Friday, September 20, 2013

Quiche and Stuff

In case you were wondering turkey pepperoni and cheddar cheese quiche is actually really scrumptious. I had my hesitations but it was all I could come up with for dinner with what we had in the house.

NO SPEND day 56 is in the books and another yummy quiche has been devoured.

I got a really great quiche recipe from my sis in law and I altered the Pioneer Woman's pie crust recipe a bit. Talk about easy made from scratch pie crust! Maybe when I'm not feeling so over tired (just got home from work) I'll actually post a good cheap recipe on this blog of mine.


Here's me, learning how to be a tidy grown person

You know how your grandparent's house was always so neat and tidy? Seriously nothing was ever out of place. Every single grandparent's home I've ever been to has been neat and tidy; everything in it's place and a place for everything. My husband and I purchased his grandparents home when his grandpa passed. I remember visiting this place while my husband and I were dating. I was always afraid of setting a dish on the side table because the home was so very pristine. Who was I to leave a mark somewhere?

Now this house (once so lovely) feels like a dump sometimes. I honestly believe that 75% of the items in this house do not have a home. I am working on that. Here's what I'm wondering though, when our grandparents were 20, 30, late 30 years old were their homes messy too? I doubt they were but were they? Is it something we grow into and master with age or really am I just broken? 

I have a feeling that it's a generational thing. I have a feeling that my grandparents never lived in a messy home, that everything always had a place, and that they held high value for everything in their homes. I'm sure my grandparents didn't throw things away when they got "old" like this generation is in the habit of doing. They didn't "need" as much as we do. They took pride in cleanliness and were taught to do so by their parents. I don't know though. I could probably type pages on this vein. Do you think they had messy homes when they first moved out on their own and were learning how to house keep?

I think about these things a lot when it comes to spending money. I think we're messier now. I think things are so come and go now a days that we don't feel the need to find good homes for them. I'd like to place high value on the items in my home just as my grandparents did. I'd like to kick things out that don't belong and I'd like to invite less things in; goals, lots and lots and lots of goals.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mid September Stargazing

Whew, that took awhile. I've been saving receipts but not tallying my spending for the past month. I just entered over 30 days of receipts onto the spending page. It was a boring task but I feel an enormous weight off my shoulders.

2013 Financial Goals
1. Average $13.50 a day spending currently $14.83
2. 104 NO SPEND days currently 54
3. No more than 45 days off the record currently 50
4. Maintain $1000 emergency fund currently $2
5. Stick to a monthly Zero-Based Budget Not currently doing so great

There are 106 days left of 2013. I was pretty excited about where I'm at with the NO SPEND challenge until I just announced that I'm going to have to not spend anything just about every other day for the rest of the year to meet my goal. That's a tad bit scary. I think I can still track down my spending for a few of the off record days but I'm afraid I'm over the 45 days mark even so. I'll up that minimum to 50. I need help with my emergency fund for sure. Why is it SOOOO difficult for me to get $1000 in the bank? It's awful. As for the budget, I did good in August. September is only half over. I think I can get the zero based budget back on track for this month too.

Oh, and the average... I've $1153.38 left to spend for the entire rest of the year (106 days) if I'm to meet my $13.50 a day challenge. That's only $10.88 a day, or $21.76 every other day if I'm tackling those NO SPENDs too.

I certainly won't say that I excel at challenges BUT "reach for the stars and you might hit the moon..." or maybe even a few of the stars, right. Speaking of stars if I were to actually hit $12 a day for this year I've only got $680.88 left in the budget for the rest of 2013. Now that is brutal! $1153 is starting to look pretty good.

Today's lovely: My 18 month old son very meticulously colored something that resembled a beautiful jelly fish. This kid fills my world with amazement and awe.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Unexpected Beauty

I've been noticing a considerable increase in the amount of men standing with signs lately. I'm not sure what's caused the influx but I can count 5 regular locations where you'll often find a man with a sign in my town and the two neighboring it. Last year there was just one location and it was owned by just one man. Apparently he's started a trend.

All these men with signs don't look like alcoholics or drug addicts (because you  know I'm an expert at spotting such people) but I still haven't stopped to give a single one of them money. Not the guy who holds, "unemployed. will work for food." He's the original sign man by the way, the one who was given a Starbucks drink that one time. I haven't given money to the guy who holds, "single dad. need help." Nor the man who holds, "retired vet. need work." And I certainly didn't give money to the kid (I'm talking 17 years old) holding a piece of paper that read... who knows what; it was too small to read. Or any of the others. I hardly ever see anyone give these men money either.

I've thought alot about them. These sad looking men holding signs on corners where traffic is rushing by stir up such emotions as pity, sadness, apathy. You really do want to help but it just doesn't feel right. Here's where I interject my true thoughts. There are thousands of cars driving by these guys each hour.We're talking rushing traffic, huge intersections, TONS of cars (with people in them). Lets say 1 out of every 500 cars stops and gives sign man $10. That's WELL over $20 an hour. That's 2 or 3 or 4 times more than I make at my job, working, BEFORE TAXES. These guys would NOT be standing with that sign if people didn't give them money. "Unemployed. Will work for food" stands on his corner like a full time job at least 5 days a week. He's making money. I'm sure of this.

Today I saw something different. I exited the highway and stopped at a red light in a line of 8 cars. I was at one of the regular sign man intersections but there was a man without a sign. Actually he didn't look sad or pitiful. He was a fairly handsome white haired old man and he was playing a violin at a VERY busy intersection with traffic rushing by. It seemed a lot different than a regular street performer playing for folks strolling around in a downtown shopping area during their free time.

I turned off the radio, rolled down the window and smiled to myself, "how lovely!" Then I decided that I wanted to give this guy money. He didn't have sign. He wasn't exactly asking for money but he was creating a totally unexpected bit of beauty in the midst of hustle and bustle and chaos and I felt the need to reward that. I also really liked the serene look on his face. It was as if his only goal was to make all of us rushing by in our cars smile, if only for a brief moment.

I pulled some money out of my wallet, waited for the light to turn green, and then had to chuckle as I watched 3 of the 8 cars in front of me hand him money as well. I guess the ratio for rewarding beauty versus begging is unmeasurable. I'm left wondering about life in general. Am I all talk or am I adding a bit of beauty to the busy world I live in? 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Give Me Five

I added two paragraphs to my book today which constitutes about 1 whole page.
And yesterday I taught my son "dame cinco!"
I'm on a roll.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Baby Steps (probably the 700th post with that title)

"With a thousand small steps."

I read that line in a book today and I was like, "you said it!" It took a thousand small steps to get so deeply into debt. It's going to take a thousand small steps to get out. It took a thousand small steps to become the me I am today. It'll take a thousand more small steps to get closer the me I'd like to be tomorrow. It took a thousand small steps to get to Guatemala. It's going to take a thousand small steps to finish writing about it.

Life isn't super easy but it's worth the toil.

A Brain Storm

"If you reach for the stars you might hit the moon."

I'm not sure who first said it but with me this is so very, VERY true. I think the problem lately is that I've only just been reaching for the neighboring town and only just been making it out my front door. Forget the stars or the moon.

Remember when you were a child, people asked you all the time, "what do you want to be when you grow up." When I was six I'd always answer, "I'm going to be a writer." And I was going to be. At six I didn't think about the path there, about life experience or college just that I was going to be a writer. When I was ten I'd answer, "an architect. I draw houses." And I did, constantly. You know most ten year old girls draw pictures of horses, princesses, landscapes with apple trees and fluffy clouds? I drew houses, blueprints, layouts. I had piles and piles of blueprints for fabulous houses. And there were different page numbers on the top for the different levels. Some houses had 10 floors. But two of them were underground, not basements though, underground secret levels that you could only get to by pulling the candlestick on the wall in room number 20. I switched back to wanting to be a writer about about age fourteen. But in highschool I decided I wanted to be an artist. In high school people take you seriously and most adults who found out my aspirations told me I was silly. "You can't make money on art." This is when dreams started to grow legs... they weren't just going to happen, I had to make them happen. OH MY GOSH... that's a reality check. And this is when they started to die.

On yesterday's post I received this comment:
I'm sure, that you will dream again. About loads of other things. I've just started to let my dreams in again. They're not dead, just changed and adjusted. I grew up and my dreams with me.-Lottebees
I think while I was growing up my dreams were growing down. On the phone a few weeks back with my friend I really realized that I'd let most all of my dreams go. I'm not a kid anymore. I have to make things happen now. Making things happen is too hard. That's really what it's about though isn't it? It's not that my dreams are as unreachable as the stars. It's that I have to make them happen. Yikes.

Like I said yesterday I've been reading and brainstorming. I've found of few dreams wandering in this waiting area where I'd left them, thought I lost them, but really had just forgotten them. I'm pretty certain I'm not going to have the five children I'd hoped for but I am madly in love with the one I've got AND I'd almost lost sight of my dream to adopt. Who forgets one of the hugest dreams they'd ever had? This one is still feasible. I'm not going to go looking for a child tomorrow but I will start praying about this dream again.

About three years ago I wrote a kids book. I actually love the thing I just never got around to illustrating it. I think it's about time I get to that. And I also have a book that I want to call half written about my time in Guatemala. I'm an eccentric perfectionist and writing a book was more daunting than I'd anticipated. I have all these different paths that I'd like it to take but I need to choose one. I've spent the past several years letting the thing sit inside my computer never to see the light of day because I can't decide how I want to finish it. Turns out I may have become a writer after all I just haven't ever let myself admit it or finish anything.

Oh, and one last silly dream I remembered today. I was going to be fluent in Spanish before I welcomed a child into this world. Then every other day I would speak to this little gem in either English or Spanish. That didn't happen. But I do know some. I mean I can hold a half way decent conversation with a six year old in the  mountains of Guatemala (might I mention though that his or her Spanish isn't perfect either as their first language is actually Quiche (Key-chay)). Come on lets dream again!!! Why can't I speak to my son with the Spanish I already know while beginning to expand my vocabulary again? Yep, I can. And he can learn Spanish while I do. He's one, he can be fluent in two languages without any effort where as it's taken me 30 years of slowly SLOWLY acquiring bits and pieces of a second one (for those of you around the world who are fluent in two, three, and four languages; here in the States we are actually quite jealous).

Baby steps are key. This I've learned while blogging. Seems as though I'm halfway along to several of my dreams. I think a few baby steps towards the stars would be a very good thing.

Me allowing myself to dream again
Pray. Look into adopting. Get out of debt so that it becomes affordable.
Finish the children's book.
Finish the Guatemala book.
Speak Spanish to my little guy and learn more.
Plan a spectacular vacation and save up for it.

The best and biggest dream I ever had has already come true.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hello, It's Me Again

My last post was almost 3 weeks ago. For someone who blogs almost everyday that's a pretty long time. I've been grouchy, defeated really and I don't much like blogging when all that's crossing my mind is "whoa is me."

A few weeks ago I found myself on the phone with a far away friend who I haven't spoken with, literally, on the phone spoken with in a long time. We keep in touch through facebook (oh what a wonderful deceptive communication tool). The reason for our literal conversation is because she had a break down and spent awhile in a hospital. She said something that really hit hard with me: That all her dreams are dead. That she'd reached the age where all the things she ever dreamt of seemed unrealistic. She'd sat down, looked at life and thought, "this is it. this is how it all turns out." I guess the thought was more than she could handle. But truthfully, without thinking it I've been in the same place for awhile now.

I was going to be a stay at home mom/ architect who designed homes with elaborate secret passages and indoor pools, writing awesome books on the side and traveling the world with my husband and 5 children. I might have also put on a few concerts singing beautiful catchy songs for fans... even if only a few. Honestly I have a difficult time making myself coffee in the morning whilst trying to get the kid and dogs fed, diapered, sent outside to potty (the dogs), and lastly dressed for the day (not the dogs). I know how she feels. It didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. And I realized, "wow. my dreams died awhile back too."

Okay so I have this dream of getting out of debt one day. What a horrible dream to be left with. My dream is to clean up a huge mess that hubby and I made? Really? That's lame! Truth is even if you haven't identified it, feeling like you've nothing left to dream for is horribly defeating. I am glad however that my friend put words to what's been weighing on my heart. I can't say I've been pulled up out of the mire, but I am realizing that I need to dream again. That's a start.

So, I think I'm back. And I'm ready to spice up the journey a bit.