Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adjusting to a Pay cut

Some pay cuts will require no adjustment, or very little. If you take a pay cut but get a shorter commute, move to a lower cost of living area, or get better/cheaper insurance, you may find that your savings offset the loss in pay. For other types of cuts, you may have to make some adjustments.

First and foremost, if the cut will be voluntary (you’re starting a business, changing careers, or taking a sabbatical, for example) save up as much cash as possible before you make the move. This will give you a reserve to fall back on if things don’t go as planned. Other tactics you may have to employ are discussed below.

Downsize: You may have to downsize your lifestyle while you adjust to living on less pay. This can mean small changes like eating out less, dropping services, having a yard sale to raise money, or buying fewer unnecessary items. It may also mean bigger changes such as moving to a smaller home, selling expensive cars for cheaper models, pulling kids out of private schools, or taking fewer/cheaper vacations. The amount of downsizing you’ll need to do will depend upon the amount and duration of the pay cut, as well as how much cash you have in reserve and how close to your income you were living before the cut. If you were living right at the limit of (or above) your income, you’ll probably need to cut back more than the person who was already living frugally.

Move: You may not only need to a move to a smaller house or cheaper neighborhood, you may need to move to another area altogether. This is something that people often don’t want to think about but which may be necessary. You may have to look at lower cost of living areas, especially if you can’t deal with the cut in any other way and you see no chance of your income returning to what it once was.

Prepare to answer questions from potential employers: If you’re intentionally seeking a job that pays less so that you can change careers or work fewer hours, you’re going to have to answer uncomfortable questions form potential employers who think you are likely to bolt for higher paying work. You’ll also have to answer questions in the future from employers who want to know why you left a high paying job for a lower paying one. Your drop in pay will be part of your salary history and you’ll be expected to address that. Have your answers ready and offer an explanation as to why you wanted or were forced to be paid less.

Deal with the emotional fallout: Even if you willingly choose to take a lower paying position it can be hard to adjust emotionally. If you’re used to making $200,000 per year and suddenly you’re working for $50,000, it can make you feel less valuable. Even if you’re enjoying the work and are generally happy, it can still be an adjustment. Don’t define yourself by your paycheck. If you’re happy and able to make a decent living, try to let it go.

Deal with the societal fallout: People who “knew you when” will be curious as to why you are making less. If you’ve chosen this path, they may look at you strangely. People don’t always understand why someone would choose things other than money. Snootier people may look down on you if you sell your McMansion and move into a smaller place so you can do something more meaningful. Even if you are forced into a pay cut, less sympathetic people may ask things like, “So, when do you think you’ll be rejoining the country club?” You’re not obligated to answer any questions. You can simply change the subject or say nothing. If your friends give you too much grief, it may be time to make them former friends. Don’t let people’s opinions bother you.

Taking a pay cut, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, can require some adjustments. Those adjustments may involve more than budgets and numbers. You may have to rethink how you feel about yourself and deal with people who don’t understand your position. This can be unexpected and add to the stress of the situation. Prepare yourself as much as possible to deal with these things and you’ll adjust to your new situation much more easily.

Article found here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Who's winning?

Summertime has been extremely difficult for me. I love the lazy days, the sun...and sleeping in. Those are given, right?

Unfortunately, there is always a draw back..some sort of scientific reasoning behind it. {Thank you Newton!} Basically saying, "Hey moms! Thanks for letting us have lazier days. Thanks for letting us have a bit more sugar. Thanks for letting me stay up." These end up turning our kids into the 7 dwarfs of summer: I'm grumpy, whiny, meany, back-talker, yeller, moody, sulky.

Thank you children!

I promise, we have talked and talked and talked about how they are each other's best friends. They need to stick up for each other and to be kind to one another. So far it has worked wonderfully on the playground, but it's another story at home.

Thankfully we have FHE or Family Home Evening. This is one night a week that we set aside for just our family. It gives us a chance to talk, sing, play games and to show our love for one another. (For more information, click HERE)
Tonight I felt very strongly that we needed to focus on us. Our family. We talked about how when we do things that aren't nice or kind, we are letting Satan control our situation. It was very eye-opening to see our children work hard to combat something as powerful as he.
We came up with a family plan. A game of sorts. We know that when we are doing something wrong, "Satan is winning." On the other hand, when we are doing things that are right, "We are winning." It has been great. Yes, it has only been in effect for 3 hours, BUT a lot has happened.
Case in point: Spencer was pushing Livi. All she had to ask was: "who's winning?" To which Spencer replids, "Satan." I can see him internalizing this and really trying hard. Did we have to ask this question to both of them most of the night? Yes. BUT the fact that they are trying means so much to me.
So, here is the big question(s): What have you done to help combat the summertime woes? How do your children get along? Ideas?

Monday, June 27, 2011

13 Cases When a Pay Cut Might Make Sense

We are almost hardwired to pursue ever increasing pay levels.

Each job should, ideally, give us a salary bump. Yearly evaluations should result in increased wages. In pursuit of ever higher pay, we sometimes miss out on opportunities in life that require us to take a pay cut or to forego money entirely for a time. But to pursue anything other than higher pay goes against what we’ve been taught. But is a pay cut always a bad thing? Not necessarily. Even involuntary pay cuts can turn into blessings.

Now, if you need every cent you currently make the thought of any reduction in pay can bring on panic. But for many of us there is some room to do things that pay less than our current jobs, or to forego a raise if we can get something even more valuable. Here are some cases where taking a pay cut might make sense.

1. To take a job you love: If you have the chance to do work you love, to work with people you love, or in a place you love but you have to take a pay cut, you have to ask yourself which is more important: Overall happiness or money.

2. To start your own business: If you want to go out on your own, you’ll probably have to work for less than you’re used to, at least in the beginning. The upside is that you may end up making far more later on and you’ll be doing work that means something to you.

3. To get better hours: If taking a pay cut means that you can stop working nights, weekends, uncompensated overtime, or holidays, it may be worth it if you value free time and normal hours over money.

4. To trade pay for more vacation time or other benefits: Sometimes a job offer will come with less pay, but better benefits such as more vacation, better insurance, a good employer 401k match, or stock options. In this case you may find that, although your actual pay has gone down, your overall compensation has increased. If these benefits are worth it to you, the pay cut is a good idea.

5. To take a sabbatical: You may reach a point where you decide to take the family to live in Europe for six months or to pursue some long held dream. You may not have to quit your job, but you will likely have to agree to greatly reduced pay, or no pay at all. If the reason for the sabbatical is important to you, giving up your pay may be the only way to go.

6. To move to a lower cost of living area: If you want to move to an area with a lower cost of living, you’ll likely have to take a pay cut. The good news is that you won’t need as much money since your living expenses will be reduced in the new area. This can result in a much bigger savings opportunity over the long term.

7. To take a “learning job”: If you want to change careers, you’ll probably have to take a pay cut to get your foot in the door with an entry level job. However, you’ll be learning the ropes of your new career so it may result in more opportunities later on.

8. To get a job in lean times: In tough economic times you may have to take a pay cut just to get a job. When jobs are hard to come by, you may have to take what’s offered no matter the pay. Some pay may be better than none.

9. To keep a job in lean times: In tough economic times, many employers slash or freeze pay. If your only choice is to quit without another job lined up, you may have to just take the cut until things turn around.

10. To get a shorter commute: A shorter commute can save you a ton of gas money. If you can get a shorter commute your lower pay may be offset by your gas savings. You’ll also have more free time and maybe be able to sleep a little longer in the morning. That’s worth more than money.

12. To get a better chance to move up: If your current job doesn’t have many opportunities for advancement, you may have to find another employer. This can result in a pay cut, but if there are more opportunities for advancement you may be better off in the long run.

13. To save your health (physical or mental): If you hate your job or your boss is a toxic SOB, you may be better off taking a pay cut to go somewhere else. Your mental health is worth more than money. Similarly, if your job isn’t safe or you work around toxic materials, you may be better off leaving to do something else. You can’t replace your physical health.

Not everything has to be about money. Yes, it’s nice to get a raise. Extra money can give you more breathing room or a chance to afford some things you’d like to have. However, there are cases, unique to every individual or family, where a pay reduction may not be the disaster that we’ve been taught it is.

Article found here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And the winner is....


Congrats Sarah! You are going to love Lindsay.

If any of you want to read a little bit more about her (in-vitro, baby #3, how she got her body back AFTER her kiddos)...

Click here:
Lindsay Brin

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I always have a hard time coming up with side dishes. Yes, I know cracking open a can of veggies works or a salad, but sometimes I want to break OUT of that mold and come up with something different.

Summertime is a bit easier. Corn on the cob. Watermelon. Pasta salad. Cucumbers and tomatoes. Yum!

Here are a few SALAD recipes to add to the summer list:

-Cucumber Salad This is a light and easy salad with few ingredients.

cucumber salad

-BLT Pasta Salad Yum. This salad takes your regular, run-of-the-mill BLT and makes it either a side or a meal.

BLT pasta

-Black Bean and Corn Salad I make a version of this..and it is SO GOOD! Anything with black beans and corn is a winner in my book!

black bean and corn salad

-Potato Salad I’ve had my share of good potato salads, but doesn’t this look amazing? Must try it soon.

potato salad

-Chopper Salad. This is one of my recipes from my food blog. I love it. Some may call it Cauliflower and Broccoli salad. The difference between the Chopper and the Cauli/Broc is the size of the veggies. The picture below is of the Cauli/Broc salad. When we make it? We chop them down. It’s good!

chopper salad

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tax Free Weekend

If you live in one of the following states, PLEASE check out this website for tax-free weekend/week. Usually it is in August and the perfect time to shop for school clothes, without the taxes!

Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Tax Free Weekend

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lemon Bars

Why did no one tell me how easy making Lemon Bars was? Seriously. Spencer and I made these for the missionaries and they were good. One thing to note though, was that when you press the bottom in to the pan, make sure it is even. I didn't do a very good job, so half of my lemon bars were, well, lemon bars and the other half were more like Lemon Cake. To be honest, I liked the Lemon Cake side better. YUM. Not too much lemon for Luke. win. win.

Here are the goods:

2 c. flour
1 c. margarine
½ c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray.
Mix the above ingredients with a pastry blender til crumbly, then press into the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until slightly brown.

4 eggs
1½ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
Juice of 2 lemons (or about 6 Tbsp. lemon juice)
½ tsp. baking powder
a little lemon rind

Mix and pour over pre-baked crust. Bake 20 minutes at 350*. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars.

*Next time I am going to be more creative and cut down on the 2nd half of the recipe and see if they turn our like last night...more cake-like. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Post edit: I cut the topping down to half. It was really good, but it was too pastry-like. I liked it, but I also like crust. Stick with the regular recipe.

Giveaway Reminder

Just a reminder that the giveaway ends in a few days!! Lindsay Brin is AWESOME!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Barbecue Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad

Compliments of Chef Jacqueline Little & the Market District® Recipe Development Team
Serves: 4-5 Prep Time: 20 min. Cooking Time: 45 min.


  • 1-1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin
  • 2 Tbsp. International Spice Bar-B-Que seasoning blend
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup Nature’s Basket chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Market District® olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup frozen white corn, thawed
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Place tenderloin on plate and rub with seasoning blend; cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place quinoa and broth in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and transfer to a medium bowl to cool. Heat grill to medium heat (350-400°F). Brush tenderloin with 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook on preheated grill for about 12 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove from grill and place on a plate to rest for 5 minutes. While pork is cooking, prepare salad. Add corn, red onion, red pepper, cilantro and 1 tablespoon olive oil to bowl with cooked quinoa. Toss avocado pieces in lemon juice to prevent discoloring and add to quinoa salad. Season with salt and pepper as desired and gently toss to combine. Cut pork into thin slices and serve with quinoa salad.

Recipe found here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Race Report Mohican 50 Miler

I did a 50 mile race this last weekend and here is my report. My main reason for sharing this is to show that people that run this far should have their heads but really that we are normal people and like most forms of exercise, there is a lot of learning that goes on through pushing yourself through limits you never thought you could get to. Don't mind my nerdiness, but do enjoy:

2011 Mohican 50
A few weeks ago I noticed that there was a trail Ultramarathon nearby, so I decided to sign up. I signed up for the 50 mile race and my husband teased me by saying that he couldn't really give me any respect unless I was doing a 100. I came back by pointing out that I would do the 100 but that would put me into racing on Sunday, something I will not do, so I just had to settle for the 50.
I am grateful that I only did the 50, for that was challenging enough.
I should have known that it wasn't going to be my best race when 5 days before I found out that instead of getting out of work at 3 on Friday afternoon, Todd was going to be getting home at midnight. That left me with having to leave Saturday morning at 2:30 in the morning to be to the race for the 5 AM start.
Friday evening I was getting all my racing stuff together when I realized that I had still not purchased some running gaiters.When I did the 100, I had to keep taking my shoes off to get the rocks and debris out of my shoes - it was a good thing I wear my shoes very loose so they were easy to get on and off. I swore I was going to get some gaiters for they help prevent anything getting into your shoes. I was quite frustrated with myself for forgetting, especially since the local running store was now closed. I had one last hope in Dick's Sporting Goods, but unfortunately the shoe department guy had NO CLUE as to what I was talking about - and that is why I like getting my gear at a real running store, the people know what they are doing and selling you.
Deflated but not defeated, I decided to make my own gaiters. Using an old ankle sock, I cut out the toes, stuck my foot in through the original opening all the way through the new opening and using velcro stickers and safety pins I put the homemade gaiter into place. I finished in time to get a text from a friend saying that it was raining hard down in Mohican, where the race was occurring. My gaiters were just made out of cotton, but I got my sewing machine out and made a lining consisting of a more waterproof material.
After all this I hit the pillow at 11:15. Sometime around 1 AM Todd came home from work to find me sprawled in bed with Grant across my stomach. At 2 my alarm went off and by 2:30 I was in the car driving to the race.
I was quite apprehensive about the drive to and from the race. I knew that I would have a lot of alone time during the actual race and that the last thing I wanted was to have a lonely 2 hour drive that had to be done before and after the race. The drive was obnoxious, but not unbearable. On the way home I was even able to have a good conversation with my dad, so I guess it all worked out okay.
I got to the race in time to check in, change, and get to the line up with 5 minutes to spare. At 5 AM the gun went off and so did a couple hundred of runners. The first hour of running was a little tricky for even though we had headlamps, it was still dark and unsure footing, but it was great getting out on the trails again.
I had never been to the Mohican trails before, nor was I able to find any elevation maps (though I don't think I know how to read those very well anyways) so I was shocked to find the course so hilly. The climbs and descents were miserable! I couldn't believe how steep they were and how frequently they occurred. The course was probably 90% uphill or downhill with the last 3-4 miles consisting of the steepest hills, some of which had no tree shade...and the course was two loops so that had to be done twice!
Even though the course was difficult, it was beautiful. Most of the time I was in the shade of trees, so even though it was quite warm, I was grateful that the sun wasn't beating down on me. The hills were gorgeous, with a lot of different things to see. At one point I'm running through a forest, the next I have these big beautiful green fern all around me, the next I was on four-wheeling trail. My favorite had to be when we had to climb down these steps made out of the rocks, these steps were steep and slippery, the race director had cautioned the runners about this particular part for many people have fallen and gotten hurt at that point. After climbing down, we were in a ravine, going along near a creek that we would hop from one side to the next. We finally came out of the ravine by climbing up a steep cliff by grabbing onto a web of petrified roots, grabbing hand over hand. So GORGEOUS!!!
One of the best things about running Ultras, besides the majority of them occurring on trails, is the people that you get to run with. When running road races, you may talk to the people around you, but for the most part, every one is focused, competing against one another. When running an Ultra, it is as if you are going out on a huge group run. It doesn't matter if you are the elite or the slowest in the group, everyone is given respect, everyone is treated well, and there is A LOT of talking going on.
I found that I would run "on my own" for about 5 miles, then I would run with someone, talking with them meanwhile for the next 10-15 miles. I got to know these people as we helped each other out, pushing each other, encouraging each other. One particular runner that I ran with for the last 15 miles, Denis, who was doing the 100, gave me some of his water when I ran out of my fluids a mile or two before the next aid station. After I had finished the race and was resting, I ran out of water in my container. A man, who was showered, walking good, and had the wristband indicating he was a 50 mile runner (probably came in first place) asked me if I needed something. Not wanting to go to far for water since I was in the shelter house trying to put up my feet before driving home I asked him if there happened to be a water fountain in the building. He said there wasn't, but pointed me towards the beer tap. I smiled and politely refused. Then he offered to take my bottle to where the finish line was and refill it for me, which I took him up on. I will probably never see any of these people again, but will always be grateful for them.
In every race there is a moment (and it can be a LONG moment) that I absolutely hate running. I loathe it, I wonder why I am doing it, I am looking at my watch and realizing that the fastest way to be done is to run but that it is also the last thing I want to do. These moments are really hard to get through, and a lot of times I will find myself walking through them. But just after these moments is when I have the best thinking going on. Things seem much clearer, more optimistic, more hopeful. This is when I get some good ideas and work through some personal issues. This is when I meet myself.
One way that I am able to get through the tough moments is by my motivation...people I love. Since Todd had to work until late Friday night and had to be back to work Saturday afternoon, he wasn't able to come support me. It made me sad, for Todd is my greatest strength and support. I love that guy. I did find support from the other runners and really appreciated them, but I was incredibly grateful when I finished the first loop (at 6 hours) and heard "Yay! Loni!!!" It was my dear friend Linda. Yes she was my sole supporter, and I didn't even expect her to come. She had an activity in the area that afternoon, so she came up early to cheer me on. I appreciated seeing her, feeling her love and support. It definitely helped me get through the next couple of miles (I had 24 left).
I did have a hard time between miles 30-38, walking a lot, feeling how tight my buns and quads were feeling...I was NOT use to these hills. I listened to a Conference Highlight, then feeling much more motivated, I picked it up, running all but the steepest of hills, "killing" (or passing) many people, most of which were men.
I finally ran into finish at 12:17, 17 minutes over my goal but I did not realize that the course was going to be so brutal, so I was just happy that I got under 13 hours. I ran an average of 4 miles an hour (15:00 min/mile pace) with some parts going faster and some parts going slower. I finished first in my age division, eighth women, and happy to be done!
I did have someone ask me if I had made my own gaiters, they were obviously homemade, but they held up to the challenge and so did I.

to leash or not to leash

How do you feel about putting your child on a harness? Humane? Necessary?

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Alright, so I mentioned a few days ago that we were going to have another giveaway. This one is from our Wellness section.

I've already written about how much I love Lindsay Brin, but why don't you try her out for yourself? In just 23 minutes you can jumpstart your metabolism...

To get in on the action:

1.) Leave a comment below saying WHY you want this DVD. (1 entry)

2.) Get a friend(s) to FOLLOW us and you get 3 additional entries (yes, you can have more than 1 friend join=lots of entries for you!) Please let us know that a friend followed.

3.) Post this on FB or your blog. Twitter? Do it!

This will close next Saturday night, June 25th at 11:59p.m. EST. GOOD LUCK!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rent the Runway

Have you heard of this awesome site?!?

Being Mormon I sometimes have a hard time finding elegant FORMAL attire for work parties, weddings, holiday events, etc. I feel like most dresses that are modest are also made out of NOT "formal" fabric--cottons, linens, etc. I need SILK and SATIN, people!


They are designer dresses that you rent ($50-$200). You pick the dress, you pick your size (they will send you a back-up size for free), and they will mail it to you in time for your special occasion.

Now, just beware, most of the dresses are NOT modest, but I have always been able to find between 15-20 dresses that ARE modest and totally appropriate for special occasions. Plus, nothing makes me feel better than knowing I'm wearing a $1000 Badgley Mischka dress that I paid $50 to rent for the weekend! haha!

so, get a free account at

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I recently heard about this amazing line of swimsuits. They look awesome and the site is so interactive. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

knot necklace

Knot Necklace

One of the cutest yet simplest crafts I've ever done. Supplies Needed: Remnant fabric (any kind that isn't too stiff), craft balls (I used 3/4 inch) pins, and sewing machine. Optional: dowel and Velcro

First, cut a strip of fabric 4-5 inches wide (depending on the size balls you want to use). My fabric was 45 inches long. It created a finished product that used 11 craft balls, 12 knots, and was 24 inches long.

After cutting the fabric, pin wrong sides together (the full length of the fabric), and sew down the length of the fabric.

Tip: After sewing the fabric. I sewed one end shut (It just looks better-it doesn't serve a purpose).

Next, turn the fabric right side out. I used a 45 inch long dowel to push the fabric through.

Once the fabric is turned the right way, knot one of the ends--leaving about 3-4 inches of fabric.

Then drop a craft ball in.

Next, tie a knot on the other side of the ball.

Repeat until you run out of space (you have about 3-4 inches left of fabric). Knot the end.

I didn't have enough fabric to just tie the ends so I sewed a small piece of Velcro to the ends to hold it together.

Instant cute necklace! Takes all of 10-15 mins.



semi-annual sale

We love Crazy8 over here.

What better way to get good quality clothes, for a fraction of the cos,t than to shop Crazy8?

Better yet? Shop their semi-annual sale! WOOT!

click the link and shop:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

29 Ways to Create Breathing Room in a Budget

Sometimes you have to quickly create some breathing space in your budget.

When you need to find extra money fast, what can you do (besides hit the payday loan places, which is a really bad idea!)? Here are twenty-nine ideas that can be implemented quickly. 

*Katie’s thoughts in pink!

1. Sell stuff: Have a yard sale or put your goods on Craigslist. We have had some success with this…a lot of work, but well worth it at the end!

2. Return things: If you have any purchases that you haven’t opened or used yet, take them back immediately. The cash or credit on your credit card will help.

3. Drop/downgrade subscriptions/memberships: Drop or don’t renew anything like Netflix, cable TV, gym memberships you don’t need or use, and any magazine/newspaper subscriptions you have.  Over the past few months we have dropped Netflix ($10), cable tv ($30-34 savings) and our gym membership ($70).  $110!!

4. Sell a car: If you can get by with one car (or none), sell one and pocket the cash. If you don’t want to sell, park the car and remove the plates. You won’t have to pay for insurance that way. Or, you can sell your expensive car and get a small beater to get around town in.

5. Ask for lower interest rates: Call your credit card company and ask if you can get a lower rate. They might oblige.

6. Refinance: If you can afford the closing costs and substantially lower your monthly payment, refinancing may save you more in the coming months.

7. Get aggressive with your utilities: Turn off everything that’s not in use and turn off everything at night. Take shorter showers. Do less laundry and dishes or at least make sure the machines are full. Line dry clothes. Keep the house warmer or cooler than usual and either put on a sweater or turn on a fan. Utility use is one of those things that is within your control, so take advantage of that and cut as much as you can.  Other options?

8. Stop eating out : Not only meals, but stop getting coffees, pastries, and other snacks away from home.

9. Buy generic: When times are tough, brand loyalty needs to go. Buy the cheapest brand you can get.

10. Modify your insurance: Call your insurance agent and ask if there are any discounts. If not, shop around. Ask about raising your deductibles. Make sure you’re not paying for double coverage and make sure you’re not paying for something you don’t need. Don’t drop your insurance altogether.

11. Cancel your cell phone or your landline: If you can get out of your contract or it is ending, switch to a prepaid cell phone and limit your usage. If you can cancel your landline phone, do it.

12. Cancel services: If you have a maid, landscaper, handyman or any other service provider, drop them.

13. Stop smoking or drinking: Expensive and bad habits need to go.

14. Stop shopping recreationally: Make lists and stick to them. Don’t go to the stores if you don’t have to. Beware the $10 Target trip that morphs into $100…or in our case?  COSTCO!

15. Get rid of pets: It’s harsh and I would only use it as a last resort, but pets are expensive. You can save a bundle if you can find them new homes. Best decision we ever made.  (Granted, she didn’t fit our family….)

16. Learn to coupon: You don’t have to resort to extremes, but you can cut your food, cleaning, and hygiene budgets by a decent sum.

17. Make your own cleaning products: I’m amazed at how much cleaning products cost. You can make your own with vinegar and baking soda for pennies. We will be giving a recipe to make your own laundry detergent!

18. Stop charitable giving: I’m all for giving to charities and churches when you can afford it, but if you can’t afford it stop it for a time. Don’t agree with this one 100%.  Keep up with the tithing=blessing.  Just my personal experience!

19. Cancel any planned vacations: If you’ve paid deposits, cancel and get those back. You can rebook later.   Try a stay-cation.    Much more affordable and you can find new adventures close to home!

20. Pull kids out of activities: Things like sports, clubs, and other activities are expensive. Stop paying for memberships and lessons until things are better. The kids probably won’t like it, but you have to do what you need to do to get by.

21. Pull kids out of private school: Tuition is high and your kids will survive in public school until you can get them back into that private school. At the very least, ask the school if there is any aid available.

22. Stop paying for your adult children: Too many people are paying for weddings or tuitions to the detriment of their own finances. These kids are adults. Let them find their own way to pay for some stuff. If they’re living with you, make them pay rent.

23. Renegotiate your bills: Call your phone, Internet, TV, cell phone, or trash providers and ask for a discount. Many will give you something to retain you as a customer. Some may have money saving alternatives that you didn’t know about. Ask nicely. We have done this a few times with our cable.  They were willing to give us a few months at a cheaper rate, just to stick with them!

24. Find new places to shop: Stop shopping at the expensive supermarket and try the lower priced markets or farmer’s markets. Don’t shop high end department stores, shop the big box stores. Try dollar stores. There are plenty of places to get what you need for less. We shop at Aldis.  Much cheaper priced food (for the unique things we go to the grocery store.)  Be very weary of the big box stores.  We used to go to Costco and spend $100-200 each time we went…”Sure, we’ll only buy toilet paper.”  {righhhtttt…} 

25. Eat what you already have: Make meals from what you already have on hand rather than heading to the store. You may have to make some strange combinations, but it’s cheaper than shopping.

26. Ask for help: If things are really bad, ask for help from your church, family, friends, food banks, or government assistance programs. Don’t abuse the generosity, but such programs are there for a reason. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to get you through.

27. Collect any money you’re owed: Send in any rebates you have lying around, cash in any points at rewards and survey sites, and call in any debts owed by family, friends, or people you’ve done work for. Check your state’s unclaimed property office to see if you have any outstanding money owed to you.

28. Cut entertainment: No more movies or store bought books and DVD’s. Borrow from the library or friends, instead. If you have to go out, look for free options.

29. Put the kids on the bus: In our area, the school system provides bus service, paid for with taxpayer’s money. But many parents drive their kids to and from school because it’s “convenient.” It’s also expensive because it wastes gas. You’re already paying for the bus. You might as well use it.

Some of these things will work for you and others won’t. You may find some of these ideas insensitive. That’s okay. Everyone has different priorities and things that they are willing to do. Take what you can use from this piece and ignore the rest. However, if you need to quickly open up some space in your budget you should at least consider anything and everything, even if it seems drastic. When things get better, you can always add in the things you miss.

Found article here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

10 Summer Fun Activities

Summer is just around the corner for us.  Doble and Razy just finished their last day of preschool last week and Lil' E will be done by the end of next week.  I was searching the web for some fun activities and crafts to do with the kids and found some I thought were worthy to pass onto my readers.  Stay tuned throughout the summer and we will share more ideas that we find.

 at Ziggity Zoom
My kids are already ready to get wet this summer.  They have already pulled the sprinklers out for some water fun.  We are going to try this fun way to cool off this summer using water balloons and a plastic bat. 

at Random Thoughts of a Super Mom
Popsicles are a must during hot summer days.  They are even more fun when you the kids can make them themselves.  Look at how colorful and yummy these ones look to make.

at Family Fun
My kids are big fans of sidewalk chalk.  But with this fun and easy recipe we can make our own with ingredients we have on hand. 

at I am Momma Hear Me Roar
What a fun way to keep the kids occupied for a little bit.  The idea of using the egg cartons is genius.  They each get their own carton with the list printed right on top.  I love that this can be changed out for any type of scavenger hunt.

at Chasing Cheerios
The kids could spend lots of time searching for small toys and other objects that have been frozen in a block of ice.  If you have room in your freezer you could even do this on a larger scale by filling a large bin.

at Brown Chicken Brown Cow
We don't live in an area with fireflies, but this cute idea just using Mason jars and glow in the dark paint would be a hit with Lil' E.

at The Decorated Cookie
I can't wait to try this out with the kids.  We go camping atleast 3 times a year.  This year we are going 4 times that have already been planned for.  I am definately picking up some food writers from the store before our next camping trip so the kids can have fun creating marshmallow art.

at Delia Creates
We just finished planting our garden a few weeks ago and the kids had fun helping.  They would get a kick out of growing hair for their very own Recycle Man.

at Crazy Domestic
We don't do jello very often.  Sometimes it is a hit and miss as to whether the kids are going to want it.  This cute idea is simple enough to take the chance to see if they would have fun eating silly citrus jello shots.

at Imagination Soup 
My kids love to go out and play outside.  They love to play on the playset and pull out their bats and gloves or run through the sprinkler.  However, there are days that they just don't know what to do.  Creating an obstacle course would be perfect for those days.

at Sew Dang Cute Crafts
When you figure out all that you want to do this summer why not make this cute activity board and place it where everyone can see?

Do you have fun things planned this summer to do with the kids?  I would love to hear what they are.

{Peaches @ Positvely Peaches}

Let’s GRILL!

Have you ever heard of Grilled Watermelon?  Me neither.  I am not sure if I could eat something as perfect as watermelon, after it has been grilled…but why not give it a shot?

Pizza?  Fruit?  Give them a try!

Grilled Pizza
Grilling is a high-heat medium, so you want a thin crust that will toast nicely in a short period of time (try rolling out one of the pizza dough balls available in our Freshly Prepared Foods Department), and thin-cut toppings — not at all like hearth- or oven-baking a pizza.

If you’re using fresh dough and putting it directly on the grill (not using a grill pan), heat your grill only to 250ºF. Brush rolled-out crust lightly with olive oil, being careful not to use too much so it doesn’t drip and flame. Toast lightly on grill for 2 to 3 minutes, like you would a bun, then flip and add light, thin toppings.

Try Mediterranean ingredients — almost anything from your garden, like fresh tomatoes, oregano or basil. Artichokes are nice, as are olives, thin-sliced charcuterie meats, fresh Mozzarella, or other cheeses that melt easily, like Mexican Chihuahua. Close the lid and grill for 2-3 minutes, watching closely, so as not to burn.

Grilled Romaine
Start with a whole head of romaine lettuce, and cut it in half lengthwise, peel off outside leaves — anything loose or browning that might fall of when it hits the grill.

Heat grill to 350ºF. Brush garlic or lemon oil on cut side, sprinkle with salt and fresh-ground pepper, then place flat-side-down on the grill. Leaving cover open, grill 3-4 minutes until grill marks appear (if you close the grill, the lettuce will get mushy). Remove from grill and serve warm like a wedge salad with blue cheese, or with fresh tomatoes, artichokes, olives, lemon juice and olive oil. You can also cut it into cubes to add a smoky, sweet flavor to regular tossed salads.

Grilled Watermelon
Heat grill to 400ºF. Cut watermelon into triangle wedges small enough to pick up and eat. Grill 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, cut into cubes and mix with 3 cups of baby arugula. In a small bowl, whisk the juice of one lime and a tablespoon of honey and drizzle over top salad.

Grilled Stone Fruits
Grilling stone fruits, like apricots or peaches, is wonderful. The high heat caramelizes the flesh, making it sweet and intense, with a touch of smoky flavor that is incredible on ice cream or angel food cake.

Heat grill to 350-400ºF. Choose firm, ripe apricots or peaches, cut them in half, seed and brush a little vegetable oil on the cut sides. For added sweetness and flavor, dip the cut side in turbinado sugar, which will caramelize the surface like crème brûlée. Grill 3-4 minutes away from the “hot spot” on your grill, careful not to burn. If you scorch the fruit, the natural sugars turn bitter.



Article found here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Wow. Luke and I watched, Life as We Know It, last night. I may have cried a bit during it.
It really made me stop and think about what would happen to our children if Luke and I were to die. I know that if I died, Luke would take them and vice versa. BUT, what would happen if both of you died...together?
We don't have a will. I know, I know. How irresponsible of us. In our defense, we have had a really hard time trying to decide who our kids would go to.
Grandparents: They did a great job with us, respectively, BUT they have already raised their children and have already done all of that. They don't want to have to do it all over again.
Siblings: The majority of them already have kids. Do they really want to add another 3 to the mix? They have their own routines, their own lives...where would our kids fit in?
Friends: We have really good friends. But again, would we really want to leave OUR 3 children with them? They have their family rules, they AREN'T just wouldn't work.
So, what to do? What have you all decided? OR do you just have the mentality that you will live forever and therefore, don't need to write a will? ;)
Let me know!
**Also, we will be having a giveaway later on this week. Invite all of your friends to "follow" so that they can get in on all of the fun too! Plus, for every friend that follows, YOU get extra, EXTRA entries.**

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Here is a scenario:

You buy something from the store, say a light fixture. You get it home and take it out of the packaging and put it up. A few months pass..and you see that it is broken. It is NOT your error, but the manufacturer's. You go to return it, but you don't have a receipt.

Is it ethical to go buy another one (the exact same light fixture) and then return the broken one using the 2nd receipt? (And yes, you disclose that it is broken)

BTW, this is an actual scenario. Two light fixtures were bought. One of the bases had a crack, so it was exchanged. A few months pass and the OTHER light fixture has a huge crack in it (that wasn't noticed IS on the ceiling). This is not error of the consumer, but of the manufacturer.  Ethical?  Or not?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

recycling broken crayons

Recycled Crayons

Have you all seen the books that Family Fun puts out? If you sign up for a two year magazine subscription they send you books about crafts, party ideas, cakes, etc. They are awesome! Anyways, I got the idea for recycling broken crayons from their book.

My son has a tendency to break crayons while he's coloring. He's just very intense:) So, rather than throw the broken pieces away I save them and then recycle them.

Supplies needed: aluminum foil, borken crayons, and some cookie cutters OR tuna can tins.
First, wrap the bottom of the cookie cutters with aluminum foil.

Tip: If you are using tuna can tins then you don't need aluminum foil. You can just put the crayons right in the can.
Here they are wrapped.

Next, unwrap the crayons from the paper.

Then put the crayons into the molds. Fill about 1/2 full.

Put the molds into the oven at 300 degrees for 5-7mins.

Tip: watch the crayons. They melt fast. You don't want them you melt completely into one color!

When you're done, let them cool in the molds for about 30 minutes.

When they are cooled--pop them out of the moldings. Be patient or they will break apart--like mine did. oops!

Tip: The side that face the aluminum foil will be more colorful.

Color away!



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Father's Day Ideas

Father's Day is quickly approaching and I'll be honest-I have a really hard time trying to find that perfect gift for the men in our lives.  So this year I'm doing things a little bit different.  I'm having each of my kids give him a gift to "do" together.  For example, my son loves baseball so he is giving his dad baseball tickets to go see their favorite team-the Arizona Diamondbacks-together!  My youngest daughter loves icecream so I'm getting a gift card to Dairy Queen for her to give to him.  All these gifts allow for a special "Dad date" for each of the kids-all doing things that Dad likes to do with them!  I'm hoping this will be a fun tradition in the future.  I'm also going to wait and see if there is anything in particular that he wants and if there is I'll just get it for him from me!

I have a big collection of birthday decorations that I just pull out every time we have a birthday to celebrate and I decided that I also wanted to do that with some good Father's Day decorations.  There are so many great ideas out there on the web right now so here are a few of my favorites and the links that they go to.

I loved these little tie box printables and they were so simple to make.  I did mine in round vases that I bought at the $1.  Can't beat a dollar!  Plus they're irrestistable with the fun snacks inside!

I've seen this quote all over the place this year and wanted to do something with it.  I happen to have a block of wood so I just drilled three small holes into it and twisted some wire to make picture holders.  Then you can put up however many pictures of your man and kids that you'd like!  My husband isn't big on the frilly stuff so all of my decorations had to be pretty simple.  You could easily dress this up with some scrapbook paper and modpodge or even some ribbon and stuff.  Mine just has the black vinyl.  I'm going to add a coat of finish to it just to protect it, but thats it!
The last thing that I made was an "Our Dad Rocks" jar.  I saw this somewhere recently but I can't remember for the life of me where, so the idea is not mine.  But I thought it was too cute and TOO SIMPLE that I had to make it.  I just rinsed out an old pickle jar and cut out the vinyl on my Silhouette and then you're done!  I had the girls go out back and find some rocks to fill it!

I hope that gives some fun, easy, inexpensive ideas to help celebrate Father's Day with your wonderful men out there!  Happy Father's Day!


Mosquitoes suck. Quite literally. I know this is a family friendly blog, but seriously. Enough is enough.

Many of you experienced an enormous amount of rain over the past few months. We had record fall here. And let me say: I love rain. I really do, but between having our basement flooding and a swamp-like backyard, I was ready for it to be over!

The past week has seen a majority of sun. It has been so nice that we were finally able to put our trampoline up (2 months after we promised!!). Enter the villains.

While setting the tramp up, we were bit no less that 10 times. WITH repellent on! Our kind neighbor even came by and used a store bought 'fogger', but to no avail. It was a lost cause.

Now, we all know that the bites are annoying. and they itch. So what can you do?

1.) Repellent.  Not only is this important, but it is important that you use the RIGHT ONE!   I don’t respond well to low Deet repellent.  The ‘squitoes still love me. 

The most effective one I have read about is OFF! Deep Woods.

It will last about 5 hours on average..but isn't very safe for kids. Too much deet.

Instead try this one for the kids:

off! skintastic

We use this one and it has been great.  It smells good and like it says, it’s smooth and dry.  It isn’t sticky and I like that.  It was even in the top 4 picks of consumersearch

*Children under 2 should avoid most repellents. 

2.) Avoid the pests.  Alright, so this one is wishful thinking, BUT do try some of these:

  • Water.  Make sure there isn’t any standing water. It can quickly become a party for them!  (even those baby pools can become an issue)
  • Fragrance FREE.  Yes, this includes deodorants, perfume, lotions, etc.  Personally I am not going to stop using them, but I’ll be cutting down before I venture outside.
  • Rub garlic on you.  Blah!  I love EATING garlic, but rubbing it on your body?  Not only are you going to be successful in keeping the bugs away, but you are also going to alienate yourself from your family, friends, anything and anyone with a nose.  BUT, it is worth a try!  Winking smile
  • Plant.  There are some plants that help repel mosquitos.  Here are a few:  basil, marigolds & rosemary.

3.) Citronella.  This has been proven to help.  Light a few torches or candles and even rub a bit on yourself.  (Be careful of allergic reactions)

Other ideas:  bug zapper. 

**If any of you know about safe foggers or how to control a backyard, send them MY WAY!