Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Budget Friendly Cooking!

Wanting to save money on food? As you all know, I love Allrecipes.com. I just found a page on there for Budet-Friendly Cooking!


We've been really good about cutting  back in our spending on food. We make meal-plans and value shop. Using my slow cooker and making homemade breads and baked-goods are few easy steps that helped cut back on our food dollars!




What steps are you guys actively taking to reduce your grocery spending?

For more on the Budget-Friendly Cooking check out:
http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Cooking-on-a-Budget-Winter-Edition/Detail.aspx

Farewell To 2011...


Now that 2011 is almost over, what do you wish that you would've done differently? Anything about your life, finances, schooling, relationships, adventure-wise, or anything else? This will of course lead me to eventually think about my goals for 2012, which will hopefully come soon.
                        (This post is based off of one of my favorite blogs, Making Sense of Cents )


I would say that 2011 was pretty good to me.  There were a lot of new experiences in my life in 2011, I took a year off from working, my husband and I went through a MEU deployment, celebrated our first year of marriage, raised my very first puppy, and made some wonderful friendships. I started work again late this year, took control of my finances, started knocking out debt, worked on myself, and getting to know our Savior.
  1. Life. Overall, life was really good this year. Nothing terrible happened. Our last year in North Carolina has really been a good one.
  2. Finances. I wish I had taken control of my finances earlier, but I am very thankful that a friend loaned me "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. It has changed my life as far as my finances. I've already paid off my credit card and am a good way on paying off my furniture loan. I may still have a car loan, but I will be knocking that out hopefully next year!
  3. Schooling. I did take a pharmacy technicians certification course this past spring. It was alright. It's not what I had in mind, but it was a good experience because now I have an idea of what college is like, at least to some degree. I have applied to school and will be starting in the fall of 2012. Other than that, I studied some Italian, but yet again, I slacked on it. I will try again to stay persistant in 2012.
  4. Relationships. Nothing I would change here. I love my husband so very much. We celebrated our first year of marriage. We have our three wonderful pets we call our "kids". I got to visit my father and brother for the first time in 3 years. As a bonus I got to meet my brother's wife! I'm so thankful my brother found such a wonderful woman to share his life with. I got to see my little sister graduate high school, my mother and I started to repair our relationship, and I have made some friendships that I really hope to keep life-long. 2011 has been a great year for relationships.
  5. Fitness. I slacked. Except I walked 93 miles in three weeks for a competition. I toned up and felt great! But once the comp was over, I just quit. I'm so diappointed in myself. BUT! I'm taking control and starting again. I'm ready to be healthy and fit again.
  6. Other. I wish I had gone to the beach more because I know I'm going to miss it. There won't be a beach around us in Pennsylvania, but in the summer my husband said we will try and make a trip. I also wanted to stop cursing, but I'm still working on that.
   All in all, 2011 has been a great year. Farewell to you, 2011!

How was 2011 for you?

What's new!



Hey everyone!
   I apologize for not blogging as much. I've been busy with cleaning and packing up our house for our big move! 20 days left in NC!
I hope everyone has been well!

Ways I've been saving for the move:
   -getting left-over boxes from work and the furniture warehouse
   -asking neighbors for their left-over newspapers to use to protect items being packed
   -putting money aside to use as gas money so I do not have to use my credit card, therefore not racking up interest

If anyone has any other tips, please share! After we move and get settled in, I should be able to blog more!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Be Weary of Where You Use Your Debit/Credit Cards

I was just reading this article on Yahoo Finance. I know it's pretty simple knowledge, but it's always worth the reminder. Please be careful and cautious of where you are swiping your card!

For more read:
http://financiallyfit.yahoo.com/finance/article-113817-11716-3-4-risky-places-to-swipe-your-debit-card?ywaad=ad0035&nc

Thoughts?

Recently, I went to a neighbors house and she was using her homemade cleaning products. She said in the month she has been using them, it has saved them a decent amount of money. I am thinking on doing this as well. The only set-back I can see is that the cleaners are mainly vinegar and alcohol based, so they are stinky. Hahaha. But the smell goes away fairly fast.

Has anyone had experience in home-made cleaning products? Any suggestions? Tips?

Here is a web-site I found that has some basic homemade cleansers:
http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hey all!

Hey guys! How is everything?

 I apologize for not posting in awhile. I'm really busy! I've been getting a lot of stuff done that needs to be done before we move though. It's approaching quickly! Today we put in our 30-day notice to the company we have our house through! 

Things have been going well. Work is picking up a lot around the holidays. Everyone is wanting to buy furniture to decorate their homes for Christmas or just buying furniture as gifts. We had one customer whose mother came in paid off her daughter's $2000 layaway, and paid for the delivery fee to have it all  delivered and set up, all while her daughter was at work! So he daughter came home to a new living and dining room! How sweet! 
  

Our floors? Hahahaha
We all got Christmas bonuses at work! AWESOME!!! :) That was a real treat to find out today! :)

Bible/book study was great this week. It was the best chapter in the book so far I think. 



We got our floors fixed from the hurricane, sort of. Haha! They were supposed to fix the whole downstairs. This was how they left it. lol....ooookay?? It was light colored wood and there wasn't a highly noticeable metal kick-plate? The darker wood looks very nice, but that part of the house wasn't the part that had the most water damage from the hurricane!  Haha oh well! We're moving soon. Whatever :)


A while ago, I fell off my dirt bike and landed fairly hard upon my knee. I never really thought anything of it, a small bump appeared, but I just shrugged it off... until recently when I fell again on the same knee and noticed a larger lump appeared. I randomly, or so I thought, had not been able to do yoga or kneel on this knee to clean, often due to the pain from putting pressure on it. Well, after this recent fall, I am unable to put any pressure on it or an intense pain develops.
I went to the doctor today, and after some X-rays, turns out I have a fracture in my knee. Who knew? I guess I have great pain tolerance!  Next I went to an orthopedist today and he gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the swelling, before he decides their next plan of action. So, I thought that was pretty interesting! Hahhaa


All in all, me, my babe, and our little furr babies are doing really well. :)

How are you guys?

Monday, December 12, 2011

My week in pictures! :)




 Photos from this past week

New short hair (it's a pain to style!)





Hung the stockings (pets on the left, ours on the right)

We put up our tree this weekend!
Snow, trying to take down the tree this weekend. lol


Gun range to test out our newest rifle, LOVE IT!!

Quaze watching the Cowboys game with us.






What's new with you guys?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Following the dream



  Breathe in the crisp, cold air. Feel the slight burn of it as it fills your lungs. The air is thin. Your muscles are aching, but you are on a high. So close, so very close. Fresh ice and snow crunch as you dig into the glacial ice for the final, few feet. Moments later, you reach the summit, your breath is taken from within you. Your eyes are filled with the most indescribable beauty they have ever seen. The sunrise vibrantly paints the sky and spills across the foothills beneath you. 14,111 feet above sea level and a beautiful panoramic masterpiece surrounds you, envelopes you. You've done it. You've reached the Columbia Crest.


  Ever since I was nine years old, I would look out of our window and see Mt. Rainier standing there, covered in snow, in all it's majesty. I have always wanted to climb it. The thrill and the adventure is something I have wanted to experience and now, I'm determined to start my first steps toward this goal. Training!

  My brother and I want to climb Mt. Rainier this coming summer and I am no where near in the physical condition I used to be in. But, lately I have been really wanting to get back into shape. What better way than training to accomplish one of my dreams! I have search all over the interwebs and found two really great mountaineering training programs. 
 
    The first one is a six-week program that starts from a very basic beginner, which I certainly am, to an intermediate level. Where I am located, there isn't really any elevation, so I will be training with distance and endurance. But, after we move, there are plenty of trails that climb high upon hills and mountains. Plus, it will be in the middle of the cold, Pennsylvania winter, so weather training will be in effect as well.

The second program is a 12-week intermediate level training course.

I am really excited to get started, but we will see how it goes tomorrow morning when I will need to wake up at 530am. The first week doesn't look too intimidating, but I've been out of the Marine Corps for a year and haven't really worked out at all since, so...we shall see!


What are some of your dreams?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life Update: Pets, Baking, and working out

I successfully completed 30 days off Facebook. It was really easy. I'm on it now and it's alright. It's the easiest way to keep in contact with my friends in Italy and I like looking at some peoples' photos. But its not as appealing as it used to be. I didn't even get on it yesterday, haha. I can certainly say I am no long addicted to Facebook.

My poor kitty baby had a seizure this morning. I woke up to the noise of scratching, lots of scratching. I thought it was just our two cats play-fighting, like they do every night, but I didn't hear any meowing, which they always do when they play. I got up in a haste and opened the door to see my poor, sweet kitty in full seizure! :'( He was shaking terribly, lost his bowels, and his bladder. It went on for around two minutes :'( He busted his lip in the process :( When it ended and he tried standing up, his right front leg was so turned I was terrified he broke it. It went back to normal after five mins. I rushed downstairs and called the emergency vet and asked what I should do. They told me to wait for my vet, since he was back to normal so quickly. As SOON as my vet opened I got there and they saw him. Thank goodness! He had a seizure before, but that was a year and a half ago, so we thought that they were gone. Sadly, they are not. But we're putting him on medicine that he will take everyday, but should prevent him from having one again. I never ever want him to have to go through that again! He was so scared, I was so scared! As soon as he came to, he started howling and meowing and I ran to him and I just held him and he started purring his little heart out, he just wanted momma. I started crying! My poor baby!! :( But the vet said he is okay and this medicine should prevent any from occuring again as long as he takes it everyday.  

The book is good, but having my sweeties snuggling me
is the best part of an afternoon book
(Snow is on the left, Quaze on the right, and
Kawi is under my feet)


Still haven't started my holiday baking, I was just too busy the last few days and when I did have time to rest, I didn't have enough time to make the treats I want to make. Fudge= delicious, but time consuming. Plus, I'm really into a few new books I'm reading. So I'm going to try for tomorrow! 

I'm reading a new book and it is terrific! I can't put it down. I'm borrowing it from my neighbor Melissa. It's Titled, " Becoming God's True Woman." It's a book written by women for women, about how woman are supposed to be according to biblical scripture. It is an amazing book! The best part is when my little ones cuddle all around me.



Kawi smiling in his bubble bath!

Kawi got a bath last night. We have started giving him one every week. Here's his super cute photo! He loves baths. He loves bubbles so much, so I made him a bubble bath. Don't worry, I rinsed him off extra well to make sure there was no left over soap to make him itchy!


Bible study starts back up this week! I'm really excited about that!

Working out: I have been walking Kawi daily and I already feel better and he's happier too. :) I did zumba once last week. I'm going to try for at least twice this week. I'm just busy!


What's going on with you guys?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekly Check-Up! 11/28-12/5


It's really warm in NC, is it really December?
    (Weekly Money Check-up's brought to you by : Making Sense of Cents )

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on first-of-the-month bills and my vehicle tax. Blahhhh.

2. Today I am thankful for this life Our Father has given us. His patience and mercy. For my husband and our family, our freedoms, and that two of our best friends are back from being out of town! Woo!!!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was hang out with my hubby all Saturday eating Gertrude Hawks chocolate, playing with our pup, and watching NCIS.

4. I will consider this week a success if I finish all my holiday baking and Christmas cards!

5.  My favorite Christmas gift as a child was an American Girl doll that was made just for me from my mom.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Baking!

MMmmmm tis the seasons to eat lots of treats! I'm looking at a lot to make this year. Check out all these yummy treats! I'm excited to get some treats in the oven and have the house smelling sweetly of Christmas and lip-smacking cookies and candies.








And can't forget the sugar cookies!!!





I'm also wanting to try and make Maple Taffy. This looks really fun to make on a snowy day! Perfect for Northern Pennsylvania! I like maple and this looks yummy!




What holiday sweets are YOU craving?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Found some Great Deals today!

My bargain hunting paid off!





        I got a lot done today! I stopped by on of the consignment shops in our town and thought I would look for some good winter items to prepare for that Pennsylvania winter weather! My bargain hunting paid off! I found snow gloves in great condition for $6 and these two cute scarfs! The red one was $1.50 and the blue one was $2! They are really thick material so they should help keep me warm!
 Then!
     When I went grocery shopping today, Food Lion was having an amazing sale on meat! I got enough meat to last us for three to four weeks for....(drum roll)... $22!!! This includes lots of stew meats, a great big chuck roast for pot roast, and enough pork-chops for 6 meals! I'm thankful I went grocery shopping today! And if you are wondering, no it wasn't because they were going to expire soon, I checked the dates. :) Yay! Every few weeks they have a meat special going on and luckily this time, it was the ones I needed! 
   (I also have meat left over from last month so we should be good on meat until we move!)
Savings= $100+

What bargains have you gotten recently? And, do you have any ideas/recipes to help stretch out your food dollar?

December Goal List!







It's that time of year! Happy Holidays!

December Goals:

Walk Kawi Daily: I really want to get back to walking the pup every day! He needs it, I need it. 


Study Italian on Rosetta Stone at least 3x's per week: I got it up and running on my new laptop so I'm hoping it will motivate me more! 

Finish all the things needed for my college admissions: The dead-line isn't until Feb, but I would like to get it knocked out early. 

 Start working out 3 times a week: This does not count walking. I mean like doing zumba or going to the gym. 
  
Really cut back on our grocery spending. : I'm trying to use what we have in our pantry since we will be moving and certainly don't want to lug all that with us. I'm going to be making slow-cooker meals and freezing them to stretch our money out. Mmmm! 


What are your goals for December?

 
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Goals Update




Study Italian at least 3 days a week:  I have been really slacking until yesterday. I downloaded Rosetta Stone onto my new laptop. I did a lot of practice yesterday but that doesn't make up for it, so FAIL. Maybe I will do better next month!

Walk Kawi a lot more I have been walking Kawi more, but not as much as I used to. We're pup-sitting for our neighbors and that keeps me walking more now as well. So I'm going to say PASS, but I'm going to try to walk more next month.

Study one chapter of Pre-cal a week: Just... FAIL. Hahaha

Finish the two books I got from the library: This did not happen. FAIL. But I did re-check them out yesterday and I need to read them to complete an essay this week, so I better hop to it!

Spend under $100 for Thanksgiving: This worked out really well. Our family that came down gave us money to put toward Thanksgiving, so including that, yes, we spent under $100 for Thanksgiving! PASS!

Eat more veggies, less sugar: FAIL. Why are sweets so tempting?! I'm going to try harder next month. Our family brought down some Gertrude Hawks peanut-butter smidgens, and if you don't know, these are the BEST treats EVER! I would highly suggest them! But, becareful. They are addicting! 


Click the link below if you want to find out
just how amazing these are!
                                                           The Best Chocolate Ever  


Read my bible and pray more: Pass and Fail. I've  been reading my bible more than I normally do, but I want to read it a lot more and I want to pray more.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekly Check-up

Mmm, pumpkin cheesecake
(This is not a picture of my pumpkin cheesecake, but looks really yummy too!)


Making Sense of Cents, one of the blogs I follow, has a weekly money check-up. Here's mine!



1. The most I’ve spent this last week was groceries for Thanksgiving!

2. Today I am thankful for family and the wonderful Thanksgiving dinner we had and pumpkin cheesecake. Plus! The fun trip I'm taking tomorrow with Jessica.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was spend a day doing nothing but hanging out with my husband, watching a NCIS marathon and playing with our dog outside.

4. I will consider this week a success if I complete 5 more Italian lessons.

5.  My favorite Christmas song/album  "How many kings" by Downhere

Financial Goals for 2012

DailyWorth, one of the personal finance e-mails I receive daily, mentioned recently about setting up three personal finance goals for 2012. (Part three- Next-Steps-for-a-Richer-New-Year) I have a few, but below I placed my top three. If you are interested in getting DailyWorth e-mails, click on the link and sign-up! I'm really glad I did.

Here are my top three 2012 financial goals:

1) Pay off my credit card. I don't have a lot to owe on it, but I want to see how well I can do without using my credit card, and those pesky interest charges.

2) Make a good dent on my furniture loan. Or pay it off completely. I really want to pay off our furniture. I want to be able to look at it and say, "YES! I own it!"

3) Start a vacation fund. There are so many places I want to travel to. Our trips we plan to take soon are one to two trips to Seattle to see my family this year, and a trip to Italy for the honeymoon we've yet to take, lol. We're hoping to take it at the beginning of 2013. So we better start saving now!


Have you started thinking about your 2012 Personal Finance Goals?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thoughts


I really like the idea of the wall,
The blue paint and fishing net
Hey all :)
  I have been browzing the web a little bit, and I saw this photo. Our guest bedroom is ocean themed, but the walls are bare. We won't be painting in the house we're in, because we're moving in a couple of weeks and so I'm really focusing on what we could do in our house we're moving in to. I was also thinking that it may be a bit costly to do all the walls this way, so I was thinking of doing the bottom half a tan color with the fishing net (attached some sea-shells randomly on the net, add a chair rail, and paint the top half of the wall blue.

I really like painted walls. They just make the house a home. It is the finishing piece that ties everything together and makes it cozy. We live in base-housing at the moment and though I like this house, I really miss color on the walls. The colors just bring it all together. When I was growing up, my mother always had a least a few rooms painted and those rooms just always felt cozier. 



The master bedroom is going to be a deeper green color. Green is so calming and the darker color, with some heavy duty curtains, should make for a sounder sleep! Right now we don't have any curtains on our bedroom windows, we just never got around to buying any. When the sun comes up, our room get very bright with the white walls, so it will be a nice change. 

Another idea I have for the master is this:  


I like the canopy idea. It's elegant.
 I would not do it in these colors though.

I would have to figure out a way to make this work for our king-sized bed though. I don't think I would do it exactly like this one, but I like the canopy idea. This one is elegant and not kiddy looking. (Ignore the teddy-bear on the bed hahaha)

Above the headboard, within the canopy, on the wall I want to have a vinyl decal like one of these:

 





I want to create a space that is relaxing and cozy for me and my husband to sleep and spend our time alone. A room that is just ours.


To offset the darkness of the darker paint and black furniture we have, I figured rough-nickel plated hardware and lamps would be great. I really want this chandelier but I know that wouldn't be for a while though. :)

Pretty chandelier
These are just some ideas I have. We plan to live at our next house for at least 5 years, so I want to really make it into our home :) We didn't do much with the house we live in now because we knew we were going to be moving in about a year when we moved in.




What are some home-improvement/interior design ideas you have had?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

What I am thankful for:

 Our Mighty Father in heaven

 my husband and our families

friends

our fuzzy pets

clean, running water


hot showers and hot chocolate on these cold days

a sturdy roof over our heads

our health

our freedoms

the opportunity  to buy and get food easily
the opportunity to get education 

the medical advances of today


these are just a few, what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's new!

Hey everyone! How have you been?


I've been really busy recently. I work full-time now. I'm currently working as a finance manager for a local furniture company. I really like my job! Woo-hoo! It pays pretty well and I like the work. The only thing I don't like about it is the hours sometimes, but it's okay. The evenings I have to work a little later, my husband comes to eat dinner with me up at my office, so that makes up for it :) I'm hoping that when we move I will be able to find a job similar to this one. :) I'm already searching for some in the area we're moving to.


I have been working on my Italian  :) The language is so beautiful! (Haha, La bella lingua) I'm trying to keep myself motivated enough to keep on my studies, because once I start to slack on them, I forget a lot and have to re-learn a good bit of it. I used to chat to some of my friends who are Italian, which really helped me develop a good accent, learn correct grammar, and so-on. But we all have been really busy recently, me with work and them with school. So, hopefully we will be able to catch up again soon! I am also trying to implement translating three Italian news articles a day, or atleast one, haha. This is so I can practice grammar and of course, to learn new words.
Kobe and Kawi sitting for a treat.
This was bizarre to see them BOTH sitting and calm!


Our neighbors are out of town and we're watching their pups. There is never a dull moment! They have a puppy who is a month younger than Kawi and around the same size, a little bit bigger in fact. His name is Kobe. Kawi and Kobe play non-stop! They have so much fun! They will play, play, play...drink some water, rest, then PLAY, play, play again! Hahhaa.  Their little dog, Isaac is so sweet. He likes to cuddle and to be held, he doesn't like playing with the big dogs much, but he loves the cats. And surprisingly, the cats like him too! It's really sweet to watch them. 




I am on Day 21 of my Facebook Detox! I hardly ever think about it now, unless someone brings it up, or asks what day I'm on. lol!  I've found so much more time in the day without it. Life has been less stressful and those who really want to talk to me hit me up on my phone, so these past 21 days have really been a success :) Only a few more to go. I've been thinking about it to, that, when I do complete this challenge, I probably still won't log on too often, just because it is a big time-waster. I like to know what my friends are up to and what-not, but I could just txt or call them too! lol! :) 


Other than all that, my husband and I are really well :) We're excited his family is coming down for Thanksgiving! It's going to be a great time :) I'm really excited to cook,eat lots of yummy food, and spend time with family :) I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! :)  

HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baby Shower Cakes!

Hey everyone! Both baby showers went great this weekend :) 


Here are photos of both of the cakes :)

Congrats to Jared & Lauren with baby Ryder! :)

Baby Ryder's cake!

Congrats to Ryan & Melissa with baby Peyton! 

Baby Peyton's cake!
Congrats to all of you with your baby boys! Both of your showers were amazing! Thank you for letting me be a part of them! :) I hope you all enjoyed the cakes!!! :)


I hope everyone had a great weekend! 

Do you need a Total Money Makeover?


I am so thankful my friend gave me this book!


The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey


I truly am thankful for my friend who let me borrow her copy of this book. I love personal finance, I think it's fun. But, it was difficult to find a plan that really worked for me. Reading this book was just what I needed.



The first few chapters talk about money myths and breaking them open to expose them for what they are. There are 6 "Baby Steps" in this book to follow that will get you to financial freedom. Baby steps because it's difficult to jump in and all of a sudden be a financial genius. If we all were, we probably wouldn't have so much debt. (As I am typing this the U.S. National Debt clock is at $14,987,670,773,000 (approximately, I can't keep up!) That is roughly $49,000/citizen!!!) I think it's time we all get a hold of our debt. Reading this book has given me the tools for me to start tackling my debt!


The first step is to gather a $1000 emergency fund. NOW, you may be saying, "But that's difficult and will take some time!" That's alright! It's a great first step. It took me some time to scrape together a whole bunch of little amounts of money to get step one knocked out. (I kept looking for ways to cut back spending. It took a while and some effort, but I found there were a lot of "wants" that I confused with necessities.) 
  Within that chapter, the book talks about how "Murphy" may come to knock you down when you are trying to save your emergency fund or on step two. They call it "Murphy" due to Murphy's law "What can go wrong, will." It always seems like when you're getting ahead that something may come along to try and slow you down. But having this emergency fund in place, will help slow down, or hopefully, stop Murphy from knocking at your door. This will create a good buffer in case something happens while you are working on Step 2...


Step two is your Debt Snowball. I really like the "Debt Snowball" plan. I've heard it before, where when you pay off one debt, use that payment amount added to your next targeted loan to pay off to get it paid off faster. (EXAMPLE: I put $100 per month towards my credit card. Now, lets say I just paid off my credit card and I next want to pay off my furniture loan. I will take the $100 I was used to paying toward my credit card and adding it to my $80/month furniture payment, thus making a $180 payment/ month to pay off my furniture even faster. Therefore, getting me out of debt faster and paying less toward interest!) SIMPLE ENOUGH RIGHT. Here's the difference! In all the personal finance articles I've ever read, they tell us to pay off our higher interest loans first. Now, that is a good plan. BUT, this money makeover says to pay off the loan with the lowest BALANCE first. WHY??? We all like to feel like winners. Once we have one paid off, it will make us feel good and excited and it will keep our spirits up to keep at it. When I just paid more toward the higher interest ...it just kept seeming like nothing was getting accomplished, numbers lowered, but...it just made me sigh and paying off the debt felt so far away. But, by paying the one with the smallest amount off first, it keeps us motivated!

I'm still on step two. I JUST finished step one and it took me some time to get there, but you can get there too! 


If you want to read more and learn the rest of the steps, read lots of real-life stories from many people who have taken "The Total Money Makeover" challenge, stories from all different parts of the challenge, and find out all the ins-and-outs of it all, check out "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey! :)


LETS KNOCK OUT OUR DEBT TOGETHER!!!




My Emergency Savings: (have/goal amount)
1000/1000   (Woo! Step One, check.)

My Debt as of Today

Credit Card: 625.51
Furniture Loan: 1,228.94
Car Loan: 9,610.48
Total:  $11,464.93 (YIKES!)


Other Money Goals: 
College Book/Supplies: 98.00/500  (402.00 to go!)
------->(hoping to get this goal done by Fall '12 when school starts)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

~* Sweets and Treats*~

Sweet Tooth Anyone? 

I've said before how much I enjoy baking. Well, I'm at it again! This weekend two different friends of mine are having baby showers and I have the honor to make their cakes! Woo!!! I'm working on one right now for later today and I will start the second one tomorrow after church :) Ah! I'm so excited! There is just something about baking that I just love. It's art that you can eat! How great is that? Hahhaa.


Here are some cakes I've made before :)

Baby Gabriel's baby shower cake (1st cake I ever made like this) (I made all the little animals, trees, rocks, and vines with sugar fondant)


  
(Justice and Abby's first bday cake)
A yummy strawberry cake I made this past summer
Linda's Bday cake

Shannon's Bday cake

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these cakes, and I hope your mouth is watering! Hahha! I will post pictures of the two baby shower cakes in a few days :)
  
Happy Weekend Y'all!   

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Start my new job tomorrow!

Here we go! 
Tomorrow will be my first day at my new job! I will be switching to the finance department in our store. I'm excited, but nervous. Everyone who has worked there says it's lame because it can get really boring. 11-hrs with only an hour of work. BUT I'm hoping to take advantage of this! There are training classes online to keep me busy for a bit, but I figured after that all the down time I can use it to study Italian and even work on my entrance essay that I have been slacking on.....lol. I also plan to bring some of the books I've been reading too. Radical  is a great book if any one wants to check it out, I recommend it. Along with Crazy Love. Both are great books! 


I just got back from bible study not too long ago and it was very refreshing. It's wonderful to feel the feeling of a new, fresh, alive, spirit I get from this time. It's a close intimate church group, like 10 of us and we don't dress up nice and it's not about saying all the right things or praying "the right prayers" just honest open God loving people searching to know our Creator in an intimate relationship. I really like that the past two weeks, we all spend 10 mins or so, (before the study) to spread out by ourselves, with some worship music on in the back ground playing softly, and we get to spend that time praying, singing, or whatever we do to get our hearts and mind ready to receive God, to lift Him high, and just clear our minds to hear Him. After that time today, I can honestly say I have felt something that I have wanted to feel for so long. I'm Not afraid. I'm not saying I'm a scaredy cat, that is Not the case at all. But I have anxiety and I worry about a lot (school, what I'm going to go to school for, moving, finances...the list continues) and stress, but tonight I honestly lifted it to Him and He took it all from me. He Loves us THAT much He doesn't want us to fear or worry because He has taken care of EVERYTHING, we just have to trust in Him. That is what I've been, still am, praying about. Is that I will willfully surrender to Him and let go of myself to follow Him and His will, to trust Him in all areas, to know that He has everything under His control, and I need not to be afraid. He loves us and He hears us. He is a loving Creator and wants to know us intimately. It is not required of us to pray daily or read our bible all the time to get into Heaven, we won't go to Hell if we don't do these things. No, but we are missing out on the most amazing experience we can have! God wants to give us Him, to walk, talk, laugh, cry, and be with us ALWAYS. How AMAZING is that!?!! The Creator of the universe loves YOU and ME so much that He wants to have a personal relationship with us. He already knows us. He knows us and has known us even well before we were a baby in the womb. But He is inviting us to know Him. Wow! How awesome!  Jesus, The Son of God The Father, came to earth to live a perfect life to be a sacrifice of all our sin and shame, and died for us so that we would be saved though Him and His endless mercy and love, Oh how He loves us! What a wonderful and mighty God we serve, BY choice! Not by demand. No matter where you are or have been, who you are or what you've done. The Creator and Master of the universe loves you and me and wants us to have a relationship with Him. He is always there and will never leave or desert us. His love is endless and the size of His love is just unfathomable!  His love covers all. All of us. All our hurt and all our tears and pain. All of our lives. I'm not trying to push and shove Jesus to you.  I am just telling you what I have seen, and what I am experiencing and encouraging you to get to know Him and see how much He loves you.


I hope everyone is having a good week :) 

Monday, November 7, 2011

~* What's going on *~

HEY HEY HEY What's going on?

I hope you had a good weekend :)

(I love my Hero!!! )
(USMC Ball '11)
Last week we had our USMC ball and it was AMAZING! It was the best one we have been to. It was so much fun! 
(here are two photos) 














We also had our puppy's first bday party. That was very fun too! Hahha I always thought things like that were so lame, but it was a blast! All the dogs loved the cake! Especially Kawi. He loves peanut butter!

   
(Peanut butter cake for Kawi!)


I haven't been feeling well recently. I had taken the intranasal flu mist last week, so it's probably from that. Just tummy aches and headaches, and tiredness. Naps are helping! hahaha



I'm on my 6th day without Facebook and it's going very very well. I don't really miss it anymore. I hear people talk about it and it's just a bunch of drama. I don't type it into the URL bar anymore when I open the browser either. Breaking the habit! It was weird. I would open the browser and automatically, without even thinking about it, type "facebook.com". When I saw this, my internet is a little slow, so I would see the cursor thinking and would click the "x" a lot just to make sure the homepage wouldn't pop up to tempt me! lol. Thank goodness I logged off completely or I would have probably failed. So, all is going well in the 30 day FB detox.







  With that, my goal was to spend more time searching to know God. I have been reading more of my bible and of a few books. Right now the main book I'm reading "Radical" by David Platt. It's a book I'm borrowing from one of our neighbors and it is a GREAT book. It opens the mind about how Americans have gotten lazy about the gospel. It shows the contrast between how American churches are with our air conditioning, comfy chairs, nice clothes, and worship bands(which are all wonderful things, don't get me wrong!!)  But take this image and contrast it against the secret churches in Asia, how these people risk everything they have: their jobs, families,  and even their very lives, just to seek, know, and share the gospel of our LORD. WOW. It's time we get a radical new view and get the hunger back for Jesus. It's a great book!! 



Tomorrow my neighbors have their USMC ball tomorrow and I will be helping with her hair and I get to babysit their adorable son, Kenneth!!!



Work has been going alright. I may be moving to the finance dept so that will be good :) I find out tomorrow.


In the cake world, I have two baby showers to make cakes for this weekend! One for my friends from high school, Lauren & Jared and their son Ryder, and one for my dear friends Melissa &Ryan and their son Peyton. Both baby showers are going to be great! Congrats to all of you!!! :)



This week I want to take a New Bern trip with Jessica to go to Books-a-million and the Birthplace of Pepsi. They have the original formula of Pepsi there are it tastes SO much better than cans or bottles.



Hope all of you have been well! What's been going on with you lately?