Saturday Small Talk

It’s Saturday! I was hoping for sunny and in the 60s today. What I got is dreary and in the (barely) 50s. Ah well. Such is spring in Michigan? At least there’s some green grass attempting to make an appearance!

I had a GREAT piano lesson yesterday (phew), and ended the day celebrating the husband, baby sister, my brother, and his fiance. All of their birthdays are within a month of each other, so we went out to dinner and headed back to Mom’s house for cake and presents. On the docket today–practicing, a bit of indoor spring cleaning, some website updates, and a concert with my mom!

I made an addition to my goals list for this month– go through all of my clothing and purge ruthlessly. My inspiration: Update your Wardrobe for Under $20.

In other news, I found my birthday cake for this year (3 months before the fact). It’s going to be a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Overload Cake. This year is my golden birthday. Any suggestions for making it especially fun and great?

Healthy muffins. Mmmmm good.

The Numbers that Worry Me–an interesting look at our economy and where it’s headed.

Finally, if you’re a parent or intend to be a parent one day, this book is a must read. Plus, if you order Smart Money Smart Kids in the next 9 days, you get free stuff! Here’s more info, including a link to a sample of the book.

What are you up to today? It is sunny where you are?

Kids. Money. Free stuff.

Let’s be up front here. I don’t have kids. I just have theories. I hear it’s a lot easier to have theories than it is to raise kids.  That said, one day, we hope to have children, and when we do, we want to raise them to be wise with their finances.

Blessed not spoiledWe want to teach our kids how to manage their money so their money doesn’t rule their life for the rest of their life. We want to teach them to save for the future, to give generously to those in need, and to spend wisely–all before they turn 18 and move out. Will we be successful 100% of the time? Nope. Is it all going to be sunshine and roses? Most likely not. But I think it will be worth the effort.

Two weeks from today, Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s new book Smart Money Smart Kids will be released. This book will walk you step by step through raising your children to be blessed, not spoiled, starting with toddlers at age 3. As your kids grow, Smart Money Smart Kids gives you the information and the tools you need to raise them to be wise with their finances. The end result: your teen moves out at 18, and is a self-sufficient adult. He or she works hard and pays his or her bills, and is not relying on the next handout from mom and dad. Doesn’t sound so shabby, does it?

WorkThe book is written by both Dave and Rachel, so there are sections from each of their perspectives–father and child. Each chapter is full of actionable steps for you to use with your kids today!  It will take work, but it will be worth it.

Finally, the free stuff. You ready?

  1. Read the first two chapters of Smart Money Smart Kids for FREE.
  2. Download Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money (the whole thing!) for FREE.
  3. If you like what you read in Smart Money Smart Kids, pre-order the book today. If you pre-order, you automatically get the e-book, the audio book, and a video lesson–a $50 value. For FREE.

smsk_800x800I wanna know: What did you think? Could your kids use some money smarts? In what ways are you teaching your kids to be wise with their finances?


Saturday Small Talk

Happy Saturday afternoon, dear reader!

IMG_20131119_201051I’m spending my day in beautiful Manistee, on the coast of Lake Michigan. I’m accompanying 10 talented high school students who advanced past districts to State Solo and Ensemble. Unfortunately, it’s much too cold and windy out to enjoy the lake on my lunch break, so I’m here at a cafe, enjoying a lovely bowl of soup.

Some exciting news in my world: I am a selected blogger for Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s new book, Smart Money Smart Kids, which will be released in a month. If you’re interested in raising money-wise children, this is the book for you! Pre-order it, and you’ll get over $50 in bonuses! Not sure you want to hit the order button? Read a sample two chapters here.

Creating Your Life Plan. Two of my favorite authors are teaming up for an online course on prioritizing your life; about living purposefully and creating meaning. I can’t wait for it to begin.

Speaking of Shauna Niequist–the importance of gathering and community.

On a much lighter note, have you ever thought about keeping chickens in your backyard? One of these days, I’ll get there. The Nourished Kitchen shares 6 reasons why you should consider it.

What are you up to today? Is it spring-like where you are?

Saturday Small Talk

Yesterday felt like spring. It smelled like spring. The birds were chirping and snowdrifts were melting. This morning’s weather is reminding us all not to get too excited. It’s still winter. For 5 more days. Duly noted.

20140308_094312And so, I sit inside, enjoying the view and a cup of coffee in my new mug.


I’ve been thinking a bit about prioritizing my time and setting some long(er) term goals for my career. Food for thought: What to do when your career is failing. On a similar note, Advice for Dreamers.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake. Oh my delicious.

I love our kitchen/dining area, and don’t really care for the state of our living room. For solutions, I’ve been poking around Apartment Therapy. What have I found? Goodbye, Big Blank Walls; Simple Ways to Refresh your Home; 6 rental updates that won’t break the bank. Any of your fellow renters (or former renters) have ideas for filling up our white walls (without nailing a bunch of holes into the wall)?

Iowa Girl Eats posted a recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan. It’s a 30 minute meal and is officially added to my go-to weeknight cooking options.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!


The Daniel Plan

In Christian circles, The Daniel Plan was receiving a lot of hype right around the New Year. Though the book was informative, it was a standard Christian self-help book. We’ve all seen them. “God says thus and such, here’s a 3 step/30 day/6 week plan to make it happen.” This book falls right in line.

If you can look past (or appreciate?) the Christianese, the book will be helpful for you. The Daniel Plan is divided into the 5 F’s of healthy living: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends. In order to be a whole, healthy person, those 5 areas of your life need to be in good shape. I agree. I appreciate that the book doesn’t solely focus on losing weight or getting a 6 pack- it emphasizes the health of your whole self.

After explaining each of the 5 areas, the book outlines two practical plans for seeing results, including a 40 day fitness plan and a 40 day meal plan.

If you stick with it, will you see results? I have no doubt! If you need a strict plan with clear guidelines to get you on track, this might work for you. The Daniel Plan is well laid out, well-explained, and well-researched. However, if you are already living a healthy lifestyle, The Daniel Plan won’t offer much beyond what you already know.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Booklook Bloggers. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday Small Talk

I consider myself to be more of a summer person. I like water in its liquid state, I like beaches, I like camping and cookouts. Winter makes all of those activities more complicated.

To make things more exciting, this winter has been more brutal than normal. And that’s saying something, considering Northern Michigan is not known for tame winters. That aside, I’ve surprised myself by not hating this winter. I think it has to do with how much of our free time we’ve spent outside.

20140222_141435This weekend was no exception. We headed up to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to see what one of our favorite summer spots has to offer in the winter. It turns out, a lot of wind! On an already windy and cold day, it only got windier and colder as we approached the coast. It felt a bit like we were on an arctic expedition. So much wind. So much ice.

20140222_150815There were several spots where the waves crashed through holes in the ice, creating geyser-like water spouts when the waves hit them.

20140222_152103When we were sheltered by the wind (thanks massive sand dune!), the icebergs in the lake were interesting to watch as they bobbed up and down with the waves.

20140222_153317 On our way out, we took a quick pit stop in Glen Haven. Even though it was bitter cold, you can’t beat the beauty of that blue sky!

What have you been up to this weekend? Anyone brave the cold and go on an adventure?