Sunday, October 30, 2011

Christmas Cash

Wow!  Where has the fall gone?  We spent a lovely, sunny, Saturday afternoon getting the yard raked, the garden pulled, and the roses prepped for winter.  And just in time!  Today is gray and blustery.  Perfect weather for the big pot of chili I cooked up!

My post-dinner hours have been spent going through the bin that collects items that need to be filed.  Among them was a notice from my credit card company to sign up for this quarter's rewards program (my credit card company requires a quarterly sign-up for additional cash-back bonuses). As I got to work doing this, I dug deeper into what the rewards program is, and found a I have a HUGE stockpile of rewards points.  It's the PERFECT time to cash them in, and use that money for this year's holiday gift buying. 

I don't advocate using credit cards just to earn rewards, and I ABSOLUTELY believe in only charging on them what can be paid in FULL when the bill comes.  But, if you're going to use a credit card, you might as well reap some benefits too, right?

If you have a card that offers a rewards program, take the time this month to make sure you know the rules of the program, and participate if you are not already.  Make a plan when you enroll in the program for what those funds will be used for, and stick to that plan.

My plan:  let the points build up all year long, and let the cash reward help inform my holiday gift buying budget.  That way, buying holiday gifts will remain fun, and not be a finacial burden into the new year!

Until next time...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

Tonight I had my parents over for dinner.  They had just come back from the lake and I was on my way to the grocery when the idea to invite them over struck me.  One point for spontaneity!  One of the fun things about spur of the moment entertaining is that nobody expects too much.  I made a simple dinner- ballpark steak sandwiches, fruit salad and chips.  I popped frozen cookie dough into the oven after dinner and with a scoop of ice cream, it was a little dessert that delighted my dad.  Frozen cookie dough is awesome to have on hand for impromptu entertaining.

It was a great way to celebrate Mother's Day too, and gave my mom relief fom having to come up with a dinner plan right after coming back into town.  And, I got to use some fun dishes we received as wedding gifts that do not get used on a daily basis. I'm trying to do better using what I have.  What's the use in having "stuff" that just sits on a shelf?

Any day is a great day to celebrate family.  Today, whether you are mom to a 2-legged or 4-legged "kid"...celebrate yourself and your family!

Until next time...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Resolution Re-check

Dare I say it out loud?  We are already a quarter of the way through 2011.  How did that happen??

Now is a great time to think back to those New Year's Resolutions, or Commitments, that you made.  Have you stuck with them?  Any of them? 

I made three.  1) Floss 3X/week, 2) Clean the house more often, and 3) Break even on my business.  The flossing is going well.  I flossed almost EVERY DAYin January, but now am averaging about 3X/week.  Right on target. 

Cleaning the house more often?  I have to give myself an F.  Although, I made great headway today, vacuuming a lot of spaces, including the stairs, cleaning out the freezer and fridge, and doing laundry.  And buying more bins to better organize my shoes, trying on clothes and cleaning out what doesn't fit or I never wear.  Still, I definitely can do better on this cleaning commitment!

I have a ways to go yet before I break even on my business, but I'm slowly making progress. 

Your turn.  How's it going?  If you've lost your way, take the rest of March to re-prioritize your goals.  Renew your commitments or set new goals- no shame in deciding that what you thought was good in January is no longer where life is leading you!

Good luck and keep me posted!

Until next time...


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Bucket List

Depending on who you ask, a bucket list may be the list of things you want to do in your lifetime, or the list of things you want to do but know you never will.  Mine falls somewhere in between.

Things I want to do but know my life will be complete if I never do these things?  Learn Spanish; learn to tap-dance, and learn to play the violin.

The one thing I was determined I would do in my lifetime?  Swim with dolphins. 

I'm happy to say I've now checked that off my bucket list!

On a recent trip to Cancun, we signed up for a swim with the dolphins session.  When we arrived, the front pool (1 of 4) had three different groups going at the same time, each with 6-10 people in it.  Somehow, Husband and I were the ONLY 2 people in our group (in addition to the trainer and 2 dolphins), and the only group in one of the larger pools.

We got to spend about an hour in the pool with the 2 dolphins, learning about them, petting them, giving them commands to do tricks, and swimming with them.  Husband got a ride by holding on to their dorsal fins, and I was pushed across the pool by each dolphin simultaneously pushing the bottom of one of my feet.

This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!!

The thing about lists is that they only work if you are willing to do something about them.  Tell me what's on YOUR bucket list, and if you are doing anything to make sure those things get checked off!

Until next time....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guest Bedroom Re-do

The guest bedroom is almost done!  Just a little accessorizing left to do and it will be a beauty.  Suffice it to say that the former owners of our home had different decor taste than we do.  While the sponge painting and border in the guest bedroom were well done, it just didn't work for us.  It's been slow going, but I have sanded off the sponge paint checkerboard and painted the walls.  My husband painted the ceiling.  I found a great dresser (great buy at Home Goods); and new bedding (thank you Target for Home Garden Party Chrysanthemum Quilt in purple) and redid the lamp.  I was able to use artwork I already had.  If you have a piece you love, plan a bedroom re-do around it to save money!

The lamp is my prize in the room.  I got this floor lamp for free (hand-me-down from my mom) and spray painted the base.  I bought a new shade at Joann Etc. for $14.99 and fabric at 50% off and made a custom shade to tie the wall and bedding colors together.



If a bedroom re-do is on your project list, get to planning.  What are you waiting for?  If not now...when? 

Don't do what I did in my old townhouse.  Don't wait until you are moving to update your spaces.  You'll wish you had done it sooner and enjoyed the fruits of your labor! 

Share your re-do stories with me!

Until next time...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Use What You Already Have

This seems to be a purging time of year.  People make their resolutions to live with less; live a more simple life; clear out the clutter, etc. etc. etc.  Sound familiar?

While I whole-heartedly believe in purging and living with less, while you're at it, think about making better use of what you already have too.  The closet is a great place to start!  Here' a suggestion: Hang all your hangers the same way.  Each time you wear an item and hang it back up, face the hanger in the opposite direction.  At the end of the season, it will be clear what you wear and what you don't, and make your purging decisions very clear!

Think about a room or a part of your life that makes you think, "I just have TOO MUCH STUFF!".  I love to make cards, and have amassed a huge amount of stamps, papers, inks, tools, etc.  One of my (cool) tools is a Cricut machine.  I must admit, it doesn't get a ton of use.  But this year, I started thinking about additional ways I can make use of what I already have.  Enter the Cricut and Christmas presents, and nifty gadget that makes paper cut-outs into stickers, and Voila, my holiday gifts had beautiful labels.  Now I don't feel so bad about the cost of the Cricut and the space it takes to store it. 

Tell me what you're making better use of, or creative ways to use what you already have!

Until next time...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Commitment Statement

It's that time of year know...ring in the new year and make a resolution.  Out with the old, in with the new.  Lose weight, eat healthier, etc. etc. etc.  This year I'm going to reframe the conept of resolutions, and instead, make commitments. 

My first commitment is to my teeth.  My dentist father will be proud of this one!!  I am commiting to flossing at least 3 times per week.  I'm terrible at doing this, but know it's good for me. My inspiration?  A new co-worker who told me that in 2004 she made a resolution to floss everyday and since then has truly flossed every day.   

My second commitment is to clean the house more often.  I'm not going to say how often...because then you'd know how often I DON'T do this. 

My third commitment in 2011 is to break even on my new business venture.  This will be more challenging that I had originally hoped, because at the beginning of December I returned to full-time work, and thus, have less time to spend on Render Lifestyle Management.

Now, rather than getting long winded, I'd rather start a conversation on this topic.  So, the question is...what will YOU commit to this year to make yourself, or your life, or somebody else's life, better?

Until next time...