Starbucks Mondays in March

StarbucksStarbucks will have special ‘Happy Hour’ promotions in March from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.  You do need to be a ‘My Starbucks Rewards’ member.

The most appealing dates, to me, are

  • March 9 – 30% off almost everything
  • March 30 – Frappucino Happy Hour 50% off frappucino

I overheard the baristas scheming to not have to work on March 30 – frappucino day ;)

I had a nice day off today.  Mr Saver and DD went to the museum, leaving me to grocery shop, wander at Michaels, and stop by Starbucks.  It was a long week because I worked full-time, something I haven’t done in about 9 years.  We’re all grateful to get back to a regular schedule next week.

Small Signs Point to Spring

Vintage-Winter-Birds-Image-GraphicsFairy-1024x392In our northern location, one of the few birds that sticks around are cardinals.  In the past week, despite the 10 degree F temperatures, I have heard Mr. Cardinal singing.  I think he was singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”  Works on the ladies every time!

The other sign of spring was I caught Mr. Saver looking out of the sunroom window at his raised garden beds, with thoughts of “doing something different” out there this year.

We decided that when we work through our budget this Saturday night we will take a good look about whether our finances are ready for spring as well.

Areas where our budget is ready for spring, and beyond:

  • We have summer vacation expenses covered
  • We have kid’s summer activities and camps covered

Areas that need attention soon:

  • We have a wedding to attend and need to set aside some gift money for that
  • We have no money set aside for gardening, and it is always more than we expect
  • We have no money set aside for Mom/Daughter summer fun.  This is to cover things like going to a local summer festival, American Girl sales, rummages, lunch out, taking a friend to the movies.
  • May need to revisit the clothing budgets and see if they are ready for spring

Vintage-Daffodil-Picture-GraphicsFairy-543x1024It has been so cold this week that we have barely spent any money from our weekly budget other than buying fruits and veggies, and a few gallons of gas until I got too cold waiting for the tank to fill!  We will re-route our weekly money towards some of these happy spring expenses.

Ordering Summer, Hold the Big Vacation

Morton Arboretum. Looks like England, Not Chicago Suburbs.

Morton Arboretum. Looks like England, Not Chicago Suburbs.

In January we begin thinking about summer vacation plans. We add money to our vacation fund every week, year round when we come in under budget with our weekly expenses. We try to hone in on our plan in January to make sure we have money to pay in full for our fun. (Bring home memories, not debt!)

This year we tossed around a number of ideas… Another train trip out west, or a trip to Montreal? Rent a summer lake house? We felt like we needed to come up with some sort of “legitimate” vacation, but we weren’t really feeling any of the ideas. They all sounded like work for mom and dad!

We came up with some driveable regional options that would give my husband lots of long summer weekends, good food, no travel stress, and time together doing new things. Two-thirds of us are excited to be going to the Madison Children’s Museum American Girl doll benefit sale this summer, but we hooked my husband in with snazzy accommodations and hiking at Devils Lake State Park. Minimal planning, packing and stress, and something for everyone to enjoy.

We have saved up enough to fund our summer plans, and plan to keep on saving so that next year we can contemplate a bigger trip if we are up for it. We would love to get to England in the next few years, but right now that level of planning seems daunting, and the cost to travel as a family seems like a lot of money for a week or two.  That doesn’t mean we won’t ever do it, but if we can build up a nice vacation fund, it may not seem so painful!

Happy Valentine’s Day

AG Valetine

Happy Valentine’s Day from all the girls decked out in pink at our house today!

It’s brutally cold out today, so we are enjoying a night of sushi at home and maybe a little “Top Chef” finale off the DVR.

American Girl fans, note that the preview for the movie “Grace Stirs It Up” will premiere Tuesday, Feb 17 during the show Master Chef Junior on Fox.

Menu Plan Monday Feb 2/15

IMG_3759_fotorLast week’s menu, which I never posted, was inventive and included new recipes like Mediterranean cod. This week I am hitting everyone’s old favorites.

Monday Husband is off, so we will go out or take-out

Tuesday Fajitas… Hoping avocados are still .99 from Superbowl sales

Wednesday Mushroom barley soup, which starts from a dried mix which I have never used before.

Thursday Breakfast for dinner – a favorite here

Friday Tacos, husband’s favorite

For more menu inspirations, visit orgjunkie.com 💗

Goodbye to What You Thought I Could Use…

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Hi friends…

I’ve been hard at work the past weeks using the bits of time before I go to work to declutter small areas.  One thing that has been bothering me about clutter is that is steals my mental energy.  Clutter, in my life, is items that a decision should be made about but that I have not taken action on.  Clutter might be a t-shirt that fits funny or shrunk, but I barely wore it!  Or maybe if I keep it another year it will fit my daughter…  Meanwhile, every time I get dressed it is there saying “You bought me are you EVER going to wear me?”

Gifts are also an area that can become clutter.  If the gift is something I haven’t really enjoyed, it just waits there for me to enjoy it to the level the giver intended.  One recent influence on me is the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.  In the book she encourages us by saying the power of a gift is in the action of giving, not the item itself.  “Presents are not things but a means for conveying someone’s feelings,” she writes.  No one  would want the gift they gave you to make you feel guilty or unhappy for decades!

One item that I came across is the massive COMPLETE book of Shakespeare’s works, given to me by a friend who went to teach in Japan 25 YEARS AGO!  It has been sitting in my laundry room for years.  I often thought it might be “worth something” until I looked on abebooks.com and alibris.com and found them selling for $6.00 – 12.00!  I am grateful my friend thought I was the kind of scholar that would crack open a 2,300 page book, but I decided to donate it to my local library’s “Friends of the Library” book sale.  The library gives me so much joy in my life and I hope they can use the money from the sale of the book to make the library a joyful part of someone else’s life.

For more on Marie Kendo see this article.

Menu Plan Monday Jan 19/15

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Monday – YOYO You’re on your own with football playoff game leftovers

Tuesday – Eggs, smoked salmon & bagels

Wednesday – Spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday – Best and easiest black bean soup with biscuits

Black bean soup - Dinner at home

Black bean soup – Dinner at home

Friday – Having some kids over for a skating party, pizza.

For more menu inspirations, check out orgjunkie.com!