Friday, May 16, 2014

I Survived Friday!

Well today was one of those days that just kept on giving...

Have you ever had one of those days where it is just one thing after another, after another, after another?

I woke up this morning with the thought "It's Friday, today will be a good day."

I had set the coffee maker the night before so I thought I was golden.

I went downstairs with my 5 year old.  Asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said a frozen waffle...  I realized we don't have any, but figured for good measure I would double check the freezer in the garage where we keep our extra stuff.

I went out and TA-DA! the freezer was open, and had been since the day before when my 5 year old got a loaf of bread out around 11am.  In this freezer was a lot of meat, breads, and of course on the top shelf a gallon sized baggie of ice....  Imagine what my freezer looked like.

I kept my cool and told Z that he needs to be more careful with the door and he needed to help me clean it all up.  As I was explaining why we now have to cook 2 whole chickens, a pack of chicken breasts, and about 15 lobster tails, he decided he was going to 'help me cook and eat it all!" and was very excited.  Now if only I felt the same way...

After we removed all of the meats and the food that was ruined because of the melted ice that was covering everything I had to figure out what to do with everything.  The lobster tails and the chicken breasts were a must cook today and the whole chickens were still partially frozen so at least I have a couple of days with those.

At this point, still no coffee has been drank.

Baby C arrives around 7:30am and wants to eat so I get his breakfast ready and Z gets cereal because no waffles.  Both are eating as I go through the meats.  I turn my back and hear "uh oh".  Z had spilled his bowl of cereal with milk all over himself and the floor.  So he cleans that up and strips in the kitchen leaving his milk covered clothes strewn about.  I have to find him new clothes in the laundry baskets in the living room because I have had ZERO time to put all of our laundry away.  After he is done eating I finish cleaning up the mess and Baby C's mess.

Hubby takes him to school and it downpours for the next 2 hours.

I had plans to go with the babies and a friend to shop for some shorts for me because every pair I own either has paint on them or holes.  It was pouring so bad and the babies wouldn't cooperate so instead we only had time to go through Starbucks drive through (her treat thankfully!).

I go in to pick up Z at school and realize I completely missed a short program his class was doing... and I cried, at his school, in front of his teacher and his class.  Luckily it wasn't the sobbing fit that I would have done had I been home.  I felt like CRAP because I had been telling him ALL week I was going to be there.  Definite Mommy FAIL!  I asked him and he assured me he was only a little bit upset but not too much.

We get home, Z helps me make everybody PBJs.  As I am giving the little ones their food I glance behind me to see Z (who recently learned how to pour milk when the carton is only half full) pouring his own milk, not even slowing down when it is spilling over the sides of his cup and the stepstool he is using as a table.  After he cleans that mess up (20 minutes later), he decides he isn't hungry because I guess I missed a school party too because he supposedly ate "about 3 cupcakes, some chips, some cookies, and some other stuff I don't remember."

Ok!  Naptime and quiet time!  Z came out of quiet time 3 times to pee.  This boy can hold it all day, but for an hour in quiet time he has to come out 3 times...This equals I accomplish nothing....

Everybody gets up...My sister picks up Z and takes him to play with his cousin.  The next 2 hours were pretty uneventful and I got a few errands run with cooperative babies.

Between 430pm and 630pm Z had 2 complete fits where he was sent to his room for not listening to simple things...Things that there is no reason to argue over, such as me saying "can you take these 2 army men and put them in the bag they go in?" and him saying "no! I am not doing something Yucky!  I will not do that!".  ummmm really?  I think you will or you will go to your room.... and he stayed in his room and missed half of his bedtime show= another fit....

I get K to bed at 7pm, start putting Z to bed, K wakes up at 7:30 crying...I get him back to bed.  Z still not asleep so he calls me back into his room.

8:45pm and he came out of his room for the 5th time since 7:30... I put him back to bed and closed his door (always fall asleep with it open).

I survived....tomorrow can only be better!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Making a Caterpillar Habitat

If you have kids you know that they want to adopt everything that they find outside.  Z has been learning about caterpillars at school and found a caterpillar outside.  I have never had a caterpillar and had no idea what they needed to live so of course I googled it!

I found out different facts such as caterpillars are pretty picky with what they eat and generally only eat one type of plant so it is important to know where he was found!  The kids of course just said "on the ground over there", so I went with the only plant over there.  You need to have part of the plant for the caterpillar to feed on and you want it to be in water because the caterpillar gets its water from the plant it eats.  You need to put a screen over the water or cotton balls in it to make sure the little guy doesn't drown if he falls in.  It says you can pretty much use any container and we happen to always have large plastic containers that pretzels and animal crackers come in from BJs or Costcos, so that is what we used.

Some sites said put dirt at the bottom, some didn't specify, but I figured he was found on the ground on the dirt so I would like him to be as comfortable as possible in his new home.  It also said to make sure that he has a stick to climb on to get to the plant he eats.  We forgot this step until we saw him trying to climb the side of the container and he couldn't so we quickly added a stick and he climbed right up and started eating away.  It was hard to get a good picture of him eating through the container, but it was really neat watching him chomp away at the leaves.

We used a panty hose sock to cover the top so he could get air but not out.  I found that it was a little thick and a lot of condensation was collecting in the container so I poked some small holes in the container and it has been fine since.

I had no idea what kind of caterpillar it was so I posted a picture on Facebook and a friend of mine happens to know a lot about them so she identified it as an Eastern Tent Caterpillar that turns into a brown moth with white stripes.  Once I knew what he was we looked him up and know what to expect as in time frame and feeding.

The first day was a little touch and go with Caterpilly (the kids named him).  The first 24 hours he just laid on the bottom of the tank kind of curled up and didn't really do anything. I even poked him a little to make sure he was still alive!  Who knows how many times he was dropped and squeezed by the well meaning kiddos before he made it to me for a new home.

Today he finally recovered and started eating and crawling around so it looks like he is here to stay for about a month.  We have since collected 4 more caterpillars.  So we have Caterpilly, Bell, Sweetie Pie, Fred, and Optimus.  They are all doing well and growing very fast.  They are eating leaves like crazy and they like fruit trees so I read that they will eat banana slices and some fruits.  One caterpillar ate some of the banana, but they weren't too interested in them.

I think I might be more mesmerized than the kids by the caterpillar family we have.  I can't pass their habitat without checking on them!

I will post updates as he grows and starts his process of turning into a moth.  The kids are thrilled to have a new pet.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Making and Using a Budget

If you have been following me, you know we just started The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness (affiliate link for your convenience).  The first step is to build a budget.

I have never in my whole 33 years of life used a budget.  I had no idea where to even start with building a budget.  It seems amazing that I never learned this or figured it out on my own.  I would hear about budgets and just blow it off thinking it was for businesses only.

I was so so wrong!  I only wish we would have done this years ago because we could be completely debt free already and would be mostly attributed to following a budget.

First off I think it is one of the hardest things my husband and I have ever had to sit down and figure out together.  We have never really focused on our finances and just paid the bills as they came and spent what we figured we had.  That is obviously the wrong way to do the whole money thing and we had no idea what we were spending money on and I would stress out at bill time.

I have been the one who takes care of paying the bills and balancing the checkbook.  Balancing finances has never been my strong suit and I have a hard time doing this with any sort of distractions and I have had constant distractions since I had my now 5 year old son!  It is hard for me to get any time to just focus on one thing without worrying about 20 different things or getting interrupted a trillion times.  Needless to say our checkbook has been a hot mess for awhile.  So my first task was getting it balanced.  Now every time I pay bills I make sure my calculations match the bank's numbers.  It has been challenging for me to pay that much attention to it, but I know it is important.

Once that was balanced I used the Cash Flow sheet in the back of the Total Money Makeover and made an excel sheet based off of it.  After building a basic sheet we realized we will need a monthly sheet and a sheet for each payday.  My husband gets paid every week so we needed at least 5 sheets a month!

He rebuilt the sheets to all link together.  On the main budget sheet we had all of our bills for the month, the due date, total, and total income. That showed us where we were for the month.  On each weekly sheet we did the same information but only filled in the amount for the bills that were due that pay period.  After doing this we realized which weeks we needed to hold over money from to transfer to the next week or the next month.  It is amazing how much money we spend on extra stuff we don't need!  As part of the Total Money Makeover we are doing a debt snowball to pay off our debt so anything extra in our budget goes straight to that.

To give you an idea of how much unnecessary things we bought or did, at the end of our first full month budget we have around $800 left over to put towards our snowball!  This is the hopeful amount at this point because things do come up and since it is our first month there have been expenses we forgot to budget and things like that.  And keep in mind that this is cutting out pretty much anything extra such as fast food, eating out, going to the movies, everything extra.  It is definitely not easy but now that we know and see an end in sight with money organization, it is easier to sacrifice now to live better later.

I recommend to everybody to read his book.  If you don't want to buy it, check it out at the library like I did.  I am going to buy a copy too because I could read it again and again because it is so encouraging.  I also just read his Financial Peace Revisited and it clarified some things from the first book.

I hope you will work on a budget too.  If you search for a cash flow plan you can find a pretty good one.  You can also go to and find sheets there you can use.  Good luck budgeting!