Food Projects for 2014

food projectsWhen we got married, I claimed the kitchen.  This is my space to relax, destress, and create.  From quick and simple sandwiches, to more elaborate desserts, I have always enjoyed the time I get to spend in the kitchen.

As our family has grown, my kitchen time has gone from pleasure to more of a necessity, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy it.  I have made baby food for my older children, and each year I put up enough applesauce and jam to get through the entire year.

This year, I want to enjoy some more play time in the kitchen, and have come up with ten  food projects that I would like to attempt this year.  I’m not assigning these to any particular month, however some will be part of the DIY Blogger Project as well.

  • Homemade Feta
  • Crockpot Yogurt
  • Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Lemon Curd
  • Puffed Pastry
  • Smoked Brisket
  • Grind My Own Sausage
  • Homemade Mayonnaise
  • Beef Jerky
  • Cure Our Own Bacon

My husband is excited about having homemade beef jerky & trying our hand at curing bacon.  Actually, I think all of us are really excited about the bacon, because, well, its bacon!

I’m looking forward to quality time in the kitchen, and sharing these food projects with my family, while teaching my children that real food comes from the kitchen.

Goals for This Week

Goals ConceptFor over a year now, I’ve been sharing my daily goals on the Raising A Family On  A Budget facebook page.  I list 5 things that I want to accomplish each day, and posting in an open forum has kept me accountable.

Since I have so much to do over the next 7 weeks to get ready for the baby’s arrival, I figured why not post my weekly goals here on the main page so that I can be accountable for them as well, and you will often see these broken down during the week as my Top 5 Daily Goals.

So here’s just a peek as to what I have on my plate for this week, which is full of end of the year activities at my children’s school, my daughter’s birthday party on the weekend, work at the university on Tuesday, and what real life looks like for a mother of 2 with one on the way.

  • Order edible cake topper for Emily’s birthday cake
  • Design party favor labels & decorations
  • Send labels & decorations to Office Max to be printed on card stock
  • Assemble favors
  • Bake & decorate cake – Friday
  • Clean out my coupon binder
  • Send expired coupons to the military
  • Order extra coupons from My Coupon Hunter
  • Contact Hammertime to schedule install of range hood/microwave
  • Attend both David & Emily’s parents’ day recitals at school
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Sell back books that are taking over my office floor
  • Donate old prom dresses/bridesmaid dresses that I have no use for
  • Make a consignor appointment at Little Boutique to sell off some of the little girl clothes that I have and won’t be needing
  • Send in rebate for HH Gregg
  • Send in rebate for P&G from ShopRite last week
  • Update BRU & Target baby registries so that the items I need are on there prior to receiving my 10% close the registry coupon
  • Put Shop4Charity & BDFL stuff into storage

So this is what real life looks like.  A busy week of stuff to do around the house in addition to normal housework, blogging and working.

What does your week look like?  Anyone have an equally busy week to tackle?

Businesses mentioned in this post are ones that I actually do regular business with and mentioning them is just a true picture of what my upcoming week looks like.  None of the businesses mentioned have asked me to post about them, nor do they know I was going to write this up today.

Mega Swagbucks Today! Sign Up to Earn Free Gift Cards & Merchandise!

mega swagbucksI just love SwagBucks!   I want to hit my Daily Swagbucks Goal each and every day until the baby is born so that I can rack up the gift cards to use for the things we need – diapers, wipes, pedicure for mommy, you know the necessities.  So far so good, and I’ve had 57 consecutive days of hitting my Swagbucks goals, and am only 725 Swagbucks away from another $50 gift card!  Add that to the $110 in gift cards that I have already earned in 2013 and this is a HUGE help for us financially.

What are your Swagbucks goals?  Are you earning free airfare to Disney like Jen from Berkley Baby Creations?  Paying for Christmas with gift cards like our friends Donna & Steve?  Buying new furniture for your child’s room like our friend Kelli Lynn?

No matter what your goals are, or what it is you want for yourself or your family, utilizing Swagbucks can help get you there while saving some cash!

Want a little boost to your Swagbucks earning potential?  Today is Mega SwagBucks Day. Every Friday you have a higher chance of winning the Mega Bills (30 – 1,000 Swagbucks!). So, if you haven’t been searching all week, then at least remember to search today!  And don’t forget about your guaranteed SwagBucks either by answering the Daily Poll and completing NOSO.  And if you have either an iOS or Android device install the free SwagTV app and earn up to 50 SB per day just watching video clips (if you don’t have unlimited data, turn data off from your settings menu, and only use the app when you are on WiFi so you don’t get hit with the data overage charge).  It all adds up to big savings for you!

 If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for!?!  Consider this your personal invitation.

Setting Daily Goals

As many of you have noticed, I post my top 5 goals for the day on the Raising A Family On A Budget facebook page.  I have found that by sharing my goals, I feel more accountable for actually getting stuff done.  There have been times that I’ve wanted to do things for weeks, and it isn’t until I write down the goal and have the accountability of saying it out loud that it actually gets done.

As we move into 2013, I plan to continue sharing my daily goals list with you, and you are always welcome to share your list as well.  Having that accountability of having it written down and having other people know what your goals are can benefit us all.

My daily list is usually 5 things that I want to get done.  This does not mean these are the only things I’m working on during the day.  Every day involves a myriad of tasks that need to get done, but these are the 5 on my “hot list” for the day.  Depending on my mood, and everything that is going on, sometimes accomplishing a hot shower before noon is a goal!  And, that is absolutely ok.

With each stage of life, things change and we need to be willing to accept that none of us are super human.  There are only 24 hours in a day, no matter how much we try to cram 36 hours of stuff into it, it just won’t happen.  Some days, I may have only 2 or 3 goals, and that’s ok.  You have to be realistic and do what works for you, but not so much that you get burned out (hence while I have been MIA for the last few weeks).

Housework continues to be my nemesis.  I’m taking 2013 to take care of myself, take care of my family, organize the house, remove clutter from every aspect of my life, and learn to live on less.

I am going room by room so that I do not get overwhelmed nor do I burn out and decide that I’m not going to do it anymore.  For an item to make it onto my daily list, it needs to move me towards one of my umbrella goals for the year.  By breaking down my larger goals into smaller bite sized pieces, all things can be achieved.

Here is to a productive 2013, where we all reach out goals!

 

 

 

New Month, Time to Revisit Goals

Its the start of a new month so it is time to revisit my goals for 2012.

Having been sick and completely out of commission for 2 1/2 weeks really set the tone for January.  I didn’t get to my DIY project for the month, nor did I read my first of 12 books for the year.  My house is still cluttered, and we haven’t had a chance to schedule a painter to come out to take care of the kitchen (which is ok, since there is still a ton of other stuff to be done in the kitchen).

On the positive side, I’ve lost 11 lbs and have been doing well with the weekly menu planning.  I have spent a lot of quality time with my family, and am taking full advantage of taking Sunday’s off to rest and relax, something I haven’t done in ages.

As February begins, and I’m finally feeling healthier, its time to kick it back into high gear and meet my goals.  This month, I plan to complete 2 DIY projects – the cloth napkins and homemade lip gloss – and I am going to start reading Dave Ramsey tonight instead of putting it off for another day.  This month’s organizational project is the kitchen and laundry room so that we can get the kitchen painted, and move forward with having an oranized home.

What are your goals for February?  How have you been doing with your 2012 goals so far?

Setting Daily Goals

As many of you have noticed, I post my top 5 goals for the day on the Raising A Family On A Budget facebook page.  I have found that by sharing my goals, I feel more accountable for actually getting stuff done.  There have been times that I’ve wanted to do things for weeks (or years as was the case with the fish tank yesterday), and it isn’t until I write down the goal and have the accountability of saying it out loud that it actually gets done.

As we move into 2012, I plan to continue sharing my daily goals list with you, and you are always welcome to share your list as well.  Having that accountability of having it written down and having other people know what your goals are can benefit us all.

My daily list is usually 5 things that I want to get done.  This does not mean these are the only things I’m working on during the day.  Every day involves a myriad of tasks that need to get done, but these are the 5 on my “hot list” for the day.  Depending on my mood, and everything that is going on, sometimes accomplishing a hot shower before noon is a goal!  And, that is absolutely ok.

When I was a new mom, my daily goals were taking a shower, taking a nap, and remembering to eat 3 meals.  Nothing else was getting done those first few weeks, and that is ok.  With each stage of life, things change and we need to be willing to accept that none of us are super human.  There are only 24 hours in a day, no matter how much we try to cram 36 hours of stuff into it, it just won’t happen.

At this point in my life, I feel like I have a strong routine in place for getting up and getting moving most days.  However, housework is my nemesis.  I’m taking 2012 to take care of myself, take care of my family, organize the house, remove clutter from every aspect of my life, and learn to live on less.

I am going room by room so that I do not get overwhelmed nor do I burn out and decide that I’m not going to do it anymore.  For an item to make it onto my daily list, it needs to move me towards one of my umbrella goals for the year.  By breaking down my larger goals into smaller bite sized pieces, all things can be achieved.

Here is to a productive 2012, where we all reach out goals!

 

 

 

My Goals for 2012

I have always made New Year’s Resolutions, and every year, they are out the window before the beginning of February.  However, on the occasions where I set goals, even if they are long term, I stick with them.

So for that reason, I decided that for 2012 I would set a few goals instead of making a bunch of resolutions.  Goals are things that you can achieve and that you can break into manageable chunks to see actually happen.  Below are a few of my goals for 2012, and the steps I’m going to take to make sure that they happen.

:: More Quality Time As a Family

  • family playtime one night a week
  • turn the TV off more frequently
  • take Sunday’s off from work/blogging
  • weekly trips to the park in the nice weather
  • monthly date nights with my husband

:: Get Organized

  • go room by room and declutter
  • prepare for Best Dressed for Less Consignment Sale at the end of March
  • prepare for a garage sale in May
  • update and maintain a family notebook
  • menu plan weekly
  • keep up with laundry and other housework
  • maintain a grocery budget
  • continue to make lists of daily goals

:: Lose Weight & Get Healthier

  • weigh in only once a week
  • track food and exercise using SparkPeople
  • join a no frills gym and exercise 3 times per week
  • make more meals at home
  • limit take out to twice a month

:: Save money by putting in an edible garden

  • read up on backyard homesteading & square foot gardening
  • create a garden plan on Mother Earth News
  • build and put in 3 raised garden beds – one for strawberries, and 2 for veggies
  • learn to pressure can the veggies from the garden
  • dry the herbs to use through out the year
  • learn how to have a root cellar to store vegetables for the winter
  • sell the abundance at the local farmer’s market

:: Build My Website/Business

  • commit to blogging 6 days a week – taking Sundays off
  • share monthly posts checking in on my goals
  • create a blogging schedule and stick with it
  • develop a newsletter and mailing list
  • continue to guest post on several area blogs
  • utilize Facebook, Twitter, and Google +
  • teach a minimum of 12 couponing/frugal living classes

In order to hold myself accountable, I will be blogging on these different goals through out the year.  I hope that the dialogue that is created will help all of us to be successful.

What are your goals for 2012?  I’d love to hear about them and how you plan on making them come true!

12 Books I Plan to Read in 2012

One of the things I have learned in the last year is that I need to put myself back on the list.  Too often I, like many of you, put everyone else around me first – the kids, the husband, the job, family, scouts, church – the list goes on and on.  I decided that in 2012 I need to do some things for me, and one thing I miss doing is reading. My goal for 2012 is to read 12 books, not an outlandish number, but something I feel is quite doable since in the last year I’ve only read 2 because of my “lack of time”.

Since I am at the whim of the library with most of these books, I’m not quite sure what order they will be read in, but here is my list:

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey (This will be my first book of the year)
When I Don’t Desire God – John Piper
The Freedom Writers Diary – Erin Gruwell
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins (must read before the movie release)
Large Family Logistics – Kim Brenneman
Organized Simplicity – Tsh Oxenreider
The Quarter Acre Farm – Spring Warren
Family Feasts for $75 A Week – Mary Ostyn
The Backyard Homestead – Carleen Madigan
A Love that Multiplies – Michelle Duggar
Clutter Rehab – Laura Whittman
I’m Ok – You’re Not: The message we’re sending nonbelievers and why we should stop - John Shore

I will admit now, some of these I am going to listen to as audio books just because life gets crazy sometimes, but I wanted to read all of these in the coming year.  Several, I have even had on my shelves for a few years and haven’t found the time to read, so now is the time to start.

Any good books on your list for 2012? 

12 Do-It-Yourself Projects for 2012

I’ve been inspired by all of the DIY projects that I have seen posted over the last year on blogs that I frequent, as well as shared by Raising A Family On A Budget readers.  I have decided that I want to try a few new things for 2012, and after each attempt I’ll share the project with you.  The good, the bad, and the disastrous…

So here is the line up for 2012 – one new project a month that I commit to trying, and we will see just how this DIY experiment goes.  These are all new projects that I haven’t done before.

January – Homemade Cloth Napkins

February – Homemade Lip Gloss

March – Lined Canvas Bins

April – Cake Truffles/Cake Pops

Photo Credit: http://whisktogether.wordpress.com

May – Fold & Go Organizer

June- Homemade Hand Cream (not sure which type I am going to make yet, but I am looking for something very natural, maybe with beeswax)

July – PVC Sprinkler

August – Homemade Watercolors

September – Make fresh feta cheese

October – Homemade Kitchen Hand Scrub

Photo Credit: http://shannonmakesstuff.blogspot.com

November – Felt Advent Calendar

December – Homemade Divinity

Have you set any goals for new things that you want to try in 2012?  I’d love to hear about them!

Happy August!

For some of you, August is the start of the school year, while for others it is a count down to September.

It means an end to the summer, family vacations, and time off of work.

For a lot of families it means a return to a more structured, although often hectic, schedule of school, CCD, scouts, dance classes, sports, and a myriad of activities.

And even if you don’t have children, things just get busier this time of year.  Baseball & football season alone will take up many families evenings.  Plus the nicer weather means yard work, housecleaning, and other projects that the heat of summer of vacation didn’t allow for.

I am going to try and relax this August as we get ready to send my son to preschool for the first time in September.  I want to savor these moments of having both my kiddos at home.

I will be teaching every week this month, and that has added a lot to my family’s schedule, so we will see how things go and if I can keep up this pace moving into the fall.  There is a lot of work to be done in preparation for the new classes that are being offered in September & October, as well as for Shop4Charity.  I set high expectations for myself and having you all on the journey with me is very helpful.

And since I’ve been doing a top 5 goals of the day, I figured now would be a good time to set a few goals for the month of August, bigger things that I need/want to get accomplished and in some cases it may take me the entire month to do.  I feel that this month, four goals is a good number for me and my plans seem achievable which is the most important part.

  1. Set up my new office!  My husband and I split our offices this past weekend, and now I need to get organized so that this space is productive and utilized to its fullest extent and not just a room with a computer and some shelves in it.
  2. Read Dave Ramsey.  We have had struggles over the past 11yrs, and I want to go into the fall with a clearer financial plan.  A lot of the women I respect have gotten their family finances on track using Dave Ramsey’s plan.  I recently purchased his “Starter Bundle” when it was on sale for $49, but now it is sitting on my bookshelf instead of being opened and read.  Must get started this month!
  3. Plan for Christmas.  You read that right.  I need to plan now, in August, for Christmas so that we don’t end up shopping on credit cards or spending more money that we don’t have just to make the holidays magical for our children.  Since I feel so strongly about this topic, I want to write a series of posts so that other families can start planning for the holidays now, and can save even more.
  4. Get ready for the Best Dressed For Less Consignment Sale.  My husband and I have decided that our family of four is perfect for us, so now it is time to get rid of a lot of the baby stuff that has been taking up unnecessary space, and make a few dollars while we are at it.  BDFL isn’t until September, but it is necessary to plan ahead.

Feel free to share what your goals are for the month of August and we can keep each other accountable.

Enjoy your month!