- Finish Paying off Credit Card #9
- Pay $500 on Credit Card #10
- Ivy’s Birthday Party and Dinner
- Healthcare needs for Michael
- Work on my 2019 Blog Goals
- Major House Cleaning
We currently owe $500 on credit card #9. We plan to pay it off first. After we finish paying off that, we plan to start working on credit card #10. Credit card #10 is our final card! It has a balance of $3, 069.38. We plan to pay $500 on it this month. We wanted to do more this month originally but we have some financial obligations that we have to get out of the way first. Also, Michael had a lot of days off for the holidays and will have short checks at the beginning of this month. We saved money from the end of December to help keep us on track so we shouldn’t notice too much of a difference from those missing hours. Just a year ago we were struggling to pay our bills and feed our kids without using our credit cards for short weeks. Now we are fine and the concerns are about how much debt we can pay off. The difference in the amount of money we used to spend on debt payments that we now get to use for meeting our goals is astounding. A year can make a huge difference!
Our oldest daughter, Ivy, is turning 18. I know, I know. I’m not ready for this. She has chosen to have a house party on a Saturday night and a nice dinner with the family on Sunday Night. She decided on bright rainbow colors for her theme. A longtime family friend is making her cake. We need to take a trip to the party store to pick out her balloons, decorations, plates, napkins, and flatware. I haven’t figured out the menu yet. She still needs to make a playlist for the house party and where we are going for her family dinner. I’ll update you later about how it all goes.
Michael has a doctor’s appointment next week. He has been having back and hip pain. I’ll let you know what we find out.
I have some big blogging goals for 2019. I want to get a jump-start on some of them this month. I will be doing a little research to learn more about the things that I don’t know much about. I’m trying to find a posting schedule that fits my life and helps me to meet my goals.
We need to do some post-holiday cleaning starting with taking down our Christmas decorations today. We need to make sure it’s clean enough for the house party for Ivy’s birthday. The holiday gifts need to find homes. Everything could use a good scrub. We were so busy over the holidays that we also got behind on laundry. We’ll be getting that caught up this week. Octavia, 2, had a growth spurt recently and I need to sort out the clothing that no longer fits her.
It’s going to be a busy month as always but I hope that with a little effort you will be hearing from me more. What are your goals for this month? Leave me a comment below.
- Finish Paying off Credit Card #9
- Really Enjoy the Christmas Season
Sadly, We didn’t make our goal of paying off credit card #9 by the end of the month. We will carry a balance of $500 over into the new year. We set a pretty large goal because we wanted to challenge ourselves. However, it was not a well-thought-out goal. My husband doesn’t work around the holidays. He was off for five days for Christmas and will be off for four days for New Year’s Day. We didn’t take the fact that he was going to have multiple short checks into consideration. On the upside, we did make progress this month. We paid off $1,362 on credit card #9 which is impressive. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.
Blogmas was a bust too. I got sick toward the beginning of the month and blogmas was put on the back-burner. I was considering trying to catch up the missing posts but I felt like it defeated the purpose of doing it to begin with. I’m trying not to beat myself up too much for that one too. I’m making some major plans for blogging in 2019 and I’m really focusing on that.
Besides being sick, I really enjoyed the Christmas season. This was the first year in five years that I was off work for both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. The holidays can be rough for all of us healthcare workers. I was able to spend time with family. My Dad had a Christmas Eve party. I took a trip to Indiana to visit extended family. It was nice to see people who I don’t get to see often. I loved getting to spend more time with my husband while he had so much time off work. My kids loved getting to see him more too. Christmas break is still going on for the kids and we are enjoying spending so much time with them.
We had some unexpected things happen this month that could majorly impact our lives that I want to fill you in on. Michael, my husband, had to go to urgent care because he hurt his back. He has lower back pain from time to time but this was different. He has some appointments in January to figure out more about it. We have insurance but the co-pays on urgent care, going to the doctor in January, and any imaging, labs, or medications could impact our current financial goals. He may need to miss work occasionally which would lower his income. Depending on what is wrong, this could have very minor or life-changing implications. We really will not know anything for a few weeks. I will fill you in as I know more.
Our other important information is about our daughters. Our oldest will be going into a new schooling option so she can finish her remaining high school credits faster. She will still graduate at the same time but she will be able to take college courses during her senior year. She will be doing these classes online at home. She will still be part of the public school system but with increased flexibility. She wants to be an artist and recently began accepting commissions. This will give her more time for her art and allow her to work at her own speed.
Isabella (turned 9 years old this month) has always picked things up extremely fast. She potty trained in days. She began reading at three. She is a curious child and incredibly sensitive. They began telling me that she was ahead of the class and doing well in Kindergarten. By second grade, she was way ahead of average children her age. She is currently in third grade. She always finishes her homework at school after finishing her classwork. We were recently told that she is gifted. We always had a feeling but thought that she may just be a diligent student. She has begun to state that she is getting bored. She loves learning and we are afraid that she may lose that drive if she continues to not be challenged. We were planning to homeschool when we left to travel. Beginning homeschooling earlier is an option. We haven’t made a decision yet about next school year but we are exploring all the options. She wants to finish this year where she is. Her school has online math and English courses that are appropriate for her. She is currently doing sixth-grade work in both. I will share our plan once we have everything figured out.
December has been quite a month. How was your month? Leave me a comment below to tell me all about it.
The pantry challenge started as a humble way for us to save some money and to minimize the amount of clutter in our kitchen. One day, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner and I came across a box of flavored rice that had expired almost two months before. I cannot even explain what happened next. This was not the first thing to ever expire in our kitchen but this was the first time I felt this way. I was so upset by this. I was so sick of living in clutter and chaos. We were working on becoming debt free and this box of rice represented everything that was wrong with our lives. It was my breaking moment.
I sat at my kitchen table, deep in my thoughts for a short period before deciding that if we were ever going to live our dreams we needed to make some serious changes in our behavior. We had somehow found ourselves in a life of excess and none of it was making us happier. We knew what we really wanted to do with our lives but until that moment, sitting at my kitchen table holding a box of expired rice, it all seemed like a dream. It was then that I fully understood what I needed to do. Everyone from my husband and family to my friends and teachers has told me that I am capable of anything. I have proved them correct a number of times over the years. I have the kind of single-mindedness that is needed to succeed at anything and also drive other people crazy. At that moment, I turned all of my stubbornness towards one thing and one thing only, preparing ourselves in every way to live the life of our dreams. When we had begun talking about our future plans we wrote out a list of the things that were standing in our way. The first step was paying off our credit card debt and the first step toward that was sitting right there in front of me. Thus, the pantry challenge was born. We had been working very slowing on our debt snowball but after this moment we really ramped up the momentum.
Our pantry was bursting at the seams with food but that was not all of it. The refrigerator and freezer were full. There was overflow in a set of cabinets next to the pantry. There was a cabinet next to the stove full of spices, seasoning mixes, oils, and bottles of vinegar. There was another half a cabinet that held two containers of toddler snacks and food. We also had a deep freezer full in our garage. I had no idea the amount of stuff hiding in that kitchen and no idea the amount of money we had spent on all of it to just sit there.
I dedicated an amount of time to go through all of it. I disposed of the things that were expired, made a pile of things that would expire soon, and began planning meals around what was already in our kitchen. It was so easy at first. There were pasta and sauces, meats and vegetables, and easy prep meals from boxes and cans. We were saving money and slowly cleaning things out. Eventually, the easy to figure out meals started to run out and we were left with the more unusual things. We continued on but had to start to supplement with trips to the grocery store.
I discovered some things about myself during this challenge. I realized that I used to buy the silliest things if they were simply on sale enough and I often went grocery shopping with no plan or lists of any kind. I bought a lot of things because I wasn’t sure if I already had one at home. That behavior caused us to possess no less than 8 bottles of ranch dressing. We go through a bottle about every two to three months. That means we had 2-3 years worth of it. While we are struggling to pay off our credit card debt, I think that there may be better ways to allocate our funds than by having a stockpile of ranch dressing.
My end goal was to completely clear most of the food out of the kitchen. I wanted to downsize the amount of stuff in our kitchen to simplify our lives a little and to make sure that we weren’t throwing money in the trash. I had no idea where this challenge was going to take us. I had no idea going in that this would help me to start meal planning again. I had no idea that this was going to encourage us to pack our lunches and eat at home more. I had no idea that this would lead to spending more time with my kids while we used up baking supplies. This challenge made a huge impact on our lives. I hope it does the same for you.
This “Eraser Maker” is available at Five Below. We weren’t sure what to think of this item at first. It looks very neat but I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be as cool as it looks at first glance. Sadly, I was right. Isabella (8) was really excited to try it out. She had a completely unrealistic idea of what she was going to be doing.
This is what’s in the box. It’s basically a safer way to cut eraser sticks and a set of cute sticks. After the initial disappoint that she was not making erasers, Isabella did have fun. The kit came with two sizes. There were thinner and thicker sticks of erasers. The thin ones go into a guide that helps to hold them into place. They are much easier to cut straight because of the guide. Also, they are physically easier to cut. Isabella had difficulty even pressing it down when the thicker ones were in it. Without the guide and with her pressing 2-3 times to cut through them, the thicker ones were turning out really bad. I ended up having to cut them with a knife by myself.
The erasers were really cute. She ended up with a ton of them! She took out a small amount that she liked and wanted to keep. Then she took them to her older sister, Ivy (17), to see if she wanted any of them. She put the rest into a ziplock bag, took them to school, and gave all of her classmates and friends three each. I was happy that she gave them out because it was a crazy amount of tiny erasers.
We love Christmas lights! We go somewhere every year to see them. This year was our first time going to “Christmas Nights of Lights” at Coney Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. We went on a Saturday night. The line started just off the exit ramp and it snaked through the parking lot at Coney Island. We waited for around 45 minutes. We could see the lights in the distance which definitely helped keep the kids excited instead of annoyed.
The lights are synced to music that we found while waiting in line. This also helped the girls to wait. We really belted out some tunes. Our rendition of “Let It Go” was… well the word appalling comes to mind, but we did have a great time singing it. That’s the point right? We chatted a little and explained what Baby Shark is to my oblivious husband.
We finally made it in and it was well worth the wait! We loved it. I highly suggest visiting if you are near the Cincinnati area. Octavia (2) was so ecstatic to see all the lights, especially the snowmen. She is currently obsessed with snowmen. We all loved the arches you drive through.
The cost is only $6 per person. Children 3 and under are free. It was $24 for the five of us which was a pretty cheap Christmas outing. If the urge strikes once you get in the lot, there are port-a-potties. It was pretty cold outside and there was a bit of a line for them. Thankfully we didn’t need to use them.
The show is open every night until January 6th including holidays. They start at dusk and run until 10 pm. I have heard that the line gets longer later in the evening and as it gets closer to Christmas. It’s truly beautiful and a wonderful experience. Don’t take my word for it. Go see it yourself.
Merry Christmas & Happy Travels!