Monday, November 24, 2014

This Week's Goals: 11/24-30/14

Goal Line


Last Week's Goals:

Classroom Goals
  • Work on lesson planning for the coming week
  • Continue using our new RTP Classroom Management expectations
  • Continue to work extra activities at school towards our (extra $ for our debt snowball!)
Household/Family/Mommy Goals
  • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our November budget
  • Update November budget to include a few miscellaneous category items we forgot about (Whoops!)
  • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves (ongoing - my goal is to have a pseudo living room in the basement even though the walls aren't finished by the end of winter)
  • Look up how to remove mold from wooden hope chest (advice anyone???)
  • Install patio stones (ongoing)
  • Clean outdoor patio area for winter
  • Put away patio furniture for winter
  • Take snow blower & lawn mower in for service
  • Start emptying out Christmas bins: Check for Christmas cards before purchasing & get out Outdoor Decorations
  • Continue planning holiday season events, menus & wish lists
Marriage Goals
  • Make a point to spend at least 1 solid minute cuddling with hubs each evening when he gets home
  • Start planning his birthday present (first weekend of December)
  • Write a love note to hubs <3
Personal Goals
  • Run at least three times this week (Will you wish me luck as the temps drop that I maintain my motivation & willingness? THANK YOU!) - Oh no! Not a single run this week. Between bitter cold & being sick for the last four days I haven't accomplished much... :(
  • Journal at least once this week
  • Continue listening to Kat Lee's Podcasts (How They Blog & Inspired To Action) while running
Blogging Goals
  • Post at least 2 times this week
  • Promote our November Giveaway & start planning our December Giveaway (Exciting opportunity for my Michigan & Northern Ohio readers ahead!)
  • Promote our BRAND NEW email subscription (Have you subscribed?)
  • Promote our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts
  • Highlight & add sticky notes to my copy of  Mom Blogging for Dummies (This job is going to be on here forever at the rate I'm going!)

    This Week's Goals:

    Classroom Goals
    • Get out materials for Monday's lesson following Thanksgiving break (Yes, 2 day work week!)
    • Work on lesson planning for the coming week
    • Continue using our new RTP Classroom Management expectations
    • Continue to work extra activities at school towards our (extra $ for our debt snowball!)
    Household/Family/Mommy Goals
    • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our November budget
    • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves (ongoing - my goal is to have a pseudo living room in the basement even though the walls aren't finished by the end of winter)
    • Look up how to remove mold from wooden hope chest (advice anyone???)
    • Clean outdoor patio area for winter
    • Put away patio furniture for winter
    • Take snow blower & lawn mower in for service
    • Start emptying out Christmas bins: Check for Christmas cards before purchasing & get out Outdoor Decorations
    • Continue planning holiday season events, menus & wish lists
    • Travel to KY to celebrate Thanksgiving with my mom and extended family
    • Catch up on house cleaning that has been neglected
    Marriage Goals
    • Make a point to spend at least 1 solid minute cuddling with hubs each evening when he gets home
    • Finalize hubby's birthday present & party
    • Write a love note to hubs <3
    Personal Goals
    • Run at least three times this week - I've had 8 days off with sick & bitter cold temps, wish me luck will you? 
    • Journal at least once this week
    • Continue listening to Kat Lee's Podcasts (How They Blog & Inspired To Action) while running
    Blogging Goals
    • Post at least 2 times this week
    • Promote our November Giveaway & start planning our December & January Giveaways (Exciting opportunity for my Michigan & Northern Ohio readers ahead!)
    • Promote our BRAND NEW email subscription (Have you subscribed?)
    • Promote our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts
    • Highlight & add sticky notes to my copy of  Mom Blogging for Dummies (This job is going to be on here forever at the rate I'm going!)
    Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Top 4 Reasons People Don't Live On A Budget Debunked

    Earlier this month a few of my coworkers & I were chatting before school, and the topic of budgets came up. One coworker shared that her budget is her Visa card. Another admitted to avoiding looking at personal finances because she was afraid of what she might find out when she did.

    It probably goes without saying, but my comment of "I love my budget" was met by dumbfounded looks of skepticism on both their parts. This seems to be the reoccurring theme whenever I discuss the B word with new people online or in real life.

    By and large, most people I talk to aren't living on a budget and seem to think its strange that we do.

    A few minutes later, the conversation had turned and then the school bell rang. The discussion was over, students were ready to be taught and a blog post was brewing in my mind without my even realizing it! :)


    It took another week before inspiration struck. As part of Kicking Our Debt Snowball Into High Gear Before 2015, I'm re-listening to Financial Peace University on CD in the car. It was during one of those afternoon commutes that Dave Ramsey's voice came booming through the speakers, "...reasons why people don't have a budget."

    Needless to say, my ears perked up. Here was the answer, the reason my coworkers (and millions of other families) don't have a family budget:
    1. "It has a bread & water connotation." - Dave Ramsey                                                                         How many of you hear the word budget and immediately feel the walls close in around you? Well, it turns out, you're not alone! But here's the trick, "your budget is a plan" and "you tell it what to do," teaches Dave while recording class three of Financial Peace University. Your budget could be Ramen noodles & tuna fish, but it could also be lobster & escargot - being on a budget doesn't mean you're broke - it means you have a plan and you're telling your money what to do. 
    2. "A budget has been used to abuse you." - Dave Ramsey                                                                     O.K., here goes - deep breath - I'm guilty of this. (I know, I know, just don't throw eggs or anything, OK?!) I'm the control freak nerd in our relationship and used to get satisfaction in turning down my husband's dream purchases - such as a new video game, which I hate - by saying it "wasn't in the budget." Go figure, when I first found out about Dave Ramsey and started talking budgets he wasn't very excited... I wonder why!
    3. "We never had a budget that really worked." - Dave Ramsey                                                              If I had a dollar for every time I've heard something along these lines, I'll tell you what... there wouldn't be much snowball left to accomplish, that's what! Just like with parenting, home ownership, marriage & career training, we've all heard someone say, "I tried that once, but it didn't work for me." But here's the deal, just like teaching your children new routines... it takes practice. 3 months to be exact - 3 months to make your budget start working well for you. You need to be patient - yes, you'll make mistakes in the beginning, but after three months of mistakes you'll be amazed at how well your budget runs - just like a well oiled machine.
    4. "Paralysis from fear of what you will find." - Dave Ramsey                                                                   Just like my coworker that wanted to avoid the topic of personal finances all together, many people fear the 'truth' of their financial state. Dave reminds us that the truth may be bad, but it likely isn't as bad as you've made it in your head
    Did these reasons resonate with you the way they did to me? As usual, I thought his teachings were spot on and really helped to drive home the point that these 'reasons' are nothing more than excuses. Living on a budget - having a financial plan - is the only way to succeed with money and gain financial peace! 

    Looking for a little more Dave budgeting advice? Check out the Total Money Makeover on Amazon and start your financial transformation today:



    Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    This Week's Goals: 11/17-23/14

    Goal Line

    Gosh... as I go through this list and update my progress I'm a bit disappointed. I felt very productive this week, but yet there aren't many items on this list taken care of. :( Better luck next week I guess! 

    Last Week's Goals:

    Classroom Goals
    • Work on lesson planning for the coming week
    • Continue using our new RTP Classroom Management expectations
    • Work concessions at basketball game (extra $ for our debt snowball!)
    Household/Family/Mommy Goals
    • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our November budget
    • Add baby shower gift & hunting license to November budget - make adjustments as necessary
    • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves (ongoing - my goal is to have a pseudo living room in the basement even though the walls aren't finished by the end of winter)
    • Look up how to remove mold from wooden hope chest (advice anyone???)
    • Install patio stones (ongoing)
    • Clean outdoor patio area for winter
    • Put away patio furniture for winter
    • Take snow blower & lawn mower in for service
    • Check on supply of Christmas cards & purchase more if needed
    • Continue planning holiday season events, menus & wish lists
    Marriage Goals
    • Make a point to spend at least 1 solid minute cuddling with hubs each evening when he gets home
    • Start planning his birthday present (first weekend of December)
    • Write a love note to hubs <3
    Personal Goals
    • Run at least twice this week
    • Journal at least once this week
    • Continue listening to Kat Lee's Podcasts (How They Blog & Inspired To Action) while running
    • Relax after an eventful bundle week on the blog! :) 
    Blogging Goals

      This Week's Goals:

      Classroom Goals
      • Work on lesson planning for the coming week
      • Continue using our new RTP Classroom Management expectations
      • Continue to work extra activities at school towards our (extra $ for our debt snowball!)
      Household/Family/Mommy Goals
      • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our November budget
      • Update November budget to include a few miscellaneous category items we forgot about (Whoops!)
      • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves (ongoing - my goal is to have a pseudo living room in the basement even though the walls aren't finished by the end of winter)
      • Look up how to remove mold from wooden hope chest (advice anyone???)
      • Install patio stones (ongoing)
      • Clean outdoor patio area for winter
      • Put away patio furniture for winter
      • Take snow blower & lawn mower in for service
      • Start emptying out Christmas bins: Check for Christmas cards before purchasing & get out Outdoor Decorations
      • Continue planning holiday season events, menus & wish lists
      Marriage Goals
      • Make a point to spend at least 1 solid minute cuddling with hubs each evening when he gets home
      • Start planning his birthday present (first weekend of December)
      • Write a love note to hubs <3
      Personal Goals
      • Run at least three times this week (Will you wish me luck as the temps drop that I maintain my motivation & willingness? THANK YOU!)
      • Journal at least once this week
      • Continue listening to Kat Lee's Podcasts (How They Blog & Inspired To Action) while running
      Blogging Goals
      • Post at least 2 times this week
      • Promote our November Giveaway & start planning our December Giveaway (Exciting opportunity for my Michigan & Northern Ohio readers ahead!)
      • Promote our BRAND NEW email subscription (Have you subscribed?)
      • Promote our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts
      • Highlight & add sticky notes to my copy of  Mom Blogging for Dummies (This job is going to be on here forever at the rate I'm going!)
      Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?




      Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

      Sunday, November 16, 2014

      "How To Survive Middle School And Monster Bots" by Ron Bates


      I was excited to find this book as a review copy offer on BookLook this fall, because it looked like a great holiday gift for my niece. It turns out I was right - How To Survive Middle School & Monster Bots is an adorable book that I'm excited to share this Holiday season.

      Summary

      How To Survive Middle School & Monster Bots is a great book for 4th-7th grade students - especially those with a love for science & technology. Follow the story of Howard Boward as he battles robots & bullies at Dolley Madison Middle School. Between "monster goo" and an archrival, self named "G-Force", your 9-11 year old will be giggling with delight. 

      My Reactions

      I love how the author, Ron Bates, so seamlessly created a humorous kids book that not only makes children giggle but teaches them good values at the same time. Teaching your children to be humble, patient & kind to others can be challenging tasks, but Ron addresses them head on without preaching to his audience. We feel for Howard as he endures bullying and embarrassment - but we also celebrate with him as he experiences success and we watch his confidence blossom. How To Survive Middle School & Monster Bots is sure to be a delight with your children this winter!

      How To Survive Middle School & Monster Bots is available on Amazon or can be ordered from your local book store:


      I received a complimentary review copy of this book from BookLook, but all opinions expressed are my own.



      Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

      Veterans, Therapeutic Horseback Riding & A Girl's Date

      Wife.Mother.Teacher. Facebook fans saw that yesterday, I was SO excited to enjoy a girl's night with my dear friend Kari. We grew up together riding horses in the local 4-H program and have remained friends ever since. Since getting married & becoming moms our friendship has changed. Life priorities have taken away from friendship time, so when the opportunity came up for a girl's night last night we were both thrilled!

      CHUM, a local therapeutic horseback riding program, that is very close to Kari's heart was holding a charity dinner & screening of the documentary Riding My Way Back produced by Robin Fryday & Peter Rosenbaum.



      Here's what the Riding My Way Back website has to say about the film:
      "Riding My Way Back is a short documentary that chronicles one soldier’s journey back from the brink of suicide.  In 2010, Staff Sergeant Aaron Heliker returned from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in addition to third-degree burns and nerve damage from a roadside bomb.  At his most desperate and isolated, on 42 medications and suicidal, Aaron is introduced to the unlikeliest of saviors:  a horse named Fred.  Through caring for Fred and building mutual trust, Aaron begins the difficult process of reconnecting to the world around him and healing the terrible, invisible wounds of war that had nearly defeated him."
      If you're a fan of horses or veterans, this is a film for you (even better if you're a fan of both)! Check out the trailer to see why. Staff Sergeant Aaron Heliker truly found his match in Fred the horse. It's easy to see their bond and love for one another.


      For those of us that have been blessed to have horses in our life - we know their therapeutic power - but only recently has the world of science started to document the amazing benefits. Do you know a veteran suffering from PTSD or TBI? The Wounded Warrior Project can help - veterans of combat from The Gulf War to present can receive funding for therapeutic riding through the project. 

      Don't know a veteran, but interested in helping to support the cause? Consider donating to CHUM or The Wounded Warrior Project. Big or small, every donation helps.

      Do you live near CHUM in Mid-Michigan? Mark your calendar for their Labor Day 2015 "Run for CHUM" event - a certified Half Marathon & 5K to benefit the CHUM Therapeutic Riding Center in Dansville, MI. The race will be held on September 7, 2015. Stay tuned to the Running Foundation to register after the New Year!

      Have you experienced the healing power of animals? Do you have a beloved veteran in your life? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!



      Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

      Friday, November 14, 2014

      Debt Snowball In Action: Kicking It Into High Gear Update

      When we started our Total Money Makeover journey in the winter of 2013, we were scared and in denial about our poor financial decisions. Having discovered Dave Ramsey that fall while reading Money Saving Mom, our fear was slowly being transformed into hope, but it wasn't until taking Financial Peace University that our hope turned into passion

      Since then, I've been sharing our financial ups & downs here - you can check out all of our old posts to get caught up if you'd like. Most Total Money Makeover participants pay off their debt in less than 2 years, but as I shared this spring while reviewing Smart Money Smart Kids, my husband and I have an unusually high amount of debt for our very average income. 

      We know we're in for a longer debt snowball then most of our peers, so to help keep us gazelle intense (and accountable) I'll be periodically updating YOU on our debt snowball journey. Even better yet, this is the place for you to join us too! Let's keep each other accountable - leave a comment at the bottom of the post with your progress (successes and set backs) and if you're a blogger, leave a link. :)


      Current Debt: 

      Hmm.... it's been over 6 months since I've called companies and gotten a balance update, whoops. So considering that I pay about $1,400 each month in debt snowball payments, and it's been 6 months since my last update, I'm going to estimate we've paid about $8,400 towards debt in that time. Unfortunately I've more than likely gained a TON of interest during that time as well though, so let's just throw out $115,000 of debt as an estimate. (Mental note... add call loan companies to update loan balances to the to do list.)

      Our Current Stage In The Journey:

      In the two weeks since deciding to kick debt snowball into high gear, I've earned $227 in overtime

      I know what you're thinking "but you're a teacher, how do you earn overtime?" Thankfully, I'm fortunate to work in a school district where extra money can be made when you pick up after school activities

      In these first two weeks I've supervised after school activity time, held before school and Saturday detention, worked concessions at a basketball game and provided tutoring for a student out of school for medical leave. 

      Yes - it can be exhausting, and yes, it means I miss out on prep time after school and family time at home, but like Dave Ramsey says, "you have to work like no one else, so that later, you can work like no one else." I know my extra effort has put us $227 closer to our goal of paying off our last consumer loan payment before the New Year and that feels fantastic!


      This Week's Debt Snowball Progress: (-$227)




      Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

      Monday, November 10, 2014

      This Week's Goals: 11/10-16/14


      Goal Line

      Last Week's Goals:

      Classroom Goals
      • Work on lesson planning for the coming week
      • Continue using our new RTP Classroom Management expectations
      • Catch up on lesson plan notes from last week
      • Schedule science collaboration for next week
      Household/Family/Mommy Goals
      • Continue our Total Money Makeover by creating our November budget
      • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves (ongoing - my goal is to have a pseudo living room in the basement even though the walls aren't finished by the end of winter)
      • Look up how to remove mold from wooden hope chest (advice anyone???)
      • Install patio stones (ongoing)
      • Clean up Halloween decorations
      • Clean out gardens for the winter
      • Spread mulch over gardens in preparation for winter
      • Continue planning holiday season events, menus, wish lists & budgets
      Marriage Goals
      • Make a point to spend at least 1 solid minute cuddling with hubs each evening when he gets home
      • Start planning his birthday present (first weekend of December)
      • Write a love note to hubs <3
      Personal Goals
      Blogging Goals
        This Week's Goals:

        Classroom Goals
        • Work on lesson planning for the coming week
        • Continue using our new RTP Classroom Management expectations
        • Work concessions at basketball game (extra $ for our debt snowball!)
        Household/Family/Mommy Goals
        • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our November budget
        • Add baby shower gift & hunting license to November budget - make adjustments as necessary
        • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves (ongoing - my goal is to have a pseudo living room in the basement even though the walls aren't finished by the end of winter)
        • Look up how to remove mold from wooden hope chest (advice anyone???)
        • Install patio stones (ongoing)
        • Clean outdoor patio area for winter
        • Put away patio furniture for winter
        • Take snow blower & lawn mower in for service
        • Check on supply of Christmas cards & purchase more if needed
        • Continue planning holiday season events, menus & wish lists
        Marriage Goals
        • Make a point to spend at least 1 solid minute cuddling with hubs each evening when he gets home
        • Start planning his birthday present (first weekend of December)
        • Write a love note to hubs <3
        Personal Goals
        • Run at least twice this week
        • Journal at least once this week
        • Continue listening to Kat Lee's Podcasts (How They Blog & Inspired To Action) while running
        • Relax after an eventful bundle week on the blog! :) 
        Blogging Goals
        Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?



        Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.
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