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Showing posts from July, 2012

Budgettabouddit!

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Repost!  Somehow Part Deux posted *over* this original post, so your comments are actually over there.  What a mess!Get it?  Ha! I crack myself up.  So I’m feeling the urge to have a little chitchat with my online pals about moolah.  Budgets.  Making ends meet.  Bringing home the bacon, and cooking it too.  Recently, I found out one of my good friends is totally clueless about her finances, and I was shocked.  She’s a smart chick, and hearing that she’s totally in the dark (and stressed) on her money issues really surprised me.  I don’t want to be the pushy friend who’s like “OK, sit down, let’s do this”, but I can talk about it here and maybe it’ll help someone else. I feel strongly (is strongly strong enough?) that having a budget is THE ONLY place to start to get a clear financial picture of what’s going on now and where it’s taking us, because our finances are definitely taking us somewhere.  Unless you’re the rare family who spends *exactly* what they earn, our finances are eithe…

Budgettabouddit! Part Deux: Expenses

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Last time we talked about moolah, it was all about budgets.  That is, having a cold, hard, system for tracking the cold, hard cash that comes into your house and having a plan for how that cash will exit your house as well (though hopefully not all of it will be leaving….).Let me get all Dave Ramsey up in your biz now: Our money shouldn’t control us.  We should control it.  Right? Right   (If money stuff gets you into ‘deer in the headlights’ mode, check out a Dave Ramsey book from the library.  You’ll be glad you did.)My little soapbox was inspired by the shocking revelation of a friend of mine that she’s totally clueless about how she spends her money.  In a nutshell, she is consistently out of money at the end of every month and has no idea where it goes.  So here I am, pontificating to the bloggy world and trying to share what I can in the hope that it might inspire some good-budget-ideas for some of you lovelies.I started with describing our budget: actual income to the dollar an…

In a Bindweed?

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While I was out spraying some weeds the other evening – my gardening time now falls in the 30 min or so right after Avery goes to bed – I realized I needed to bust out the big guns for a couple of particularly nasty culprits.Usually, I pull weeds.  For weeds I know I can’t successfully kill by pulling, like dandelions (you’ll almost never pull the root out unless you dig it out) and a few others, I use Round Up.But….Round Up is potent.  And I usually mix it a little strong, since I have one weed in particular that seems to need a little more concentration or it just wilts and chuckles.  Nothing more annoying than taking the time to actually spray a weed and then realize it’s still there a week later and practically gloating.  So I mix it strong…and sadly, I’ve definitely killed a few good plants with it.  By “good”, I mean ones I actually wanted to survive =(  Every summer I seem to take out at least one good plant with the Round Up sprayer.I think I might have killed our tiny little …

Some Days You Feel Like a Drip

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Howdy!  Happy Monday, everyone.Have I told you the news yet??  This is officially my last week of working full-time.  I am SO.EXCITED!  Avery and I are going to have the best time once I’m not chained to my desk 8-5!SoExcited!A while back I mentioned we finally installed a drip system in our back garden.  It didn’t get any water at all from the sprinklers, and rainfall around here is pretty much nil, so that meant it just didn’t get watered.Oh – except the raised bed, which is on the sprinkler system.  Minor detail The REST of the back bed, though, is a desert.  I’ve tried to plant low-water-need plants back there, and some are doing ok, but many of them are struggling anyway.  It’s just so hot and dry.So a drip system has been on my mind for a while.  We never got around to putting it in, though, because we knew we’d have to buy a huge length of main line (and not use a huge length) and all the connectors etc.  This isn’t exactly an expensive project, (all the parts are like $1 a bag…

What an AstroBright Idea!

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This post brought to you by Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper. All opinions are 100% mine. Yo.  I was thinking the other day that I should keep an eye out for paper sales at HobLob so I can stock up my stash.  Ever since my babysitting days, I've had a supply of paper on standby.  It's one of my basic starting points for many of my little crafts and projects.  Colored printer paper (with as many colors as possible!), construction paper, and scrapbook paper are my staples. So when AstroBrights was looking for a blogger to do a sponsored post, I was up in front waving both hands and one foot to get picked.  It worked, apparently!AstroBrights papers come in 23 bold, vivid colors.  It's great for printing (nice and smooth - ahhh), and of course for cutting, gluing, Mod Podging, scrapping, framing behind glass (for a custom colored dry erase surface of course!), and anything else you can come up with.  It's a fabulous all-purpose paper, which makes it indispensable for t…

Easier Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie

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I found a yummy recipe for a “Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie” in Taste of Home magazine and it was so good, I’m going to share it with you all – with some modifications.See… once I made it, I realized it could be simpler than the recipe stated.  Semi-homemade, if you will.  (I hope Sandra Lee doesn’t have a copyright on that phrase…does she?)First of all, I don’t make my own pie crust.  Never have, probably never will.  That was easy change #1.  I bought a frozen crust and baked it.Secondly, the method of making the caramel wasn’t hard, but it could be easier and involve fewer dishes, too, using a crock pot.  Easy change #2.  Put a can of unopened sweetened condensed milk in your crock pot, cover it with water, cook on low 8 hours.  Cool, open it up and find caramel.  (Nifty little trick I learned from Pinterest – and yes it definitely works.)The other option with the caramel is to do it as the recipe originally suggests (see recipe below), but I don’t recommend letting it cool very …

It’s Wednesday already?

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My gosh it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  Ready for the lowdown?  A week or so ago, Nick’s company went out of business, and everyone lost their jobs.  Luckily, he found a new job very quickly, though he hasn’t started yet.We refinanced our mortgage.  Avery turned 8 months old.We had two out-of-town weekends in a row.And as usual, I’m busy busy trying to keep up with work and baby at the same time. Fortunately, it’s worked out well that Nick is home this week and he’s been a huge help in taking Avery so I can get some things done.  Plus, he’s making his way down a little honey-do list I made for him.  He’s the best!! He….swept/sprayed out our dirty garage and took junk to the recycling center.  He set up a drip system (hallelujah!) in the back garden – just you wait.  It’s stinkin’ awesome.  He has ran errands, made me lunch, sprayed some weeds in the lawn, and he’s going to seal the new pergola tomorrow.  And no, he’s not available for borrowing Also in the last few days, Avery’s ha…

Baby Hair Flowers: DIY

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Is it just me, or does the BIG thing now seem to be BIG bows and BIG flowers on little babies?  Now that I think about it, it might actually be “just me”…  maybe mommies have been cutifying their kiddos for ages with big ‘ol bows and fabric flower headbands and I’ve just never noticed.  Sometimes I’m shockingly oblivious.   Anyway, I think it’s totally stinkin’ cute.  What’s not to love about an adorable baby with some adorable baby-bling on her head to draw your eye to her adorable-ness?So I’ve looked around to add some baby cuteness to Avery’s stash of hair accessories …but I’ve gotten hung up on a couple things.First, the price.  I’m stingy when it comes to things that won’t get much use.  And trendy cuteness definitely comes at a price.Second, the size.  Although I totally dig big bows on other babies, some are just a little *too* big for my baby.  I have a feeling they’d be the next thing to end up in her mouth.  BUT…something a little smaller would be perfect.Finally, a lot of t…