I Never Thought I’d Google This…

OLWQuote Walking Shoes

“How many miles in a 5k”?

That’s something I never thought I’d google. And no, we aren’t talking about running a 5k. Noooo, silly.. More like walking, fastly (yes, it’s a word in my world).

I do not run. I tell my kids that if they ever see me running, they’d better run too because something bad is happening.

So, when my husband called the other day asking if I wanted to enter a 5k (hey, it’s for a good cause), I stalled while I googled the actual milage.

But, after celebrating the holidays as most of us do, with too many rich, fatty foods and too much time laying around watching The Good Wife marathons on Amazon Prime Video (we are two seasons behind), I am more than ready to put my new year’s resolution money where my mouth is, or, was.

I only have a week and a half to get ready for this thing and it’s a good excuse to use my Kohl’s cash from Christmas and buy myself a shiny new pair of shoes. Now I better get moving.

And if you’re still wondering a 5k is exactly 3.10686 miles.

It can’t be that bad, right? After all, somebody said there’d be waffles at the end of the race.

Happy New Year!

Daily Dinner Dilemma | Costco Meal Plan


I know I am not alone when I say I absolutely loathe that late afternoon question of  “What’s for dinner?”

I am also wanting to feed my family healthier foods and less drive through but struggle with busy evenings and a complete lack of inspiration for dinner ideas. I need healthy and easy dinner options.

For me healthy means:

  • little to no processed foods
  • lots of veggies
  • more whole grains and less white starches
  • no drive thru!

For me easier means:

  • I can have a healthy, delicious meal on the table for my family every night
  • minimal nightly prep, aka less dirty dishes
  • less trips to the store for last minute ingredients
  • I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner

So lately, I’ve been searching around on the internet and discovered a litany of crockpot freezer meals (I guess I am a little late to the party). I got sucked into the abyss that is Pinterest and an hour later came up with six meals I could make and freeze. I created a shopping list, braved Costco (on a Saturday, 2 weeks before Christmas), spent about 2 hours in the kitchen prepping and by the end of the afternoon I had 12 (I doubled each recipe) freezer meals chilling in my freezer. But here is the best part…I have TWELVE meals. Ready to go. In my freezer.


With the craziness of the getting ready for the holidays over those following two weeks (and overindulgences) it was absolute heaven to be able to put a soup or meal in my crockpot in the morning as I went to work or ran errands and have a wonderfully healthy and delicious dinner waiting for us at the end of the day.

I spent less than $135 at Costco (including the gallon freezer bags) for these twelve meals (most of the pantry items I already had on hand) and that breaks down to almost $11.00 per meal…for a family of five that is not too shabby. Not to mention I have enough onions and tortillas now to last me a good awhile. The recipes I  found I used as inspiration and I ended up adapting them to suit my families preferences (and ingredients I already had on hand), as well I created a few recipes myself with the ingredients I had left to use. They absolutely loved every meal. So they are kid and husband tested and approved.

I know I am not the first person to do this but it has felt like an absolute revelation for me and I want to share my love of this newly found freedom from the daily delimma of “What’s for dinner?” So click here for the grocery list and recipes for six meals that you can easily double when you shop at Costco and buy in bulk. Obviously the prices may vary depending on your region/store and the total may vary also depending on your pantry items on hand.


If you’ve never tried freezer meals before….I beg you, please.

I am now compiling several more recipes to try this again. I am thinking 15 this time, doubling that and having an entire month of stress free, no thinking, delicious and healthy dinners. I can’t wait.

Inexpensive and Easy To Make Teacher Gifts | Holiday Edition


It’s that time of year again where if you have school aged kiddos, it’s time to start thinking about those teacher’s gifts. Instead of adding more chaos to your already packed schedule, here are some inexpensive ideas you can either pick up when you are running errands or if you have a few moments, can make pretty easily.

They spend all year pouring their time and support into our kids so taking a few minutes to say thank you really means a lot to them and let’s them know they are appreciated. So here’s a few great ideas from around the net:

  1. Everyone loves lip balm this time of year.
  2. Cutsified Clorox containers – another good one for all the germs this time of year or you could use tissues.
  3. Cinnamon Ornaments – these make the house smell incredible and we love making them, they are so easy!
  4. Simple, yummy soaps!

Sometimes I tend to go a little more practical and pick up a cute bucket/container at the dollar spot at Target and fill with much needed class supplies: crayons, glue sticks, dry erase markers, colored pencils, etc. I know those won’t go without a huge thank you from your child’s teacher.

Is It Friday Yet | Edition #1

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

Welcome to the “Is It Friday Yet?” official list of tidbits from around the internet to get you over that midweek hump.

You’re welcome.

  1. Because a lister’s gotta list
  2. Need a new calendar for your desktop? I personally have the ‘Tis Eggnog Season one.
  3. Is it already time to start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions? Well, we can at least read ourselves into them…

Eating healthier here, here and here, because it’s okay to not be good all the time. And this because it’s not the new year, yet people!

Detox here (if that’s your thing).

Get motivated to move more and lose the excuses here.

Get organized once and for all here. The follow-up to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

4. No excuse not to make a pillow cover for the holidays. Here, here and here. Just make as a slip cover to fit over your existing couch pillows so it’s less to store after the holidays are over.

So, thank you Hump Day, as we are now officially allowed to begin savoring the days leading up to Friday.

East Valley Events | December 2015

Here are some great ideas to get you in the Christmas Spirit.

Throughout the month of December

Merry Main Street in Downtown Mesa

Winter Wonderland at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale

Rawhide Snowy Christmas at Rawhide Western Town in Chandler

A Christmas Carol at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert

The Spirit of Christmas at The Chandler Center for the Arts

December 5th

Holiday Balloon Glow San Tan Village in Gilbert

The Holiday Balloon Glow & Bazaar by The Paisley Pumpkin Events at San Tan Village

Chandler Tumbleweed Tree Lighting in downtown Chandler

december 6th

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas at The Mesa Arts Center

December 12th

Schnepf Farms Winter Wonderland | 12/12 – 12/30

Festival of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake


Artisan Christmas Boutique in Gilbert | 12/4

Peppermint Lane Boutique in Gilbert | 12/4 – 12/5

The Pasture Vintage Market in Mesa | 12/5

Swoon Winter Boutique in Mesa | 12/12

Part One – Track Your Expenses

This is Part One of my five-part, eight-week series on The Beginner’s Guide To Budgeting.


If starting a budget seems overwhelming, let’s go old school for a moment, shall we.

1. Get out a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil.

2. Now write down EVERY amount you spend as soon as you can after you spend it, for an entire month and what you spent it on. Every. Single. Penny.

That’s it. The first step towards budgeting your money is to track every cent that leaves your bank account/wallet.

You will have entries for your mortgage/housing, insurance, auto payment, etc. I call those Fixed Monthly Bills (FMB) those that are due every month like clockwork. And then you will also have entries for things you need to purchase every month, you know, like food to eat and Kleenex to blow your nose with, that stuff. Those are referred to as Fixed Monthly Expenses (FME).  And then if you are like me, you will have the things that I like to call FLUFF, better know as: Fun Life purchases Under False Finances – those impulse items, things you don’t-really-need-and-I-really-can’t-afford-them-but-I-really-want-it-and-it’s-going-on-the-credit-card-so-I-don’t-have-to-pay-until-later-anyway so you go ahead and buy them. Anyway. Yeah, those things.

It can be hard to change your lifestyle and habits in one week so this whole process is going to take place over a couple of  months. This one step will take a whole month. This will allow you examine where your money is going and what it is doing for a full month. This is a process and the first step is awareness. And you probably think December is a really bad time to start something like this but I actually think its the perfect time because that is when most of us overspend blissfully and gleefully unaware of where our money is going.

I’ve even created a worksheet for you to use (because I ♥ spreadsheets) so if you would like to keep everything organized and in one place here you go (hint: it will make Part Two a little easier).


If you run out of room go ahead and print another one, they’re free!

But of course, if it is easier to just save up receipts in a folder or envelope then have at it. I just want you to keep track of every cent you spend for an entire month: on groceries, on coffee, at the gas pump, with your credit card, on gifts for others, on a pack of gum, that parking meter with the change in your pocket, on gifts for yourself, every bill you pay….EVERY. THING.

Meet you back here in a month with that list, or in between worksheet entries, you can keep checking back here for more fun things NOT finance related, like maybe food or house projects!

Next up – Part Two: The Big Picture