8 Unique Ways to Spend Mother’s Day

Mother's Day Activities

When Mother’s Day arrives on May 9 will you be ready?

Will you be presenting mom, grandma, your wife, or whoever is the most important woman in your life with the same old gift of breakfast in bed, or a fuzzy bathrobe?

While these things are wonderful presents, maybe it’s high time you do something a little different, something off the beaten path, out of the ordinary, unique, unusual.

Yes, make this Mother’s Day super memorable for your mom who has had an impact on your life.

Like what? What’s unique? What’s cool and different?

Well, here are 8 unique ways to spend Mother’s Day this year to help you get started in your efforts to make Mom’s Day truly remarkable.

1. Take her hot air ballooning

Most cities have hot air balloon companies that would be more than happy to take your mom along with you and other family members high above the clouds on a sunny day. Be sure to start checking around now as these places get busy fast.

2. Take her to a DIY ceramics place

Here she can make a plate, a mug, a sculpture, and paint it herself the way she wants.

3. Cooking

If you want to be unique hire a personal chef to come into her home and prepare a full feast or show her some cool cooking skills she’s wanted to learn over the years.

4. Wine

If your mom likes wine pick her up and take her for some wine tastings in your neighborhood.

5. Flowers, fruit more

Ask mom if she’d like to go pick flowers, fruits, and veggies. Most cities have “u-pick ‘em farms.”

6. Be creative, be a wordsmith

Sit down and write mom a long letter (or sit her down and tell her verbally) as to why you love her and what she means to you. Either frame it or hand it to her on a pretty piece of stationary. It’s coming from the heart so it truly will be a one-of-a-kind gift.

7. To the Moon

For $29.99 you can buy her an acre on the moon, and she’ll feel like she’s just gone to outer space without ever leaving the house. Put up some outer space-themed party décor in her house to complete the theme.

8. Get her a pet

Go to an animal shelter and let mom pick out a dog, cat, or rabbit. She’ll love the idea of having a new four-legged friend she picked out herself and saved at the same time. Look up your local animal shelters or humane society and make an appointment before you go.

Do It Up!

Mother’s Day only comes once a year so be sure you honor mom with something that means a lot and a gift she can savor year-round.

5 Affordable Easter Basket Ideas

Affordable Easter Ideas

Children love Easter and some of us never grow out of this yearly joy. Easter is not just a holiday where people wear fun pastel colors or attend a dawn service. It’s also the first real spring holiday where kids run around, share candy, and generally have a great time. We all remember our own wonderful experiences decorating eggs and doing the yearly egg-hunt, and many families also have an Easter basket gift tradition.

So how can you make this Easter just as delightful without financially splurging on Easter baskets? Don’t worry, Easter is one of the most DIY-friendly holidays on the calendar.

 Where to Get the Baskets

  • Garage Sale Baskets
  • Construction Paper Basket Weave
  • Bunny Bag or Bunny Box
  • Hot Glue Basketry
  • Garden Planter Basket

First, get yourself a few fun Easter baskets. They don’t have to match. In fact, traditional easter baskets rarely match and make for delightfully chaotic decor when stacked together. You can find baskets in garage sales and thrift stores for cents on the dollar if you want wicker or wire baskets. Or you can make your own by getting creative. Make a bag or box into a bunny with homemade ears for a bunny-basket. Or hot-glue things to a bowl to make it into a basket when it wasn’t already. Or repurpose a plastic garden planter that you decorate for Easter.

 Affordable Easter Basket Fill Ideas

Now let’s quickly dive into a few awesome affordable ideas to fill your Easter baskets.

1. Homemade Easter Cookies

Never underestimate the joy of iced cookies. A box-mix or tube of cookie dough, icing, and food coloring are all you need to fill every Easter basket to the brim with adorable Easter-themed cookies.

2. Wildflowers and Seeds to Grow at Home

Easter is all about spring and renewal, so bring some of that springtime joy to the easter baskets. Include packets or shaped ‘bombs’ of wildflower seeds and then stuff your baskets with beautiful locally picked wildflowers for the nature-lover in your family.

3. Dollar-Store Prizes in Plastic Eggs

Plastic eggs are THE tradition for Easter joy, especially for children. If you’re planning an egg-hunt or just to fill a basket with plastic eggs, fill them with dollar-store prices. You can go all-out with candy, but most kids love the discovery of whether there’s a quarter, a parachute-man, or a bounce ball in every one of those little eggs.

4. Make Rabbits Out of Everything

Short on time, supplies, and stuffed animals? No problem! Find creative ways to make rabbit ears with cardboard, paper, and cloth to turn everything into an Easter surprise. If you’re adept at hotel towel folding, you might even make a towel-bunny for the giggling delight of your young relatives.

5. Hand-Decorated Easter Eggs

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget egg decoration. For normal hard-boiled eggs, all you need is crayons, food dye, and your ceramic mug collection. But you also don’t have to stick to real eggs. You can personally decorate anything egg-shaped and non-perishable eggs might even become precious keepsakes to remind your loved ones of the special Easter you spent together.

Easter doesn’t have to impact your finances this year when it’s one of the most DIY-fun holidays to share with your family.

What’s your hobby?

I’m always curious to learn about someone’s hobbies. I mean, think about it. People might spend their free time knitting, playing Bunco, crossfitting, flying remote control planes, rapping, collecting stamps, or white water rafting. Some hobbies cost nothing, swimming in the local lake. Others have significant upfront costs, like cycling, but have minimal recurring expenses. While others are a never-ending money suck, skiing/technology/yoga.

I started thinking about what my hobbies are and how much money they cost me and decided I’d rank them from “most expensive” to least expensive.

1. Fixing up our house. There were very virtually no red flags on our home inspection report. But that hasn’t stopped us from dropping thousands of dollars in the first few months on making our house more personal to our tastes. We upgraded functioning appliances, painted all the walls, painted/added hardware to the kitchen cabinets, ripped out the basement carpet, and the list goes on and on. None of these things absolutely needed to be taken care of, so while some might argue it’s not a hobby, I’d argue it sure looks like one. I spend most of my free time on these house projects and enjoy (for the most part) doing them. We’re probably spending $2,000+ each month right now, but by the end of the month we’ll be spending virtually nothing since I’ll be out of the country for almost two months.

2. Young Life. You remember that crazy outfit I showed you in my last blog post? The one where I dressed up as Chatterbox Charlie for a youth group event. We are pretty involved in Young Life and as a result, spend a ton of time (and money) on it. From buying costumes and game supplies, to hosting 30 puberty stricken high school kids for game night, costs can add up quick. Probably spending around $100/month on YL related shenanigans.

3. Internet. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I spend a good chunk of time on the interwebs. Whether that’s writing this here blog (which costs about $100/year to maintain), catching up on Google News, or mindlessly surfing Facebook/Instagram more than I’d ever care to admit, I don’t think I can get by without access to the net. Fortunately, my internet service is covered by my employer so that means this hobby is virtually free…unless you count all the things I buy on Amazon… haha.

 

I could go on with things like Skiing or dining out,  but the three listed above are probably how I spend the large majority of my free time. What about you? What are some of your primary hobbies, and how much do they cost ya?

Let’s be not boring today :)

I was browsing a friend’s Facebook profile yesterday and they shared this image…

Since I really don’t want to hear about the sex life of the two or three thousand of you that will read this post, let’s put a little spin on it shall we? How about you describe your financial habits with a movie, song, or tv show title instead.

Make sure you follow the title of your choosing with the financial habit it describes. For example…

  • Fast and the Furious or Gone in 60 Seconds: How I spend money when I see a cool pair of shoes.
  • Lord of the Rings: How I felt when I dropped some serious cash on my wife’s engagement ring.
  • UP: My net worth.

You get the point? Okay, good. Let your creative juices flow…

Let’s make happiness contagious.

Unfortunately we live in a world where depressing news is the standard, pessimism is trendy, and fear of the unknown can become paralyzing. Since it is Monday– the most depressing day of the work week– I thought we could spread a little happiness around. Ya know, like an STD or something, but in this case I case I guess it would be a HTD (Happiness transmitted disease).

I’m going to make it simple. I’ll rattle off a few things I find great joy in, followed by why said thing gives me joy. Then you will hopefully do the same. Easy enough? Okay, here goes…

Our 700 square foot apartment. Although it’s tiny, it is really a great space. I’m not just talking about the finishings. We have an amazing landlord, a view of the Puget Sound, significantly cheaper rent (than San Diego), and an easy commute to work/family/friends. For the two of us, we couldn’t ask for a better place. We loved our condo in San Diego and we love our pad in Washington. Seven hundred square feet of absolute awesomeness.

No kids or pets. We are both enjoying the “early” years of marriage. Although we get asked when we are going to have kids every few hours, no one is really pressuring us too much. This is a great season of life. We both enjoy working. Traveling. And doing what we want, when we want. I guess you could say we like being selfish with our time. While we are both excited to be parents in the next few years, we aren’t quite ready to give up our current lifestyle. Besides, we’ve basically adopted 20-ish high school freshmen anyways. That’s plenty of “parenting” for the time being. Here’s a shot of them in our cramped living room…

My job. I don’t know how common this is, but I legitimately enjoy my job. It forces me to think outside the box and has taught me a lot about myself. I also have some pretty great perks, working from home obviously being one of them. But most importantly, I truly believe my agency ACTUALLY makes America safer. Having even a small hand in that mission keeps me motivated. Although I don’t think I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life, I couldn’t ask for a better set-up right now.

I should stop here since I will probably do a “Things I’m thankful for” post closer to Thanksgiving. For all the stupid stuff that I let get under my skin and affect my attitude, I’ve got to admit, we have things pretty good. It’s all about perspective.

Alright marshmallow peeps (haha get it?), it’s your turn to start spreading some Happiness (like a fierce outbreak of Gonorrhea). What things are going on in your life that you find joy in? Parenting? Cooking classes? Friends? A book?

 

 

 

I’ll punch a baby if you don’t vote for me

It’s that time again. Time for the 2011 Plutus Award and this year it looks like I’ve been nominated in the categories of “Most Humorous Personal Finance Blog” and “Best Debt Blog”. Don’t know why some of you people think I’m worthy of either of these awards, but hey, I ain’t complaining. If you aren’t familiar with the Plutus Awards take a look at this Q&A I made up…

What are the Plutus Awards?

They are basically like the People’s Choice Awards for Personal Finance blogs. If I don’t win my categories, that means you didn’t vote for me. And if you don’t vote for me, that means you probably worship satan are lame.

Why Should I vote for you Ninja?

You probably shouldn’t. I mean, J. Money is nominated for like eleventy billion awards so you should probably vote for him. He’s freakin’ killin’ it this year and is worthy of each nomination. But, on the off chance you feel like voting for the underdog, I will gladly be your guy.

Who is responsible for the Plutus Awards?

My man Flexo over at Consumerism Commentary is the the mastermind. He runs the show and puts a lot of time in to it. The least you could do is vote………..for me 🙂

How do I vote?

Head on over here and start clicking away. You don’t have to vote for every category if you don’t want to, but I sure would appreciate some love in the Most Humorous and Best Debt Blog categories. Takes two minutes of your time and makes me one happy camper.

I voted for you Ninja, now what should I do?

You should probably take the rest of the week off work ’cause you are clearly AWESOME!

 

I guess I have to provide some type of financial advice real quick….

Get married. Dual income is the second greatest thing ever. Carrot Top is the first greatest thing…

Okay bye. See you tomorrow 🙂

p.s. I’ll be in San Antonio, TX for the next 48 hours. Never been there, hoping it doesn’t suck.

p.p.s. GO VOTE FOR ME ALREADY!!!!!