Five “Favorites” (2nd Ed.) {day 4 of blogging challenge}

Linking up with Grace, who is filling in for Hallie.

Here are some things I’ve been loving lately:

1. Lemon-Basil Natural Air Freshener

lemon and basil air freshener

The other day my house was smelling a little not-awesome. During the winter, I often simmer cloves and cinnamon on the stove to make the air smell better than the remnants of the meal I cooked the night before. However, those scents just don’t seem summery enough, you know? Anyway, I had some lemon rinds left from making lemonade, and our basil is doing well this year in the garden. I simmered this mixture with some water on low for about an hour. It left my house smelling much better than wafts of squash quesadillas.

2. Breakfast Cookies

I don’t have a picture, but I happened upon this recipe a couple months ago, and we have been loving it! I usually substitute dried cherries for the chocolate, because melty chocolate in a toddler’s hand is a “recipe” for disaster [pun intended, unfortunately].

3. Self Control App for Mac

self control

[Isn’t this a lovely logo?]

There are many plug-ins and apps for computers that either give you a time limit on certain websites or block them completely for certain durations. For good articles on these, see here and here and here.

When I was working on the textbook, it was sooooooooooooooooo easy to mindlessly waste time on Facebook and the like. I would always feel super-guilty, because this was time away from my baby, and I didn’t want to take advantage of my incredible family who were watching her.

Enter “Self Control.” It is extreme, but amazing. You add whatever sites YOU want to the “blacklist.” Then, YOU set the amount of time you want them blocked. Once you put in your password and press “start” there is absolutely no way [unless perhaps your are a computer smarty-pants, unlike myself] you can get to these sites. Even re-starting your computer will not let you into them.

Like I said, it’s a little drastic, but I can’t even express how much writing I would crank out when I didn’t even have the possibility of perusing blogs and the like. I still use it sometimes, when I really need to focus on something on the computer, even if it is for 15 minutes.

4. Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

eating hte alphabet

Alright, this one is kind of a lie… This was my favorite book two weeks ago, when it first found its way to our house. However, Philomena is obsessed, like scary-stalker obsessed, with it, so I am so tired of reading it over and over and over again.

However, it is still SUCH a beautiful book. It is simple- just pictures of fruits and vegetables, but the pictures are unique and vibrant.

For some reason, Mena would always cough and put her hand in her mouth on the pages dedicated to the letter “A.” It took me a couple days to realize that she would do it every time we pointed out “artichoke.” Get it? ArtiCHOKE. Since her ordeal, she still chokes quite often on various foods. And apparently our desperate, “she’s choking! she’s choking” has made an impression.  

5. You Need a Budget Website/App

you need a budgetRyan and I are big on budgets. As a one-income [well..one-and-a-half?] family, we need to watch every penny very closely. We generally follow Dave Ramsey’s principles [we worked hard to become debt-free; no regular use of credit cards; spending within our means; living today like nobody else]. However, not everything about his methods seem to work for us in this stage of life [namely, the cash-only system].

We’ve had a good budget for all of our marriage, but I kept track of it on all of these convoluted spreadsheets that really weren’t that great.

Enter YNAB.

This is an amazing online program that forces you to look at every single dollar that comes in and is spent. I’ll admit, I still need to take more time with it to understand its full potential [because there is so much!], but from what I’ve seen over the past few months, it is highly versatile and is in line with our view of finances. You will never again ask the question, “what happened to that paycheck?”

The only downside is that it costs. However, the fee of $60 is a one-time only situation, AND there’s a free 30-day trial. I really think you’d save that $60 within just a couple months of using it.

Ha, this sounds like a paid endorsement! It’s not, I promise. :)

Alrighty then….thus concludes day 4 of my blogging streak. Will it continue? Stay tuned to find out.

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5 thoughts on “Five “Favorites” (2nd Ed.) {day 4 of blogging challenge}

  1. Great idea for with the air freshner. Sometimes I grind up some lemon rinds in our garbage disposal and it helps a bit.
    I wondered how you were able to use the computer and stay focused (and not distracted) That’s hard for me. I tend to wander off when I hit a roadblock and then end up wasting time and brain power on nothing significant.
    How does YNAB compare to Quicken? We follow the same general Ramsey ideas – except the cash system, it’s too impractical and not really very secure.

    • I’ve never used Quicken…although my friends who recommended YNAB said they liked it infinitely better. What is great about it that once you buy it (this feature isn’t on the free trial), you can download it on as many computers as you want AND there’s a great app. It automatically syncs. So, you could enter your purchase in the car in the grocery store parking lot and your husband would see it on his computer at home.

  2. I like the air freshener idea a WHOLE lot, because I really despise those fakey ones you plug in our sit around. I will have to try your summer and winter versions…

    We really like Eating the Alphabet, and have checked it out numerous times. Some books are just nice to own, have you checked Thriftbooks? You can get some really good deals for used books there and Amazon, that has been a life-saver for me!

    • That’s good to know! My mom has been collecting TONS of children’s books (mostly used) over the years (Mena has cousins who are a lot older than her). … So, my mom passes many of them onto us. And she received quite a few for her birthday/Christmas.

  3. Pingback: waffle vs. spaghetti | sarahunfiltered

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