Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This Wonderful Tuesday

My to-do list for this wonderful Tuesday is as follows:

Get some yard work done/ spend time outdoors!
Go to the chiropractor.
Launder some clothes.
Don't spend money.
Put the trash and recycle at the curb.
Wash the dishes.
Drink lots of water (I honestly have to put this on my to-do list regularly).
Work over 5 hours.

Okay, so I've cheated and accomplished everything on this list already, except the last one. I'm heading to work now. Sometimes you just have to cut yourself a break, recognize what you've already done with the day, and declare it a win (even if it's only just past noon).
This Tuesday has been a success. Oh, and while doing yard work we saw our fantastic woodpecker friend that we've not seen since last year tapping away for bugs at the pole in back. I think spring is officially here; the icing to a spectacular day for certain!

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
-Henry David Thoreau

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.03
$0 left to spend in March (but tomorrow is April)

Gardening Question

Can all you fabulous gardeners out there help me out please?

I just edged a bit of the driveway and cleared out a trench in front of the garage that had filled with dirt and grass and weeds. I have a fairly large pile of yard waste now that would normally go into the yard waste bin to be carted off by the city.

But my yard waste pile is at least 50% to 75% good black dirt. I'd really like to keep the dirt. Can anyone fill me in on the proper or most efficient way to separate the lovely black dirt from all the weeds, grass, roots, leaves and other random scraps that are in this pile? There has to be a good way to get the dirt out of the other stuff right? There's a lot of good dirt in there I can't stand the thought of pitching it (which I have done in years past) and then buying dirt later for my tomatoes.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What is your Normal?

Yesterday I wrote a 'kick in the pants' sort of post specifically about prioritizing ones purchases in order to follow one's dreams. In truth, I'm finally at a place in my life where my purchases are pretty well prioritized. It took a long time to get here but I am now. We hardly ever eat out any more. I hardly ever buy luxury food items. I try to buy most things on sale and cook from scratch as much as I can. I really don't buy clothes or much 'stuff' for that matter. I'm an absolute cheapskate when it comes to gift giving (this not something I'm proud of as gift giving is probably my strongest love language). We can't afford to spend $20 or even $10 on every gift we buy for every friend and family member all throughout the year... we're talking over 40 gifts for immediate family with birthdays and Christmas. I consider immediate family, mom's and dad's, brothers and sisters, and their kiddos (my nieces and nephews). Those 40+ gifts don't include all the little kid birthday parties we get invited to every year.

Anyway, I've learned to prioritize my spending. But I have been thinking since yesterday's post, "what is my normal?" There has to be something, or even a lot of somethings that I fall into the trap of doing just because that's what you do. Yesterday I wrote about a young man, out of high school who lives rent free with his folks, who has a job and yet constantly complains about not being able to afford to travel. He spends all the money he makes. Of course he can't travel if he's always spending his money but he chooses to spend all of his money. It's not lack of finances that cause him to not be able to pursue his dream of travel but rather poor choices. Only to him they don't seem like "poor choices." He's just being normal. I guess in his mind, when he complains about not being able to travel, he's really asking, "why can't I live a normal life and still be able to travel?" He doesn't see the "normal" as getting in the way of his dreams. He sees "financial lack" as getting in the way.

So what's my normal? What's your normal? I thought about it a good deal and I think I've come up with somethings that I haven't been looking at the right way because, by golly they are normal.

I chose to work part time after my kiddo was born. I'd dreamed of being a stay at home mom all my life and ten years into my marriage when we finally had a baby I could not financially afford to be a stay at home mom but we were in the place that I could work part time (and actually I was finding it down right impossible to raise my kid, take care of my home, and maintain my sanity while working 40 hours with a commute). Did that mean putting a huge halt on the debt payoff progress? Yes. Did that mean making a bunch more sacrifices financially? Yes. But working less and being home more was worth more than a million dollars to me so I chose to go part time.

But here's my normal: I work part time so I can be home with my son. That means we will always be financially strapped. You know, I've been believing that for a good long time now. It seems like we always go a bit over budget by the end of every month (meaning the outgoing is more than the incoming). I struggle and struggle and struggle to catch back up with just the everyday bills and then when it comes to debt payoff, which is still a HUGE desire in my head and heart, I can only ever pay minimums. This is normal though. All of my friends who are stay at home moms live pay check to pay check and have to sometimes feed their kids tomato sandwiches because they're out of money for food. You either work full time and can afford stuff or you stay home with your kids and have to pinch pennies to try and get them to multiply.

I don't want to be normal though. I don't think anyone has to be if they choose otherwise. So, here's what I came up with. I can still work part time, be home with my kid, but get our heads further above water and get back to paying down the debt. There's no reason I should just resign to living here, in normalville.
- If I work a little bit more then technically the budget should balance at the end of the month. If I am more efficient with my time at home there's no reason at least for now I can't work 3 or 4 more hours a week. That would not be overkill.
- If I actually sell some things around this house we'd be able to pay the debt down so much quicker AND would have more wiggle room in the budget (we have a good deal of nice antiques that we've inherited that we could part with if I can convince my husband they'd be worth more to us in cash form <- this one rests heavily on my hubby though because he's the one who inherited them all).
- If I do a few more photo shoots for people (duh) that'll be extra income and little Abe can come on photo shoots with me. I've done a good deal of them but this is a sad, lack of confidence area for me. Buck up buckeroo and use what you've been given, right.
- And I really truly feel I could always spend less. I've gotten my spending down, down, down over the past several years but I think I could get it lower AND I can try my darndest to get my husband to spend a bit less too. Little by little he's joining in this whole "fiscally responsible silliness."

The other normal is time: there's just not enough time. But that's a silly joke because, once again, I log into facebook. I scroll through the feed. I leave a comment on a status or a photo and then, oh look, 30 minutes is gone and I seriously didn't do anything. I don't even play facebook games. I don't hardly ever click on links or go snooping on people's profiles but that darn site gobbles up time like you would not believe for me. If I could just make myself log in once a day at the max then the normal "there's not enough time in the day" would get a big kick in the teeth.

Those are my most apparent pit stops in normalville. But I'm not okay with them. I really do want to get on my way, get out of normal, and live bigger. I'm not okay with being normal.

What's your normal? Do you want to break out of it?

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.03
$0 left to spend in March


Once again, please don't hesitate to enter the GIVEAWAY, going on now, if you haven't done so already. There's some awesome free stuff for the winner.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Normal is a Hoax

A friend of mine on facebook posted a status the other day with this question:
How does one fund world travels and adventures while they're still young enough to enjoy it?
While others were leaving creative comments for him like "find jobs that pay for travel" and "work for hotels overseas... they are happy to hire people who are fluent in English," I answered simply "Don't spend money on video games, tattoos, or beer..." and I should have added "energy drinks" to that list as he drinks A LOT of them.

I know, I'm a jerk. It felt like a buzz kill answer too, but honestly I could not help myself. And ever since I left the snarky comment I can't stop thinking about the question he posed. This young man works at a hip local restaurant, I think full time, and still lives with his parents. I personally think it's financially wise to live at home if you're not married and your parents are on board with it so I'm not putting him down in that regard at all. He's been graduated from high school for a few years and is not enrolled in college. That is NOT meant to be a put down as I did not go to college and really never wanted to either. He spends a great deal of his time playing video games, just like my husband... video gaming is an enormous generational trap but hey if that's how you want to spend your time and money more power to you. He's also as of late started acquiring new tattoos and piercings. While I have zero gripe against either of those things, I don't have any tattoos for my own reasons but I went through a punker stage and I really appreciate good tattoos, to be honest even more so when someone is covered in really good ones. I also had a few piercing myself although they're in my past. However he makes comments often about how much he desires to travel, generally always accompanied by a "whoa is me, I can't afford it" twist.

I know for a fact that one can nickle and dime themselves into poverty. This fellow does not pay rent to his parents and he has a job. As far as I see it there is no reason he shouldn't be able to fund world travels and adventures in his exact situation with only a little difference. He needs to put his money where his heart is. If his deepest hearts desire is to "travel" through a television screen with a controller in his hand for hours on end then okay, spend $70 a pop here or there on the latest greatest game. If his hearts desire is to cover himself in images that express who he is, you know, wear your heart on your sleeve, as opposed to covering his innards in real life experiences that will impact who he is forever then go ahead and keep spending hundreds of dollars on tattoos. And while I understand that beer and energy drinks are fun, they are incredibly expensive. I speak from experience here, my husband loves micro brews (although he's tremendously cut back on buying them) and I used to have a SERIOUS Starbucks coffee problem.

I am absolutely not writing any of this to put this young fellow down. He and I have a lot in common precisely because of his ardent desire for adventure and travels, and his punker spirit (which yes, I still have, despite my having grown up). But I write all of this to say, "where are your priorities?" It's so easy to just go on with life. It's so easy to just hit up the Starbucks drive through again and again. It's so easy to go out with your friends and spend $15 on beer at the local pub (over and over and over...). It's so easy to get caught in the trap of normal, video games for example which are HUGE money earners for their creators. It's not so easy to cut out all of those things for a little while to fund some world travels but wait, it actually should be easy.

Let's say he spends $3 a day on energy drinks (I bet that's a low estimate) $90 in a month.
One tattoo, I think a low estimate $200 in a month
Three six packs of micro brews $45 in a month
A few coffees from a coffee shop,
lets say one a week generally around $4.95 for a mocha $20 in a month
Let's not buy three video games $220

That's $575 saved in a very short period of time. It would take two months (granted I made him purchase two tatoos and six video games in this scenario but he buys a lot of other geeky nonsense too so it's probably a VERY reasonable if not super low savings estimate) to fund a VERY nice world travels adventure. There are trips on travel websites, to Ireland for example, that cost about $600 for a package that includes airfare, a rental car, hotels, and an enormous breakfast each day for a week. (And I know these trips are legit because my mother in law took us on one several years back and it was amazing) After two months of saving $1150 by cutting out a few "normal" life expenses this young man could travel to Ireland for a week with a very decent amount of spending money in his pocket.

The question he posed irks me to no end because my husband and I spent so many years living just how he is living now. The real question is NOT, "How does one fund world travels and adventures while they're still young enough to enjoy it?" but "Why isn't one funding world travels and adventures when they're still young enough to afford it?" Why is it so difficult for the average Joe to look past the every day normal and see that if he just laid out his priorities and went after them then he could have so much more than, "oh woah is me, I can't afford it?" You can afford it! Just stop being normal. Normal doesn't win. Normal has never won. Normal is a hoax!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Gourmet Cheapskate

That's me!

I've said it before and I'll say it again I LOVE Panera breakfast souffles! I imagine if I'd look up the nutrition facts (which I am not going to do) they are horrible for you. They are way too tasty to not be horrible for you and are by far my favorite thing one could buy at a restaurant (at least a restaurant anywhere near me). They cost somewhere upwards of $4 and are worth every penny. Needless to say they are also far out of my price range for breakfast food. I struggle to justify spending $1.06 on the sausage mcmuffin at McDonald's so $4 for a souffle is really too much for me. But they are sooooo good.

Just so happens I finally looked up a recipe for them online. I found a copycat recipe (a few copy cats actually) and I tried one out today. <Happy dance> I used a sheet of puff pastry to make six breakfast souffles. I kept mine simple, especially since it was a first try and just did egg and feta for the filling with heavy whipping cream and salt. They did not turn out as good as Panera's (I did not expect them to) but they did turn out close enough and I'm certain they'll be even closer with my next attempt. Oh yes, there will be a next attempt! This is a wonderful breakfast treat! (Linked HERE for anyone who wants to try it out.)

The pan of six that I made today cost me about the same as one from Panera. Um, I'm more than happy with that swap! Additionally I clipped a coupon for a free coffee drink (pictured above) that I picked up while shopping today. Me sitting on my couch eating my hot out of the oven breakfast souffle (or, souffles... I might have eaten more than one) and drinking my free iced coffee was equally as happy as any hipster chilling at the poshest of posh fine dining cafes sipping $5 coffee and eating $3 or $4 decadent pastries. You can call me a gourmet cheapskate any day. I'm proud of it!


I'm being obnoxious about it but if you haven't noticed I am doing a GIVEAWAY <-linked here, going on now. Free stuff just for the fun of it!

March numbers are in

Here's my spending rundown for the month with average daily spending for each category. My average spending for the month is down coming in at $16.20 a day for March but I did not hit my goal of $17.00 a day for the year so far. I'm over by 3 cents a day. That's comical!

I'm reporting early because I'm planning three no spend days from here on out and I just went grocery shopping. I'd hoped to squeeze in 22 NO SPENDs this month but I'll be at 18 for the month if the next three days pan out (they should). So, I also didn't hit that goal. To be quite honest I'm super happy with 18 no spend days this month.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.03
$12.83 a day on Groceries in March. Total $397.72
98 cents a day on Toiletries in March. $ Total $30.40
$1.05 a day on Food out in March. Total $32.6

92 cents a day on Pets in March. Total $28.56
about a penny a day on Clothing in March. Total 47 cents
14 cents a day on misc. Stuff in March. Total $4.24

Average daily spending for March: $16.20

18 NO SPEND days

I would really have liked to hit the $17.00 a day goal but I'm certainly not going to reprimand myself for going three cents over (That's $2.70 I shouldn't have spent somewhere). My goal for April is to get my average daily spending for the year to $16.80 a day. That gives me $482.88 to spend in April. I'm not sure if I can do it, my spending for March was really quite low and as you can see I didn't spend in very many categories (no spending on cleaning or gifts and only 47 cents on clothes). Generally after a considerably low spend month I'll bounce back with a considerably higher spend month. But a goal is a goal, I'm going for it!

As far as no spend days go, I have an every other day no spend goal for the year. Right now I'm at 35 no spends (counting the next three days) which puts me 10 days behind my goal for the year. I'd need 25 no spend days in April to catch back up... I'll shoot for 20.

I feel like I just got back from the least successful shopping trip ever. I made a list, I followed it, I stuck with sales and coupons but I don't feel like I bought very much quality food. We've got enough to get us through the next four days as planned but I'm still not jumping for joy over today's groceries. At least I have that to-do marked off the weekend chores list. That's a bonus in itself.

It's looking to be a very cold day here in sunny Michigan. Stay warm folks and I hope everyone has a great Saturday on this last one in March!

March Total: $502.17
NO SPEND day 35    3.31
NO SPEND day 34    3.30
NO SPEND day 33    3.29
Dollar store spend $4.24    3.28
Coffee and a donut $4.52    3.28
Groceries $47.49    3.28
NO SPEND day 32    3.27
Groceries $6.39    3.26
Lunch and a coffee $8.17    3.26
Groceries $18.16    3.25
T-shirt for Abe 47cents    3.25
Coffee $1.79    3.25
Groceries $19.20    3.24
Snacks $3.98    3.23
NO SPEND day 31    3.22
Groceries $52.93    3.21
Toiletries $3.49    3.21
McDonald's (again) $7.39    3.21
McDonald's $7.60    3.20
NO SPEND day 30    3.19
NO SPEND day 29    3.18
NO SPEND day 28    3.17
NO SPEND day 27    3.16
Dollar store shopping $4.24    3.15
Groceries $59.03    3.15
NO SPEND day 26    3.14
NO SPEND day 25    3.13
NO SPEND day 24    3.12
Groceries $43.34    3.11
Wipes $2.10    3.11
NO SPEND day 23    3.10
NO SPEND day 22    3.9
NO SPEND day 21    3.8
NO SPEND day 20    3.7
Cake fixins $5    3.6
Groceries $31.37    3.6
NO SPEND day 19    3.5
NO SPEND day 18    3.4
Joint medicine for dog $20.35    3.3
Groceries $82.56    3.3
Groceries $24.03    3.2
Shampoo and Cond. stock up $24.81    3.2
Vet dog food $47.99    3.2
Dog food and treats $28.56    3.2
Pizza downtown after Disney on Ice $11.31    3.1

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekend To-dos

I really didn't know how I'd survive this work week but the weekend is here and other than a lingering cough I'm feeling pretty much back to normal.

I've some major catching up to do after this past week of yuck and so I thought to myself, "if I post a to-do list to the blog I bet I'll get a lot more marked off of it than if I don't."

Here goes (my public attempt to motivate myself)
Bake bread. (you like how my first goal always involves food)
Go for a long walk if it's not too bitterly cold.
Finish backyard dog poo clean up if it's not too bitterly cold.
Grocery shop for the rest of the month. ($50 budget on that)
Finish the basement clean up for the first quarter goals.
Spend some good quality playing time with my little guy.
Spend some good quality learning time with my little guy... ideally working on letters.
Bake blueberry muffins too.
Finish grooming the second dog (poor Boz is half groomed since I stopped when I got sick)
Oh yeah, and clean the house.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.17
$53.13 left to spend in March

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Budgeted Spending and Planned Spending are NOT the same thing

This past week I was pretty reckless with my spending. I did not go over my budget but I did make very unwise, unplanned purchases. Except for some butter, apple juice, granola bars, coffee grounds, and a t-shirt I got for my son for 47 cents (St. Patrick's Day clearance) the $58.16 I spent this week could have been stretched so much farther if I'd planned out my purchases.

Budgeted spending and planned spending are not the same thing! You can budget $50 for the week, go to the store, grab some reasonable items, stop shopping when you've hit the $50 mark and call it good. I shopped this way forever (okay, really, I'd budget $50 and spent more like $150 but you get the idea). For some reason the $50 that you budgeted is just never enough.

Or, you can get the ad for your local grocery store, go through it, pick out items that are on sale that you can make meals out of for the week, add some things to the list that are on really good sales that you know you'll need in the future, make sure to take advantage of extra deals the store is offering (but ONLY if it's on items you need or regularly use) and I bet you the $50 budget get's you twice as much stuff.

This past week of pretty reckless spending (totally blaming this one on the flu) has shown me that I've done a really great job of "planned spending" this year. It's a good deal of extra work to plan out pretty much all of your purchases but it's SO very worth it. I have not been having a very difficult time sticking to my budget so far this year and I also have not been left feeling deprived at very many moments. I've been able to afford ice cream bars here or there, chips for my hubby, an absurd amount of Cadbury Creme eggs, a very good variety of different meats, lots of fresh fruits and veggies... we've been eating good and not breaking the bank at all. I have a feeling that most people reading this do a great job of planned spending on top of budgeted spending but I was inclined to write this post because I am just now realizing the huge impact it makes on the budget when purposed spending is the only spending (for the most part) that you do.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.17
$53.13 left to spend in March

Make sure and enter the GIVEAWAY folks!
It's the first one I've ever done. I have some really great sponsors and there are 12 fabulous prizes for the one winner. The GIVEAWAY is linked under this photo. Click on the link, just leave a comment at the end of the post, and you've earned one entry.

Oh, Thank-you Flu!

Thank-you flu for making my house feeling like a festering cesspool with garbage piles on the side that I've no energy to dispose of.
Thank-you flu for making my head foggy so that I can't think straight for going on a whole week now.
Thank-you flu for encouraging me to spend with abandon and forget all my goals and plans.
Thank-you flu for dashing the tail end of March on the rocks.
Oh, thank-you!

The end.

This is where I'd post my numbers but that would mean adding up the spending I've done the past four days. It hasn't been a crazy lot of spending but it has all been unplanned, last minute grabbing this or that, stopping at McDonald's in the morning for coffee in a daze type of spending; the exact sort of spending I despise but somehow have to tally up now. Oh joy!

I'm going to make blueberry crisp first. There are an intense amount of antioxidants in blueberries so I'm figuring that blueberry crisp might be the perfect sort of knock the flu out with one last kick in the rear type food.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prize Number Six?

So on the giveaway, prize number six (of twelve) is a secret prize that little Abe will select from the dollar store.

My question is, after the winner is announced, and the twelve prizes have all shipped off to the winner, and a little time has elapsed for the items to arrive at their destination, do you all want me to announce what the little guy chose for prize number six?

The GIVEAWAY is on going.
And anyone can enter.
You just have to leave a comment on the post to be entered.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


No spend day 31 of 2015 is in the books (which also marks, cumulatively, one entire month of not spending money for this year).
Today was the 14th no spend this month.
For my original goal of an every other day no spend this year I'm still off by 9 days but I am catching back up!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.09
$111.29 left to spend in March

My apologies for yet another super boring post but I'm exhausted.
Now I shall retire for the evening.
Good night my friends.

Average Daily Spending

Right now my average daily spending for 2015 is $17.09 a day.

I ended last year with an average of $18.40 a day but I also lost track of spending for a few months last year.

This year I haven't been reporting an average daily spending for the month like I had been doing because I'm finding it easier to stick to my budget overall and keep my spending down by looking at the bigger picture (the average daily spending for the year). I know, that's ironic since I keep track of "daily spending," but it seems to be working.

My average daily spending for March is at $16.16 a day. I'm pretty happy with that!

2015 is just about 1/4 over. That's crazy but I'm really proud of my spending habits and fiscal responsibility so far this year. The $17.09 a day has afforded us to purchase ahead of time several gifts for upcoming birthdays. I've actually started stocking up on some things. If you've been reading for very long you will know that I am NOT good at "stocking up." Even if there's a great sale I hate forking over a large sum of money for anything. But this year it seems I'm turning over a new leaf. We have enough (Pantene) shampoo and conditioner (the kind we prefer) to last for MONTHS and I got a great price on it. We have 96 rolls of toilet paper! (I'm infamous for buying 6 packs of the stuff/ NOT a good way to save money) I hate buying toilet paper so I'm very happy to report that I've finally started stocking up on it when I find a great price on a kind we like. I can't say I've been purchasing GMO free, organic food like I'd prefer but we also have really not been eating out. I've been cooking at home, most often from scratch (I've fallen in love with from scratch chicken and dumplings soup). Our total food costs are really hanging out around $12 a day too and that makes me smile. Clothing is not something I ever budget and really I never buy new clothes for myself. This year within the $17.09 a day spending I've been able to get myself new socks, I think I had two new pair of lounging around the house pants/ jogging walking pants, and I bought a new pair of work pants. In summary I'm really happy with my spending this year!

I don't want to rush things but I'm excited for the second quarter of this year. I feel like it's going to be even better than the first (I mean in all reality I shouldn't have to buy shampoo or toilet paper <huge smile>). Spring is coming. Gardening with begin. Fresh air is so invigorating! You can just call me a happy camper... ooh, camping, that's a good idea too!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Shopping Adventures

We made the trek to the store today. It was worth it despite my still not wanting to venture out. There was an offer for $10 off a $50 purchase. I used an $11 store reward I had earned and I earned another $5 store reward to use next time I shop.

I spent $56.42 on groceries out of pocket. I saved $30.33 on today's shopping trip. I should have another 3 no spend days ahead of me now.

Somehow I missed an entire gallon of milk in our fridge though (which doesn't make sense because our fridge was really not full) so we now have 3 and 1/2 gallons of milk in the house. My boys will drink it all though.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.09
$111.29 left to spend in March

Remember you can enter THE GIVEAWAY once a day by simply commenting on the post and earn extra entries by "liking" the sponsor's facebook pages or mentioning the post on your blog.
(I might just be obnoxious enough to talk about the giveaway at the end of each post for the next month)


When you trim up your kiddo's hair because it's starting to curl into his ears and poke at his eye balls and then about two hours later (without knowing it's been recently trimmed) your husband say's, "We really need to make him an appointment for a hair cut. He's starting to look like a 90's kid. Look! Our son has a bowl cut."

I did NOT give him a bowl cut but I could see what he was saying, and yes my husband is that oblivious. He really thought it had just sort of grown that way.


(I trim his hair pretty regularly... I guess I just did bad job this time around)

Friday, March 20, 2015


I don't know...

I already spent $7.60 at McDonald's. I called in sick for work again (that's not going to be good for the paycheck, or my workload next week) but I had to get to the wi-fi connection (in the McDonald's parking lot) to send in work from Wednesday. Little Abe is doing great; totally back to his normal self and hardly even has a cough left, no fever. I on the other hand; yuck! I need to go grocery shopping but.... I'd rather not leave the house, or infect everyone in the store with this yuck, or move. My no spend roll I was on there might just have hit a big fat wall.

You know me though, que sera, sera!

Well that's today's update. I'll post my numbers with just the McDonald's spending and see where the day goes from here. I actually dread the idea of sending my hubby out for anything (like juice which we're out of but is a TOTAL staple in our house) because he has a way of spending about a million times more on a mini shopping trip than I would. Oh, the agony <puts back of hand to forehead> hehe :)

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.15
$178.33 left to spend in March.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

1000th Post: First Ever GIVEAWAY

A winner will be announced shortly.

This post marks my 1000th blog post for $12 a day
started January 2nd of 2011. 

I'm celebrating this milestone by doing my very first giveaway.
I'm excited to announce that I have some incredible sponsors who are sharing their exquisitely well crafted artwork and/or small business items with us for this 1000th post giveaway. The sponsors are all friends of mine, several of which make a living off of their small businesses and huge talents.

I started this blog as a journal for my financial journey while I learned (and am still learning) how to kick bad  horrible spending habits, acquire savings habits, and enjoy life in the mean time. Essentially this is my frugal journey. I really can't believe how many of you incredible individuals and fellow bloggers have come along with me for this journey. I appreciate all of you and hold you very responsible for, most often silently, standing in the shadows and holding my feet to the fire. I've changed a lot, all for the better these past four years. I truly cannot even imagine where my family and I would be now if I hadn't decided to put my foot down, pull up my big girl pants, and start doing this darn money thing the right way (or at least the better way).

The giveaway is open to anyone and is totally free, meaning you don't have to live in the US to enter and I pay the shipping. But, yes there is a disclaimer, if the winner ends up being someone outside of the US there will be a second place winner as well (Only if the first name drawn is someone outside of the US). I'm afraid the shipping costs for the heavier items wouldn't be doable for me for a winner outside of the US but I didn't want to exclude all the fine overseas folks out there.

The giveaway will be open for a month before I announce the winner on April 21st. There are several ways to enter and anyone can get up to 43 entries.

You can comment on THIS post once a day giving you up to 30 entries. (one for each day)

You can also like each of my sponsor's facebook pages. You will get 2 entries for each page you like, giving you up to an additional 10 entries. Please leave me a comment once you've 'liked' a page letting me know which one(s). The facebook pages of the giveaway sponsors are listed here:

You may also enter by mentioning and linking this giveaway on your own blog. You will receive 3 additional entries for this. (Only redeemable once) If you mention this giveaway on your own blog please also comment back here and leave a link for me to check out your blog.

In total, if you entered every day, liked all the sponsor's facebook pages, and mentioned this giveaway on your own blog you could earn 43 entries.

If you are an anonymous reader you will have to leave a distinguishable name in your comments so I can enter you in the giveaway each time.

Now for the prizes!
The first ever $12 a day giveaway includes 12 fabulous prizes
(well some of them are fabulous anyway).
The ONE winner of this giveaway will win ALL of these prizes.

Bradley Gallery Ceramic 
The winner of the giveaway will receive this original rectangular ceramic plate with oak leaf imprint created by one of Michigan's top ceramic artists, Brad Patterson
(that is a standard size business card just to give you an idea of scale)

 $5 Starbucks gift card
Starbucks is NOT a sponsor of this blog but as much as I've written about my struggles with purchasing coffee away from home or running out of coffee at home and certainly with as many times as Starbucks has been noted on this blog, a $5 gift card to Starbucks is only fitting.

Rock Creek Soaps - Artisan Soaps
The winner will receive a set of the wonderfully fragrant hand made vegan artisan soaps from Rock Creek Soaps. The winner will get to choose from many different fragrances offered by Rock Creek Soaps. Some of the fragrances they offer are:  Black Raspberry Vanilla, Huckleberry, Lavender, Winter Garden, Bamboo & White Grapefruit, and Aloe & Cucumber; among many!

A box of four Cadbury creme eggs.
This one really needs no explanation. A giveaway from me, near Easter, without Cadbury creme eggs in it would be an absolute fail. (If you win and somehow despise Cadbury eggs I volunteer to eat them all for you) Additionally Cadbury is NOT a sponsor.

A mini facial set from Melissa at Roden+Fields
This mini facial is from the well renowned Rodan+Fields and includes a microdermabrasion paste that exfoliates with salt and sugar and is packed full of vitamins C and E.

6. & 7.
A dollar store prize chosen by Little Abe along with an original piece of artwork done by him.
Yep, there is a dollar store prize in this giveaway. It could be anything. You'll just have to wait and see what he picks out! Oh, you know you want to enter now, just for this special secret prize. I'll try and keep him away from the toy aisle... "try," that's the key word there.

Handmade piece of Jewelry from .sprouts.

The winner will get to choose ONE piece of handcrafted jewelry made by the metal smiths at .sprouts. You have the choice between three of their fabulous pieces.
One of their personalized original dog tags, their personalized sterling silver micro state/ country pendant (they will place the heart over where you live (or where your heart resides)), or their beautiful stacked textured five band ring set.

I've pictured the three items below with links to .sprouts. etsy page behind each photo. The winner will get to choose ONE of these items to go along with the 11 other giveaway prizes.
Personalized handcrafted dog tag.

Sterling Silver micro (smaller than a penny) State/ country pendant.

Stacked textured five band ring set.

 3M Command hooks
I love these handy hooks and I happen to have a hearty stock that I did not have to pay for.
These three are the ones the winner will receive.
3M is also NOT a sponsor.

One high quality original photographic print from Yourgloryreflected art (that's me)

The winner will be able to chose one print from the following three photographs in which ever size they choose 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 or 11x14.
(With or without the logo. The logo is only in place for internet purposes)


Driving Home

Grow up Awesome - Original print t-shirt

The winner of the giveaway will also win ONE of the three t-shirts pictured below in virtually any size you choose. Grow up Awesome prints their original designs on baby onesie's, kids shirts, woman's shirts, and men's shirts. The t-shirts come in a variety of colors as well. You can head over to their website to look at color options and sizes. The Grow up Awesome website is linked under each of the t-shirt photos.

Two year (2015-2016) Purse calendar
A quote by one of my favorite authors on a calendar where you can keep track of your no spend days... quite possibly a perfect ending to the $12 a day first ever GIVEAWAY!

The winner will receive all 12 of these prizes. (Unless outside of the US)

I will have links posted on the blog sidebar to each of my sponsor's websites or facebook pages while the giveaway is open for the month. Please don't hesitate to stop by their sites and check out all of their other wonderful works of art. Keep in mind that many of these items would make great gifts for friends or family.

Anyone who enters can win! You can certainly win with just one entry but it won't hurt your chances to get all 43 entries... it'll just be a bit more work for me, HAHA!

Thank-you again for reading all these years. 

I truly appreciate you all! 
And a huge thanks to all the sponsors for this giveaway.

Three posts in one day

Nope. Four!

Hey, I'm sick. Give me a break. (but the little guy seems MUCH better)

I've finished my 1000th post. It'll be up shortly.
This post is literally just a buffer because I'm too eager.

Some people take a vacation. Other people pretend to live in Alaska.

I always say I'd love to live in Alaska (I've never been there before). I just picture this vast wilderness where life is so much simpler; okay, not simpler in the sense of less work, that's for sure. But simpler in terms of less distraction/ less nonsense/ less noise.

When I say I'd love to live in Alaska I don't ever intend on really moving there. I'm really only fantasizing about living out in pure nature. Like that show Alaska: The Last Frontier, I LOVE how they exist in nature, live off of the land, and make use of everything around them to survive. I brought the idea up to my husband once who replied, "Honey, we don't even fish. We'd die!" I'm pretty sure he actually dislikes nature. Yes, opposites attract.

Maybe my hubby is in no way prepared to move to Alaska but I think I'm up for the challenge, sorry, I mean a challenge. He's right. We'd probably die in the Alaskan wilderness.

  • What I really want is to spend the majority of my time outdoors.
  • I wish to live in a simple little home with just necessities. 
  • I want to stay away from the technological aspects of our everyday lives that suck up so much of our time, attention, and are really very addicting. 
  • I desire to devote so much more of my time to being with my loved ones, free from our busy world distractions. 
  • I'd like to read rather than turn on the TV. 
  • I want to make stuff, food, clothes, gifts for people, other things we may have need of; to work with my hands.

If you've been reading this blog for very long none of the above comes as a surprise. I'm pretty sure that everything I just pointed out is reflected in many of my posts. I am truly a minimalist at heart. I want to be very close to nature and very close to the ones I love with very little distractions or stuff gathering up between us.

I think I'd like to devote April to my dream of living in Alaska. I want to make a million goals (1/5000th of which I might accomplish) that outline my hearts cry for simplicity (or maybe more like 50 goals). In April I want to live in Alaska... in Michigan.


My next post will be the 1000th post to this blog. I'm working on something special for it so I might not be back for awhile (like a day, haha) because I'm not done with it quite yet. Stay tuned!

And now I'm going to put my kiddo down for a nap and try to take one myself... which I hopefully won't regret. Have I ever mentioned that I can't take naps because I wake up an absolute monster when I do. It's true. I Inherited this cool trait from my Maternal Grandmother (along with that neat little honey jar). Well that's a fun little fact about me for today. Adios!

Home Today

I am very fortunate in that I virtually never get sick. My kiddo is the same way. However today we are both under the weather and I am home from work (I probably shouldn't have joked about calling in sick a few days back). The two good things are that little Abe seems considerably less ill than me and that today will almost certainly be the fourth no spend in a row, like I'd hoped for. Maybe not how I'd hoped for it to come about but I'll take it.

This will be NO SPEND day 30 for the year.
I'll be heading to the kitchen for some water, vitamin C, and zinc now. Then I'll sit for a spell. To be honest though, between the furry kids and little Abe there hasn't much sitting happening today.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.27
$185.93 left to spend in March

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I've surprised myself by pulling off yet another no spend. I really thought I'd end up spending money today.

Tomorrow I'd planned to shop but Friday and Saturday there's an instant $10 off a $50 purchase at the stores I work (and shop) in. I don't want to shop two days in a row because I have been working so hard on getting the no spends in this month but I am very ready to get more groceries.

Yes, this is the kind of stuff I think about 50% of the day. It's kind of pathetic. Or maybe it's just one of the hats that comes along with being a mom and the budget-er of the family.

On a somewhat related but other note I can't believe March is over half over already. I need to stop thinking about the darn no spends, shopping lists, what to make for dinner, and the budget and get back to my quarter goals. This first quarter of the year is rapidly drawing to a close!

Back to the basement!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.49
$185.93 left to spend in March

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day


Today should be no spend day 28 for the year. There's absolutely nothing that we need so there's no reason for it not to be except that I've spent half the day thinking of things I want to buy. Something is wrong with me today. Maybe I didn't get enough sleep last night.

I'm reporting today's numbers as a no spend. Period. There you go. Today will be no spend day 28 for 2015, no spend day 11 for March... I should probably call in sick for work, yikes. (I'm not going to call in sick)

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.49
$185.93 left to spend in March

Monday, March 16, 2015


Yesterday: Kites.
Today: Playing in the backyard with worms! He found at least five of them.
(While I spent an hour picking up dog dirt... about which I'm not complaining. I'm so happy to be able to be outside!!! ) Have I mentioned how happy I am that spring is here!?!?!?!

Bonus: Last night the little guy got to use his new big helper reward. He spent a half hour cutting a Menards ad to shreds. I spent a half hour holding the ad for him to cut. I can't even begin to tell you how much he enjoyed this activity. My husband thought I was crazy letting our 3 year old just aimlessly cut up a bunch of paper. But it was a great exercise that he highly enjoyed. I was really impressed with how well he held the scissors and kind of fascinated with how he switched the scissors back and forth between hands. I'm now wondering if he's ambidextrous. I have noticed that he holds his fork with either hand as well... sorry, I'm starting to ramble now.

Today should be no spend day 27 for the year. I don't see any reason I shouldn't accomplish this. So, I'm reporting my numbers now, even though it's still just before noon.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.49
$185.93 left to spend in March

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Shopping, shopping, la la la

Before heading off to the grocery store little Abe and I made a stop at the dollar store. The cotton balls in his big helper jar had reached the line again so he needed to pick out his third big helper reward. He really cracks me up. Last time we went he told me specifically that he was going to pick out "a breakable toy" for his big helper reward. He ended up picking a very non-breakable snake. This time he remembered their being a ball with Donald Duck riding a skate board on it and he said he was going to pick that for his reward. He ended up picking out a two pack of kids scissors. I promise you I in no way hinted at the scissors, nor did I point them out. He had decided on a rubbery spider but while I was looking at school supplies he changed his mind and insisted that the scissors be his reward. Of course the rule is that he can have anything in the store. He's still quite young so I will be supervising him as he uses his new scissors to cut up scraps of paper. I know that he will actually get a good deal of amusement out of this round's reward despite how odd of a choice it seems.

I picked out two school items for him while we were there as well and then I notice a Jake and the Neverland Pirates kite. I've seen this same kite at the stores I work in for at least four times the cost (this is a true dollar store we shop at where everything in the store costs $1). I'd been thinking of making a kite with him but I really couldn't pass up the $1 Jake kite. In the end we left the dollar store spending $4.24. And after all of our shopping for the day was complete my little guy got to fly his brand new Jake kite with his cousins. It's the first time he's flown a kite and I realized I cannot remember the last time I did either. We all had a good deal of fun with this little treat. It was well worth the $1.

I had budgeted $60 for today's shopping trip. With the dollar store spending my total came to $63.27. I will not even consider complaining about going $3.27 over budget. I'm pretty sure I got all the necessary items to pull off another 3 or 4 no spends after today. So we're looking good, and another dreaded shopping trip is over! Since I wanted pizza so badly last night I bought some of thee cheapest frozen pizza's at the store (they are actually the ones we like best) for tonight's dinner. A successful shopping trip, a fun stop at the dollar store, an afternoon at the playground (sort of, the ground was too slushy and muddy to play on the actual toys), and a super easy yummy dinner; I'd say today has been a success all around!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.49
$185.93 left to spend in March


Yesterday I came this close to suggesting to my husband that we get pizza for dinner from a pizza place. Picture me putting my thumb and pointer finger so close together that there's virtually no air between the two. I really didn't want to get in the kitchen last night and I really wanted pizza.

I'm definitely getting better at this self control thing. I did not suggest pizza to hubby but rather I asked if he wanted me to warm the left over taco meat for tacos. Thus NO SPEND day 26 for 2015 is in the books for yesterday! And we ate leftoverS last night. I heated up the taco meat for him and chopped up an onion. I heated up the leftover chicken and dumplings for me. I boiled spaghetti noodles and heated up left over spaghetti sauce for little Abe. LeftoverS!

Today is shopping day and then I'll try for another 3 or 4 no spends in a row. I don't think I can say it enough, I hate shopping. Ugh. My budget for today is $60 and my resolve is super low. I've checked the sales. I have a list made out. Now I just need to get up and go and stick to the plan. The latter half is the part I'm worried about. Again, my resolve today is super low... here we go!

I'm posting number now reflecting "the plan" and hopefully I'll be more inclined to stick to it so I don't have to adjust the numbers I'm now about to post. Yes, I am that pathetic.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.49
$185.93 left to spend in March

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Paid in full... Day Dreaming

I should probably turn off the computer and not turn it on for another week! I've been doing Genealogy hunting for most of today and yesterday. Among many neat documents online, some of my favorites being Sons of the American Revolution applications by relatives of mine, I found the below gem. I think this is my favorite document so far.

Mishael Beadle my 4x great grandfather moved from the east coast, New York to Michigan to settle prairie land in southern Michigan. First off this is good news for me because Michigan is where I call home and certainly part of this is because my 4x great grandpa decided to pursue the prospects of rich prairie land up for grabs in Michigan. It's pretty neat to have a document showing our family's move.

Secondly, I love this document from 1833 signed by President Andrew Jackson because it states that my 4x great grandpa Mishael Beadle paid for his plot of land in full and was now recognized by the United States of America as the owner of this plot of land. Grasping at straws? Maybe. But this is an encouraging bit of family history for me. No debt here folks. Mishael Beadle has paid for his land in full. That's how I want to be. It's light years away from where I am, but that's my goal. "Paid in full. Certified owner. This belongs to you." That's my goal. I'm giddy seeing an incredibly old document certifying my ancestor as having accomplished this mission. Way to go Grandpa Mishael!

Portions of this document read:

To all whom these presents shall come, Greeting:
Whereas Mishael Beadle of St. Joseph county, Michigan territory
has deposited in the general land office of the United States, a certificate of the register of the land office at White Pigeon Prairie whereby it appears that full payment has been made by the said Mishael Beadle.

Signed by President Andrew Jackson on June 4, 1833

St. Patrick - An Irish Slave

When Patrick was captured by Irish raiders at the age of 15 he had no love nor interest for the Christian God despite his father and grandfather working for the church. But while he was tending sheep as a slave in Ireland instead of feeling defeated and angry and just resigning to the fact that his life was over he began to seek out God.

No one knows for sure where Patrick spent his time in slavery but based on his letters there's a very good chance he was on the west side of the Island, in the coldest wettest region of Ireland. Tending sheep would have included bringing the sheep out to pasture, keeping watch over them, and bringing them in to safety in the evenings. He would have most likely spent his evenings in a shack of sorts with all the other slaves. He says in his letters that he prayed and fasted regularly and he made a point to never engage in any pagan rituals or activities. For example, often times food would be dedicated to a pagan god. Patrick would then refuse to eat such food; just a small example. The other slaves mocked him and would call him holy boy. But he never felt so close to God and never had such a strong resolve to dedicate his entire being to Him.

One night while Patrick was asleep he had a dream in which someone told him to get ready, that it was time for him to leave. The next night he had a dream in which he was told to, "go. your ship is waiting for you." Patrick was certain that this dream was from God and so he left. After spending so much time in prayer and fasting there was no possible way that Patrick was going to ignore a message from God no matter how dangerous the message was. A runaway slave would have been a fugitive and would be severely punished if caught. No one would harbor a fugitive runaway slave and anyone who found one would certainly return that slave to his owner. Patrick walked something like 200 miles through dangerous terrain as many, many an Irish traveler lost their lives to the bogs of Ireland which Patrick would have had to cross. When he did finally make it to shore there was a boat preparing to leave. Patrick walked up to the captain of the ship and asked if he could come on board as a deckhand. The captain said, "no possible way, and walked back on board." Patrick escaped from slavery. Walked a very arduous journey across Ireland and now when he was about to escape for good, "no."

He says that he wasn't sure what to do but right before the boat was about to leave someone from the ship ran up to him and asked if he was still interested in working on board. He of course said yes and joined the crew. Theory has it that the captain knew instantly that Patrick was an escaped slave. He would certainly have looked like a runaway. He would have spoke horrible Irish with a terrible accent. And no one would be caught dead harboring a fugitive slave. However crossing the Irish sea was hard work and if he took a willing laborer on board right as they were departing who would know the difference.

It took a little while and it wasn't an easy trip but Patrick made his way home. His parents would have been in shock to see him alive 6 years after he'd been captured. It was miraculous to say the least that Patrick escaped slavery in Ireland.

But it was here in Ireland that God first opened my heart, so that - even though it was a late start - I became aware of my failings and began to turn with my whole heart to the Lord my God. For He looked down on my miserable condition and had compassion for me, young and foolish as I was. He cared for me before I even knew who He was, before I could tell the difference between right and wrong. He protected me and loved me even as a father does his own child. 
Because of this I cannot - I will not - be silent. I will tell of the great blessings God has granted to me and the grace He has shown to me in this land of slavery. Because this is the way we should behave toward God - when He has shown us why we were wrong and we have admitted our sins, we should praise Him and proclaim His kindness to everyone in the world.
-St. Patrick, from his letter titled "Confession"

Friday, March 13, 2015


That makes 8 no spend days this month. Not bad.
Only 14 more to go to meet my goal... yikes, that's a lot!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.59
$245.97 left to spend in March

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Strawberries and Hair cuts

I've seen several photos of "spring's first flowers" on many other blogs. And while I LOVE these happy thoughts and sights of spring I'd yet to see any of my own. So far we've just had snow and snow and more snow. The snow is no where near gone but it's definitely warmed up around here. The snow is melting quite rapidly and the warmer temps leave all of use frozen Michiganders really believing that spring will actually arrive this year (we were doubtful).

Today I found the most amazing thing ever in my yard. OUR STRAWBERRIES!!!

Last year little Abe and I had our first go at food in the yard. We grew a pot of strawberries and a row of tomatoes, both of which we adored every minute of and grew completely and totally in love with. I took a big risk and left the strawberries out during the winter. I kinda sorta threw out my back moving the pot while mowing the yard one day last summer and I wasn't about to re-injure myself or injure my husband by trying to move it to the garage or the basement. This evening while little Abe and I were playing in the snow in the backyard I cleared the mulch away from my beloved berry plants and they look awesome. The very first signs of life I've seen outdoors this year are my strawberry plants! Oh I could not be more happy. It's supposed to stay pretty warm and they are apparently VERY hardy plants so hopefully I have not harmed them by clearing away the mulch.

Now that spring is officially on its way its once again time to groom the puppies. It costs us $100 to groom the two of them at the groomers. Needless to say I quite taking them to the groomers many hair cuts ago. It's totally worth it to save the money by grooming them myself but boy oh boy is it work! One dog now has her spring trim, her toe nails cut, and has been freshly bathed. One more dog to go. I left the easier one for last. Our boy Boz actually really likes being groomed. We borrowed a trimmer once to cut their hair and it was a total disaster. They were like  little doggy jumping beans the whole time. Ever since that one try I've trimmed them both with scissors. It usually takes me a week to get the two of them done. I'm on a roll this time. I got our girl all groomed in two days. Tomorrow I'll start on Bozzy boy.

Sorry about he spitty dog face.
He just came in from eating snow outside and just at a dog treat.
It certainly is not a very flattering look for him.
They are both miniature schnauzers. Bozzy is Maggie's dad. Almost hard to tell that they are the same kind of dog, right? We always cut the hair on their legs short and do a shorter beard. Last time was the first time I trimmed their beards all the way off. Now, trimming the beard all the way off leaves them looking kind of rat-ish BUT it's so much cleaner and doesn't begin to mat before the next trim so we prefer no beard. Sorry, I know, it's like schnauzer blasphemy.

Today was NO SPEND day 24 of 2015.
The strawberries survived the winter!
And the dogs are half groomed.
What a fabulous day!!!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.59
$245.97 left to spend in March

St. Patrick... Let's start back at the beginning

St. Patrick, son of Calpornius, son of Potitus was a Roman citizen born in Britain. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest. As noted yesterday St. Patrick was absolutely not Irish. He spoke the British language (no longer spoken, I'm fairly certain; that'd be a dead language) and he would have been learning Latin in school as well. He was of noble birth but his farm would have been nothing like Roman nobility knew. After all he was British (on the very outskirts of the Roman world). As a youth Patrick had no interest in the Christian religion. He was just the son of a Christian family. I find this interesting to note because I have seen commentary on how horrendous an act it was for this pompous Patrick to bring Christianity to the Irish people and "destroy" their culture and way of life.

One night when Patrick's parents were away from the villa a band of Irish raiders looted Patrick's farm almost certainly murdering anyone that would pose a threat to them and then enslaving anyone who'd bring them a profit back in Ireland. Slavery in these times was common place. There were slaves of all different nationalities seemingly everywhere and the Irish raiders made a good profit from capturing and selling slaves. Patrick was taken from his home at the age of 15 and boated off to Ireland in the night. His Christian life of nobility was no more; no more family; no more schooling; no more sleeping in his own bed. He would now spend 6 years as a slave in a foreign land that spoke a foreign language and where there were no traces of Christianity.

What is known of St. Patrick, the most concrete evidence we have from his life, survives in the form of two letters. The original letters are faded, crumbled and gone but six very, very old copies of the letters exist. One copy is in the book of Armagh in the Trinity College library in Dublin. The letters written by Patrick tell a lot about his life and who he was.
After I came to Ireland I watched over sheep. Day by day I began to pray more frequently - and more and more my love of God and my faith in Him and reverence for him began to increase.
-St. Patrick, from his letter titled "Confession"
One of the things that I love most about this man who lived, seemingly a billion years ago is that he was captured into slavery when he was just a youth. He had no love for God when the raiders took him from his life; from everything he knew in the world. But while he was tending sheep as a slave (this was one of the most menial tasks a person could be assigned) in one of the coldest, wettest regions in all of Ireland instead of feeling defeated and angry and just resigning to the fact that his life was over he began to seek God. He began to pray regularly. He actually fell in love with God on a cold Irish hillside in a sheep pasture while being enslaved. Sorry, I don't feel like I can hit upon the slavery issue enough. I mean, that is intense beyond words that I can duly prescribe it. Just there, with that alone, I admire the guy beyond words.