Thursday, February 24, 2011

Budget Spreadsheet

I said I wasn't going to post, and here I am posting again right away!  But... there have been a lot of requests for this budget spreadsheet, so I wanted to share it!

We've been budgeting for about two months. We added not one dime to our savings account in all of 2010. In February, we saved $1600. And not because we're rich. It's because we were smarter about our money. I'm officially a budget convert.

I made this spreadsheet to track our budget, and wanted to share it for anyone who needs a jump start. Basically, if you change the categories on the first page, it will reflect on the monthly pages, and the dollar amount you set will go right into the monthly pages. On the monthly pages, if you zero out in a category it's green, if you overspend it turns red. The category column each month is set up with tabs so you can only choose from sections of your budget.

Yeah I know, I'm swanky. Hope it helps you get rich!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I need a break.

So, I"ve been a horrible blogger. I realize many people probably didn't even notice that I haven't been updating, but I felt like you deserve an explanation.

Turns out full-time job + graduate school + getting married in 6 weeks = disaster! Shocking, right?? I have officially hit my breaking point and I'm starting to lose it!

Worst of all, I have nothing to share with you. Zac hasn't been working weekends this month, since that's when I usually sew, I haven't been making anything. Unless you want to hear me recite the ten questions you should ask if someone is suicidal or read a paper I wrote about immigrant women and domestic violence, not much is going on! Sigh.

But, the budget is still going strong, as is my Biggest Loser workout. Both books were a hit at my book clubs, work is still crazy busy...  everything is just happening all at once!

So now I'm watching Toddlers and Tieras and a woman is spray-tanning her 15 month old and gluing fake nails on her fingers. What the heck is wrong with this world??

Long story short, I'll be posting when I have things to post, and I won't be gone long. Just need a few days (weeks?) to catch up on my life.

Because I'm getting married in 6 weeks!! AHHHHHHH!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What gets me through the day

Ageela is an eighth grader who talks so infrequently that when she does, it startles me because I don't recognize her voice. Today, the students had to write a thank you note to someone who has inspired them to be a leader. When we were leaving, she handed me this:

Just when you start to think that you aren't making a difference...

Monday, February 14, 2011

My funny valentine

My valentine is the best.  He bites into the chocolates first in case I don't like them, and lets me have the other half if I do.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feeling the Burn

Zac and I have been searching for an exercise routine that we can both stick to.  Our requirements? Fun enough that we want to do it. Cheap. Easy to do at home. Works.

So... on the recommendation of friends, we bought one of these:

It's an XBox Kinect. It hooks onto an XBox (we already had one) and detects your movements. It's totally creepy. It knows exactly what you're doing, and you show up on the screen. Cool - but weird!

That purchase was justified with the addition of this:

It really is like working with a personal trainer! First, you take a fitness test and then the program creates personalized workouts based on your preferences. The workouts are HARD, and if you aren't doing the exercises right, Jillian's voice tells you to lift your knees higher!!

We're only on day 2, but so far, so good. It's a lot of fun, and hey, if we've actually been doing it, that's better than what we were doing before!

Do you have any exercise secrets? Are you a gym rat, or an exercise homebody like me?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oh how I love Ebates

I know I've told you about my love for before, but my love has grown since then. Because I just got an email telling me my quarterly check is in the mail. For $34. Of free money. Because I used Ebates before I bought stuff that I was already going to buy anyway.
If you haven't signed up yet, here's how it works. You go to before you buy something online. Check to see if the place you are going to make your purchase is part of Ebates - chances are, they will be. Just click through to the store from Ebates, and make your purchase. You'll get a percentage of your purchase back, and often perks like free shipping or other coupons.

Every quarter, you'll get a big ol' check of free money rewarding you for purchases that you were making anyway. Amazing!! I became a member last year, and so far I've earned $75. That isn't anything to laugh at.

So... if you want to start using Ebates, just click here! The hardest part is training yourself to check their site before making a purchase online!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What I'm Reading

I'm in two monthly book clubs, which yes, I admit, is sort of crazy.  One is with a group of friends and one is with a group of neighbors/friends. Both groups are a lot of fun, and I like that other people suggest great books for me to read!

This month, we're reading:

If you have any science background (which I do not), you will have heard of HeLa cells. HeLa cells are a type of cancer cell that was removed from Henrietta Lacks in the 1950s, and have since been proven to be immortal. At issue in this book is consent for medical research and what happened to Henrietta's family.  Not a page-turner, but worth the read.

This novel is set in rural Kentucky at a home for unwed mothers. The protagonist is different from the other women, as she actually has a husband. So far, this is an easier read than the other book, and a story that I want to discover the end to!

What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Honey, I have spring fever.

It is COLD in Ohio this year. It is as cold this winter as it was hot this summer. UGH. We are supposed to have average temperatures in the 40s, and instead, it hasn't broken above freezing in what feels like months.  No good.

So lately, I've been spending a lot of time dreaming about our honeymoon location, where we'll be in just two short months.  Behold, Playa Mujeres, Mexico:

And our room? Has a private rooftop that looks like this:

And when we aren't up there, I'll be eating things like this:

We just have to survive the wedding, and then we're on our way!! Only two months to go... and it can't get here fast enough!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Recipes of Love

One of my favorite wedding shower gifts was a recipe holder from Longaberger Baskets (thanks, Gramma!).  It came with a thick stack of recipe cards, and Zac and I had a great idea for them.

After Zac's grandmother passed away last year, one of his mom's most cherished possessions from her are the recipes that she wrote. She wrote them out very clearly, as if she thought that none of us would ever be able to follow her directions! Reading them in her handwriting sounds like she's talking directly to you.

So we're taking our new recipe cards and sending them to our friends and family with requests for our favorite recipes, as well as some of their favorites we might not know about. Only catch? We want them handwritten. Years from now, I want to be able to tell my kids about their great-aunt as we're making her favorite casserole, or make their grandmother's best friend's delicious coffee cake recipe, and tell them how she would share with anyone except my mother.

I think I'm getting more and more sentimental as the wedding approaches! Do you have any cherished recipes?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Choo Choo - Jack is 2!!!

You might remember this good looking guy from a few other posts... Jack is my friend Erin's son, and I am lobbying hard to be his godmother. Because I so badly want to be someone's godmother!!

Jack turned two last week, and he definitely needed a special birthday shirt to celebrate! He loves trains, so his mom and I created this shirt for him:

Close-up of the appliqué:

Is he not the sweetest 2 year old ever??

One more Jack pic for good measure...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Update

I've been a neglectful blogger lately... between thank you notes, class, work and the tornado that ran through my house, I didn't have much energy to do anything else!

We had a great weekend. Zac didn't work at all, and we got all of the gifts (and other stuff) put away, laundry done, errands run - it feels nice to sit down in an orderly house!!

Friday night we had dinner with our mentor couple from church, and it was wonderful. All almost-married couples are matched with a couple who has been married for a long time, and it has been such a great experience for us. Diane and John are just wonderful, and they are so supportive. We are very lucky to have such special people in our corner.

I'm hoping that this week I'll be back to blogging normally... I have a few things to share with you! I hope you had a great weekend, too!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feeling loved!

The bridal shower last weekend was absolutely perfect. It was everything that I had hoped for... the food was delicious, the decorations were adorable and the people were amazing.  

I felt so loved and so special... I felt like the bride!  Here's some eye candy for you...

Feeling so blessed!!

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