Thursday, January 13, 2011

Too Cold to Blog

Winter is not my favorite season and I am definitely ready for it to warm up a little and for the snow to melt. It is nice to sit at home in our cozy pajamas drinking warm tea cuddled in bed reading books. We are looking forward to long walks in the park, sticky picnics in our backyard, naps in the hammock and fragrant flowers blooming!

Evie and I walked across the street to see her boys this morning. It was so wonderful to have a change of scenery and some adult conversation. Evie was so excited to see Christian waiting at the door for her. We had delicious warm coffee cake. Our kiddos do so well playing. Evie loves all the cars and trucks! Apparently, she loves feeding Campbell too. It was pretty funny. Courtney grabbed her camera just in time. Evie would give him a bite and say "mmm" while shaking her head up and down.

Other than our fun play date, we did a whole lot of nothing all day. Evie and I are ready to venture out again tomorrow.

A few of my new favorite finds:

1) Have you tried Mint? It's a website that organizes your spending for you and sends you email reminders. We have been using it for several months and have found it to be extremely helpful. Mint links all of your accounts in one place so you can see everything at once. Think of your 401K's from all your jobs, savings account, IRA's and of course your regular checking. Everything is in one place! Our favorite part about Mint is that you can set budgets and Mint records each transaction you make with your linked cards. It's quite clear to see where all the money really goes! Our biggest expense is FOOD! We spend a lot at the grocery store and a fair amount on food out. I was clueless about how much I was actually spending until Mint put it all in green and red for me. My budget is set and I can easily glance to see how much I have left in each area. You can set weekly,monthly or yearly budgets for food, gas, clothing, medicine or restaurants. I love that you can split amounts so if you are at Target and spend $75 - Mint allows you to put $50 towards your grocery budget and $25 towards your baby budget. Try it you will be hooked! My best tip for cutting down your grocery budget is to make a list of every meal you can make with the food that you have on hand. Eat that first. You may be surprised how much this can help cut costs.

2) Desperation Dinners: We love tacos at our house and never seem to have those little packets of seasoning when we need them. I found an easy recipe for taco seasoning in my Desperation Dinners cookbook. Mix 1/2 tsp. of cumin, 1 tsp. of chili powder,  1/2 tsp. of onion powder and 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder in a small bowl. Brown meat and then add spices. Next, mix 2 tablespoons of ketchup and 1/4 cup of water together and add to meat. It's really good and most likely you already have these spices on hand!

3) Maternity Clothes: It's hard to stay stylish and on budget with maternity clothes. Try renting your maternity clothes for a special occasion. There are several companies that specialize in this and are fairly reasonable. We went to a fabulous Charleston wedding when I was pregnant with Evie and I bought a dress that I did not love but it was cheap. Too bad, I did not know about this because I could have had a fabulous dress for only $40! Our wedding days seem to have come to a halt now that most of our friends have tied the knot but maybe something else fun will pop up before July so I can try out a fun new dress.

4) Toddler Activities: I am going crazy this week trying to come up with things to do inside with Evie. Try this site for some inspiration.


  1. Aaackkk! The B word...Budget. We use Quicken, but I've heard so many people rave about so we might have to try it out. I did NOT know you could rent maternity clothes. How cool!

  2. I'll have to share with my friendly banker. He keeps a really close eye on everything but this might be a better way for me to budget, especially food since we are in the same boat as you...spending too much at the grocery store. Love the idea of cooking with what you have on hand first and I'll definitely file away the taco seasoning recipe!


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