Tag: money

Change the life of cancer patients!

Change the life of cancer patients!

It may seem expensive, unrealistic, or even hard to change the life of others without having lots of disposable income.  It’s true that some things cost money when it comes to giving back.  Buying cookies and sweets for the local police and fire departments costs money, buying surprise cards or gifts for strangers costs a little money (though, not much), but some things cost nothing.  Writing a note to a veteran and placing it on their windshield, complimenting a stranger, answering questions for those that are lost, or donating hair to help cancer patients doesn’t really cost anything.

I traded places with a woman in the post office recently who was running late to babysit.  It didn’t cost me anything but a few minutes of time and it brightened her day more than you might have imagined.  A week or so later there was a couple in a metered parking lot who were getting ready to put change in the meter, but couldn’t figure out how much, but I yelled across the lot and said you don’t have to pay on Sundays.  They were grateful for the response and it was a simple gesture for me to save them the time and money.

This past week I did one more thing that I hold particularly close to my heart.  I donated 9 inches of hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  This makes 39 total inches donated so far to help change the lives of total strangers who are battling cancer.  Who wouldn’t want to change the life of a cancer patient if they could?  It’s simple yet means the world to someone else.  I have watched several women I know battle cancer, making it a particular cause that’s important to me.  A cause my grandpa would be equally proud of as he watches from heaven, looking down and asking me, “Did you use Pantene Pro-V?” as he used to do as he admired my shiny, black hair.

I hope these short stories inspire you to make a difference, big or small, in your community, city, and in the world around you.  Go change the life of someone else, specifically a stranger in need of care, support, and kindness.  After all, it’s often strangers that are often facing more battles than we often even realize.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Curriculum that comes to life!

Curriculum that comes to life!

It can be a lot of work to be a teacher that truly takes the time to create ‘fun’ curriculum which to me (as a teacher) actually means meaningful curriculum that makes the topics and concepts come to life.  Books have tons and tons of definitions, topics, and concepts, but they aren’t always exciting and thrilling.  They don’t always make learning fun and often times as teachers we recognize that making learning fun is actually a lot more work.  After all, students often want things that are interactive and hands-on, but what they don’t realize is that the ‘fun’ things that teachers plan require a lot of organizing, coordinating, and most of all time.  Remember that this is the type of curriculum that helps the students retain important information, but also provides life lessons.

This past week I have done quite a bit of self-reflection on my activities and lessons in hopes of becoming a better teacher and improving my projects for future classes.  I recently planned my annual ‘Cutthroat Food Truck’ project where there is auctioning and chaos within the classroom.  It’s during my Supply & Demand Unit which makes it really fun.  There’s a shortage of ink in the marketplace so there is no printing allowed, there is an unlimited supply of white computer paper available because there is a major supplier producing it, markers are readily available and not in short supply, but due to the demand of scissors, glue, tape, and colored paper there is a limited number of premium resources available and the groups must bid to obtain these wants.  It’s quite entertaining because I do most of the auctioning while students are creating their food cart which adds an extra layer to the project.  Students must pay attention to items that are up for bid as they create and brainstorm on their food truck.  They get a set amount of ‘money’ (yes, it’s fake!) to use toward bidding on items.  They must consider whether they will bid each other up for items, trade-off items, or how they will strategize to create a cool and fun food truck.

It is quite exhausting to coordinate, organize, and implement (and a bit costly because I bring in patterned decorative tape and paper, special stickers, etc), but it turns out to be a cool project that teaches supply, demand, wants, needs, scarcity, and limited and unlimited resources.  What is most important about this project is that it brings these complex, boring economic concepts (okay, let’s be honest I am a Financial Economics major so it hurt to have to type ‘boring’ to describe those concepts, but for most students it is the reality) to LIFE!  It gives meaning and excitement to these students.

This also helps bring your students that have different learning styles and levels to an area that connects with real life.  Nearly all students can relate to some of the concepts and it puts money in their hands!  They have to figure out how to spend it efficiently or else they learn a lesson on how not to spend money (which can be equally as important)!  My point is that if you bring your lessons to life you will find so much more success in your classroom.  I will guarantee that!

This one is for my fellow teachers, economic lovers (me!), and all those that strive to make a difference in every single student’s life.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Make #GivingTuesday and #SmallBusinessSaturday an everyday thing!

Make #GivingTuesday and #SmallBusinessSaturday an everyday thing!

There are lots of organizations, big and small, all around the world that would LOVE to receive a donation from you this #GivingTuesday.  I got at least five or more emails asking for donations today.  I usually give donations to big and small companies or organizations throughout the entire year, but more times than not my time and money goes to local initiatives and events.  I do on occasion reach out to larger organizations because I like helping both in some capacity, even if it’s a very, very small amount it can make a profound impact.  Kind of like being a teacher, while you may only work with a student for thirty minutes, one hour, one day, one month, or one year, the way you approach and work with that student can leave a footprint on their life forever.  It’s the beauty of teaching, giving quality service to others, listening to those around you, and reaching out to those in need – you have the power to make a difference in the life of someone else.  And, to me, that’s pretty cool!

One thing I chose to do this year for the holidays was to give money to the Shawnee Hills Arts Council when I ran their Reindeer 5k to provide additional funding to performing, visual, and literary arts.  Not only was it a great way to give back to a local organization, but it also fell on #SmallBusinessSaturday which is a vital day for many small businesses and communities that depend on that economic boost each year.  It is so easy to order from online retailers where the prices may be a few dollars cheaper, but those few extra dollars you might spend at your local toy store, pet shop, or restaurant really boost your local economy and help money stay in the area.

Another donation I am planning to give this holiday season is my hair – literally!  It is almost time for me to head to the chopping block so that I can donate at least eight inches of hair to a woman in need.  This is something that you can give no matter what time of year.  You can make the commitment to grow your hair out without coloring it to send to an organization that will help change the lives of others.

You can do similar things in your local area to keep your economy thriving.  #GivingTuesday and #SmallBusinessSaturday aren’t just once a year if you make the commitment to help improve your local economy – volunteer, buy local goods, go to your Farmer’s markets, eat at your local restaurants, and make a commitment to helping with events, initiatives, and activities in your area.  After all, your local economy depends on your support and willingness to make a difference in the many lives and communities in which you are a part of.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Wedding bells, now what can we sell?

Wedding bells, now what can we sell?

I always knew I wanted a small wedding party that would be filled with simple decorations and centerpieces, but I didn’t quite realize how much a wedding would cost even if I wanted it to be simple and small.

It has come to light that wedding loans have become popular, and in some cases the only option for couples, as the cost of weddings has skyrocketed.  So step aside, home loans, car loans, and student loans.  You have another loan to compete with.  The news has actually brought this to my attention more recently in these articles: Wedding Costs Skyrocket and Wedding Loans.  Not only that, but I have come to realize how many people so freely share their opinions once I got engaged to my fiancé.  People asked the first week if we had set a date as if fast-forwarding us through time.  While planning a wedding is a fun adventure it can also be overwhelming.  Everyone has an opinion on something, but sometimes you have to remember that you won’t be able to please everyone on your wedding day.  The more I think about it the more those words ring true not only with weddings, but with life!  While this blog post focuses on depicting the greed within the wedding industry, it by no means is meant to make anyone feel guilty about their own wedding, values, or choices.

The wedding industry has become one of the biggest industries filled with overpriced products and services that many people choose to buy.  From the venue to the photography to the catering and wedding dress, a wedding can quickly turn into the equivalent of buying a car, putting a down payment on a house, or traveling the world.

As I plan my own wedding or choose to elope I am finding it even more difficult to understand and stomach the costs associated with a wedding.  I live in small, rural America and even so it has been exceptionally difficult to find an affordable venue to host my special day.  A special day that I hope emphasizes simplicity, love, and beautiful memories for my guests. The first venue I looked at was $2,500 and that was actually with a fifty percent discount since I am getting married in March, which is often considered an off-season month.  I continued looking because this was higher than I wanted to spend.  I went on to look at others that charged $1,800, $4,600, and $1,000.

While a wedding is a very special day and in my opinion should be celebrated, it is ultimately about two people falling in love. For me personally, it isn’t about a grandiose reception, being in the spotlight (because I don’t like that), or spending an exorbitant amount of money for a one day event that may last 4 to 6 hours.  This is precisely what the wedding industry wants us to think and believe, and what they hope we will buy into (literally by forking out thousands upon thousands of dollars). That just isn’t who I am or what I stand for.  Don’t get me wrong I love gazing upon beautiful wedding pictures of close friends, family, or even strangers –  I enjoy their pretty flowers, and love seeing different color schemes, centerpieces, and wedding decor.  I am most certainly not here to judge the weddings of others or how much someone else chooses to spend on their special day.  Each person views and values a wedding differently.

However, I am finding it difficult to spend close to 10k or more on my own wedding, which is approximately what it costs for an average, normal ceremony and reception.  It also means you must budget well and cut corners when possible.  It concerns me mostly because there are so many people in the world that could use the money that are fighting to survive, charities doing phenomenal work all around the world, an endless number of places I would love to visit to learn about other cultures, including India to learn more about my own.  Hence, I am finding it incredibly difficult to overindulge myself (even on my wedding day).  How can I justify in my head spending so much on one day?

So am I eloping or throwing a small, non-traditional reception?  Only time will tell, but one thing is certain, if I find 10k is the best I can do to throw a small, non-traditional reception then I will elope and cherish the love I am celebrating.  That money can be used more productively based on my values and morals.  That’s because I know myself well enough that I would look back and feel bothered that I spent 10k for a one day, 4 to 6 hour reception that was really about two people going on an adventure called life together.  So if I host a reception you can guarantee it will be a very budgeted occasion that doesn’t overlook my values.

You just learned more about me than my website, Facebook page, or even meeting me in person may show.  One thing is for sure, I am luckier than I can even begin to imagine because I am able to consider whether I want to host a reception or elope.  It makes me more blessed than a lot of people in this world and for that I feel grateful for the life I get to live.  My advice is to be wise about what you choose is best and enjoy the adventure.

Feel free to let me know how you feel about the wedding industry.  How have you seen it change or evolve over the last decade, or since you got married?

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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You’ll only regret the workouts you don’t do!

You’ll only regret the workouts you don’t do!

We all have days when we feel unmotivated, don’t want to workout, feel lazy, want to take a nap, or just want to do other things, but on those days it is important to still do some type of workout, whether it be a short one or long one, cardio or yoga, or a quick run.  Sometimes thinking about my favorite person who inspires me such as an athlete is enough to motivate me!  If you are having one of those days, think twice before you skip your workout and remember all the positives of a great workout, including the reasons below!

     100 Reasons to Exercise Now (Courtesy of Pinterest)

  1. Because it makes you feel confident
  2. Because it helps you get stronger
  3. Because exercise helps combat depression
  4. Because you’ll feel proud of yourself
  5. Because you have goals you want to reach
  6. Because you’ll feel bad if you don’t
  7. Because you want to move forward, not backward
  8. Because it burns more calories than not working out
  9. Because it improves your heart health
  10. Because you want a great butt
  11. Because it prevents diabetes
  12. Because you want to be a good example to your kids
  13. Because you want to feel good in your clothes
  14. Because it reduces your risk of cancer
  15. Because your body was made to move
  16. Because you want to be an athlete
  17. Because you want to look better
  18. Because it lifts your mood
  19. Because you want to stand taller
  20. Because it reduces back pain
  21. Because it feels good
  22. Because it makes you feel accomplished
  23. Because you spend most of your day on your butt
  24. Because swimsuit season is always coming
  25. Because strong is the new skinny
  26. Because dieting only works so much
  27. Because it strengthens your bones, too
  28. Because it helps you lose weight
  29. Because it allows you to eat more food
  30. Because it’s the best way to spend “me” time
  31. Because it helps you de-stress
  32. Because it’s cheaper than therapy
  33. Because you want a strong core
  34. Because you want to take care for yourself
  35. Because you take pride in your body
  36. Because it strengthens your legs
  37. Because it helps your clothes fit better
  38. Because you want to push yourself
  39. Because you are capable of more than you ever imagined
  40. Because moving your body feels good
  41. Because it keeps your mind sharp
  42. Because it helps you beat belly bloat
  43. Because it helps you sleep better at night
  44. Because it gives you energy
  45. Because you want to stay healthy as you age
  46. Because you want to look younger
  47. Because you want toned arms
  48. Because it improves your balance
  49. Because it burns off last night’s dessert
  50. Because it boosts your immune system
  51. Because sweat is sexy
  52. Because you want to live longer
  53. Because you want to get better at your game
  54. Because you want to catch someone’s eye
  55. Because exercisers earn more money
  56. Because you’re more likely to eat better when you exercise
  57. Because you want to shave time off your running pace
  58. Because you want to breathe easier
  59. Because you want to see the scale drop
  60. Because exercise improves your sex life
  61. Because you are worth it
  62. Because being fit makes everything in life better
  63. Because you promised yourself that you would
  64. Because you deserve a better life
  65. Because it’ll help you drink more water
  66. Because you want to do real push-ups
  67. Because it reduces your health care costs
  68. Because you’ll miss fewer days of work
  69. Because you want to create a new future for yourself
  70. Because it’ll help you like what you see in the mirror
  71. Because it makes clothing shopping more fun
  72. Because you want to look and feel incredible
  73. Because exercising can be fun
  74. Because it’ll give your skin a glow
  75. Because it’s a good way to spend time with your friends
  76. Because it’ll help you prevent the middle-age spread
  77. Because it reduces your blood pressure
  78. Because you don’t want to let yourself go
  79. Because you don’t want to squeeze into an airplane or rollercoaster seat
  80. Because it strengthens your spirit
  81. Because it’s a cheap way to entertain yourself
  82. Because you’ll be able to reward yourself
  83. Because you need a reason to wear those new workout clothes
  84. Because you’re tired of being tired
  85. Because not working out is not going to get you very far
  86. Because it’s a great way to spend time outside
  87. Because you made a commitment to yourself
  88. Because you’re tired of starting over
  89. Because there will always be another wedding, vacation or reunion
  90. Because you’re not a quitter
  91. Because it improves your cholesterol
  92. Because it boosts your metabolism
  93. Because it prevents age-related muscle loss
  94. Because if you can do this, you can do anything
  95. Because a fit body is a healthy body
  96. Because it beats sitting on the couch
  97. Because  everyone has at least 10 minutes to spare
  98. Because you want to be stronger than your excuses
  99. Because not working out isn’t working out for you
  100. Because the only workout you ever regret is the one you skip

Now, GO WORKOUT!  You will feel much better once you do!

~jj

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Pack a lunch & make ahead dinners…saving time, calories, and money!

Pack a lunch & make ahead dinners…saving time, calories, and money!

I actually knew exactly what I wanted to talk about this week.  I am an avid lunch taker because I don’t like eating out during the week.  There aren’t enough choices (especially for someone with a food allergy) and it is so expensive to eat out.  I can buy a package of crackers, cheese, and lunch meat, carrots, apples, and other miscellaneous lunch items that will last me a week or more for the same price of what many people pay for eating out for one lunch!  Not to mention, it is much healthier and I can save some calories that will later allow me to indulge my sweet tooth with a sweet treat (if I so choose)!

The number one complaint I hear from people who eat out constantly?  I don’t have time to pack a lunch and there isn’t enough time for me to make a dinner in between school ending and after school practices and activities beginning.  My response?  I do NOT buy that as a viable excuse!  Sorry to all those who find that offensive.  We ALL have very full schedules and lead very busy lives, but making a lunch takes about 30 seconds to 2 minutes (and yes, for those who do not believe me, I have timed it out)!  You can pack a lunch and do 10 or more jumping jacks during the commercial of your favorite show in the evening! 😉

The next complaint is how to make dinners even when your life seems so crazy that nothing more feels like it can be squeezed in.  Some wise words my mom once told me are, “You can always find a way and have the ability to put more on your plate.  There’s always a way to do more and fit more in no matter how busy you are.”  The solution for all the busy parents, educators, workers, and people in the world?  Make a plan for the week on Sunday by sitting down and making a menu for the week as well as making some dinners ahead of time, too.  For example, make crock pot meals, make ahead casseroles (there are plenty that can be made in healthy ways, if you need some inspiration feel free to ask me or visit Pinterest and the hundreds of other recipe websites online), and consider eating leftovers at least one day a week which can be an ultra time saver if you are in a huge hurry!  You can make frozen dinners that can be pulled out of the freezer, prepare chicken, steak, or other meats over your weekend that can be thrown in salads, quesadillas, casseroles, fajitas, etc. and can make dinner a cinch to pull together at the last minute.

I understand time is often precious and there never seems to be enough of it…ever…even when you get up 25 minutes before your kids, go to bed 30 minutes earlier, etc, but I do know that you will thank yourself if you prepare your meals for your family.  They will not only be healthier, but you will save money, time, and calories by making food ahead.  Further, and maybe most importantly you will also be bringing your family together for a meal, which is one of the most precious memories you can make for you and your kids.  Memories at the dinner table are often some of the greatest memories you can give to your family, friends, and others!  P.S. Remember that you will also have more luck with your weight loss and fitness goals if you pack your lunch and make your dinners because you can control the portions and what’s in the meal (sodium, fat content, oils, etc)!

~jj

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