to work with. 

A dollar a week doesn’t break our budget and isn’t too much to skew their perception of value.  I do thing that can happen if you give your children too much money.  The size of your family and your budget need to be factored in too.  Just because you can afford to give them more doesn’t necessarily mean you should. 

I begin giving an allowance when they start first grade.  This works well too because they begin learning about money facts and counting money in school at this age.  They are also beginning to be more responsible. 

Already my children have learned, through trial and error, that if you spend your dollar right away then it is gone.  You have to wait until payday to get another one and Mom doesn’t give advances.  They have also learned that saving can be fun too.  The more you save then the more you have.  Wow!  What a concept. 

I have shown them how to plan ahead and budget for the future such as if we are going on vacation or for upcoming birthdays and holidays.  We are also learning resourcefulness such as using coupons to stretch our dollars and making gifts instead of buying them pre-made. 

I was proud of my girls this past Christmas because they chose to make their own gift wrap and tags instead of buying them.  The year before they split the cost of a roll of paper at the $1 store which, I thought, was a great idea.  This time they decided to use that money for the actual gifts and made their own. 

I am amazed at how quickly it all makes sense to them and their understanding of money concepts has already developed.  I also love that they are very much willing to work and make extra money when they feel they need to. 

Money is not a taboo subject in our house either.  We openly discuss what interest, bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt and those things mean.  We talk about the importance of careful purchasing, donating to good causes, saving for a rainy day.  What is a credit card?  How do checks work? 

I want my children to grow up with good strong money sense and I want it to come naturally for them.  So I start early so it is ingrained in them from the beginning.  I know they will most likely make mistakes when they are older but I also know they will have the ability to fix their mistakes and learn from them too. 

How is the money subject handled in your household?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!


First Day of Spring!

March – 30 Things to Do This Month - Update


I am much happier with my progress this month compared to last month.  The weather has hampered our outdoor progress a little bit but I am clipping right along regardless.
1.                   Sweep/vacuum out the garage
2.                  Vacuum interior of the car, wash inside of windshield
3.                  Make freezer chili or soup
4.                  Make a gift
5.                  Clean up the front yard
6.                  Family Movie Nite – popcorn!
7.                  Start seedlings for garden
8.                  Finalize garden plan
9.                  Complete one task on the HOUSE TO DO LIST
10.               Make new Christmas card list
11.                Take in the glass recycling
12.               Start a pair of slippers or a baby blanket
13.               Clean and re-organize hall closet
14.               Clean the leaves out of the pond
15.               Sew something
16.               Purge my closet and drawers – collect items to donate
17.               Pull weeds outside
18.               Take donations to the drop-off
19.               Wipe down the exterior appliances in the garage
20.              Clean up the backyard
21.                Move the refrigerator and mop underneath; vacuum the coils I’m always afraid of what lies beneath…….
22.              Family Game Nite
23.              Super dust the upstairs hallway
24.                Get the bicycles ready for spring my girls did this all by themselves!  I was very proud.
25.              Plant grass seed in the bald spots (end of month)
26.              Clean the gutters
27.              Super dust my bedroom
28.              Clean the ceiling fan in my bedroom
29.              Finish cleaning the interior upstairs windows
30.              Super scrub the litter box
How is your list coming this month?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day


May the luck of the Irish be upon you today.

The Big Purge


The approach of spring always seems to bring this out in me.  I look around my home and think “Hmmm.  What can I get rid of?”  Watching an episode of Hoarders has that same effect too. 

This year we are doing a serious purge.  We did one four years ago and got rid of a lot of stuff we didn’t need or use.  This year we want to pare down even more and try for a little more simplicity in our lives.  Not to mention some wriggle room. 

The criteria we are using is: 

Do I love it, need it or want it?
Is it worn out or outdated?
Is it adding value to our lives?
Do I use it? 

If it can’t make it past this criteria, then it is out of here. 

So far we have purged the pantry, hall closet and my bedroom.  I have quite a pile started of items to sell on eBay or Craigslist.  I have also started a list of the bigger items I am ready to part with as well. 

We will most likely have a yard sale in the next month and I made a really big decision to sell our 13ft camp trailer.  We are beginning to outgrow it and are ready to travel in a little different style now.  I will be happy not to have the upkeep of it anymore as well. 

The girls are working their way through their room and have made quite a dent already.  They are getting excited about selling some of their items in our upcoming yard sale.  They have even started to make signs for it.

I am also happy to report that we were able to put quite a few items in the recycling bin and not the trash. 

Are you doing a big spring purge this year?  If so, share your ideas and what you are getting rid of.  Plus share how you are getting rid of things too. I am always up for new ideas.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sausage Pesto Pizza – A Five Ingredients or Less Recipe


Super easy and quick meal! 

Sausage Pesto Pizza 

Pizza dough
1 cup cooked Italian sausage
1 Tbs pesto
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese 

Roll out your dough and brush with pesto.  Top with cheese and then sausage.  Bake at 450° for 12 to 14 minutes.  Watch it! 

This is hands down one of our favorite pizzas.  We love it.  Served with a crisp green salad and a little vinaigrette – delicious!  Super budget friendly too.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March –30 Things to Do This Month


Every day this month I am going to pick one thing from the list to do and then mark it off.  Some I can do quickly and some I will need to schedule time for.
1.                   Sweep/vacuum out the garage
2.                  Vacuum interior of the car, wash inside of windshield
3.                  Make freezer chili or soup
4.                  Make a gift
5.                  Clean up the front yard
6.                  Family Movie Nite – popcorn!
7.                  Start seedlings for garden
8.                  Finalize garden plan
9.                  Complete one task on the HOUSE TO DO LIST
10.               Make new Christmas card list
11.                Take in the glass recycling
12.               Start a pair of slippers or a baby blanket
13.               Clean and re-organize hall closet
14.               Clean the leaves out of the pond
15.               Sew something
16.               Purge my closet and drawers – collect items to donate
17.               Pull weeds outside
18.               Take donations to the drop-off
19.               Wipe down the exterior appliances in the garage
20.              Clean up the backyard
21.               Move the refrigerator and mop underneath; vacuum the coils
22.              Family Game Nite
23.              Super dust the upstairs hallway
24.              Get the bicycles ready for spring
25.              Plant grass seed in the bald spots (end of month)
26.              Clean the gutters
27.              Super dust my bedroom
28.              Clean the ceiling fan in my bedroom
29.              Finish cleaning the interior upstairs windows
30.              Super scrub the litter box
What’s on your list this month?
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