Still Making Progress!

Monday, October 29, 2012
 Yesterday we decided that if we went to bed super early (which ended up being 9:30) we could get up early and be productive before heading off to work. It was kind of successful...

 We made a new spreadsheet of all of our student loans, how much the beginning balance was on everything and how much we owe now. We are under the original balance by $1.02. We've been paying on our student loans since 2010 and as of this morning paid off all of the interest that had accrued. Gross! 

 It was August when we started really following our budget and budgeting any extra money to go towards our student loans. We've paid 2 small student loans plus throwing quite a bit at another one and our minimum payments. We calculated how much we've paid from August-October and came up with:


We were pretty excited, that averages out to $2785.66/month going towards our debt. $919/month of that is our minimum payments, the rest has been what is left over after we've budgeted for the month. 

Two things that has really helped us out to start making some headway. First, Phillips boss realized he's been working in 2 departments but they never updated his pay rate so he received some back pay for that, and now he receives a higher rate when he works over in that department. Also if you remember I started a new job back in July, so I'm earning more now as well. Even though we're earning more than we were when we first got married we haven't changed our standard of living. We did raise our grocery budget to $75/week but we usually spend closer to $60 and carry the rest over, we also raised our tithes to match the 10% of our income.  

 I think the biggest change we've experienced is that when we budget for things and stay focused finances aren't scary anymore! It's actually kind of fun to track your progress and know where everything is going. 

Have a great day!

Free Books & Movies!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012
      A few months ago I really wanted to watch 'Winter's Bone' but I didn't want to order it from Amazon since we recently purged most of our movies. Then I remembered that I had a library card, and the library is really close to work, also that they have movies! Since then we've been having free date nights with movies from the library. We're nerdy like that.

I checked out 'Chicago' for us to watch tonight. This is probably how Phillip felt...

   I'm so glad I rediscovered that our public library is pretty darn fabulous. I grew up with my nose in a book, I'm pretty sure that's why my vision rivals that of a 70 year old grandma. Guess what else the library has?

I know we just donated a ton of books but this was just too tempting. Besides, don't I need to fill up the empty space on the bookshelf from the books we got rid of?
                                           Fairly random collection but it was really cheap!
 Ted Dekker: The Bride Collector $1
 Ted Dekker: Adam $1
 Francis Chan: Crazy Love $1
 Makers of the Theological Mind: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: $1.50
 Marc Aronson: Witch Hunt $2.50
 Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - Free section
 Freedom Writers Diary - Free section
 Vernon Can Read: A Memoir - Free section

 Total: 8 books for $7.50!

This concludes the nerdiest blog post I've written to date. You're welcome!

Weekend in the Mountains

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
 My family came to visit for the weekend! We made the loop around Cades Cove 4 times, ate waaaayyy too much food, and enjoyed our visit. We rented a cabin right on the Little River.
These are are our gold diggin' clothes. We found a few sparklies but nothing to write home about.
Moonshine Holler

My husband, the gatherer. Good thing too. It rained that night and the river rose! 
2 large black bears in Cades Cove
John Cable Grist Mill
Elevation: 5,560 feet Tennessee/North Carolina Border

That's our lovely weekend in a nutshell!  Have a great night! :) 

This could have been a Pinstrosity...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
 This morning the first words I heard were: *chuckle* "Well Sunny, your bread dough has risen."


  Last night I planned to make pizza roll for dinner, I made it a few times over the summer and it turned out really well but last night I couldn't get the darn dough to rise! We have the heat/air off right now so it's staying around 68 degrees, which apparently isn't warm enough to thaw frozen bread dough and make it rise.

 So when Phillip came home from work and saw a frozen lump of dough on the stove he decided it would probably be better to just go out for dinner. I forgot all about the dough until this morning.

After I cut off the ends that dried out and punched the air out of it this is what I had to work with:
That's more like it!
 So I went ahead and got dinner ready for tonight. This is a really easy recipe I stole from here, but I changed it up a little bit.

I love my giant cutting/rolling out stuff on board and rolling pin!

Mix 1/2 container of ricotta with herbs. I used Oregano, Basil, Garlic, and Red Pepper Flakes

Sprinkle with whatever shredded cheese you prefer, cover with pepperoni.

Ta-Dah! (which is short for Da-da-da-da!)
You get nerd points for knowing that reference....
 There ya have it! We'll see if it actually worked once I bake it for dinner tonight, I'm not sure if the dough will be tough from having expanded so much.
Ingredients+cost breakdown:
 1 loaf of Rhodes frozen bread dough $1
 1/2 container of ricotta cheese $1
 1 cup of shredded cheese $.50 (Still using the cheese I got at UGO!)
 1/2 package of pepperoni $.50 (on sale at Kroger, 10 for $10)
  Spices - on hand/negligible 

 Total: $3! ($3.50 if you want to head up a little bit of pizza sauce to dip it in)

 Hope you all have a great day! It's Wednesday, yay!!!

Birthdays and Pictures.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

 We went to Gatlinburg for my birthday last weekend, this is the only picture we ended up with:
Boring! It's not even a pretty picture! Here are a few from last years birthday to make up for leaving the camera in the car: 
Yes, we do have matching hoodies. It's adorable, stop laughing! 
I've actually been this tall for every fall since about 8th grade
Oh yeah, we got engaged too :)  
This year we finally did one of the touristy things I've wanted to do since I moved here. The Ghost Walk of Gatlinburg! It was actually a lot of fun, more historical than spooky which is exactly what I hoped it would be.  

I got a gift card from Mama Sue and Papa Gary (Phillips parents) and wanted to show you what we did!

 We pulled up all of our vegetable plants and replaced them with mums and ivy, I love it!