Archive | January, 2014

30 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Superbowl on a Budget

9 Tips For Saving Money on your Super Bowl Party – Living Rich

Welcome Fox & Friends viewers!  If you saw Cindy talking Superbowl party savings with Fox Reporter, Lauren Simonetti on Fox & Friends this morning, you’ve come to the right place.  Celebrating the Superbowl doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.  After all, it’s all about the game right?!?

Well, of course it’s about the food too.  But, keeping it simple is best!  You get to enjoy the game with your guests and your wallet will be happy.

Here are some of the tips Cindy shared:

1. Share the expense – Have a PotLuck Party.  Invite your family and friends and host your Super Bowl party as a potluck party.

2. Keep the menu simple – If you are feeding a crowd, stick with big dish items that easily feed a crowd and that are simple to make and serve.  Set up slow cookers with big servings of chili.  You might want to try our simple and easy 30 Minute Chili Recipe.  Put out some cheese and sour cream as toppings.  You can even make hot dogs for chili dogs.   The same goes for appetizers…put out large plates of nachos and cheese for your guests to snack on.  These are a great alternative to serving numerous, expensive appetizers.  Pigs in the blanket and potato skins are also inexpensive finger foods.

3. Did someone say Pizza? – Order pizzas for the big game.  Check with your local pizza restaurants for any deals that may be going on.  Or better yet, make your own.  Or, stock up on all the great sales on frozen pizza that are going on right now.

4. Plan your menu based on the current sales – Check your store’s circular and coupons for super bowl type foods on sale.  This time of year there are tons of deals available.  Plan your menu around what’s in your pantry and the current sales.   Free and cheap items this week at most stores are sour cream dips, guacamole and frozen pizza (see above for deals).  Also, avocado prices are great right now so make your own guac.

5. Cut the high cost of drinks – This is another area you can share the cost on.  Ask your guests to BYOB.  If you don’t feel comfortable with that, then stick with the basics.  Serve soda, water and beer.  No need to get crazy with fancy beverages.

dollar store decorations

6. Dollar Store Decorations – Shop the dollar stores for fun decorations.  Football themed containers. We found these football shaped snack dishes for, yep, you guessed it…$1.  Use them for snacks or your chili toppings and hot dogs.

Image Credit: rustsunshine.blogspot.com

Image Credit: rustsunshine.blogspot.com

7.  Get Crafty – Try wrapping empty cans with brown craft paper and using a white marker or paint to make football “stitching”.  These make great holders for your utensils and look fun and festive on your buffet table.  Be sure to check out Rust & Sunshine for instructions for theseSilverware Football Holders and as well as fun, super bowl related kids games and treats.

8. Save on Super Bowl Memorabilia – If you are going to the game, don’t buy Super Bowl memorabilia there. Wait until the day after and you’ll get all kinds of clearance deals online and in your local stores.  If you have to have something to wear to the game, then shop beforehand at your local stores.  Prices will be so much cheaper at the store then at the game.

photo-26

9. Dress to celebrate without wasting money – You may have noticed Cindy wearing Denver Broncos colors in the news segment.  These were simple long sleeve tees she picked up from Target….on clearance.  And, she even found a scarf to go with it.  Her purchase was 1 Long Sleeve v-neck Navy Blue Tee for $8.00, 1 Long Sleeve scoop neck Orange Tee for $6 and a navy blue/orange/white scarf for $14.97 for a total of $28.97.  The bigger savings here is that she can wear these all year round…individually or even together.  So, rather then picking up those expensive team jerseys or NFL sponsored shirts, support your team by dressing in their colors.  Who knows, you might have something in your closet to wear.

 Share your tips for saving on super bowl parties!  We’d love to hear how you celebrate on a budget!

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26 January 2014 ~ 10 Comments

Is Gratitude Part of Your Day?

Do you ever do the word of the year? I remember picking one last year, but then I forgot what it was. Clearly it worked really well for me. Maybe this year will be different? Whether I remember the word or not, I do need to remember the action..

Gratitude

… Be thankful for what I have in my life instead of focusing on what I don’t have.
… Be thankful for the friends and family who support me.
… Write thank you notes, even when they are way, way, way overdue.
… Acknowledge past efforts of those who do things to make my life special and better.
… Let the kids know that every day they make my life better, even when there are lost goggles, spilled cheerios, and early morning interruptions.
… Give thanks to each of you for encouraging me.
http://naptimequilter.blogspot.com Tue, 21 Jan 2014 19:19:00 GMT

More Meditation. More Gratitude. Better Living. | Becoming Minimalist

All of man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit, quietly, in a room by himself.” —Blaise Pascal

The life worth living is one centered on the passions and values we hold most dear. And that is why solitude and meditation matters.

Many people go through life with no clear sense of their true values. Instead, their lives are molded by the voices that bombard them each day from the Internet, television, radio, magazines, and celebrities. Their desires are ever-changing and are quickly swept away by the newest fashion, most recent technology, or opportunity for financial gain. Their lives are no longer centered on their personal passions and values.

In contrast, firm conviction leads to an intentional life. It is not tossed about by the culture. It is built on the things you hold truest in your heart. And no new advertising campaign is able to shake it.

Meditation provides the opportunity to find that conviction. It slows our mind, calms our spirit, and centers our soul. It removes our mind from the culture of consumption that surrounds us and centers us on something greater and more fulfilling. It draws us out of the finiteness of the visible and dares to connect our souls with the invisible. It provides opportunity to identify our desires, articulate our values, and align our pursuits accordingly.

In quiet and solitude, our mind gravitates towards the more important things—the most valuable. Rarely, in times of meditation, do we dream of nicer cars, bigger closets, larger wardrobes, or more expensive watches. Instead, we naturally focus on our souls, our families, our friends, our health, our significance, and our greatest ambitions.

Another benefit of meditation is that it leads to gratitude. Gratitude leads to contentment. And a contented heart is free to pursue anything it desires.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that preaches discontent. A society built on the foundation of consumerism must attack gratitude—only if they can sow discontent in our lives can they sell us on their new product or latest version with new improvements. But those who find gratitude in their current existence will be less influenced by those empty promises.

A grateful heart admits that there are bigger forces at play in our lives than our own accomplishments and that we are who we are today because of the sacrifice and investment of others. Gratitude grounds us and focuses our lives on others.

It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. And that gratefulness quickly leads to a satisfied, simplified, focused life.

More meditation. More gratitude. Better living.

Begin your own practice of meditation.

Find a quiet moment. Choose a time of day that provides opportunity for a quiet moment without distraction. This may be in the morning before your family wakes up, in the evening after they go to bed, or at some point in-between (during a lunch break, before the workday begins, or while your new baby naps). Choose a time of day that is repeatable.

Find a quiet place. Meditation can happen anywhere, but a quiet place is always best. Evaluate your surroundings for not just noise clutter, but mental clutter as well. For example, if you find it difficult to slow your mind in a messy room or in the office where you work, relocate yourself elsewhere.

Find a quiet mind. The most difficult part of meditation is learning to quiet yourself. At first, your mind will not know what to do with the silence and will fill the void with restless activity. Sometimes you need to ignore the distraction. Focus on your breathing. But other times, you’ll need to pursue the voice fighting for your attention. Over time, you’ll quickly learn the difference.

Set aside a few minutes. If you have never meditated before, start small—even 5 minutes can be very significant. If you can meditate longer, do it. I find new waves of thought to resurface every 10 minutes with each revealing a deeper level of heart evaluation.

Introduce any specific spiritual components. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, meditation holds rich benefit for your life. But if your spirituality is important to you, you may find value including specific elements in your meditation: prayer and/or sacred texts, for example.

Just like every endeavor, meditation takes time and practice. So don’t get frustrated at first. And don’t get down on yourself if you miss a day. Just try again tomorrow—or for the first time.

http://www.becomingminimalist.comMon, 20 Jan 2014 14:53:45 GMT

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06 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Save Your Money

Americans want to save money.

Really, we do.

But pulling it off — actually putting away those dollars for later — is daunting.

Recent polls by Gallup show that 62 percent of Americans say they prefer saving money to spending it, compared with 33 percent who say the opposite.

chart1

That’s a big change from before the 2008 recession, when Americans were more evenly divided between savers and spenders.

That preference for saving money is highest among lower-income consumers, with 66 percent of people making less than $20,000 a year saying they prefer saving compared with 55 percent of those making $75,000 or more, Gallup reported.

But Gallup also notes figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that show that the personal saving rate, which is personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income, has grown only modestly since 2007.

“Saving is determined by more than simply the desire to store away money; one must also have the ability,” Gallup said in its latest news release. “For a sizable portion of Americans, these two aspects of their financial lives are in serious conflict.”

While certainly some Americans are not making enough money to put anything aside for savings, for many of us what is needed is a savings plan and a closer examination of what our finances really look like.

Gallup, in a different poll, notes that consumers’ self-reported spending has been rising slightly.

Despite that, Americans “don’t necessarily perceive themselves as spending more,” Gallup said, noting that 40 percent say they are spending less in recent months than they used to, 30 percent say they are spending the same amount, and 28 percent say they are spending more.

“Even with the multitude of Americans expressing preferences to save, the average U.S. household owes $7,128 in credit card debt, while the average load of student debt that college graduates carry registers at $32,000,” Gallup reported.

Americans Prefer Saving Money « Bankrate, Inc.

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06 January 2014 ~ 5 Comments

Law of Attraction in 2014!

Forget New Year Resolutions! Tap Into The Law Of Attraction Instead.

Resolutions set us up for failure, so leverage the Law of Attraction to make true change in your life.

Apparently, this is the time, more than any other time of the year, when we’re allowed to dream. This is the time when we’re supposed to write down our goals or resolutions for the coming year. Fueled by our dreams, it is oh, so attractive to get swept up in the adrenalin rush of all the things we could achieve as we round the corner into a New Year. We leave the old year behind, along with all of our disappointments. And we look to the New Year with hope around all the things we could accomplish … and with excitement around what those accomplishments would bring to our lives. Unfortunately, those resolutions set us up for failure. Resolutions are traps because they are based on the premise that we just need to “do” more to get what we want. We create impossibly high goals for ourselves which can rarely be achieved. And if they weren’t, wouldn’t we have accomplished them already?

So, rather than fail again this year, I invite you to tap into the Law of Attraction instead. The Law of Attraction, quite simply, states that “like attracts like.” So, we attract good or bad experiences based on our thoughts … based on who we choose to “be” in our lives. Our universe is one large mass of energy. Individually, we are each just comprised of energy.  Nobel Prize-winning physicists have proven that it is our thoughts, our consciousness, that pull this energy field together to create the world we see and experience within the limited spectrum of our senses. Our perception of the world is purely interpretation. Whatever we believe in, and observe, is created by the very fact that we believe it and are observing it. Our thoughts literally create the universe we live in. And because “like attracts like,” thinking about something means you invite it in – whether you want it or not. So, the trick is to actively focus on your positive intentions, while avoiding negativity, to manifest what you want.

Tap into YOUR Law of Attraction with these 5 steps:

State What You Want

You have to know what you want before you can focus on it. It is important to be very clear about what your positive intentions are, in as much detail as possible, for you to manifest them. Remember, your clarity of focus is what helps attract what you want back to you.

Write Down or Visualize What You Want

Once you know what your positive intentions are, write them down. Make them tangible. Put them in black and white so that you can see, and focus, on them every day. Or better yet, visualize them in color by creating a dream board. Dream boards help you pull together images that represent your positive intentions. Visualizing them in this way is incredibly powerful for focusing your energy on what you want.

Focus Your Energy On What You Want

Use your list or dream board to create a daily practice around focusing your energy on your positive intentions. The more you can make these things real in your mind, the faster they will come to you. Think of this focus as asking the universe for what you want. And frequency is key. Truly focus your mind, body and spirit on attracting these things to you … every day.

Appreciate What You Already Have

Gratitude is a powerful motivator of positive energy. Not only does it keep you in a positive mindset, it also helps you avoid negative attitudes and influences around you. And it is crucial that you nurture this positivity, since that is what you want to attract back to you.

Let Go Of Your Attachment To A Specific Outcome

Lastly, trust that the universe will send you back the positive energy you are sending to it. Trust that there is an abundance of positive energy for everyone. Let go of any preconceived ideas around how you will receive that energy back.  While you might have a very specific idea of what you want, you might receive this positive energy back in a different form – one that will have just as much, if not more, impact than what you had originally conceived. Miracles come in many forms. Unless you have a positive mindset, you won’t even be able to see them for what they are. And if you can’t recognize them, you won’t be able to receive them.

Channeling this new state of “being” will bring immense change, positive change, into your life – far more than an impossible to-do list. So, forget your resolutions. Create your positive intentions. And have fun trusting that 2014 will bring you everything you want!

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05 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Serving Others – the Way to Fulfillment

Helping Yourself by Serving Others – How’s Your Family

Acts of service whether large or small help families feel connected and teach children the gifts of empathy, giving and gratitude.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  -Mahatma Gandhi

“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.” ― Mother Teresa

This is the time, beginning with Thanksgiving and lasting through the arrival of the new year, that most people think not only about themselves but also about how to help others less fortunate. It is impossible to turn on the news without seeing the needs of others in your community or elsewhere in the world.

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03 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Just Do It!

Goal Doing Instead of Goal Setting – Huffington Post

My husband is not a writer, but his writing tips work. In fact, Bryan’s advice about writing will help you with any goal. He’s that good. (I’m not simply biased.) What makes his advice helpful? He believes more in goal doing than goal setting, and it …

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