A Year of Dates | Valentines Day Idea

 

***This is a recycled post from when only my mom and sister were reading my blog and III and I were still giving Valentine’s gifts :/ Now six years and two kids later, I’m realizing we need more date nights in our lives. Anyone want to come babysit our crazy crew for us?

These are good ideas though, so I wanted to share it with all of you who have joined in the journey lately Hope you don’t mind the recycle!

. . . . .

III told me that I couldn’t spend a lot on our first married Valentine’s because he was planning on using ALL of the February gift budget….what fabulous anticipation this brought to my life! He has always been great at date creating, my favorite is when he gives clues that lead to the fun. I can’t wait!

Spending little money on 02.14 proposed a conundrum….so, I put on my creative hat and came up with this…

Valentine Gift Bag Idea_1

I present… a bag full of dates!

Valentine Gift Bag Idea_2

There are 12 of them. One for each month between now & next Valentine’s day. I put a personal spin on the dates, to make them special for us. None of them are very expensive, most involve food, and all include spending time doing things we love.

Here are a few of my ideas:

Creating a tent in the living room & roasting s’mores over a warm fire; movie night, Redbox anyone?; recreating our “first date” for our one seven year anniversary; going to the park to fly kites & wrapping up the day with a picnic; hiking a nearby mountain; March Maddness night…including all his favorite appetizers…

There are obviously a few more; I think I’ll have him open each month’s envelope on the first day of the month. It might look like this…

We’ll pick a date, & I’ll do all the work. It will be a nice change of pace since he is usually the planner in the date department. Hopefully, it will be a hit! Shhhh, don’t tell III!

Happy Valentine’s Day (a little early)!

 

Gain Financial Confidence in 2017

coin_stack

“Happy 2017! I feel so old thinking Y2K was 17 years ago…goodness. How was your Christmas? We traveled some, ate a lot, and spent so much quality time with family! This year I think my favorite moment was baking a birthday cake for Jesus with Chickadee. She has really gotten into celebrating people this year, especially around their birthday. So it was really special for her to want to go all out for Jesus’s birthday party! It’s sad to think the Christmas season is once again 11 months away. However, just because the holiday season is over doesn’t mean a season of giving cannot continue! 

I am once again teaming up with SunTrust and their #onUp movement to talk about financial confidence as we raise a family on one income. I am happy to say that we stuck to our Christmas budget as we shopped for those we loved this December. As we begin a new year, finances are again on our mind as we plan out house projects, preschool, family trips, and other changes coming in 2017. III and I sat down during naptime today to talk about what we need to do to hit our savings goal for 2017. What is a reasonable about to spend on groceries? How much will preschool cost if we send both Chickadee and Sprout? Is it a reasonable decision to buy a new car? So many things to think about in the new year. Thankfully, SunTrust is again here to help.

First, take this Mental Wealth Quiz. I just completed it, and I’m feeling pretty good about the results. One suggestion SunTrust had about my mental wealth was to “step back from your financial flow and examine what matters the most to you.” I agree. Prioritizing our spending is important. They also suggested writing down a “long-term savings goal & one thing that we aren’t doing that we could to start achieving that goal.”

One goal that we have for our home is replacing the flooring downstairs with new hardwoods. We need to have an estimate done so we know exactly how much money we need to save. Then maybe we can designate a specific part of our savings to this project, making sure we don’t dip into the money we are saving for other purposes.

A few other areas we are planning to start saving for are college funds, adoption, a new car, and retirement. Financial resolutions are part of the top five of resolutions every year. Let 2017 be the year you reach those financial savings goals! Need more direction for where and how to start. Let SunTrust be your guide by using their TOOLS page. Here you can crunch some numbers and assess your money choices. Start making a difference today!

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  

The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

Join the movement

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Best Kept Secret in Christmas Cards!

tannenbaum

Do you send out Christmas cards? This time of year I absolutely LOVE going to the mailbox each day and finding love sent from friends near and far. I love seeing how they have captured their family during the year. How far away friend’s children have changed. It brings me so much joy each day.

I’m really proud of myself this year. I actually ordered our Christmas cards BEFORE Thanksgiving and was able to address them as we travel. Granted I didn’t make it to the post office for stamps until Thursday, but they are in the mail now and have started arriving in mailboxes.

I’ve ordered my cards from several places over the years, but a few years ago I found a hidden gem. WALMART. Did you know Walmart prints stationary stock Christmas cards for more than half less than traditional Christmas card sites (and no they aren’t paying me anything to say that!) This year I ordered 75 stationary stock 5×7 cards for $45.00 including shipping. I consider that a STEAL! There are pictures on both sides & they added my return address to the envelopes!

christmas_card

christmas_card_back 

Just wanted to share. If you haven’t ordered your cards, it isn’t too late! If you have…tuck this little nugget away for next year :) Merry Christmas!

Giving Presence this Holiday Season

xmas decoration

For the first day in months, the highs will not reach the 80s here in Georgia. That can only mean one thing, the holiday season is FINALLY here. Thanksgiving is just a few weeks ago and Christmas will quickly follow. It’s my favorite time of year, but for many I know it can also be a stressful time.

Back in February I joined SunTrust in their OnUp movement and shared tips for how we save money and alleviate financial stress as we raise a family on one income. And these strategies are so important this time of year. One of the things I wrote about was spending more time focusing on the moments that matter with my family and not on financial stress. Along with SunTrust I believe the most meaningful gift you can give your loved ones (and yourself) this holiday season, and any time really, isn’t a present you buy – it’s presence in every meaningful moment. And SunTrust can be your Holiday Hub.

astepinthejourney_stayathomemom-400x600

 Thinking back on the years I have so many wonderful holiday memories. From making a gingerbread house in the pediatric unit of the hospital with my parents after having my tonsils out to wrapping Christmas presents with my grandmother and making the most elaborate bows. The occasional, but oh so magical snowflakes found in the south to making Christmas cookies with my sister and using tweezers to make sure each sprinkle was in just the right spot! So many memories made over the years. And one thing that all these memories have in common is that none of them include presents….but presence.

Memories are made with those around you. So stop worrying about buying the perfect Christmas gift and start thinking about how you will be present with your loved ones and others you meet this holiday season. Being present means spending the evening with your children checking out all of the holiday lights in your neighborhood. Or, volunteering at your local soup kitchen, taking the day off for a fun adventure with grandparents, or providing coffee and donuts at your next team meeting before everyone’s out on vacation. 

If you are looking for more ideas download the SunTrust Holiday Planning Guide. In this holiday planning guide, you’ll find tips for getting organized and making a plan for holiday spending so you can feel confident in your ability to stay on track with your budget. You’ll see how other Americans are shopping, traveling, celebrating and giving in ways that make the holidays cost less, but mean more.

Or, checkout this list of ways to spread the light this holiday season. (pdf here)

The holiday season let’s focus on what really matters – each other! Don’t let the stress of financial matters get in the way. Instead make small changes that make a big difference and don’t forget to be present this holiday season.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  

The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

Join the movement

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

3 Ingredient (+1) Peanut Butter Cookies

three-ingredient-peanut-butter-cookies

They are that good! Chickadee couldn’t wait to get her hands on one. And they are just as easy. Our family likes routine, so I try to have an activity planned each weekday after naptime. Monday is baking day. And this past Monday we didn’t have much to work with, thank goodness these cookies only have THREE ingredients (+1 if you want add in a special candy!). 

img_6602

Seriously, that is it. One cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar, one egg. Mix well & bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. If you are feeling crazy, add in some mini chocolate chips or Reese’s Pieces minis. You won’t regret it! Use a fork to make a little criss cross imprint if you like that.

dsc_0554

They will be pretty gooey when they come out, but fight the urge to put them back in. They will firm up as they cool. This might now be my go to cookie (or at least it’s up to par with the best chocolate chip cookies ever)! 

If you don’t normally bake with your kids, I strongly suggest it! First and foremost it’s a lot of fun. However, it also teaching following & reading directions, measurement, fine motor skills with mixing & scooping. And I’m sure there is some science in there too. So bake with your kids, let them pour in the sugar and don’t freak out if they like their fingers before dropping in the Reese’s Pieces. All their germs will cook out anyway, and along the way…so many memories will be made!

dsc_0613

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Yields 20
Simple & delicious three ingredient peanut butter cookies
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of peanut butter
  2. 1 cup of sugar
  3. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Mix the peanut butter, sugar, and egg well.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Notes
  1. Add 1/2 cup of your favorite mini candies to make it extra special!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/
Enjoy!