Saturday, February 28, 2009

Do You Budget?

I know, I know. I sound like a broken record lately. It's either dieting, being sick, or budgeting (with a little Fireproof! - that's the comment I just got from my daughter...). But I am curious. Do you budget? If you attempt to budget, do you think you do a good job? Is there something that you've learned along the way that you think someone else might find to be helpful? Anything you've done that you wish you had not?

I'll admit it - I have an insane respect for people who budget and STICK to IT. I think it's hard to stay on budget, especially when you are working with only one income. I can think back to the days when I was employed at the airline and the insane amount of money that they paid me to do what I did - and I'm shocked that we didn't do a better job at managing a budget. We would be much better off today if we had really focused on saving money back then. Built up our nest egg so to speak. But like all young, newly married couples....we just bought whatever we wanted. Sure, I had a closet full of the cutest clothes and more shoes than I could ever have possible worn within a good month's time, but we didn't' do a great job of saving up for a rainy day.

Today we find ourselves dealing with a budget and one income. I think since the time that I left the airline until this year, there has only been one year that I did not work in some capacity - that was when The Bug was in 2nd grade. I started subbing when she was in 3rd grade and have been pretty busy at that until this past year. With my school schedule during the fall semester and the budget cuts that our local Board of Education have imposed, subbing's not really a money maker right now. I laughed yesterday when I checked the mail box. I had a pay check...and my bill for the tag renewal on the van. Needless to say - I will have cleared maybe 50 cents after emissions and purchasing my tag. The Bug wanted to know what was so funny... I told her that God always provides when you're faithful. The check is enough to pay for my tag and the tests that are required this year.

This morning I was relaying that story to Hubs over breakfast and we started talking about budgeting. I told him about my good friend who pays $200 on her power bill each and every month (she has a good budgeting system - she should share it - hint hint) and we were discussing what our monthly expenses were last year. Hence forth came the topic for this bloggy post this weekend. Do you budget? Do you wish you could stick to a budget? Or do you wish you could get orange juice from a turnip? (I had to throw that in there to see if you were paying attention now!).

Leave a comment. Advice. Complaints. The floor is yours. Inquiring minds wanna know....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fitness Friday

It's that time again readers - I have got to get back on my lifestyle change. After going to the doctor this past week about my cold, I have gained some weight - shocker - thanks to all the medicines that I'm on. So...it's time to battin down the hatches. Time to get serious. I have a parents' anniversary party in May and a wedding in July to get ready for...no time to waste.

I have been thinking about the whole Lent thing and have decided to give up eating out for Lent. Whoa - that's a big one considering we like to try to do 'date night' a couple of times a month. I may have to make it eating fast foods - like Chickfila. But there is some definate 'eating out' that's going to be given up. I have not gotten up and riden my bike in what feels like months now. I do walk for an hour while The Bug is in Karate - but that's not a lot of weekly exercise.

So to make myself commit to what will take place this upcoming week:
1. I am going to get up each morning and ride my bike for a minimum of 30 minutes.
2. I am going back to counting my calories so that I can hopefully lose this weight that I've gained thanks to the medicine and just being lazy.
3. I am going back to drinking my strict 64 ounces of water a day and journaling my meals. It's the only way that I can make myself accountable.

Tune in next Friday and see how it goes. If you've got a fitness goal for the week, leave it in the comments and I'll be your encourager!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

FIREPROOF in 60

In case you haven't seen Fireproof yet (what is wrong with you!!!????!!!) I thought you might enjoy this Fireproof humor. It's available on the DVD.

Lent and Lost and Leverage

First... Lost. Oh my goodness! I mean, first we think maybe Ben's not so bad... Only to find out that he killed Locke! Where did that come from? Did you happen to see that one coming? Whoa! And speaking of Lost...so now there's a whole new crew of castaways on the island? How'd that happen? I mean, where they 'picked' to be there? What's the deal with Caesar? Where is Sayid? Now that Locke is 'back' what will happen to him? Where are The Others and what's the deal with Widmore? I need details. I hate it when I show leaves you hanging.

Leverage - as in I have none. I went to the Dr. yesterday - I have fluid in my ears...no funny jokes please - I probably won't even hear them! At least I am now on the road to recovery. I can partially hear out of my left ear again but in exchange for that, I now feel like a sponge that has been sitting out in the sunlight for about 2 days straight. Thank goodness for humidifiers!

And finally Lent. We are Baptist. Generally they don't celebrate Lent but in the past I have observed the tradition. Today The Bug came in and said she was thinking about giving up cookies for Lent. She and her friends apparently had a discussion about it at lunch today. I didn't realize she was such a cookie crazed person but I told her I thought it was a good idea. One year for Lent I gave up caffeine. Another year it was mayonnaise. Both were hard to live without. I told her I had actually gotten up this morning and thought about giving something up for Lent but now that I realize Lent started yesterday I feel like I'm a day behind. I can't give up peanut butter - I ate some this morning... and I can't give up sweets because I ate some powdered donuts after dinner. Anybody giving up anything for Lent this year?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What? Speak Louder - I Can't Hear YOU!!!

What is it about being sick that allows one's ears to stop working? In this case, I am talking about myself. My ears are all stopped up and I've just about had it! Okay, that's enough complaining...but if you have a cure aside from chewing gum...please share it with me. I would so like to be able to hear something today aside from myself sniffling!

On the homefront, everyone seems to be feeling better. Hubs is at work, The Bug is at school. The cat is asleep on her perch here beside the window and adjacent to the computer desk. I am doing laundry and considering running upstairs and opening all the bedroom windows to air things out even though it's in the low 30s outside. I hate the feeling of being cooped up in the house.

Interesting tidbit to share. While watching The Today Show this morning, they were discussing the current banking crisis and Suze Orman pointed out that at the end of 2009 the FDIC is going back to their insurance agreement of 100,000 from 250,000 this year. That means if you've got more than 100,000 tied up in one bank, you need to move some of your money around. This also applies to CDs.... so it's worth taking note of this information and perhaps passing this along to anyone that you know who regularly buys CDs .

I feel 'random' today so I'll end here. Found out that apparently they are already in talks to make a third Twilight movie, which will be released NEXT summer. That will set the Bug's heart a-flutter. :) Stay warm.

Tuesday's Thought

Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.
- Susan Scarf Merrell

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Butterflies

We recently took advantage of the free admissions offered by a 'nature retreat' on our vicinity. It was a great day spent outdoors and although it was cool, it was comfortable. We had the opportunity to visit a butterfly house. As we should around waiting patiently for a butterfly to hopefully land on us, we were about to give up hope when the following happened: That's right - as we are standing there - actually with a butterfly hovering over my head, we realized that one had landed on The Bug's vest. I told her to wear yellow - I thought they would like that. She had taken the vest off though because it was so warm in the room that we were in. But did you notice the GRIN on her face? She was a like a celebrity for the amount of time that the flutterby was visiting with her.


The neat thing about this butterfly - see how it's just your ordinary brown? Well, look at what you see when it decides to open its wings....






Isn't that a gorgeous display of the wonder and splendor of God's work? You first seem something ordinary on the outside - but if you are patient enough, you'll experience the splendor of what is there...you just have to wait.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz


Oh what a relief it is... everyone sing along with me..... That's right. I have been reduced to singing the theme song for Alka-Seltzer cold medicine. Citrus blend thank you. Actually I hate Alka-Seltzer, so around my house, if you have heard me say " I took an Alka-Seltzer" you will know that I am SICK. S I C K. In capital letters. I'm sure my disliking this medicine goes back to my childhood, where my father thought it could cure anything. Alert the medics - we have a cure for cancer...it goes plop plop fizz fizz. It's the running joke in my married life because if you are sick, Daddy will offer you some of his treasured Alka-Seltzer.
We broke down a few weeks ago and bought some for Hubs. It has been sitting upstairs on the dresser. Last night, in a fit of desperation, I took them and dropped them in the smallest amount of water consumed by humans and drank it. And I was able to sleep. I got up this morning and took some more. Please do not call my Daddy....but it actually wasn't so bad. Not the childhood drama that I remember of GAGGING when taking it growing up. I'm actually thinking of going back upstairs and having some more because my congested head is starting to throb again.
But I am happy to report that my two seem to be feeling much better. The Bug is being baptized in the morning so that is good news for them. And I will make it through with my plop, plop, fizz, fizz till I am able to better cope. In the meantime, all of you try to stay well...between me and Daddy, there may not be enough plop plop to go around!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fitness Fridays

I need some accountability. I have lost about 30-35 lbs since October...but since the holidays - (2 months ago!) I am lacking motivation. I need something to help motivate me to get back on the ball. Sure, there are two big events coming up this year....
1. My parents' 50th wedding anniversary in May.
2. My nephew's wedding July 10th.

You would think these two opportunities to show off a new figure would be inspiring, but right now they are not. I need to make myself recommit to getting back on my bike for 30 minutes each morning. First thing. No excuses. I need to make myself commit to getting back into counting my calories. No excuses. I need to start doing some kind of toning exercises at least 3 days a week. No excuses.

Anybody else having a hard time staying motivated? Want to join me? Maybe start some sort of challenge, where on Fridays we have to report how we've been doing or what is giving us a hard time? I'm game if you are. I like the feeling that comes from cleaning out my closet because everything's getting too big. I like buying Levis that fit!

What do you say?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Kids Need To Know - Car

Today's the last "What Kids Need To Know"...which means I can toss this old article! YEAH!!!

CAR:
  • pump gas
  • check oil level and add oil if needed
  • check washer fluid and add more if necessary
  • arrange routine maintenance
  • jump-start car
  • change tire
  • check and add air to tires
  • produce documents if stopped by police

Hopefully someone will find these tips useful. I've never used those stations where an attendant pumps your gas...although I have NO IDEA who taught me how to pump gas... I think it was a hands-on practice. I have no idea how to change a tire though.... maybe I should add that to my to-do list.

Hubs went back to work today. The Bug is still feeling under the weather and has spent the day playing video games and watching TV. I have not accomplished my goals this week for the most part, but things have been going along rather well. Tomorrow I am going to work on moving all my scrapbook stuff back upstairs and deep cleaning the downstairs. Isn't life fun?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Kids Need To Know about... The House

Welcome to today's House Edition. I have two sickies at home today - what a way for The Bug to spend her winter break - but also her Dad is here having gone to the Dr. this morning. I feel like a short order cook/maid/nurse.....

HOUSE:
  • Know where the circuit breaker is and how to use it
  • Locate and use water and furnace shutoffs
  • What to do in case of a kitchen fire
  • Use a fire extinguisher
  • Perform basic first aid
  • Fix a running toilet
  • Hang a picture
  • Use all household appliances

Again, if your child(ren) have mastered any of these skills...give yourself a pat on the bat for your good parenting skills.

I'm off for a few minutes of P&Q after having delivered lunch to the charges. Stay well!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What Kids Need To Know - Clothes

Now I'm not talking about knowing what Apple Bottom Jeans (or even boots with the fur) are all about... I'm talking about knowing how to take care of certain clothing emergencies (without screaming M O M M Y!). Hopefully you'll find some of this as helpful....

CLOTHES
  • Sew on a button
  • Mend a seam
  • Store garments properly
  • Follow fabric-care labels
  • Do laundry, including treating simple stains
  • Wash and dry items by hand
  • Fold clothes
  • Pack a suitcase
  • Sort and properly put away unneeded seasonal items

And those are the tips for today. To be honest, I have sheltered The Bug when it comes to taking care of clothes. She does know how to sew on a button, thanks probably to the Home Ec teacher. Mending a seam we haven't come across although I told her that I need to hem her slacks that she wore to church on Sunday morning so we may do that together rather than taking them and having them done. She has never done the laundry...there's something about her doing the laundry that scares me. I don't want all of my socks to be pink...unless they are, of course, pink! She can fold clothes, but often times they just end up in a stack on her dresser. Her idea lately of packing a suitcase...well let's just say, there'd be no clothes in there if it were up to her. So maybe I need to apply this knowledge to myself. Or I'm going to end up with a thirty year old living in my basement one day....perish the thought!!!!

Tune in tomorrow - we'll learn about what they should know how to do around the house.

Tuesday's Thought

Families are like fudge: mostly sweet with a few nuts.

- Author Unknown

Monday, February 16, 2009

What Kids Need to Know - The Money Edition

Welcome to Monday ....morning. Yawn. We are on Winter Break right now and The Bug is still sleep so I thought I'd go ahead and post today's "Need To Know" message. It's about money. Something we all need more of with the state of the economy. If you have any suggestions you don't see here - please leave a comment...

MONEY
  • Make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it
  • Use an ATM
  • Open, use and balance a checking account
  • Apply for a credit card and use it responsibly
  • Save up to buy a desired item
  • Set aside money for charity
  • Keep track of important papers

Okay, so these may be geared more to the older teen - but still sound advice. Even the youngest of children can learn about giving money to charity or saving up to by something that they really and truly want. Maybe a tweener could be responsible for balancing their savings account. I know growing up I had a friend whose parents had her give 10% of her allowance for tithes (because afterall He lets us keep that other 90%) and then she had to put 10% in her savings account before she could do anything else with her money.

So what about you - how are you teaching or how did you teach your child(ren) to be responsible with money?

Tune in tomorrow - we'll be talking about clothes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What Kids Need To Know

Each day this week I plan on sharing a portion of an article that I had read in an old magazine. It's a page that I had torn out, so I cannot even give credit where it is deserved, but I thought it might come in handy for you as well.

Today's Topic:
FOOD
  • use microwave
  • plan and shop for a healthy diet
  • read nutrition labels and know what's good and what's not
  • prepare, serve and store food to avoid spoilage
  • cook a well-balanced meal
  • know which kitchen tools and equipment to use for which tasks

I like that the article states that when your tween or teen learns a new skill, you should pat yourself on the back, too...for your good parenting and because you'll have fewer things on your to-do list!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How Do You...

How do you deal with the tough questions that your children ask? I know that I mentioned last week that I had planned on blogging more and for that failure - sorry - but here is the question that my daughter asked recently and what our minister said.

But first, a little background...
Our daughter has always been inquisitive. She has always asked things that I was surprised that a child at that age would even think about. I'm not being boastful, but honest. I don't know if it's because she is the youngest child in the family - the relative closest to her age is about to turn 20. But my child, she is a thinker. Recently we were talking one night before bedtime when she said she wanted to ask me something...and believe me, that statement uttered by her sometimes makes me nervous! ... but she wanted to know why God would have created Satan the way that he did, if he knows all and knows the past, present and future...why would he still create Satan knowing that he would turn on him and do the things that he has done?

At first I had to tell her that was a good question. Something that I don't think I would have thought about at her age. Then I told her the best way that I knew how to explain this is because God gives each of us free will. We have a choice between right and wrong. That he created the angels the same way - I mean, if he had realized it was a flaw, wouldn't he have changed that ability to choose in you and me today? I told her to imagine what a world would be like where we lived without the right to choose. And we also talked about somehow having the CHOICE and MAKING the RIGHT CHOICE are not the same thing. People make bad choices every day. We have to live with it... I mean, why did I choose to be 'slackermomatlarge'? Now that I think about it - who wants to be labeled a slacker?

Well we recently completed a new member class at church. After the first meeting, I asked D.W. if I could talk to him about a question....you get the picture. He told me to go back to her and ask her if she could create a person, would she not give him the CHOICE of how to live? Then he went into the discussion about FREE WILL just like I had. I left there feeling much better about how I had answered her question. Time has passed, and along with it a lot of questions have been asked and (hopefully) answered. Last Sunday morning we are sitting in our usual spot in the pew when D.W. is delivering his sermon....when he starts telling the story about a parent whose child had asked a question about WHY God let it happen since sin is a disobedience to God. My daughter's question exactly. Why did God allow this to happen? This is what I wrote in my notes...
If you create someone to be in a relationship with you (as we were created),
would you give them no choice in who they would love and make them love you
only? Because GOD IS LOVE.
Because of His love and nature, He gave man a choice. Because of choice, man
rebelled. That probability was already there. The most
disappointing thing in human nature is that we are fallible. We do well till we
have to get out of bed in the morning....the the fallibility begins!

So there you have it, in a nutshell. Probably a lot wordier than it needs to be. I'll leave you with this thought....

Whatever has been brought your way, know that God knows what He is doing and He is in control. He has a plan. You might not be able to see it now - but it's there.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the week. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)