Thursday, January 29, 2015

4 Easy Ways to Get Back on Track Financially

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Payoff, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #payoffmindset #whatsyourpayoff http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Do you have more debt than you know what to do with? Check out these four simple strategies for paying it all off and finally getting back on track.

Last year at this time, we were totally on track to pay off a bunch of debt and were getting so much closer to being debt-free.

And then, life happened. I was the lead in an opera, and The Maestro just so happened to be the music director. This meant that we were both stretched much farther than usual when rehearsals started in February. It's truly a miracle that our children managed to stay alive since both of us were gone so much at rehearsals. It's nice to have a responsible teenager around to help with things like cooking and getting the girls showered and ready to bed, but she's not quite ready for taking on things like the budget.

Basically, I was stretched so thin from February through April that I completely ignored my budgeting software. We ate out a lot more out of necessity. While we managed to pay our bills on time, things were a little tighter than we had been used to, simply because we were no longer budgeting and paying careful attention to how we spent our money.

And as soon as the opera was over, The Maestro and I went on an amazing vacation and spent a lot of money. We had technically budgeted and saved for this vacation, but our temporary hiatus on budgeting had really screwed us up and we ended up adding more to our debt load.

To make matters worse, I just haven't had the wherewithal to get back on track. Which means we've wasted an entire year of good money management and our debt has NOT been paid down nearly as much as it could have been.

It's easy to feel like you are drowning in debt. It certainly doesn't take much. But I'm finished with it. I'm ready to get back on track with finances, no matter how hard it's going to be to look at.

1. Rework the Budget

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Just Another Sunday

Today's Sunday photo is courtesy Bria. Sophia is pretty sick this weekend--she's been running about a 102 fever--so she and I didn't go to church today. I still haven't recharged my camera battery from last week, so Bria took a selfie when the older girls came back home from church that features Sophia sleeping in the background.

Apparently, she took several photos, but when I got my phone back this was the only one on it. I asked her why and she said, "Because I look really good in that one." Yes. Yes she does. She is also a teenager.

This week has not been very eventful.

Even though Hawaii was incredibly helpful for my well-being, I am feeling myself losing my personality. Because I lose my personality every January.

I spent the majority of my time teaching voice lessons, grading assignments, and chauffering children around town.

The most exciting part of my week was going to my pre-op appointment for my shoulder. And it wasn't exciting in a good way, it was exciting in a scary way. I've known the surgery is coming up, and I know I desperately need it if I would like to do normal things like get dressed and hug people and get things out of my cupboards without crying in pain. But after seeing the sling I will wear (the things is a beast!) and hearing the doctor give me the rundown on my recovery, I'm terrified.

I'm scared because I don't know how I'm actually going to live my life without a lot of help. And, at least for the first few weeks, I won't be able to do ANYTHING without a lot of help.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Changing My Life Now.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its Advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone and should not be construed as medical advice. #24HourEsterC #CollectiveBias

How will you change your life this New Year? Free Printable Download

I love the new year. It is such a wonderful time to reflect on the last year and recognize your blessings, your improvements, and yes, even your shortcomings. I love that every January, the whole world is thinking about self-improvement.

Each year, I (like many of you) choose one word to help guide my own self-improvement throughout the year. Last year, I chose the word PEACE. I chose it because I tend to have a lot of anxiety over things that really don’t matter all that much in the long run. It was a really good word for me this past year. While I can’t say that I was always peaceful and calm, the word was a great touchstone for me and helped to bring me back to center when I did get anxious and overwhelmed.

This year, I wanted to choose a word that would help me to continue to rid myself of unnecessary anxiety and worry. I will continue to remember to be at peace, but I also need to address the actual cause of my anxieties.

The word I have chosen for 2015 is NOW. I get anxious because I cannot control the future. I get anxious because I procrastinate things too often. I get anxious because I am worrying about all 500 things on my to-do list for the day instead of just concentrating on what I can do right now. I get anxious because sometimes I simply can’t do everything I am supposed to do because of health issues.

While I have been able to be more peaceful about all of the undone things this last year, I hope to now focus on what I can do right now to alleviate any of my worries.

I made a printable to remind me of how my 2015 word will apply in various areas in my life.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison: A Book Review

A book review of The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison.
Linda Wallheim is the wife of an LDS (Mormon) Bishop who finds herself in the midst of a seeming mystery. Her neighbor has gone missing, and Linda is sure that she has been murdered by her husband. She begins to dig into the circumstances further, and is brought into more than one mystery concerning members in her LDS congregation.

I truly enjoyed this book, and read it in one great big reading marathon one Sunday afternoon and into the night. Linda Wallheim is refreshing as far as LDS characters go. She does not have all the answers, and in fact struggles a little bit with her faith. But she is still trying to do the right things amidst her struggles. While I couldn't relate to her particular faith struggles, I did relate to the fact that we all struggle with our faith--whether or not we are willing to admit that. (I just wrote a post detailing some of my own thoughts on that issue here: What I Do Know.)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back to Real Life

When I went to get my camera for today's Sunday Photo, the battery died. So iPhone again. The girls all went to a hockey game at the University last night, so Sophia wanted to keep her little face tattoo on for church. Should I have let her? Probably not. 

The only reason I would ever recommend NOT going to Hawaii?

You'll eventually have to come back.

As amazing as it is to sit on the beach and read, or snorkel in an amazing world of tropical fish, or gather sea shells with your children, that's not real life. And I think it's a good thing. It's nice to have a week or two of wonderful vacation, but it's also nice to have work and school and the mundane parts of life. Even though sitting on the beach is nicer.

I had intended to get up early every day while on vacation and do work. I am teaching a new group voice course at the University (the course is not new, just new to me teaching it), and I needed to get quizzes and tests written, lectures figured out, syllabus written, and the Canvas dealt with. Plus, I had to schedule all of my private students, which is my most hated job of every semester, though it always manages to work out somehow.

Let's take a vote. If you think I got up early every day, raise your hand.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 2015 Visiting Teaching Printable

Vacation has thrown me completely off schedule, so this printable is pretty late in coming. But better late, than never, I say!

For 2015, the visiting teaching messages will continue to study the life and mission of Christ, but this year we will be looking specifically at His attributes. I am really happy about this, because I loved studying the divine mission of Jesus Christ last year. This year will be even better, because we can strive to develop these attributes in ourselves. (Of course, we could strive to do that last year, but no matter how hard I try, I'm never going to be the Son of God or the Savior of the World!)

I am going to keep doing the 5x7 printables to be used in an inexpensive picture frame. However, since I know that each month we will be studying a different attribute, I am going to make each printable part of a larger set, so that by the end of the year it will be a set of 12 Christlike Attributes cards.

For January, the lesson is "The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Obedient Son."

7 Must Have Organizing Tools

Want to get organized? Here are seven tools that everyone needs for organization.

I'm always looking for new organization tools. Honestly, though, I tend to keep coming back to the same ones over and over again. Which obviously means that they are the best organization tools in the world.

Here are seven of the things I love most for organization in my home (all links are Amazon affiliate links):

1. Label Maker

Because, of course a label maker is my number one must have tool for organizing! I particularly love the Dymo Plug-n-Play Label Maker. I like that it's small and easy to store, but I LOVE that I can just plug it into my computer and have access to all the fonts I have installed. It really appeals to my aesthetic sense not to have to be limited to just one font. You can also purchase three different widths of label tape in various colors, though I tend to stick to the 1/2' width in white or clear.

2. Over-the-Door Shoe Organizers

I love the clear pocket shoe organizers for their versatility. I don't think I've ever used one for storing actual shoes, but I've stored many other things in them! When my girls were little, I put one on the bathroom door and kept all of their hair paraphernalia in them: ribbons, rubberbands, bows, headbands, flower clips, barrettes, brushes, and detangler sprays. It made it so much easier to do the hair of three little girls every day. I've used one in my closet to store accessories like scarves and necklaces. And I currently use one to store all of the American Girl Doll clothes in our house (see more on that here: Toy organization).

3. Clear Plastic Shoe Boxes

Plastic shoe boxes are just the perfect size for so many things, and they stack really nicely if you have all the same brand. And even if you don't, they still tend to be pretty uniform in size. I use them for organizing craft supplies, art supplies, bathroom items, and in my pantry. All well-labeled, of course!

4. Empty Spice Jars