Tuesday, November 3, 2015

No Spend October, Looking Back

I am happy with how no spend October went down. I spent some money, I had to buy groceries and gas so it wouldn't have been an absolutely no spend month. I planned on taking advantage of L.L. Bean's next sale and so I did. The only unplanned expense I feel really guilty about is the $35 I spent at Bath and Body Works because three wick candles were buy 1 get 1 free 😮 and I had a 20% off coupon. I also bought a Beachbody Performance Sampler but I'm a Beachboy Coach so that's a business expense, right?

Here's a recap of all the spending that's kind of suspect:

  • 10/3 We went out to dinner in part because I was tired and the turkey hadn't defrosted but we used gift cards so we only ended up paying about $5
  • 10/5 I bought a salad from the salad bar at the grocery store for lunch.
  • 10/5 I bought Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People but I had committed to reading this book last month so I bought it when I realized I'd need to buy it to reach my goal of reading it
  • 10/6 I bought five flannel shirts and a pair of replacement mittens in the L.L. Bean sale for myself, plus a present
  • 10/6 I bought fancy party supplies at Target for the kids
  • 10/7 I went to Starbucks and paid with my gift card
  • 10/10 We had lunch at Five Guys on the way to my in-laws for the evening (not my idea but I happily supported it)
  • 10/12 We went out for froyo at my suggestion
  • 10/13 I ordered a Beachboy Performance Sampler (the link takes you to purchase the sampler if you're interested, I get a commission)
  • 10/13 I picked up some dry cleaning (I should try harder at buying machine wash clothes)
  • 10/17 We met some friends for doughnuts at Tim Hortons (not my idea)
  • 10/17 We headed out to dinner again as a special treat for one of the Kiddos
  • 10/20 The perfect present for the Hubs popped up on sale at Amazon so I got it for him for our dating anniversary in November
  • 10/21 I ordered a pair of shoes from Zappos that came back in stock, there was one pair left! I returned them when I tried them on and discovered that they didn't fit perfectly
  • 10/22 We had pizza for dinner because I am an absolute failure at being motivated to make dinner
  • 10/23 I bought lots of Halloween candy and I bought the good stuff in the hope that we would have lots of leftovers
  • 10/28 I bought an emergency legal pad at Staples because I left mine in the office
  • 10/30 I placed an order at JetPens because they had a study tool the kiddo thought would be helpful and I got some more pens and new pencil case for myself because free shipping
Have you tried a no spend month? How did it work out for you? Did you binge spend the next month? I'm hopping to keep November "no spend" as well, with an exception for resupplying some underwear since my favorite online underwear store, Bare Necessities, sent me a 30% off coupon (and if you follow this link you'll get 20% off and I'll get credit for a referral) and I want to replace a few household items that aren't absolutely necessary to replace.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thirty Before Thirty Part 1

So thirty is coming up and I've been thinking really hard about things I might do before I turn thirty. I think it's traditional to have a list of thirty things but I can't think of that many! Here's my 10 before 30 list:
  1. Visit the Desert of Maine
  2. Read a representative sample of Martin Luther King Jr.'s works
  3. Can some food
  4. Read the Gospels
  5. Start using Photos instead of iPhoto
  6. Start a real retirement savings account, investment not just savings
  7. Join an organization in my new community
  8. Use my sewing machine and the Lilly fabric I bought to make something (a shift or circle skirt)
  9. Buy a headboard for our bed
  10. Finish one of my long neglected needlework projects
No skydiving here! I'm too grounded. Do you have any suggestions to help me round out my 30 before 30 list?


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

“I hope I die before I get old ...”

So I saw TIME Magazine’s cover story while I was checking out at the grocery store … it’s “Help! My Parents are Millennials.” Now I haven’t actually read the story because I have no time to read a magazine, I have kids to care for after all and they take up so much of my time and their wonderful but also they take up so much time. But I’ve seen so many articles about people my age written by people who were my age 20 or 30 years ago. 

And I’m just fed up. I didn't spring fully formed and full of wisdom from my parent's head and neither did anyone else my age. We were born and our parents taught us how to use a spoon, how to read, and how to live in the world. So, it's really galling when people older than us talk about how we're messing everything us because the same people who are complaining about us are the same people who taught us how to do the things were doing.

When I was a kid, I was told that the way to success in life was to do well in school and to have lots of schooling. I was taught that the financial benefits of that were so great that I wouldn't really need to worry about the student loans I took out to get that education. I suspect most of my peers were told the same things by their parents. Schools have focuses on getting kids into college at the exclusion of more practical education. But what I guess our parents didn't take into account is the fact that a college education is way more expensive than it was when they went to college (between the time my dad graduated from college and the time I went to college (about 35 years) tuition at our alma mater increased ten fold).

I feel like we did as we were told and we're being punished and ridiculed for it now. I am willing to take rsponsibility for the mistakes I've made but I feel like the adults who taught us how to be shouldn't blame us for the circumstances were in now with out also taking responsibility for the fact that maybe they didn't teach us as well as they could have.

Also, the title of this post references The Who's My Generation. It seems like generational conflict is just a part of modern American life.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Trip Home Recap #throwbackthursday

So, at the end of the summer Hubs and I loaded up my in laws mini van with two kids and their stuff and drove out to visit my parents.

It was the experience of a life time and I now why my parents drove ALL night when we went on road trips when I was a child...it's so much easier when things are quiet.

We celebrated two birthdays! A Kiddos' (all she wanted was a Batman cake) and my Dad's!

We went to the Shedd and the Brookfield Zoo. Both my parents enjoyed walking round with the Kiddos and seeing things. I was disappointed by the lack of educational information disseminated by the Shedd, it seemed to be look at these cool animals and then learn nothing about why they're so cool! The Zoo was slightly better. Hubs and the little kiddo saw a bear poop, it was the highlight of Hubs day.

We went swimming at my mom's new place near Lake Zurich and I got a tiny frap from the Lake Zurich Target. And, almost all the pictures I took were pictures of the Kiddos so I can't share them. :(

I also brought back a ton of stuff from my childhood bedroom. So now I have even more boxes of books sitting around in my house here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pumpkin Candies

When life gives you pumpkins, you make pumpkinaide? If you do let me know how it tastes. I used my cups and cups of fresh pumpkin puree to make candy. Pumpkin pie caramels to be exact. I saw the recipe on The Kitchen Prep. Her recipe was for pumpkin "turtles," those caramel, chocolate, and pecan goodies. She "adapted" the caramel recipe from Challenge Dairy. There will be left over caramel. You will want a candy thermometer and maybe lab goggles since caramel is HOT.

I made some caramel pecan chocolate candies and had plenty of leftover caramel for just caramels. I did not change Dianna's recipe at all, so pop over there and check it out. (If you're going to store these for a while or send them, you should temper the chocolate before you use it or use quik melt fake chocolate stuff.) I did learn some things actually making the caramel so I've reproduced my version of that recipe below my prep picture. I don't have any pictures of the finished product--that tells you something. My husband doesn't like caramel but he liked these because the texture was different, softer, than store bought caramels.


Pumpkin Caramel
½ cup (1 stick) Salted Butter (add ¼ teaspoon of salt to a stick of unsalted butter)
1½ cups white sugar (maybe next time I'll try brown sugar or adding a little molasses)
½ teaspoonground cinnamon
½ teaspoonground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
A dash of cloves if you're feeling brave
1 cup light corn syrup*
1⅓ cup (14 oz. can) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup 100% pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice could be substituted for cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground allspice.

Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper and grease it. In a heavy 2 to 3 quart sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and spices, blend throughly. Add corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin slowly and mixing well after each addition. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching until the temperature reaches 248°F (firm ball stage). Remove from heat and pour into pan. Cool. Cut candy in to small squares (less than 1") and wrap in wax paper. Store in an airtight container.


*One thing I vividly remember about growing up in Illinois is a man from Big Corn came to talk to our elementary school class about corn and he brought in corn syrup and told us to put it on our pancakes.