How Cleaners Found At ePantry Ended A Marital Dispute

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I married a great man. A man who works hard. A man who puts up with my quirks. A man who likes to clean.

The cleaner that ended a marital dispute and how you can save money on itYes that third one is right. My husband likes to clean. Sometimes this quality is really annoying like in year one of our marriage when he told me I was vacuuming all wrong and proceeded to give me a 5 minute demonstration on how to vacuum with the grain of the carpet fibers (yes I did roll my eyes).

Other times this quality  is awesome. Well actually as long as he isn’t telling me how to clean his love of cleaning is always awesome.

However right around the time I switched our home over to homemade cleaners I noticed something very odd, my husband wasn’t cleaning anymore, and the house was beginning to show it.

Then one day he came home with really stinky cleaners that I knew would trigger my migraine headaches and what followed was a huge argument during which I found out he wasn’t cleaning because he didn’t like the homemade cleaners that I had started using  and he found out  that the traditional cleaners he loves trigger my migraines.

For a while I tried to win him over to homemade cleaners. I would give him demonstrations  how well they worked, kind of like the vacuum demonstration he gave me so many years ago which surprise, surprise backfired.

Then while walking down the aisle of the grocery store I found a solution; natural cleaners. Cleaners that don’t have the harsh fumes of traditional brands but still are ready made and sitting in the bottle whenever you need them.

That very day, my husband began cleaning again and hasn’t stopped since. Men who might be reading this let me tell you there is nothing sexier than a man who cleans.

seventh generation all purpose cleanerThe natural brand we love is Seventh Generation as they have several unscented options that clean great. Problem is, our small town isn’t exactly green friendly and sometimes the stores don’t have the natural cleaners in when we need them which is why I am glad I found ePantry.

personal note on ePantry order (2)ePantry is a subscription based company that carries an impressive line of all natural cleaners including Mrs Meyers, Method, and Seventh Generation.

ePantry’s prices are comparable with those at the grocery store, plus you get the added benefit of cleaners delivered right to your door on a regular basis. You will receive an email 7 days before your regular order ships, and you can go in and alter or cancel your order at that time, or anytime if you wish.

ePantry candle sample in boxFor me cleaners delivered to my door insure that I keep my cleaning guy well stocked. It is one less thing to think about, streamlining my to do list.

epantry banner

A $10 off a $30 Purchase, Free Shipping & A Free Full Sized Bottle Of Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner

This special is no longer current however, you can still get $10 off your first order of $30 or more, when you sign up for ePantry through the referral links found in this post.  Shipping on all orders is $2.99

The people of ePantry are offering my readers a special deal this week.  Until Friday January 16th at 3pm EST when you sign up to ePantry, through the links in this post you will get $10 off a $30 purchase , a free full sized bottle of my families favorite  Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner and free shipping.

shipment ePantryHow to get the ePantry deal

1. Sign up for ePantry (this offer is good for new members only)

2. Answer a few questions about your family.

3. Pick out $30 worth of products you want (your $10 credit will show up at checkout).  I highly suggest you do this by clicking on the option to pick the products you want out yourself instead of ePantry picking them out for you.

4. Go to checkout and proceed through all the simple steps there.

If you have any problems during the process ePantry has friendly customer reps. ready to serve you at just a click of a button. (I talked to one and she was great :) )

A Few Ways To Use Your Credit

Not sure what to order with your $10 off $30? Here are few ideas…

seventh generation cleanersFor those that prefer cleaners with either no scent or low scent ePantry carries a large line up of Seventh Generation Products a competitive price.

Mrs Meyer's foaming hand soapFor those that prefer natural cleaners with fragrance ePantry has a wide assortment of Mrs Meyer’s cleaners.

ePantry candle

If you love scented candles, ePantry’s all natural soy candles that are scented with essential oils smell AMAZING.

yes to carrotsLow on shampoo? ePantry carries Yes To Carrot products. My family uses this shampoo daily and love it.

Huzzah friend referral imageOne way to save on future orders for ePantry

Once you have tried out the service and love it,  you can share ePantry with your friends and when they sign up you will receive a $10 credit that will be applied to your future orders and they will get $10 off their first order as well. That is a win win deal!

You can share ePantry through email, Twitter or Facebook or use the referral link URL that they provide.

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Swagbucks: Set A Goal & Earn It

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I had a commenter leave a comment on one of my posts where I mentioned Swagbucks stating she earned $75 her first month with Swagbucks and was on her way to earning $100 this month.

Her comment got the wheels in my head spinning  how can a person make $100 a month with Swagbucks?

How it is possible to earn $100 in gift cards from Swagbucks each month

How to Earn $100 in Swag Bucks A Month

This is just a sample  plan because Swagbucks is the point program that is as unique in its ways to earn as it is in the people who use it. You can find all these ways to earn Swag Bucks mentioned below  by fully exploring the Swagbucks home page. Take 15 minutes to click and explore all the tabs and find out for yourself all the fun ways to earn.

1. Do the daily poll

1 Swag Buck per day = 30 a month (takes just a second to do)

2. Complete the NOSO daily

2 Swag Bucks per day =60 a month (takes around a minute to complete each day)

3. Do the Daily Crave

1 Swag Buck per day =30

4. Use the toolbar at least once a day

1 Swag buck per day =30

5. Do the Read and Discover actions

30 Swag Bucks approx. per month

6. Do all you internet searching through Swagbucks

On average I make 150 Swag Bucks a week doing this = 600 a month

7. Radio Loyalty

Play Radio loyalty for 30 minutes and earn 5 Swag Bucks.

I am on my laptop at least 4 hrs a day so for me  could earn 40 Swagbucks a day = 1200 a month

 8.  Jump from app to app earning points

There are 4 Swagbuck apps that I know about where you can earn points.

  • Swagbuck TV App 36 daily Swag Bucks
  • EntertainNow App 18 daily Swag Bucks
  • Sportly.TV App 18 daily Swagbucks
  • Lifestylz App 18 daily Swagbucks

Total earned from apps daily: 90 = 2700 a month

9. Convert your Bing Rewards into Swagbucks

I wrote a post explaining how you can convert Bing Rewards into Swagbucks, based on average monthly earnings over at Bing rewards this should equal into 500 Swag Bucks per month.

10. Do your online shopping through Swagbucks Shop & Earn program

Your earnings will depend on how much you shop on line but based on my earnings I think 170 Swag Bucks a month is a fair estimate.

11.  Purchase your daily deals through Swagbucks

Again earnings depend will vary but based on my earnings 120 point earnings.

12. Watch Swagbucks TV on your computer

Up to 150 points a day = 4500

13. Follow Swagbucks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and enter the Swag Codes they share

I usually snag several free codes a week by following Swagbucks just on facebook, so I think 30 Swag Bucks a month is a fair estimate for this activity.

Add It All Up

  1. Daily Poll = 30
  2. NOSO = 60
  3. Daily Crave = 30
  4. Daily toolbar point = 30
  5. Read & Discover = 30*
  6. Internet searches = 600*
  7. Radio Loyalty = 1200*
  8. Daily app watching = 2700
  9. Bing Rewards conversion = 500
  10. Online shopping = 170*
  11. Daily Deals = 120 *
  12. Swagbucks TV on computer = 4500

Total = 10,000 Swagbucks which has a cash in value of $100 in gift cards.

(those with * are earning activities that will vary depending on individual)

True most people  are not going to watch that many videos and some months you might not do any online shopping for BUT those are not all the ways to earn Swagbucks.

More ways to earn with Swagbucks

  • Play games
  • Print coupons
  • Answer surveys
  • Do tasks
  • Fill out special offers
  • Reach daily goals set by Swagbucks for you and earn bonuses
  • Share the program with your friends
  • Watch Encrave videos

Combine 12 ways above with these 8 additional ways and you have 20 ways to earn Swagbucks.

Swagbucks also offers a large assortment of gift cards to cash your points in for, from department stores, restaurants, home renovation stores and more.

So make this the year you sign up for Swagbucks, set a goal for your earnings, choose the point earning activities that work for you and watch your earnings add up an your financial goal for them be met.

20 Ways to earn Swagbucks that can make it possible to earn $100 a month

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Snapshot Thursdays: New Favorites

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily life

Welcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

I have missed posting Snapshot Thursdays these last two weeks due to Christmas and then New Year’s Goals. I  am looking forward to getting back to normal posting again, I really do love how giving you a peek into my daily life makes me feel like I am getting to know you all better.

my new coffee makerMy husband and I did our Christmas shopping for each other a bit differently this year. One of my primary love languages is time so a gift to me is doing something together. My husband always finds it difficult to shop for me for Christmas (he says I am picky :) ) so I suggested that he take me shopping instead.

We got cash out for our Christmas wallet before we left, and then had breakfast together at Panera bread, followed by hours of shopping side by side. When he saw something he wanted, I bought it for him. When I saw something I wanted he bought it for me.  We finished the date off with lunch at McAlister’s (mmm….sweet tea! ).

My favorite gift of the day was my new single serve bodum french press. I have had a larger french press for years, but since I am the only one who drinks coffee in the family when it broke I really wanted one that would make just one cup. I think my new one is so adorable!

Tenzi game in actionThis picture shows our new family favorite game in action. It is called Tenzi. It is such a simple yet addictive game. We set the timer for 30 minutes before we begin so those family members that are not so thrilled with family games as others  know there is an end, but what is interesting is that those exact members who insisted on a time limit get pretty involved with clapping, and laughing and hollering.

We got the  Tenzi family pack, but Tenzi also comes in a pack for 4 players and they also sell a deck that contains 77 ways to play Tenzi  (I am tempted to get it with some Swagbucks earned amazon gift cards).

10 pennies in my run jarTen pennies in my mileage for 2015 goal jar on January 2nd. Running 1200 miles in 2015 is for some reason one of the goals that I set for this year that excites me the most. I think it is in part because it is so visual and unlike any other fitness goal I have set for myself, plus it has such a great reward at the end, a girls weekend with one of my most cherished friends, my redhead runner.  (if you set a mileage goal be sure to join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook Group where I will be sharing updates on my mileage goals and other goals I set this year)

Did you set any goals for this year? What was your favorite Christmas gift? Share it with me in the comments below.

A Few Great Deals I Had To Share

color by code

Educents is currently offering Color By Code Addition and Subtraction for free. The sums and differences go up to 15.

 

UdQsV2TnxZOQMKrmhf3GTGfyPukaE477D8fYyDgA8-3cAfcvepL3NJUqErbxIIKm7TzcIo4xUI6S649BXpUz9ijUntsN0QgZrSMaRFo=s0-d-e1-ft

Dayspring has a great deal going on today you can get this beautiful chevron card organizer filled with 24 cards for just $4.99, no code needed. That works out to each card costing less than .21 cents and you get the cute organizer too!
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget by Crystal Paine is currently $1.99 on Kindle right now (price could change at anytime make sure to look before you buy) .  With all the great tips and wisdom packed in this book you can make back your $1.99 in no time. (I  purchase my discounted Kindle books with Swagbucks or InstaGC earned gift cards)

My 10 Commandments of Grocery Shopping: Inspired By Slaying The Debt Dragon

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I recently finished my first book of 2015. I always like to kick of my 52 books in one year goal with an inspiring read and Slaying The Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster And Found An Inspired Happily Ever After by Cherie Lowe of Queen Of Free did not disappoint.

978-1-4143-9720-7Our family has been 100% debt free including our mortgage for several years now, but I still love reading of others journey’s to debt free. No two stories are the same.

If you are currently struggling with debt and you need a push in the form of an inspiring story to get you going, Slaying The Debt Dragon is a book for you. If you need some advice from someone who has been there, Slaying The Debt Dragon is the book for you. If you are 100% debt free and need an inspiring story to keep you there, Slaying The Debt Dragon is the book for you.

Within the book Cherie shares many great tips on saving money in all areas of your finances, one area that she touched on was grocery shopping. She called her tips the “Grocery Store 10 Commandments”.

Grocery Store 10 Commandments For Saving More & Spending Less

I loved this challenge so much I decided to take Cherie up on it and make my own. Got to admit it was hard to come up from ones that were unique to the excellent 10 Cherie shares in her book.

Grocery Store 10 Commandments

1. Thou shalt bring the right tools

A calculator and and pen always come in handy in the grocery store for comparing prices and crossing off things on your list as you find them so you don’t forget an item and have to drive to the store again. Which, brings me to another tool you need, a grocery list.

2. Thou shalt not shop without first having a plan

Creating a menu does not have to be complicated. Take a piece of paper write dinner on it and numbers 1 through 7 then do the same for lunch. Chances are you eat the same thing over and over for snacks and breakfast so you can add the items you need for those to your list with no need to make a plan. Go through your cupboards, if you have tuna and macaroni write down “tuna casserole” as a dinner idea and put other items you need to make it on your grocery list.  Repeat this 7 times for lunch and dinner and you have a plan and a good start on your grocery shopping list.

3. Thou shalt check out the stores sales flyer online before shopping

By knowing what is on sale before you shop, you have a better idea of what to put on the menu. Perhaps you have rice and frozen veggies and were thinking of making pork fried rice, but looking at the flyers you see pork is not on sale this week but chicken is. Put lemon chicken with rice and veggies on the menu instead an save the difference

4. Thou shalt use coupon apps

Okay so I am sort of altering this one from Cherie who used Thou shalt use coupons as her number 10 in her list in Slay The Debt Dragon. Coupon apps contain more than just coupons for processed food. They often have offers for fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs and other staple items. Plus apps like Berry Cart have gluten free coupons for those of you with allergies.  Of course printable coupons are still a great way to save money as well.

5. Thou shalt take the time to keep a price book

I have slipped in this area lately and need to get back on track. Keeping a price book is vital to saving money at the grocery store, especially for saving money on staple foods to your diet. For instance our family discovered years ago thanks to our price book that we could save $80 a year on yeast for our bread machine recipes if we switched to buying it at Sam’s Club instead of in the little jars at our local grocery store .That pays for the membership at Sam’s and then some, plus by having a membership we save on other items.

6. Thou shalt sometimes skip a trip

At least once a season hold an eat what you got week. These weeks will test your cooking creativity, give you a deeper feeling of gratitude for the food budget you have, and give you wiggle room in your grocery budget to stock up on rock bottom items. Here is an alternative to a whole week of no grocery shopping that has worked well for my family.

7. Thou shalt not buy what you can make for less

Put down those individually wrapped cheese sticks and buy a brick of cheese and spend under 5 minutes chopping it up and wrapping it for snacks and lunches, same with baby carrots , a one pound bag of carrots is usually cheaper and it doesn’t take that long to peel and cut them.

8. Thou shalt not buy what you can grow

My family planted our first square foot garden last year, and I was surprised how many tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans we got out of it. Enough to eat and a few meals worth to freeze, and we only have a small backyard. We have plans to expand next year. I highly suggest the square foot garden book for all those wanting to start a garden in a small space or a big one.

9. Thou shalt be willing to shop elsewhere

Sometimes the best deal for food is not found in the grocery store. I buy some of our organics at big lots. I shop Lucky Vitamin online for my vitamins and endurance products for my long runs. I also buy several items on Amazon because my local grocery store does not stock these items and I don’t want to spend the gas money to purchase them else where.

10. Thou shalt visit as infrequently as possible

When you shop with a list and a plan you shouldn’t need to go to the grocery store more than once a week. I have read about some people who only grocery shop once a month, making just small short trips in between for fresh fruit, veggies and milk. Figure out what works best for your family and stick to it. Fewer  trips equal fewer “saw it and had to have it” purchases that can really blow your budget.

978-1-4143-9720-7Read the book that inspired my list, and be inspired to pay off debt.

 What grocery store commandment would you add?

Linked To Thrifty Thursdays,

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project One

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This week went by really fast, and I will be honest I left my decluttering project until yesterday evening. Honestly this is one New Year’s goal I wouldn’t keep if it wasn’t for all of you that are joining along with me.

Which is why I decided to create a Facebook group for all of us. I am calling it Snail Pace Goal Achievers so that I can use it for those of you who might not be joining me for 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home but might have set a mileage goal or have decided to join along in my quest to eat better this year.  You can find and join it here.

Now for what  I decluttered this week.

bookcase beforeI decided to start in the room we call our library room. I started with the small wooden bookcase that holds the kids books. A lot of these books are too young for my children and others we could easily get at the library if needed.

books for saleI ended up with almost an entire box of books to put away until the annual homeschooler’s second hand curriculum sale I sell at each year. This might seem to go against my “worth $20 or more resell rule” as each book is only worth .50 cents to a dollar at the sale, but this whole box will bring me at least $20 and I already have the date  of the sale saved on the calendar.

book case with spaceThis is what the book case looked like when I was done. Those books on the lower shelf are the read aloud books that we loved reading to our kids so much we just can’t part with them. book shelf refilledThis is what the bookcase looks like now. I took all the books  from my “to read”  pile that I had in a different area of our home and placed them on the shelf. They all fit perfectly, which now opens up that area for something else.

My plan is to not just declutter but to find homes for things as I go.  I am hoping  this will eliminate our embarrassing floor piles for good.

If you are wondering where I got so many books to read, well most of them come from Tyndale Rewards, Paperback Swap, yard sales and thrift stores, I don’t spend much on books.

What area of your home did you declutter this week? Share it in the comments below,  share the URL to an Instagram picture showing the before and after if you want.  Don’t forget to join the Facebook group so we can share our decluttering goal reaching journeys there as well as tips and tricks we learn that help us along the way.

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)Print out a plan and join along!

4 Things I Would Tell My Former Day One Blogging Self

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In December 2011 the idea of writing a blog grew in my heart and mind as I was painting floors on the last of our 3 renovation homes. I talked it over with my husband who gave me not only the green light but a huge push to move forward. He told me I had one week to research and then I had to publish my first post, no matter what. He knows his snail pacing wife well. I often use “need to research” as a way to hide my fears of what could happen if I just start.

I was so irritated with him then but so thankful for his push now. I am also thankful for the laundry room pity party where a seed was planted in my heart to treat myself like a student of blogging, who earns a students wage, with the hope of a professional blogger’s wage once the time and work is put in.

Looking back as I enter my senior year of my own personal Blogging University there are a few things I would tell my just starting out blogging self during that laundry room pity party.

4 Things I would tell my former day one blogging self about the ins and outs of blogging.

4 Things I Would Tell My Former Day One Blogging Self

1. Don’t compare your start to another person’s start

Those people you see starting blogs with you right now, some of them are going to grow at a much faster rate than you are; don’t let this upset you. They are not living your life. They are not a part of your unique family, with your unique needs.  Their pictures are not showing if they are living a balance life or not. You don’t know if they are neglecting areas in life to grow their blogs faster.  Remember your priorities in life, stick to them and give the blog the time you can and don’t panic if it grows at a slower rate than others, as long as it is growing a little more each month it is heading in the right direction.

2.  This is not just your business

A blog is not the business of an individual but rather the whole family. My families willingness to pitch in and help around the house, has made a huge difference in the amount of time I work on my blog each week and not let necessary household priorities like food to eat and a clean enough home slide.

At first when my blogging was bringing in pennies a day,  this was really hard for everyone, but now that we are starting to see a pay off of a steady part time income, it has gotten easier.

3. You are going to work for pennies longer than you think

It was not until the end of my sophomore year that my blog really started bringing in enough money to cover its expenses, and not until the end of my junior year did it start producing the minimum part time income my husband and I were hoping to see  from it when I started.

3 years of typing away 20 to 30 hours a week with little pay, was really hard. Trust me some days I doubted my sanity, but now I am so glad I stuck with it. Which leads me to my last point…

4. Don’t quit.

Day one blogger, don’t quit, keep learning, keep trying, keep typing, keep posting, keep growing, just don’t quit.

Join me as I write about what I have learned during my junior year as a Blogging University student. I plan to write at least 3 more installments covering..

1. Forming blogging connections when a conference is not possible.

2. What a paid blog review can do for your blog.

3.  The importance of setting time boundaries for your blog.

 ways to monetize your blog from day one (button)It took me forever to make my first $100, but I earned my first penny pretty quickly, and from one penny came another and another, but not from sources you might expect, see how I monetized my blog from day one.

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Top 10 Money Saving Posts Of 2014

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The first Friday of 2015 is finally here and I want to kick it off with a look back at my  10 most popular money saving posts of 2014.

10 Money Saving Posts That Will Save You $100's

Top 10 Money Saving Posts Of 2014

Christmas On A Zero Budget 10 ways to afford gifts & food for Christmas Day when you have no money to spend (med)1. Christmas On A Zero Budget: This post was so near and dear to my heart. It was a message I want everyone out there who wonders if they can pull off Christmas during a year where the money just doesn’t appear to be there for the gifts and the food to know: Yes you can!

10 ways thrifty people shop for groceries (med)

2. 10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Groceries . This post contains the top 10 ways my own family saves money on the groceries we buy.

250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money Plus 10 Key Things Thrifty People Do Over & Over To Save Money On Just About Anything (med)

3. 250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money. My “thrifty people” posts are some of my most popular, and this year I reached a total of 250 different “thrifty people” ways to save money, and I also shared 10 key things my family does over and over again to save money on just about any expense we have.

summer dates that cost zero (med)4. 10 Summer Dates That Cost Zero . My family had a few extra expenses come up during the spring of 2014 and so we had to cut corners in a few areas of our budget. One expense we cut was our date money. To make it work I brainstormed 10 free dates we could enjoy over the summer months.

10 steps for a thriftier new year (med)5. 10 Steps For A Thriftier New Year: Okay so I am sort of cheating by adding this New Year’s post to the list as it was written in the last few days of 2013, but it really didn’t start getting noticed to the beginning days of 2014 when it quickly became very popular. If you want to set yourself up right for financial success in 2015 this is a post that can help.

20 ways thrifty people save money on clothing (med)6. 20 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Clothing: It doesn’t have to cost a lot to clothe a family. In this post I share low cost ideas for obtaining clothing as well as a free one.

10 steps to maximize you swagbucks earnings (small)7. 10 Steps To Maximize Your Swagbucks Earnings: I love Swagbucks for its earning flexibility. This post shows how to earn up to $900 in gift cards in Swagbucks in one year. If you are interested in maximizing your Swag Bucks you might also want to check out these 24 ways to earn as it contains new ways Swagbucks has added to earn.

step by step grocery shopping with a thrifty person (med)8. Step By Step Grocery Shopping With A Thrifty Person: If someone asked me how I shop, I would point them to this article.

17 sites you can use to earn money at home (med)

9. 17 Sites You Can Use To Earn Money At Home : If you just want to make a few extra dollars a month to add a bit of cushion to your tight budget this site is for you. If you want to earn a full time income from home, this post is also for you.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Camping (medium)10. 10 Ways To Save Money On Camping To be honest. this is one post that I was surprised to find in my top 10 when I looked at my numbers of views per post for the year. Our family likes to camp, and of course that means we find ways to save money on it,  I just didn’t think there would be that many other people out there with a love of camping and thrift.

A few more honorable mentions

money saving tips a growing list (small)

Check out all my money saving articles over at my money saving tips resource page.

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1200 Miles in 2015

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I have been talking goals this week, goals to declutter my home, goals to clean up my eating habits, and today I am sharing my biggest fitness goal for this year.

Make A Fitness Goal For This YearHow to set and track a yearly milage goal

I have set my sites at running 1200 miles over the course of 2015. That is 100 miles a month.

Here is how I plan to keep track of those miles

  • I bought a new basic garmin to keep track of my day to day miles
  • I bought a $1 daily planner to write my miles in each day
  • I am also joining a friend in her fun way to keep track and reward ourselves when we reach our goals

My something really fun

Before even mentioning my goal to my redhead running friend she mentioned she has set a goal of running 1000 miles in 2015 and is going to transfer pennies from one jar to the next to keep track.

I decided that would be such a fun visual way to keep track that I have to join her, but I still need to get my jars and pennies (it is on my to do this week list).

Our plan is to enjoy a girlfriend weekend away if we both transfer each and every penny into our “miles ran jar”.

One exception to my goal

Due to a knee that keeps acting up now and again, I am allowing myself to count walking and eliptical miles when needed although my hope is that these miles will not add up to more than 25% of my total miles over the year.

My plan to share it with you

Once a month I will share a picture of my jar on Instagram, and here on the blog as part of my Snapshot Thursdays. This will help keep me accountable to my goal and I hope it will inspire some of you to join us.

You can also join my Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where I will be sharing my goal updates and you can share yours and get encouragement and tips.

Join me

Set a goal to walk, run, bike, swim, or ??? so many miles in 2015. Or perhaps you rather set a goal for working out so many days a week , or a goal to attend so many fitness classes over the course of the year. Figure out a way to keep track and decide what your prize will be at the end. If you use jars make sure to take a Instagram pic and tag me @snailpacetransformations, so I can cheer you on.

How To Become And Stay A Fit Mom (button))Looking for motivation to get fit this year? Check out my How To Become And Stay A Fit Mom Series.

 

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6 Habits To Form This Year For Healthier Eating

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My goal for 2014 was to lose 10 pounds, and as I write this I am actually 5 pounds heavier than when I started 2014. My goal was a complete flop.

6 habits to form this year for healthier eating creating good eating habits one inch at a timeThere have been a few health problems along the way, that haven’t helped matters, but if I am 100% honest with myself I know what the true problem to my inching weight is. The problem is my eating habits.

I am physically active, and I do eat healthy foods, but with a very large side of unhealthy foods. As a blogger I sit on my rear at least 4 hours a day and sometimes more, and my unhealthy eating is undoing the calories I do burn while exercising and more.

This year I am not going to set a weight loss goal. I am still within a healthy weight bracket for a women of my height, although just barely. Instead this year I am going to focus on eating healthy, because I believe that when I do the weight will stop creeping up.

I know from experience that in order for me to make a change a live long habit, slow and gradual is best. So I thought long and hard about what healthy eating habits would make the most impact on my current day to day diet.

I then narrowed the list to the top 6, which will give me 2 calendar months to make each mini eating healthy goal a life long habit.

If eating healthy is a struggle of yours too, I would love to have you join me. You can set your own 6 healthy eating habits for the year, or follow along with mine.

6 habits for healthier eating do them over and over and form habits that stick

 6 Habits For Healthier Eating

1. January-February: Portion Control

I tried Trim Healthy Mama for a while last year but actually gained weight, and I am pretty sure I know why. I am a big eater and the program doesn’t require you to chart calories. I still think the program works great for many, as I have seen friends lose upwards of 40 pounds on it. However, tell me I can eat chocolate with every meal, which the plan does, and I will and lots of it.

I can pack away more food in one sitting than my husband. My metabolism use to be able to take it, but now not so much.

I once lost 15 pounds by using the Lose It App faithfully to chart all my calories, then I fell of the charting calories bandwagon and the weight came back on and more.

It is time to go back to what works for me. Charting my calories makes me get realistic about how much I am really eating.

Goal: Use the Lose It App faithfully at least 6 days a week. I plan to set it at a pound a week loss, hoping that this will gradually take the weight off through out 2015, BUT my emphasis is to eat more healthy for life, not just for weight loss, so if it doesn’t come off I am going to focus instead of celebrating my healthy eating success.

2.  March-April:Drinking More Water

I have developed a horrible habit of starting the day with a 20 oz mug of green tea, followed by another, and then by a giant mug of either coffee or earl grey tea.

I cut the caffeine off by 2 pm, but then I just stop drinking except perhaps a herbal tea before bed.

Goal: Carry water with me everywhere I go so that I can sip on it often especially in the afternoon when I tend to get so busy I forget to drink anything.

3. May-June: Cut Back On Sugar

Confession time, I have a raging sweet tooth. I rarely go a day without a sweet treat and I am not talking about 100 calories of the sweet stuff. It is not uncommon for me to down 4 cookies, and a handful or two of chocolate chips through out the day. Very, hard for me to type that but it is true. Other days I have been know to have two cookies after lunch and a bowl of ice-cream after dinner, and more handfuls of chocolate chips.

Goal: I want to be realistic with this goal. I once read that a good healthy goal is to make no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake be junk. With this guide line in mind I am setting my goal at a max. of 200 calories in a day in sweets 6 days a week, and one big 400 to 500 calorie splurge day per week (because I got to have ice-cream sometimes :) ).

4. July-August: More Fruit & Veggies

Some days I do great with fruit and veggies, other days I look back and realize I have had perhaps 2 servings the entire day.

Goal: I am going to aim for at least one serving of fruit or veggies with breakfast and my afternoon snack, a big salad a day, and at least 2 servings of fruit or veggies with the meal that isn’t a salad.

5. September-October: Better Eating Out Choices

There are 2 ways I blow healthy eating more than any other way, eating out and eating at celebrations. I am going to attack both these bad habits head on this year.

Goal: Use my Lose it App to help me make better healthy eating out choices. Choices that are not only lower in calories but higher in nutrition. This means keeping buffet eating to one plate. This means choosing the salad (hold the dressing) over the burger and fries. This means choosing water over pop, even with the fast food value meal.

6. November-December: Wiser Celebration Eating

I make horrible eating decisions at social gatherings. I graze at the potluck spread, a cookie here, a cookie there, some nachos, a few chips, a glass of pop. It doesn’t seem like I am eating much at one time, but when I add up what I ate over the course of the event it is WAY TOO MUCH.

I can’t think of a better time to tackle wiser celebration eating then at the end of the year, when I have already built 5 other healthy eating habits into my life, and can use them as tools when facing the most celebration filled time of the year, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Goal: I want to stick to one plate for the meal, one sweet treat per event, and water to drink. Sure this might mean I still am over on calories for the day, but it sure will be a lot less calories than I am consuming at parties now.

Will you join me, as I set out to eat better in 2015? I plan to write an update during the first week of each month, to share how I am doing and what I am learning. Join along.

You can also join along by joining my Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where I will be sharing updates for all the goals I set for this year, and offering you encouragement and tips along the way.

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home :With Free Printable Plan

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Our families clutter piles got pretty bad in 2014. I didn’t do my normal Christmas cleaning, which really helps, and I also didn’t join various bloggers in decluttering series all year long either.

52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Decluttering A Home One Inch At A Time(This might be a picture of my teenager’s room but a lot of our home looks like this, time to clean up)

When I was recently reading Ruth Soukup’s new book “Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets Of The Good Life” her chapter on simplifying her possessions convinced me that it really is time I gave the house a top to bottom decluttering.

Now I know most books say clear a few days, and get the whole house done. But, in my current stage of life, finding a few days to do nothing but declutter is next to impossible.

So instead I decided to break up my home into 52 areas one for each week of 2015 .

I am also making a few rules.

Rules for 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home

  •  I can work ahead if time allows, but not to the point where I let other priorities of my life slide.
  • I cannot fall behind more than 2 weeks at any given time. If I do I have to catch up right away
  • I will not save anything for reselling that  has a reselling value of under $20. All items below that price point go straight to a locally run thrift store that uses the proceeds they earn to run their soup kitchen.
  • I am setting up an area in the basement for resale items. I plan to date items with a sticky note when I place them in these boxes. I will go through them at the end of each month and any item that have been in them for longer than 4 weeks must be sold that very day, or it is off to the thrift store they go. No exceptions no matter what the value of the item.
  • I am approaching the decluttering like I am moving, if I wouldn’t want to take the effort to pack, move and unpack the item,out it goes.
  • I am going to be realistic about what I can do at this stage of life and not save things for the “hopeful” next. As in  “when the kids have graduated and I no longer need to devote hours to homeschooling,  I can sew and then I will want all these yards of fabric”.

I plan to use you my readers to hold me accountable and to humble me. By showing you my mess I hope that I won’t let things slide this bad again. I am also hoping some of you will join me so we can support each other.

Every Tuesday I will write a short 52 Weeks To Simplify Your Home, with a before and after post of my decluttering area that week, as well as tips I am learning that are helping me to simplify my home, and links to helpful resources on the topic of decluttering, organization, house cleaning, and simplifying your home.

Join me as I declutter my home one inch at a time52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Plan

Here is my list of 52 areas in my home that I will be decluttering . These 52 areas cover my entire home except for the basement and our shed. Those are my husband’s domain, and hopefully seeing me declutter will inspire him to do the same.

I divided up each room into areas. My plan is to work one room until it is 100% done and then move on to another room. I don’t plan to follow the areas in the order listed here, but pick and choose as I go to satisfy my creative spirit a bit.

Library

1. White bookcase

2. Brown bookcase

3. Black cabinet

4. Basket table

5. Shoe containers

6. All table tops

Dining Room

7. Dresser

8. China Cabinet 1

9. China Cabinet 2

10. Baskets under folding table

11. Top of folding table

12. Dresser top

13. Black side board

14. Bay window

15. Floor

Family Room

16. 1 side of white cabinet

17. other side of white cabinet

18. TV cabinet one side

19. TV cabinet other side

20 Side tables

21. Desk

22. Baskets on floor.

Kitchen

23. Upper cupboards

24. Lower cupboards

25. Cupboards on fridge wall.

Boot Room Area

26. Coat rack

27. Boot bins, and bin on floor

28. Counter top area

29. Upper cabinets

Landing Area

30. Top of stair area

31. Storage area on the way down the stairs to the basement

Upstairs storage closet

32. Black side shelves

33. Upper 1/2 of wire shelves

34. Lower 1/2 of wire shelves

35. floor area and peg wall.

Bathroom Downstairs

36. Under sink cabinets and counter

37. Tall cabinets

Upstairs Bathroom

38. Tall cabinet

39. Counter and under sink cabinet

Hallway closet

40. All shelves

Study area and hallway

41. All

Master Bedroom

42. Dresser

43. My bedside table

44. Hubby’s bedside table

45. Under bed

46. Wall down Jack’s side of the bed

47. Wall down my side of the bed

48 End of bed area

49. Half of closet

50. Other half of closet

Attic

51. Longest wing

52. Shortest wing & wing lined with shelves.

How to join along in the 52 weeks to simplify your home challengeWill you join me?

I would love to think that perhaps I am not the only one out there with a home that has become more cluttered than it should be. I would also love to think that I am not the only one that can’t declutter it all in a weekend or even a week.

If you too have too much clutter, and your daily life doesn’t allow you to tackle it all in a short amount of time, I would love to have you join me in my 52 weeks to a simplified home challenge.

Grab a notebook, pen and a cup of coffee. Spend a few minutes going from room to room looking for clutter and giving each clutter hotspot its own week. Keep the spots small so that they are doable in a small time frame each and every week.

Make your own list of rules. Keeping a few things in mind. Will you donate items or sell them? If donating them when and where? How high will you let the donation pile build before you donate it?

Make sure if you are thinking of selling things, that you have a plan of how to sell them before you begin, and set yourself a deadline to sell them. Life just might be too busy to both declutter and sell, and if it is, isn’t a decluttered home worth the money you might lose when you donate the item instead of selling it.

Don’t forget to also think of those you might be helping by donating items. Find a locally owned thrift store that donates funds to causes you agree with. This really helps me feel okay with donating over selling when I know we could put the money made by reselling to good use if I just had the time, but in my current stage of life I often don’t have the time.

Once your list is made make sure to do one more thing and join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group, where you can share your progress see how others are doing, and get encouragement and tips.

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable planI made it even simpler for everyone to join by making a free printable for those of you who would rather fill in the blanks and follow my preset rules than make up your own. Download it here.

If you want to say thanks for the free printable. say it with a follow on your favorite social media site, whether it be  Facebook ,  Pinterest, or Instagram,  or have my posts delivered directly to your email box as I publish them.

Lets get on with it. Lets toss the clutter and embrace the awesome feeling of a simplified home.

Linked to Mom2Mom, Thrifty Thursdays, Frugal Fridays,

 

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