Category Archives: General

Taking a Break

Given everything that is going on in our lives right now, we need to take some time away from the blog.

As we have spent a lot of time discussing priorities, it is only fair to say that neither of us have room in our priority list to do this blog justice. It is time for us to practice what we preach.

At this time, we are not permanently saying goodbye, but neither do we know when we will return. Know that we will not return until we have the bandwidth to devote the proper attention to create new content.

Thank you for the time you have taken to read this blog.

Amanda and Ronnica

Eating Out Rules

3773196199_6094c7d815_mAs much as I have come to enjoy cooking healthy, tasty meals for our family, I enjoy a good meal out too.  There are times when we want to celebrate something special, and call for a meal out (and I want to enjoy a night off from cooking).

How do we make that happen on a tight budget?  Here are a few of our eating-out rules:

We only eat out for special occasions.  And we have outlined exactly what those special occasions are (birthdays, anniversaries, recognition at work), so there is no room for debate later on.

We go where the deals are.  See if your favorite restaurants offer birthday coupons, “Kids Eat Free” nights, or deals online.  It’s worth signing up for emails (use a designated email address for this, so as not to clutter up your regular email address) to get a good deal.

Cash has benefits.  Namely, you have a designated amount for eating out, helping to rein in any unnecessary spending.  When the cash is gone, it’s gone.

Consider alternatives.  Craving the pasta dish from your favorite restaurant but its not in the family budget?  Have a hankering for the scrumptious dessert from that bistro down the street but no funds?  Consider checking out options online.  You may be surprised at the number of recipes you can find online (or in cookbooks from the library!) that mirror your favorite dish.  The perk of this is that you control what goes into it, and you will almost always have leftovers for the next time a craving hits.

Bonus Tip:  Order the kids’ meals first.  Before you even look at the menu for yourself, order for the kids at the table.  It generally works best to look at the menu before you arrive at the restaurant so that when your drink order is being taken, you can also place the order for the little people in your midst.  Not only does this help prevent meltdowns from hungry toddlers, but it also helps keep costs down, as you won’t be tempted to order appetizers to appease hungry little tummies while you wait for the main meal.

Your turn!  What are your eating out rules?

Photo by Jim G.

Museum Day Live

5548687378_7e09ace8e4_zPsst!  I want to let you in on a big secret.

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 26 is the annual Smithsonian Museum Day Live! event nationwide.  This event permits you and one other person to visit participating venues and museums (with a ticket) for free.

I share this with you because it’s a great event that doesn’t seem to get as much publicity as it should.  There are several museums in the Kansas City area, and many more in the Denver (and surrounding) area.  What better way to be a good steward of the gifts we have been given?  You can spend time with loved ones, learn about art/history/regional information and save a few bucks!

Last year, our family took part in this event at an area children’s museum that opted to participate, and we loved it so much that we asked for an annual membership for Christmas; we got it, and that membership has gotten a great deal of use this year.

Make sure to clear your calendars for this fun, free and educational event!

Photo by Phil Roeder

Updates on the Striving Stewardess

It’s that time again to give some updates on some previous posts.

Ronnica’s Updates

Quitting Food Waste

I am getting better about wasting less food. I still throw out way more than I’d like: but I’m conscious when I do so. Just as before, my food waste is most often cause my inattentiveness. All the more reason to boost my diligence and mindfulness of when things will go bad.

Time to boost my creativity, too!

balcony container gardenRonnica’s Garden Plan

My garden is doing great. As I write this (May 10th), my cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes are currently hiding from the winter weather under various containers I found around the house.

One thing I’ve done differently this year is doing a garden journal. I’m hoping this information will help me to revise future garden plans to incorporate what I’ve learned from previous seasons.

Reviving the Art of Biking

Well, I haven’t taken another bike ride since that post.

I suppose I’ve been prioritizing other things (including my own laziness). My garden has taken a lot of my energy on my days off, which I’m fine with. I’ve also gotten back into hiking.

I need to do a little maintenance on my bike to get it working for me, and I just haven’t done that yet.

Amanda’s Updates

Giving Our Time

I still love the idea of giving of my time and talents, but as of this writing (mid-May), I haven’t done much in the way of exploring options for doing just that.

As Ronnica mentioned above, I, too, have been prioritizing other things.  Quite a number of things have been happening on the family front lately–that’s my justification.  The hope is that when things settle down some I will have more time/energy/desire to serve others outside my family.  There are two worthwhile organizations that have personally served my family that would be logical places to start my volunteer search.

Bartering

Count this as a work-in-progress.  One of the things I have discovered is that my friends with whom I would feel most comfortable bartering with are perfectly content to give me what I need without strings attached, which is both awesome and humbling.

It’s also forcing me outside my comfort zone.  If I want to hone my bartering skills, I will have to do so with people who are not as close to me, which is something that does not come naturally to me; as a result, it will have to be an item or service I really want!

Mechanical Turk

My earnings on Mechanical Turk are a lot more than this now!
My earnings on Mechanical Turk are a lot more than this now!

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of conversation this garnered on our Twitter account.  Nearly all of it was encouraging me to stick it out.  (You may recall I argued that, unless you have considerable time at your disposal, MT is not a way to rake in a lot of dough.)

I’m glad I did because once I established a good rating, more lucrative opportunities came my way, and many of the tasks were actually sort of fun and not too time-consuming.

There may be some who claim to make hundreds on this site, and while I will never have the time/energy/desire (see above) to make that a priority, I do see myself making enough to help pay for Christmas presents when the time comes.  A definite bonus!

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving cornucopiaThanksgiving is a great holiday in that it encourages us to think beyond ourselves, if only we take the opportunity.

Being thankful is a reminder that no matter how much health, wealth and family we have, it didn’t originate with us.

I think that is something that is particularly hard for us Americans. We’ve been raised on the “pull yourselves up with your own bootstraps” folklore so it’s hard to remember that even when we earn, we do so with the skills and materials that we have been given.

So I hope that you take some time this holiday to be thankful. I don’t mean merely counting and naming your blessings (though that’s good), but remember the One who has given those blessings.

And find ways in your every day life that you can share with others what you have, however little or much that may be.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Ron Cogswell

Welcome!

Welcome to the Striving Stewardess! This blog is a joint venture between two sister-in-laws, Amanda and Ronnica. While we don’t always agree, we have a shared passion for creating a better place for our family, our world and ourselves. We’re millennials who want to be good stewards of our own personal resources (time, talent, and treasure) as well as the world’s resources.

Why “Stewardess?”

By “stewardess,” we don’t mean the ladies who serve you peanuts and sparkling water on a plane. Really, “stewardess” as we mean it is merely the feminine form of “steward.” We’re women, and we’re proud of it!

Meriam Webster’s definition of steward that is the most relevant is:

someone who protects or is responsible for money, property, etc.

Being a stewardess is not about claiming what isn’t yours. It’s about being responsible for what is already in your care. This of course means our own possessions and money, but can also apply to the world and its resources. After all, the entire world has been given to us humans. We’re not likely to find another earth (and a way to get to it) in our lifetimes.

Why “Striving?”

As much as we’d love to perfectly carry out our ambitious vision for how we should live, we fail. A lot. Possibly more than we succeed.

But we won’t give up.

In fact, being a good stewardess is an ongoing process, hence the “striving” part of the blog. We are incredibly passionate about this, however, and if our words can plant a seed in someone else’s mind or provide an “ah ha” moment, then we are doing our job.

What will Striving Stewardess be about?

Some of the post topics you can anticipate reading include personal finance (such as how to trim costs, save more, and strive to be debt free…and why those are so important), how to go beyond the three Rs and be better caretakers of our environment (Did someone mention composting? And can’t forget the value of the thrift shop!), and priorities in an ever-changing world.

We hope you enjoy striving with us as we embark on this blogging journey.