Out With The Girls While On Baby Step #2

So, what do you do when your group of friends want to meet up for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner or a movie, and you can’t really justify using the family “Dining Out” or “Entertainment” funds for just yourself?
At the time that I’m writing this, I’m on Baby Step 2 of the Dave Ramsey plan. My husband and I have budgeted for $50/month for any dining out situation that may come up. That fund tends to be used for birthdays when we go to a pizza parlor. Very special occasions, and we’re paying for 3 of us to eat. So, in the case of just me going out with the girls, I realized that I needed to budget my personal pocket money. My husband and I budgeted $20/month for ourselves to get things we wanted like a coffee while shopping, or a magazine (me). Very recently, I bowed out of, yet again, another get-together with the girls from my old youth group days. I can’t attend every single event, but I realized that I really did need to go out now and then. For the record, this particular “bow-out” was also due to having several household projects going on as well with a time line. I’ve had friends offer to buy my coffee or meal if I come, but I don’t want to owe anyone.
This is the time that I realized, that to be able to say “yes” more often, I needed to start telling my pocket money where to go. I needed to start an envelope for “girl time”.

So that is the plan. My next outing may only be for coffee, but I’ll be able to visit with friends for a bit.

UPDATE: It’s been about a year since this was written, so I’ve had that time to put this into practice and really follow through.  The get-togethers for meals tend to not happen as often as the get togethers for movies.  I’m ok with waiting for most movies to come out on DVD and watching them at home (another post for another time). When my friends start planning to get together at a restaurant, I check to see how much I can afford, including the tip, look up the restaurant’s menu online and see which meals are in my budget, and let my friends know.  Hopefully, they’ll read this and know that I’m not poor, or strapped for cash, sometimes dinners are just not in the budget at that time. There was a time in the recent past where that was the case. But not now.  Now, I can.



New Years 2019 Post #1 New Financial Goals

At the beginning of 2018, Kevin and I decided to take a finance class, more specifically, Financial Peace University, taught by Dave Ramsey. About 9 month prior to this decision, I started reading the book version and started listening to his show on YouTube. At around that same time, our daughter was getting married, and because we didn’t have the money to pay for a wedding, Heather and her fiance were paying for most of the wedding themselves. We felt so bad that we couldn’t do that for them. Many evenings, Kevin would get rather bummed out that he didn’t have the money to do this for our only daughter. During this time, we were also looking down the road at retirement, possibly 17 years away, and we started getting the question, “What are you going to do when you retire?” Our answer was “travel”. Both of us had grandparents who traveled a lot after retirement. The thing was, I was also looking into the future, and I knew how much debt we had and how little we had saved, and I didn’t want to be 17 years down the road and having the same conversation with my husband, bummed out that we didn’t have the money to do what we wanted to do with all of the “free time” in our future.

So, while Kevin was on a business trip, I gathered all of our bills regarding debt. Then I made a list of what we owed from largest to smallest and started planning how to attack it and focus on that initial emergency fund. When my husband came home, he noticed that debt list when he went to bed as I had it taped to his closet door, which is next to his bed. I think he thought I put it there to bum him out. So I explained what I was hoping to accomplish and he was on board with that.

In the 9 months since we started, we each worked hard to watch our spending and we paid off a few of the small bills. However, we still hadn’t attended the class or any financial class together. I had attended one years ago (not FPU) at my church. During this 9 month time, we also had new debt crop up, so the list of what we owe had a couple of revisions. But we kept plugging away and thanks to that emergency fund that we saved up for, we were able to pay for minor emergencies that cropped up. So we were doing ok, but I was still the one who had most of the information from the FPU book that I was reading.

So, back to January 2018. In December of 2017, there was a small announcement in the local newspaper about an FPU class at a local church. We both decided to go and agreed that it was a worthy investment, and it would be good if we both had all of the information. I ordered the materials and signed us up.

The class was held at the Nazarene church here in town.  There were 3 other couples attending with us, so it was easier to get to know the others who we were going to talk about finances with.

Along with setting up an emergency fund, our first order of business was setting up a budget together, which this time included entertainment, clothing, doctors, prescriptions etc. Basically giving our money assignments.  So, jump to today. After being on the plan for the past 17 months, we’ve been able to keep our bills paid and take care of the unexpected  things or basic maintenance things fairly easily.  Anytime we’ve needed to repair something in the house or on the car, we’ve been able to take care of it because it was in the budget.

So, this is hopefully the first of a few posts about this journey we’re on. I’ll try to share how we’ve found alternatives to going into debt (my husband will hopefully be sharing how he was able to replace his phone when it stopped working).

I’ll chat with you later,


Happy October!

Good Morning!

After a busy week, I finally have a chance to write.  We’ve had an eventful summer  and some changes in our family, so today, not only can I catch up on my blog, but catch you all up as well.

-Kylin continued with his GED class through the summer term.  It kept what he’d learned still fresh in his mind.  The term ended at the end of August and he had most of September off.  He had nearly 4 weeks of not having to wake up early in the morning and doing homework.  Now he’s back for the Fall term and getting back into the routine.  However, he does miss the sleeping in.  He still does get 2 days to sleep in a couple of days of the week, so he isn’t completely suffering!

-Heather and her husband moved suddenly, to another state.  He heard about a job up in Washington, immediately applied for it and was offered the job by the end of the week.  He moved up there first to settle into his new job and office and also to find a home for them to live in, while Heather stayed behind at their apartment to pack up their things. Before they left, we and many of their friends met up at the pizza parlor (where she  used to work) to see them one last time before they moved.

A couple of weeks after the move, we drove up to see them and their new house.  We had bought a car from our neighbor and drove it up there.  I’ll probably write more about the car purchase when I start sharing more about our experience going to Financial Peace University (that will probably come in a few months).  We’re looking forward to , watching them establish themselves in their new surroundings.  When it was time for us to go, we took the train home for the first time.  The trip took a little longer than it would if we had driven, but it was certainly more relaxing, especially for Kevin would normally be focused on his driving instead of enjoying the view.

So now that school has started, Fridays seem to be the day to either catch up on housework, or spend the day grocery shopping.  This Friday is the housework Friday. Once I’ve cleaned up an area, there’s always that hope that it’ll stay clean.  I think the record is one month (entertainment center).  I’m working on the living room today, so we’ll see how long that lasts.  It’s the room that is lived in the most.

I’m hoping that I can keep up with the blog with life stories and photos at least once per week.

I hope you have a great week,

I’ll chat with you later


I’m Back Again!

Hi There,
It seems that Spring is the time when life calms down long enough for me to think about blogging. Then, I wonder what to write about.
So how is your year going?
Doesn’t it seem like the year has been speeding right along?
It seems like we just finished with Christmas and now the warmer weather is here more consistently.
It’s time to buy vegetable and flower starts and get them planted.
It’s time to shop the sales at Hobby Lobby for summer décor.
For me, it means that I also need to shampoo my carpets, and bring the rest of our furniture in from the storage unit, and start thinking about what might look better at a Goodwill than in our house. It also means painting walls, and moving the last of my married daughter’s belongings to her house.
It means that it may be time to look for a part time job since I’m no longer homeschooling.
Settling into some things and changing in other things.
All sorts of possibilities and opportunities ahead of me.
What season of life are you in?

For me, I’m hoping that whatever my season is, that I can be more consistent here


Happy New Year (a little late)

Hello Everyone,

I hope that your holidays  were fun and that you’re enjoying your new year.

Our new year started with the need for a floor replacement in one of our bathrooms.  Usually when we’re ringing in the new year, we’re wondering what the year will bring. I don’t think that water damage and mold in the sub-flooring was what we thought we’d start with.  When all is said and done, I hope to have “before” and “after pictures.   In the meantime, we’re getting ready for a bit of  a remodel.  Something we’ve never experienced before.  We’re also sharing our bathroom with the kids. Extra toothbrushes and shaving supplies and not a lot of counter space.   We’re adjusting.   Learning to adjust is a good thing.

School is back in session for Kylin.  He probably wishes that Christmas vacation lasted longer, but he hasn’t complained. However, there are days when he’ll hide out in his room to play and hopes that I’ll forget about school.

This year is also the “year of firsts”.  That first year of holidays and events after a loved one passes.  We lost two family members in the past two months.  My grandma passed away one week before Thanksgiving.  My sister’s mother passed away on the Monday before Christmas.  So the holidays were a bit mellow, and full of thoughts of our loved ones.

I guess that this is the year of adjustment, and not just adjusting to one less bathroom.  Also adjusting to the new normal, and whatever else may change the plans or hopes we have for this new year.

Here’s to a  new year and opportunities to adjust, or be flexible.






Have A Great 4th!!

Hi There,
Just a quick note wishing you all a Happy July 4th!
I’m spending this afternoon getting ready for tomorrow. From getting sodas and water chilled for celebrating in the hot sun, to buying food for our “All American” lunch tomorrow.
Also just a reminder to please be careful with your fireworks, yourselves and your pets tomorrow. We had a historic landmark baseball stadium in our town burn down this week, thus prompting a ban on fireworks in that area. As far as I know, the fire wasn’t started by fireworks, but served as a reminder that hot weather, dry grass and wood, and fire do not mix and puts you on the news (and not in a good way!)

I don’t know about you, but I like to decorate for holidays, and the 4th is one of my favorites. So I thought I’d share what I’ve set out this year. Enjoy! IMG_6839
Have a wonderful and safe holiday!


The graduate with her mama/teacher

The graduate with her mama/teacher

We now have a graduate. That was a sobering thought for us this past weekend. It seemed like she had been with us forever, even though, we remember that time in our lives before she was born, when she was born, and all of the years watching her grow up. Yes, we did get teary-eyed (at which point my son looked at me and asked, “Are you crying again Mom?”)
Before I had ever met Kevin, I knew that when the time came for me to have children, I wanted to homeschool. I had experienced going to public and Christian schools myself before being homeschooled during my last two years of high school. So I felt that I was making an informed choice. When Kevin and I were dating and talking about getting married, I told him that I wanted to homeschool, and he was on board with that idea. He had met a few people who had been homeschooled and thought that they were very smart, so he had no issue with going that route.

Our daughter arrived 2 months after our first wedding anniversary. Her arrival was just the medicine I needed after a stressful pregnancy. My mom had passed during my 5th month and so I was grieving and trying to still be happy and prepare the extra bedroom for my baby. There were some folks who were concerned that my grief would adversely affect my baby in the womb. Heather’s arrival gave me a new focus. She was a fairly easy baby. I had this little gal to watch as she grew and discovered all of the little things that we take for granted. The name “Heather” means “Joyful Spirit”. She fits that description. Yes, she’s had moments of not feeling so joyful, but she is generally a happy kid with a sense of humor (much like her parents humor).
By the time Heather was 3, I was already scouting around for homeschool materials. I asked friends and relatives who had been doing this for years asking about curriculum (because the one I used in school……..could have been much better). My original plan was to homeschool through the local Christian school that oversaw my homeschooling and in the end, would issue her a diploma. However, by the time my daughter reached the compulsory age to start, the school stopped having that arrangement and a couple of years later, the Christian school closed too. That meant that we were truly taking our child’s education into our own hands. Believe me, I felt that huge responsibility. It sometimes scared me. So I started with a curriculum fair and gathered used books, brochures for all sorts of companies, and had signed up for catalogs for curriculum from all sorts of denominations. To say the least, it was overwhelming to start with. I started with boxed curriculum from one company for most of the subjects and then something else for math. A couple of years later, finances dictated that I find curriculum that was more affordable, and I went the route of workbooks. There were a few years where we were trying to find the right math books that didn’t frustrate us. Math-U-See seemed to be the best fit. When she turned 18, I decided that really the best way to get her diploma was to get a GED. So I called the local community college and found out what she needed to do. They offered classed in Math and Language/Writing. She would have to study for the History and Science on her own. I bought the History and Science books that the college recommended. The classes that the college offered were free. She went to test to see which classes she should be placed in and tested into the top classes! She was relieved! I was thrilled to know that I hadn’t totally messed up her education. So last summer, she started riding the bus to the college. It was her first time in a classroom, and talk about diverse! People of all ages, lifestyles, from all walks of life were in her class, working for the diploma that for whatever reason, they didn’t get when they were in highschool. She surprised me when she’d tell me about volunteering to work math problems on the board for the class. Who does that? Apparently she does! She had teachers who encouraged everyone to not just stop with the GED, but to continue their education. People with GEDs have even been accepted into Ivy League schools! My daughter’s teacher also taught a class covering what to expect from college. At this time last year, college was not something she wanted to do, and now she’s not opposed to it. When she started those classes, she wasn’t sure that she wanted to walk through the graduation ceremony with the college. However, about 4 months ago, she decided that she did because “I worked hard for that diploma!”. Once she had made up her mind about that, she was encouraging her classmates who had taken their tests to go through graduation. By graduation day, there were 5 graduates from that class. That’s the most that the GED department has had in at least a couple of years. The teacher had to get herself a new cap as she hadn’t attended the ceremony in about that long. She took a lot of pictures like a proud teacher would. So, at the ceremony, we were teary-eyed. This part of my job is done. I have a full-fledged adult who is moving on to new things. What they are remains to be seen. Only God knows what is next. I’m looking forward to see what that is.

Walking toward the next phase of her life

Walking toward the next phase of her life

We are very proud of you Miss Heather!!! Love, Dad & Mom

The Papasan Chair

In my last post, I shared that we had decided to put Kevin’s papasan chair in the spot where our Christmas tree had been. The intent was to have another place to sit. Well, it is another place to sit………and nap. However, not for any of us.

The furry family members have claimed this chair as their own.

The furry family members have claimed this chair as their own.

Today's "claimjumper" was Oswin.  Cute little mooch!

Today’s “claimjumper” was Oswin. Cute little mooch!

"Ooooooohhhh, you wanted to sit here?"

“Ooooooohhhh, you wanted to sit here?”

One day, it’ll be my turn. But I may need to move the squatters!


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