Friday, February 28, 2014

Finance Friday: MTurk

Hey, so I totally missed Fiber Friday last week. For good reason though, I had a shawl blocking, but my dad also happened to be in the same state as me. So he and I got to sort of hang out and introduce the future in-laws. Fiber Friday should be back next week, hopefully it will be a good one ;)

Do you love Amazon? Do you have an Amazon wishlist a mile long, but an empty wallet? Here's a solution-ish. While I'm yet to see great returns from this, it has helped here and there with some extra dollars.

There's this place called Amazon Mechanical Turk, found at . It's run by Amazon, and will link to your Amazon Payments account.

So what is it? Well, it's surveys and tasks. I stick mostly with the surveys because some of the 'tasks' are sketchy like "Download this program and test it". Ummmm.... viruses and hard drive malfunctions anyone?

A lot of the surveys I take seem to be preliminary research for graduate students getting ready for their thesis and such. Some are really short, like 5-10 minutes. But some are over an hour long. (I'm yet to actually take the entire hour to complete the survey though, I'm a fast reader.) And often have quality control questions in them to make sure you are actually paying attention.

The only downfall to this is you have to 'qualify' in order to get higher paying tasks. For the first few months I used this, I could only qualify for tasks that paid $.01- $.50. But, it does add up over time. And when you do start to qualify, you can make a few bucks per completed task.

Then, as you shop on Amazon, during checkout it will ask if you want to use your Payment Account balance, letting you know how much is in there, for your purchase. So, you don't have to charge your card or bank account if you have enough.

If you want the cash, I know that you can cash out the balance, as long as it's over $1.00. Personally I like to set a goal and work to it before withdrawing so it really makes a difference if/when I do withdraw.

This is a great way to get some extra cash during commercial breaks, or during your lunch breaks, even for an hour or two on weekends!

Good luck and happy earnings!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Recent Months...

      In recent months, I've seen a lot of people in my life be very critical and judgmental of others. In my viewpoint, a lot of this is coming from a "Holier than Thou" mindset. The people are so focused on religion and how things should be according to them, that they are missing the mark on a lot of great things. They are missing opportunities to love those around them, to feel the Spirit, and to serve the Lord because they can't look beyond someone not doing something 'right'.

It makes me wonder, "If you are being this critical of others to me, how critical of me are you to others?". I'm not perfect here, I can be critical and judgmental. However, in the past few years, I have tried very consciously, and sometimes with much difficulty, to not verbalize criticisms to those around me. I try hard to change my thinking when I find myself being critical of others. And it's frustrating to me to have people hop back into high school mode and start gossiping and criticizing to me. What is it about me that makes these people think I'm okay with that?

      This morning I ran into a blog post on a blog that I don't frequent, but for some reason is in my bookmarks. While I feel that this person goes off into left field a few times, overall I think they did well in addressing criticism, especially when it comes to criticism in the church.

If you have time, I think you should check it out, and ponder what it means for you personally and what you can do to improve yourself in the area of being critical, if you feel there needs to be some change there.

Criticism is Bad by In Defense of Women

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cooking, a Love (and future regular post)

Recently while talking with my fiancee, he asked how much it costs me to bake bread from scratch. He was trying to figure out if it was really worth the time of baking it when you could just go to the store and buy a loaf.
I said it was worth it because I like cooking and baking. It was cheaper, but I couldn't tell him exactly how much cheaper. But I felt like (and still feel like) the time and effort are what makes it infinitely better than buying. I love mixing it together, letting it rise, baking it, and eating it fresh from the oven. I get a really satisfying contentment from it.
It's not just bread either, I love baking desserts and cooking dinners. I just like it.
However, he did get me thinking. So I started to calculate how much it costs me to bake and cook the things that I make. I thought maybe perhaps some other people out there would like to know this sort of thing too, so I will be making a regular post of it.
I will be posting the recipes I use, the cost of the ingredients, and how much I get out of the recipe. Keep in mind that I am a single girl, and I shop at Kroger using store brands. Also, one of my pet peeves is when people say 'it cost such and such', but they don't break it down, so I'm going to break it down for you telling you how much each ingredient cost as well as the total cost.
If you have a recipe, or see one on Pinterest, that you'd like me to try and calculate for you, let me know! (again, keep in mind that I'm in grad school, and it might take me a couple weeks to get to it...)

Love you all, if you have a chance you should come over for brownies, peanut butter cookies, or cinnamon bread!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brought to you via Design Divas on Etsy. They've got lots of other great LDS vinyl wall quotes for Young Women, Family, and just for fun!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finance Friday: Couponing made Easy

I don't 'coupon' like some folks do. It's ridiculous. But I still do what I can to save money at the grocery store.

Enter: The Kroger App (disclaimer, I have no idea if other stores have this type of thing, but Kroger does and I love it)

Each week I need groceries (which isn't that often really), I open up the Kroger app on my phone. It has the weekly specials in it. AND coupons. Generally I get my list together before checking the ads, but sometimes I have a general idea of what I need, like some fresh veggies, and see what they have.

The nice thing about this is you can add the item to "Your List" and it gets organized based on the areas of the store. You can pull up your list and it's in an order of sorts that makes sense so you're not running back and forth in the store.

The best part however, is that the coupons get loaded directly to your frequent shopper card. When you scan the card, if you have a coupon for an item it automatically deducts it. You don't have to cut the coupons out, and such.

Super nice too, I can open the app while waiting in line at the post office, while on the bus, over my lunch break when I don't have homework. It's portable coupons folks! I love it.

Bonus tip: When you get your receipt, check it for the survey code. Each survey you complete  gives you 50 fuel reward points, and with the cost of gas these days every little bit counts!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One way to make this Utah girl's heart soar is to send snow to her. It's snowing, and supposed to keep snowing all night. 4-8 inches is projected. In Utah this is no big deal, but here in the South things get crazy. They shut down schools, I got sent home from work early. And even my night class ended early, resulting in me not having to give my presentation tonight.
But, it also brings some disappointment. Or sorrow. Or something akin to those feelings. You see, I've been avoiding doing my dishes, and cleaning the apartment in general actually. Not to mention the half finished skirts and pile of knitting projects, and quilts that are scattered about. While I would love a snow day, I also don't want it because that means cleaning and organizing. And still having to do homework.
It makes me wish I was a little kid again where snow day meant playing and no school, not this grown up snow day is a chance to get caught up with all the work.

Still, I get a smile in my heart when I look out the window!

I'm Avoiding Dishes and Homework

My friend sent me this on Pinterest as I was stuffing my face with chocolate chip cookie dough.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Fiber Friday!

Sounds good right? Fiber Friday. I figure I can alternate it with Finance Friday. 'Cause I still like the sound of that one too.  Fiber Friday will be a regular post about some of the things I've been doing with my knitting and such. This first post is a pretty exciting one. (At least I think it is...)

Okay, This week is the GRAND REVEAL of the results of the Yarn Dyeing Workshop I participated in... a while ago, sponsored by the wonderful Yarn Haven. We learned how to dye with Kool Aid. (And not have to boil a pot of water.)

We used squeeze bottles and the microwave. It was great fun to be with all the ladies and see how differently every one dyed their fiber.

I went with a striped pattern, using Blue Raspberry, Lemon-Lime, and a red that I don't remember the flavor of.... cherry? Strawberry? All I remember is that the flavors all produced a different shade of red.

Here is the yarn drying on the drying rack. I put it in front of the heater in hopes it would dry faster.
The yarn is getting ready to be wound into a ball!

After winding. I was still very curious to see how it would knit up...
AND Finally, the Kool Aid Socks.
So, there you have to progress post-dyeing. I also made a pair of yoga socks that turned out looking even cooler than the regular socks because of the way the colors lined up. I'll get you pictures soon. (FYI: I've been posting pictures of projects as I finish them on the "Yarny Things" page, and sewing stuff on the "All Things Fabric" page.)

I have worn these socks, and they weren't the most comfortable. I blame them not being washed yet. Washing seems to help the yarn soften up and be nice. I will wash them this weekend, and, as requested by some do a follow up on how well the colors stay.

Happy Friday all!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I did set a goal to post on the blog more often this year. However, I also set a goal to get the Etsy shop really, truly up and running again.

Currently this means I've been spending some time working on the Etsy shop. (There's an Etsy mini on the right sidebar of what's in the shop, if you're curious, but it only shows 9 items, there's more than that in the shop!) Which consequently means I'm spending less time blogging than I would like to spend.

I think I may have a new system in place for making time for both things, and we'll see how things go in the next few weeks, mmm'kay?

Here's a quick shout out:
Any one who knows how to web-design, I'm looking to make some improvements on the blog. Let me know if you can help a girl out!

Check out the whole shebang on Etsy: Aunt Jaq

And also Facebook for fun things like Giveaways and previews (and ability to buy before it goes on Etsy): Fan Page on Facebook

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Internet Adventures, Maybe Idiot Adventures?

Internet Adventures  0.1

There seems to be a popular website out there called Pinterest. I happen to have an account on Pinterest, and see a lot of interesting things on this website that make me wonder. Yeah, but does it work? Is this for real? Is it really as miraculous and wonderful and time-saving and gorgeous as everyone seems to be making it out to be?

In fact it’s not just on Pinterest that I see stuff like this. Lots of blogs and even sometimes stuff shows up on Facebook that makes me wonder if it’s something that really does work, or if it’s really as great as people make it out to be. A lot of it, I think that a certain ‘type’ of person will really love it, but maybe it’s not for a girl like me.

So, in hopes of posting more often here in the blog (it’s on the rotating list of goals I’m working on for the year), I will post some of these special little tidbits, after I try them out and let you all know how I feel about them. It will be quite fun, I think. And a great way for me to be doing new things on a semi-regular basis. 

If you see anything that you would like me to try out, SEND ME THE LINK! I’ll do it! As always I rely on my friends and fans to help generate ideas, this little brain can only do so much, especially while in grad school ;)