Posted in books, relaxation, Uncategorized

My Obsession part 2: Premonition Series

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Premonition Series: Amy Bartol

Im going to be completely honest here, when i chose this book it was not because i read great reviews, or it was a best seller, it was based on the cover, the length, and being part of a series.

cover?! did i just say that? that is the one thing youre not supposed to do right? well hear me out, it was only PART of the decision, but i have read some awesome books because they grabbed my attention in the store and i impulse bought, which is sort of how this occurred….

now mind you i was already on an aircraft preparing for departure, i was desperate for a book, any book, that would download in time. the thought of enduring an entire 6 hour flight with nothing to read was unimaginable. It made me wish i was more organized and a better steward of my time (more on that another time). Why did i insist on procrastinating? perhaps i was face-timing my kids or taking too long on my hair, more likely trying to sleep for as long as possible before our early morning flight. whatever the reason i was now impatiently waiting for this book to download. ( to clarify my kindle is the first gen and the downloads not as instant as the newer ones) I am normally a paper book person but the e-readers have definitely made for a convenience i didnt know i wanted. finally the book downloaded and i opened with the giddy anticipation of a flight well spent in another world.

now at this point i will point out that this series is in the young adult genre, which is far from my favorite genres. But the way that Amy tells the story, i was fully invested in my highschool self. the passion for life, the invincibility of youth, the hormones… as a, not so young adult, i fully enjoyed this series. in fact i finished book one before the plane landed and upon landing promptly downloaded the next one in the series. This series in fact made me reexamine my own relationship with religion. As a non so practicing christian, i began to devour every verse in the bible referencing angels. i began to research and read the ancient texts with any kind of link to the angels. Admittedly i had never really cared much for them, but i became so engrossed in the subject that i began my own canvas series on them (amateur). the impact of this book was more than just entertainment, though it was entertaining.

a brief synopsis with slight spoilers:

this is about a young women who finds that she is not what she believed she was. it is about a coming of age and a realization of life beyond ones self. That there is a greater purpose and existence beyond what we may see at first glance. Everyone one around us may not be as they seem and the supernatural surrounds us at every turn. Angels, demons, and other supernatural creatures living among us, being us. As i think all books are an escape from our reality into a reality that could be, this is one i would recommend others to experience. the impact was profound beyond just her writings and something i recall frequently.

Posted in food

Super Cheap & Easy Dinner : Secret Ingredient Pasta Sauce

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I EARN A TINY COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU AND I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS THAT ARE VALUABLE. IT KEEPS THIS BLOG GOING STRONG. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE.

This is a 30 min or less meal that is a go to in our house. My super secret ingredient pasta sauce.

Ingredients you will need:

  • 1 medium size yellow onion
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1lb ground beef/or turkey
  • 1 jar/can store brand pasta sauce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach (optional)
  • 2 TBSP butter NOT margarine or oil
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
  • 1 box penne or spaghetti pasta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Begin by dicing the onion and adding to large pan with the 2TBSP butter. you will need to put on a pot of water to boil. caramelize the onions. when they are nice and brown will adding the spinach until soft(optional), add the pasta of your choice to the water to soften up, then you will add in the ground beef/turkey and brown it. as you are browning the meat you will add in the package of hidden valley ranch dressing and seasoning mix.(secret ingredient)

once the meat is browned you will add in the drained can of petite diced tomatoes, mix in, then add the store brand pasta sauce. let simmer for 5 min.

drain the noodles, and add sauce onto, sprinkle with cheese if desired.

typically we serve with a slice of bread toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with garlic powder. and olives.

and thats it!!!

we freeze the leftover sauce in a gallon freezer bag FLAT, so next time we just have to toss in fridge to thaw and make some pasta.

to make this go further i will first scoop out 1 cup of the store sauce and set aside in a sealed container to use on meatball subs.

if you like this please make sure to follow for more easy meals.

Posted in books, family, relaxation, Uncategorized

My obsession part 1: Outlander

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I EARN A TINY COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU AND I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS THAT ARE VALUABLE. IT KEEPS THIS BLOG GOING STRONG. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE.

 The outlander:

by diana gabaldon

they say when you become a mother not to loose yourself to the job. well easier said then done right? books have been the one thing that always keeps me feeling like me. strange as it sounds, diving into and imagining life thru anothers eye being what makes me, me. maybe its the continual attention and focus on one task, or the ‘adult’ feeling reading leaves me with.

one of my favorite books to pick up is The Outlander, by diana gabaldon. if ever a love story existed this is it! ironically its also the book that somehow got me a stalker (come back later for that incident). when i finished the series i felt a deep depression as if all my family, lovers, and history had passed beyond my grasp. I wanted to live in that world. now im a fan of modern amenities, medicine, and comforts BUT with a love that spans the millennia i think i could give it up. If you think a time traveling story isnt your style, i beg you to reconsider. the first few chapters will leave you questioning my love of this book, but then it happens. and after that youll be staying up into the wee hours of the night, sitting on the toilet until your feet tingle, and planning you next vacation to Scotland.

Posted in babies, family, humor, Parenting, Uncategorized

The incident at the Botanical Conservatory

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Let’s talk about the botanical conservatory incident… I’m a mom who simply wanted a couple cute pictures of my children amongst the seasonal flowers. What I got was much more than anyone would conceivably ask for. It’s a normal day back in spring 2017. We had our third child and I thought 💭 hey let’s go to the conservatory and take a couple pictures. No problem. I decide to be brave and go on an outing with my three young children 4,2,3mo. Any fellow mothers of small children I’m sure you understand my initial hesitation. And after this my healthy respect for that gut check. Anywho we arrive, park in the parking garage, I pack up baby in the carrier and grab one hand of each of the other kiddos and we walk out and head to the conservatory. We check in no problem, walk to the first exhibit, right away find the perfect backdrop for that insta pic I can post to my social media right? I get the two older kids situated they’re working with me better than I could have hoped, so I take out the baby and put ever him so gingery into the arms of my 4 year old. Take about two steps back line up my shot and 4yr old: he peed on me. Me knowing it’s just a little baby spit up reassures 4 yr old. 4yr old: no he really peed on me mom. Me ok loosing some patience cause I just want one pic right? I go over to reassure 4yr. But to my abject horror find it’s not a little baby spit up, it’s also not pee, no it’s much much worse we’ve had an epic stage 10 blowout, red alert 🚨 panic sets in… I’ve got to find a changing table I scoop up baby as I run to the bathroom with 4 and 2 trailing me, little bits of the explosion falling onto my clothes, my hands are full of 💩. I push open the door lay him on the table, pull up my hair (cause yes it was just that bad)pull out my diaper bag to clean this whole mess up but find to my utter shock that I never packed the wipes I look around. I see it’s luckily a bathroom with paper towel dispensers, you know the kind you wave your hand in front of and eeeerrrrrrrmmmmm out pops a 4 inch long paper towel. I’m thinking ok I just need about ten right and things will be ok. Meanwhile 4 decides he needs to poop and loudly announces he needs help pulling his pants down bc there stuck 😫 ok unzip and un button(why do kids pants have these buttons with holes and zippers anyways? team elastic waist from now on) he gets down to business, meanwhile baby has been screaming bloody murder for the entire process, finally get baby stripped down to diaper and see the carnage that lays before me. my sunglasses slip off the back of my head, the lense pops out, but I can’t worry about that now. I must wave wait for paper towel eeerrrrmmmm wait for it to reset kachick and wave wait for paper towel eeerrrrrmmmmm wait for it to reset kachick let’s just say ten times do you know the amount of time that takes?! A literal eternity, I get them damp and decide to try wiping up some of the excess but before I can do that PLOP. ???? What was that? somehow 4 and 2 managed to grab the paper towel as it was coming out and yank yards upon yards out it’s over the stall door i have no idea how it got up there, it’s draped across the counter the sink the floor, it’s a giant glob of wet paper towel now plopped onto the changing table sopping wet. Baby is sobbing and thrasing about in a puddle of poop water I’m feeling true panic set in. the floors slippery, im sliding the kids are sliding baby is sliding. I bend over to get to work and my hair that I threw up, falls ever so gracefully from the messy bun and as if in slow motion brushes the poopy cheeks of my baby and splats onto my face. Somehow by the grace of god I get baby dried up, I get the soiled everything tossed in the trash I get myself in order, grab the germ wipes from behind the door, that were behind the door, and wipe down the whole room. Gather up my flock and head out to the exit, I’m crying and the check in lady asks if she can give me a raincheck ticket for another day, I thank her and we go home. It was an utterly shitty day 🙀 and I learned that short trips are no excuse for not double checking the diaper bag.

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Posted in debt, family, finance, Uncategorized

Paying Debt and Saving Money

in a previous post i discussed our plan to begin paying down our debt and plan to be debt from within 5 years. i need to clarify a couple of things with regards to this. We do NOT intend to pay off our mortgage at this point. We do plan on moving, we move every 2-3years and for us we purchase an affordable home and renovate with cash. We are NOT flippers, we simply renovate to what we want to live in. we make sure to stay with in the housing market parameters, so when we sell there is a bit of a profit, im not talking 100s of thousands like the HGTV shows, but 10s of thousands. which we turn around and use to renovate the next house. the reason we choose not to pay off at this time is we would rather have the higher savings available if something happens then to have it tied up in a less liquid asset. secondly i need to specify that we are not AGGRESSIVELY paying off debt from the start, not ALL spare money is put to debt. read on to see why and how we handle it.

baby steps

We have just laid out our plan to snowball our debt, we now have a combination paycheck method, and calendar method, with a budgeting page for each month. to begin with we will be paying down beginning august 2019. our initial investment to get the ball rolling will be $200, and our extra each month will be $200 so in august our first snowball payment will be to student loan NAVIENT, with 4 total loans and the additional money the payment will be $570. This as you can see is significantly higher than our minimum monthly payment of $169, i know technically with the $400 extra it should be $569 but i like round numbers. monthly after this our payments will be $370/month.

now it may not seem like were going to get this all paid off in under 5 years but as i said before using the calendar and paycheck method if things stay just as they are no raises no bonuses, we will begin paying off earlier and earlier, every other paycheck will go to cover min obligations on our debts and expenses, and every other will go to student loans, now not every month has only two paychecks so we will begin paying ahead of due dates and saving interest that way as well as slowly paying off the debts ahead of schedule.

as of now our first NAVIENT loan will be paid off December 2019, a full 38 months ahead of the schedule set out by navient!

SAVINGS

so as i said we are not aggressively paying it down yet. we also plan on building up a rainy day fund. We have some vacation plans, and other large expenses we want to fully fund cash. no credit cards. for this we have a weekly amount we will be putting away that varies week to week For August the amounts are as follows.

  • week 1 $410
  • week 2 $190
  • week 3 $430
  • week 4 $210
  • week 5 $ 460

the plan for this money is paying for school supplies, and community tuition and fees (post coming on the homeschool methods we use), travel, we have a plan to take a couples trip to Austin, TX at the end of September. We also have a cruise booked for the beginning of December, which payment is due mid September. This money will also cover various expenses as birthdays, and gifts. We plan to take the kids on the polar express train, and then have money set aside for house projects as they arise.

if we never took any money out following this plan we would have 10K in savings by 6 months, and 20k/year.

Budget! please check back bc i will be posting on our budget plans and how we plan to cut expenses in order to fund both paying down then debt and our savings, while also, you know, living.

Posted in debt, family, finance, money, Parenting, Uncategorized

clawing out from under the mountain of debt

So i used to consider myself relatively adequate when it came to finances. but recently in light of all the hullabaloo over the student loan forgiveness, i actually decided to take a deep look at our finances and make a plan to live life comfortably yet pay off all the debt we have incurred. I will start by saying i thought i had a general idea of the amount of money we owed to various sources. After further inspection i have realized that i was a bit off in a scary way. so without procrastinating lets take a look at what we have and the plan to get out from under the mountain we have created.

mortgage 180912.20

student loans 57823.17

car 26079.54

medical 7800

credit card 6500

total 279114.91

holy smokes i havent actually seen the total amount until right now.

so whats the plan?

cry, does that count? obviously the first step in correcting a problem is admitting you have a problem,

we have a problem! a very giant scary problem.

i did a bit of research and soul searching and so by combining the 7 stages of grief along with the 7 stages of problem solving i think we have a real viable plan. im going to share this process with you.

7 stages of grief

  • stage 1. SHOCK… the utterly paralyzing realization of what that number means. im flabergasted, im speachless, I AM SHOOK to the core of my being.
  • stage 2. Denial… i admit i flew right from stage 1 to 2 pretty fast bc i was convinced that there was an error in there someplace. i looked up all the student loans bc this is where i was convinced the error was, there was no way we could be this far in the hole from a few 1500 loans, but you know what those small loans added up to 70k, ok back to stage 1…just kidding, but for real guys i had to find where the mistake was… maybe our card was scammed for fraud? nope. maybe the emergency life saving procedures that resulted in a 10k max out of pocket last year were off, weve paid more off than that right? again nope, i already knew that the vehicle and mortgage were correct bc i was physically holding the statements with their large outstanding principles glaring me in the face.
  • Stage 3: Anger… yep i was MAD, furious at my husband for taking out student loans, furious about the trip we took to hawaii (we got a massive deal on hotel, didnt eat much, and flights were from savings) so how did that add up on the credit card? im sure my husband was scared to come home, after the firestorm of texts he got. i was mad at myself for not keeping better track of finances ( we live comfortably and bills are (almost always paid, there are the times ive forgotten to pay and the lights got shut off eek, but never because of lack of funds) we travel without having to tap savings very much. BUT i should have had a better handle on what our true obligations were and the END GOAL. Here is where i really lost my temper, WE HAD NO END GOAL!!!! we had a general idea of the house we wanted and things we wanted to do but no set idea of HOW to get there?!Deep breaths deep breaths
  • Stage 4: barganing… this one didnt last too long for us. there were the thoughts that maybe we can beg the government to relieve all the student debt… but that was fleeting and completely immature. We maybe millennial but we are NOT going to fall into the entitled whiny blame game trap of many of our peers. We earned this debt, with poor choices, some necessary choices, and ignorance…moving on
  • Stage 5: Depression… this one bites, once you see the mountain ahead of you and know what its going to take to claw your way to the top, its massively depressing. i wallowed a bit here in this stage, not sure how we could make a plan, how we could cut spending, increase savings, reduce the mountain of debt.
  • Stage 6: Testing… after i put the numbers down and saw what we were facing i had to step away to cry, to mourn the innocence and cluelessness of financial ignorance. oh those were the days. anyways once i decided to face it, i tried to imagine how things would be when/if we got out from under this, or living with it.
  • Stage 7: Acceptance… so here we are landed in the final stage of grief, while i am by no means happy happy i also am not wallowing in self pity, or playing the blame game. I accept that this was something my husband and i did together (mostly some were from before, but we are responsible) I accept that there is a solution and now we need to find it.

7 steps to problem solving

  • identify the issues, admit you have a problem
  1. issue 1: large amount of debt
  2. issue 2: no plan
  3. issue 3: excess frivolous spending
  4. issue 4: actual expenses we cannot cut
  • understand everyone’s interests
  1. my own interest is getting rid of this elephant on our backs
  2. my husbands interest is making sure the kids have a comfortable life, and good education
  3. loan services: obviously they want their money back
  • list possible solutions
  1. ask for forgiveness
  2. not pay
  3. pay on schedule
  4. pay more on all
  5. avalanche
  6. snowball
  • evaluate the solutions
  1. asking for forgiveness: while a tempting option falls short of my morals. by shifting the blame off of us and claiming we were uninformed or that its a burden, only reinforces everyone’s idea of millennial’s being entitled, lazy, and seeking to shift blame. it reinforces the claims of the baby boomers who were against “everyone gets a trophy” that those who didnt earn something are somehow entitled to it. well I for one am NOT this millennial. choices have consequences, good or bad and im not going to sacrifice integrity for the easy way out.
  2. this brings us to the next option, not paying, which sort of falls inline with number one, except im not even asking im just going to fail to meet my obligations, and risk garnishments, yea doesnt seem much better, lets move on
  3. pay on schedule, this is what we have been doing, and clearly its not working for us, were not getting further ahead, were stuck in this perpetual cycle of debt. whats next?
  4. pay more on all debts: finally getting to a financial AND morally viable option. I ran the numbers and with the amount of debt we have it would not make enough of a dent due to our interest rates to get us out in any kind of timely manner(if we had less debt or lower interest rates this could have been a winner, so i do not want to discount this for others who maybe in a similar yet different situation)
  5. avalanche our debt( dave ramsey), basically just paying putting extra money to the debts with the higher interest rates first thereby reducing overall interest paid, wow this looks good.
  6. snowball (dave ramsey), start by paying off lowest loan amounts first, while maintaining the minimum payments on the rest. then rolling the payments from paid off loans towards the next loan thus having a larger payment and just as a small snowball rolls down a hill as it increases speed it increases size and impact….
  • Pick a solution

can you guess which solution we chose?

that’s right were going to snowball this mess. While i understand the idea of paying off those with the highest interest first, because over the life of the loan we will pay more, after adding up the total both ways we will pay less by paying off lowest balance first.

  • document agreements

here i am publicly stating our plan of action.

  • agree on contingencies

Never again do i want to find myself in a spot so financially depressing as this. gone are the days of blissful ignorance. our contingency plan is basically two things

  1. if life continues as is we will reevaluate the snowball method versus the avalanche method after each loan is paid down (worth mentioning as i alluded to previously, the student loan amount is the total owed not on one but rather several individual loans with differing interest rates) so if we have extra and pay of quicker we may switch to the avalanche if it saves us over the long run
  2. contingency 2 is based on wage increases and moves, if we move homes we will not be increasing our standard of living by the same amount as the raise, rather we would be putting all extra money toward paying down the debts.

starting at the bottom

where else is there really to start, fun as it may not be it will teach us the discipline and accountability we need to maintain us on our journey up and beyond.

i will be updating this journey on instagram so follow at thetinypinkclover_ or on facebook thetinypinkclover