Category Archives: Finances

Seven Quick Takes (a day late….)

A day late to the party, but the kids have hijacked the computer this week and I’ve been coughing so much I haven’t cared to be on it anyway….however…..bright and early Saturday morning and I’m feeling fine-ish and they are sleeping so it’s MINE.  ALL.  MINE.  And I’m joining in with Jen and her weekly Quick Takes…she says she might go last first…hmmmmm, that might bode well for me  😉   without further adieu….

  1. I’m working on a “Day in the Life” post.  Riveting.  I’m sure you can’t wait to see how my day shapes up compared to yours.  Funny thing is, it’s a little tedious accounting for one’s day AND trying to make it funny.  Clearly I have nothing mind-blowing to talk about if THAT’S my big project, eh?
  2. One week post-flu and I THINK (Oh, please, please, please, please let me not jinx myself here) we are relatively healthy.  Except for this nagging cough/sinus infection I’ve had all week.  I’ve been eating cough drops by the bagful and have had several nights on the couch trying to breathe/sleep/not wake Hubby all night.  I finally broke down and my doctor called me in some antibiotics and cough syrup…hence the early wake up–slept like a baby.
  3. Week 2 of my fitness Groupon and each workout KILLS.  Amazing how hard you can work in a 35 minute period doing just a few exercises and opposing muscle groups.  Super excited to see how I’ll be at the end of the 6 weeks.
  4. This week our boys had a WWF session in the backyard.  By boys I mean including Hubby.  Let me say, I HATE wrestling.  Someone always gets hurt.  It’s loud.  It’s annoying.  And yet…..so necessary.  Hubby had me read (and I probably need to REread) John Eldredge‘s book Wild at Heart and it helped me to understand and appreciate the male “need” to be a male, so I accept it a wee bit more.  Wee bit.  In the end, Dad still won (he’s still hanging on…).  Big brother still won (barely).  And the only blood drawn was on Dad’s chin by a stray long nail. boys
  5. I scored some AWESOME dishes at our church thrift store this week.  Service for 12.  TWELVE I tell you!  12 dinner dishes.  12 small dishes.  12 bowls.  A serving bowl and lid and salt and pepper shaker.  $50.  Except they weren’t.  They were half OFF…..yes, that’s right, $25.  S.C.O.R.E.  Super cute.  AND I saw some fantastic coffee cups that will complement this set from Pier One.  Now when we have company….we’ve got enough dishes!  So come on over!!!rooster
  6. I have the day off Monday to take our youngest athlete to the County wide Fitness Festival.  Little stinker made it to 4 events.  Sit and reach.  Standing long jump.  Shuttle run.  50 yard dash.  Should be great weather.  I’m sure there will be pictures to follow.  And blogging.  Especially since I have the DAY OFF!
  7. We’ve been in the refinancing dance for our house and got a sweet low-interest rate with no closing costs and no re-appraisal.  It takes a while, as you may or may not know, and yesterday we got the call from the title company….because we were late to our closing….that no one ever told us we HAD.  We jockeyed around lunches (fortunately Hubby was working from home that day!) and traffic—-because Bike Week starts this week….but…..it’s done.  We celebrated with a Friday night fire pit and marshmallows after our fish and chips dinner.  ‘Twas a good day, nice end to the week.  fire

Happy Weekend, Y’all!

7QT Return, Ta DAAA!

With my whole social network fasting apparently I have more time to blog…who knew???  So, I’m jumping back in with the tried and true at Conversion Diary with Jen and her peeps…of course, I’m not #1 like Grace, but she’s a new mom again and clearly not sleeping anyway…so go check ’em all out…

1.  Fresh into Lent, folks…Fresh.  Into.  Lent.  You know what that means, right?  All those sacrifices and desires to help more, pray more, do more, etc are FRESH and “technically” two days in we should be going strong.  Ammiright??  Riiiiight, so remember…no meat today. And if perhaps, halfway through that double with cheese you remember “ACK…it’s Friday!!!”, just start over.  We are imperfect people, God knows this.  His joy is in our TRYING to do better.  And when we screw up, dust ourselves off and try again….that’s what we can choose to do.  So, in the classic words of Dori from Finding Nemo…”just keep swimming”!

2.  What did you give up for Lent?  Perhaps you are instead focusing on praying and have some plans of monastic retreat or super fasting to add some oomph to your prayer life,  or maybe working in the soup kitchen or homeless shelter….what’s the plan, Stan?  I gave up Facebook and Twitter.  It’s quite freeing and I actually look forward to this each Lent.  Now, you might say, but “Tracy, your blog shows up on Twitter?”  Yes, it’s set that way automatic, but I am not CHECKING said Twitter account.

3.  Did you get your ashes?  We did.  I must say it was practically WW3 getting there.  A serious force of crazy, crappy, grumpy, tempers came over our household IMMEDIATELY prior to leaving.  We persevered anyway and let me say, people….GOD prevailed.  Oh yes he did defuse that 13 yo, 15 yo and 2 young ladies who readied themselves in their Mass finery only to see EVERY to the ONE was in their regular clothes (including yours truly, fresh off the JOB train in her scrubs).  Hubs took everyone home after the distribution of ashes and I stayed to wait for our 7th grader to take him home after his RE class.  We came home to fish and chips awaiting.  (AKA, fish sticks and fries)  God is good.  All the time.  All the time.  God is good.  

4.  Ash Wednesday I also went to Adoration (a weekly Lenten practice for me this year).  Unknowingly, I arrived during the church’s Mass celebration, therefore the Eucharist was not in the chapel, but in the church.  ENNYWAY….I still prayed the Rosary and intentions and fully enjoyed my quiet time.  If you have noise in your life (you don’t need to be a parent for this) you should take time to go to Adoration…shoot, even if you’re not Catholic….just go…it is AWESOME.  Peace, quiet.  Total gift.  I’d live there if I could.  Really.  Logistically though, just not going to work.

5.  Saved me some cash this week.  Went in to quit the gym, just not feeling it, and I’ve been working out at home (not this week so much…but mostly-ish) but they love me so much they comped me 2 months and lowered my monthly rate to $5.  Sheesh, alright.  I’ll come back.  $5, c’mon.  Who CAN say no to that???

6.  Along with my social fasting, weekly Adoration visit and prayer intentions….I am also trying to focus on some spiritual reading.  This week I finished C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”…wow.  wow.  wow.  If you haven’t read it….do it.  Next up…”Visions of the Children” by Janice Connell.  And continued reading of Saint Faustina’s Diary (although that is taking YEARS.  Literally.  YEARS!!  tremendously rich reading.  small bites only)

7.  Finally, if you read yesterday’s post on our little Romeo and his Valentine’s flower promise…I’ll tell you how it went:  He made his first deposit to his math teacher (who, although killing him, has been incredibly helpful and challenging) and from then on out had “hordes” of ladies following him around for roses. He had them labeled and did have a couple extra (to which I was also a recipient….smart boy!)…but he admitted at dinner that it was an impossible task to please all the ladies on Valentine’s Day.  Not to mention expensive.  He’s a mess that one.  A sweet mess.  **For all you Bachelor fans out there….I asked him if he was prepping to do a teen Bachelor and he was unaware of the show/concept etc….PHew.  I don’t watch either, but have the gist of it from some of you…who will remain nameless for the obvi reasons.

Have a great week y’all and enjoy the weekend!!!  We won’t be shoveling snow…thank you, JESUS…but will be wearing jeans and hoodies this weekend here in Central FLA.  Brrr.  High of 50ish tomorrow.  Yikes!!  😉

Starting over on a Tuesday…

That is so wrong!!  Everyone knows all new things start on Mondays.  Yet, we bring in 2013 on a Tuesday this year thus causing a conundrum of when to begin new habits, etc, etc, etc….Tuesday or the following Monday?  In all reality, it doesn’t really matter, does it?  Today is January 1, 2013, like it or not and the day will come and go whether we have “New Year’s Resolutions” or not; so….no time like the present, eh?

Last year, my plan for 2012 was:

  1. Eat healthier/exercise more….pretty much #1 on the list EVERY year and one year I will actually succeed.  “You never fail until you stop trying” Albert Einstein  And try, try again I will.  In reality, I did succeed at this, I’ve made MUCH healthier choices in my diet and have tried many new exercises, just haven’t succeeded in actually losing weight–however, I never said losing weight was my goal.  I shall mark this up to a success.
  2. Have more Quiet time.  My quiet time has evolved.  Hubby and I have been reading the Catechism with Flock Note and discussing it every few weeks.  I’ve been to Adoration more frequently and my spiritual reading has picked up with Choosing Joy by Dan Lord and Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  Both books are great for one chapter at a time to mull over and ponder.  I shall mark this up in the success column as well.
  3. Finances.  Clueing in Hubby and getting on the same page.  Done.  While we haven’t climbed completely out of the hole yet, we’ve stopped (so far…) the continued addition to debt and have begun backing up the train with a good plan to head into 2013.  Aaaaaand a 3rd success.  Of course, we will continue this journey together and I’m sure Dave Ramsey will be involved at some point (I hear what he’s saying but I just don’t know if I’m ready to jump in just yet), or not, Hubby’s pretty good at $stuff, either way…2012 was a good start, 2013 will be solid…I feel it.

Mentally, I really thought 2012 was a big fat FAIL on the resolutions, however, looking back I see that I actually succeeded in what I set out to do.  Sweet.

Heading into 2013 I’ve been mulling over my Goals/Resolutions/Plan for a couple of days and have also come across a few great ideas I may incorporate into reaching my own success in 2013.

Jennifer Fulwiler gives an analytical view of reviewing one’s “areas for improvement” and how to problem solve those areas.  I honestly never gave it a thought as to WHY I might not be succeeding in certain areas.  Seems so logical, I’m a little embarrassed.  Only a little though.

Jon Acuff gives a man’s view (but truly EVERYone can use this method) of breaking the year into smaller bites and attacking each goal one at a time within those small bites.  Brilliant and so realistic…I CAN do anything for 52 days.

Ann Voskamp challenges us to look for the Joy in everything and TO WRITE. IT. DOWN.  Finding 1000 Joys in 2013.  Even a chance to win a camera at the end of the year.  More importantly, Ann tells us that in focusing our eyes and heart on Joy we are certain to reap the rewards of:

1. a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)

2. progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

3. higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

4. closer relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)

5. Increased happiness…. by 25% — (Who wouldn’t want 25% more      happiness!) (McCullough et al., 2002)

After all that…what are YOUR resolutions?  Or do you just opt out and chalk it up to another day on the calendar?

As for me, my focuses for this year are:

  1. Losing weight.  Hubby has agreed to help me  and so with his help, our P90X library and various other weights and miscellanea I’m ready.  I mean, sheesh, the baby will be 10 this year for crying out loud!!
  2. Spiritually to be more Joy-focused and applying it to how I live my life, my marriage, my parenting and so on.
  3. Learn to use my REAL camera more efficiently and Photoshop Elements…which has been on my computer for 2 years and I still don’t have a CLUE what to do with it.  It’s time.  I love my iPhone but my real camera rocks.

Blessings and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

 

Thirty-One…partay! Online style..

My dear friend, Amanda, is a Thirty One consultant (but that’s NOT her in the picture!) and if you are a bag, tote, purse, organizer lover like me….you’ll LOVE this stuff.  I’ve already sent out a mass email to friends and family who (I think) will benefit from these products either for themselves or for Christmas, birthday, teacher gifts, etc.  There is a HUGE variety to choose from, great prices and you can check her website for the monthly deals (spend $31 and get a product super-duper cheap-o) and contact her for any questions, BUT….THIS post is to show you a few things actually IN ACTION.

Now you know how the parties go, you order, I order, there are perks for hosting, etc, etc.  You can become a consultant or a hostess.  The consultant price is incredibly low (certainly one of the lowest I’ve come across in direct sales home based businesses, so if you are looking for some cash for the holidays, the groceries or vacation, maybe this is for you).  Maybe you just want to get an ever BETTER price on the products and would like to host a party.  Either way.  My friend’s goal is to provide home school supplies for her kiddos (6 of them), extracurricular activities (swimming and piano) and to supplement her family’s income (real estate has been tough in case you haven’t heard….), so check it out and if you want to order…get it in before the 29th of October; each month the specials change and my “party” is over the 29th!  So hurry, hurry, don’t be a procrastinator like me!!  Without further ado…..here’s some proof these bags rock!

We use this utility tote as our go-to beach bag

6 towels AND toys, sunscreen and umbrella screw!

Toys, etc under the towels and it’s a nice wipe off material!

My everyday purse. Love this print!

Plenty of room for my “mess”

My organizer…matches my purse 😉

Ta-DA! Look how nice that Kindle Fire fits in the middle for travel…..

This is my friend Mary’s…she had hers monogrammed…you can, too!
This is an organizer

She carries EVERYTHING she needs for the day…and then some. Best thing is, it stands upright and doesn’t flip over in the car!!

So there are a few true-life pics of Thirty-One in action.  Check out Amanda’s website HERE and order before October 29.  Or book a party.  Or become a consultant.  Thanks!!  I appreciate your checking it out and I know she will, too!

List making goes Techno!!

OK.  I am a list maker.  And I LOVE to check things OFF my list….it makes me feel so accomplished!  I’ve been making them forever and like Kate Wicker, I remember putting “shower” on my list when my kids were small so that I could remind myself that I DID actually DO a lot during the day.  I still make lists, however, with 4 kids getting older and into more activities, additional schedules to juggle, school and sport fees to pay, work schedules, things to be done around the house, etc, etc, etc….(I’m sure you have a similar “list-issue” in your house) it gets quite boggled and I’ve lost SEVERAL lists which does NADA as far as list-productivity goes, so it was with great curiosity I read Dorian Speed‘s article on Catholicmom.com regarding EVERNOTE.  At first, I didn’t quite “get it” and how I would or could use this app.  However, I downloaded it to my MacBook and my phone and let me just say, Holy!!!  Cow!!!  This thing rocks.  Here are a few examples why I find it incredibly useful, maybe you’ll be a convert, too!

  • The app communicates between your PC/Mac/phone, whatev…..if you make a list or tag an article on your home computer and you are away from home, it’s on your phone!  And vice versa.  Ask yourself how many times you’ve “left it at home”.  Too many times to count for me.
  • You can make a list and edit it….
  • You can take a picture and that can be your list
  • You can make folders of lists…..disclaimer here…..I haven’t used this YET, but feel certain I will….Each kid needs their own folder as well as Hubby and I!
  • There’s a cutie little app called Skitch that can be used as well with it…a photo app for screen savers, however, I’ve yet to give it the patience it needs to figure it out…it’s a fun thing, not as much a productivity thing…plus I don’t do a ton of screen savers anyhoo..

A few of the things that have come in handy FOR ME on Evernote that have helped me tremendously:

  • Putting in each boy’s class schedule and teacher for quick access if I need to communicate with the school as well as their Alpha codes
  • A picture of the school calendar to keep track of days off, holidays and early release days….I know, I know, just put it in the calendar…which I do, but I always seem to MISS something somewhere…it’s a cross-check
  • Pictures of freezer recipes for the week.  This made making the grocery list WAAAY quicker  since I didn’t have to flip through the mag to find them, but could just scroll through and find my recipes and ingredients!
  • Soccer schedule and fee calendar, getting those checks in on time….
  • Cheer schedule and snack list—-don’t want to forget MY day for frozen grapes—(next game), lest those cheerleaders be snack-less.

I haven’t convinced my Hubby to use it yet, however, he’s more of a touch it once and deal with it kind of person and I’m a write it down, ponder it, get back to it kind of person.  On the plus side, I’m losing FAR less lists and on Day 2 of school when our sweet 7th grader couldn’t quite remember his class schedule, I just copied it and texted it to him.  Sweeeeeeeet!!!