Monday, February 28, 2011

Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with ya honey

Heard lines from this at class tonight, and it just made me want to find the video for it.

FPU was great tonight. It finally feels like I'm getting something out of it-or maybe I'm just doing what needs to get done. It reminds me how I hated my some of my grad school classes-namely the ones that had homework that wasn't necessarily fun but I did it, and I did get something out of it. I've wondered how to apply all the principles to our life; how best to teach it with the boys. We already do a lot of what FPU preaches-get rid of credit; live within your means. Yet I'm getting more out of it-the nerd/free spirit, gazelle intensity, and the idea of commissions instead of allowances. I'm feeling more at ease at how to deal with the boys and money-like not doing an allowance (doing commission instead) and understanding more how we viewed money when we grew up and how we want it now. I like how when the boys collect items for recycling, they can decide how to spend that money-when its gone its gone, but its not something I have to micromanage. There's definite benefits to this course-I wish I had taken it sooner, but just the same, I'm glad I'm taking it now.

We've been doing a lot of free family activities; outside when the weather is decent. Inside we're playing games, watching netflix, or learning how to cook/bake more from scratch. The boys have been riding their bikes more; I've been scrapbooking/stamping/crafting more. Robert seems to be doing well in school. We're getting used to Netflix-and I'm picking up more books now and reading more-something I've missed, but didn't know it. I'm also back in the groove of couponing with kids. Not always the easiest, but getting things for free (and not adding to our grocery budget) is worth it.

I've had a few rites of passage lately; first trip to the Boy Scout Store; first time sewing on patches; first time at a Blue and Gold Banquet. Searching for life insurance.

Oh something that stuck out about tonight's class: talking about the difference between being broke and being poor-reminded me of a conversation Robert and I had this weekend. What we're facing now (paying for life insurance, rising gas, food, planning for our future-not just the present) is all relative. We may be broke-but its a temporary state-and its not that we don't have money-its that we're choosing to live like no one else so later we can live like no one else. We want to do better than how we grew up, and teach our kids how to do better than us. Totally Dave Ramsey-but its so true.

Tying into that thought-I had a proud moment today-I cut our internet bill from $40 to $20 (it had been a promo rate of $30 but was set to end soon) for a full year without changing our service-and when I got off the phone, Matthew asked me why I was happy. I told him I saved another $10 per month. He looked at me and said, That's money we can spend on something else, or save it. Yes, we can save it (and I plan on doing just that). Way to go :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


"There comes a time in life when you step away from the drama for no reason and people behind it, surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus only on the good. Life is too short to do anything other than be Happy ..."
How true this is.

I bought myself a great pair of running shoes yesterday. For the first time in longer than I can remember, I bought myself shoes. Its such a mindset to put my kids first, put Robert first. It felt really great though to take care of myself in this tangible way.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Blogs, friends, conversations, places, tidbits of information from books and magazines. I feel like I'm reawakening from the baby fog-and remembering how much of who I was and who I want to be.

Pioneer Woman said something that struck a chord in me: I’m just going to shift down a gear for a short time, posting a little less frequently so I can remain in high gear in the cooking, homeschooling—and nurturing—realm of my life.

I can't relate to the homeschooling, but I can relate to wanting to remain in high gear for everything else. Life is a journey, and I want to soak it up.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lace up those running shoes

Nothing like diving in head first, or should I say feet first. I signed up yesterday for End of the Trail Half Marathon at Mooney Grove Park in Visalia, which takes place at the end of April. Off to the running store today to buy a decent pair of shoes that will support my feet. Also mapping out a course around town so I can get training started when I can't get to places that have mile markers :) So excited and nervous-haven't felt this way since contemplating grad school. That's reinforcement to me that I'm on the right track setting this goal for myself :)

Monday, February 21, 2011


I love the world of blogs-it has opened my eyes and provided inspiration. A new focus-something coming about from FPU and hearing about it from others I know, is exercise. Not just working out at a gym-because frankly, that's not in my budget. What is in my budget is money for a decent pair of running shoes and a drive to get back outside. I took the first step this past weekend-or stepped back into my comfort zone-by having the family walk from our home to the library and back again. It was a great adventure-plus having an extra kid (besides our four) with us was nice too. I had so much energy after the walk-and didn't realize how much I've missed it (between the cold, damp weather and pregnancy/new baby) it had taken a back seat.

I'm setting a new goal for myself-one that's been on my bucket list, and the time is now to take action to reach it. I want to participate in a run-a half marathon. I'm going to start small, find a walk/run within 40 miles to register in, and prepare for it. I will do it this week, and physically put it on my calendar. This part is out of my comfort zone-but like everything else I do, I'm going to dive in-life is too short to pass by, and now is the time to do this.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coupon nerd-but saving money.

Why I love Rite Aid (and appear like a coupon nerd)
I started with a $25 gift cards
Ended with 18 quarts of Dreyers Ice Cream for 7.94 out of pocket and $17 in UPs

Week two:
Bought children's cough syrup, adult's cough syrup, excedrin pm, cookie mix, tooth paste
Ended with $32..97 and getting a 30.98 rebate back (1.99 for a ton of stuff!) and $7 in UPs for next week

Week three
Bought (2) chex mix, (2) Jiff peanut butters, (2) boxes of triscuits, (2) toothpastes
Ended with 8.18, but $33 in UPs for next week

Grand total: 18.88 oop (7.94+1.99+8.18), but w/ $33 in UPs, I'm ahead by $14.89.
Yep, I'm a coupon nerd, but one that's saving money.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What goes down must come up

Life is crazy here-in a good, keep you on your toes, kind of way. The last week has been a struggle, but I'm optimistic that it will work itself out. It always does, but its the trials and tribulations of parenthood that take a toll at the same time. Baby girl is awake more-and while I'm thrilled for that-means more sleep at night, it does change the elements of our day. R received the results from the sleep study last week, and thankfully we have a diagnosis, and insurance covers the entire cost of the CPAP machine! What a blessing that has been. It was hooked up last night, and I slept like a rock-ha-who would of thought his snoring bothered me that much? Not me! Then again, school pickup in the rain at two different schools with a drenched stroller (but a dry baby-thank God!) and taking four kids by myself to the children's hospital for a follow up appointment was exhausting-but I did it :)

Homework is challenging for the boys-I'm not a teacher, but I am a mom, and I don't like how its taking a toll on life at home. I found some books at the library, and I think between those and talking with the teachers, and a good dose of faith and hard work, we'll work through these challenges.

Lately I've been thinking about my mom and how she managed with four kids-and how messy the divorce has gotten-wondering when it went wrong and how they dealt with money and kids, and wanting so much more for myself, as a human, mom, wife. Communication is key-and R and I have been working on that-it takes work to be on the same page-but we want so much for our family. I often hear myself telling the kids, "I'm doing the best that I can." "We're doing the best that we can." "We're a team, partners, a family." I don't remember hearing that growing up-or maybe my memory of that time has faded. Either way, I want it better for my children, for them to have a strong set of values and good character. FPU has been getting my mind spinning-too much to write down here-and when I do have a thought worth writing about, its not necessarily right when I can blog. Such is life with a houseful of beautiful, busy, active children.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Tonight was the start of a new venture-Financial Peace University. I received information from a local mom about a class taking place at a church in Kingsburg, and I called this morning to find out about it. I was a bit nervous-more or less because I get nervous about starting things that are unfamiliar. In typical Jen style though, I faced my fear, and took the leap. I invited a friend to go with me, we're of the same mindset-just dealing with different financial situations. We both share a love of learning, and have the determination to face our challenges head on. We spoke with the facilitator about the pricing of the course, and since our spouses are unable to attend with us, we can be our own couple. Yay! I'm working out the kinks of childcare-it is available for a fee, but I'm going to see what I can arrange on my own so I don't have to use part of our grocery budget for babysitting every week. Robert was excited when I told him what I did-I'm sure we'll face challenges ahead, but we both want more from our lives than making ends meet. Its not just about making them meet, but giving in the way we want to-and do-but with a lot less stress and worry. Not to mention having peace of mind that we'll be better prepared for retirement and college, and have a better footing than we did once we've completed the program. Yay for new adventures-I'm excited :)


This is how we spent most of our week-in pajamas. I had one child home on Monday, and another sick one home Thursday and Friday. Coupled with me still feeling under the weather-and our home was definitely a laid back one. Needless to say not a whole lot got done but the basics.By this weekend, kids were on the mend-and I was thankful, because I flew solo for half of it. Robert had his sleep study one night, and worked with the Gang Task Force on another. I managed though-even getting back in the swing of couponing with the kids. I hate to admit-but I took a break from it for the past month-but seeing others rock some really good deals made me miss it. I rocked our grocery budget-and stocked up on frozen treats and grocery items. I survived (yes it felt like survival) grocery shopping with four kids by myself. I didn't lose my mind-or lost my budget. No picture this time-maybe I'll get to it this week. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out with the challenge I made for myself this month-and yes, I'll post about it too-just not yet.

The weather was beautiful this weekend. We spent time outside lounging around-letting the kids do what they do best-play!

Eli put his own shoes on-they're not his-but they got the job done!
Rebecca's becoming more alert-and such a mellow baby when we're outside.
Matthew tried to show Elijah how to ride his tricycle.
Brotherly love :)
These eyes are beautiful :)

Who needs toys when we have paper rolls?
All the kids went back to school today-hooray! Now to get back into a routine around here....