Cheer Up Basket

I received a message today from a tired friend reaching out for some comfort, prayer, and support. She is what I like to call my “3 a.m. friend”. That doesn’t mean we stay out partying after the kids go to bed until 3 a.m. {although we have considered it once or maybe twice.} No, she is a friend that I would call at 3 a.m. in the event that something goes down and I need someone to be there for me that I know isn’t going to curse me under their breath for disturbing their rest in the wee hours of the morning. One time I casually mentioned to her that my blender broke and I wasn’t able to make my favorite morning smoothie. A few days later, she shows up at my house with a brand new blender–  not just any blender. It was, if you will, the cadillac of all blenders and not only that. She brought over the ingredients to “blend” one of our very favorite adult beverages. Now that’s friendship. Next time I find myself in a blending crisis at 3 a.m., I know exactly who to call!

But she doesn’t need a blender. She needs a week at the beach. Unfortunately, I can’t show up at her front door and whip up a solution to all of her problems. I wish I could, but instead, I paused for a moment this afternoon to think about what I would appreciate most if I was in her shoes. There is always the usual gestures… a hot meal, child care, margaritas. All of which are smashing options, and I would gratefully receive any one of them. But today, I found myself assembling a few of my favorite things to make what I like to call a Cheer Up Basket.

Some magazines and bottled wine, a couple of gift cards for coffee and spa treatments, a bottle of scented body lotion, an assortment of herbal teas, a silly coaster, a pair of comfy socks, a bookmark, a wine cork magnet my personal favorite…. some cash envelopes meant just for her labeled, “Fun”, “Gifts”, “Clothing”, “Misc” {because she may very well be an even bigger budgeting nerd that I am}.

I spent almost the kids’ entire nap time putting this together, but I couldn’t help it. I was having way too much fun. And if I ever get too busy to tend to a friend in need, I give you full license to call me at 3 a.m. and tell me to get over myself.


Budget CPR

Today is one of those days when there’s a million other things that I could be doing…. that I should be doing…. and I don’t feel like doing any of it. Perhaps it is the coffee wearing off and the mind-numbing tiredness greeting me like an unwanted guest, but either way, the only productive thing my hands have found to do in the past hour is have absolutely nothing to do with my “to-do’s”. In my defense, school is back in session as of today. I’ve always loved the first day of school. This morning a school bus passed me while I was on my morning run and all of a sudden I felt the most overwhelming urge to go buy a Trapper Keeper and a Jansport. So, of all the things I would resort to doing this afternoon, I have chosen to play with paper, glue, and scissors.

You may remember a few months ago I created a more stylish version of the cash envelope system developed by Dave Ramsey. It looked a little something like this…

My friend, Lindsay commissioned me to customize a set of cash envelopes to suit her budget needs. I was thrilled to make them for her. The only problem was that after 3 months, my envelopes began to look like our bank account… tattered and in need of repair.


Nothing like a broken down set of cash envelopes to throw a wrench into your budget.

I did a little brainstorming to come up with a way to reinforce and preserve my scrap paper envelopes. And lo and behold…

Con-tact paper!

Now, I haven’t bought Con-tact paper since the 9th grade when I had to cover my textbook for Madame Strochein’s French Language class. Turns out high school wasn’t a complete waste of time after all!

I will test out this latest set of envelopes on myself before I send them out. Oh, and what do you think of my “fun” new label design?

Not bad, huh?

OK… I’m off to be productive… {if you call throwing Mexican Chicken into a crock-pot and fixing myself a cup of tea “productive”}.

Enjoy just “be”-ing today!

Classy with Cash part 2

When I was a kid, there were few things I looked forward to more than the first day of school. New clothes… new backpack…. new school supplies… I know. I always have been a bit of a nerd. Well, apparently not much has changed. When Clark and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last week, I got inspired to make my own cash budget envelopes.

I began by rummaging through my scrap book paper stash.

I followed this tutorial to make my own envelopes and voila!

Not only does pretty paper inspire me, but now I can keep my subdivided cash and my checks all in one place!

I had so much fun mixing and matching different paper patterns. After completing my envelopes, I bound them all together with ribbon.

I made sure my holes were big enough for an embroidery needle to fit through and I simply whip stitched the envelopes together.  I would have made my life a whole lot easier if I would have had a Crop-A-Dile  to punch my binder holes.

I was sure to attach an extra piece of card stock to the top of the stack to slip inside the front cover of the check book.

I bought these bridal magazine flag markers at a yard sale for a dime. I simply re-labeled them and used them as embellishments for my cash envelope system.

Now the only thing missing is the cash!!