Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Hiking

I love to hike.  Seriously - LOVE IT!  I am not an all night hiker, but I could go all day.  I like to storm through a hike and I like to slowly walk as well.  I stop in wonder and I miss so much.  Doesn't matter to me - I just love it.

It has never been a focus in my life - well, not true - it was before kids and we hiked all the time when my boys were with their father.  It stopped when I had our daughter and went really downhill with our last son.

Thing is though - I still love it and want to get back to it MORE than ever.  Do I drag my nature-hating kids along with me? 

My mind boggles at the thought that I love nature so much, so does -D, yet NONE of our kids do.  They are all city - take them to a restaurant and an amusement park and they love you to death.  Me, I cannot get out of it fast enough!

This week was our 15th Wedding Anniversary and we are celebrating this weekend kid-free with a long hiking day, ending with a hot tub!  My kind of living!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five Things Friday

I will join Carla today!



1) I finished my husband's crochet quilt!  After 2 1/2 years - just in time for our anniversary!  He knew about it, so I already gave it to him, but I only finished last night!  It is a basket weave - so gorgeous and thick!  It is more for a northern temperature, but this man runs COLD!
I love the texture

2) My daughter has a better attitude today.  I came down on her harder than I ever have yesterday AND Dad gave her the right act.  It seems to have done something.  She is involved and smiley, not mopey and sullen.

3) I have 5 orders just waiting to be picked up!  It has been a very busy week and luckily - it is slowing down for the weekend.  I am so glad.  My hands are not doing so well today.  Probably from over working them this week!

4) Our son's homecoming is this weekend.  He decided to go anyway with a group of friends.  I think he will have more fun that way even after all the drama.

5) Since this evening is busy, I actually decided to pre-cook dinner!  We are having baked ziti, so I pre-boiled the pasta and made the sauce.  All it will take is dumping it in a pan and baking.  I feel better already!

Hope you have a great weekend planned!  So far, it is looking doing a little shopping for our fireplace and attending a UIL band competition.  Then cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, and laundry. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Last Infusion of Money

Today is payday.  It is also the last of the money infusion from the job change.  We are excited to get so much paid off and sad that this is the end of the large chunks, as well as there being some debt.  Sidebars are updated.

However, good things:

- Another credit card was paid in full.  We are down to ONE!
- The last credit card got a $4,000 chunk.  Our estimation is 4-5 months for pay-off.  Let's hope we can stick with it through the holidays.
- This last card is at 0% interest, so we should have it paid before any more is calculated.

 Our talks are more and more about what to do when we get OUT of debt.  They all seem to be long term goals - only one short term.

1) Vacation to Universal Studios.  I know, I know - my daughter wants this with all her heart (although she is on my bad side today).  We are currently saving about $200 a month and we expect to go sometime next fall.  It will be my first and last time.  I do not enjoy amusement parks.  We are going to go air boat riding though!  I am excited about that!

2) A new car - I know, we just bought a Jeep, which I love! - this is for our other car, the one my husband drives and one that will serve as a family travel car.  No rush, his car is still working, it is just getting older and may not last but a couple more years.

3) A Class C RV.  This one is long term.  We do not plan on buying it until the kids are grown and gone, but we can slowly save for it since we know without a doubt this is what we want.

4) Emergency Fund - 1st on the list.  We hope to have this fully funded within a year of paying off debt.

5) Pay off mortgage.

6) Fully fund 401(k), and two Roths.  Ouch - this takes quite a bit from our cash flow, but sorely needed.  We plan on doing the 401(k) to 6% in January (his company will not let him start until after 90 days of employment), then up to the max when debt is gone.  His company matches 100% for the first 6%, so that is WONDERFUL!  Then, when the emergency fund is complete, we will contribute to the Roths.

7)  Start purchasing properties.  When this house is paid in full, we plan on renting it out and buying another one.  Hopefully, continuing this up to four properties.

8) Build a house on our land.  This is so far into the future, it is not even in my realm of reality, but a girl can dream.

So, that is it! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

UFO's (picture heavy)


This article was shared on Facebook and I was so thankful for it.  I don't consider myself a quilter yet, but I am definitely working on it. I love the lap quilt size and do the quilting myself, but if I really make a good one some day, I am going to hire a long armer.  I am not interested in long arm work, I love the tops mostly.

So, in honor the Work-in-Progress Wednesday, here are my UFO's in all their glory!  I probably won't do this each week because I just do not get enough done to do that.  This article made me feel SO MUCH BETTER though!

First up, the hotpads for Christmas - this one has been sitting there for two weeks.







Second, the quilt I am working on - currently this is my fascination! Yes, that is my living room rug.  No one can walk in there right now, I better get sewing!





Thirdly, the camping quilt.  I just feel in love with the fabric and thought it would be a great kid's lap quilt.  No one in mind for it. I may sell it when I am done.  It is in the very early stages of work.






Fourth up, a quilt I started in the same design as the blue one above, but I was making the half-squares the hard way.  Not sure what I will do with these, may a table runner....I can't let that much fabric go to waste.  It has been regaled to a plastic bin in a drawer.  Eek!






Lastly, the fabric I bought for me!  I want to make a quilt just for me.  I need to take it out of the package and let the design come to me, but I have not had time.   Isn't the fabric just stunning!?!





That is it!  Almost in order of doneness.  The hotpads are so close to being done - it would not take me an hour to put them together, but my draw is to that blue quilt.

Other projects not started, but in the back of my head:

1) A wristlet purse for me

2) A lap quilt for my mother-in-law

3) A quilt for my son who is going away to college next August

4) A lap quilt for a charitable event in May

5) A lap quilt for a charitable event next October (2015)

6) Activity pouches for my little nieces - Christmas next year


In case you were curious about my past quilts, I may change the homeschool page to completed quilts since I am not going to be homeschooling past this year.  But here are a small handful in the meantime.  I have done about 15 baby quilts, but I don't count those really. 


No quilting on this one.  Maybe a little Stitch in the Ditch

Baby quilt w/ minky
Baby quilt w/minky


Biggest quilt so far and with batik fabric

Crescent quilting inside each panel.  

Oversized baby quilt

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Christmas Gifts

I try to make as many gifts as I can as I think they are more thoughtfelt and easier on my pocketbook.

This year, the majority of people are getting hotpads.  I know, nothing thrilling, but how many of you lust after going shopping for hotpads?  Then, when you get home, they are crappy at best, fray, not very heat protective, etc.

So, I found this cute style and I making up a bunch of them for all our parents, siblings and friends.  They cost me about $2 per pair to make.  Then my time, but I don't count the cost of that.

I made ALL these, still have more to go!

Every year, I make a quilt for someone for Christmas.  This year it is my step-mother.  I cannot wait to show you. I should have the top done in a few days, then I will post once it is all done.  Hopefully by next week.  Once I get the top done, it comes together pretty quickly - though the quilting is a little more intense.

We bought ear phones for all the teens (and we have 12) and we are going to get plastic jars, put a paper tube in the center for the ear phones, then using Christmas M&M's around the tube.  Since we bought the ear phones in bulk - they were about $1.50 each.  I will make the paper tubes with my stock, then we are purchasing the plastic jars with coupons.  Of, course the M&M's, but I am looking for sales on those.  These will be a little more expensive than the hotpads, but I figure about $5 each.  Not too bad.

My son was given a Disney gift card and he did not want it at all, so we used it to buy a personalized fleece princess blanket for our 3 year old neice.  It ended up only costing us $11.  We paid for the tax and shipping. 

So far, it is really looking good.  We have not decided what we are going to get our kids yet.  As for gifts between us, we only do stockings.  There is so much bought thoughout the year, that we do not feel the need to gift each other.  For example, -D's grill was on it's last leg a few months ago.  We had repaired and repaired.  So, I looked up a grill I thought he would like and presented it to him.  Done.

Do any of you make gifts to trim the budget, but still to show you care?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Getting It Together

Ever since we decided to put our house on the market back in January, I have felt turned upside down.  I am the type of person that is a fire-preventer rather than a fire fighter.  So, having a to-do a mile long and seeing things out of sorts drove me crazy.  My kids are still not there, but I am going to give it time.  They may be out-of-sorts because of me.

Some decisions.  We have had a tough time with decisions lately.  Really tough.  It is like two very decisive people became the wishy washy that I abhor!

So, we made a final decision on the younger two kids' education.  They are going to private school.  There is no going back on this.  NONE!  Barring my husband not having a job, this will happen.  We weighed all the pros and cons - and there are with both!  Ultimately, we felt the education I started when we pulled them out of public school to begin with will be better enhanced by this particular private school.  If this private school were not in existence, then I probably would go public school.  It is not that I am just interested in any private school, it is this one in particular! 

Also, we talked at length at why we were feeling this unsettled, difficult to make decisions feeling.  Particularly me, but -D feeds into this as well.  This house we bought will eventually become one of our rental properties, so we don't feel like it is really ours.  I know - strange.  However, there are things I want to update, just to appeal to the type of people that rent in this neighborhood.  In the meantime, I need to feel this is home.  I know "things" are not supposed to fill that for you and this is my shallow self talking.  A cozy stone fireplace makes me feel at home.  Every house we have ever owned has had a stone fireplace and we put them in each one.  It seems to make it our home!

At this point, the fireplace has gas hook-ups, but no gas logs.  The mantle is oversized and white.  The same tile on the floor graces the surround.  There is no hearth.  I ordered a smaller, more appropriate mantle on-line. It is raw poplar for staining, so I will finish it.  -D will tear out to existing structure and put in the new mantle.  Saving us a lot of money.

We are adding stone where the current tile is and putting in gas logs.  We are not adding a hearth because the living room is too small and there is only about 4 inches from the bottom of the fireplace to the floor.

After all this was decided, we got so much done around the house.  I woke up this morning with a clear mind and nothing urgent.  It is so nice to have that.  It has been a LONG TIME!

There will be another money update on Friday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stressful times

I am constantly a ball of stress.  Normal stress relieving ideas do nothing for me.  I am not sure what it will take.  I need to learn to just "let-it-go".  When it comes to my family though, I just cannot - no matter how hard I try.

I know to those who are pro-public school, this is no big deal, but I am struggling with this so hard.  It is keeping me up at night and dominating my days.

I am trying to get my son into occupational therapy, but they are taking their time - I mean S--L---O----W.   I have to give them a week to call me back from verifying insurance.  I think they need a person to do that for them full-time at each location, not one person for both locations.  The longer they take, the longer it will take me to get him transitioned back in school and drags this very stressful situation out longer than it should.

My husband's new job requires more structured time than we are used to, plus he's under stress getting used to a new job.  So this equals a little bickering and hurt feelings.  Sigh.

Work for me is gangbusters.  Whenever I think I will not have more work - BAM!  The flood gates open.  I will easily make $100 this week just on patches.  This is adding to the stress - although this is a good one.  Money coming in is always good.

My health is no better - no worse, but no better. Joints are swollen and pain is very high at times. I am so exhausted, I fall asleep at my desk, but cannot sleep to save my life at night.   I am sure the lack of sleep is the root of this stress.  Believe me - I know!

I cannot pay off debt past enough.  I used to get excited when we could pay an extra $100 to something.  Now, I just chunked over $4,000 at one and I was disappointed.  It wasn't enough.

When I was doing yoga and we were going camping, I tended to keep things at bay.  I have stopped both for the sake of saving money.  I am going back to yoga when the kids get back in school.  Evening yoga is just not realistic for how tired I am.

My son's girlfriend broke up with him.  Told him she wasn't going to homecoming, then he finds out, she is going - with another guy.  Heartbreak.  They had been together a while.  He is very depressed, so I worry about him.

With all of this coming up, it is HARD to get back to homeschooling.  They are not into it, and neither am I.  I am sad it is ending and keep wondering if it is the right thing.