Winner of The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted…

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Drum roll please….

 

Congratulations to….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fine print: The winner has been emailed and has 24 hours to respond. If I receive no response, I will pick an alternate. 

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway. Hopefully, I will have more opportunities in the future to giveaway something else to you lovelies! 

If you are still interested in the book and want to read it, which I hope you will, you can purchase it at Amazon here:

[amazon-product image=”http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0802411576&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=notyoumaima09-20″ type=”image”]0802411576[/amazon-product]

I will be posting the final part of the You Need A Budget series on Monday, so be sure to check back! Or you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin or Subscribe to future posts so you don’t miss them.

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Dutch Baby Recipe

Dutch Baby Recipe
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I love breakfast! I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. I saw mention around the blog world recently of something called a Dutch Baby and was intrigued since I’d never heard of it. Now, this Dutch Baby recipe is our new go to recipe for breakfast.

When I first looked, I found Ruth’s recipe at Living Well Spending Less, but being the researcher that I am, I have to look at several recipes and read reviews on them and make changes before I make something. I know– I have a problem.

Besides, I just love breakfast type foods. But it isn’t exactly a “quick” meal to cook and dirties up a lot of dishes. NOT a Dutch Baby though! This recipe is super simple and the dirty dishes are kept to a minimum. It literally takes 5 minutes to get it into the oven baking.

The first time I made it, I wasn’t sure how Clint would like it. He can be extremely picky with foods, especially bready or mushy stuff. Everyone said this was kind of like French toast so I was a little worried– I don’t even care for French Toast because the middle is always dry or soggy- bleck!

So here are all of the ingredients you will need. I like to get all of mine out beforehand, so my butter doesn’t burn.. which I’ll tell you more about a few steps later. That’s just flour, sugar, cinnamon, eggs vanilla and milk. Oh, and butter which isn’t pictured. By the way- the full recipe will be at the bottom of the post.

Dutch Baby Ingredients

First things first, put your butter into a 10 or 12 inch oven safe skillet. A metal pie dish may work fine too, but we did not have good results with a glass one. Turn the oven on 400 degrees and throw it in. Do not wait for it to preheat. Oh and make sure there are about 6 inches between the rack and the top of the oven, because it will rise. 

Butter in Skillet for Dutch Baby

But, do be sure not to get the butter started until you are ready to get the batter going too. If you don’t make it and dump it in fairly quickly, the butter will burn.

Then, in a medium bowl whisk your eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar together.

Dutch Baby Batter before flour

Once that’s combined, dump in the flour and whisk it until combined and there aren’t anymore dry flour streaks. There will be lumps though.

Dutch Baby Batter after Flour

Then, open the oven and swirl the butter around to cover the bottom of the pan.

Dump the batter into the pan, shut the oven and leave it alone for 18 to 20 minutes. Of course, if it scares you to do this with an open oven, you can just transfer the pan to the stove, dump it in, and throw it back in the oven. Just don’t grab the handle to the skillet with your bare hands like I always do.

Pouring Dutch Baby Batter into Skillet

This is what it will look like when it’s ready to take out. I’ve learned to look through the oven door and look at the edges. Take it out before they turn black. If they’re black- then so is the bottom of your Dutch Baby.

Dutch Baby Right Out of the Oven

 

And it does puff up more than that, it had already fallen a little in that picture. Now, we dust it with a pretty good amount of powdered sugar. Or if you’re Clint a whole bunch of powdered sugar.

Dusting Dutch Baby with Powdered Sugar

And there you have it. Easy as that.

Dutch Baby Ready to EatBy the way, Lucas loves this. He can eat half the pan by himself– if we let him. Lucas Eating Dutch Baby

Clint also loves it, he makes just as big of a mess as Lucas.

Clint's Dutch Baby Powdered Sugar Mess

 

Here’s a printable recipe for you:

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:5]

See, not very hard huh? I do think this have the flavor of French Toast, but not so much the consistency. It’s kind of like a really thick Crepe in consistency. Either way.. it’s delicious. We make at least 2 a week. 🙂

Have you ever heard of a Dutch Baby? What’s your favorite homemade quick and easy breakfast recipe? 

 

 

You Need a Budget {Part 2}

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Part 2: Now What?

Happy Hump Day! Hopefully you have had a chance to sit down, by yourself or with your spouse, and decided WHY you need a budget and what categories are appropriate for your budget. Now things get a little more detailed, because you have to actually figure out how much money you have to budget with and how much to budget for each of those categories.

Of course, you could just go and put in numbers for every category because that’s what you think they should be and try to stick to them. But if you budget $200 for groceries and then 2 months from now, realize you are actually spending $500 a month, you may just give up budgeting right then and there.

Obviously, I like numbers and budgeting– give me my YNAB and a spreadsheet and I can sit here for hours– I know I’m a nerd. But since everyone is not that way.. I’m going to tell you the way that I think would be best to get started for this step. It will take you a while that first time of doing it, but then you’ll see what you are spending and should only need to update your budget from time to time.

So, again, I’m going to give you my little plug for the budgeting software I use, YNAB (You Need A Budget). This link is my referral link and will give you $6 off your purchase. Unless you are really good with spreadsheets or love writing a bunch of stuff down, I think it’s the easiest way.. I’m telling you. If you aren’t sure, you can always do the 34 day free trial to see if you like it.

Monthly Income – how much money do you make?

 

If you are paid monthly this is a super easy step for you. However, since most of us aren’t you’ll need to get out your calculator.

So if you are paid weekly and your paycheck is $750 you are going to get 52 paychecks a year for a total of $39,000. Either you can be conservative and budget for the at least 4 paychecks you’ll get every month which will be $3,000. Or, you can divide the $39,000 by 12 months for a total of $3,250 a month. I prefer to be conservative and plan on the $3,000 a month and have 4 “extra” paychecks throughout the year to make large snowball payment with or build up savings.

Maybe you get paid every 2 weeks though, or bi-weekly and your paycheck is $1500. That means that you get 26 paychecks a year. Either you can be conservative and budget as if you make $3,000 a month or you can take your annual net pay of $39,000 ($1500 x 26 paychecks) and divide that by 12 months and come out with $3,250 monthly. Like I said, I prefer to be conservative and plan on the $3,000 a month and have the 2 “extra” paychecks throughout the year to make large snowball payments with or build up savings.

Lastly, you may even be paid semi-monthly, which I was at my last job where I was paid on the 15th and last day of the month every month. I’m not sure if it’s the same everywhere, but based on the $39,000 annually my paycheck would have been $1,625. There is no need for a judgement call on how to figure it here, because you’re guaranteed 2 paychecks every month this way which would total $3,250 monthly.

But, what if you have irregular income? You’re paid hourly and aren’t always guaranteed the same amount of hours or tips or commission or whatever. Well, in this case you’ll have to be a little more creative. This is the way I would do it. If your pay is not seasonal, meaning you make more in the Summer because of whatever industry you work in, then I would see how much you made over the last 2 or 3 months. Let’s say in December your paychecks totaled $3,275 and in January they were $2,850. The average of those is $3,062.50. This one will take a lot of judgement on your part. Because I am conservative, I would do my best to budget on the $2,850.

Basically, if your pay is irregular, I would budget on what you know you will get. If you have $3,000 worth of expenses budgeted, and only make $2,800 that month you’ll have a hard time so go with what you know and use the rest as a bonus 😉

How will you budget your income– conservative like me or with the higher monthly amount? 

 

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin or get Subscribe via Email to keep updated 😉

 

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted..

The Marriage You've Always Wanted
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Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s celebrate by talking about marriage today! The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted- sounds nice, right? Would make a wonderful book title too. Well Gary Chapman already beat you to it 😉

You guys probably already know I’m a big fan of Gary Chapman from this post. Well his book The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted is just as good as The Five Love Languages, if not better. Actually, I think they’re both great in their own way.

One thing I love about his books is that they are written for any couple. For instance, he will make reference to couples having a hard time and write things specifically for you, but he also writes plenty for the couples in a good season in marriage. And he does both effectively, I think– I’ve been in both of those spots in my marriage– to the extreme of each actually.

Clint and I haven’t had much time to sit and read this book together at night, with so much going on, ya know–life. But I recently read this book and Clint has been reading a chapter here and there when I leave it out for him. Now that I’m finished, he’s going to read the rest of it.

The book covers almost any subject you can think of though and gives you that eye-opening DOH! type of advice just like the love languages. You’ll go, well of course, why didn’t I think of that? Well, maybe because you aren’t a trained Christian marriage counselor, ya think? 🙂

Another thing about Chapman, is that he never avoids the topic of sex. I know society has made sex so dirty, that we’re taken back when we here a Christian leader mention it. But Chapman always points out that it is an extremely important aspect of a healthy marriage and that we as Christians need to get over that stereotype and enjoy intimacy with our partners.. just saying.

Each chapter is sort of broken down into a general idea or specific topic, such as in-laws or sexual intimacy, and then at the end of each chapter there is a mini “assignment”. I like to highlight the parts in the chapters that really speak to me and then answer the questions directly into the book. That way, when I want to look back through at another time, if I wanna be lazy I can just read the highlighted. For instance, I love this…

"Doing right, responding to others as God would respond, expressing love, being patient with imperfection, and having a realistic appraisal of yourself-- these are the things that bring true fulfillment to a marriage."

So now here’s your chance to read The Marriage You’ve Always Marriage– I’m giving away a free copy to one of you!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don’t want to wait for the giveaway, you could just go ahead and purchase it now.

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You Need A Budget! {Part 1}

You Need A Budget
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Part 1: Where Do I Begin?

Yes, you do need a budget. Everyone needs a budget, even those millionaire athletes, you know, those that often times end up bankrupt because they didn’t have a budget. If you’ve never made a budget before, that’s okay. Hopefully, I’ll give you some useful information in this series to help you get in control of your finances. Then, once you make a budget, you have to keep track of it. I believe that YNAB (You Need a Budget) is an EXTREMELY helpful tool in keeping up with your budget. So first and foremost, you have to decide why YOU are making a budget.

Of course, I think everyone needs a budget, but if that isn’t your state of mind you may need a reason to budget. Maybe you just want to save a little money, have a major expense coming up, or are just wondering why there is no money left in your bank account days before every paycheck. And this step is extremely important if you are married. Money is a major cause of disagreements in marriage so try to get on the same page before you even begin making a budget.

So after you’ve decided WHY you are making a budget and have gotten on the same page with your significant other (if applicable), it’s time to decide on your budget categories. Dave Ramsey’s form below will help with this.  

Budget Form

Click for printable version

That’s just a starting point for your categories. Don’t even worry with amounts yet. Once you decide where your money is going to go, you can fill in amounts. I’ll get into all of that next week though. 

Here are the budget categories we use (right now):

Giving
Tithes
Sponsor

Monthly
Mortgage
Internet
Phones
TV
Electricity
Water
Daycare
Life Insurance
Gym

Accumulating
Dogs
Medical
Car Insurance
Car Maintenance
Car Registration
Clothing
Blog
Etsy
Gifts

Fluctuating
Groceries
Fuel
Food Out
Entertainment
Blow Money

Other
Special Purchases
Misc
To Be Reimbursed
Car Payment
Student Loans
Snowball

Of course, yours will look completely different. I budget for EVERYTHING. If I didn’t budget for oil changes and car tags, what if I needed both the same month and it was a total of $150.. where would I pull that from? Your categories will probably change over time–a lot if you’re anything like me.

Do you have budget categories for every little thing or just have your “bill money” and “spending money”? How does your system work for you?

God’s Not Dead

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I was not compensated in any way or even asked to do this review, I simply wanted to share my thoughts on it. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Happy Monday everyone! Hopefully your weekend went by a little slower than mine did. I still feel like it’s Friday of last week. I want to announce the winner of the Unstoppable DVD today and share with you about another movie I saw recently. I rarely even watch television or movies, so it’s been strange watching so much of it lately.

LAURA D. 

is the winner of the Unstoppable DVD. I will be contacting you. 😉

So.. have you heard of the new movie coming out called God’s Not Dead? Since we don’t have cable and I don’t watch much television, I had not seen any previews until we went with the Youth at our church to a concert in Mobile, AL recently and saw the trailer for it. You can view that here…

Doesn’t that make you want to watch it? Well it certainly got me interested! A few weeks ago, I got invited to a pre-screening for it as a blogger. I RSVP’d immediately and asked my friend Jennifer if she would like to come along with me. That is so unlike me too, because I generally stay in my comfort zone and only do things with family. 

I’m so glad I asked her, because it was the first time in a very long time that I have had any girl time with someone other than Shaye or my mother in law and we had a BLAST. And the movie was just as wonderful as the trailer makes it look!

I get so tired of the movies you see nowadays. It’s always a break-up make-up comedy or a hero comes to the rescue with a happily ever after ending. That’s one of the reasons I don’t even like to watch movies. Of course, with Christian movies not being the norm, especially in our theaters, I was excited to see what God’s Not Dead was all about.

Without giving too much away, a college student takes on his professor in proving that God is NOT dead. You see believers and non-believers in several walks of life including those who have always believed, new believers, ones who have turned away, and those who have never really heard the Gospel. The examples of faith in this movie will certainly be eye-opening to believers.

GodisReal

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Not only that, I think this movie will be a great witnessing tool. Like I mentioned in my Unstoppable post, I’m a skeptic. I ask questions and I don’t like the “Because I believe” answers to hard questions. In terms of Creation, this movie will answer so many questions that -I hope- will either shape your faith or help you to defend your faith when the time comes.

source

click picture for source

If you are an Atheist–you’re going to want to see this movie.

If you are Agnostic– you’re going to want to see this movie.

If you are struggling in your faith– you’re going to want to see this movie.

If you are a believer– you’re going to want to see this movie.

If you are alive– you’re going to want to see this movie.

They are currently booking theaters for the March 21 opening weekend. You can visit the website here to see if one has been booked in your area. They did stress at the pre-screening that the more tickets sold on the opening weekend, the more likely it will stay around the following weeks. It will be in our area and I’m hoping our church will get a large group together to go.

What do you think of the preview? Is GOD’S NOT DEAD something your family will be seeing?

 

Month 13 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: January 2014

Month 13 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free January 2014
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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here
Hello February! 2013 went quick and 2014 is already flying. January was one of those 3 paycheck months for Clint so it looked very good for our Snowballing efforts. We did a decent job overall though.

Here is where we stand on our monthly Snowball totals:

Monthly Snowball Totals

And here are our debt balances:

Debt Balances through January 2014

As you can see, we paid $1,199.07 on the Civic in January. We’re now at 64% of our debt being paid off. Of course, things will slow down now that my income is only going to be half of what it has been.

We came in at $402.57 for the month in Groceries, which is great at right around our $400 budget. We did go $110 total over in eating out, clothing, entertainment and blow money. We did eat out 5 times though so that blew our Eating Out budget by $50 right there. In my defense, one of the meals would have been $25 less, but we had a gift card/coupon error. The other $60 worth was a new to me jacket that I absolutely needed, a Mickey Mouse chair for Lucas, and my first haircut in 18 months. Of course, I can justify almost ever penny of what we “go over”, but I really can’t do that starting NOW.

Speaking of justifying, our weekend trip came in at $570.90. Not bad for staying 2 nights in one of the highest reviewed bed & breakfasts around us.

Other than that, we’re just trucking along here. I’m pretty anxious about the finances right now, since I am starting my new job today. Going from full time income to part time income is scary. I know that He will provide and things will work out one way or another, but I’m still going to be anxious until I get used to things. We are going to have about $800 less a month in income…scary!

How was January on your finances? Have you started your journey to become debt free yet? Any words of wisdom to share with me about my anxiety over finances?