June Update

June was certainly not the month I expected it to be. We did not increase our income and we ended up with two major house repairs that have definitely knocked up back a bit with our debit reduction. We still are living very comfortable but July-October are going to mean some serious belt tightening.

Debit Reduction:  Failure
Due to the things stated above we actually have increased our debit by close to $1000 at this point. Ouch

Blog Post: Fail
I had 9 total blog post for the month. I can honestly say that June was an extremely busy month, including 4 afternoons for swim meets and a week long trip to Michigan. I have some very good intentions and plan so I hope to at least hit 15 this month.

Days on Treadmill: Zero
Water walking days-7  In addition to a full day of walking on Mackinaw Island.
I am actually documenting improvement in this year!

Groceries- Goal Met!  We spent a total of $405  for the month of June in groceries! This is a huge win as the past several months have been over budget!

Gas: $355 for the month. This is about $50 over budget but does include our entire trip which was 5 tanks of gas!

Earnings:  June was a positive month in this area as well. I am expecting some changes starting in July but our earning is consistently increasing. Total $220
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $75 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $15
Shopkicks: $5
Ibbotta: 24.75

 

Saturday Update 5/27/2017

As predicted, this past week has been busy. I have struggled this week and realized that I NEED to “Count my Blessing” more than I need to worry. So my plan for this update is to “Count my blessing, name them one by one, to PROVE what God has done.”

  1. The extra hours at work do mean extra pay. We are slow regaining financial ground and extra pay is always helpful.
  2. We scheduled a trip to Disney World for this November. I actually booked the trip almost a year ago. Because of the struggles we have been experiencing, I was considering changing/postponing the trip. However, God has provided a very unexpected but concrete method to ensure we can pay for  this trip. In the morning, I will be making dinning reservation.
  3. We are very blessed to be able to travel to Michigian this June to celebrate Matt’s father 90th birthday. This blessing is so much more real and important with the lost of my dad.
  4. Our square foot garden is growing and thriving, I have frozen several packs of broccli, made a squash side dish and the kids enjoyed a handful of snap peas. The plants all appear healthy and relatively bug free. I anticipate a good squash harvest this week and we should actually start with cucumbers in two weeks or less.
  5. The kids and I got to spend 6 hours at the pool today. We really enjoyed the time with friends and I was able to just sit for several hours.
  6. I somehow got a screw in my tire last Saturday. My brother was able to patch it on Sunday. The patch worked until Wednesday and then Matt was able to take to the dealship to have fixed.
  7. I will NOT be working on Monday. Instead the plan is to spend most of the afternoon/evening at the pool just enjoying life.

Seven is the perfect number and the number of completion so I will stop there. Do you have any blessing to share?

Counting My Blessings! 03/13/2017

Both Lily and Kendall participate in competition cheerleading. This continues to be a choice that we make as a family to participate and pay toward. Matt often works events at the Coliseum to help fund this activity. I will be the first to say that it is EXPENSIVE. Just as an example, we pay $110 tuition in addition to competition fees, chorography fees and of course the cost of uniforms. The above fees are paid directly to the cheer gym but they do not include the cost of travel, food and admission to events.

On Sunday, we planned to attend an event at UNC- Charlotte to watch Lily compete, in the normal budget this is a relatively cheap event. First off the travel is less than an hour. Next the advertised admission price was $10 for adults and kids under 10 are free. Usually  we pay $20 for adults and $10 for each kid that is not in the competition. Parking fee run around $10. Finally, I have been saving gift cards for the past 4 months to pay for meals while we travel. Our plan was to stop at Applebees and use gift cards to pay for the meal.

I ended up spending a total of $5 yesterday, this is a HUGE blessing!  First no fee to park, next up was no cost for spectators!  This is highly unusual and  amazing even to save $30 made me smile.

After the completion, we headed to Applebee which was very close to UNC-C. The experience was BAD!  Waiter with his underwear showing, our table need to be refilled with both Ketchup and Sweet n low, no knives to cut food with, wrong food or food not cooked correctly, used kid’s menus and sun directly in my eyes. Needless to say not a good experience, I spoke first with the manager and then with a area manger who after hearing our experience, covered our meal. I count this as a BLESSING!   I did not expect or anticipate the entire meal being covered but it was a BLESSING!  I left a small tip because the waiter did refill glass but his serves was equal to the setting.

An estimate of the total BLESSING we received yesterday= $100!

February

This month has been hard. I miss my dad more than I ever thought possible and have found myself crying just because. I can honestly say, I have spent most of the month in a fog just existing.  I am starting to regain my balance so I wanted to at least have a written record for this month. I did achieve the goal of filing our taxes in February and have actually already received our Federal Refund.

Debit Reduction: $850 . The only downside to this number is that I paid over $2100 toward debit but I did not acquire this in a day so as long as it is being reduced that is progress.

Blog Post: 10
Days on Treadmill: 2  This was actually spent out side walking but at least I can say I was consistent.

Groceries- $454- Below my goal of $500 so a HUGE success for us. I am actually expecting this to be lower for March and April.

Gas: $187 spent. Again under budget
Earnings:  Matt and I combined for a total of $160 this month from our apps and Swagbucks. Considering my brain function for February, I am pleased with this number. .

In February, we were able to hold the course in the wind and rain. I am very proud of our progress this month.

I am optimistic that March will continue us on a positive financial note. I am so grateful to know I am shield by prayer for the other needs.

Emotions

Sad                                                        Exhausted
Frustrated
Sad                                                            Tired
Upset
Unbearable                                              Peaceful                      Exhausted
Strange
Sad                                                               Quiet

Relieved                                Sad
Exhausted

Last Friday morning the unthinkable happened, my father had a massive heart attack and passed away. This was totally unexpected and unacceptable. We are all struggling to make sense of this. Today is Tuesday, I know that I can’t change what has happened and things are being to make at least a little sense. We have accepted that we are not going to be fully functioning for a long time. We also have realized the need to love and support each other. Today, my mother is able to live alone and thanks to God’s provision which is nothing short of a miracle, she is financially able to continue with a “normal” life. I am fortunate enough to have two additional days out of work. I will return to work on Friday, never returning to normal.  I miss my dad, I miss the time he should have spent with his grandkids. I am sad for myself and my mother.  As you can probably tell my emotions are all over the place but above all I am EXHAUSTED. I am not sure when or how much I will blog over the next weeks or months. I am certain we need to continue to work toward a more steady financial place but not sure what that place will look like. Random words on a page, seems to fit my life right now.

Mime Team 01/22/2017

Lily and Kendall are on the left side of the screen. I am going to share a few things before you watch. Kendall is the youngest of the group. The other girls are seventh graders, Lily is in sixth grade and Kendall is in third grade. They started learning this song in November and with holidays and illness have missed several weeks. I am so proud of both girls for just sticking with it!  If you don’t see the video below here is a direct link to it on YouTube  here, 01/22/2017.


5 Positive Things Friday-10/21/2016

Our family has received several blessing and/or positive things are happening this week but instead of me shouting from the rooftop, I am still sitting in the pile of life is not fair. So I am going to be very intentional in being positive and thankful this week.

  1. My mother’s health is continuing to improve. She received good news this week and has started taking small steps on her temporary new leg. She probably has another 8-10 weeks before things are “normal” again but definitely improvements this week.
  2. Kendall has been tolerating her new braces for the past three days without needing medicine. In fact tonight she is eating chips which is a huge step for her.
  3. Matt and I both received a small increase in wages this week. I have to keep reminding myself any increase is a good thing.
  4. Matt and I have both been earning extra money with several apps. So far this month we have received an additional $110 this month so far! In addition to a box of food items and a box of dog items.
  5. A very sweet friend offered to stay at cheerleading last night so that I could “experience” an entire baseball game in person. I got to watch Zach get a hit and score a run with this team WINNING!

img_6868

 

Thursday Thoughts with Pictures

img_0048Kendall received her first set of braces today. Based on her mouth and the way her teeth are coming in way early, this is the best options. She will be wearing this set for 9-12 months and then a second set will go on in high school when all her permanent are in place. She chose blue for her color today. Kendall is excited to change colors several times!  We are seeing an orthodontist in High Point, he is very informative and goes out of his way to explain and make everyone comfortable with this process. The office staff was also very willing to work with us on payment. My insurance should cover approximately half the cost of these braces. I made a down payment today and they will wait until January for my remaining portion so that we can use our med flex for next year.

This is Lily completing her science lesson today. She is actually listening to a lecture at the same time. Nothing like multitasking at a young age.

img_0047I really was in the mood for Chinese food today. After Kendall’s braces, Matt had a couple of meetings for work so we decided to meet for lunch. This was Matt’s fortune, we needed a reminder that God’s is in control and this is what we are supposed to be doing.

img_0051I need a change so this afternoon, I went to the hairdresser and came home like this! Next on the agenda is cheerleading and baseball!

 

 

May in Review

May did not bring the expected income boast that we were counting on but it did teach us a valuable lesson to not count on things but on God. We are continuing to move along and have now put in place some money saving belt tightening measure that hopefully will keep us on steady ground for the summer. The lost of our stand up freezer which contained most of our vegetables will have a financial impact during the next  several months as well.

 

Personal-
1. Blogging
Post 20 per month. Fail. This is post number 17, life is crazy and I need to make a plan.

2.Weight Loss– 175#.  Struggling with time for this still. I am starting to get some regular exercise and decided to try a supplement as well. But the scale still is not moving in the direction I want as quickly as I want.

3. SpiritualSpend at least 5 days a week, reading and studying The Bible. Goal Met.  Working on improving this. I realize that once the summer starts I have to make time to do this no matter what!

Personal goals are a failure this month. Not much more to say in regards to that.

Financial- 

1. Set aside money each month in every budget category. Fail

2. Establish and maintain Emergency Fund- Fail.
3. Groceries: Goal is for $700. Fail – Total spending for the month is $879.00. Which is a decrease from last month. I did purchase 120# of chicken this month so hopefully we will be heading to much lower grocery bills for both June and July.

4. Gas: Spend $400 a month- Goal Met! Still have $19 to spare.

5. Pay off all Credit Card debit by December 2016- Fail. I am meeting bare minimal payments on everything but really was hoping to begin to get control and reduce this number.

As you can tell we are struggling. I am not sure what the summer holds but I have placed a plan to reduce spending in all categories but at the same time. We are not in a financial crises and we are still enjoying many things in life. I am going to end with the statement that God is in control and his plans are always much better than my plans so I am trusting regardless of what the numbers say.

April In Review

To be honestly this has seemed like an extremely long month. We are struggling in many areas so that may explain some of the reason, it feels like a long long month. But May is coming along with warm weather and sunshine! So bring it home. I did also find and start using Swagbucks this month. My current goal is to earn enough money via this site and a couple of other to book our next Disney vacation.  So here is the rest of the update.

Personal-
1. Blogging
Post 20 per month. Fail. This is post number 18, which is at least an improvement over the past two months so I am moving in the right direction.

2.Weight Loss– 175#.  Struggling with time for this.

3. SpiritualSpend at least 5 days a week, reading and studying The Bible. Goal Met.  So proud to say that I am continuing with this goal and it is becoming more and more important each day.

1/3 personal goals met. With improvements made so I am going to move forward on a positive note.

Financial- 

1. Set aside money each month in every budget category. Fail

2. Establish and maintain Emergency Fund- Fail.
3. Groceries: Goal is for $700. Fail – Total spending for the month is $966.47 However looking at the year so far I have spent $530 a month which is still way less than my $700. We ended up purchasing both chicken and meat this month for the summer. I would anticipate that the next couple months will again be under budget.

4. Gas: Spend $400 a month- Goal Met! I am excited to start making a dent in the car debit we have accumulated this year.

5. Pay off all Credit Card debit by December 2016- Fail. I am meeting bare minimal payments on everything but really was hoping to begin to get control and reduce this number.

As you can tell financially this was a rough month but I am seeing God provide in ways we would not expect so I am going to stand firm and trust!