Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trail Bars

I love to bake, and I'm always in search of healthy recipes so this way I don't feel like we are eating cookies and cakes everyday. I found a great bar recipe in one of my old cookbooks that I adapted to what we had in the pantry. They were a big hit at our house. I have to give the warning though ~ these bars are high in fiber and energy. If that's what you're looking for in your diet, you've hit the jackpot.

These bars are slightly crumbly and offer a great mix of salty and sweetness.

Trail Bars

3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups All Bran Complete Wheat Flakes
Handful of raisins
Approximately 3/4 cup of chocolate melted (you can use almond bark, semi-sweet or dark)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir honey and peanut butter until it's of smooth consistency (almost to a boil). Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, raisins and cereal. Press into an ungreased 9x9 pan. Spread melted chocolate over top of bars and refrigerate until firm.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Positive Feedback

It truly makes my day when I receive positive feedback from a customer or someone features one of my bags on their sites. When you have your own business, there's no boss giving you an "at-a-girl", yearly performance review, or pay raise. So I love to hear from people - it makes me feel like I am doing something right (at least most of the time).

You can imagine how thrilled I was then to receive a kind "thank you" message from one of my customers along with a picture of her using her new bag at Disney.

One of my double-zipped pouches was also featured on a great blog (http://thebeladonna.blogspot.com/) this week. You can check it out here.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend with NO snow (unlike us). We're expecting 1-3 inches on Saturday night. Yuck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Saving Money

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, Doug and I have decided to make it our goal for 2009 to get our "financial house" in order. You can read it about here. I can't begin to tell you the positive impact this has had on our lives. It's almost like a huge burden has been lifted, things have been simplified, and we've been reminded of what's truly important. When you look at the little things that occur on a regular day you can't help but feel blessed when you're making the right choices.

One of the areas we've addressed is our food shopping and eating out. Before kids, we use to love to go out to eat maybe even 3-4 times a week. After both working all day, we'd use the time to catch up and enjoy each other's company. Plus being newlyweds, neither of us were good cooks. Now, eating out at a "sit-down" restaurant is a luxury that's saved for special treats. I've learned to shop based on sales, clip coupons, and plan meals. It's actually a lot of fun when you're challenging yourself to stick to a specific budget and have to be creative. As a result, we've lowered our food budget by approximately $160/month. This is really exciting for us and yes, we're still eating healthy.

Another area we've addressed is saving for fun things. We always complain that we don't get to go on any exciting vacations or purchase something that involves our passion. We're tired of the pity party and have decided to tell our money where to go. This gives us something to look forward to. We're planning on a vacation to Florida in November and cannot wait. We're not going to try and scrounge for the money at the last minute or charge it, instead we've been allocating a specific amount each payperiod toward our vacation fund. And when it comes time to book everything, we'll make our decisions based on our saved amount. This concept is working really well for Doug too as he's been wanting a new motorcycle for the past six years (and I'm really tired of hearing about it!). So he's starting a Harley fund. If he had done this six years ago, he could be riding it right now instead of still dreaming about it.

I just wanted to share this with you because I've gotten a lot of help and information from friends and family. One website I've found extremely helpful is www.moneysavingmom.com. There's information about sales, coupons, freebies, advice on living frugally and within your means, and inspiration. Check it out if you get a minute. I could kick myself for not taking action years ago.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Staying Dry (and Sane)

I started pottytraining Jonas last Thursday. He turns three in May so I thought, "Hey, why not give it a try." Well, I was ready to pull my hair out the first day! I forgot how frustrating the whole process could be. To top it off, I've only had experience potty training a girl, and boys are so very different. I was about ready to give up after just one day (and three pee-stained outfits). But then I woke up on Friday with a good feeling and a little more patience. So we gave it another "go", and let me tell you, our little guy stayed dry ALL DAY! Can you believe it? He actually even told me twice when he had to go. One time he even had to hold it until we made it home. I was so shocked.

So today I was even more excited to give it another try, but the issue of pooping on the toilet was an area we hadn't yet covered. So needless to say, we took a couple steps back today. I really hope we're on track though. I have to remind myself that this whole concept could be very intimidating and scary through a toddler's eyes.

Awhile back I saw this listing in Etsy at
http://www.justmyluckdesigns.etsy.com/ and knew it was genius. I had no idea how soon it would be beneficial to us. What a great idea!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I'm so giddy!! I finally found a source for aluminum teeth zippers. It only took me four months (note the sarcasm?)! What makes it even sweeter is that it's local and supports a family within my very own community. What could be better? I've ordered a roll of tan for now and plan to order more in the future. I'm anticipating it might take some time for me (or should I say my husband??) to get the process downpacked. The zippers have to be cut to size, teeth need to be cut, and the stoppers need to be attached. I did make one Colorblocked bag with the new zipper and it turned out awesome. I have the itch to create more now.

Who new zippers could be so exciting????