Blog

Fishing for Lake Trout

Last Saturday, Don took me fishing. He’s owned a two person raft for the last 4 years, and in that time, has turned it into quite a proficient, little watercraft.

We spent a relaxing 3 hours in the sun, eating our picnic lunch and enjoying the time together. I’m beginning to cast my line with more fluency, and hopefully, I don’t look as ridiculous. ☺️ I’m so glad Don is a patient teacher, otherwise I’d get even more frustrated at my casts, and end up with my line in tangles about me.

The Outcome: Four trout and two sun kissed faces

Two of the trout were mine. It was great fun and I hope to go again with him, soon.

Using Trello for Task Management: Organize, Accomplish, and Celebrate

Without organization, my mind is completely counterproductive in a day. It reels with all my mental to-do’s, as I compete to finish tasks before I forget them. All the while, I’m adding more things to the list.

Although I may think I’m performing at 100% and the “get it done now” is a wonderful attitude, I end up exhausted, fretting about the following day, and forget to notice what I did complete; and then my husband comes home to this…

So instead, I use Trello. Trello is a free app that uses Boards, Lists, and Cards to document and organize task management and workflows.

Clear the Mind:

I have the flexibility to quickly add items to cards in my To-Do list from my phone or computer, keeping my head clear and focused.

Organize the Day:

I organize the cards by how I want to accomplish them, top to bottom. Note: I put the tasks that may just require 5 minutes, but I’d tend to put off, near the top.

Don’t Forget to Celebrate:

I also have a list, titled “Done”, so I can see what I’ve accomplished in a day. My mind is rejuvenated each time I see what I did complete, and I feel unencumbered, knowing exactly what awaits me in the to-do list tomorrow.

Here’s a sample of mine this week:

It’s easy to create more lists as needed, such as “Dinners This Week” or “Blocked Tasks”. I feel that organization is really adaptable; how each person needs to visualize a list of tasks differs, so if needed, create more lists easily, such as “Dinners this Week”, “Blocked Tasks”, or “Reoccurring Tasks”.

Within the cards, additional tasks, steps, or checklist items can be created, as shown below.

But go ahead and try it for yourself. Maybe you’ll find it helpful or maybe you’re a strictly post-it’s and pen & paper type of person. In any case, it’s about whatever helps get the job done, with as little headache as possible.

We Love You, Mothers, Everywhere!

Happy Mothers Day!

This is my first Mother’s Day with the “official title”. Last year, I was counting down the weeks till our son arrived.

I don’t even have one year under my belt yet, but I see how motherhood is such a blessed and fulfilling calling! My heart is completely overwhelmed each morning, when I see Seth’s happy face peering at me as I open the door to his nursery, and hear his giggles as he reaches for me, and our day together begins. Seth is a constant reminder of the Lord’s goodness and mercy towards Don and me.

And each day, as I grow in motherhood, I am increasingly thankful for the example my mom gives me.

When my sisters got married within a few months of each other, I ended up being the only daughter at home for three years and enjoyed this special time, growing closer with my mom. My mom is so wonderful, fun, simple, and sweet, and that’s on top of being absolutely beautiful — my dad would agree! Over the years, I’ve noticed how fully she gives herself to her calling:

In the home:

the food she sets on the table, decorations that make a home cozy, rearranging of the furniture (I used to laugh but now I do the same thing), the ways she saves or makes a little money to help out

In the family:

the way she cares for my dad and make his evenings after work, restful for him, the activities with the grandchildren, the encouragement she has for us daughters, how she loves and honors her parents

In the community:

the gatherings and phone calls with her friends, and the emphasis on God’s Word at the center of every part of our lives, her kindness, extending to anyone around her, her willingness to be of service, even in the hidden things

I am so blessed to have her as my mother.

And I’m lucky to have two wonderful mothers!

I also have my mother-in-law who I am so thankful for! She is thoughtful, caring, kind, and sweet, and is also there for me in every way that my mom is. She encourages me in motherhood, being at home, taking care of Seth, and enjoying him. I enjoy any time we spend together and our talks.

Sometime I watch old footage of our families — Donnie and I as children — I’ll watch how both of our moms created an atmosphere in their homes, founded on Biblical stories and activities to raise godly, creative, energetic, and healthy children.

With their encouragement and the mercies of the Lord made new to us every morning, I will raise our children the same way.

So, thank you mothers, and we love you!

5 Reasons to Budget with Mint

Goodbye Excel spreadsheet! I felt triumphant as I transferred our budget spreadsheet to Intuit Mint. That was two years ago and since then, budgeting has been so easy for us. It’s our one-stop-shop to effortlessly visualize and manage our finances.

  1. It’s Free.

    That’s already a plus for me. I don’t know if I would have considered trying it out if there was a subscription fee to use the app. You could be wondering how they make their money. Along with the features the app has to offer, the blog  (I choose to hide the blog) gives you advice on financial services, and of course, they get a referral fee if you choose to use those services. I understand if the 3rd party, “data collecting”, cloud-based service is not for you and there is no need for you to read further.

  2. Easily Adjustable Budgets & Alerts

    Life has ups and downs, so everyone needs a little flexibility. It’s so easy to adjust your budgets when necessary. Mint also provides notifications and alerts, keeping you in full control of your spending.

  3. Tracking upcoming bills

    This feature shows you the various bills you’ll need to pay by the end of the month and gives you a complete total — no surprises. 🙂

  4. Linked debit / credit cards

    Linking the cards you use for purchases will help you get a more realistic visual of your finances. It helps to see all my card balances in one location with the transactions – even the ones still pending. I categorize and tag each transaction as it comes in and I’ve been able to easily pull up medical receipts, etc. for our taxes.

  5. Savings Goals

    Motivation helps! Select a goal — new car, new home, vacation, emergency fund — and Mint helps you decide the amount to save per month. Link an account to see the results of your savings.

 

For us, Mint is about saving time. And that means more time to enjoy our life together with friends & family!

Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

 

Summer Pizza Nights

Summer is on it’s way — each week the temperatures rise, the sun shines a little more, and my excitement grows while awaiting my favorite season! One of our little traditions for Friday evenings in Summer is pizza nights on the porch. With some of our favorite garnishes: freshly grated parmesan and crushed red pepper, we sit in the golden and pink glow that Olympia sunsets offer, and peacefully enjoy our favorite Italian food.

I’m looking forward to sharing these times with Don again.

Follow the links to view the pizza dough and pizza sauce recipes.

IMG_2701.JPG

Ways I Beat the Grocery Budget

I love that feeling when I’m right on budget for groceries each week or, even better, when I end the month with extra cash to stash. It doesn’t always happen but I’ve noticed my weekly efforts are establishing a routine, and I know the results will be rewarding.

I purpose to hold back from a grocery list until I’ve looked over my pantry and use Yummly to suggest recipes from the ingredients there.

Using the Ibotta app, I browse my usual stores (Costco & Fred Meyers) for cash back offers. The offers don’t always match what I need to buy but the app usually offers $0.25 for any item and it’s better then nothing! Read more about the Ibotta app, here.

This takes about 5 minutes to browse but it’s worth it. I have earned over $75 in the last 10 months.

The Fred Meyers app is a must for me too! Before I had the app, I would never go to Fred Meyers because I always felt like I spent more than I should. Now with the app, I can easily see items on sale, browse their coupons with the items that apply, and quickly add items to my cart. It also has a “Start my Cart” option, listing items you purchase regularly. I pay the $4.95 for the ClickList because the amount of time I’m saving is worth it. It takes me 15 minutes (max) to put my ClickList together.

With these, I have cut my grocery bill in half and that doesn’t include my extra money earned with Ibotta!

On top of these great apps, my time spent in the kitchen is profitable.

IMG_2857
Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls

I make my own sandwich bread for Don’s lunches, using ingredients I always have on hand, and he likes it better than sliced bread that falls apart when you eat it. 

This bread is soft and sweet and you can find the recipe by clicking on the photo or here.

 

I also store away half of certain dinners for a future week! Here’s what you’d find in my freezer:

  • Tomato Soup*
  • Chili
  • Prepared Rice & Bean Burritos
  • Sandwich Rolls
  • Homemade Pizza Dough
  • Pizza Toppings (i.e. Costco’s Kirkland mozzarella – I wasn’t sure if this would work but I tried it and it was just fine!)

*I don’t usually add dairy to our tomato soup which is why I’m able to freeze it.

Freezing enables me to use meals twice within the same month, saving me a week of meals to plan and groceries to buy!

For some of my recipes, follow the links below:

Rice & Beans , Pizza Dough, Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls, No-Knead Artisan Bread, Chicken Soup

Feel free to share your input with me! I’m always looking for great recipes, budget advice, and anything else that helps in my duties as wife, mother, (let’s be honest ) maid, cook, and financial amateur! 😀