November 30, 2008

Tighter Financial belt with a FIT.

Earlier this year we had two cars - a 2006 Saturn ion and a 2006 Saturn Relay (minivan) For a lot of families having a mini van is a necessity. I am not a mini-van Mom. It was bigger then we needed.

A few months ago I go a frugal stick up my butt - Jim and I sold our mini van and decided to live on one vehicle!

I'm almost ashamed to admit it - not long ago we broke down and bought a second car. A new car.

We are now very proud owners of a 2009 Honda Fit.

Here is list of excuses as to why we needed wanted a second car:

-getting the kids up early to take Hubby to work was tiresome (I'm lazy)
-picking up Hubby from work when I normally cook dinner was a bother. (I'm lazy)

Yes, I'm a lazy American who isn't even a citizen! - living out the American dream of being in debt.

But - hey! Didn't I say I was a proud owner? yes, I did.

Here is a list of good reasons why a Honda Fit fits us:

-We recently reached 38 mpg... awesome!
-It's looks tiny - but has more then enough space for our family - we bought what we needed not what we wanted. Here is what we wanted.

Why new - why not used?

-used cars loans generally have higher interest rates
-we wanted something under warranty.
-we looked for used Hondas - here's the thing - Hondas hold their value. A 2-3 year Honda is not a huge bargain.

Overall this was a good purchase for us. We have a new car- a car that fits our budget, a car that fits our family. This was an educated decision - not an emotional one. And that's a big deal for us!

November 24, 2008

Harvest Swap!

Yahooo! I participated in my first blog swap! I joined in the fun from The Homespun Heart. We were matched up with another blogger.

My partner was Ginger from One Day At Time. She showered me with wonderful goodies... yummy smelling candles, peppermint tea, creamy coconut body lotion, thanksgiving napkins, and a beautiful mapple leaf tray. Thanks so much Ginger! I wish I took a photo of the items I sent her - maybe she will post on her site.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Exactly 6 Months Later....

Six months ago, April 24 2008 we had our last snow fall here in Green Bay. There was a dusting of snow when we woke up. Six months later....

... the snow is here again. And it will last about ...six months.

Snow Flurries by Raymond A. Foss
There were snow flurries in the air today
early for my liking, snow flurries coming
in small singular spirals, falling through the air
spun by their shapes, the tug of the wind
sitting in the office, watching them tumble
by my window, pause in the conversation with client
marvel for a moment at the ballet before me
forward scouts for their brethren to follow
later in the season when fall yields to winter
soon enough they will come, in legions

November 20, 2008

Go Straight to Confession after Eating This!

A crime was committed in my kitchen! I made Apple Dumplings. This recipe was found at The Pioneer Woman.

A crime? Yes! After you read how these are made you will agree!

These are perfect for a dessert at a dinner party. They are so easy to make. If you are not a pie maker - try these!

The suspects: Granny Smith apples, Butter, Sugar, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, and a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Cut up 2 granny smith apples into 8 slices each. Ignore the bruising - it's fine.

Roll each apple slice in a single serving of cresent roll.

Melt butter and add sugar and vanilla..... no calories here!

Pour butter mixture over apples. Add mountain dew and sprinkle with cinnamon. These are ready for the oven!

The result: Super sweet and crispy apple dumplings!

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

November 18, 2008

How do you celebrate Christmas?

Did Jesus want us to shop till we dropped on his birthday? Think about that!

November 16, 2008

Exercise, fresh air and some treasure hunting!

A little while ago we had a beautiful day here in Wisconsin. With winter coming soon - you take advantage of every nice day you get!

I took the kids letter boxing at a local park. Letter boxing is modern treasure hunting. You get a map and directions to find a box. The box was basically a Rubbermaid box with a secure lid and duct taped in camouflage tape. Inside the box is a notebook and a rubber stamp.

Elijah, helping with the map.

You bring with you a notebook, rubber stamp and an ink pad. Once you find the box you stamp your notebook with the stamp you found and stamp their notebook with the stamp you brought.

Sara finding her first box.

It's really cool to look at the notebook found inside the box. It has all different stamps, people's signature and the date they signed. (our book was over 2 years old!) Once the stamping is done you hide the box again where you found it. (ie. under the rock beneath the oak tree 50 paces east of the river)

Letter Boxing is a great way get some fresh air and enjoy God's beauty. (Plus - it's free!) It teaches kids how to read a map and use it in real life situations. When we got to the park Sara, didn't know which direction north was. I taught her how knowing the time of day and where the sun is can help with knowing which direction you are going. She even used my little trick to help remember North, East, South and West: N = Never, E = Eat, S = Shredded, W = Wheat.

So before winter hits your area learn how to letterbox. It's a lot of fun!
If you have older kids check geocatching!

November 10, 2008

Another healthy breakfast

If you eat cereal morning after morning it can get kind of boring.

This healthy breakfast is a great way to jazz up your cereal. Instead of adding milk - add yogurt. Have fun with all the wonderful fun flavors.

I know there are tons of extra healthy yogurts out there... but you also have to love the taste. For me that's Yoplait fat free yogurt. It's 100 calories. What I love about are all the flavors! Some of my favorites include Raspberry cheesecake, Banana cream pie, and Key Lime Pie (do you see a pie theme?)

My favorite healthy cereal is Kashi Go Lean Crunch. This stuff has 8g of fiber and 9g of protein. Does your cereal have that?

What's great about this breakfast is that Eli loves it! Go figure! The kid doesn't eat anything!

What do your kids normally eat for breakfast? I must admit - if I let them Sara and Eli would eat bacon every morning!

November 7, 2008

Extra Healthy Breakfast

Lately I've been pretending trying to eat healthy. Like the professionals say, start with a good breakfast.

This has been my "usual" this past week.

*Fat Free Hot Chocolate -25 calories I don't drink coffee - and this is so yummy!
*Natural Ovens Weight Sense toast -100 calories for 2 slices
*Laughing Cow light cheese - I spread it like cream cheese -35 calories per wedge.
*Hard boiled egg - I eat the whites only - 17 calories. I know it doesn't look picture worthy, but I just cut it up on put it on the toast.
*1/2 grapefruit -54 calories

Just the facts:

calories: 230
fat: 2.7g
carbs: 36g
protein: 14g

32% of RDA protein
27% of RDA fiber
11% of RDA vitamin A
76% of RDA vitamin C
34% of RDA calcium

What did you have for breakfast?

November 6, 2008

Facebook Ad Campaign

I am such a geek... but to me.. this is fun!

First, a little background. My new job is really cool - however, it's taking away lots of blogging time.

A big part of my job is working with social media - such as facebook and myspace. I'm currently working on fan pages on facebook. To promote these pages I'm also doing some advertising on facebook.

As I'm learning how all of this works I decide I something to test with. hmmmm.... what web site do I have to test with? :) I decided that Letters to Elijah, my blog, would make a great tester!

It's pretty easy to set up an ad - design the ad, set up the parameters (including demographics) and budget and away you go!

You can set your ad up two ways - you pay for when someone clicks on your ad or when someone views your ad. I'm testing both ways. I've had tons of view - over 500 and 3 click through so far - and it's cost me under $1

I know - I'm a bit of a geek :)

What are your geeky habits?