Tuesday, June 14, 2016

New Developments in Life

My new cash system wallet from Savvycents!
Ok, lets talk about the elephant in the room. I know I have not written a blog post in a while. There have been some new developments in my life. First and foremost is the fact that I am leaving the job that I have been in for the past eight years. I will still be working for the same university, but in a different department.

This is a big step for me because I enjoy my job and the people that I work with. I also am the kind of person that likes predictability. So, stepping out of my comfort zone is a bit of a scary step, but I am taking it! This move has been very exciting yet sad at the same time and I am still trying to work out the emotions. 

Also, I am still trying to plan my novel. Camp NaNoWriMo is occurring again in July and I will try to take that opportunity to work some things out. However, I start my new position at the end of June, so getting into the new routine of a new job may mess that up, but I gotta try.

Along with this transition into a new job, my employer has decided to switch from bi-monthly paychecks to bi-weekly paychecks. I had bi-weekly paycheck in all of the other jobs that I had, but I've been in this position for eight years and I'm used to getting paid twice a month. I just need to get used to a new system and budget a little differently. 

Some of you may be asking 'Well, why is that a big deal. You're still getting paid the same amount of money". Switching from a 24 paycheck system to a 26 paycheck system means that I will be bringing home less money each month, except for the two months out of the year where I will get three paychecks instead of two. However, I will be getting paid more frequently. 

If I were staying in my current position, I would be bringing home about $130 less most months than what I've been used to. That's a big chunk of dough. With my new position, which come with a pretty decent raise, I should be bringing home about $130 more most months. Every little bit helps. 

Since I am trying to get used to a new pay system, I've needed to adjust my budgets. I have also decided to move more to what is known as the 'cash system' or the 'envelope system'.  

If you are not familiar with Dave Ramsey, he is a financial consultant who urges people to pay with cash instead of credit. His followers use a system of envelopes to set aside money for their expenses. For example: If I had $500 to use for my expenses, I would set aside $100 for groceries, $100 for clothes, $100 for personal products, $100 for restaurants, and $100 for gas. I would also not deviate from that budget. Now, keep in mind that that is just a very basic example and you can tailor your budget and envelope system to your own needs.  

Previously, I've not carried around a lot of cash. As a previous bank teller, I know that if you carry cash and someone steals your wallet there is no getting that money back, as opposed to carrying debit cards which are secured and can be deactivated. I would write out my budget and still use my card to make most purchases then deduct what I've spent. 

Now, I'm moving more to the cash system. This wallet from Savvycents is designed from the Dave Ramsey system. It has little dividers so you can budget your money for your expenses. I am hoping that using this system will make it easier for me to budget and prevent overspending. 

So far, I really like this wallet. It's really cute and the dividers for cash is super helpful. I would recommend checking it out on Amazon. (The cost is $29 plus shipping.)

Have you had to switch from a 24 to a 26 pay system, or from a weekly to bi-weekly? How did it affect your budget and what did you do to compensate? I would love some new ideas! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

West Virginia Primary Election Day!

Proud Voter!
This is not a political blog and I really don't intend to write a lot of political commentary. However, I do feel it is extremely important to vote. I cast a vote in every election and I am proud to do so!

Today is the Primary election in West Virginia. West Virginia has open primaries, which means that even though I am an Independent voter, I still get to cast a vote on either the Democratic or Republican ticket...or I could vote for one of the third parties if I really wanted to. 

I'm gonna get right down to it...personally, I am not looking forward to the upcoming presidential election. I severely dislike both Hillary and Trump and I have a feeling this is going to be one of the messiest elections since 1860. The next six months are just gonna plain suck. 

So, in the end, I don't really care who you vote for but it is your duty to vote. You will not have the right to complain unless you've participated in the election process. Be responsible and go to the polls! You'll get a free sticker if you do!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Why I'm Super Stoked for Mother's Day

Me with the men in my life!
I am so excited for Mother's Day this year! I have carefully planned my day and I think it is going to be so much fun...staying at home!

Richard has reached the terrible two stage. He doesn't misbehave when we are out, however taking him to restaurants has been very challenging because he does not want to sit still. He wants to walk around and explore. As a result, we definitely do not go out as much as we used to. Unless we go to Chick-fil-A, which has become one of our favorite places to go. 

So, I have insisted that we stay home on Mother's Day this year. I do not want to be chasing a toddler around a restaurant on the busiest restaurant day of the year. I will be making dinner, and I have insisted that I make dinner. Hubby can do the dishes. 

This is what the day is gonna look like:

-Go to Mass on Sunday morning like we always do. 
-If the weather is super beautiful, we may take Richard to a nearby park and have a small picnic. 
-Nap (When I am home Richard and I have nap time together. It gives me a chance to relax as well.)
-Make dinner (Pot-roast!!!)
-Watch Cinderella (We're renting it from Redbox). 
-Just enjoy my time with my family!

This is about as stress free as it can get! I am so excited! 

What are your plans for Mother's Day? I'd love to hear them! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Lamentations of a Wannabe Writer

A blank page...that's all I see.
I took the month of April off from blogging because I was participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. For those who may not know, NaNoWriMo is meant to be inspirational support for people who want to write novels. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) takes place during the month of November, but April was kinda like a warm up.

It was my intention to get started on a novel, find inspiration, and get prepared for November where I would really make good ground on writing an actual novel. Needless to say, that did not exactly happen. 

Here's a little background: I love to write. Hence, why I blog. I've been working on various stories for many years, but I've never finished anything. I don't have a lot of ambitions in life. I don't want to be famous or have lots of money. All I want is to do is be a good wife and mother...and publish a book. 

Needless to say, writing has taken a back seat since my son was born two years ago. My vocation as a working wife and mother take up the vast majority of my time, and spare time is a rare luxury. Pretty much the only time I have to myself is my lunch hour at work. That is the only time I have to write, and I have to eat at the same time. 

I was hoping that I would be able to write at least 10,000 words during the month of April. But every time I sat down at the lunch table with my little laptop...writers block. Nothing. No inspiration. I managed to write 2000 words, way below my goal. 

I'm a little heartbroken and frustrated. If I want to make this a reality I need to change my game plan somehow. However, having a clingy toddler at home makes it very difficult to see any kind of light at the end of the tunnel. 

In the end, I'm just gonna have to hope that persistence pays off. Do what I can when I can. 

Are you a writer with young children at home? How do you balance it all?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener- Review

I did it! I finally came across a natural sweetener that has no nasty aftertaste! Dear readers, it is time that you discover the benefits of monkfruit!

I have tried a lot of natural sweeteners and never really liked them because they seem to have a rather nasty aftertaste. I used stevia for awhile, but I really didn't like it in my coffee, so I want back to your classic rot your teeth sugar. Now, I drink a lot of coffee, that means I am consuming a lot of sugar. I didn't like consuming so much sugar, but it was the only way I enjoyed my morning cup of joe. 

Yesterday morning I was walking down the organic aisle in my local Martin's Grocery store (otherwise known as Giant is some parts of the country) and I saw a monkfruit sweetener that has been crystallized, very similar to sugar. I was intrigued and I put it in my basket to give it a try. I have heard of monkfruit, but never really tried it before. 

I put a couple of teaspoons in my morning coffee and was absolutely amazed by the fact that there was no aftertaste! It tasted just like I put regular sugar in my coffee. I have finally found a 0 calorie sweetener that is natural and GMO free! This is a great way to cut back on my daily sugar intake.

Now, it does cost more than sugar. This 8oz bag cost me about $5, and it was on sale for $1 off. But you use less of it. So if you typically put 3 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, you could use 1 1/2 teaspoons for the same effect. 

If you want more information, visit Lakanto's Facebook page.  

*This is a 100% unbiased review. I did not receive any compensation for this and was not approached by Lakanto or any of it's affiliates.*

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Party Rehash and March Goals

My son enjoying his party!
Can I just say that my son's 2nd birthday party was a blast! And I was so worried too! He woke up from his afternoon nap with a fever and I started to freak out because I was afraid I would have to cancel, and people were on their way to the house! However, his fever soon broke after I gave him some medicine and he perked up quickly. 

I think everyone had a great time and it was nice seeing family that I have not seen since his baptism. 

The cake was delicious and turned out much better than I expected it to be. Richard loved the little car that came on top and held on to it through out most of the celebration.

Now that part is over and a huge weight has been lifted from my chest, it is time to move on to a few things that need to be done. 

March Goals:

1) Reach 80 Facebook Likes. (I've been pretty stagnant at 76.)
2) Read a book for pleasure! (Maybe read the last book in the Inn BoonsBoro Series by Nora Roberts.)
3) Write 1000 words for my novel. (I have a basic plot in mind and I need to start working on it.)
4) Go to confession and prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday. (Divine Mercy Sunday is the Sunday following Easter.)
5) Pray more and get my spiritual life in gear! (This is a constant struggle for me.)

I really want to start working on my novel, and NaNoWriMo Camp is quickly approaching. As a result, I'll probably be blogging less, but I will keep you all updated on my progress. I am so excited!

Has anyone participated in NaNoWriMo? Did you enjoy the experience? This is my first time around and I'm not quite sure what to expect.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Party Planner

My sweet boy!
My sweet little boy is going to be 2 years old on Friday! Wow! Two years of my life just flew by in a flash!

So now comes prepping for a party. We're keeping it simple, only close family and friends over, but there is a lot to do. First thing is trying to get the house clean! Hubby and I both work and it is difficult to keep the house clean...especially with a toddler on the loose. 

We also have to plan food and drinks and that ever so special birthday cake! Last year I baked cupcakes and decided it was too much of a hassle to bake again this year, so were gonna do a store bought Mickey Mouse cake. Granted, my prudent heart balked at the $26 price tag, but my baking and icing skills are rather minimal...and my grandmother insisted that her great-grandson have a Mickey Mouse cake. 

I also have to plan everything around nap-time. Richard can get pretty cranky if he doesn't get his nap, so I have to make sure he goes down for his nap at noon and is up by 3...like toddlers ever really follow a schedule. 

Yes, the house is still a mess and we'll be cleaning our little hearts out up until 5 minutes before the doorbell rings, but the food is all planned out. All we need to do is order it. 

I'm looking forward to celebrating the life of my son. He has brought such joy to our lives and while he will probably not remember it, I still want to make sure it's a special day for him.