Sunday, February 22, 2009

Budget Friendly Tip #2- Buy YOURSELF a gift...

...a GIFT CARD that is!

This is just really pre-allocating funds and sticking to it. It especially comes in handy for those guilty pleasures that send us over our budgets. For me, it is hot chocolate and a pumpkin scone from Starbucks or a book from Barnes N' Noble. So why not:

  • When you have a little extra cash, buy a gift card for your "hot spot".
  • Allocate a time allotment for your card, say one month.
  • Give yourself permission to use your gift card in that time period, but when it's's done!

This gives us permission to still do the things that are important to us, which will help us stick to it. If sticking to allocated funds is difficult for you, why not buy gift cards for all of your sub-categories (groceries, TARGET, etc). Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mail Call Volume II ~ another exciting surprise!

I have a nephew who is serving our church as a missionary in the Zurich, Switzerland mission. I love all my nieces and nephews (they've been more like brothers and sisters to me) but this guy holds a little bigger piece of my heart. This is because I was in the delivery room with my sister when he was born, I was only 15.
He is such a talented, strong guy with great character! We were visiting Europe just a few months after he arrived in Switzerland so we were able to meet up with him for a few hours (approved of course). This was such a thrill for all of us, especially my children!

Well, his service is almost done! While looking through my mail today there was a large envelope addressed to ME and only ME! I was thrilled to see it was from him. With email, missionary letters are a little more few and far between both ways.

When I opened it I squealed with joy! First because Rob was staring straight at me! Then I realized that was not the real gift. Look at this beautiful antique German sheet music! I adore it! I am already planning the frame and location for it. What makes it even more special is that this sweet 21 year old guy thought of ME!

After drooling over the gorgeous sheet music I went back to the magazine. As I thumbed through it I found out that my nephew translated it for me! What a sweet, thoughtful thing that I will cherish much longer than my obsession with Rob!

To Elder Adams, You are such a great example to me! I love hearing about you sharing your talents and personality with everyone in Germany and Switzerland...Oh, and Elder Bednar too! I hope you know how much we love you and miss you. We are counting the days until we see you and can help you cross things off your "list". Keep up the great work for our Savior! We love you and thank you for my gift!

Love, Jen

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lucky Me!~ Mail Call~

A few days before Valentine's I went to the mailbox and found a surprise! And it was for ME!It was from a friend who had moved away and that I still keep in touch through blogger, Facebook, etc.
Can you even imagine my glee when I opened it and found such pretty things !
Once opened I found these exquisite gift tags and a sweet note.
Thank you so much Carissa! Isn't it so refreshing when we know we are thought of...and for no reason at all? It really inspires me to take someone by surprise just like this...pass it on!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Budget Friendly" Tip #1

I think it is fair to say that we are all looking at ways to cut back and spend less. A couple of personal a-ha's I've had while keeping a budget are 1. I like to show people I care and I usually spend money to do that (small gifts, flowers, etc.) 2. I love to shop! Whether it be groceries or for the house it makes me feel like I am working toward a goal of running my household/life better when I get something new.

A challenge has been to find ways to not spend money, but still fulfill myself through simple pleasures. One of these simple pleasures is baking. Two great blogs are so inpiring! Check out Bakerella and Bake It Pretty, you will not be sorry!

So here are some yummies that I made up with things I already had in the pantry...FREE!
A friend gave me fresh lemons!

So, of course I made lemon bars!

I still was not done, so I always have the ingredients for peanut butter cookies!

What good is a cookie without chocolate?
After baking and cooled, melt chocolate chips and dip half of cookie.

Let chocolate harden on wax paper.

For less chocolate (why?) sprinkle instead of dip.

Packed up and ready to give away! See budget a-ha #1 above.The family would never forgive me if I let them all go!

Monday, February 9, 2009

L♥ve On The Slopes

We are lucky to live in an area with moderate temperatures, but snow is less than two hours away. Hubby decided to take the kids up to play while I had some things to do. While looking through the pictures I found this adorable "moment" my almost 11 year old daughter had. Check it out!
"Beep, beep! Excuuuuuse Me!"

She's on her way again. But he cannot let her go...

He's smiling at her...
...still smilin'... ...and yet he is still smilin' at her and she is off like a flash.

I wonder if this will be a pattern for her...leavin' the boys smilin' in the dust! ;)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Perfect for a Rainy Day

Please forgive me for being MIA lately! Not to be a downer but it has a little something to do with two new crowns (and I am NOT talking the sparkly, royal ones!) and frantic chaos about major budget cuts in the school district I work in.Okay, enough of that!
I found two morsels that I HAVE to share with you! Disclaimer: Keep in mind I choose fluffy (sometimes corny) types of entertainment.
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The first was a pleasant surprise since I hadn't really heard of anyone loving this book. WELL, I did! It is the complete fantasy-type (NOT HARRY POTTER FANTASY) book that I love! It was clean and I read it in a day and a half. Like always, it will not change your life BUT it was a lot of fun for me. Beware, if you are not a Jane Austen nut you probably want to steer clear. Final word is that it is pure, plain guilty pleasure reading!
If you are interested in reading other reviews by moi, be sure the check me out on GoodReads!

You've heard me say before that for me to enjoy a movie it has to be pretty to look at. Hence one of the big reasons I hated Benjamin Button. Recently E (who is practically 11) rented Penelope and what a fun little movie it was! I am a sucker for the modern-day fairy tale movies. This one has a great moral, good acting AND is so visually detailed! Check it out on a rainy afternoon and you will not be disappointed!