Quote of the Day

I AM LEARNING EVERY DAY TO ALLOW THE SPACE BETWEEN WHERE I AM AND WHERE I WANT TO BE TO INSPIRE ME AND NOT TERRIFY ME.

~Tracee Ellis Ross

Clean Eating Taco Salad

Instead if normal tacos we have been eating a taco salad version of tacos as of late. It’s delicious and simple, right up my alley and you can modify to include whatever veggies are a hit in your house.

In a skillet brown your meat (we use ground turkey but you could use ground beef, venison or whatever meat you like).  When the meat is browned add in Taco Seasoning and about 1/8-1/4 cup of water and let simmer for 10-20 minutes so the meat sucks up the flavor.  Add this point I also like to throw in onions, bell peppers and a can of black beans to the meat mixture.  I also boil some corn kernels while the meat is simmering.  While the food is stewing on the stove I grate some cheese and cut avocados and lettuce.  If I have any taco shells I’ll heat them up.  (If I don’t I just use tortilla chips.)

To put together make a bed of lettuce, add your meat mixture, the corn, then garnish with tomatoes, avocado and cheese.  We also throw Salsa (and maybe a little sour cream) in the mix to.  Crumble up some taco shells or tortilla chips for some crunch factor and Bam . . . Clean Taco Salad.

Easy, peasy.  Cheers and Happy Eating!

.002

Maddy’s 3rd Annual Children’s Book Drive

Mark your calendars for Maddy’s 3rd Annual Children’s Book Drive!

Sunday June 14 from 1-4pm at

Revels Performing Arts Center, LLC
4227 Center St, Deer Park, Texas 77536

In memory and celebration of Maddy’s 7th Birthday, please join us by donating a gently used or new children’s book. All books will go to various children’s charities. All children and their families are welcome. It wouldn’t be a party without them, and Maddy always loved a good party!

https://www.facebook.com/events/444392512390869/

Maddy was a beautiful and vivacious little girl who drowned shortly before her fourth birthday. Her parents Bill and Vanessa are two of my hero’s. They get up every day and live life to the fullest extent possible in memory of this beautiful little angel of a girl. Each year in honor of Maddy’s birthday, a children’s book drive is held with the sole purpose of trying to get a book into the hands of every child regardless of their circumstances. All of the books are donated to different charities and organizations depending on their need.  Maddy loved books and reading! She was very fortunate to have access to as many books as she could get her hands on in the short time that she was here. Join us in celebration of Maddy’s birthday and help make reading a possibility for all children. If you can’t make the event you can mail books to the address listed above to help make a difference in a child’s life.

Last year a little over 2,700 books were collected. Can we help make it 3,500 this year?

11270624_450150268478376_8021528347505002067_o

Educate yourself about children and drowning. http://www.houstoniamag.com/news-and-profiles/articles/the-complicated-truth-about-children-and-drowning-april-2015

Not Keeping up with the Jonses’- Learning to Cash Flowing Unexpected Expenses

When it rains it pours.  The weather in Texas has been just awful lately.  Everyone is complaining about how it never rains this much in Texas.  After doing a little rain research I am here to tell you it has rained this much before… it’s just been a while.  The Average rainfall for Texas is not quite 50 inches a year.  It has been 6 years since we have even seen normal rainfall rates because we have been under drought conditions, (though my bet is this year we will see normal if not above average rainfall totals since we are nearly half way there already).  Since the weather seems to be coinciding with my finances as of late so I thought I’d share with you some of what I’ve learned on my journey to get out of debt, as it seems that the rain has been falling in spades, unexpected expenses have been falling in spades too. . .

My husband and I are trying to slowly and steadily chip away at our debt by using a budget and Dave Ramsey’s philosophies about handling money.  While we might not be perfect it at and Dave may question some of our techniques, I am happy to be able to say that if I were to talk to Mr. Ramsey today I could tell him even though we may not always be 100% on with our budget we are 100% better at cash flowing emergencies today than we were a year ago and we continue to make progress every month.

This time last year if we were to have an unexpected expense that had not been penciled into to the budget that I had, (which was more of just a list of bills that needed to be paid so I wouldn’t forget), most certainly a credit card would have come into play and instead of our total monthly bills going down, they would hover around the same amount from month to month (like they seemed to do for years).

Since we’ve been working a new plan on paying down our debt by using a real budget (Check out https://www.everydollar.com/)  I can easily go in to the budget and reaccess where the money is supposed to go and divert it to whatever unexpected expense has come up.  This year it seems like it’s one thing after another. . .having to lay rock for a driveway so out cars don’t sink in the mud, having to dish out money for unexpected but exciting career advancement opportunity, having to get the septic system pumped for the first time, a new fan to replace the one that was about to die, a new mower for our 1/2 acre lot, car repairs, an increase in our mortgage escrow. . . et cetera, et cetera.  I am happy to report that all of these things have been cash flowed and NOT put on a credit card. Our total monthly debt continues to decrease and budgeting, while forever a challenge, is getting a little easier every month.

How do I cash flow?  When planning out our monthly budget I like to leave a little wiggle room.  We have expenses that arise quarterly and yearly and we have a few bills (like the electric bill) that can have a drastic difference in them from month to month.  I like to proactively plan for these things, so instead of waiting for the month these bills are due to come upon us and hope that we will have enough money to cover these bills I plan in advance.  The bills that are due quarterly I divide up to find the monthly payment and set that amount aside each month into savings.  I do the same with the bills that have to be paid yearly.  For the bills that fluctuate greatly from month to month (For us it’s the electric bill) I take an average of the payments over a year and divide by 12.  I use this number as my “payment” number in my budget.   Any month that the  actual payment is less that “payment” amount in my budget I divert the additional amount into the savings account.  This way when the bills are due I already have the funds set aside to pay them and don’t have to stress about having to come up with enough money.

The bonus to this method is that if a true crisis emerges or an unexpected expense comes up that I can’t cover from the normal budget funds I can pull the money from the quarterly/yearly categories and use the cash that would have been set aside to instead cover the unexpected expense now.   This considerable lowers my stress levels and then leaves me time to plan how to fund back the money that should have been diverted for the quarterly/yearly/etc. expenses,  and lets my debt snowball continue to roll.

ai_debt_13188

To learn more go to:

http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/