5 Things Friday

  1. We have been slowly working on the greenhouse since we got the plastic roof on!  Today we have finished the watering path. We ended up purchasing a pump to place in a old trash can that will be used as a rain barrel.  I wanted to have 4 separate watering zones. One is specific for the shelf that will hold tomato plants in the spring.  Matt needs to construct the platform for the final zone. He has plans to add electricity to the greenhouse tomorrow!
  2. I am struggling with work life balance yet again. I ended up working 30 hours in Guam after decreasing my caseload to 4 schools approximately 20 students.  I am going to have to learn to say no and stick to it!   October should be slightly less around 20 hours is where I want to end up.
  3. The girls and I are headed to Durham tomorrow to go wedding dress shopping. Haley has already started her count down.
  4. Food prices are on the rise!  I am working very diligently to keep us on budget. I do have plans to stock up on a  diet coke sale this weekend but the goal for October is the keep the budget under $300.
  5. We have final turned off the air. We are still having days in the low 80’s but between working and baseball games, we have managed to survive a full 2 weeks without air conditioning. I would love to go the entire month of October without heat or air but I seriously doubt that is possible!  My current goal is October 20th!

5 Things Friday

  1. Everyone except for Lily has a 3 day weekend. Lily is working all three days. The next scheduled holiday or break from school is Thanksgiving.
  2. Our project for the weekend is to convert the old playhouse to a green house. We will be removing the roof and replacing it with plastic. Adding shelves and a watering system. We are hoping to reuse most of the materials. The plastic has already been purchased with a gift card!  I will plan to share pictures this week.
  3. Zach has officially started baseball practice. We have agreed to let him play both rec ball and AAU team. The AAU team is only going to travel in state and hopefully less than 2 hours away.
  4. The weather has finally decided to start to cool down a bit. We have been at or above 90 degrees for most of the month of August.  Fortunately we have no more 90 degree days in the forecast but I expect it to be close to the end of September before we are able to turn off the air conditioning.
  5. This week we are having a drive way addition installed. It will also include cement around the garden boxes that we bulit in the spring. I can’t wait to have a finished product!

5 Things Friday

  1. No menu plan for this week for a couple of reasons. First we are on week 6 of no oven.  Scheduled delivery is 2 weeks away.  I wanted to use up a lot of the fresh ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator as well as left-overs. And the final reason… I was just too tired.
  2. Made the first batch of spaghetti sauce from the garden this week. IT was awesome.   Unfortunately, we have discovered that the soil that I purchased from Home Depot was not good. We have been working to salvage anything by adding lime.  We were able to harvest some snap peas and some tomatoes. The tomatoes beds were over half full with dirt that I had already been using so they are at least producing a first harvest. I doubt it will be enough to fill the freezer this year but at least I can make a few batches of spaghetti sauce.  The sweet potato bed which is all old dirt seems to be doing the best so maybe I can salvage a few of those as well. My plan is to continue to add lime a bag a month until we get the beds close to where they need to be. Ugggh  I had high hopes and expectations this year!
  3.  We are headed on our beach trip soon. Not going to share all the details but this will be a totally new experience for us. We are planning a trip to Oak Island. I have never stayed on a NC beach!
  4. Lily is really enjoying her job as a lifeguard. She is actually working much more than she hoped and is enjoying spending the money as well.
  5. My summer is officially half over. I return to work in 6 weeks.  I have actually completed all the items on my summer to do list except stock the freezer. I am hoping that the next 6 weeks are at a much slower pace than the last 5!

5 Things Friday

  1. Today was Zach and Kendall’s last day of school for the year. Lily actually has class until June 9th officially.  We no longer have elementary age children!
  2. I have 2 work days left before summer vacation from my regular school system.  This included 6 meetings so I am not looking forward to these days at all.  I also will start back serving kids in Guam on Sunday evening this week.  I will be working 2-3 hours per week so hopefully this is the right balance.
  3. We have survived the first full week of no oven. It appears that we have another 2 plus weeks before we can expect delivery.
  4. I am going to break down tomorrow and buy a couple of zucchini  and squash plants.  The ones I planted did sprout but don’t appear to be doing much else. The leaves are a strange yellow color. My mother said they got too much water but I am thinking it is probably the seeds themselves.
  5. I already have a busy week schedule with a dentist and eye appointment on Wednesday!   I really can’t wait for my break to begin!

May in Review

I can describe May in two words busy and expensive. Water leaks, new HVAC ducts, stove broken all these added to the fun.  We have had 2-3 ballgames a week along with church activities and a few end of the year activities. I am sure the next three months will go by quickly but I am so looking forward to them.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.  $338.23 this did include some soda stock up. I would like to keep the summer grocery budget down to $300 a month but I am also wanting to maintain a food level so that in September I can reduce the budget again.  We will see how things go!  But so far we are under budget for all 6 months this year! HUGE success in this area.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $394.89. This month was a huge jump in gas prices plus an oil change. This seems to be the right amount.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plan change now! We are going back to a more strict use of cash in May.  I did excellent on only cash until the last week. But still working well so I am going to continue!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  10 post for the month.  My reason is that I worked 40 hours in Guam.  This should be the last month of so much work. My plan is to stay at one day a week (Monday) for next school year as well.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  Nope and again I blame Guam.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast.  I am planning to start a reading program this summer.

Earnings- $25 in gift cards. I have a strong sense that this will need very soon.

No Spend Days- NONE! Yikes  2 months in a row means we need some belt tightening.

I knew May would be busy and I am hopefully to make June less busy and less expensive but we shall see.

March in Review

March was overall a great month. During the last two weeks, I have been able to reduce my Guam work load by at least half!  We also completed a re-fiancé of our mortgage and were able to update and re-build a new square foot garden.   We spent a lot of time anticipating our upcoming Disney trip as well. I am very excited and please with all the results.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We have actually spent $91.84.  This is lowest month in a long long time.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month.  Both of our vehicles needed oil changes this month. So ending at $375.32 is a very good thing.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plans to change now!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  11 post for the month is definitely an improvement but not the goal.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.   Nope not even close

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year.  I have been listening to a podcast every day that I drive to work. I should be able to listen to the entire session by June.!

Earnings- $55 in gift cards

No Spend Days- 1

April begins with no credit card debit and a goal to pay off the house and car within 5 years. We finally have arrived at a stable financial place and need to just stay the course and enjoy life!

Financial Update

This is actually a very positive and happy post to make for me. As most already know, interest rates for mortgages are at a historically low right now.  We are receiving multiple offers each week to refinance our current mortgage.  After some prayers, we decided to check into doing a simple refinancing of our mortgage.  We actually did a refinance seven years ago and lowered our rate from 9.99% to 3.85%.  I was amazed to learn that we would qualify for an even lower rate, 2.75% to be exact.

We decided that since we have a sizable amount of equity in the house (over100k) that we could also look at paying off credit card debit.  We did not see any disadvantage to this as in significantly reduces the interest rate as well as allows us to free up over $1000 a month. Our van was scheduled to be paid off in July but we decided to go ahead and pay it off as well. In total we decided to use about $25,000 in the equity. This allows us to completely pay off our credit cards and the van.

We actually received the proceeds today and we are debit free except for the mortgage and the car we purchased in November.  We decided against paying it off as well in order to help establish and build Matt’s credit.  It would also have changed the interest rate on the mortgage.

In order to reduce the length of our mortgage from 15 years to 8 years, which is the length that was originally left we will be paying an extra principal payment a month. Our goal is also to pay an extra card payment each month to reduce the length of that payment as well. Finally we are working to establish an emergency fund of 3 months.

We have been working toward this point for several years and it feels good to finally be at a stable place financially.

What’s Up?

  • I wanted to share this in case any one wonders why my blog post are so sparse this month. The other probably more important reason to share is so that three or more years from now, I can remember why I can’t work 2 jobs.  Currently I am averaging an additional 15 hours a week in Guam. This is in addition to my regular 40 hours at Davie County Schools.  This week, I did receive several emails that Promise to  begin lighten my load over the next month or so.  The idea that they have hired 3 more therapist and when everything is said and done I will lose hopefully half my caseload shows a better picture of how busy I really.
  • Washer update- The pump is bad as well… currently waiting on the new pump to arrive, I honestly have no clue what the cost will be so…..
  • Making BIG plans for the garden this year, I am going to completely re-arrange and re-do the whole thing.  First it will be significantly taller. This should reduce the amount of dogs that decide they like it. Second it will make it much easier for me to work and maintain without bending over so  much. I am anticipating a huge expense but also hope to re-use as much as possible from the existing.
  • Our final Disney trip for at least 2 years is 50 something days away. I am currently working on saving the money to cover our food expenses. Not sure how much we will end up with especially with the washer repair a still unknown.
  • Goal of this week is no food waste, I have a plan and the refrigerator is nicely stocked. So far this month we have spent $172.74.I was planning on a trip to Costco but still not sure where to fit that in at either so I may try to make it to March before adventuring to Costco.

5 Things Friday

  1. I have not used this format since September ??? Really maybe that is the reason I have not been hitting my blogging goal?
  2. Today both the kids and I had a remote learning day due to the weather forecast of 2- 4 inches of snow. Instead, we have had a cold rain most of the day with a change over to snow around 4pm. It has been yucky!
  3. I have made a “extra” money goal. I would like to save $500 a month in January, February and March to use as our food money in April. So far for the first week of January I have “found” or saved $203. If I can get to $475 I can purchase gift cards at Target to save an additional $25.
  4.  We are working hard at staying on track with our budget in January. So far was have spent $55 in gas and $91 in groceries.  I did place a Norwex order for more of Lily detergent so that will be an additional $70.
  5. My van is still in the shop after I hit the deer. Because they are going to repair damage from when I backed in the pole at Baptist hospital while Amanda was in the hospital. They estimate it will be fixed next week. I paid $500 from our stimulus and the insurance covered the rest of the repair.