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So I picked up this book at the library, my homeland a.k.a my other home where I reside. It is called Living Well on a Shoestring.

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The cover intrigued me and I was interested to hear some tips about being frugal or penny-pinching or whatever other adjective fits the bill. I was open to hearing something new.

Well…it was okay. Many of the tried and true tips that are listed are ones that mirror a lot of what other people have said time and time again, and in a more interesting way such as Amy Dacyczyn, the writer and beloved frugalista of The Tightwad Gazette.

However, I would say that the section on cars was interesting. Buying a car whether it is used or new, is a stressful ordeal and one is always afraid that they are going to spend too much, or not get enough for their money. Living Well on a Shoestring, gives some great tips on car buying that still are applicable today: Do your research, know when the best time to purchase a car is, how to negotiate price and dealing with car salespeople.

I did like this book, and found some great ideas, but one has to take into account that the copyright date for this book is the year 2000, and so the idea for making a computer disk holder out of a milk carton, just really isn’t applicable in today’s world. Unless you are still holding onto computer disks. And if you are, well than have at it! ;)

The truth of the matter is, people who live this shoestring lifestyle are my heroes. Seriously. If you can recover lampshades and make pajamas out of an old fleece blanket, well than you are my hero. Cause I can’t do that. Not even a little bit.

I love reading these super-duper quad-drooper frugal books, because they give me something to aspire to. Someday I want to say “Yeah, I made this end table out of a boxed crate and some spit”. I want to be able to say, “Yup, I made this casserole out of 3 different containers of leftovers and we ate every last bite”.

I want to be one of those people. Someday. But I’m not there yet.

So for now, I’ll just hold onto my old fleece blanket until I get some mad sewing skills and can whip myself up some pajamas ;)

My family loves chicken nuggets. But what we don’t love, is the unhealthiness factor of them. I mean half the time, you don’t know what it is in the nugget or it is so fried, that you feel terrible after eating it. But not these! These are yummy!

This recipe is adapted from the book Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld. Yes, wife to Jerry. This book is awesome because all of the recipes have fruit or vegetables hidden in the meal, so the kiddos don’t even know that what they are eating is actually GOOD for them :) As anyone with small children knows, sometimes it is a battle to get little ones to eat healthy. Kids love chicken nuggets. And parents will feel better knowing that these chicken nuggets have a healthy serving of sweet potato and that they are delicious and good for them!

Enjoy!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 TBSP grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree*
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breast or chicken tenders, rinsed, dried, and cut into small chunks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Directions:

  • In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic, and onion powder. Mix well with a spoon.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Sprinkle the chicken chunks with salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.
  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 -4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut into a piece to check that it’s cooked through) Serve warm.

*To make the sweet potato puree: Roast one whole sweet potato at 400°F for 50 to 60 minutes. Once done, scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor or blender.

Cue all the Pumpkin Patch lovers!!! Holla!

I love going to the pumpkin patch and I was super excited to check one out here in my new digs. So off we went!

pumpkinpatch

It was a gorgeous afternoon, perfect for a corn maze.

cornmaze

Don’t let the cute little cat fool you… I may or may not have almost had a panic attack because I couldn’t find my way out of the maze and all I kept thinking of was the movie Children of the Corn.

Annnnnnd, a creepy baby in a carriage, just staring…

creepybaby

Seriously yo, they had this trail that wound through a woodsy area, and lo and behold, there was the creepy baby. So I took its picture. Please don’t haunt me creepy baby…

Random skeleton dude…

skeleton

Tombstones

tombstones

And the best part: picking pumpkins!

pumpkinwagon

My daughter had so much fun picking up pumpkins and putting them in the wagon. We got some good ones!

Also we had fun hay climbing, lemonade drinking, and all other sorts of hi-jinks!

Lastly, special shout-out to my husband for rescuing me out of the corn maze before I lost my mind ;)

October Goals

I haven’t done a “goals post” in eons. But I need a challenge. And the only way to really do that is to write it down and hold yourself accountable. Goals help us to realize things that maybe we have been thinking about, but just can’t quite put our finger on. Know what I mean?

mantle

My Goals For October:

Make 2 New Recipes: Normally, I would want to try 4 new recipes, one for each week of the month. But, I know that new ingredients can sometimes be pricey, and I don’t want to spend too much money, especially since I don’t know what it is yet that I am going to make. But I miss trying out new recipes, and it seems like forever since I posted a recipe on my blog. I kinda miss that. :)

Purchase a Winter Jacket For My Daughter: It gets cold here in Oregon, yo…for reals. And her jacket that she had previously is too small and not nearly warm enough.

Take My Multi-Vitamin Every Day: Seriously, I fell off the wagon on this big time! And I don’t eat as well as I should, so this kinds helps balance my lack of serious vegetable eating.

Sock Away Some Money into our Emergency Fund: Don’t know how, don’t have a plan formalized yet, but I’m going do it.

Write For Me: I need to write, separately from the blog. I want to publish a book one day, but that is not going to happen if I have an empty notebook. So I need to push myself and just…write.

So those are my goals for October. Do you guys set goals? Does it help to have them written down?

For those of us who grew up in the 1980’s, it was indeed a magical time. Saturday morning cartoons were the thing, not 24 hours of cartoons on dozens of channels all the livelong day, like it is now. Saturday mornings were something to be treasured and something to look forward to. Just you, a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, and Bugs Bunny.

But I digress…

There are several things about that totally tubular decade that I am glad are not things we have to deal with anymore. Such as:

The kitchen telephone. Yes, the home telephone still exists, but the 80’s version was quite a pain treasure. See, it hung on the wall and had this ab-nor-mal-ly long cord, that no matter what one did, it coiled and became this thing that hung from the receiver. Everyone would try and untangle it, but the minute the next person used the telephone, bam, the gosh darn thing would become a mangled mess again. Not a fan of those phone cords, not a fan. Speaking of which…

Rotary phones. Good luck dialing a phone number with an area code, and God forbid you mess up a number and have to start. All. Over. Again. Gah! “Did I dial 787 or 987?” “Did I dial a 1 before the area code?” You wanna know why there were so many wrong numbers dialed in the 80’s? Rotary phones, yo…

Random windowless vans. Yes, these vans still exist (unfortunately). But if you were a kid growing up in the 80’s, you were hit over the head with the fact that “strangers” drove “windowless vans” to “kidnap” you and they would try and entice you with “candy”, in order to get you to get into the “windowless van”. To. This. Day. I cannot park next to a windowless van and I freak out and will deliberately park somewhere else just so I don’t have to park next to the probably harmless person driving their cargo van.

Aqua Net. Good grief, I think all of us kids in the 80’s took out a good chunk of the ozone layer with all of our hairspray. How did we not pass out from all the fumes? And who said having bangs 3 feet high, was a good idea? Cause it’s not…

Cassette Singles. Yes, youngins, we listened to cassette singles. And you know what was annoying? The second side of the cassette. See the first side had the song you wanted, the whole reason you bought the single in the first place. But the second side, when you flipped that puppy over, was an instrumental recording of the song that you just bought. Really? Who wants to listen to a song without the words? I mean are we supposed to be putting on our own karaoke show in our rooms? WTF? Or, if your second side didn’t carry the instrumental version, it carried an “unreleased” track from the artists’ album, which was so bad, you seriously questioned even buying the whole album if this is what the rest of their music sounded like.

Ah, the 1980’s…what don’t you miss? :) I wanna hear about it!

If you are reading a fair amount of personal finance blogs, you are readily aware of the importance of having an emergency fund. And for those of you that have a “fully funded” EF, hats off to you!

This post is as much of a reminder for myself as it is for you. Emergency funds are important and you need that extra financial cushion should the proverbial sky fall when you least expect it.

Expletive happens, or a more ladylike way of saying it is “Situations will arise”. Situations such as:

  • Car problems
  • Unforeseen medical treatments
  • Vet bills
  • Problems with your paycheck that result in delay of funds which could cause you to be short on other bills

On and on and on…right?

Especially with our economy not quite on the straight and narrow, and with the holiday season bearing down upon us, it’s important to remember to keep funding that emergency fund. If times are already tough, set aside what you can. Even if all you can contribute is $5 a week, keep at it. That money will add up over time, and you’ll be glad you set aside that coinage.

Like I said, I need the reminder just like everyone else does.

Save that dough! :)

Fallin’ for Fall

Yes, technically Fall doesn’t start till next week, but I am so excited for my favorite season to just start already!

I am also excited for this season because I am in an area where they actually get the autumn season. Case in point? It rained last night and this morning, so what do you do when that happens?

Put on your rain boots and go jump in puddles!

boots

Aren’t my daughter’s boots super cute? :)

Also, I am looking forward to inhaling eating everything that is pumpkin. Starting with this coffee:

pumpkincoffee

I have already decorated my apartment and this may or may not be what is glowing when the lights are off:

jackolantern

Other fall things I am looking forward to:

  • Hockey starting! I  HOCKEY!
  • My tv shows coming back on with new seasons. Elementary, I am looking at you.
  • Hot apple cider. Nom, nom…
  • Halloween. Already got my daughter’s costume!
  • Football has started already (thank goodness), but Sundays are all about football!
  • Oktoberfest. My husband loves Oktoberfest so I can’t wait to celebrate that up here!

What are you guys looking forward to for fall?

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