5.30.2010

Green Smoothies - the Liquids

THE LIQUIDS

We broke down the content of our smoothie into 4 basic groups so that we could easily build a healthy smoothie each time based off the basic groups. We always make sure to add items from each group to ensure a nutritious and delicious smoothie.

As mentioned before, these are our 4 groups:
Liquid
Fats
Special

I am going to do a separate post about each category to keep it simpler and more organized. 
All posts should be up by the end of the weekend! 
I have tried my best to answer questions as they have come up, if I missed your question or you have another one feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer. 


LIQUID- There isn't a whole lot to say on this addition. Liquid is essential to help blend and thin out the smoothie. You can play with the amount of liquid you add to change the thickness of your smoothie and also the consistency of your smoothie. We mainly use water and if we use something other than water we do consider it as part of the 'special' group, but for the sake of organization I will list all of the liquids we have used here.

- Water
-Grapefruit juice
-Coconut milk
-Milk*
-Apple Juice
-Almond milk

*we are slowly weeding milk out of our diet. We haven't used it in a long time, but we use to.

We also consider ice as part of our liquid, and as mentioned before sometimes use frozen cucumbers or frozen bananas in place of ice. 

The liquid should be added first to your blender as it helps create a vortex of sorts and blends up the greens more thoroughly. And as several people commented earlier, it helps prolong the life of the motor.

Since this section is rather short I'll add a fun tip we discovered a couple weeks ago: if you have extra smoothie pour it into a Popsicle mold and put it in the freezer - easy, cheap and tasty Popsicle treats that are good for the kids! 

I had hoped to get the whole series complete this weekend, but I was in Atlanta all day Friday for a Photoshop seminar, spent yesterday pulling staples and cleaning glue off the hardwood floors we discovered upstairs under the carpet,  tomorrow we are spending all day with various friends and Tuesday we are going away for our first camping trip with the boys. I committed to more than I can complete this weekend, so the 'fats; and 'special' will be addressed later.



Happy Memorial Day!


5.27.2010

Green Smoothies - the Leafy Greens


We broke down the content of our smoothie into 4 basic groups so that we could easily build a healthy smoothie each time based off the basic groups. We always make sure to add items from each group to ensure a nutritious and delicious smoothie.

As mentioned before, these are our 4 groups:
Greens
Liquid
Fats
Special

I am going to do a separate post about each category to keep it simpler and more organized. 
All posts should be up by the end of the weekend! 
I have tried my best to answer questions as they have come up, if I missed your question or you have another one feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer. 

GREENS - The foundation of every green smoothie is of course the green, leafy vegetables.

Leafy greens have more nutrition  per calorie than any other food. They are a significant source of  vitamins A, C, E and K and several B vitamins. 
Greens are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. In fact we use greens as our number one source of calcium for the boys.
They are rich in fiber, extremely low in fat and carbohydrates and provide an excellent source of protein.

For our smoothies I use:
-Kale
-Spinach
-Turnip Greens

I have used Mustard Greens and do not recommend them. Perhaps one day I'll find a good mix for them, but they are somewhat spicy and not at all enjoyable to us. 

I have heard that you need to mix up the greens you are eating, but I was unsure why so sent an e-mail to my MIL asking her. Here's what she said:
"Because of a substance called oxalic acid in some greens like spinach and parsley, it is good to alternate your greens. Oxalic acid is a mineral inhibitor (it blocks the absorption of minerals in the body) that is deactivated with cooking so using these kinds of raw greens in large quantities can be a problem. Swiss Chard and romaine lettuce are free of oxalic acid. Kale is low in oxalic acid and should not be an issue."
I alternate based on what is on sale or what I can find in stock, but we primarily use kale because it is the cheapest and we drink so many. Spinach has the least texture and taste to it so if you are starting out I would recommend starting with that.

Other options we haven't yet tried include Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Parsley, Dandelion Greens and Beet Greens. Lettuce can be used too but it is not as nutritionally dense as the other greens.

In addition to the actual leafy greens we also include other vegetables in this category. They never take the place of the leafy greens, but they can be added in addition to. 

Other vegetables we add include;
-Carrots - these add a great flavor and texture to smoothies
-Cucumber - not sure that they are worthwhile nutritionally wise, but they are used to balance out the 'liquid' category sometimes. I have also frozen them and used them in place of ice.

A friend of mine uses beets in hers, but we haven't tried that yet.

Tips on Buying & Storing Greens:
- Purchase the bundles of greens instead of prepackaged. Yes, you'll have to wash them yourself, but you will save a lot of money!

- Buy 3-4 days worth of greens at a time, any more than that and we have found they start to wilt.

- Ask the grocer how long the greens have been sitting out for and/or if they have any fresher greens in the back they could bring out for you. They have always been so kind and helpful in bringing me the freshest greens. And this is just a me thing - but if they come from the back that means the general public hasn't had a chance to touch or sneeze on them yet. So much less gross to get them straight from the back!

- Buy the biggest bundle. Our greens are pre-bundled and sold by the bundle, not by weight. I have found bundles that are twice the size of the other bunches, and for the same price I snatch those up!

- Wash your greens on an as needed basis. I just use water to thoroughly clean them.






5.25.2010

It is Coming!

I am working on the next in the series on Green Smoothies - thanks for being so patient!

We have been busy cleaning house - yesterday we tore up all the carpeting in Paul's office. We discovered that our entire upper level has dreamy wood floors and we can't wait to get rid of all the carpeting! His office is the first room we have cleared of carpet and I am already exhausted! 
Judah has developed a passion for games and on Sunday we played no less than 10 games. Exhausting.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to those that have voted for my photograph! It means a lot to me that so many of you would take the time to vote. The photography festival isn't until the beginning of June and I believe the voting is open until then. I will keep you posted if I place! 

And finally, I have posted a few new posts on my BOY TERRAIN blog, the most recent being about their felt swords.

5.23.2010

Help me win $200!!


I am a finalist for a photography contest in our city and if you would CLICK HERE to vote for me I would SO appreciate it!! You do need to log in to vote but it is a quick process. 

There is a cash prize of $200 to the person who gets the most votes and so if you would ask your friends to vote too it would mean a lot to me!! 

(And for those of you following the $20 bill challenge I took a huge gamble and used some of my money towards entering photos in this contest so this would go a LONG way to help me out!!)

NOTE: If clicking the link doesn't take you right to my image (which is the one above) then when you are on the gallery page select "Gallery - Finalist & People's Choice Voting" option from Main Menu on the left. 

Then click "PEOPLE" and my picture is the last one on the second page. You need to click on the picture and then click "vote now." 


5.22.2010

Reflections - Morning Devotions


I am not a morning person. I never have been and always thought I never would be.
That is, up until three weeks ago. 
I hadn't been truly enjoying my hurried Bible devotions with little boys chasing each other and making war cries around me during my "quiet time." If I sent them outside to play during my planned devotion time they always found a (generally legitimate) reason to come ask me something or get my help.

When I tried reading in the evening after they were in bed I was too tired to put much effort into reading and praying and would usually drift off. I was certain if  I got up early I would be as exhausted as I was in the evenings and so I lived quieting this need inside me to be spending more time in God's word, telling myself it would happen one day.



Then about 3 weeks ago I decided I needed to change something about the way I was reading His word. Stuffing a quick reading into a distracting 5-10 minutes wasn't satisfying. And I wanted more.

So I set my alarm for 6:30, and apart from the the two mornings I was away last weekend, have managed to get up fairly soon after that. This morning I was excited when my body woke up minutes before the alarm went off - I am slowly adjusting my sleeping habits and will set the alarm for even earlier. 

And yes, I fully realize many of you might be laughing at my 6:30 wake up being early for me. But I am a work in progress!



My boys usually wake up around 8:30 so this gives me about 2 hours of quiet time to myself to read, pray, think, write and then get a head start on my to-do list.

 

The time in the morning alone with the Lord has been wonderful. I start a load of laundry while brewing a cup of coffee or tea and then move to the back porch where I have created a little spot that is my area for the early morning.

Last weekend at the conference one of the speakers, Becky Tirabassi, shared a One-year Bible and journal she had created. I have used them both this past week and enjoy them immensely. I want to wait until I have used them a bit longer before truly singing their praises, but so far they have been excellent tools.


"This is the day the Lord has made, 
Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
-Psalm 118:24

Would you take a moment to help me win $200?!?!

Sharing on Chatting at the Sky

5.20.2010

Curried Black Beans over Couscous

 Curried Black Beans over Couscous

Our favorite dish this week has been curried black beans served over couscous - Paul enjoyed it so much he asked me to repeat the dish regularly! Thankfully I wrote down everything as I made it so it'll be easy to replicate. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of couscous (I buy mine at Big Lots, but it should be in the international food section)
  • 1 bag of black beans
  • 1/3 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • curry powder
  1. Soak and cook black beans according to package. Note: this will take about 8 hours total. If you have never soaked your own beans I highly encourage it. They're healthier and cheaper and it's actually very easy.
  2. Once the black beans are done, rinse them and place in a large bowl. Cook the couscous according to package directions. 
  3. Chop the onion and garlic into small pieces. Add to black beans. Add salt, pepper and curry seasoning to taste. I didn't write down how much I added, but I kept tasting the beans until I liked the flavor.

    Serve couscous on each plate and load curried beans on top.
    Have special toppings in individual bowls for people to add their favorites.
    The toppings we had on hand and used were:


    • coconut
    • raw peanuts
    • raisins
    • yogurt

    This was a huge hit with all 4 of us. But be warned - couscous is MESSY!! I learned my lesson long ago and made this dinner into a fun picnic so we could eat it outside.

    USING THE LEFTOVERS

    The next day I had a lot of the curried bean mixture left over. I put it in our blender with a bit of coconut oil and blended it all up. I then spooned it into flour tortillas, added some home made hummus and cheese and wrapped the tortilla up tight. I put it under the broiler for a few minutes and we had an easy and delicious lunch with the left overs.
    Judah didn't care for it, but Paul, Wesley and myself really enjoyed it.

    Would you take a moment to help me win $200?!?!

    Sharing on Tasty Tuesday
     

The Perfect Cup of Coffee



Would you take a moment to help me win $200?!?!

Sharing on Tasty Tuesday

5.18.2010

Why We Drink Green Smoothies 3 Times a Day Part 3

 In part 1 of my explanation as to why we drink 3 Green Smoothies a Day I told you about my struggle with weight and my time using Mannatech. Part 2 explained my phase with the Warrior Diet, which while successful left me craving more vegetables than I could chew! So then we started...

Blending Our Greens

Somewhere in the midst of all this Paul asked me what I thought of getting a Blendtec Blender so we could do Green Smoothies 3 times a day. We had been looking at the Blendtec on and off for the past year but it had always seemed like an unnecessary luxury.

We have been making green smoothies for several years but we have also burned through 4 blenders in our 5 year marriage. We knew we needed a quality blender in order to keep up with our usage and with where we were both at fitness wise we knew we needed to shake things up a bit. 
Luxury or not it suddenly seemed like a necessary item and since we had the cash to purchase it we went ahead and bought the Blendtec. (side note: you do not need a fancy blender to make the green smoothies! I personally think the Blendtec does a better job blending than our previous blenders, but apart from killing the motors on the other 4 blenders they did a good job blending the greens up.)

Using the Blendtec three times a day has made all the difference in our lives as far as getting nutrient rich vegetables in our bodies and our boys bodies. Each smoothie is loaded with vegetables, healthy fats and some fruit - nutrients we would otherwise not be getting.

Since starting the smoothies 3 times a day my skin has become the nicest it has ever been - in fact I have entirely stopped wearing cover up or foundation because I actually really like my skin!

I imagine one of the top questions in your mind is "If you are eating 3 green smoothies a day, what else are you eating?" Well, I am glad you asked!
Here is how our eating schedule typically goes:

Breakfast: Green smoothie for everyone. Boys eat additional breakfast of fruit, eggs, waffles, etc.

Lunch: Green smoothie for everyone. Boys eat additional lunch

Pre-dinner: Green smoothie for everyone

Supper: Raw and cooked vegetables, protein, fats and carbs (pretty much still copying the Warrior Diet)

Snacks: Honest, our snacking has almost been eliminated. If we do snack it is on more fruits or veggies, raw nuts, popcorn or crackers.

Drinks: mainly water (I aim for 100+ oz a day), tea, coffee
We are fairly simple.

Once a week we set a day aside to eat all day long and whatever we'd like - this is to give us a "cheat" day so we don't feel the need to actually cheat and it also shakes up the metabolism. While we still maintain our 3 green smoothies we are free to eat anything else that appeals to us on that day without concern. That being said; the longer we've been eating this way the less we want to eat junk food.

 

Back to the smoothies... in order to make them a balanced part of our diet we came up with what we call

"The 4 Smoothie Groups"

The groups being:

Greens
Liquid
Fats
Special

The Greens and the Fats being essential to a healthy, nutrient rich smoothie, the Liquid being needed to make it a smoothie and the Special making it palatable.

While it is in no way an exhaustive list the next part in this series will jump into the 4 Smoothie Groups we have made up  and explain the health benefits of the items we chose to put in our smoothies...
 

5.17.2010

5.16.2010

A Weekend of Joy

 

I spent the weekend at the Women of Joy conference in Charleston, S.C. - what an incredible weekend! 
4 women from church were there with me and we had a great time together - laughing, learning and being challenged. I cannot say enough good things about this conference - it was so much better than I had expected. In fact we loved it so much the 5 of us preregistered for next years conference being held in Myrtle Beach. If you ever have the opportunity to go to one I would highly encourage you to do so!

There is nothing quite like sitting in a room of 3,500 women singing praise songs together, laughing together and wiping away tears together. It was precious.
 

 
At lunch time on Saturday we were sitting at our table and we realized that Steven Curtis Chapman, two of his sons and the other band members were eating RIGHT behind us! (They were in town for concert that evening.) We were a bit more than thrilled and spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how to talk to them without interrupting their meal or drawing lots of attention to them. We finally got them right as they were leaving and 4 of us got a picture with him. 
I spent endless amounts of hours listening to him as a teenager - it was really neat to meet him in person.


I am so thankful that Paul was so gracious to rearrange his entire schedule so that he could stay home with our boys - he put in a lot more hours at work just so I could get away and I really appreciate his sacrifice!

5.12.2010

The Warrior Diet


I decided to refocus a bit - while this originally started out as an explanation as to why we drink 3 green smoothies a day it is ultimately my journey of losing the weight I gained with two nearly back to back pregnancies. My diet has played the largest part in losing weight, but working out has also played a significant role. I am going to continue the course I started, which was explaining how we got to where we are today with our diet, but I plan on making this a larger series and expanding it to fitness for moms. Or fitness for anyone. You don't need to be a mom, but it will take having little ones underfoot into account.
Note: I did utilize the use of a gym with a nursery but I am currently doing my fitness regime at home so the series will cover workouts for both home and gym.
And also note: I am in no way an expert in physical fitness. But my husband is so it will be pretty good information!

Without further ado..

The Start of the Warrior Diet

With 30 inches of fat off my body I felt incredibly energized but also increasingly aware of the heaviness of my body. 172lbs on my frame is a lot and I was feeling it.
In February I started following an eating plan that Paul has used off an on throughout our married life which is called The Warrior Diet. The Warrior Diet is a book written by Ori Hofmekler and the premise of it is the eating habits of warriors of old.
Ori Hofmekler was formerly in the special forces and developed the concept for his book through his special forces training.

The basic idea of the Warrior Diet goes against all of the commonly accepted diet advice.
It is, simply put, that you overeat once a day in the evening.
Of course it breaks down into something a bit more complex than that and I will share a bit more into the concept below. However if you intend to adopt this diet into your own lifestyle I would encourage you to read the book for yourself. It is a bit wordy (ok, a lot wordy!!) but there is a lot of important information in there on how to do this right and how to wean yourself on to this diet.

When I started this plan I jumped right in and did the entire plan from the very beginning, but that isn't necessarily the best way to do it and you want to make sure to not overwhelm yourself by going full force and causing yourself to get discouraged and quit.

The Warrior Diet encourages overeating at night and under eating during the day.
The under eating stage, which is done throughout the day and should be combined with exercise, triggers what the author refers to as "a primal survival mechanism." This in turn helps "the body cope with stress, burn stored fat as fuel for increased energy demand and improve endurance to better survive."

In other words; you are burning stored fat and creating more energy.

During the under eating stage there are limited foods you are able to eat including raw vegetables, fruit and light proteins.

The overeating stage is the fun part - you can literally eat whatever you want, you just have to follow the order.
The order being salad, cooked vegetables, protein, fat and then carbs.
In the beginning I was able to fit in a lot of carbs and then a bowl of ice cream at the end of the evening, but my body naturally regulated itself and would crave the healthy nutrients and I began eating the junk foods less and less.
I had never been more in tune with my body and it's hunger, full and thirst cues.

I found it relatively easy to follow the under eating and overeating pattern. I consumed a great amount of raw vegetables throughout the day and within the first 8 weeks lost 12 lbs. I was still working out but due to a several cases of colds and the flu I wasn't at the gym as frequently as I could have been.

By the beginning of April I was at the most fit stage of my life (note: I didn't say thinnest!) - I was under eating throughout the day and, following the recommended order of eating, would over eat in the evening. I felt fit and had a lot of energy - but I couldn't keep up with eating all the raw vegetables my body was demanding throughout the day. The day I ate through 16 ounces of carrots, 2 cucumbers and numerous amounts of fruit by mid afternoon I knew I had to change something. Eating all those vegetables was getting tedious! 

And that is when we got serious about buying a $400 Blender
To be continued...


5.11.2010

Exhaustingly Endless Mommy Day


I like to take pictures of them that make me laugh so that on days when the "mooooooommmmmmy"-ing seems exhaustingly endless I can look at them and smile and remember to cherish the moment. 
It really works.

I know. Because today was one of those exhaustingly endless mommy-ing days.

Lychee Fruit & Green Smoothies - 5 recipes

 A lychee fruit on top of a smoothie

Lychee fruit has become a favorite special treat to add to our Green Smoothies. 
I probably shouldn't even admit it since we buy it canned as they aren't in season yet and the canned fruit probably has none of the nutrients that Lychee fruit is known for, but Lychee fruit is SO yummy!

Lychee fruit has a bit of an odd texture when eating it whole but blended up in a smoothie you would never know. It has a light, sweet taste to it and all four of us really enjoy it. I pick up a can every time I am at the Asian grocery store, and they have told me that they should be getting fresh Lychee fruit in sometime in June.

I have 5 recipes below that we made up using the Lychee fruit. 
We have also introduced coconut oil and cod liver oil to our smoothies for the added health benefit they each offer - I'll get more into the details later - but you will find one or both of those ingredients in all our smoothies from now on. They can easily be left out.

We freeze our bananas, peeled, in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen we transfer them over to a ziplock bag.

I think that is all I wanted to mention about the ingredients... let me know if there's questions! 

Here are our 5 Lychee fruit green smoothie recipes:




  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 3 lychee fruit and 1 tsp syrup from can
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 8 oz kale
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 mango
 
  • 8 oz Kale
  • 2 celery 
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/3 pineapple
  • 4 lychee
  • 1+ cup of ice
  •  8 oz Kale
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 mango
  • 3 lychee fruit
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cod liver oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1+ cup ice

  • 8 oz Kale
  • 3 lychee and 1 tsp syrup from can
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 10 oz frozen blueberries
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cod liver oil
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1+ cup ice
  • 10 oz mixed greens
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1/3 pineapple
  • 1 mango
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 10 oz frozen strawberries
  • 5 lychee fruit
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1+ cup ice

5.10.2010

Why We Drink Green Smoothies 3 Times a Day


Why We Drink Green Smoothies 3 Times a Day

I have been trying for a week now to figure out the best way to explain why we drink 3 green smoothies a day and how we chose what goes in them and I feel a bit at a loss as to where to begin. Green smoothies have been a part of our lives for several years but have only recently been given such a prominent place in our diet. Our journey to Green Smoothies Overload has been a developing one and there are key places in our life where this story could start. I have chosen to start this story when...

Paul Told Me That I Was Gaining Weight.

It started back in the fall when Paul made a simple comment about how it looked like I was gaining weight.
A loving, concerned comment that I graciously received and appreciated. It sparked a resolve to lose the weight that I had never lost from my pregnancy with Wesley, where I tipped out at 195lbs and over 15 months after his birth hadn't dropped beneath 176lbs.

Paul and I discussed numerous options on top of healthy eating and regular exercise and we decided on Osolean powder, a Whey Protein Supplement created by Mannatech. The product, which follows the Osolean plan also created by Mannatech, is designed to aid in fat reduction.
It is a powder that is easily mixed in with food or drinks and you consume it twice daily. The powder itself took me awhile to get use to and I found it easiest to consume mixed in with Orange Juice with high pulp.
I started the Osolean powder in October '09, combining it with regular exercise and eating healthy and I officially ended my time with it almost 4 months later in February.

I started at a weight of 176lbs and ended at a weight of 172lbs. That number would have been extremely discouraging except for one thing - I measured my body in 23 different places every few weeks throughout the time period and that was the true measure of results. In the 4 months of using Osolean I lost 30 inches of fat from my body! My body strength and energy increased and I felt so good!

I stopped using Osolean for a few reasons - mainly it is because I had only ever intended for it to be a tool to help me get rolling on my weight loss goals. Secondly I stopped using it because it is expensive. And thirdly I stopped using it because I wanted to start losing pounds.

That brought me to the Warrior Diet stage, which is to be continued...

5.07.2010

Boycotting Clothes

Rebecca is a few years older than me and growing up my sister and I were always the beneficiaries of Rebecca and her sisters hand me downs. It was one of the highlights of my teen years getting clothes from her. Guess that tells you how exciting my teens years were, huh?
When Rebecca heard about my challenge to only shop at second hand stores she told me she was on a challenge to not buy any clothes for an entire year I was intrigued. 
And then forgot about it. 
But I remembered again and had the brilliant idea of asking her to write about it and I am so glad I did because I just love her story and think you will too!

Rebecca has graciously written a guest post on her boycotting of clothes - I do so love it worded like that!

Rebecca's Story:




My name is Rebecca and I'm boycotting clothes... not the wearing of, but instead, the purchasing of... for an entire year.
 
In a quest to find out where my money is ACTUALLY going, in July of 2009 I decided to cut out a few things from my lifestyle: clothes, shoes, and accessories were first to go. Why? I was inspired. How? Partially because I never want to fall into debt, partially because I love daring myself to do dumb things, and partially because of Danny Wallace's book, "Yes Man." Now, if you've read this book you're probably thinking, "you dummy, aren't you supposed to be saying 'yes' to things? You're a 'No Woman'!" Admittedly, I guess I am. Kind of. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not really a 'No Woman' at all.
While saying no to clothes, I am actually saying yes to do more with my money than just wear it. I'm saying yes to experiences as well as saving and investing my money. I'm saying yes as in "yes, it is possible to not NEED to buy an abundance of clothes." I'm also saying, yes, YOU can do it, too. Try it. Some people will be skeptical, and others will be encouraging. I have a number of shopaholic friends who regularly empty their closets and donate clothes to me that they aren't wearing anymore. Clothing swaps are the main reason why this challenge has been relatively easy. If you're going to take up this challenge, I strongly encourage assessing your friendships and becoming closer to those that are the same size as you. I should probably take this opportunity to apologize to my short and tiny friends, if I've been avoiding you, your value obviously plummeted when you couldn't be of help to my clothing needs. All joking aside, one of my friends actually bet me that I wouldn't be able to last the full year and she's going to be owing me quite a chunk of change come August 1st! My own sister told me she would sneak me new clothes if I paid her to! I haven't, and I won't... plus that would just botch this entire thing.
I'm not saying this has been ridiculously easy at all. Originally, I just stayed out of malls. Out of sight, out of mind. Right? Then came time for Christmas shopping. I wouldn't even say I have the SLIGHTEST shopping addiction, but the second I stepped foot in that mall I wanted one of EVERYTHING.  I may have partially blacked out and envisioned how glorious it would be to be jumping off my roof top into a mound of new clothes while even newer clothes rained down upon me... Surprisingly, I made it out of the mall with not a thing for myself! From then on it's been smooth sailing.
There was one catch when I made this plan, the idea was that I couldn't spend any of MY own money on clothing for myself. So, for Christmas, I got a little sneaky and asked for gift cards. I've been so cautious with spending them because it's an extremely limited fund to last me until August 1st; I still have $42 left and am weary about spending it. What if I simultaneously get holes in ALL my socks and need new ones? I'm not even kidding, I've thought about this and if I had no money left on my gift cards, it would be tragic... my toes are the ugliest. Odds are $42 will be sitting on that gift card inside my wallet until the end of July. 
Ridiculously unnecessary long story cut short (and at the risk of sounding like the motivational speaker that I'm not): Challenge yourself. If not to this, to something else. You'd be surprised at your will power (and savings in some instances).
I have no idea what's up next for me, but I'm always up to some kind of shenanigan, odds are this is just the beginning.

5.06.2010

$500 Video

It's probably safe to say that Get Rich Slowly is my favorite finance blog. The author, J.D. Roth, is intelligent, vulnerable and experienced - three things I appreciate about his writing. J.D. encourages a community on his blog, featuring many guest bloggers and a host of staff writers so the wisdom and experiences shared are well rounded. If you haven't read his blog I encourage you to check it out.

Weeks ago J.D. announced a contest he was hosting - a video contest where people could submit a video giving a financial tip or a financial success story. You were allowed to enter one video per category.
At first it was an intimidating thought, but then I decided to go for it - what did I have to loose?!
I realized if Paul entered too our odds of winning would be even higher, so I encouraged him to submit two videos as well, which he did.

There were a lot of great submissions in both categories, though most people entered the "Tip" category and not the "Success Story" category. J.D. announced the winners last week and I was thrilled tickled pink overjoyed speechless that I won the $500 prize for Success Stories!

Here is my video submission:




*I intentionally went for odd pictures of us for the slide show and now it's a tad bit embarrassing that thousands of people have seen them!

I debated putting the money in the $20 Bill Challenge but don't think I will. I am suddenly overwhelmed with what to do with an extra $500 and will probably sit on it for a few months before spending it. Some ideas running through my head are a weekend vacation for the four of us or put it towards a new lens for my camera (Yes, I am looking to buy a lens that costs more than $500... but only when I have all the cash to pay for it!)

How would you spend $500 if it happened to fall in your lap?
I find it so much easier to dream about it when it's not a reality!





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