Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2009 results and 2010 goals

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I am a supporter of simplifying our lives and steering away from this consumer driven madness we have found ourselves in. Do we really need all this stuff?? There are so many new and improved gadgets out there that if we upgraded every time a new option came available we would find ourselves in a never ending buying spiral, and sadly that is what has happened to many people. We as a society are so worried about keeping up with our neighbors that we don't stop and think what we really want and need.... It has been a year since we started this path to simplicity and while we do not in any way shape or form have it all figured out I thought I would share our success with you all.

In 2009 we were able to pay off:
Credit Cards: $12,000
Part of Student Loan : $6,000
TOTAL DEBT PAID: $18,000!!!

In 2010 we have paid off:
Rest of Student Loan: $2,500

As you can see we are well on our way to financial independence and I couldn't be happier with our results. How did we do it??? Simple we stopped buying STUFF! I am not talking about the basics our children still get clothing when they out grow something, we still buy plenty of food for our family (a little to much if the bathroom scale is any indication!), we go out as a family and enjoy ourselves. When I say stuff I mean the random junk that you don't need to survive or be happy the stuff that ends up in the closet collecting dust a month after you bought it. When we first looked at our spending habits a year ago I was shocked to see that we spent over $500 a month on stuff and I honestly couldn't tell you what we bought! By giving each other a allowance of $100 a month Bry and I are still able to buy the things we feel we need (outside of the necessities) while not breaking the bank. Once we started seeing that debt start to drop dramatically it was a feeling we couldn't explain and we were more than willing to find other ways to cut expenses so that we could watch it fall even faster :) Right now our debt payment is $1,245 a month and we as a family are not feeling the least bit pinched at that amount. We still have plenty to live on and are so much happier learning to live a more simple life :)

Our Goal for 2010 is to pay off our Van and be completely debt free!!! With our current debt repayment plan we should be debt free by February 2011 but of course we are going to work our butts off not to go into another new year with debt. We could pay it off a whole lot sooner but we are planning a trip home in June for my brothers wedding and as well all know people and relationships need to come before the almighty dollar so we will gladly add a few months to our debt repayment in order to pay cash to go home and see my baby brother walk down the aisle :)

2010 Goals:
*Pay off Van loan ($15,000)
*Attend Brothers wedding paying 100% cash ($5,000)

What about you all what are your goals for 2010 and how did you do in 2009?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How does your garden grow.....

OK so maybe I am the only one gardening right now but I would love to hear about your plans for your garden once the mainland starts to thaw!

So far my tomatoes are about hip high and had to be staked, still no blooms but I am expecting them any day now :)

My cucumbers have about 4 leaves each and are about 3in high, can't wait for them to hit a growth spurt. I am not sure how they are going to do since they are in a corner of the yard that doesn't get much sun, but my yard is so small that there really wasn't much choice for the location.

My bell peppers are doing well and some of them have actually started to bloom, one seems to be doing better than the others and is double the size....not sure what is going on there maybe it is getting more sun than the others???

Onions are starting to sprout and are looking good :)

Carrots are sprouting and about an inch tall :)

Strawberries are about 4in high and one is blooming, these are a total pain since they will not really start producing till next year but I still have to keep them alive this year :)

My herb garden is still waiting to sprout, we shall see how it does once the little guys are up. There is dill, coriander, rosemary, creeping thyme, Italian parsley, and chives in there and I am looking forward to seeing them all start growing!

I still have more to do but I am having to work with just an hour or two on the weekends when Bry can take care of the twins. I am going to put in 2 more beds, one will have zucchini and squash in the back and cabbage and lettuce in the front and the other will be for potatoes.

I recently read a great book called The Backyard Homestead and it is a wonderful resource. The premise of the book is that you can grow all the food you need on a 1/2 an acre with sections of the book dedicated to smaller gardens. Now my backyard is WAY smaller than even the 1/8 an acre option in the book but it is still a good resource, although I skipped the sections on raising chickens, rabbits, and cattle....not quite ready for THAT! lol! It lists every fruit, vegetable, and edible/medicinal herb going into detail on how to grow it, how to preserve it, and then how to use it :) I learned quite a bit about things such as drying herbs (who knew you could do it in the microwave?!) and how to make flavored oils....seriously you should check it out!

I will get some pics up soon :)

Busy Busy Busy....how do you manage?

We are all busy...we all have things that have to be done and only so much time to do said tasks, but how do you do it? I thought I was busy before the twins arrived...man was I delusional! Now if I have time to go to the bathroom alone I think I have it made :) As I type this I have a million tasks that need to be completed around the house but I also have a fussy baby who needs her momma so I am sitting on the couch with a baby on my chest staring at me and making cute faces (good thing I learned to type without looking at the keyboard along time ago!). I though since I was bolted to the couch I would list some of my tricks I have learned over the last few weeks for getting it all done when it seems like you are in constant demand.

Let me start by saying that my twins were to small to breastfeed the normal way so we are pumping and bottle feeding the milk so that affects how I budget my time. It takes 2min to warm the water in the microwave for the bottles of milk per feeding then another 3-4min per bottle for the milk to reach the proper temperature. So every 3 hours I have 8-10 min of available time to either stare into space or do something productive.

Per 10min available time I can:
* Put dinner in the crockpot. I obviously do this at the 8am feeding and it is a lifesaver by the end of the day! Even if the actual dinner isn't crockpot appropriate there is always some part of the dinner that is. Take tonight's dinner for example I am making a chicken pot pie, now this isn't a crockpot meal but I was able to use my crockpot to cook the chicken breasts so that they will be done when I am ready to assemble everything. (simply put the frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot in the morning with a little chicken stock and cook on low all day).
*Hand wash anything that can't go in the dishwasher (11am feeding)
*Gather up the laundry (2pm feeding)
*Start the dishwasher (5pm feeding)
*Clean up after dinner mess (8pm feeding)
*Start the laundry (11pm feeding)
*Fold a load of laundry (2am feeding)
*Empty the dishwasher (5am feeding)

There you go my daily ritual to keep up with my housework and still be able to take care of my kiddos.

I also have to pump after each feeding (takes 20min) and use this time to do things that I have to be stationary for such as online banking, returning calls, making up my meal plans for the week, writing out my grocery lists, etc.

What about you all? What are your tricks for saving time and getting everything done when there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Birth Announcement

Thought I would share the twins birth announcement with you all :)

I can't wait to actually get them so I can mail them out to everyone....just to cute!!!

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