My Hubby Rocks

I am not sure how I was so blessed to get a guy like my Hubby but I scored.  Not only is he good looking but he is super smart and so handy.  And he makes the best breakfasts.Every day he makes me and little one breakfast.  He would make Jacob breakfast too but Jacob only likes cereal and is a creature of habit.  We get pancakes or omelets and just about anything we wish if he can make it.  I usually get a ham and cheese omelet and a side of sausage or bacon and it is always delicious.

He is the bomb when it comes to cooking!

He has such a way of seasoning food to make it taste so good.  I don’t know what he does and he rarely tells me but most of the food he makes is seasoned so good it’s delicious.  I do remember one time he did use the wrong seasoning and we had some funky pancakes.  He thought he was going to hide it from us but when I tasted it I must have made a face and he laughed so hard.  He said he meant to put cinnamon in the pancakes and pulled out Paprika.  Uggh, that was not good. It was hilarious and a memory I will not forget.

He loves to take recipes he sees online and actually create them.  He’s super excited about trying new things and most of the dishes have been awesome.  Here’s a few pics of his Pizza Stromboli, I think that’s what it was called. It turned out so good and we ate the whole thing.

My Hubby Rocks

My Hubby Rocks!

So last night I was super tired after working a full day and heading over to the dry cleaner to pick up kiddos uniform.  Hubby came home and was like Mr. Commando barking out orders to the kids. When we talked earlier in the day he said he was tired of seeing little one’s messy room and was going to tear it apart.  I will be honest, I didn’t believe he was going to do it.  Not because he wouldn’t but because we always have some sort of plan and then one thing or another gets in the way and we end up not doing what we originally planned.

Last  night he was on fire.  He took apart little one’s bed, literally threw the mattresses in the hall way and pulled out at least 2 trash bags of junk and food wrappers.  Our little one drives us crazy cause he is always grabbing snacks and leaves a little pile of wrappers.  I laughed cause he made little one leave and he couldn’t go back in because he said he wouldn’t be able to dump anything if he was in there.  He got rid of little dinky toys and stuffed animals that are just taking over space.  It ended up being awesome.  I was so proud of my Hubby.  He didn’t back down and ended up cleaning Jacob’s room too.  He told me last night we would tackle our room.  Yikes, I hope he doesn’t find crap under the bed like he found in little’s room.

Our room is a mess all the time and I can’t even tell you why.  It’s the first room you see when you walk in from the garage and honestly it’s probably where we dump everything as soon as we come in the house.  I know I should put my coat away and my purse but I tend to throw it on my bed and head on over to change my clothes.  Hopefully once he gets my office done we’ll have things more organized in our room and our home.

Did I tell you he’s building me an office?  Yeah, my Hubby rocks!  He is adding a small little 12 x 8 room, more like a large walk in near our master bedroom so that I will have an office.  I work from home at least 2 to 3 times a week and I really need a space.

 

My Husband rocks

As you see it’s in the dining room and I have a mess here daily. So he ended up adding a little space and I am hoping that in the next month or so I will have my own little space. There will be more pictures to come as progress is made on my office.  I can’t wait to get my own space and have it well organized and bright and pretty.

 

8 Tips for Working At Home

8 Tips for working at home

I have a full time job as a Physician recruiter and I am very fortunate I get to work from home at least three days out of the week.  People always ask me how I work from home and get actual work done.  They often tell me they can’t do it because they would be distracted.  To be honest working at home is so much better for me because I am a very social person and being at work is more of a social time for me.

I have been working from home for over 4 years now and I have to say that I have established some habits that really help me to buckle down and be productive. It’s not easy, you have to have structure and discipline otherwise you will not be productive.

Here’s a few habits that have helped me to be more productive at home.

  1. Get Dressed and Ready for the Day- it doesn’t matter if you are not leaving the house or if you are not going to see someone it will help you get motivated and feel better.  I don’t get dressed up but I do get up and take a shower, put on something casual and do my hair and make up.  I do wear leggings or yoga pants while I’m working at home because I like being comfortable but I do get myself “dolled” up. It always makes me feel better and you never know if someone may end up ringing your doorbell.
  2. Set aside time to do chores.  It’s impossible to avoid doing chores when you are working at home.  I honestly do not like seeing a sink full of dishes when I pass by the kitchen so I tend to take a break every hour or so and I get a little done like maybe throwing in a load of laundry or emptying the dishwasher.  It helps to get a break from the computer screen and you feel productive at home too. Keep in mind you are getting paid by someone else so don’t take advantage.
  3. Drink lots of water.  I am much better about this while I’m at work and I’m not sure why but having a water bottle near you will remind you to continue to get your water intake in.  Not getting enough water can leave you feeling foggy and drained.  I like ice cold water and I often infuse fruit or add oils to my water.
  4. Have a healthy lunch.  I am not great at this because often I am on a role at home and often will not even stop to take a break so I than will just go in to the kitchen and grab whatever is easiest to make.  Healthy food will give you fuel to power through your day.
  5. Take a midday break.  I like to go out for a walk during the day with my pooch.  Kinds of helps to split up the day and I feel like my body really needs it.  I think the sunshine helps too.
  6. Create a dedicated work space.  This might not be easy for everyone but if you can just create a small little space it might help and it can help you transition from your personal life to work life.
  7. Minimize potential distractions. This one is much easier for me now, when my kids were younger and they were at home it was hard to work because they would mess around and sometimes fight and cause disruptions.  Now they are both older and tend to entertain themselves now.  Don’t check social media.  This is a big time suck and you might not realize how much time you are wasting here unless you are a social media manager or something similar.
  8. Know when it’s quitting time.  Don’t make a habit of working until midnight every day.  You should still have work life balance.  If you are on a roll and producing some serious quality work I get it, it’s hard to stop but don’t neglect your family or personal time.

Do you have habits that you find helpful to be productive while working from home?

Feel free to share in the comments, I’d love to hear what has been successful for you.

My Home Project List

I have many things that are going around in my head, most of them are related to my family, my job, money, my home and organizing.  I’m not organized by any means in fact in most cases I’m a mess but I do want to be organized.  I seriously want to be that person that seems put together even when I don’t feel like I am.  People tell me that I seem like I am well organized but honestly my house is a mess.  The dialogue that often is inside my head is this “Uggh, this cabinet is a mess what can I do to get it organized?” or “I really want to update this in our house, how can we get started on that with little to no money?” or the latest “This room stresses me out, why can’t it ever be organized and clean?”.  That last thought is often referring to my youngest sons room.  It’s cluttered and has too much stuff.

My Home Project List

My Home Project List

My home drives me crazy so instead of continuing to allow it to drive me crazy I decided that I would start a project list.  This would be specific to my home and I’m sure I’ll have lists for other things in my life.  Because I’m a list addict I feel peaceful and content with my life and myself when I’ve got a few lists going and when I can show that I have accomplished items off the list.  I try to take time once a week to write my to do list so I thought why not start a Home Project List.  Here goes.

  • Create and decorate my new office/beauty room
  • Dining room- after the office is done and I move my desk I’d like to get this area updated and maybe add a hutch or some kind of beverage area.
  • Entry Way- I would like to move the sewing machine to my office and use it as a side table if possible so that means I need a new focal point for the entry way.
  • Organize my pantry- I can’t have a larger pantry because there is no where to put it so I just need to get this organized and look better.
  • Remodel/restructure our laundry room- will have to figure out to change the storage at the top of the cabinets.
  • Tile in our guest bathroom- we put in a new vanity and countertop but never put in new tile so would like to redo the flooring and the bathtub/shower with tile.
  • Back splash for kitchen
  • French doors in dining room- I hate the sliding glass doors we currently have in our home, french doors would be ideal here with a screen door if possible.
  • Close up living room window
  • Paint boys rooms
  • Organize our closets
  • Create a cabinet or shoe rack for our garage/mud room
  • Paint kitchen island- try milk paint
  • Paint cabinets in kitchen
  • Pellet stove in living room
  • Living room- new furniture and maybe a coffee table, rug and lamps
  • Front porch- would love to put a feminine touch here with flowers and just something more welcoming.

How do you create a home project list?

I don’t know for sure if there is a specific way as it’s not an exact science but this what I do.  I start out by finding a comfortable place to sit alone by myself, maybe in my room with my comfy blanket and a notebook and I make a list of my wildest dreams of my house.  I often ask these questions:

  • Which space makes you crazy?
  • What rooms do you know have potential for change?
  • What areas need small cosmetic changes or just new accessories?
  • What rooms would you make over if you won $10,000?  What if it was $100,000?
  • What do you wish your home had?

I start by just doing a brain dump and just keep spitting out stuff that I want…sort of a wish list.  From there I determine if these are obtainable and if so I start to put them into small buckets and create a plan for a project list.

I have been unhappy with my home in the past but than I started really doing some thinking about how much our life would benefit if we just stayed here.  First of all, our kids are getting bigger.  My oldest is already in high school so before you know it he’s going to be gone and on his own.  Than my youngest who is a social butter fly is most likely going to be gone most of the time as he gets older too.  So why move to a bigger house just because I want more space.  This house has potential if we just worked on it and it would mean we wouldn’t get more into debt to be “happy”.  So instead of moving we are going to add or change this house.  I’m grateful to have this home.  I love this home, it was my first real house.  My son and I lived in a double wide prior to living here and although it was a great starter  home it wasn’t a house.  I wanted a house and I worked hard to get this house.  Now this house is our house and it’s my families home.  I keep trying to remind myself that I may be unhappy with one particular or another about this house but I go back to that moment when I was handed the keys to my own home and how proud I was to be moving myself and my son to a nice neighbor hood and a great house for the two of us.

I realize my home project list is super long but it’s an ongoing list and most of these things will not be able to be done right away.  As we work on our journey to paying down debt we can possibly work on a few things here and there.  Later when we have made a big debt on our debt journey than we can make a big dent on the home project list.

What is on your dream list?

Have you created a prioritized list or just a wish list?

 

How to Manage a Blog with a Full Time Job

How to Manage a Blog with a Full Time Job

My neighbor came to visit Sunday evening and asked me if I was working cause my computer was on (my computer is currently in our dining room so you can see it when you come into the house) and she knows I work at home.  I told her that I was working on my blog. She said, “You have a blog? How do you have time to do that with kids, a husband and work?”  She said “I have one child and can barely keep up with the cleaning, laundry, my daughter and husband?”  I just looked at her and said honestly I love the blog, I just started it a few months ago and so far I’m super passionate about it.

I honestly couldn’t tell you the magic trick but I do know that I love to write (even if I’m not great at it) and I can sit down and pound out a few blog posts every so often.

I used to write in a journal and although I loved it I got tired of writing with pen and paper.  This helps me to just let all my thoughts explode on to paper and believe me there are a lot of thoughts in this head of mine.

I also believe that when something makes you happy and you are passionate about it that you will do more of it.  I have learned so much by having this blog.  I kind of think of it this way, if something is important you’ll find time to do it.

I have a full time job as a Physician recruiter and I spend a lot of time talking to folks on the phone and by email.  There are many days that I don’t want to talk on the phone, I just want to be quiet and write.  I have a sort of “sales oriented” job and sometimes it can feel like pressure every day.  Blogging doesn’t feel like pressure.  It feels like I’m allowing my creative energy to flow.

I am not perfect, I don’t feel like I am expert at this WordPress stuff but I love to learn and I am a sponge so what I learn I like to share.  The biggest thing I am learning is that if I want this to end up being a business I have to treat it like a business.  Yes, you have to make room for other things in your life like your family, your husband and so on, but you also need to make room for your blog.  I try my hardest to write at least once a week but sometimes I will have several ideas that I need to get out so I might write several posts and then schedule them to be published at later dates. There are great tools in WordPress to let you do this.

The key is to set aside time to work on this blog.  I know I can spare at least two hours per week so I usually sit down while my Hubby is watching football on Sunday’s and write.  I do lots of research during the week and come up with ideas to write about.  I have many tools that I use for that, specifically Pinterest because I have a secret board that is specifically for ideas.  I also write drafts when I’ve got down time and they are usually created on my phone in Evernote. I am a bad sleeper so when I wake up at 3am and can’t sleep I pull out my phone and usually will start to type of a few ideas that I can in turn remember to write about later.

Social Media can be a big time waster.

I love social media.  My boss hates that I’m on social media all the time; hello, I’m a recruiter where else would I be?!  But the problem with social media is that it is a big time suck.  Once you start scrolling through your friends pics of their kids doing funny stuff or pictures of puppies you have wasted an hour.  That is an hour I could have been writing content or even promoting my blog. The trick with blogging and social media is that you have to really start connecting.  You want to build an audience  and have readers and fellow bloggers following you so you need to connect and visit other bloggers as well.  I’ve already made so many new friends from blogging in just this short period of time.

6 Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund

Dave Ramsey talks about having an emergency fund every day on his podcasts.  How do I know because I listen to them daily while I’m doing research at work.

What is an emergency fund?

My version is a stash of cash readily available to pay for those unforeseen events, this can be in the case of not having a paycheck suddenly or a car repair.

I know it is not fun saving up your hard earned cash.  You have been eyeing that Coach purse at the mall or you have your eyes on a new set of shoes or maybe a cute dress. No, you can’t spend your emergency fund on the purse or shoes.  Putting money in an emergency is no fun.  But it will save you in the long run.

The idea behind an emergency fund is store at least six months of net income for just in case moments.  This could be just in case you face a job loss or possibly your car gives out.

If you are in debt you Dave says to start with a $1,000 emergency fund and after that has been stashed away you start to chip away at the debt with the debt snowball method.

6 Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund

Here are some reasons why you need an emergency fund?

Job loss– I have been fortunate and have never ever lost a job (Thank you Lord!) but you never ever know.  This is really the primary reason why you need an emergency fund.  If you are no longer receiving a paycheck how are you going to pay for food and to keep the lights on?

Major health or dental expense– A few years ago I had a major health expense, fortunately I had insurance through my employer but there was still quite a bit of money that had to come 0ut of our pocket for my surgery.  It wasn’t a teeny amount either, it was far more than $1,000.  Guess what?  We didn’t have enough so I had to work out payment arrangements with the hospital.  I’m glad they were able to help us but we shouldn’t have been in that situation.  Over the last year the hubby had to have a root canal a crown and two cavities filled.  Luckily we did have an emergency fund but guess what we are now building it up again.

Emergency Pet Care– Oh man this one hit us the hardest.  About a year maybe two or so ago our dog Sniffy, he’s pictured on this page, had an accident.  He was cruising with my Hubby in our jeep and he jumped out.  Yes, the dog that had never ever once in his life jumped out of a moving vehicle jumped out and broke his femur.  We had several choices, one to put him down (would have been the cheapest option), two have his leg amputated and three have surgery to see if we could save his leg.  After lots of thinking and heart to heart talks with the kids we decided to go with the surgery.  Over $5,000 later we have debt and a healthy dog.  We are still paying for this debt, don’t let this happen to you.

Car repairs– knock on wood we have not had to worry to much about this but if you think you will never have to do any repairs on your car think again.  My friend told me that in her hometown the only mechanic in town does not take credit cards.  Imagine if you were stranded there and have no cash stashed away for this, you are stuck.

Taxes– I haven’t seen a refund in years so every year we do our taxes well enough in advance so that we can have time to come up with the funds to pay the tax bill.  Not a good idea I know but I am working on getting us out of this situation.

Death in the family– this has to be the worst because not only are you heart broken but you are not prepared.  Funeral costs are high, close to $10,000 high.  We are fortunate to have life insurance but I have seen many folks not have the money to bury their loved ones.

Start your Emergency Fund today.

All of these things and many more can cause an otherwise stable situation to collapse, forcing you to tap into credit cards.  It’s stressful, it’s cause for worry but if you plan ahead and make a commitment to stash some money away every week or every two weeks you will be better off.

If you don’t have an emergency fun, start one.  I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budgets Can Be Sexy!

“It’s not your salary that makes you rich; it’s your spending habits. – Charles Jaffe

That is 100% true!  We’ve been tracking our spending habits over the last month and really looking at our money and our ugly debt and honestly the above statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

We had a wake up call in December. Seriously, it was so bad I cried.  And I cried some more.  This post started our get out of debt journey.

I learned the hard way that I am actually a spender.  I hate it and I vowed from that moment on to get us out of debt.

So what did we do? We created a budget!

 

Budgets can be sexy!

Budgets are not sexy until you start to really see what they can do for you.  A budget pretty much help you tell your money where it needs to go.  Before our wake up call we had a budget but we never really followed it.  And we have no excuse as to why we didn’t use it, I think the biggest excuse is that we didn’t care.  Now I am following it to the T.  I have a zero based budget, meaning all the money that comes in goes somewhere and will equal zero at the end.  So if there is money left over it is directed somewhere. It might be moved to our emergency fund or to a bill we really need to get out from under.

The first thing we did when we created our budget is to focus on paying ourselves.  In this case it was really about creating an emergency fund.  We were bad about this too.  I know there are probably at least five reasons why you need an emergency fund, one being a major bill coming your way that you did not expect like a car or home repair.  So we added this to the budget as our top item.  The goal is $1,000 because we are following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.  If you haven’t read the Total Money Make over you should and really read it!  I read it before and I’m reading it again right now.  You know when you tell your kid “No!” at least two or three times and they finally stop doing something at the third No, that works for adults too.  I kept hearing it but didn’t pay attention until now.

The second thing we did was figure out how much we owe to everyone and wrote down the minimum payments for each debt and when each item was due.  From here we created a debt snowball strategy.  Another one of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.  The idea is that the smallest bills get paid first.  I sort of tweaked this because my concern is that we have one credit card that has a time limit; a zero interest promotional period.  So that one has to be paid first as the promotional period ends October.  As much money as we can is going to go to this bill and then every other bill will get the minimum payment. Once the first bill is paid off the money we were allotting per month to the other goes to the second and so on.  You can learn a little more about how the debt snowball method works here.

Our spending habits have made us poor, very poor.  We both make very good money and here we are living paycheck to paycheck. Seriously, I graduated from college why is this so hard?  Because we weren’t following a plan; we weren’t following a budget. The amount of money we spend outside of the things we need to survive is ridiculous. The budget I created really shows a clear picture as to how rich we could really be if we did not owe money to other people.  It feels bad to know that we are in this situation.  I am honestly ashamed and wish I could turn back time but that is not possible so we have to own our decisions and work at keeping our heads in the game to get out of this mess. Debt just like gaining weight doesn’t happen over night and it sure isn’t go away over night.

I realize that many of us make this mistake but I also know that I am smarter than this and should have never gotten here in the first place. I used to read stories all of the times of folks digging themselves out of debt and now I know why it was reason to celebrate. I want freedom, freedom from the stress of worrying and freedom from being tied to someone else.