Sunday…Funday????

snogloo

Do you want to build a Snogloo?  In the Midwest today, there is a storm brewing.  Businesses are closing, Super Bowl events are being cancelled and so are some Super Bowl Parties.  There is 12″+ on the ground here.  Sometimes that gives us an opportunity to have some togetherness.  One adult in this house likes his snow blower…I like a shovel..our kids are teens or have furry paws…we can still accomplish this together.  Just like cooking and cleaning, work needs to be a family affair whenever possible.  It is a bit easier when your kids are little…you tell them to ‘help’ and they do.  A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of her son (about 5) dusting the bottom of their dining room table and today people were posting pics of their little kids shoveling.  My whole point is that these are simple ways that families can accomplish things together.

Here are some of the family things I have done with my girl since she was little.  Chores – she dusted while I vacuumed.  Cooking – I did the cutting while she measured ingredients.  Outdoor chores – we took turns picking the music and worked together weeding or she swept while I mowed.  Regardless we did it together.

Enjoy your family time…Nancy Ann

Tuesday through Thursday….Please Stand By!

techdiff

Apparently, we had some ‘technical’ difficulties.  As a result, Monday’s post was automatically pulled and none of the links from FB or Twitter worked (it has since been restored) and the rest moved out of my cloud and into cyberspace.  Here is a clean cut recap of what was supposed to be posted this week.

Tuesday – Organization is easy.  Shoes are the bane of my existence, they clog up the floor of the laundry room or pile by the front door.  I have a hack, of course, this one is from IKEA.  Small flexible baskets to dump shoes in.  For a couple of dollars ($8 to be exact) you can purchase a few of these baskets and put them in a closet, down by the front door or wherever the messy shoe pile in your house is.

 basket

Wednesday – Organization is easy.  Have I said this before?  You just have to be creative.  I work from home.  It isn’t easy to work from home.  You have to be very organized.  I get up at the same time every weekday, I go to the gym and of course I stop for coffee and blog!  When I was organizing that office I looked at hundreds (no really hundreds) of office and home office file cabinets.  In my line of work, I have odds and ends, cables and brochures along with demo stuff…basically I have a a crap load of weird stuff I need to store.  I am as creative as I am frugal.  In order to make this happen today’s hack is using furniture for alternate purchases.  I saved hundreds of dollars by using a chest of drawers and some file inserts to store all of my work items.

Thursday – I also travel for work.  I do not check luggage (too many bad experiences), I take any available bump and I organize my outfits into days.  I pack each outfit, complete, and rolled to save space and wrinkles, into small compression bags.  I use a great, and cheap, one handle rolling 20″ duffle and compression bags.  There is a nice outside pocket for my TSA toiletry bag and a small pocket for all of my electronic cables.  And I don’t bring my charging blocks, instead I bring a multi-usb charger and save a LOT of space.

As a reminder, I do not get any money at all for sharing links or products.  Also, no one sent me any products or samples, I find them on my own.  Have a GREAT day!  Feel free to comment with your own organization hacks!

Enjoy…Nancy Ann

Sunday returns…take note

image

There are a lot of ways to make someone feel loved.  Over the years, I have received some pretty nice notes.  Sometimes they were from a friend, sometimes from a stranger and sometimes from a family member.  Either way I stop to read the note and thing about the time it took the author.

This weeks series was about trying something new for 30 days.  Writing notes is something we should do for a lifetime, not just 30 days.  I am starting to send notes…what!…in the mail????  I bought a stack of cheap, small blank notes from the dollar store.  I actually even bought some stamps.  I had made a habit of leaving notes in my daughters lunch box and I vow to start again.

I don’t want to be someone who forgets to recognize an achievement or forgets to say thank you. On another note, saying thank you in writing can sometimes be good for someone at work. If you receive service above and beyond from a Police, Fire, EMS or Public Works you can jot a note to their Chief or Director…these go in their “permanent record”.

Thank you…in advance…from all your friends and family.

Enjoy…Nancy Ann

6 Days of Yum….

This week I will be sharing recipe(s) that I have tried.  I promise to share only those recipes that have received my family seal of approval.  Since it is the first day of the week I thought I would start with breakfast and work through dessert.

eggsFirst a purchase suggestion…I like this extra large muffin pan (I do not get anything for the link…I just like this one).  If you do not have an extra large muffin pan you can use a regular muffin pan or tin or you can use large ramekins.

Here are a couple ‘recipies’…really you just mix eggs and toppings or bases and make your own concoction.

  • Eggs in a Basket
    • Grease the bottom of 6 muffin cups
    • Fill the very bottom with frozen hash browns
    • Crack and egg in each cup
    • Cook at 325º until the egg is fully cooked
    • Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top while they cool
  • Bacon and Eggs
    • Heat 6 pieces of bacon on a plate (in the microwave) to heat it up – approximately 45 seconds
    • Curl the bacon around each muffin cup
    • Crack an egg into each cup
    • Cook at 325º until the egg is fully cooked
  • Denver Omelette Muffins
    • Scramble 7 Eggs
    • Spray each of the muffin cups
    • Split the eggs between 6 muffin cups
    • Chop one large or three baby peppers and add to each cup
  • Other ideas
    • Spinach and Eggs (add cheese at the end)
    • Eggs and Sausage – chop up breakfast sausages (add cheese at the end)

I make 6-12 on Saturday and the leftovers are stored in individual storage containers.  My family reheats them and eats them for breakfast or lunch.  They usually make them sandwiches with sandwich thins.

Enjoy….Nancy Ann

College Fund$

TCU

Well…now what do you do?  Your almost adult has been accepted to a college or university.  The tuition $$$, room and board $$ and meals $…but, but…what about spending money, the cost of transportation…STARBUCKS!!!

While you are calculating the cost of college don’t forget about all of the extras.  If you had the forethought and means to save for college for your children then you are ahead of the game.  If not you will, most likely, have to come up with a variety of grants, scholarships and loans to pay tuition. This is not the end of the world, you can still send your child to college; it may just wind up being a little more difficult or stressful. I am not a professional scholarship coordinator so I will take a pass on dispensing advice here. Check with the college or university and they will have a list of deadlines and information dates…follow those closely and hopefully sports, grades or community service will help your child get some scholarship money.

The subject I can offer some insight on is the ‘extras’ associated with college. Help your child learn to plan by starting with a wish list of things they ‘have’ to have to function in their almost adult life. A Keurig, microwave, new sheet set, LCD TV and a new computer seem to be have to haves for a lot of college. Whittle that list down to what they actually need and start allocating money to pay for it. Also, before you buy an appliance or TV make sure they check with their soon to be room mate(s) to see if the burden can be shared, it only make sense that one person bring the coffee pot and someone else picks up a cube fridge, you certainly do not want duplicates of expensive items. Also, some of the necessities can be put on a gift list for those relatives that want to purchase a graduation gift.

Most colleges will send you an estimate of first year costs. My daughter’s school came in about $9,000 above tuition, which, of course, made me throw up in my mouth a little. This number was derived from student input, meal plan costa and transportation estimates.  I gave her a goal for the amount of money to be saved by the end of her senior summer ($3,500), which should get her through books and fees. I decided that one third of the tuition (the first third) would be her responsibility but that the scholarships would go towards her third first and both parents would split the other two thirds. More full disclosure, I have been divorced for a decade so I have decided some of this on my own because I had no input from her other parent. I decided that she would also have to work out spending money. I am of the opinion that there is no allowance for college, I am pro care package and anti cash…feel free to disagree…we are in America after all!

Get ready to run over these hurdles, hundred of thousands of people attend college every year…most of them seem just fine.

Enjoy…Nancy Ann

Goal Setting for 14 – 15 Year Olds

first car

Believe it or not 14 – 15 year olds want to learn to drive.  Some of them have been dreaming of their first car since they were about 10!  Over the years, I have found that the car that kids want is not usually the one they usually are able to afford.  No only does a teenager have no idea about the cost of a car they usually do not think beyond gas, they completely gloss over oil changes, tires and insurance.

One good way to teach them about how things cost is to have them get a fake job and paycheck.  You can have them deposit their paycheck into their checking account and keep a check register to track spending.  I calculated a minimum wage job and then remembered about Uncle Sam.  Deposit 92% every two weeks and let your teen take withdrawals to pay for gas for trips to their friends houses and sports or clubs.

Some of your kids do not want to drive a car or live in an area where it wouldn’t be necessary to drive.  An alternate activity could be to play the market.  The stock market is a difficult concept to master…games should help.  Explore any one of the many kids investment sites or make it your own by choosing a few stocks and tracking them.

Either way, this transition from chips and small bills to a realistic way of handling money like an ‘adult’ is not easy…try to make it fun!

Enjoy…Nancy Ann

A little help from a friend….

ECC 4 9-10

I am one of the most fortunate people I know.  I have all the ‘needs’ and more of the ‘wants’ than I should have.  I can safely say this is because I have some of the best friends in the world.

What makes a best friend?  Is is someone you met as a child and are still friends with today?  Is it the person that you FB/Tweet/Pin the most?  In my opinion, it is much more than that.  My two best (but I have MANY) friends have been there…just been there, through thick and thin.  Best Friends don’t necessarily tell you things like ‘you are pretty’ or ‘you are so smart’ but what they do is tell you the truth.  My friends almost NEVER tell me I am right, they know what floodgates that could open.  Instead, they argue with me, they cajole, they constantly tell me what to do / not do.  Friends are true…they are your North compass point and best friends sometimes tell you what you don’t want to hear…because you need to hear it.  During difficult times, those same friends will be there to pick you up.  There have been many times I needed to be picked up and many times I needed to pick someone else up…that’s what make a best friend.  This week I just want to say THANK YOU! to all of my best friends…whatever you have done with me or for me when you knew I needed it I appreciate it more than you know.  In the same respect, I am hopeful that my friends see me as their best friend and I strive to be that for as many people as I can.

The verse above has stayed with my since 8th grade Confirmation.  When I am down or feel even the slightest bit alone I think about it.  And I think of the number of times I have picked up one of my friends.  I lost count a long time ago…

Be kind to one another…help each other up…Nancy Ann

PS – If your best friend (DS) falls down over an imaginary or ‘extra’ step in high heels it is perfectly acceptable to help her up while laughing…that’s what friends are for!