Two Week Menu Challenge Conclusion

So, two weeks is over. Did we stray away from the challenge again, or did we stick to our guns until the finish line?

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Two-Week Menu Challenge Halfway Update

Hi folks. So after one week of being in our one-week menu challenge, we’re doing great! We were able to stick to our plan for the most part, with some adjustments along the way.

Two-Week Update(1)So, here’s how I did:

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Smoked Ribs

Happy 4th of July! For many of you, Independence Day means grilling with your family. Today, I’m going to show you a quick and easy recipe for smoked pork ribs, and it doesn’t even involve needing a smoker.

SmokedRibs9

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Two Week Menu Challenge

June time is big bills time for our household. We were hit with both quarterly property taxes and renewal for our auto insurance. Because I don’t like paying things like fees and interest, and I like saving hundreds of dollars, I like to pay bills like these in lump sums (those “convenience charges” add up). The only draw back is that it makes things a bit tight for this month…so here’s a challenge that we came up with.

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Library: Once A Week

A few posts ago, I shared how I promote reading and literacy with my daughter. As a follow-up, here’s another resource that I cannot stress enough: your local public library!

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FathersDay2015

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I’m sure that you feel the same way as I do: that being a dad is the best thing in the world. I know that it’s made me happier in a way I never knew was possible.

My father’s day has been fantastic. I woke up this morning, and my wife was not by my side. Usually I’m on cooking duty around here, but my wife woke up early and cooked me breakfast.

I heard a knock on the door, and my daughter came in.

I certainly act that age...

I certainly act that age…

This is what my daughter made me for Father’s Day. I’m a huge fan on homemade cards and projects, and my wife came up with this idea and printed it out this morning. I now have record of my daughter’s handwriting at four and some super cute answers. Try your own version sometime.

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PRESSURE COOKER STREET TACOS

For almost all of my existence, I was squarely in the corner of slow cookers. The humble crock pot and I have cooked maybe a hundred meals in our time, and it has never let me down. I firmly believed that low and slow, much like my beloved Texas barbecue, was the only way to break down tough cuts of meat and create luscious, delicious stews and the like.

A few months ago, my life was changed forever.

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Loving Reading From Birth

My daughter reads very well. Today, she was reading the rules on the game “Plants vs. Zombies” that my wife plays. She is able to read the kids menu when we go to restaurants and order her own meal. When she is supposed to be sleeping, we find her reading to her stuffed toys instead. Seeing her read so well is just incredible, and the best thing is that my daughter finds reading fun. She reads several books a day, even though she is exposed to TV, smart phones, tablets and the like. Trips to the library to check out new books is always an exciting adventure and one of her favorite things to do.

But Rob, who cares that your daughter can read? What’s in it for me?

One major benefit to having a child with a strong grasp on reading early is that it greatly benefits them in school. The American Psychological Association found that children who enter kindergarten with elementary reading skills perform better in school throughout the years. According to the Anne E. Casey Foundation, not having proficient reading skills by third grade can lead to trouble throughout all of school, including high school graduation. So what do we parents do to get our kids better at reading? One of the key differences between a strong reader and weak reader is the amount of time that they read, according to the National Reading Panel.

Where did my daughter’s ability to read come from? I’m not a literary expert, but what I can show you is a couple of methods that we personally used so that the ability to grasp reading and enjoy it was instilled since birth. Now by four, she knows that reading is awesome.

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Using Warranties To Get Free Stuff

A few months ago, my wife’s uncle told us a story. He has had the same couch for 30 years. The cushions were starting to deteriorate. He called the company up to see how much it would cost to replace.

It turns out that the couch, 30 years later, was still under warranty! Instead of paying for new couch cushions, he was shipped brand new couch cushions for free.

That got me thinking that I need to be a little more thoughtful about products when they break down. You’d be surprised how many products have warranties attached, even if they aren’t advertised.

warranty 1Here are some examples of ways that I’ve used warranties in only the past few months.

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PLAY WITH GARBAGE (PART TWO), or, finding $150 on the curb

IMG_5813

…have you ever noticed that people throw away the darndest things for little to no reason? I’m not talking about ratted out junk, but things that need just a little work. Sometimes there’s a minor flaw or scratch, or the owner has upgraded to a new model. Instead of listing selling it or giving it away to someone, they curb it, dooming it to existence in a landfill forever.

For-Ev-Er

© 20th Century Fox

This is the story of how we found $150 worth of garbage on the curb that I let my daughter play with.

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