Tuesday, August 17, 2010

30 minutes makes a difference!

Yesterday, my girls and I made the short trip to Michigan to visit my mom. We spent time visiting at Mom's apartment, she fed us, we walked by the river and Maya played at the park. Then, we went to the Berrien County Youth Fair, which was fun for Maya. She got to the farm animals and Grandma bought her a couple things. The day was long, to say the least.
I am still amazed at how long it can take to leave the house. On days we have plans, I feel like my entire morning is centered around leaving the house. The to do list: showers and wash up the girls, breakfast for all, ensure there are clean diapers, pack the diaper bag, change diapers, dress the girls, feed the little one (again), pack the car, make sure I have snacks and water for the drive, clean up spit up and possibly change Autumn's (and sometimes my) clothes, change diaper (s) again, get us in the car buckled up, and run back in the house for the one thing (whatever it may be that day) I forgot. WHEW! We left at 11am and got home at 9pm. I was exhausted! Kevin worked late and didn't get home until midnight.
Today, went fairly smoothly. I was looking forward to seeing Kevin since I hadn't seen him since Sunday when I was taken to bed by the girls (story of it's own). Then, he called to tell me the train he usually takes home was broken and he would have to catch the next train. Bummer for everyone! Kevin leaves at 6:30am and is home at 7pm, it's amazing to me how much 30 minutes makes!
When he walks in the door at 7, he assumes possession of Autumn while I finish dinner (which I usually start making about 3o'clock~story of it's own too). We quickly wolf down our food while Maya eats in her toddler fashion (mostly she doesn't eat). We watch Wow Wow Wubzy. Then, we all head to the bed where Kevin reads a story while the girls nurse. Once they're asleep, I am sometimes allowed by Autumn to get out of bed to visit shortly with Kevin before I'm too tired to think. When he's home late, the night seems to shorten exponentially.
I am grateful for the time he is home in the evening. Knowing he is there if Maya or Autumn both need something at the same time. Or, Maya wants someone to lay with her a little longer, Kevin is there to give me a small break. I L.O.V.E. my girls, but momma needs a teeny tiny break.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Green us up and make us black.

I am going to refocus on utilizing green and homemade household items again in hopes to save money. There are "green" things we do already:
1. Cloth diapers- Such a money and time saver. We are not bound to making trips to the store, which is great! With 2 little ones, going to the store takes time. I can "get" diapers in the comfort of our home while the girls play. We were blessed to receive our cloth diapers from Kevin's brother as a baby shower gift when we were expecting Maya.
2. Cloth baby wipes- In the beginning, we used store bought wipes. Then, when I was at a La Leche League meeting, one of the ladies used baby wash cloths and a liquid wash. When I got home, I hopped on the internet to find recipes for mixtures. I have played around with them, and this is what works for me: 1/2 Tablespoon Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap + 1/2 Tablespoon Olive oil + 1 cup of water + 3-4 drops Tea tree oil3. Cloth napkins- This one came about after running out of napkins and paper towels and continually forgetting to buy more. Then, one day, we realized it was better for the environment (and our pocket book) if we quit buying these paper products.
4.Grocery store bags as garbage bags- Because we recycle and compost, we have found all we need is a bathroom size garbage can. Thus, we are able to use the bags we get from the grocery store for free instead of buying them!
5. Baking soda, vinegar, hot water, Bissel steam mop, and microfiber cloth.... this is my cleaning arsenal. I am trying to get away from store bought cleaning agents which are toxic to the environment and suck away money. Currently, I buy laundry detergent, dish soap and dishwasher detergent. I plan to go back to making my own laundry soap which is easy and cost effective. I am on the hunt for a dishwasher detergent recipe that won't leave a white film on the dishes, fingers crossed.

I am reading a couple books on cleaning your home using green products. Hope I learn a bunch of new tricks!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Black and white, but mostly red

Obviously, finances have been on my mind A LOT lately. I have bouts of being very savvy with our finances then life throws a curve ball and I throw my hands up and live on the irresponsible side. I want to be financially responsible to set a good example for our children. I can't believe I'm going to do this, but I want to remain accountable; SO, to follow is our budget in black and white. First, some background information. We occupy my mother's home. She lives and works just over the state line. Instead of paying rent, we have taken over the utilities for her. This is quite a great arrangement for all parties involved. My mom is able to redirect the money she was spending on utilities as she pleases and I am able to be a stay at home mom! Mom plans to retire in 3 years, so that is our time line for getting our finances in line to buy a home and/or move west. On to our monthly budget.....

Savings~ $41.66 (I am making it a goal to have $500 in savings. I am going to build this over 12 months)
Student Loans~$278.79 (3 out of 4 loans are delinquent once utilities are up to date I will address this issue)
                            #1-AES (private loan) behind $139.79 payments $23.29
                            #2 IDAPP behind $300 payments $50
                            #3 SM-kevin (private loan) current payments $151.90
                             #4 SM-Kristen behind $227.28 payments $53.60

Credit cards (*scowl*)~ $205 (we have 2 cards to our names and they are closed accounts)
                                          #1 balance $4,241.01 payments $150
                                          #2 balance $715.96 payments $55

Gas and Electric~ $91 credit agreement (we got behind and had to make a payment plan to avoid disconnection)
                           + monthly usage which I'm estimating to be about $320
Water~$40
Sewage/Trash/Recycling~$46    behind $191.30
DISH (mom has a contract we must fulfill)~ $75.93
Phone/Internet (again another contract)~$97 behind $80
Train fare~ $193.50 unlimited rides
Cell phone ~$124 behind $125.10 total due $256.34
Insurance~$104
Cat care~$20 (monthly cat litter, cat food every 3 months bought at Costco)
Food/Personal Care~ $300 (currently we receive state funds for groceries ($220) and WIC which help our budget tremendously. I hope to maintain this budgeted amount after the aid is gone.)
Gas~$75 (on gas cards)

Expense grand total:$1774.88
Income is in the middle of changing. But I will say, there isn't much left. Our income is bi-monthly. I hope to update on here to keep accountable with our money. More to come....