Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent of Sorts: Week Three

For Week One go [here]
For Week Two go [here]

WEEK THREE: Book of Mormon:
 This week, as with last week, I will quote a full scripture, and then give you a couple to look up for yourself.

For those of you who didn't know, I am a Mormon. As a Mormon, I believe that the Lord loves us as much as he loved people in Biblical times, and so God gives us a prophet today. The first prophet in modern times was Joseph Smith, and part of his mission as Prophet, was to translate a record kept by the peoples of the Americas chronicling their prophecies and revelations, similar to the Bible.

The scriptures this week come from the Book of Mormon, and give us further testimony of Christ and His divine mission on earth. (If you'd like to learn more about Mormons and their beliefs, there's a handy little button in the sidebar that says "I'm a Mormon" Click it!)


1 Nephi 11: 13, 18-21 ...And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white....And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh. And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she was carried away in teh Spirit fo the space of a time the angel spake unto me saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!
He Did Bring Glad Tidings to My Soul by Walter Rane (It's Samuel the Lamanite, right before he goes to prophecy to the Nephites by climbing up the wall of their city, and preaching from up there. They tried to shoot him with arrows but couldn't hit him. It's a great story all around.)

Helaman 14:2-7 (Samuel the Lamanite's prophecy one of my favorites) here's a highlight from this one: And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have behld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
 
3 Nephi 1: 13-15 (The Nephites the night before Christ's birth, the fulfillment of Samuel's prophecy)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent of Sorts: Week Two

Here is week two of the modified Advent. For week one go  [here]
WEEK TWO: New Testament

Matthew 1:20- 21  ...Behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Blessed Art Thou Among Women by Walter Rane

Luke 1: 5-13 and 39-43
       This is a large chunk of scripture, and frankly I didn't want to type it all up. You should go look it up it's pretty dang good. 
For those of you who won't go look it up, here's the synopsis. Zacharias and Elizabeth are old, and childless. They are blessed with a baby, John  who later becomes John the Baptist who prepares the way for the Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill His earthly mission. (In the process Zacharias gets struck dumb, after he says his wife is old, as a sign that it will all really happen.) When Mary visits them, Elizabeth says her baby leapt in her womb because it recognized Mary's baby in her womb.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Challenge

Some of you are young, like me. Some of you may be getting some extra cash over the holidays from extended family members as your holiday gift. I would like to offer you a challenge when it comes to this money.

Put it in savings.

Yep. Don't spend it. Well, don't spend it right away that is. The official challenge is to put it in your savings account, and wait. Wait to spend it for at least one month. Just try it out.

And I'm thinking that one month will pass and you'll totally forget that you're allowed to spend that money now, because Hey, it looks pretty good in that savings account. And you realize that it added quite nicely to your emergency fund.

If you're really daring, put it into retirement or investments, where after a month you really can't take it out. All it's really doing is adding to your net worth and ability to retire comfortably, or pay all cash on that house in a few years.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Progress

Hey, you see that little widget to the right of this post? Yeah, that one about the knitting. See that big number?

Yeah, that 10,000+ number. That means that I've knit over 6 miles of yarn this year. While it's only about half of my initial goal of 13 miles, it's still quite the accomplishment. I've never kept track of how much I've knit in a year before. It's kind of cool to see what I've done even if I don't have pictures of every project I've done.

I'm hoping to get another mile or so done before the New Year. And with classes done for the semester, a couple of long plane rides, and two weeks of 'vacation' between me and the New Year, I think I have a decent chance of getting them in.

I will post a picture montage of projects done this year, once the year is over, with the official count of yards/miles knit. Then, new goals will be set and we'll journey into a New Year full of potential, adventure, and probably some frustrations when it comes to knitting projects (among other things.)

Just wanted to celebrate a bit early, ya know?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finally, I know!

One of my hobbies is baking. I love baking, and cooking. I just love food in general.

A favorite of mine is Amish Friendship Bread. I know how to make the starter in case I want to make some bread, but don't have the starter. I love baking the bread and having it for breakfast. I love sharing it with others and passing along starters to friends.

However, something has come up over and over again when I pass the starter and instructions on to others.

"Why can't I use metal bowls or spoons?"

It says not to in all the instructions I've found, but it never explains why. I always just blindly followed the instructions. (The knitter in me quotes the mantra from the Yarn Harlot : Trust the pattern. In this case it's trust the recipe.)

Today, as I was doing some of my online 'work' (yes, I get paid for it, very little but I get paid so it does count as work), I came across a recipe that actually said WHY you don't use metal.

Now, you may laugh, and think I'm a bit slow, but Amish Friendship bread is a sourdough bread (which I already knew) and as such you have to let it ferment, or sour. If you do this with the aid of metal tools, the metal will change the flavor of the dough, causing the bread to taste off.

I don't particularly want to experiment and find out what it tastes like because I quite enjoy it, using my ceramic bowl and wooden spoons. For the rest of you, now you know.

A Shameless Self Promotion

So, I've noticed when I post that the blog is getting some hits. A lot more hits than followers. I mean, what's up with that?

I'm going to shamelessly self promote here. If you are reading this, please become a follower of the blog. It's easy. You click the little deal on the sidebar that says "Join this Site". And then you're a follower.

I'll be really happy and motivated to do cool things like giveaways and posting stuff on a regular basis. Things that 'real' blogs do.

If I can double my followers I might do something special. Like bake brownies or cute pictures of dogs or something.


Here's one right now in fact. 

;)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent of Sorts: Week One

I had heard about a year ago about doing Advent. Someone in one of my discussion groups on Ravelry posted the scriptures they use for their Christmas Advent. While I liked the concept, I decided I'd like to tweak it a bit for, well, me. I think it fits a bit better this way. (However, I feel the full Advent they published is pretty good, for Easter, since it ends with the Resurrection, so stay tuned.)

For the next 3 Sundays, I will post scriptures of the modified Advent. Then on Christmas Eve I will post the final ones, and a special Christmas post will follow to end it all with a bang! (At least that's the plan ;) )

WEEK ONE: Old Testament

Isaiah 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Spending

Just a quick thought, since Christmas is coming up.

"Christmas is not an emergency; it doesn't sneak up on you. Christmas is always in December, they don't move it; therefore it is not an emergency." (Dave Ramsey)

Yes, it's a tight time financially for pretty much everyone. However, if you have an emergency fund, keep this in mind. Christmas is a planned event. An emergency would be something like a flood or a catastrophic car accident. Leave the emergency fund for emergencies.

This might mean cutting back a bit this Christmas, but you can do it. You might as well focus more on what the purpose behind Christmas is (and it's NOT presents and Santa.).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

In a Nutshell

I think this sums up what life really is all about. I was raised in the LDS faith (still strong in it) and I always thought this was how ALL Christians lived their lives. Of course, no one is perfect, but this is what we should be aiming for in the simplest of terms.

Go out there, work hard so others don't have to pick up your slack or make up for your neglect.

And be nice to people. Everyone. I know it's hard, but you never know when you are the one person in a day who actually smiled at someone. Who spoke in a kind tone to them. Who went out of your way to help them, even if it was just by listening to them or smiling at them as you walked by.



Friday, November 29, 2013

Financial Advice from Thomas S. Monson

“I urge you to live within your means. One cannot spend more than one earns and remain solvent. I promise you that you will then be happier than you would be if you were constantly worrying about how to make the next payment on nonessential debt.” 
                                                                        —Thomas S. Monson                                                                             "True to the Faith"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Update on 'Quilts or No?' Post

So, a couple months back I posted this: Quilts or No?. It was a genuine question, and I was really appreciative of the feedback from Melissa. She's great like that, she's one of my regulars when I ask questions about business-y things like that.

I got to thinking, and settling in to the new apartment and finally got around to going through what made it across the country with me. Unfortunately, my quilting frames did not make the journey. I had a quilt, ready to be tied tucked away in the box of.... quilty stuff. And I remember Melissa's comment.

I decided to go for it and posted it on Etsy.
Quilt Kit on Etsy


While I'm still getting the hang of this Etsy thing, all the tags and pricing and stuff just makes my eyes cross and my brain ooze out of my ears. I'm glad I got it up. It's a start right?

As always, your feedback and ideas are welcome! I love them and really enjoy the creativity that comes from all of you!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

Leonardo daVinci

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dave Ramsey Talking in an Understanable Way

Okay. I had the good intentions to do a regular post each Friday and Sunday, but life (aka Grad School) got in the way there. But I'm back (hopefully)!

Since my last post, I think it was Oddly Enough about selling Box Tops for Education on Ebay. (It really works, at least it did for me), I've been trying to squeeze in some financially based reading. I've seen Dave Ramsey mentioned over and over, and I found a decent deal on one of his books, so the next few Finance Friday posts may be a little Ramsey heavy.

I will admit I don't watch his tv show, because, well.... it's annoying. But the book I'm currently reading is very user friendly and easy to understand.

Today's Financial Gem:
" (Make) a decision about looking good versus being good. Looking good is when your broke friends are impressed by what you drive, and being good is having more money than they have."

Thank you, Dave Ramsey!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Well Said...

So, one of my favorite Bloggers, Middle Aged Mormon Man, wrote a post this weekend and it said pretty much everything that I think about during the month of November.

Why? Because, as Pinterest said:



You should go read his post: Can We Stop Talking About Gratitude?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Oddly Enough....

So, over a year ago, I was looking for ways to make some extra money online. I found a guy who claimed that you could save your Box Tops for Education, and caps with codes from Coca-Cola, and sell them on Ebay.

I was a bit skeptical, but also a bit desperate. So I decided to give it a try and started to save all the Box Tops for Education I could find. Once I got about 100, I took a deep breath, and posted it on Ebay.

And it sold. Generally they sell for the same amount they would be worth to a school. So, 100 box tops = $10.

Ten bucks back on my regular groceries. By selling a piece of cardboard/paper on Ebay. I'm yet to try the Coke rewards, but am saving up the caps from my bottles to try that one too.

So, if you need a few extra bucks, don't have children or have children who go to a school that doesn't use Box Tops for Education. Start saving them up and get selling!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Thanks on Facebook

So, I know some people will post an "I am grateful for..." post on Facebook each day during November as a Thanksgiving type deal.

I personally don't like this. I won't do it. I refuse to jump on the bandwagon.

HOWEVER, I recently had some experiences that I felt needed to be put out there as an "I am grateful" post, but I didn't want to bore Facebook. We all know not many people read this blog, so thanks for putting up with me my few readers.

I am in grad school. Grad school is not fun. There is a stereotype of the 'poor grad student', and let me tell ya, I had no idea how true this can be. I end each month worried out of my mind about making all the bills and not starving. It's kind of scary at moments.

But, I was raised to pay tithing. I know you get blessed for paying tithing. Along with that, people in my church also pay a 'fast offering' where once a month you fast and pay the same amount of money that you would have paid for the meals you fast into a fast offering fund. This fund is then used to help people in the church who are struggling enough to really need assistance for buying groceries. I've paid this for the past few years as well.

The cool thing about tithing, and fast offerings in my opinion, is that Heavenly Father tells us that if we pay them He will "...open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blssing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10)

Lately it's been tough for me to pay these things, because it's a big chunk of money. But I also trust that I will be looked after for paying it. In order to motivate myself to keep paying tithing, I've been praying lately that I will recognize the blessings that are coming to me as a direct result of my paying my tithing.

And well, I feel like this has happened several times over.

I needed new shoes, because one pair of mine had somehow lost the right shoe. I was ready to buy a replacement pair of  them off of eBay. Last time I saw it was when I wore it to the zoo. Almost 3 months ago. This morning  I felt like I should look for this shoe in a particular box, that I have been through a couple times since then. I opened the box, which I needed something out of anyway, and the missing shoe literally fell into my hand.

I sold an item on my Etsy site. The first sale I've had in over a year. Not only that, but they requested a custom change to the item. I went to the store to buy some buttons in a color I don't have on hand. The buttons I wanted were missing one, 3 on the card instead of 4, and the manager at the store just let me have them. No charge.

Yeah, it's a $1.25, but that's enough for me to eat dinner on. And I usually have leftovers, so that's a dinner and lunch the next day.(And yes, I really can have dinner on a $1.25, I'm crediting a good mother who taught me how to cook along with the fast offerings.)

You can bet I'm grateful. And you can sure bet that I will continue to pay my tithing and fast offerings, even when I worry about my bills getting paid.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

 

Goals are not a January 1st kind of thing. Set them weekly. Set them monthly. Set them so that you are moving forward and always trying to progress. Life can grow stagnant without them… beware.

 Hannah B. 

25 Things Every Woman Needs to Know 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Turns Me into a Creep

Photo by  Kimberly Davis (she has some great photography!)

Fall has officially arrived here. I can say it's officially arrived now since I've spent the past week freezing cold, and finally caved and pulled out a jacket and the long sleeve tees.

I've noticed, however, that fall has turned me into a mega-creep. Why? The sweaters. I realized yesterday that I had spent the majority of a meeting staring at the sweater of a co-worker. I could make that sweater, I had started counting stitches in the cables and such, then realized I had been staring and should probably stop.

It's been happening in classes too. I have to snap myself out of it. I am in the process of knitting two sweaters for myself, but still. All these sweaters! I need more!

I find myself resisting the urge to skip classes so I can cozy up on my couch with a cup of Milo or hot chocolate (managers special at Kroger, only 59 cents!) and my sweater in progress. I could have it done by Saturday if I didn't have these dang classes and that thing called work.

And all those lovely fabrics in the closet waiting to become quilts. There are just not enough hours in the day. Sigh.

In other knitting, I've discovered that The Yarn Haven is an official drop off spot for Project Linus. So this beauty, Red, White, and Blue, that has been languishing in the closet at my place, will be taken with tonight to Knit Night to be off to a new home!

HAPPY FALL MY FRIENDS!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What I Learned from PBS

I like PBS. It's pretty cool. The other week, I happened to watch a random sewing show on the local PBS station and I learned how to do this:


(It's one block on a much larger quilt, which will hopefully go up on the Etsy site once it's ready to go!)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Car Free Friday! (Or Saturday)

When it comes to saving money, I like to look at big things and little things. In the past week, I've filled up my gas tank twice. Once on Friday, and then again on Tuesday. In the three days between gas prices went up 11 cents per gallon. And over the course of a month that can add up to a couple of dollars.($3.96 for me if I fill up three times a month, that's more than it costs for me to get some dinner at Taco Bell.)

I'm into saving dollars and cents here and there, because over time they will add up to something amazing (like the down payment on a house).



Now this got me thinking about life back in Utah. At USU there was a campaign for "Car Free Fridays" in hope of making a difference in the air quality in Cache Valley, especially during those winter inversion months.

It was ridiculously easy for me to go car free in Logan, I mean, I lived a mile and a half away from campus where I both worked and studied. I could bike, or use one of the two free public transit systems that operated in my neighborhood.  I only really NEEDED a car on Sundays to get to church down the hill.

While it really is a small financial difference, I still have a designated car free day where I am now. It's Saturday. And on weeks like this week, Fall Break, I make it a point to try to have more than one car-free day. Less driving means less gas consumption, and less wear and tear on the car, so car bills are slightly lower.

 So, my tip for this week is for you to look at your week, figure out which day you really could get by with not using your car. This may mean rearranging times when you shop or run certain errands (I shop on my way home from work one night instead of doing it Saturdays), or running errands closer to home so you can walk or bike, but you can do it.

It might also help if you set up a reward for yourself for not driving that one day a week. I exchange that day for driving out to Knit Night.
Remember, it's those pennies that count when it comes to savings!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Two Words

Manager's Special

(Just because it's a little dented, or the box is bent a little doesn't mean it's going to kill you when you eat it. And only paying 50% or less of the retail price? You will be saving like crazy!)

Monday, October 7, 2013

An Adventure With Wool and Kool Aid

I'd been hearing rumors for awhile that you can dye yarn with Kool-Aid. So, when I found Kool-Aid on Mangers Special at the Kroger, I stocked up.
Black Cherry, Grape, Fruit Punch, and Strawberry

 A few weeks later an opportunity came up in one of my swap groups on Ravelry. It's an open-round-robin style swap where someone posts and item and the first person to claim it, gets it. Then if you claim, you are the next person to post something. Well, a fellow Raveler posted this lovely Cascade 220 Sport yarn in beige.
It was perfect for my experimentation. A neutral color, free, and wool. Which I'm told is essential for Kool-Aid dyeing to work.

So, armed with my Kool-Aid and yarn, I braved the world of Google and landed on knitty.com's tutorial on Kool-Aid dyeing. And while doubtful, I followed the instructions. I spent Friday night with a pizza in the oven and this on my stovetop:



Since I was nervous about how it would turn out, I chose the Strawberry Kool-Aid. (Don't ask why that is my line of thinking, it just was. Probably because I like to actually drink the Fruit Punch.)

I let it boil, then cool. I then drained it using my handy dandy colander, which also let me have a first glimpse of what the final color might be:
But, I also know that color changes as it dries, so I diligently hung it in the bathroom, then my bedroom for TWO WHOLE DAYS. Curse the humidity here, in Utah it would have been a couple of hours....
Then this morning I took this:

And wound them into these:

(Don't mind the financial books under the yarn. We all know where my passions and hobbies lie.)

Not too bad for my first ever try. There are a few light spots in both skeins. They are more obvious in the skein on the left though.

Now, to decide what this yarn is to become. I'm thinking another Honey Cowl perhaps? (I've already made three this year, one is in the Etsy Shop!

I feel like I'm ready and rarin' to go for my yarn dyeing workshop later this month with the ladies at the Yarn Haven. We're going to be doing sock yarn, which I cannot wait to try out!!! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Exhaustion

I've been ridiculously tired lately. I blame grad school.
A week ago, I woke up one morning and started thinking through my day. It took me a lot longer than I care to admit for me to realize that it was Sunday, not Monday.

And, just barely I called home and asked my mum if she was watching "The Voice" she said, "No it's not on for another half hour." And I almost said that it's on right now. Ummm. Too tired to remember that not everyone lives in my time zone.

Going to bed early for the rest of the week (except Thursday, that's Project Runway night).

Friday, September 27, 2013

Your Quarterly Checkup



Now, before you can get into things like setting financial goals and such, you need to know where you stand. I am big believer that you can’t check up on your finances every now and then, you need to do it on a regular basis, several times a year. Personally, I do it quarterly. Aside from the first time you do this, it will only take maybe 15 minutes of your time, once every three months. 

I do mine the last day of March, June, September, and December. I like December most because it rolls around in time for you to make a Financial Goal for the Year. Basically what you are doing on these days is you are calculating your Net Worth. Your Net Worth is how much money you have that is not tied up in debts. I look to see if it would be possible for me to pay off all my debts and still have something left over.  

Here’s how I go about it. There’s this wonderful program called Excel. I opened up a spreadsheet, and use one page for debts, one page for my bank, retirement, and investment accounts. This sheet also has a spot for my Disaster Cash (which we will talk about in another post). The final sheet I use for my ‘hard assets’. These are things like your bedroom set, how much could you reasonably sell it for if you needed the cash? Anything that you own outright, and could sell if you really needed the money. Do not include your house or cars if you are still making payments on them! Those balances, the part you still owe, should go on your debt sheet. 

On my sheet, column A lists the different accounts or assets. On your asset sheet it would be things like, “Savings” “Checking” “401k”, etc. On columns C, E, G, I, and K, I have the date of each check up. I start mine with the last one from the previous year, so mine are Dec. 31, 2012, March 2013, June 2013, September 2013, and December 2013. This way I can see my progress over the course of a full year, I can see how much I’ve improved (or still need to work on) since last year.
First, you calculate how much debt you have. And I mean total debt, not just what your monthly payment is. If you have a student loan for $5,000 but your monthly payment is $20, then you put the $5,000 into the calculator, not the $20. Any credit card balances, student loan balances, mortgage amounts, etc. as they are the day you are doing this. If a payment hasn’t cleared, don’t calculate that in! If your student loan balance is $3,523.12, enter $3,523.12, not $3,473.12 because you are going to make a $50 payment tomorrow. 

If you own your home or car, and are no longer making payments on them, they go on your assets sheet, not here.  Make use of those little automatic calculations that Excel does for you.
Make sure at the bottom of each column you have a total debt amount. You will use this later!
Next calculate your money! On another sheet of the Excel spreadsheet, list all of your bank accounts, retirement funds, emergency funds, Disaster Cash, and I include my investment account here as well. Again, enter the totals for the specific day you are filling out. Look at the current account balances and insert them into the sheet. Don’t put in your next paycheck unless the paycheck has already deposited! A hard thing with this one, is that sometimes my investment account doesn’t update because the stock market info isn’t available or it’s a weekend. I just check back each day, a couple times a day sometimes, and once a total shows up, I enter it in. 

Again, get a total dollar amount for all of your accounts added together.
Finally, this is the one that took me the longest, BUT only the first time I made the spreadsheet, sit down and calculate your ‘hard assets’. These are all of the things you could sell should you desperately need the money. Things would include furniture, appliances, books, etc. Be sure you are realistic in your estimations, in fact, estimate low. Think yard sales, where people price things but then buyers come along and haggle them down. My list includes items like my headboard, my sewing machines, tv, antique desk, and dvds. If you own your home or car, include them on this list! Again get a grand total dollar amount. 

Then what you do is you add your hard asset dollar amount to your bank account amounts. Then you subtract your debt amounts from this number. If you end up with a negative number, no worries you’ll just have to set some goals and build some assets!

If you have a positive number, congratulations! You have a positive net worth and are doing pretty good financially. 

I'm off to get started on my 3rd quarter total, and see what needs to be done between now and the New Year ;)

In the next few weeks we’ll cover some things you can do to help you set financial goals, keep track of those goals, and even start saving some money!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Spiritual Thought: Elder Holland Hits Home

"For this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us."
Jacob 4:4
Minerva Teichert's "Jesus and the Children"
You know, how sometimes things just keep coming up over and over again in your life for a period of time? Sometimes it makes you wonder if you are supposed to be getting a message of some sort, right? Well, this has come up a couple times in my life in the past few months and I felt that maybe I would share it with you all for today’s Spiritual Thought.

Back in 2003 Elder Jeffery R Holland, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, gave a talk called “A Prayer for the Children”. In it he addresses the importance of something we, as parents and role models for children must do.

“As parents we can hold life together the way it is always held together—with love and faith, passed on to the next generation, one child at a time.

In offering such a prayer for the young, may I address a rather specific aspect of their safety? In this I speak carefully and lovingly to any of the adults of the Church, parents or otherwise, who may be given to cynicism or skepticism, who in matters of whole-souled devotion always seem to hang back a little, who at the Church’s doctrinal campsite always like to pitch their tents out on the periphery of religious faith. To all such—whom we do love and wish were more comfortable camping nearer to us—I say, please be aware that the full price to be paid for such a stance does not always come due in your lifetime. No, sadly, some elements of this can be a kind of profligate national debt, with payments coming out of your children’s and grandchildren’s pockets in far more expensive ways than you ever intended it to be.

Parents simply cannot flirt with skepticism or cynicism, then be surprised when their children expand that flirtation into full-blown romance. If in matters of faith and belief children are at risk of being swept downstream by this intellectual current or that cultural rapid, we as their parents must be more certain than ever to hold to anchored, unmistakable moorings clearly recognizable to those of our own household. It won’t help anyone if we go over the edge with them, explaining through the roar of the falls all the way down that we really did know the Church was true and that the keys of the priesthood really were lodged there but we just didn’t want to stifle anyone’s freedom to think otherwise. No, we can hardly expect the children to get to shore safely if the parents don’t seem to know where to anchor their own boat. Isaiah once used a variation on such imagery when he said of unbelievers, “[Their] tacklings are loosed; they could not … strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail.” 6

I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it.”

I’ve returned to this talk several times in the past few months, and pondered how I can personally be sure that my children and grandchildren will have a sure knowledge of my testimony. When reading just yesterday, I came across a passage in the book “The Miracle of Forgiveness” by Spencer W Kimball. He supports Elder Holland’s statements by clearly telling us what our negligence in making our testimony known (Or, our lack of secure, firm Gospel living) can do:

“Such people fail to bear testimony to their descendants, destroy faith within their own homes, and actually deny the “right to the priesthood” to succeeding generations who might otherwise been faithful in all things.” (pg. 43)

As I’ve pondered these passages, it has turned my mind to what I need to do as a parent and role model to make my testimony known to the children in my life. I want my children to understand and build upon the same foundation of the Gospel that I have, as laid for me by my ancestors. I pray that my children will be able to say, as did the Stripling Warriors, “We did not doubt our mother knew it.” (Alma 56:49)





Friday, September 20, 2013

Getting a Picture of Your Financial Situation: Mint.com

"You can't hit a target you can't see." 
Brian Tracy

I'd like to add that you can't pick a target unless you know where you're standing. 

So, before I get into things like making smart financial choices, saving money, and all that sort of thing, we need to get you to a point where you know exactly where you stand financially. Over the next couple of weeks I'll share some different ways to keep track of your finances, because different people operate different ways. What works for me, might not be so great or useful for you, and vice versa. Feel free to add anything you have tried that works for you because you never know what will work for what person.

This week is a very brief, but helpful post to introduce you to a useful online tool. (Most of you probably have heard of it already, and may even be using it.)It's a website called Mint.com

What Mint.com does is it links up all of your accounts that you have online access to. Credit cards, loans, savings, stocks, etc. And it adds everything up and gives you a total "Net Worth" (or how much money you actually have after taking into account all your debt). 

Mint also keeps track of things like unusual spending, unexplained fees, when bills are due, and low balances in accounts. Now this can be useful, but honestly I find it annoying at times. Mint doesn't understand the automatic identity protection program I use and that it's not a 'fee' charged to my card for using my card. It also lets me know that my bank accounts have 'low' balances when they reach something like $200, which for a starving grad school student really isn't a 'low' balance.

What I like most about Mint is it has tools to help you calculate how much you need to save for retirement. It also has a tool that shows how long it will take to pay off a debt and allows you to enter in different payment amounts. It even calculates how much you'll save on interest with each payment option you try out. 

My favorite however, is that Mint allows you to set financial goals for savings (like the retirement one), and links to an account. I set up a "House" account for a down payment on a house. Mint calculates how much I would need for a down payment, then keeps track of where I'm at on progressing toward that goal. 

And I'm all about setting and reaching goals, and I think that's the best part of Mint, it gives you a visual look at how you are progressing on goals, and what you need to do in order to meet them. 

(We WILL talk about setting financial goals later. Right now just focus on figuring out where you stand now, so you can set better goals later.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What's a Girl to Do?

I was avoiding my homework earlier in the usual way, reading my blogs and Pinteresting. When I came to be on one of my favorite blogs written by the Yarn Harlot. She's wonderful, I love reading her blog and look forward to her posts. She has influence in the knitting world that I can only dream of, because every time she mentions a pattern, it ends up trending in the top 5 on Ravelry for the next month (at least it seems that way....).
I usually don't contribute to this trending, but today I looked at the picture in her blog post and almost had a conniption to run to the yarn store RIGHT NOW, screw all my homework, studying, and shift at work. I NEED this project on my needles IMMEDIATELY.
Catkin from the Ravelry page, not the Yarn Harlot's version...

It's called Catkin, and yes, it is a shawl. But it's a beautiful, cool shawl with buttons! Something strange is happening to me here. It might be Tennessee, or it might be that it's September and back home September is the start of sweater weather and hibernation related activities such as knitting.

Of course, this nearly irresistible urge to cast on a shawl, my first ever shawl, comes two days after I couldn't stand it anymore and cast on not one, but two sweaters of the adult variety, and the same morning I discovered a UFO in the bottom of the knitting basket that came along with me today to be finished this week. This brings my total WIP's (actually on the needles and being worked on, mind you) to 6. 7 if you count socks as two separate projects, but I don't, a pair is one project. Add to that the three quilts I'm trying to get done so I can start the next one, and keep working on the Quilt-Along one. (see post here)

And Christmas is coming, I need to get started on things for that too...

Heaven help me and my crafting ADD.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Spiritual Thought: President Kimball on Procrastination

"One of the most serious human defects in all ages is procrastination, an unwillingness to accept personal responsibilities now. Men came to earth consciously to obtain their schooling, their training and development, and to perfect themselves, but many have allowed themselves to be diverted and have become merely "hewers of wood and drawers of water," addicts to mental and spiritual indolence and to the pursuit of worldly power.
Walter Rane's painting of the Parable of the 10 Virgins

"There are even many members of the Church who are lax and careless and who continually procrastinate. They live the gospel casually but not devoutly. They have complied with some requirements but are not valiant. They do no major crime but merely fail to do the things required- things like paying tithing, living the Word of Wisdom, having family prayers, fasting, attending meetings, serving. Perhaps they do not consider such omissions to be sins, yet they were the kinds of things of which the five foolish virgins of Jesus' parable were probably guilty. The ten virgins belonged to the kingdom and had every right to the blessings- except that five were not valiant and were not ready when the great day came. They were unprepared through not living all the commandments. They were bitterly disappointed at being shut out from the marriage- as likewise their modern counterparts will be."

Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, 7-8.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday... A Regular Post?

I stalk blogs. I just do. I want to be a better blogger and so I stalk people who blog to see what they do that I might be able to do something similar. But in my own way because I don't think it would be nice to blatantly copy someone, unless it's a really really good idea.

So, maybe, just maybe I might start doing a weekly tip post on Fridays. Maybe.

We're gonna give it a try okay?

I have a hobby of sorts. It spawns from the same motivation that David Bach gives in his book, "Smart Women Finish Rich". Every woman has a right to be educated about finances. That way if she never gets married, or is somehow left single later in life, she does not flounder financially. She knows what's what, how to manage money, what a retirement account is, how to make investments, and how to calculate things like mortgages and how much to save.

My little tidbit for today? Well, a lot of financial advice things that I've seen in the past say that you should try to be saving at least 10% of your income in some sort of retirement fund. However, for women, you should be saving 12-15% of your income. Why?

Because, on average women live longer than men by 5 years. So if as a woman, you are saving 10%, for the last five of years of your life, what are you living on? Not much, that's for sure.

So, how do we go about saving this money? Well, we can get into that over the next few weeks, I guess. Rally, women! We can be financially educated!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Yarn Haven

Y'know, the best part of my week? It's not walking into the Kindergarten classroom to be greeted by 2 Captain Americas, Snow White, a ballerina, Sleeping Beauty, a pirate, and a Civil War soldier. It's not preschoolers showing my 'magic tricks'. Although those are some great things that happen.

Nope, it's going to Knit Night at the Yarn Haven, and just enjoying the ladies while we all knit away.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oh, the Possibilities

Now that I'm finally settled in my new place, I have things unpacked, and ready to go. The sewing machine is out and waiting. The knitting basket is in it's rightful place next to the couch. And the stashes are tucked neatly away in the closets.

I cannot wait to get sewing! I've been wanting to learn to make some quilts, which is a pretty big deal. If you're from my childhood neighborhood, you know what a high standard was set by the likes of Linda Hansen. One day, perhaps in my dreams, I will be near her level of artistry.

I've got a pretty decent amount of fabric ready to go. I also have a book with some simple quilt patterns on it. But the quilting thing that I am most excited about is the Jimmy Beans Wool "Mystery Sew Red Sew Along" found on their blog. They're doing it as a campaign to raise awareness for heart disease, thus the red colored theme. (You'll have to scroll a bit to get to the post... sorry for that.)

Now, yes I am aware that Jimmy Beans Wool is a yarn shop. But they've recently started carrying fabrics and are all sorts of excited about fabric[y things such as quilting. They've already posted the first block, and it's simple enough for me to get. Although they've said some of the blocks are kind of 'advanced', I'm hoping my clothing construction skills will help me out with this wonderful endeavor.

I've already got some simple 9 patch squares in red and white, so I'll stick to that theme for the rest of the blocks. I'll be sure to keep you guys up to date and post pictures of the finished product when May rolls around!

And feel free to join in the fun!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Utah and Tennessee

Sometimes it's the simplest little things that make me homesick for Utah. Well not homesick really, just kind of wishing that Tennessee was a little more Utah-ish.

For example, you know those little pullouts that they have for the buses in Utah? The curb goes in a bit so the bus doesn't block traffic when it gets to a stop?

I wish they had those here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

In which we reach September

So, I've obviously been neglecting my blog. A lot, my life got busy enough for me to not even think about blogging.

As for the goal for the year, the knitting one,  well, it's only about 30% done.

 However, another goal for the year (see that tab at the top labeled "books"?) I'm way ahead. Unbelievably so, and it's great. I've never kept track of what I've read before and it's pretty neat to see how much I've done.

Of course, I was the type of child who thought it would be fun to have a 'read-a-thon' with my friends during summer break. I often pull out a quilt and lie in the yard with a good book. I just love reading.

I would post some pictures of what I've been knitting lately, but alas, they are all gifts and not to be seen until the recipient gets them. Some will have to wait until December. But, armed with finally being settled in my new town, and wanting to start selling again, I should hopefully get at least 50% of the goal done by the end of the year. I think I will at least....

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Quilts or no?

 For those of you who know me, you know that over the past few years I've gone back and forth on running my own business.
I love crafty junk like sewing and knitting, but it can get expensive. And if you don't have people to give this stuff to, it starts to pile up.

Now, I've recently picked up and permanently moved across the country from my parents, so I no longer have the room to store things because I no longer have a Sewing Lair.
I did ship some things to myself however, and now am trying to get some more income generated in my life. Because I'm now a 'starving graduate school student'.
Almost literally.

So here's my question for you all. I have here a quilt front, it's only one of a couple that I have, and I quite enjoyed making it.
But will I be able to sell it if it's not a 'finished' quilt? Or would people buy it as just the quilt front?

Please give me your feedback so I can move forward on getting this business up and running again!