Adulting: Take care of yourself

I got a reminder from life lately. It was a reminder to take care of myself. Usually I do fairly well in this area because I prepare meals and follow sleep schedules with my family, but LIFE got really complicated recently and it got difficult to focus on my personal needs.

When life gets tough or just busy, you have to take care of yourself. It is easy to  lose focus, then everything starts going down hill. Making sure that you eat properly, drink more water than energy/caffeinated drinks, and get plenty of rest is all for the best. Vitamins are good too!!!

In my case remembering to take care of myself so that I had the energy and focus to take care of others was very important.

Be aware of your health and habits. Plan ahead if you have to be away from your normal routine.

Adulting Update

It has been a little while since I made an adulting post that I promised many of. First off, I have been taking a mini break after writing such a detailed post about budgeting. Secondly, I have started working on my next adulating post on keeping and balancing a transaction/checkbook register, but have been having more technical difficulties with my word processing software. I am seriously having the worst luck with losing content while saving. Yes, while saving!!!! I hit the save icon and poof content gone and it backs out of the software. I am really not pleased with it!!!

I have been writing on my word processing software because here on WordPress the writing space was so small. I could not get the look I wanted because of not being able to see it all while typing. As I started writing this I realized that I now have a big writing space on WordPress. I know that I can save drafts here while I am working on them. I will have to start typing up my content directly on WordPress from now on.

It has been a busy January so far and it is gearing up to be a pretty busy February as well. Adulting has been happening for sure!

  • Homeschooling
  • Field Trip
  • Crazy Work Schedule to plan around
  • Checkbook Balancing
  • Budget Planning
  • Meal planning
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Cooking at home to save money
  • Keeping mine and my daughter’s dentist appointment (teeth cleaning)
  • Bill Paying
  • Vehicle Cleaning

These are just a few highlights.I know that my adult tasks are not the same as many other’s. I am a stay at home mom that takes care of all of the at home stuff. I do not work to make money from home. Home is my work! I manage all of the home tasks so that my husband only has to deal with outside work issues and can spend time with us on his time off. (Unless he wants to cook to give me a break, and in that case why would I not let him!?) This is the arrangement that works for us at this stage in our lives.

I am starting to ramble……so I will leave it at that for now. I will have an adulating post up about keeping and balancing a transaction/checkbook register soon. I am not going to say a specific date right now because it is a work in progress and detailed info like that has to be worded just right to make sense. It will be up soon though!

Adulting: Keeping a Basic Budget

 

The general idea of budgeting your money is pretty stressful, because it seems easy and so difficult all at the same time. It should be easy, right? I think it is the pressure behind it knowing that it is important that stops us in our tracks in fear of really messing up.

For the longest time our family/guardian managed our needs, the expenses, and the responsibilities that come with them. For most of us we haven’t had money of our own to manage. Any money received as a child is usually given as a gift to spend how one pleases. As a child you get excited about being able to purchase those things that wouldn’t be bought for you. In one quick moment you go from having little to no money, to being able to buy what you want within that range of funds. Then almost as swiftly as it arrived into your possession it has been spent. As a child those purchases would most likely end up with you having a bag of candy and a stomach ache from not heading your guardians advice to not eating all of that in one day. If wise choices were made then you have something to show for it, but often times it slips away on little things here and there. This also happens as an adult and you are left wondering where your hard earned money went. Not making wise decisions about purchases can get you into more trouble as an adult. I am not going to get into the doom and gloom of financial distress, but I assure you it is real and is not a place that you want to be.  Even as an adult with a solid income, it is possible to not have enough funds to take care of your responsibilities, and that is where budgeting your money can help

Budgeting, or holding certain amounts of money for only specific purposes, helps you to make wise money decisions..

To get started with budgeting you have to ask yourself some questions:

  • How much money do I have each pay period after taxes are removed?
  • How much money do I have each month after taxes? Total usable income for the month. Can I afford all of the expenses?
  • What are my bills/expenses for the pay period /month? (I personally separate mine by pay period so I will know if there will be enough funds left over for other budget categories that don’t include the bills, or if I have enough funds to pay some bills ahead of the due date.)
  • What other areas do I NEED to have money for? Groceries, gas/transportation, monthly medicines/prescriptions, etc.
  • What expenses are a set amount and what expenses fluctuate?

These may take some time to answer, because you may not be used to writing down this type of information. Keep track of this info for a month. You can do it on a piece of paper, a calendar, notebook, or planner.

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I know this looks like a lot of questions, but once you have these answered and get into the habit of having knowledge of your expenses it becomes a matter of just plugging in a few numbers. You’ll have total set amounts and total rounded amounts for each budget category. Evaluate for each pay period to see where your money needs to be distributed.

To find the rounded amount for fluctuating budgets, add the amounts for all of the numbers in that category to see how much was spent over that pay period. Round it up, this is a good starting point for that budget catagory (which is also subtacted from your check book register). Over time you will get an idea if more or less money is needed in that catagory.

An example of the rounded amount for a catagory:

5.75 + 10.34 + 98.25 +22.13 = 136.47    $136.47 rounded up to the next 10’s place $140 for that budget catagory.

You are in control and can change the amounts according to your needs.

Systems:

  • Some people like to use the envelope system. This is a cash system where your budget categories are represented by labeled envelopes holding that amount of cash for that specific purpose. I personally don’t use this method because our expenses are mostly paid electronically, but my husband used this method before we were married when most of his expenses could be paid locally.
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  • My preference is to use a written system along side my checkbook register to keep track of my purchases with my debit card. It is really not as difficult as it sounds. I keep only four things with me at all times to keep track of my budget: my wallet with debit card, checkbook/register, tiny budget book, and pen/pencil. Once I have my budgets set I keep a running total in my budget book as I subtract from those funds in the appropriate category.dscn3447dscn3445dscn3446

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Before separating funds into budgets I make sure that my checking account register is balanced. (This will be another post. Leave a comment if you are interested in learning how to balance a checkbook register, and any specific questions you have on the topic.)

* REMEMBER THIS IS ALL ON PAPER MOVING NUMBERS AROUND. THERE IS NO MONEY MOVING OUT OF YOUR ACCOUNT RIGHT NOW!!

  • Balance Checkbook Register (Know how much money you have)dscn3454
  • Use the gathered information from the month to set up budget categories.
  • Set your budget amounts for that pay period making sure that you have the money to cover all areas.dscn3455
  • Record in your checkbook register the money that is to go out or to be held and used a little at a time (Separate bills, Separate budget categories) Subtracting these amounts from your account total in your checkbook register.
  • Where ever you are keeping track of your budgets make sure that there is plenty of room to keep a running total and notes of when and where that money was spent. If the whole amount was not spent in that pay period either add it back to the checkbook amount or move it forward to the next pay period’s budget in that category (or savings).dscn3449dscn3457dscn3446
  • Go through and check your incoming and outgoing amounts for the next pay period to see if there is anything that needs to be paid early or money held to make the next pay period comfortable.

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To be honest, there are times where there are not enough funds to cover all of the bills, budgets, and outgoing needs. Sometimes there is just not enough money coming in, and that is a pay issue, but sometimes we just need to spend wisely. There may be places where you can spend less by changing habits, changing amount of services needed, changing to less expensive service providers, or using less of a costly thing. Using a budget helps us to be aware of our money and if a change is needed. Looking back on the budgeting records you can see where you may be over spending. You can make changes to have your money work best for you, and still feel freedom.

SAVINGS:

When you don’t make a lot of money saving is difficult. I have heard that you are supposed to pay yourself first before anything else. That is all well and good if you have the extra to begin with. What I say is, “After working out your budget with bills, food, gas, medicines, etc. How much of what is left can I put into savings?” Yes, that $10 is worth it! You put in more when you can, but even that little bit can get you to a better situation. My Savings category is not in every budget period (it needs to be and I should make that a priority…I think I will. It won’t hurt anything!)

Once your budgets are set and your money is balancing out then you can use the money as needed to pay those bills and spend from the categories. Keep track as you go so you don’t over spend.

I knew that having a budget was important, but I didn’t understand how much of an impact it would have on our lives.

  • We no longer stress over unpaid bills, and late fees.
  • We know that we can afford the food that goes in our cabinets.
  • We know right away if we have the money to go and do something fun.
  • Our credit score has steadily gone up so that we can move forward in our lives by being trusted with larger amounts on loans. (still keeping any new bills within our budget)
  • We do not need co-signers on loans.
  • We don’t live in fear or threatening collection calls.
  • We no longer have to borrow money with interest that is hard to pay back on the next pay day.
  • Our daughter witnesses how we manage the money and will know how to do this herself when she gets out on her own.

Don’t think of keeping a budget as a restriction, but more as a way of giving yourself permission to spend knowing that all of the important areas have already been accounted for.

Blog Plans for Basic Adulting Posts

Over the years my husband and I have noticed that there are so many people that did not learn basic home and life skills growing up and are struggling to function as adults. Thankfully, I did have a great home economics teacher and I also tried to pay attention when around family members that had these skills.

Even with the skills that I did know before marrying and having a home of my own, I was unprepared in many areas. I did not understand what all it took to run a home as I moved from my parent’s home and care. Granted, I did have many responsibilities while living there, but I was not the one managing the home, money, bills, shopping, appointments, most of the cooking, and so on. It concerns me that there are so many people, like ourselves, going out into this world with little knowledge of how to take care of these things.

I did not have someone to teach me how to manage my own life and that was scary. My husband had been out on his own for a few years before we married, but he too was not prepared in many areas and struggled. He and I shared with each other what knowledge we did have and had to sink or swim from there. For many years we were sinking and just barely keeping our heads above water. We needed to figure out how to function more efficiently.

Sticking with my hearthmom theme I hope to share basic information to help people that are in a similar position that we were. Over the years I have learned how to cook, meal plan, budget money, pay bills, keep records, clean effectively, launder clothes, mend clothes, create beautiful things, fix things, teach myself, and enjoy life with out so much stress from not knowing how to do these things.

I am a homeschooling stay-at-home mom, and I take pride in what I do. These are skills that most people need to know, not just a homemaker like myself. They make life for me and my family more enjoyable. I plan to add posts on these topics and others that I think would be helpful.

Please leave a comment if there is an area of adulting that you would like me to write about. I am not saying that I know everything and that my ideas and methods are the only ways of doing things. I want to help ease the struggles. Blessings from my heart and hearth to yours.

 

Happy New Year! I hope…

 

Wow, what a year 2016 has been! I am hoping for a much better 2017. Some of the highlights of this year are:

  • We started 6th grade this homeschooling year and my daughter has finally realized that the multiple steps in the writing process actually make it easier and more organized, and that cursive really does make your hand hurt less and the work get finished faster.
  • My daughter and I took a CPR certification class and passed. It is a great think to know, but hope that we never have to use it.
  • We have gotten into playing Dungeons and Dragons as a family and have had some grand adventures using role play, statistics, and dice. My husband has become a great  DM (dungeon master, leader, story teller).
  • Our daughter had to get wrist x-rays after losing a wooden sword battle. The first week of school was done verbally instead of doing all of the interesting art lessons I had planned to go with history.
  • I grew some herbs with that green thumb that I was developing and made some very tasty dishes.
  • Our daughter really got into reading this summer and read over 25 hours. She is now enjoying large books with more complex stories.
  • She has also gotten into doing a lot of research and planning for a book that she is writing. She has been working on this book for 2+ years now.
  • My mom and stepdad went to the Renaissance Fair with us and had a great time. I think they will want to go again in 2017.
  • We dyed our daughter’s hair anime red for her 10th birthday.
  • My dad has been fighting cancer and even though it has been hard on him he is doing well and continues to fight. We have gotten to spend a lot of quality time with him this year and plan to have more days with him throughout the new year.
  • We went to a comic convention with a wonderful family that we have been friends with for many years. Our kiddos were bore 2 weeks apart and are now besties.
  • I got to teach a craft class and a geography class for our homeschool group. It was very interesting because we researched the country that my husband’s side of the family is from. We shared many of the items his family has collected from there over the years, foods, music, art, textiles, and smells (coffee beans). It was a wonderful experience for us and for the other families.
  • I have really gotten into bullet journaling this year and will be starting my 4th planner/book tomorrow (January 2nd). I share my designs on Instagram and seem to have many people interested in what I have created.
  • WE VOTED!!!! I had never voted before and I am proud to say that I voted in the primaries for my state and on election day.

All in all it has been a pretty good year. I don’t want to dwell on all of the drama and politics.  I can not control all of that but I can control how I conduct myself. I can choose to have a positive outlook and to move forward with my own responsibilities.

I do have many things that I am looking forward to this new year. I will focus on my own tasks, goals, and adventures. My motto for this year is to “TRY whatever it is TODAY! Why not?” I plan to do many wonderful things. I want to put my heart into it and see where it all goes.

I hope you all had a wonderful new year’s celebration and  are keeping a positive outlook for the upcoming months/year.

 

 

 

bummer!

I just spent the last hour and a half writing a new post and was adding pictures….somehow in the during the photo editing process I lost a huge portion on text…… I will now have to make notes about it and finish it on another day….I worked so hard….

Our new interactive notebook system…

I have decided to kick our floppy binders to the curb this year, or at least to the bookshelf to be used for other things. In place of what I now consider our “homeschool blunder” I have decided to use notebooks (composition notebooks so the pages don’t get weak and fall out) and simple folders for loose work until it makes its’ way into the filing box. I am getting these all ready for the new year and hope that this will be a fun and easy addition to our homeschooling routine.

My goals for this new concept are to help Bug learn more by taking notes to help along side her homework, get rid of bulk, and develop fun note taking skills. This new concept (to me) is called interactive notebooks. It is basically taking the idea of lapbooking and mashing it up in the same notebook as homework in an organized way.

From what I have seen there are a few key elements to making this notebook flow and work as it should.

  • Table of Content Pages for keeping track of where certain topics are in the notebook. With the information for the note taking pages I will have Bug highlight them so she can quickly see which pages to refer back to for a quick reminder. The information that I have chosen to include here is the date, content, and notebook page number. I used the lines already marked on the pages instead of creating new sections. Frankly there is no point in making new sections unless you are adding more information.DSCN4330
  • Numbered Pages these go hand-in-hand with the Table of Contents so you can find what you are looking for quickly… We as adults know how this works but it may be a new concept for the kiddos. I saw a tip to number the pages in the top right corner because it is easier to see while flipping pages. I have gone through with a bright pen to number the pages so it is set apart from any information written on the page. I have done this for Bug so pages aren’t missed. If she was older and more organized/focused I would have her do this step herself.
  • Note Pages will be for when I am in teacher mode on the white board giving her specific information on the topic. This may include slim glue in foldouts, drawn diagrams, labels, vocab/definitions, and practice problems. Making it all colorful and fun with colored pencils.
  • Bookmarking System I have chosen to glue a ribbon in the back cover of the notebook that pulls over to mark the page last worked on. You can add a bit of personal flare for your kiddo. I have seen other options like cutting corners of the finished pages to flip easily to the next, but I feel this is extra work for me knowing that Bug likes to write to the edge of the page and may cut too large a piece off…It would be me doing this extra step. I will not be using this method at least for now.

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I have seen some extra elements that could be useful. I may implement these at some point if necessary.

  • Tabs Using tabs to mark important pages may be a good idea, but then again they may just get in the way. So for now highlighting the notes pages in the Table of Contents will suffice.
  • Pockets to hold thin items for that subject. I may do this for her math notebook to keep a cardstock  ruler, clock, numberline, etc.
  • Glossary Just to keep an alphabetical record of that subject’s vocabulary. Not for the definition unless you really wanted to use that much space at the end of the notebook. I think of it more as an index of the vocabulary words: only using the word and notebook page number for quick reference. The example I saw was to section out enough pages at the back of the notebook into four equal parts and label them in ABC order to put that letter’s word in the box.
  • Fold Outs: Bits of information that can be folded out from the covers. I have incorporated one fold out for her math notebook (see picture…This is a quick reference numberline.)

I have color coordinated a folder to go along with the subject notebooks. If there is any loose worksheet that can obviously not be used as a Notes page add in then it will be a homework page in the folder. I plan to give a daily grade for the notes and a separate grade for the homework. In my assignment/grading binder I have created a section to indicate if something is is the notebook or if it can be found in the folder. (N/F on the grading page) This way I know where to look when grading. IF you are interested in my grading sheets, I created them with Open Office software. I used the grid making tools and shaped it out from there and did a light color difference to separate the entries. The sections I have included are:

  • Average % for semester (grade)
  • Semester choice boxes with dates (circle and go)
  • Date of assignment
  • N/F (Notebook or Folder location)
  • Subject
  • Grade Level
  • School year
  • Assignment details (middle section lines)
  • Portion Correct (example: 18/20)
  • % Score (Single assignment grade)
  • Total Page Points (adding up all of the % scores to get the average for all semester pages later)

DSCN4334This is only set up for one child. I did not need a book with 50 lines for students so I created my own grade book. I have pages set up in a binder divided by subject. I can print as many of these as I need throughout the year.

Self Love Mirrored

“A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.” Naomi Wolf

There are so many lovely people in this world who do not love themselves. Why!? They were not taught how to love themselves. Between the media and even loved one’s ideas of what a person “should be” it teaches our children along with ourselves as adults not to love what/who we are.

I have a beautiful growing young daughter who mostly has me to look up to. For a while I was very focused on what I weighed and was quite vocal about it. My daughter was there with me to witness it all. I would weigh myeslf, so she wanted to. Innocent enough because she wanted to see how much she had grown, but then she wanted to do it all the time. She wanted to see the number on the scale go up and up…. We tried to tell her that she is not a number on a scale and that she just needed to eat well and stay active to be the healthiest version of herself. I was trying to make conscious food choices by keeping a food journal. Yes, it helped me lose a bit of weight but at what cost to my precious daughter.

My daughter loved to dance and was not conscious of body image, just as a seven year old should be, but that changed quickly with only one self directed comment about dancing with a bit of extra weight around the middle in front of Bug from a loved one. I tried to neutralized these acidic words as they were spoken, but in that instant they had swiftly taken root into her developing mind about her own body.  You see we had gone to a fair with belly dancers. We danced with these lovely ladies and enjoyed being free of judgement of others. We had met and adored not one but many women who had embraced their passion to dance. Their first goals were to be free. If a more fit body came from the dancing it was a bonus. My loved one saw pictures and only reflected her self conscious image onto them. Saying that “if they were going to dance like that they should cover their middle. That it wasn’t flattering and that no one wants to see that…….” Well, I could not stand by and let this injustice happen. For my daughter’s sake and for the lovely ladies we met embracing life. I let my loved one know in front of my daughter that no matter their shape they had a right to do what they loved. That they did not have the negative body image so we should not force it upon them. That they were beautiful and sweet and should not be begrudged for living! This shut my loved one down, but did little to heal the wound festering in my sweet baby’s mind. I saw the effects of this exchange within the weeks to come. My daughter spent way too much time in the bathroom with the scale and mirror. She stopped dancing and smiling. She would hold her mid section more often and not wear clothing that she loved because more of her shape could be seen in the slightly tighter child appropriate fit, and even watch what she ate on a dangerous level.

My little girl is at a stage that most children hit. That stage where they go from baby to tween. At this age more weight is put on so that height and preparation for puberty can be gained. I lovingly instructed her on this many times over. Made sure that my self image was projecting love for her to see. I made sure to dance with her and take long walks to talk.

I had always been tiny from the neck down with chubby cheeks. I had been taught through my mother’s body image and the way she had been treated to judge myself harshly. I grew up thinking that I was the fat kid because my cousin my age was so much smaller than me. I heard comments about my size from family members when I hit puberty and gained curves, what I then considered as weight and unacceptable. I wore my brother’s hand-me-down clothes so that I would not have to shop for my real size. Giving this all a bit more perspective… I was 5’4″ tall and would have worn a size 8-10, but what I wore was my brother’s cast offs he was 6’3″ at that time and slender. So rolled up jeans and extra large polo cut shirts were my thing that year. I changed a lot over the years and so did my style. I became the “chubby” head cheerleader or so I thought. I carried my body image to college and instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost around 25 pounds because of anorexia.  I got complemented on my weight lose, even though I had none to lose because I was all muscle. I got weak and sick. My skin looked gray and I could not open glass and metal doors for myself. I didn’t have the strength anymore. All I wanted to do was sleep. I looked in the mirror and only saw what I wanted to see. I got on the scales and was pleased only to see the numbers drop. Eating once a day was good enough for me with snacks to curb my hunger pangs. This all continued until I took a good long look at my situation….I had to change! I went that day and got vitamins. I started that day eating full meals. My clothing size never changed because I wasn’t thick to begin with as I had lost weight my clothes hung on my hips instead of around my waist. I slowly began to become healthier, but old habits are hard to break. I did finally meet the love of my life and he saw what I was going through. He would remind me to eat and cook healthy meals for me. Granted we only saw each other once a week until we were married. Then he could keep a closer eye on me to help me recover.

I had to learn to love my body! No more skipping meals to lose, no more eating until I felt ill, treats are treats not meals!!!!!! I learned to dress the body that I have and to put on makeup that was flattering and not hide my face (thanks to “What Not to Wear” on TLC). Yes, I have gone up and down in weight! I had a baby!!!! My body changed and so do my clothes, but loving me is what isn’t changing anymore! I have to let my daughter see this!

I had another conversation with my daughter recently. She is almost nine now. I told her that I make an effort to show her that I am comfortable with the way my body is. Yes, healthier would be nice just to feel my best, but I do not live by the scale and she should not focus on it either. I told her about growing and changing and loving myself so that she can see that positive self image and gain from it. I want her to love herself! I want her to love her quirkiness, and geekiness, and cratiness. I want her to love the body she has because it is hers and owning it! I want her to understand that she is good enough the way she is. That what shows beauty is not only on the outside but found more deeply within. To love herself and to love others. To grow in confidence and peace. I want her to see herself as I see her….amazing and capable!

Justifying a school backpack for my homeschooler

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I have battled with my daughter for years about her getting a “for school” backpack. We homeschool and it just seemed a waste of money. We haven’t been part of a co-op and the group we are in doesn’t require us to bring tons of supplies. This year I am doing my best to simplify as much as I can by getting rid of binders and bulky items for more streamlined items. I honestly had no plan to get Bug a backpack this year either, but I talked myself into getting it on a whim for these reasons:

• All of her notebooks and folders could be kept there in one place.

• The bag is really cool and something that Bug could use for a long time.

• The bags I have seen like this are expensive and this one was only $10.

• It is Marvel comic book themed and would be great for comic convention days.

• There were only 2 in this design and they would be gone in a flash! (A lady heard me say this and immediately grabbed the other.)

• This is one way to get my daughter excited about the new school year after our break.

• It  matches the pencils she has been begging for.

• Seeing the pure giddy joy on my sweet girls face.

Seriously how could I not get the bag when the pros out weigh the cons. The cons really aren’t “cons” anyway….

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