We currently owe $2537.51 on credit card #10, also known as the last credit card! We plan to pay $1037.51 on it this month so that we can finish the remaining $1500 in March. Michael is currently on medical leave from his regular job which has lowered our income and our ability to pay more towards our debt. We are going to try to pay as much as possible but we wanted to set a realistic goal for the situation. To say that I can’t wait to pay off this card is a massive understatement. I’ve become a little obsessed with the idea of paying off this last credit card. We have a couple of personal loans to pay off after this before setting ourselves to pay off our student loans. This debt is standing in our way, blocking us from living the life we desire. As each debt has been paid off, it feels like a weight has fallen away, allowing us more freedom.
We have been slowly decluttering for a year. The time has come to make major moves forward. We have set up a sorting system and begun a major purge of all unnecessary things. We are boxing up things that we want to attempt to sell. We have dedicated a room in our basement to these things. We will be putting some things on Facebook/Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Everything in that room in Spring will go into a yardsale. We have had a yardsale in the past when downsizing and it went well. Honestly, I hate selling things but knowing that we have more debt to pay off, it makes sense. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t enjoy so that we can do things that we do.
I will be continuing to work on improving this site. I really enjoy blogging and want to get better at it. I started doing it just for a personal creative outlet and it has grown to something more. I love when I get messages and emails from readers that we have inspired them in some way. It’s an amazing feeling!
I love cooking! It’s ridiculously cold here right now. When the weather is cold and the days are short, cooking new recipes and old favorites keep me from falling into the seasonal funk of February. I hate the cold. I have found ways over the years to help me get through the cold weather months. Cooking is a big one for this. I have made out our meal plan for the next couple weeks and I’m so excited to try out some new dishes! Also, I am planning for frugal meals so this will save us a little money to put toward paying off that last credit card. Every dollar counts!
Michael found out today that he has a bulging disc. He has been started on medication and will be seeing a physical therapist to help him heal. He has a follow up at the end of the month. Hopefully, everything heals up well and he is back to normal soon. The girls have dental checkups scheduled this month. I don’t expect anything too crazy. Isabella got her test results back from her allergy testing and everything is now negative. This was amazing news! We have made her appointment to do a food challenge but they couldn’t get her in until May. This doesn’t effect this month but I wanted to update all of you that have been following our journey as we prepare for long-term travel.
What are your goals for February? Tell me about it below.
We finished paying off credit card #9! This is such an exciting milestone because it means we have one credit card left! We started working on chipping away at credit card #10 by meeting our goal of paying $500 on it. I’m so excited to finally kick credit card debt out of our lives for good!
Our oldest daughter, Ivy, turned 18 this month. Yes, I cried! She planned and threw a great birthday party for her friends with our help. A family friend made her a beautiful cake! She decided on “Childhood” for her theme and it turned out super cute!
We had her family dinner at Bonefish Grill per her request. It was a great dinner and a wonderful celebration. You can read about that here.
Michael had his appointment with his general physician and was referred to an orthopedic specialist. He met with the specialist and they sent him for an MRI. He has an appointment in a couple days to find out the results. We don’t have any answers yet. He is still having pain when he has to sit for too long. He has been on a medical leave of absence from work. We hope that with a diagnosis he can begin the treatment needed to get back to normal.
I have been working on my blog but not as much as I wanted. I had a rough month. I rang in the new year with a G.I. bug and had strep throat last week. I missed over a week with the strep. It was horrible. I didn’t even turn on my computer for a week. I have read about some new things. I found out how to do things that I have been wondering about for a while. I hope to continue to improve my skills and find that perfect posting groove throughout this year.
We cleaned prior to Ivy’s birthday party but I don’t feel like I did a great deep clean. We cleaned up again after the party. Being sick definitely prevented this from happening too. After a week being sick, our house was messy again. We cleaned it up again. We are working on decluttering and finishing Konmari. We have been slowly decluttering for a year. It is a huge undertaking.
It was a long month and I’m ready to take on February! What goals did you accomplish in January? Tell me about it below in the comments!
My first baby, Ivy, turned 18 last weekend! She chose to have her family birthday dinner at Bonefish Grill in Crescent Springs, Kentucky. This was our first time eating here. It was the perfect combo for our family and it was close to her Grandpa so he didn’t have to drive too far. Ivy wanted a steak and seafood. This place really delivered. There were seven of us and we called ahead for reservations. They seated us as soon as we arrived and had a highchair ready if we wanted one. We did and were very appreciative.
We Started with Awesome Appetizers
They start off with unlimited free bread with butter and olive oil on the side. We chose to do two appetizers. We wanted a seafood option and a non-seafood option. Ivy loves Calamari so we got that as our first appetizer. It was perfectly cooked and very tasty. We went with the Wagyu Beef + Ginger Potstickers as our second option. There weren’t many non-seafood options. I love Potstickers and these didn’t disappoint. There are six in an order which was perfect for us. Octavia, 2, doesn’t like beef so she skipped this.
I celebrated with a glass of Sangria!
Only Pappaw Tom and I had an alcoholic beverage. I had a fabulous sangria and he had a draft beer. Everyone else had a soft drink, iced tea, or water.
The Steak was Amazing!
Ivy went all out for her birthday! She had a Filet Mignon and Lump Crab Cake with au gratin potatoes and green beans. Also, she added on grilled shrimp. She was unhappy with the shrimp because they were overcooked. I had Filet Mignon and Crab Cake with garlic mashed potatoes and a mixed greens salad with balsamic vinaigarette. Both of our steaks were cooked as ordered. Michael had the special. It was Red Snapper with au gratin potatoes and green beans. He loved his fish but wasn’t a huge fan of the au gratin potatoes. My sister, Cassie, had Blackened Baja Fish Tacos with rice and green beans on the side. My dad (AKA Pappaw Tom) had a Half-Pound Wagyu Beef Burger and fries. The two little girls ordered grilled chicken and fries off the children’s menu.
We Finished with Two Mouthwatering Desserts!
Ivy ordered the Caramel Apple Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. It was one of the special. Ivy said this was her favorite thing. The little girls and I had Chocolate Crème Brulee. They were both amazing.
The total for all seven of us including tip was $242. That included two alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages for everyone, two appetizers, five adult entrees including two steak dinners, two children’s meals, and two desserts. The only items we would have skipped were the grilled shrimp and au gratin potatoes.
We love a good road trip! Do you know what makes a road trip even better? An amazing playlist! We have a lot of Disney songs on our family road trip playlist. It’s fun for the whole family to have a sing-a-long. Does your playlist need a Disney update? We like to mix them in between other songs. Planning a trip to a Disney location and want to get in the mood? This is the list for you!
How Far I’ll Go – Moana
Let It Go – Frozen
Hakuna Matata – The Lion King
Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid
Be Our Guest – Beauty & The Beast
I’ve Got A Dream – Tangled
Prince Ali – Aladdin
On The Open Road – A Goofy Movie
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Mary Poppins
The Bare Necessities – The Jungle Book
You’ve Got A Friend In Me – Toy Story
You’re Welcome – Moana
Do You Want To Build A Snowman – Frozen
I Just Can’t Wait To Be King – The Lion King
Kiss The Girl – The Little Mermaid
Colors Of The Wind – Pocahontas
A Girl Worth Fighting For – Mulan
Gaston – Beauty & The Beast
A Whole New World – Aladdin
Shiny – Moana
Everybody Wants To Be A Cat – The Aristocats
When Will My Life Begin – Tangled
After Today – A Goofy Movie
What’s This – Nightmare Before Christmas
Almost There – Princess and The Frog
I’ll Make A Man Out Of You – Mulan
Friend Like Me – Aladdin
Learn Me Right – Brave
I See The Light – Tangled
I-2-I (eye to eye) – A Goofy Movie
Be Prepared – The Lion King
I Wanna Be Like You – The Jungle Book
Zero To Hero – Hercules
Part Of Your World – The Little Mermaid
Fixer Upper – Frozen
Belle – Beauty & The Beast
Once Upon A Dream – Sleeping Beauty
Just Around The Riverbend – Pocahontas
Oogie Boogie’s Song – Nightmare Before Christmas
I am Moana – Moana
When We’re Human – Princess & The Frog
Nobody Else But You – A Goofy Movie
For The First Time in Forever – Frozen
Where You Are – Moana
Dig A Little Deeper – Princess & The Frog
You’ll Be In My Heart – Tarzan
Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Lilo & Stitch
In Summer – Frozen
Mother Knows Best – Tangled
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes – Cinderella
There are many more that we enjoy but these are the ones on our road trip playlist. Our girls enjoy songs that they can sing along with. What is your favorite Disney Song? Would you add anything to our list?
We are currently preparing for long-term family travel. We plan to begin our trip in 2020. Many people have been asking for a list of exactly what we’re working on right now. I want to say upfront that not all of these things would be necessary for every family and most of it could be done much faster. There are parts of this that we could (and very well still may) completely do on the fly. There are parts of our plan that require time to complete and that is why we are able to take our time with other things that could be done quicker. Having ample time to research and prepare has made this whole endeavor much less stressful. Now on to our checklist.
1.) Paying off Debt – We had a lot of debt when we decided that we wanted to go on this adventure. We didn’t want to have all of that debt and crazy amounts of payments hanging over us when we left. Also, we felt like saving for a trip and spending excessive amounts of money while traveling would be irresponsible knowing we had loads of debt. We made out our “Hit List” for the first debts that we would tackle. We started by paying off one credit card and loan at a time. After we paid off a few things, we made out our priority list that we are still working our way through. It was like we needed to pay off a couple of things and know we were serious before we were willing to make out that whole list. If you are interested in our priority list, you can find it here.
2.) Education – Education and homeschool research has been a huge focus for me right now. We have three daughters, all in different age groups. The main reason for our timeframe is that our oldest daughter, Ivy, will graduate from high school in 2020. Since she was in high school, we decided it was best for her to finish. She plans to take a gap year to go with us and to think about what she wants to do. If she wants to take any college classes while we are gone there are many online options.
Our middle daughter, Isabella, will be starting fifth grade when we leave. I’ve been reading everything I can about homeschooling. I looked into the laws. I’m researching curriculum, reading lists, online programs, historical places we could visit, and homeschool record keeping. There is so much available that it can be a little overwhelming. I just wanted to get a good overview so I didn’t feel completely unprepared when the time came. We are trying to decide between her staying in her school for the fourth grade or doing a year of homeschooling before we leave. Our youngest, Octavia, will be four when we leave. Our state doesn’t require children to be officially enrolled as a homeschooler until age six. We plan to begin preschool at home before we leave and continue on the road.
I have found out from my research that we are “relaxed, eclectic” homeschoolers. This seems fitting because we are pretty relaxed people. Our middle daughter is very independent and self-directed. Having the time to fully research this has been very helpful. It has given me the opportunity to think about what I want to cover and how best to cover it. I feel much more comfortable than I did when I first started looking into it.
3.) Medical/Dental – We had a few things that we wanted and needed to get taken care of before we leave. Our oldest had oral surgery to have her wisdom teeth taken out. She needs to do a set of x-rays and a check-up on her back before we leave. Our middle daughter has food allergies to seafood and shellfish. She was diagnosed when she was three. She had a reaction to shrimp but the others were found on a scratch test and with blood work. We were told that most young kids grow out of their allergies. She has an appointment soon to find out if and what allergies remain. I’m very hopeful that she has outgrown it for multiple reasons. It would make traveling much easier. I’m terrified that we will be somewhere that we don’t understand the language and accidentally feed her shrimp.
We have to visit a travel clinic closer to when we leave so we can receive any needed vaccinations and medications for our trip. We have been getting anything we can from our regular doctors that our insurance will cover. I work in healthcare so there are some extra things that I have been lucky enough to have covered by employee health services. We have found a travel clinic and looked into the process.
4.) Preparing our Kids – We are talking about traveling, reading books, and watching videos. They are working on needed skills like swimming and hiking. We have been introducing them to new foods. We know this is going to be a huge transition and we are doing everything we can to make it easier for them.
5.) Our Belongings – We have been slowly decluttering and using up our belongings. We have been narrowing down what is truly important to us. We plan to rent a small storage bin for the sentimental items and to store off-season things while traveling. We have decided to find a place near my mom so that she can check on things for us and put stuff in if we ship anything home. I will be scanning all of our photos and taking pictures of sentimental items just in case anything is ruined in the storage bin. I plan to put everything on a portable hard drive. We will store this and a small number of valuable keepsakes in a safe deposit box.
6.) Packing/What are we taking – We have been researching suitcases/backpacks, suggested packing lists, reviews for various travel gear, and looking at the weather in areas that we want to go to. We have been looking at our current favorite items to see how best to accommodate our personal styles into our travel wardrobes. We will be spending part of our trip working and slow traveling in the United States. We will have a large vehicle during that time and be taking considerably more with us. We will have kitchen stuff and clothing for multiple seasons. We have been discussing how much stuff we will need to homeschool. We will have very little with us when we are flying. We plan to take a milk crate sized box with us for homeschooling items when we are in the US. We plan to allow one small bag for toys when flying and a bigger bag or box when driving.
7.) Blogging/Vlogging – I plan to continue blogging when we leave. I hope to inspire others to live their dreams, especially families. We are considering doing Vlogs on Youtube but we’re not sure if this is for us. We are going to make a few and see how it goes. We want to at least try filming and editing before we leave to see if it’s something that we would enjoy doing.
8.) Trip Planning/Travel Research – Where are we going? We don’t know exactly but we have been researching areas and getting together our bucket-lists. We looked at the best times of year to visit, must see places, and estimated daily budgets. This is really helping us to prioritize.
9.) Work – I plan to work as a travel nurse. I’m not sure if we will travel for a while before I do a travel nurse contract or if I will do a contract first to get a feel for it. I’ve been looking into different companies and talking to people who do this. My husband doesn’t know if he wants to continue with what he does now or if he’s going to try a new line of work. He has considered temporary work and online options too.
10.) Physical – We are working on being in good shape so that we don’t feel like we’re going to die when we leave. We still will not be used to walking all day, every day. I want to finish losing the weight I gained with Octavia. I am walking and hiking more with the kids so that they are better prepared for what’s coming. My husband, Michael, has a very sedentary job currently. He is working out and trying to eat better. He is considering taking a more active job again before we leave. Unfortunately, he is still smoking occasionally and really needs to quit. He has tried many times but he hasn’t had the willpower to make it stick.
11.) Spending Time with Family and Friends – We are spending as much time as possible with friends and family. Also, we are trying to help them understand why we are doing what we are doing, that we will miss them, and that we do plan to visit.
12.) Passports & Visas – We need to get all of our passports in order when we get closer to leaving. We have been looking into Visas and any rules that we need to know for visiting different countries.
13.) Banking and Credit Cards – We need to figure out which bank we want to use when we leave and which credit cards offer the best perks. We need to make sure that we are able to access our money regardless of where we are. We will likely have multiple different accounts including checking, savings, and credit cards.
14.) Insurance – We will need medical, travel, and car insurance.
15.) Cell Phone and Internet – We will want/need cell phones and internet access while on the road. These will both change based on where we are and where we plan to go.
16.) Post Office Box – We will likely set up a post office box before we leave so we know where our mail will go. I have been switching everything possible over to email.
17.) Kindle – We will need one of these for both homeschool and reading for enjoyment. Isabella (9) and I are avid readers. We both prefer paper books but we have to take weight and space into account. We have decided to purchase one Kindle to share and see if we need another later.
18.) Laptops, Chromebook, Tablet – We are trying to decide which options best fit our needs. We will be working a little online. I plan to continue with the blog. We will be homeschooling our youngest two girls. Our oldest does digital art. We will be taking our two current laptops (Ivy’s and mine) with us while we are in the United States. They are way too big to fly with so we may get a smaller laptop to take with us. Isabella has a fire tablet now that we’ll take because we already own it.
19.) Photography – I am continuing to improve my photography and videography skills. I am learning how to best use my cameras and equipment. I’m figuring out which items I will take with me and picking out the best tech/camera bag options for that equipment.
20.) Money/Budget – We are trying to decide on a daily budget and an app or way to track it. I’m a total nerd and enjoy doing this kind of stuff. It can make all the difference in keeping us on the road longer and allowing us to enjoy our trip without constantly worrying about money.
It’s quite a list! I’m very thankful that I have the time to do it all at my own pace and even more thankful that we will be able to take this trip. Do you have any suggestions about anything on this list? Did we miss anything that you think we need to consider? Please leave us a comment below.