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National Peanut Butter Day

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Today is National Peanut Butter Day. I love peanut butter and can eat spoonfuls right out of the jar. Here are some recipes for you to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day.

Jar of Peanut Butter

photo credit Stock Free Images

Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream Pie

Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

Fudge Filled Peanut Butter Cookies

Traditional Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pizza

Peanut Butter Marble Cake

 

Do you have any favorite peanut butter recipes?

Organizing on the Cheap

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I love everything to be nice and organized. But with two kids that isn’t always easy. I am in my kitchen quite a bit and I hate when the cabinets and fridge are so messy I can’t find what I am looking for. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get more organized so I headed over to my local Dollar Tree this morning. They have the cutest bins and other great stuff to help you get organized.

I have a cabinet I use to put all of the kids plates,cups and bowls in so they can reach it. Here is a before picture:

 

I got some cute blue baskets from Dollar Tree and got two baskets. I put all some of their cups in one and all of their bowls in the other. Then I just clean up everything else. It looks much better.

 

I cleaned out the fridge it was messy and I had to throw out some food that was expired.

 

I took out everything off of each shelf and wiped them down. I reorganized some stuff. I got some cute baskets with handles which is perfect to grab and take out quickly. I used one for meat and one for cheese. I even labeled them.

Both areas look so much better and I can find everything so much easier now. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be more organized.

 

Organizational Quotes

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If you are like me one of your New Year’s Resolution is to get more organized. I always loved watching Peter Walsh when he was on Oprah. Here are some great quotes to think about as you are decluttering/organizing:

“Clutter isn’t just the stuff in your closet. It’s anything that gets between you and the life that you want to be living, whether its in your home, in your head, in your heart or on your hips.”
            — Peter  Walsh
“If price is the best thing about something, you should not buy it. Ever.”
            — Peter  Walsh
“We believe if we let go of the object, we’ll lose the memory. You need to shift your mindset…If someone has given you something, that person wants you to be happy before they want you to hold on to all of this stuff.”
            — Peter  Walsh
“What I know for sure is that when you declutter—whether it’s in your home, your head, or your heart—it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.”
            — Peter  Walsh
“The  only kind of clothes you should have in your closet are clothes that fit you,  clothes you look great in, and clothes that garner you tons of compliments when  you wear them. Don’t have ‘wish’ clothes in your closet. Those clothes exist for  only one reason: to mock you.”
            — Peter  Walsh
“Find the treasures in your sentimental clutter. Take photographs of the rest, and let it go.”
            — Peter  Walsh
“The secret to successful decluttering is this: You will never get organized if you don’t have a vision for the life you want… Ask, ‘Does this thing create that vision or get in the way of that vision? If it does, hold on to it with all your life. If it doesn’t, why is it in your home?”
            — Peter  Walsh
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/quote/Peter-Walsh-Quote-Quote-about-Organization?list_id=41213#ixzz2Gl6KJAHg

Challenge Yourself to a Better Life

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I like to workout and always feel better when I do but sometimes it is hard to get motivated. It always help me if I have someone to motivate me or a challenge where you can compete with other people.

I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in a challenge called In A New York Minute from Your Better Life. It was a pilot challenge that had a four week tracker to encourage simple and healthy habits while enjoying sites of the city.  As I moved along the map tourist attractions would pop up.
Live a Better Life

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Here are the challenges I had to do to get points and move along the challenge

  • using the stairs(at least 2 flights) -600 points a day
  • desk stretches(at least 15 minutes)-600 points a day
  • break time walk(at least 15 minutes)-600 points a day
  • motivate a co-worker to go for a break time walk-600 points a day
  • drinking 8 glasses of water-600 points a day

I could view my progress for the challenge on the challenge list it shows everyone’s avatar and their points and rank.

The website also has an activity tracker that you could post your activity for each day. It had a spot for the number of steps you took everyday. I wore a pedometer everyday so I could track my steps. It is a great motivator, if you set a goal for yourself everyday on how many steps you want to have by the end of the day.  There was also a spot for any exercise you did (ex. walking, cardio machine, aerobics,cycling,etc)

We received messages in our inbox with tips,motivating ideas, general health tips. Some of the emails we received were sugar crash, workout at work and stay hydrated. I think this is great I can always use any health tips and things to motivate me.

You can also add people to your buddy list and you can motivate and challenge each other along the challenge.

I really enjoyed this challenge. I am really trying to lose weight and eat healthier. It was fun as a team to be in a challenge, it helps to keep you motivated because you want to win the challenge. I really like the idea of the buddy list you and your friends can do the challenge together. The map was fun to use because you  could see all of the people in the challenge along the map, tourist attractions and other great information. Especially with New Years around the corner I am sure a lot of people’s resolution will be to lose weight, a challenge would be a great way to do that.

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I completed the challenge with Sublime Media Connection .

New Year’s Resolutions/Goals for 2013

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Last year I never wrote any of my resolutions down. This year I am going to write them down and tape them to my dresser mirror so I have to see them everyday. I hope I can complete them all and think of some others throughout the year.

New Year's Resolutions/Goals for 2013

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Here are my resolutions/goals for 2013

26 random acts of kindness( for Newtown victims) I plan on doing random acts of kindness throughout the whole year.

read more books

spend more time with friends

go to more movies

exercise more

eat better

go on at least one vacation

have game nights with the kids

read daily affirmations/devotionals

start writing down what I eat

read food labels

organize the whole house

have a garage sale

plant more fruits/vegetables in the garden

track spending

live with more gratitude

bake more

try new recipes

smile more

stay positive

keep negative people out of my life

I would love to hear some of your resolutions/goals for next year.

 

Books I am reading next year

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I have been thinking a lot lately about my resolutions/goals for next year. I usually make resolutions every year but this year I put more thought into them and also wrote them down.

I love to read and it is relaxing. One of my resolutions/goals for next year is to read more books. Sometimes I borrow books from my local library and some I just buy especially if I hear a lot of good things about it.

I put together a list of some of the books I plan on reading. I hope I can get through these and read even more books.

 

Here is a little about each book I am going to read:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin-she dedicates a year to a happiness project. She realizes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin-kiss more,jump more, abandon a project. She focuses on possessions ,marriage, time, and parenthood

Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Lehigh De Moss-appreciating God’s goodness everyday of our lives

Let It Go by Karen Ehman-how to stop running the show and start walking in faith. Let go of your need to control. Provides doable ideas, new thought patterns,and practical tools

Live Your Dash by Linda Ellis-It matters not how much we own, the cars, the house,the cash. what matters most is how we live and love

I am excited to read these books. I have heard great things about all of these books.

I would love to hear about some of your favorite books or books you plan on reading.

 

Living a Simpler Life

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I love to shop and I like getting new items for the house or new clothes but I am overwhelmed and stressed by all of the stuff in my house.

Have you every thought about just getting rid of your stuff, moving into a smaller house to live a less stressful life.

That is just what Tammy Strobel did. She wrote a book called You Can Buy Happiness(and it’s cheap) How one woman radically simplified her life and you can too. It is such a great thought-provoking book. I like everything to stay organized and clean but with a 3 and 6-year-old that is not easy and maybe not realistic. I am so overwhelmed by the stuff I have hired a professional organizer and we are slowly going through closets and rooms making them organized and functional. I  have a hard time letting go of things that I paid a lot for or haven’t used yet. My professional organizer, Maggie always tells me you to stop the influx of stuff or the chaos will never end. She is right and I am working on that.

Live a Simpler Life

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Anyway back to the book Chapter 1 is titled Buying Things Will Not Make You Happy. I had to sit down and think about it. The author is right you may feel happy for a little while but then you get bored with the items you buy. Materialism distracts us from being happy and building strong relationships. There are personal stories through the whole book about people’s stories who learned to live with less.

There is also micro actions in the book that you can write down, answer and think about and determine if you want to follow through with. Here are just some of them:

  • write down the definition of happiness
  • how can you simplify your life
  • stay away from the mall
  • sort through your stuff slowly
  • wait 30 days before buying stuff
  • adapt one-in,one-out rule
  • do something kind for another person everyday

When you purchase stuff it just puts you in more debt. That can make your feel stuck in a job you don’t like. The author was in that position she had a job that she didn’t like and a long commute everyday. But she couldn’t quit because she felt stuck because of their debt. They wrote all of their expenses down and ultimately decided to move, sell their vehicles and bought a 600 square foot to live a simpler life. Here are some mirco-actions for debt:

  • use credit cards sparingly or cut them up
  • eliminate non-essential spending
  • create a spending plan
  • establish an emergency fund

The book also mentions Project 333- you narrow down your wardrobe to 33 pieces of clothing and wear only those items for 3 months. It will make you question how much you really need in your wardrobe.

They also don’t own a TV and takes digital sabbaticals. I know I could not go without a TV, the digital sabbatical I could do but would be hard but good for my family and other relationships.

Relationships matter not things is what Chapter 10 is titled. Living in a smaller house she was able to connect with her husband more and spend more time with family and friends. She didn’t have a huge house to keep clean and a whole bunch of stuff to stress her out.

Focus on life, not stuff. Tammy wrote the book to help cultivate strong relationships and appreciate the pleasures of a life lived more simply.

Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.  ~Robert Brault,

 This book has made me look around and see all of the stuff in my house and it does stress me out. I started a box of stuff to sell at a garage sale this summer and have given some stuff to my family. I don’t plan on moving to a smaller house. I do plan on getting rid of more stuff. I want to fill my house with memories not stuff.

If you are interested in purchasing the book by Tammy Strobel-You Can Buy Happiness(and it’s cheap) you can do so below:

Disclosure: This is an affiliate link.

 

Using Coupons is worth the time

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The biggest reason why I started blogging is to help other people save money. Once I started couponing and seen how much I could save it was especially nice to get stuff for free. I started a spreadsheet to track my savings to keep me motivated and I thought it would be nice to see the total amount saved in a year.

 

So far this year I have saved $3,044.68 from couponing. That is a lot of money and it is not even the end of the year yet. Last year I saved over $5,000. I have built up quite a nice stockpile of stuff especially health and beauty products.I wrote a post awhile back that included some pictures of my stockpile if you want to read more about it here. Since then I have also put shelves in my basement to put the extra food that I can’t fit in my cupboards or pantry. Stockpiling really does save a lot of money it takes awhile to build one up but it is well worth it.

Some other ways I save money is print the matchups they list out the coupons to use and your final price. It saves me time from  going around the store to find the sales or looking through ads. I get a lot of free stuff at Walgreens and CVS they both have their own coupons which you can use together with manufacturer coupons to get some cheap or free stuff. I usually try to not to pay for floss or toothpaste.

I also have price points for items so if I find items I use at a good price I pick up multiples of that item that way I don’t have to pay full price. I shop at Target  a lot because they have their own coupons that you can print off their website and use manufacturer coupons with that help bring the prices down quite a bit. I also have  a Target debit card and I save 5% off each purchase and I bring in  recycled bags because you get $0.05 for each of them.

I hear from a lot of people I just don’t have time to cut coupons. If you watch TV you have time to cut coupons, while you watch your favorite show on TV sit down and cut some coupons.

It is well worth the time. So many people are struggling right now and couponing is such a great way to cut back on your grocery budget and also get some free stuff.

I would love to hear about your savings from couponing and what other ways you save your family money.

 

Ways to get rid of junk mail

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I don’t know about you but I am so tired of getting a stack of junk mail everyday. I have to go through our mail daily to weed through our mail and get rid of all of the junk mail, if I don’t it gets out of control and we have a mountain full of mail to go through.

There are a lot of great resources to help you get rid of all of the unwanted junk mail. Here they are:

1. CatalogChoice.org-helps to stop unwanted mail. Pick and choose what catalogs you want to get and the ones you want to un-subscribe to.

2. Go to websites of the companies you are receiving the mail from and complete the contact form and ask to be removed from their mailing list

3. Stopjunkmail.org- the website has letters that you can print and send to all of the junk mail companies.

4. Call the catalog companies and ask to be removed from their mailing list

5. To get rid of credit card offers call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT it is an automated number-you will be opted out for 5 years

6. Call credit card companies and ask them to stop sending you cash advance checks

Phone apps that will help you get rid of unwanted mail

PaperKarma-Android and IPhone app it is a free app. You take a picture of the offending mail and within a few clicks you can unsubscribe from the distributors list

MailStop- IPhone app-you get free 5 opt outs and then it costs money. You just take a photo of the unwanted mail and it connects with your CatalogChoice account to get rid of the unwanted mail.

How do you handle all of your junk mail?