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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The envelope system

David L. Ramsey III (born September 3, 1960) is an American financial author, radio hosttelevision personality, and motivational speaker.
Ramsey's company, The Lampo Group, Inc., is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, and oversees three divisions geared toward financial counseling.
Ramsey is also the creator of Financial Peace University, a biblically-based 13-week video training series for adults, and a companion series targeted at teenagers that has been offered in schools across the nation. Some topics covered in the series are cash flow planning, investing, saving, credit, retirement, and giving.[10]

Sweet Man and I were introduced to Dave Ramsey two years ago by a homeschooling buddy. She let us borrow a book he had written,after I shared that I felt like I wasn't a very good money manager, and it totally changed our perspective. Ramsey teaches you to be responsible with your money, and to plan for emergencies. Who would have thought to do that? Well, probably a lot of people, but we weren't among them. ;-)

I have gone back and forth between loving his strategies, and down right wanting to throw the book out the window when I see something I want to buy. ;-) But, looking back over the last two years I can see what we have accomplished by listening to his advice. We have paid off our credit cards, and no longer own any!!! Yes, this is huge!! I don't ever want one of those little plastic cards again, especially when I realized we were still paying on stuff that had been broken or gotten rid of.
I only have a steady income four months out of the year. Last year my income was focused on the credit cards. Since those had been eliminated I was left with trying to figure out what I wanted to put my earning towards. Ramsey has this thing called the envelope system, and I have totally fallen in love with it! You take little envelopes, write on it what you are saving for, and stick some cash in it. :-)
 Homeschooling can be done frugally, so I have been told, but more often than not all these "great opportunities" arise that cost money. There are also a ton of things I want/need that I don't want to buy on a credit a new stove. Since I know my job is short lived, I wrote down any expenses that I knew would be coming up throughout the rest of the year, and made envelopes for them. There are several trips/outing coming up, school books for next year, registration fees for clubs, and some not so fun things like house insurance and taxes.
This past week has been rough for work. Super long nights have left us tired, and on top of that we have all been sick.  Whenever we question if all this hard work is worth it, I just pull out those envelopes and see how we have been able to prepare for the upcoming year. It is surprisingly very motivating.
I wonder if I am the only person that is just now trying this? It is so freeing to feel prepared, and I am very thankful for the Lord for giving us this opportunity. Now, I feel like taking a nap. ;-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The love hate relationship with convenience food

 We are over halfway through our night shift job, and sometimes it seems like we just started. The days have been a blur of school work, house work, cooking, cleaning...and then spending the evenings proof reading. It seems like we have been running on full speed for the past two months. Even though Sweet Man and I have had very little down time, it just seems like we can't get it all done. There is still trash in the yard from where the dog decided to look for her own breakfast, after I forgot to feed her that morning. :-o Books lined up in the school room that I was planning on reading to the girls. Craft projects jotted down that I would like to try in my "spare" time, blogs to write, trails to run, and a garage project that Sweet Man and I started and haven't had the time to finish.

In order to be able to do some of the more exciting things on my to do list, I have been searching for ways to tackle the daily chores just a little bit better. I spend over half of my day in the kitchen. Although it is a lovely kitchen, I am plumb tired of staring at the same spot out the window while I cook, clean and prepare meals. Convenience foods have been on the back of my mind a lot lately, and I have really thought about forgoing all the homemade stuff for some good ole prepackaged meals that can just be thrown in the oven on a whim. I know they are loaded with preservatives, and perhaps a few other not so nice things, and they would totally blow my grocery budget, but come one they are so....CONVENIENT!.

The other day a friend posted on her Face Book wall how she was stocking her freezer with homemade goodies that could be cooked and frozen, to be eaten at a later time. Yes! That's it! Spend a day in the kitchen baking oodles of yummy things that can be popped in the oven on a whim. Not only is this cheaper, and keeps my grocery budget in check, it's healthier since I get to pick the ingredients.

Yesterday I worked on our breakfast menu for the freezer. I baked 3 different types of muffins, waffles, bread, and energy sustaining breakfast bars.

There is also another plus to this whole scenario...the major part of dish washing will be done on that day instead of every morning after a batch of muffins or pancakes were baked.
Which is a great thing, because who wants to tackle a mess like this everyday? 

This morning has proven to be very stress free. The girls just went to the freezer and grabbed their waffles and popped them in the toaster. Me? I actually had time to write a blog. 

Now if I could just figure out how to stock up on washing laundry and teaching school. ;-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Busy time right now...but still managed to take a few pictures. ;-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Whoso loves, believes the impossible.

May you love with all your heart, believe the impossible, and laugh super hard at least once each day!