Friday, January 30, 2009

A bit about the day so far...

I saw this on my friend Miriam's blog My Country Cupboard.  I thought it was cute and planned to post this morning.  I looked at the questions and thought "I've got to make this good!"  It has forced me to get to work on the good stuff!!  My morning got off to a bang with finding mouse droppings in the kitchen utensil drawer, so I have spent the morning doing lots of dishes and scrubbing all the drawers and cabinets (Brandon set a trap before he left for work).  So the clean utensils are sitting out on the kitchen table until we catch the vermin!  Why, oh why, does the man have to be allergic to cats!  

Well, here goes...
Outside my window...   It is beautifully sunny and about 40F.  They are calling for 60F today with snow showers tonight and tomorrow... Don't like the weather?  Stick around for a minute; it'll change!
I am thinking...   I really need to return these library books I thought I had already taken back!  Dave (Ramsey) doesn't let me put stupid things like library fines in my budget!
I am thankful for...   Warm days that remind me that Spring is right around the corner!
From the kitchen...  Mouse droppings... GRRR!  and Green Chicken Chili (my favorite meal).
I am wearing...   Sweatpants and a tank top with my great-grandma's apron overtop.  Wearing an apron makes me feel so domestic and I really feel like I get more done when wearing one!  Try it!
I am going...   to try to negotiate some kind of deal with the (2 year old) girl to get her into some clothes.  She much prefers to be nekkie!
I am reading...  Food Dehydrator reviews.  I am in the market for one... any tips?
 I am hoping...  to catch a mouse today!
 I am creating...  nothing at the moment.  I need to clean up the sewing room and get to work on some new stuff (and finish the binding on Eden's quilt)!
I am hearing...  My extraordinarily loud dishwasher and Michael Buble.
Around the house...  Toys and kid books are all over the floor and I have 2 loads of laundry in a basket to fold (and another load in the washer).
 One of my favorite things...  Blogging with the girl in my lap!  So snugly this morning! 
A few plans for the rest of the week...  Birth Talk tonight, Pioneer Girls (church girl's club) Wednesday night, teaching my class Thursday night and Valentine's Social with my Sunday School class on Saturday!  During the day, I just have to keep us within the budget (and cook and clean and mother a 2 year old and try to stay sane)!
A picture thought I am sharing with you...  Eden, hiking on our last cabin trip.

Lentil Stew

On our Total Money Makeover, we have pared down our budget to the bare minimum.  There is no "fat" in there and I am working all the time to stretch and shrink our grocery budget.  We have a $30/ month dining out and entertainment budget, so, that means that nearly ALL of our meals are at home.  Brandon is brown-bagging it (which he did most of the time anyway) and I am getting creative!

 Tomorrow we are having dinner with friends, so that is one less meal I need to prepare!  Tonight, however, we are having lentil stew.  Here it is simmering in the pot.  It smells divine!  

2 slices of bacon
1 med onion (diced)
1 stalk celery (diced)
minced garlic to taste (I like a lot)
1 can diced tomatoes 
1 cup lentils (rinsed and drained)
1 cup water

Fry bacon until crispy on stovetop.  Set bacon aside.  Use bacon grease to saute onion, celery and garlic until tender.  Add tomatoes, lentils and thyme to pot.  Add onions celery and garlic along with bacon and water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer 1 hour (or until lentils are tender).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dave Ramsey

As most of you know, this past year I quit my part time job as my friend's nanny.  This decision has been wonderful for our family, but has put us in the situation to really pay attention to our finances.  We lost $600 of income per month when I came home.  This is after several other job changes for me over the years that have all cut our income significantly.  

Back in May, we began using an online budgeting program called Pear Budget.  It is by far the most simple budgeting program I have ever used (I tried Money and Quicken in the past).  Pear Budget has helped us get our finances under control and we have not really "suffered" while living on one income.

We made the decision to do more toward getting our finances in shape in 2009.  God provided us with a wonderful Christmas gift from Brandon's Grandma Klippenstein.  This gift was just what the doctor ordered!  It was a copy of the book Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  I read the book quickly and got on board with the plan.  Brandon and I are now reading the book together (out loud to each other at bed time) and implementing the Baby Steps.

If you remember, please pray for us as we work toward living a debt-free life!  We have made some financial errors in the past, but no more!

Handmade Christmas

We made it through Christmas unscathed!  Brandon and I made the insane decision to do an entirely handmade Christmas.  We made the decision before I knew I was pregnant and once we found out about being pregnant, we decided to stick with the decision anyway.  It was hard as I battled through the exhaustion of the first trimester, but we did it!  

Here are some pics of Eden in her Mama-made chef's hat and apron!

Cooking carrots in her new kitchen!

Making banana bread in Mama's Kitchen!