Monday, January 3, 2011

Budget, Budget, Budget

With the new year comes a new list of resolutions. One of our resolutions is to quit spending so much darn money! So, how are we planning on doing that? The Envelope System.

The Envelope System, as outlined by Dave Ramsey (Financial Guru) is as follows:

1.Budget each paycheck. Budget is a dirty word to most people, but you must budget down to the last dime if you're going to successfully implement the envelope system.

2.Divide and conquer. Of course, there will be budget items that you cannot include in your envelope system, like bills paid by check or automatic withdraw. However, you can create categories like food, gas, clothing and entertainment.

3.Fill 'er Up. After you've categorized your cash expenses, fill each envelope with the money allotted for it in your budget. For example, if you allow $100 for clothing, put $100 in cash in your clothing envelope for the month.

4.When it's gone, it's gone. Once you've spent all the money in a given envelope, you're done spending for that category. If you go on a shopping spree and spend the $100 in your clothing envelope, you can't spend any more on clothes until you budget for that category again. That means no visits to the ATM to withdraw more money!

5.Don't be tempted. While debit cards can't get you directly into debt, if used carelessly, they can cause you to over-spend. There's something psychological about spending cash that hurts more than swiping a piece of plastic. If spending cash whenever possible can become a habit, you'll be less likely to over-spend or buy on impulse.

6.Give it time. It will take a few months to perfect your envelope system. Don't give up after a month or two if it's not clicking. You'll get the hang of it and see how beneficial the envelope system is as you dump debt, build wealth, and achieve financial peace! See ... simple!

We implemented the system 4 days ago and so far we're doing prety good with it. I'm a bit worried that we may have underestimated our food budget. The system has really made us concious of our spending and it's stopped me from throwing unneeded things into my cart.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis The Season

I cannot believe it's already Christmastime. It seems like just yesterday that I was 38 weeks pregnant while preparing for the Christmas 2009. I can still vividly recall the excitement of getting to meet my babe so very soon! It's funny to think I didn't even know if I was going to have a little boy or little girl, and now I have an almost one year old daughter who means the world to me!

(Christmas Day 2009, 38 weeks pregnant)

(Almost one year later, our happy little family)

Merry Christmas from Neena, Jake, and Jenn!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

I'm bringin' it back and it's baby food style! Look for a new baby food recipe every Tuesday.

Curried Chickpeas and Tomatoes with Quinoa

Heat olive oil in saute pan. Add chopped garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 can of chickpeas and 1 can of tomatoes to pan, cook for 5-10 minutes over low to medium heat, season with curry powder. Meanwhile bring 1 cup of quinoa and 1 1/2 cups of water to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa reaches desired consistency (I like mine crunchy). Place some quinoa and curry mixture into food processor or blender and puree. Serve to baby and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers and enjoy a meal with the stuff you didn't puree.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mama Renewal Day 1

Recipe book reading and tea before bed.

Renewal Self-Challenge

Thanks to I'm going to take a 30-day challenge to do something for myself everyday. I figure this is going to be a way to experience some renewal and cleansing that I have been craving.

Each day I will blog about what I did for myself. I figure this is a great way to get my blog up and active again.

I invite all of you other mamas to join in with me and share your self-indulgences on my blog. Here's to RENEWAL!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy World Breastfeeding Week

Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's Get Real

This blog is about our attempts at being green, living locally, and natural parenting. For the most part we do a pretty darn good job with all three, but we're not perfect.

The post is dedicated to things we do that may not be considered very "green". Because, yes, we are human, and sometimes we crave convenience.

1. We use disposable wipes. We tried the cloth wipes and for some reason we didn't take to them very well. I love the way the disposable wipes clean and I like that I can pack them up and take them with me.

2. I LOVE ziploc bags. I tried living without them and I just couldn't do it.

3. Jake and I occasionally dig into non-organic food because it's cheaper than organic food. This is something we are working on because it is important to us.

4. I like gimmicky chain restaurants. I said it. There's something about them that makes me smile. We don't eat out often, but when we do we have been known to hit up a gimmicky chain.

5. My car gets horrible gas mileage but I still love it and will not trade it in for something more efficient. On the other hand, Jake's car gets great gas mileage.

6. I don't use public transportation in Des Moines because I'm too lazy to figure out the routes.

So, tell me, what are some things you do that aren't considered to be very "green" ? Are you working on changing them?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm going on a shopping diet

Yes, you read that right, I'm going on a shopping diet. What exactly is a shopping diet?

I am comitting to not buying any new clothes for one year . I've decided to do this because I have a TON of clothes already and I'm sick of my super cluttered and unorganized closet. Simply put, I don't need to waste anymore money or resources on clothes.

The idea for all of this comes from The Great American Apparel Diet. If, after reading the rules below, you feel you are ready to go on a shopping diet, let me know and you can join me on this journey.

Here's the rules for the diet (taken from :

Let’s first discuss the things you can guzzle without guilt:

  • Clothes currently in your closet, on hooks, in your drawers or on your floors. Go crazy, gobble them up as long as they are not new. Allow me to dissect the semantics of the word “new.” New is anything that resembles a complex carbohydrate (something you pay for). An item is “not new,” if it something a person gives you. Now, this can be complicated for you late night snackers who don’t think midnight calories count. Do not–you cannot write a check to your husband or best friend and give them instructions or a wish list for your “must haves.” Those calories do technically count and once you go there you’re off the wagon and you’re likely to roll chubb-ily downhill.

  • Footwear (technically boots that morph into a skirt are suspect and are considered apparel).

  • Accessories. I will refer to Webster on this one: Noun: An article or set of articles of dress, as gloves, earrings, or a scarf, that adds completeness, attractiveness, etc. to one’s basic outfit.

  • Underwear—every girl should have a great pair of clean underwear on at all times and I will say no more.

Now let’s discuss those nasty items that are sure to leave you bloated and disgusted with yourself:

  • New clothes, the ones you pay money for (this includes outerwear, athletic wear and Halloween costumes).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Iowa Girl

She LOVES her Iowa Sweet Corn!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stay At Home Mom

I have made the decision to become a stay at home mom, and I'm thrilled! On August 13 I will be done with my current job, a bittersweet thing, but the right thing to do.

With this new title will come new challenges (mainly fiscal) but I'm embracing the challenges that lie ahead, knowing that I am doing the best thing for Neena and myself.

I know some people have been anxiously awaiting my return to the blogging world and I figured what better time to make the return than now. I look forward to writing about my life as a full-time mother (and part-time graduate student).

Being a stay at home mom will truly challenge me to make better decisions when it comes to spending money, therefore making this whole locally living thing even more important. Cooking at home and not going out to eat will be the norm, wearing old clothes and shopping at consignment stores will be a must, and getting rid of cable television and fancy cell phone plans will minimize monthly costs. I must admit that I know there will be days in which I feel deprived (sad but true), but I will get through those days only to realize I don't need a lot of those things.

So, here's to a new and exciting chapter in my life!
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