Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Happenings

It seems like once a season is about as frequent as this blog gets updated these days. Stefanie and I have had a busy, but enjoyable summer, so far. At the beginning of the summer we sat down and started talking about all the things we wanted to do. Even though most of the items on the list were only weekend long excursions, dates filled up fast. We started out the summer by heading to Piedras Negras, Mexico with a group from Joplin. This was one of several times for me to go with the church I grew up in. However, this was Stefanie's first trip and we were very excited for her to get to experience it. Vida Nueva (New Life) Ministries is the organization we have always gone down to help. It is amazing to see how this area has changed since the first trip I made in high school. One of the special things about this trip was the decision that Stefanie and I made to sponsor a child so they can attend preschool. The cool thing was that we got to meet Maria, the child we are sponsoring before we left (Thanks for the picture, Bethany). If you are interested in sponsoring a child I would encourage you to get in contact with Lorena (lorenavidanueva AT and see how you can make a difference in a child's life.

After Mexico, we've spent about every weekend traveling to see our family and friends across the midwest. We've purchased tickets from scalpers, danced in the car, and watched fireworks with captivated preschool boys.

For the most part things have been positive. However, there is always the good that comes with the bad. I lost my last living grandparent in May and Stefanie's dad has been in and out of the hospital a couple of times for surgery to repair some of the ailments that are a result of the cancer that recurred two years ago. He is home now and has started recovering, but we would still solicit your prayers.

In all things, we know that God is good and that we are Safe in His arms.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bring on Spring

The time is finally here. It is officially spring and this week's forecast looks amazing. The Final Four and Opening Day are near and I am ready to spend some quality time in the great out of doors. This season should bring plenty of grilling, occasional camping, disc golfing, some geocaching, and maybe even a reemergence of the slackline. We will hopefully get a chance to go see some ball games, visit some parks we haven't been to yet, and discover new ways to enjoy this wonderful season. If this is your allergy season, I apologize, but otherwise I hope you find ways to savor and enjoy the next few weeks. So get off the internet and start making plans.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stuff For Searching

There's no such thing as a free lunch, right? This is true, but there is such a thing as a good deal. I recently started using Swag Bucks. Swag Bucks is a way to earn points for purchasing things like gift cards or electronics just for using their search engine, which, by the way, is a conglomeration of Google and It's a pretty simple way to get a little bit back for what you already do. In case you were wondering, yes it is improves when you get referrals. However you don't need referrals to start earning bucks. Keep an eye on the swag bucks blog for ways to earn some extra swag bucks. This could be your method to earn gift cards to use as you please, if you are willing to adjust your searching habits a little bit. If you are interested, check out the web site and if you want to help me out, sign up under my account. Thanks.

Video about Swag Bucks on KMBC 9 KC

Search & Win

Friday, February 12, 2010

Canada, eh?

If you want to keep track of the olympics, make sure you check out NBC's olympic site. If you missed an event, it is likely you can watch a replay or at least highlights on the video section of the site. A couple of things to note, if you want to watch video, you may have to download the latest version of the plugin silverlight. Also, to watch some "premium" content you may need to input your cable company info for full access. Be sure to check out the video player tutorial and the FAQ sites if you have issues.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Keep track of your money in 2010

Several popular New Year's Resolutions involve money.  Get out of debt, save more, and give more to charity may be among your desired changes for 2010.  If you don't know where your money went last year, maybe these tips will help.  Being the self-professed nerd that I am, I put together a spreadsheet to keep track of our spending.  We use it to come up with our monthly budget and keep track of how we are doing.  You can download it from the link below if you like.

Another great tool is  Mint (which was recently purchased by the makers of Quicken)can import your bank information using the bank's online banking system and categorize it for you.  This is an easy way to see where your money goes with fancy charts and graphs for you non-spreadsheet people.  We use both to see where our money is going.

If you are completely lost and confused about money, we highly recommend taking a Financial Peace University class.  If you don't think you have the time, much of the same information is covered in Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover.

In closing I'll leave you with the baby steps to Financial Peace.

1.  $1,000 Emergency Fund
2.  Get out of debt using the debt snowball
3.  Full Emergency fund (3 to 6 months of expenses)
4.  Invest 15% in retirement
5.  College funds for the kids
6.  Pay off the house early
7.  Build wealth and give

For more information see

You can do it.  Have a buddy keep you accountable and make those resolutions last all year.