Valentine Flowers by Sandra Leggott

Our quest post for the month of February comes from Sandra Leggott, Queen of Comedy! If you ever need a good laugh, you can go to Sandra for help. She’s a hoot! I knew she would be a great guest for Valentine’s Day, so I asked her to write for you all – I’m so honored that she said yes! So, sit back and read Sandra’s post about her very first married Valentine’s Day. It WILL make you smile. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!Oh, and she does all her own artwork. :-)
I never dated, I mean really dated, anyone prior to my husband. Valentines is touted as this BIG, AMAZING holiday when your one-true-love can display his true love. My husband and I started dating the last weekend of March and got married in Oct. of the same year. So on our first Valentine’s Day we were already married. Imagine my delight at not having to question, “Will he be mine? Does he love me? Will we have a Valentine’s date?” When the glorious day rolled around, I was working as a secretary at the University of Iowa. I trotted off to work that day, excited to be in love and enamored with my new husband and Valentine.Continue reading

Next Worshop – Mountain City, TN

My next upcoming workshop is in Mountain City, TN on November 6 at 12:30pm. All you need to bring is a pen and your favorite covered dish with a serving spoon, and also bring your own drink. You can click on the flier above to see the information in more detail.

If you have plans to attend this event, please send me an RSVP via my contact page so I can let them know how many to expect. Thanks!

Marriage and Money: Five BIG Things to Agree On

image by josefnovak33

This week I decided to address another angle of what became a very hot topic several weeks back, “Marriage and Money.”  My initial post discussed the concept of “His Money and Her Money” and boy did you have varied opinions on how to handle that one!  Then I dug myself in deeper when I wrote about charitable giving when couples don’t agree.  I figure I’m on a roll so this week I’ll see if I can redeem myself a bit by sharing some essentials for marital financial bliss.

When Stacy and I got married I was clueless.  Yes, I’m admitting in front of the thousands of people who will read this article that I was clueless about so many things related to marriage and how to be married.  It was all new to me and I had to learn.  I still learn something new every day and thankfully, Stacy has been gracious enough to learn along with me for all these years.  Along the way, I’ve picked up some tricks when it comes to marriage and money that I thought might be of benefit to share.  Fortunately, I haven’t made all the mistakes (hey, we’ve only been married for 7.5 years!) but I’ve counseled several couples who just plain didn’t get it and were/are headed for disaster.  So what are my five top things husband and wife should agree on when it comes to money?Continue reading

How to Be Debt Free in 2014

How to Be Debt Free in 2014

Guest post by Shannon Brown of GrowingSlower.

It was early early 2013, a new year, and a time for resolutions and starting over. I opened one of my favorite blogs, Keeper of the Home, and happened upon Stacy’s guest post entitled, “How to Be Debt Free in 2013.”  What an intriguing title. Curious, I couldn’t help but read on.

Debt free. It’s one of those big life-changing projects that inspire us, right up there with, “Save 98% on Groceries with Extreme Couponing,” “Potty Train your Toddler in One Weekend,” and “31 Days to Take the Jiggle Out of Your Wiggle.” They’re extreme, they’re exciting, and when you really look at what’s involved, a little overwhelming.
Debt free in 2013, yeah right, I thought: Does she have any idea how much debt we have and how small our income is? At the time I read it, I had absolutely no hope that our family would be debt free within a decade, let alone a year. Why even try?
But Stacy’s post stuck in my head all year long, and in September we started our journey to becoming debt free! Three months later, we had paid off the first three loans in our debt snowball, and we were more inspired than ever to tackle the last remaining big ‘ol grandaddy loan.
It was time to get serious. We cut the grocery budget in half. We made plans to pay cash for a much older car when our expensive lease ended. I worked at nap time and after the kids were in bed growing my blog, marketing my book, and doing freelance work in my “real” career field of architecture. We made a list of every possible way to save money and did them, even doing a No Spend Month Challenge in January.
We initially were on track to be out of debt within 20 months (which was amazing to me in itself), but God has blessed our efforts and it now looks like it will take only take a total of 10 months or less. When we’re done, we’ll have paid off over $22,000 in student loan debt on a household income that (at the time we started) fit under the government’s low-income category for a family of four.
Faster than I can possibly believe, our family has cut almost 5 years off our debt repayment, and we’re very much looking forward to enjoying debt freedom in 2014! If we would have started this amazing journey when I first read Stacy’s article, we really could have been debt free in 2013.
If you’re like I was, in disbelief that becoming debt free could be a real possibility for your family, let me challenge you. Even if you start by putting only an extra $50 per month toward your debt, just get started! Every little bit gets you one step closer to financial freedom.

So how about it? “Debt Free in 2014″ has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?!

Shannon Brown writes about frugal and simple living at GrowingSlower blog and in her Real Mom’s Guide series of books. Shannon and her husband live in eastern Washington and are parents to an energetic little boy and a peaceful baby girl.

These are a Few of my Favorite……Cookbooks

I’ve always loved cookbooks. If you’ve visited my house, you know I have a floor to ceiling bookshelf that is FULL of cookbooks – and I still have some in boxes that won’t fit on the shelf. I need to pare these down, and will do that at a yard sale this spring – I’ll only hang on to my very favorites.  I know Barry is very relieved – he probably feels like the cookbooks are about to take over. Today I’ll share with you my top 5 favorite cookbooks.Continue reading