The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award | Journey to SavingYet another award has made its way on the blog scene, and I’ve been nominated by two lovely ladies – thanks Shannon and Kali! – so of course I have to participate! Others are unaware of the origins of this award, and don’t know what it’s an award for.

I did some Googling and the only thing I can come up with is this website, which isn’t entirely helpful. Most other bloggers have surmised that this is just another excuse for us to be a little bit more personable!

I’m sure you’ve seen some other bloggers post their 7 random facts about themselves, but if not, here it goes.

To be honest, I am having a hard time coming up with things. I feel like I share so much with you already, and I’ve already done a few other Q & A type posts. Ack!

Nonetheless, I’ve given it my best try here! If you’re unsatisfied, leave a comment with a random question you’d like to ask me. I’ll entertain anything as long as it’s not super personal. =)

My 7 Random Facts

1. My closest friends and family like to poke fun at “the many faces of Erin.” I have a face for just about everything, and they’re quite amusing to most people. Unfortunately, my “default” face is a bitch face. I have no clue why, but I tend to intimidate people with that. So if you find me at FinCon, please don’t think I’m scary or pissed off. I’m likely caught up in my thoughts, or just really clueless and lost. Probably the latter.

2. I like to think I’m stronger than I really am, and initiate lots of play fights with R. It’s inevitable that I end up injuring myself in the process. My dream is to someday be able to beat him up, but that’s highly unlikely given his 6’4″ frame. Sigh. (Sarcasm, though I wouldn’t mind knowing how to defend myself from others!)

3. I love video games! I love reading as well, but I find that video games offer more opportunities to immerse yourself in a story (I only play RPGs). I know there’s a negative stigma surrounding them, and they’re not for everyone, but getting lost in a book or a game is one way I unwind. I also love to listen to certain video game music.

4. I grew up thinking I’d be an author. Everything was fine and dandy with this until I took a Creative Writing class in 11th grade. That doesn’t make sense, right? My teacher was awful and all my dreams of becoming an author went down the drain after taking that class. I literally skipped out on that class to go to my favorite English teacher’s class instead. Of course, I continued to write papers throughout college, but it wasn’t until I started blogging that I found joy in it again.

Versatile Blogger Award | Journey to Saving

Formidable clouds!

5. I am, by definition, legally blind without my glasses or contacts. I don’t really like using that phrase, because I can still see things, they’re just really fuzzy. Unlike Shannon, I’m super scared of lasik, but it would be nice to have the ability to see clearly upon waking up.

6. I am very much afraid of thunderstorms. Even just thunder. When I was 5 years old, a horrible storm passed through the area, and I remember hearing an awful sound nearby. It turned out that lightning had struck our neighbor’s chimney, and the bricks had fallen down. Ever since, I’ve been super paranoid about lightning hitting the building I’m in. I can’t sleep through storms, and I whimper like a puppy any time I see lightning, subsequently annoying anyone around me.

7. On that note, I also really dislike cloudy days. For the past week, we’ve had way more overcast days than sunny days, and it’s been killing my mood! I don’t mind having one or two rainy days where I can relax, but I could never live in constant dreariness. It’s just so blah. Does anyone else feel the same?

I’m supposed to nominate 7 others for this award, but I feel like so many of you have been nominated already! So hopefully these great bloggers haven’t been nominated yet, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s posts!

Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver

Cat @ Budget Blonde

Lisa @ Lisa vs. the Loans

Amanda @ My Life, I Guess

Brooke & Genevieve @ PF Twins

Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

KK @ Student Debt Survivor

Tell me a random fact about yourself in the comments, or feel free to ask me more questions if you’d like to get to know me better!

Being Grateful: Forty-Third Edition

Hi everyone! Hope you had a great week. I truly cannot believe that FinCon is next week already. I know I was very late to the party, but even so, that means September is more than halfway gone! I give up on keeping track of time. Last week, R and I were discussing how fast things have been flying by, and we both agreed that after high school, time speeds up. It’s just a fact.

Being Grateful - Journey to Saving

Exploring!

So, what am I being grateful for this week? Let’s see. Last weekend, R and I actually decided to take a trip to the Habitat Restore place near his job. It’s a crazy combination between Goodwill and home improvement. While they have furniture, books, and electronics, they also have cabinets, tile, doors and Being Grateful - Habitat Restore | Journey to Savingmolding. I was going to make a post on our experience there, but it didn’t strike my fancy that much. If you’re a homeowner doing renovations, you could potentially score some amazing deals there.

From there, R and I drove a bit further north, wanting to explore the nearby towns we’ve heard about, but haven’t been to. It’s about time! We’ve only been in the actual city-center once as it is, so we might as well get out to other surrounding places. On our way back home, we passed over Lake Norman, and saw some ridiculously beautiful homes sitting there on the water. I’d really like to visit, as it’s the closest thing to a beach we have, but the “official” entrance is almost an hour away from us.

As R was driving, he commented that we should drive around aimlessly more often. I agreed. There are a few back roads that don’t have as much traffic on them, which means we don’t have to worry about going slowly to take in the views. We’ll probably focus more on this next month. If we do stay in Charlotte, it would help us decide where we should go next.

Helping

One of my closest friends (who I actually met online about 8 years ago now, wow!) has been interested in the world of blogging ever since I mentioned it to him. While he’s not the slightest bit interested in personal finance, he is into gaming, and I told him he has nothing to lose by creating a blog centered around that. I don’t exactly have authority in that niche, but I thought it would be doable considering he is pretty opinionated and a decent writer.

We finally got around to brainstorming this week, and it was fun! We got together a list of categories and topics he should talk about, thought of a name for the blog, and discussed the different directions he could take it in. He has a lot of ideas, he’s just stuck on the time factor. If it’s one thing I’ve learned, blogging does take up a decent amount of time, but it could pay off in the end.

Being Grateful - Business Card | Journey to SavingHis goal (and my goal for him!) is to be able to become a full-time blogger/gamer. He’s currently stuck in a rotten job that he wouldn’t mind getting away from at some point. We did a little digging and found some blogs that accept guest posts and contributor posts, so I’m hoping something comes out of it for him in the near future.

I was really grateful for the chance to be able to help. I don’t think I’m an expert on blogging by any means, but I certainly know what it’s like to start out and feel overwhelmed by the options. My friend has never worked with WordPress before, either, so I got a chance to highlight some of the unexpected back-end work that blogging involves.

On another helping note, I was grateful for the opportunity to review Shannon’s new book. It’s awesome to see someone move beyond the realm of blogging to being published. I think a lot of you would agree that Shannon has a great message on personal finance that needs to be heard by more than those she can reach with her blog, and I’m just excited she has the chance to do that with her book!

Lastly, I am grateful for the help R gave me in designing my business cards. For those that don’t know, he went to college for graphic design, but he dropped that quickly after graduating. Nevertheless, I always go to him for ideas or critiques on my own designs. I definitely didn’t have the same vision as he did, and I’m really glad I asked him for help, otherwise I wouldn’t have ended up with these awesome cards. Just the back is pictured – I got a double-sided card. (Also, thanks to everyone who recommended VistaPrint!)

Weather

Being Grateful - Fall Scented Oil | Journey to SavingIt is very slowly, but surely, cooling down here. There was one day our thermostat actually said 77* (it’s set to 78*). Upon checking the weather for the next 10 days, it’s actually supposed to go down to the mid-70′s by next weekend! Of course, I won’t be here to enjoy it, but hopefully it lasts.

I’ve been reading that fall is the favorite season of many of my fellow bloggers, which is nice. I always ran into people who would scoff at fall, as it overtook their favorite season of summer.

I can’t put it into words, but fall is just my favorite season, simple as that. While I love bundling up, wearing scarves and boots, and seeing the leaves change color, there’s also something changing in the atmosphere itself. Perhaps it’s because summer brings unbearable humidity to the point where you can’t breathe, and fall allows a reprieve with crisp, fresh air.

Either way, I always seem to find my footing in fall. I’m happier, more energetic, more motivated, and more inspired. Does anyone else feel this way with the change of seasons, or am I crazy? Oh well, I’ll take it =). To start the festivities a little early, I got this Febreze scented oil refill. It smells amazing.

What are you being grateful for this week? Is summer your favorite season? Do you like helping other bloggers figure things out? When’s the last time you explored your city?

Frugal Meal #3: Waffles!

Frugal Meal: Waffles | Journey to SavingNothing beats the sweet scent of waffles being made on a weekend morning.

It was something my family looked forward to on many occasions.

A while ago, in one of my being grateful posts, I mentioned that I had purchased a waffle iron for my dad, as his original favorite died a few years ago. There’s only a few things my dad makes, and waffles happen to be his specialty.

It was pretty much tradition to have waffles after opening presents on Christmas morning, and any other special occasion that happened to fall on the weekend.

Unfortunately, when that one waffle iron died, we couldn’t find a decent replacement that my dad found suitable. He is very particular about his waffles, let me tell you.

When we moved down here and started visiting my parents regularly, I knew something was missing. After a bit of searching on Amazon, I found that they still made his old waffle iron. After confirmation with him, my mom and I purchased it as a Father’s Day present. I’m happy to say almost every visit involves Saturday waffles!

After that post, a few of you expressed interest in the recipe, so I am here to deliver!

Before I go on, I know waffles don’t fit the traditional meaning of a meal, so just go with me on this one =).

Frugal Meal – Waffles

This isn’t a secret family recipe or anything. In fact, it comes straight out of a very old cookbook that my parents have had forever. Really! The pages are yellowed and the pictures are in black and white.

The great thing about this is you’ll have plenty of leftovers depending on the size of your family. We estimate about 5 full 9″ waffles, if your waffle iron is similar to the one in the picture (which is the one my dad uses). I can usually only eat half of what is pictured; they’re pretty filling.

The grids are deeper than the one I have, and I’m sorry to say I haven’t tried this recipe with mine. If I do, I’ll be sure to update this. It might be a good plan for the weekend, considering I won’t be visiting my parents for the rest of the month!

Ingredients

The ingredients are as follows:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • ½ cup cooking oil (we use vegetable)
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions

1. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on the fastest setting until they peak (meaning if you take the beaters out, it won’t drip). Then, add in the sugar while still beating for another 30-40 seconds. Lastly, add in the vanilla. At this point, the egg whites should be pretty firm.

2. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, milk, cooking oil, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt all at once! Keep beating until slightly lumpy.

3. At this point, if you want to add in cinnamon, do so before folding. 

4. Fold egg whites into the other mixture carefully. This can be done on the lowest speed setting, or you can use a spatula or whisk.

5. Leave a few fluffs of egg white – don’t over-mix.

6. Lightly grease your waffle maker and preheat it.

7. Pour the batter onto the grids of the waffle iron slowly. You don’t need to cover the entire thing as the waffles will expand! You’ll know if you went a little overboard as the mixture will leak out the sides.

8. Let the waffles bake in there fully. How much time it takes might depend on your waffle iron. My dad said once steam stops coming out, they’re ready.

9. Take the waffles out and enjoy!!

Frugal Meal: Waffles | Journey to Saving

Golden brown and fluffy!

To make it a true “meal,” consider having these easy sides with your waffle:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Bacon
  • Hash browns
  • Biscuits
  • Grits
  • Fruit

And there you have it, a very simple and quick breakfast. Of course, you can always use this to have “breakfast for dinner,” which is one of my favorite things to do. If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tell me how it went!

A note: My dad prefers the square irons over the belgian ones. He tried this recipe with a belgian waffle iron before, and it didn’t come out quite the same, since the grids are much deeper. This was before he added baking soda to the recipe, though. With that addition, the batter should rise more, resolving the issue. But I can’t guarantee results!

If you’re looking for a waffle iron, I’d suggest the one my dad has faithfully been using for many years: it’s by Black & Decker (affiliate). You can reverse the griddles, too, so you have waffle grids and a flat side! Pretty neat, in case you’re in a pancake or french toast mood.