Started playing with “You Need A Budget”. It’s a finance tracking app the centers around a zero-based budget. This is a definite must for anyone that needs help getting their finances in check. The benefit over other titles like quicken is that it is forward looking so you can see what money is available to spend, rather than only looking at what has already been spent, something quicken does well.

My wife and have been looking for a decent app to use in place of tracking our budget on paper. YNAB is a definite winner. Everything is on our phones and syncs via Dropbox. There is also a desktop app for doing the more intense budgeting sessions and will probably prove to be a permanent replacement for quicken.

I’m definitely looking forward to making this move. Michelle and I have already experienced the power of zero-based budgeting. Now we get to simplify it with a nice app and better transparency in our finances.

Plant Based Diet

My wife and I started a plant based diet this week.  Basically it centers around principles from the documentary film “Forks over Knives” and the engine 2 diet.  So far things are going well.  We haven’t phased out dairy and oils just yet.  Meat was the easy part and now that we are looking for alternatives, we are finding that there are tons of meat alternatives out there.  So far, we both are enjoying it.  We don’t feel tired or weak or anything like that.  I’ve also started some steps to get away from drinking caffeinated coffee.  I ordered some herbal tea that is supposed to have a similar flavor to coffee without the added caffeine.  I think I’m more nervous about the coffee than anything else.

Just for record, my wife and I are not giving up on meat and dairy completely.  We fully intend to eat animals and dairy on special occasions.  After all, we love frozen yogurt shops and what would Thanksgiving dinner be like without turkey?!!  


I’m not sure if I’ll ever figure this out, but weekends can be really exhausting sometimes.  Long story short, Michelle got sick with a 100+ temps this past week.  I ended up taking a half day off of work one day to take care of her and watch Abby.  After playing Mr. Mom for about 4 days, I am incredibly exhausted.  Michelle’s fever finally broke yesterday and she was able to enjoy solid food again.  Hopefully this week will be much better and we will all be able to get some quality rest.

Cool new phones

So my wife and I went to target yesterday for a really cool special for $50 off of their iPhone 4S and we were able to trade in our iPhone 4’s for $175 apiece. We ended up getting free upgrades and about $30 left over to spend on other accessories like a new case and a movie for a whole six bucks out of pocket. We’ve been playing with Siri quite a bit too and it’s really really cool although it does make a lot of mistakes, but after all it’s not perfect.

Today was Mother’s Day and we pretty much relaxed as it was Michelle’s first Mother’s Day. She was really excited. We went to church and then we got together with some friends and played some games. I got Michelle some flowers and Abby got Her really cool Winnie the Pooh Mother’s Day card. I think she enjoyed it.

Busy Weekend

This past weekend was incredibly busy.  We started out taking our daughter to Epcot at Disney World.  She had a blast and we got there early enough to be able to relax before the crowds and the heat showed up.  We spent about 3 hours there total.  My wife’s parents met us there totally be coincidence.  They happened to see us drive into the parking lot as they were walking to the tram!!  We ended up riding the Nemo ride, the Land ride and Figment.  Figment was Abby’s favorite.  I thought the Land ride was pretty cool when we floated past the hydroponic garden.  We ate lunch just before riding the Land ride, and found at the restaurant by that ride uses ingredients grown in their hydroponic garden!  Very cool that can actually eat a good healthy natural meal at a theme park!

On the way home from Disney, we picked up a couple cantaloupe’s and a watermelon from my wife’s grandparents.  That night we had some friends over and we played a game and chowed down on some strawberries, cantaloupe and some fresh homemade brownies (very yummy!).

Yesterday, we went to church in Wesley Chapel again and then came home and did some grocery shopping.  After the grocery shopping, we cut up some strawberries, mango, the entire watermelon (which was ginormous!), made a triple-batch of pancakes to freeze for breakfasts this week and finally made dinner.  After dinner and Abby’s bath, Michelle and I curled up together and fell asleep after the busy but relaxing weekend.

Healthy Eating!

So we have decided to try to eat healthier and stick to natural, organic foods as much as possible.  One product we have just started using is Stonyfield yogurt.  In doing some research we discovered that yogurt can be used as a substiitute in most recipes for things like mayonaise, sour cream, and butter.  Substituting yogurt can cut the calories and fat by over half!!  The Stonyfield website has some great recipes and they also have coupons for their products on their website.  Excited to try out some of these recipes!

Excellent Food

We just finished a very busy and productive weekend.  Michelle worked on Saturday and I went to the home inspection for our soon-to-be house.  The inspection went rather well with a short list of small things that need to be addressed.  My wife and I are extremely excited about finally having our own place again.  We haven’t had our own house since September.  Once we move in, poor Abby will have been in her 5th home during here short life.

Sunday after church, Michelle’s family came over.  Her mom watched Abby while Michelle and I got in a nice date.  We ate at a restaurant called Carmel Cafe here in Clearwater.  All we could say was AMAZING!!!  Their prices were very affordable and the quality rivals some of the best high end restaurants we have eaten.  For $40, including tax and tip we both had wine, chips and hummus, a salad for Michelle, a soup for me, two entrees and a chocolate molten lava cake for dessert.  Before eating here, the chocolate souffle we had on the Disney cruise ships was our favorite dessert.  We think Carmel Cafe’s chocolate lava cake may very well have that beat.  Check out their website at http://www.carmelcafe.com/.

Abby Sick

The joys of parenting.  Michelle just took Abby to the doctor today for what we thought was an ear infection.  Turns out it ins’t an ear infection, but just severe sinus issues.  I can definitely say she takes after both of here parents, since Michelle and I both have sinus issues.  Last night was especially funny when we gave her some motrin.  She was very goofy.  It was like she had that second wind of energy once the drugs kicked in.  You could tell she was tired, but she definitely felt better than she did most of the day, yet she couldn’t crawl as good as she normally does.

Anyways, I hope she does feel better soon.  She is so much more fun when she is happy and playful, although last night was a bit entertaining too!

Buttermilk Pancakes


1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg or egg substitute

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk, almond milk or regular milk



Combine dry ingredients and stir with a spoon.  Add the wet ingredients and continue stirring until a creamy batter is made. If batter appears too thick, add milk until desired consistency is reached. Spoon batter onto a non-stick cooking surface (a griddle or a non-stick frying pan) on medium high heat.  I usually use a 10 inch pan with heat on 6 on our stove. After about a minute and a half, flip and cook another minute and a half.  DO NOT FLATTEN the pancakes after flipping.  This will make them less fluffy. Cook times will vary depending on the thickness of the batter and the actual heat of your cooking surface.

I usually make 5 large pancakes with this recipe.