Wednesday, September 30, 2009

just a quick update

Google is not working from my home computer,we've tried multiple virus scans i can't log into my blog from home,i'm hogging the hubby's computer at his shop.tonight he's gonna try the wipe out the whole computer and reboot so hopefully i will have google and google reader and all things lovely google-related soon.i've been google deprived for over a week.Write soon!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

lazy family day sundays,

there is something so nice and so relazing about lazy sundays.nate's only home one full day a week,sundays,today was just extra nice or extra relaxing,we went to church,came home,did a few things that needed to be done,breakfast food for dinner(it's always better for dinner than breakfast time)and then it's just pure relaxing!! occasionally we'll take sunday afternoon naps,watch movies all day,cuddle in bed together as a family, but something so nice about spending a nice rainy day home doing nothing!i might go scrap a little bit,he's gonna check all his little forums,then i see a frozen brownie and movie in the near future :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

weekly sketch challenge

Ines and i get together and scrapbook at least 1 day a week and so we've started our weekly sketch challenge,we pick at least 1 sketch and come up with our version of it,this was this week's sketch and my version of can go to her blog and see her version(soon)and renee joined in on the challenge this week too, so check out her blog for her version.

my expedite!!

After a week of emptying out plastic drawers after plastic drawers and having stuff all over the floor,I'm finally done so that i can scrap in there again,seriously the last week, i couldn't even find anything,i still need to get a few more little baskets or bins for some loose items on the shelf but I'm so excited about my upgrade and thankful my hubby took me to Tampa to get it and put it together for me!here is the before and after picture of my wall,now on to organize some more piles of stuff.

Monday, September 7, 2009

i heart IKEA!

Sat morning i had my best friend in kindergarten's surprise bridal shower in the morning,left there around 2 ish,picked up nate from work on the way,ran home changed and then we headed to tampa, to go to IKEA so i could have an 'upgrade' in my "office" aka my craft room ;) we got to IKEA and the crowded parking lot and stream of people going in the doors was such a rush, like shopping on black friday-exactly like that. IKEA is HUGE they have their own little restaurant/snack shop inside and a kiddie zone,like a smaller chuck e cheese for kiddos.they have everything, i mean everything,kitchen,bath,bedroom,office they even have a kid IKEA which is all kid toys and furniture,it was so cute!!lots of people and 2 stories,lots of walking too lol,but i came home with my IKEA expedit!!it took hubby less then a n hr. to put it together too,we are very happy with our purchase and experience with IKEA!Think-like a rooms to go but half the price!Pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

too much like her daddy,

Well i guess all those times i tell Nate not to do something and all those times i say Lillian is going to copy us and do what we do,well let me introduce to example A). So if I'm not vacuuming gold fish off the carpet or cleaning up real spaghetti off her play kitchen because Lillian says, "I cooking mama", I'm walking into my living room to my child being 'just like daddy' drinking chocolate milk out of the jug. Who said being a stay at home mom was boring?!?!

Ways to save

I found this article on msn very informative-hopefully you will get something useful from it :)

10 ways to thrive after the recession
Have hard times inspired a newfound frugality in you? These steps will help make it last even after the economy improves.

[Related content: debt, debt reduction, frugal, spending, savings]
By U.S. News & World Report
Americans have put themselves on a budget. They're spurning Caribbean vacations, $10 cocktails and designer coffees in favor of shoveling more money into savings accounts. In the first quarter of 2009, the personal savings rate hit 4.2%, its highest level since 1998. At the same time, consumer credit card debt fell by 6.5%. And in a recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 57% of Americans said they're spending less than they were a year ago.

How to change your spending lifestyle
That moderation, it turns out, could outlast the recession, and most economists and consumer experts say that's a good thing. In the NFCC survey, about half the respondents who had reduced their spending said they would continue to spend less even if their financial situation improved. "The consumer has fundamentally changed," says Margot Bogue, associate director of brand planning for the advertising firm Cramer-Krasselt. The new "evolved consumer," she says, shops with more discipline and focuses on buying products with lasting value rather than just accumulating stuff.

To take advantage of that shift and thrive in the new, post-recession economy, consider making these 10 changes:

1. Rethink your lifestyle. Veronica Neilan, a 25-year-old Brooklynite who recently completed a master's degree in forensic mental-health counseling, is considering moving back to her mother's house in New Hampshire while she looks for a job. She will soon need to start paying back the $113,000 in student loans she has accumulated over the past seven years. She's learned to ask for things such as pasta or gift certificates from relatives who are giving her presents, a move that keeps her food costs down. She rarely buys new clothes unless they are on sale or she can use a gift certificate, and when she needed a new television, she found one online being given away. Neilan says she expects her frugal behavior to stick. "I don't want to be the person who buys a house they can't afford," she says.

Robbie Blinkoff, principal anthropologist at Context-Based Research Group, a consulting firm that recently conducted interviews with consumers, says lifestyle overhauls like Neilan's are easier for younger consumers to adopt. "They're just learning habits about how to consume. It will last into the recovery," he says, just as the Great Depression turned many people who are now in their 80s and 90s into lifelong savers.

•Why you should outsource your chores now

2. Eliminate small expenses that add up. After Deborah Pont, 41, of Stonington, Conn., was laid off from her communications job at a large financial services firm in January, she dramatically reduced her budget: She stopped going out to dinner, shopping, visiting expensive hair salons and getting her nails done. She also rediscovered grocery store coupons and started buying what's on sale. It was easy, in part because so many of her friends were making similar cutbacks. "Everybody else said, 'Let's not go out, let's not spend too much money,' so somebody would make dinner and we'd go to their house," Pont says.

What she discovered is that it's a relief not to feel pressure to spend so much. She has more time for things she enjoys, such as gardening and home improvement projects, and says she probably won't return to regular spa visits even after finding a new job.

Blinkoff says Pont's discovery is not uncommon. "People have kind of woken up, and they feel the things they consumed don't match who they are and their identity," he says.

3. Downsize -- permanently. Doreen Orion, 49, a psychiatrist and author of the memoir "Queen of the Road," also decided to turn a temporary exercise in minimalism into a longer-term lifestyle. She initially cringed at the thought of leaving her dream house in Boulder, Colo., and her 200 pairs of shoes to go on a road trip with her husband. But at his insistence, they spent a year living in a 340-square-foot bus, camping throughout the country.

When the couple returned home to their luxe but hardworking lifestyle, they realized they were much happier with less. They calculated that, even though their 401k's had fallen in value, if they sold their home and lived in their bus while working occasionally, they could support themselves. Such a dramatic change, she says, "put a spark back into our lives. . . . We discovered there can be an upside to downsizing."

4. Get competitive about it. The recession inspired yoga studio owner Annie Mahon, 46, of Washington, D.C., to start a competition with her husband to see who could go longer without buying anything new. (They make exceptions for groceries, medicine and certain items for their four children.) Instead of curling up with catalogs that arrive in the mail, Mahon puts them directly into the recycling bin. "It feels great, because afterward, there's no residual feeling of, 'Oh, I wish I had gotten this.' So far, it doesn't feel like I'm missing anything. It feels like I'm gaining," she says. Wanting or craving things soaked up energy, Mahon adds. She estimated that, six weeks into the competition, she had saved at least $1,000.

5. Take advantage of the way retailers have changed. An advertising campaign touts that "summer costs less at Wal-Mart." One television spot features the simple pleasures of the season, including hot dogs, Popsicles and running through sprinklers. Target's "New Day" ad campaign, which ran from September through May, highlighted ways to save money: cutting hair at home, staying in for a movie night, biking to work.

Lena Michaud, a Target spokeswoman, says the company has seen sales increase for products that let people cut costs by staying home, including nail polish and hair color, single-serve coffee brewers and popcorn poppers. People also are making the most of what they already have. Michaud says Target's sales of scarves and fashion hats have gone up as customers freshen up old outfits with new accessories.

"We are not bouncing back. The face of retail and consumption has been fundamentally changed," says Paco Underhill, author of "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping." Even before the recession, there were too many stores, a problem that has started to self-correct through business bankruptcies and closings, such as Circuit City's. What's changed? "People are no longer celebrating how much they spend but how little they spend," says Underhill.

John Quelch, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, says that although the length of the recession will determine just how long the newfound frugality lasts, up to 10% of consumers will change their behavior on a sustained basis. "Many of those changes will be in favor of reducing consumption and a simplified lifestyle," he says.

Although these consumers are still in the minority, there are enough of them to make retailers take note. "It's a huge shift in buying power," says Quelch. Because consumer spending makes up such a large portion of our economy (about 70% of gross domestic product), 10% of consumers also represents a huge dollar value.

Continued from page 1

[Related content: debt, debt reduction, frugal, spending, savings]
6. Make use of new government policies. New programs from government and financial institutions encourage consumers to hold on to their thrifty habits. Recently passed credit card legislation makes it harder for people under 21 to get credit. Congress also allocated funds for financial counseling for those facing foreclosure and already requires counseling for those considering bankruptcy.

7. Educate yourself. Susan Keating, president of the NFCC, says her organization is pushing lawmakers to require pre-purchase counseling for first-time homebuyers and for people considering nontraditional mortgages. In the NFCC's survey, 28% of respondents said the terms of their mortgage turned out to be different from what they expected. "That suggests they didn't understand it going in," says Keating. The NFCC would also like financial education courses to be mandated in high schools. Some states, including Missouri and New Mexico, already have such requirements, but most do not.

8. Save more. President Barack Obama has suggested providing savings incentives to low- and middle-income Americans by matching half of the first $1,000 such families set aside. It's those groups that have the most trouble saving, says Tamara Draut, vice president of policy and programs at the research organization Demos and author of "Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead." Government data on savings rates aren't broken down by income level, and Draut suspects that those in the higher income brackets are driving the recent increase in savings rates. "They have the ability to move the aggregate in a way that might be masking the continued declines in savings among low- and middle-income people," she says.

Even before the recession, Draut says, low-income households were struggling to pay for necessities, such as health care, food and child care, let alone scrape together enough for a savings account.

9. Look for a better bank. Kevin Martin, executive vice president of personal financial services at HSBC, says financial institutions have an opportunity to turn Americans' newfound habits into lifelong behaviors. Banks that offer automatic deposits, online banking, no fees and no minimum requirements for opening accounts make it easier for people to save money, he says. (See "Ditch your bank for a credit union" for another option.)

10. Don't overdo your newfound frugality. That's not to say most consumers are going to cut up their credit cards and lead lives devoid of material pleasures. Americans love to shop, after all. But they'll likely be more thoughtful about where and when they dole out that hard-earned dough. As tax refunds arrive, Bogue says, people may opt for some selective indulgences. "One consumer told us, 'If I get $1,000 back (in tax refunds), I may buy a $300 purse. If I don't do it, I'll go crazy,'" she recalls.

But the new splurges will probably be tightly controlled, Bogue says. "People come out of the frugality fatigue, and then they're grounded. They have discipline. . . . It's never going to go back to the way it was. We've been so rocked to our core."