Friday, March 29, 2013

If You Blink...

The days around here are like that, If you blink you will miss something!

Tucker finished up second grade math on Wednesday. He now has a week and a half break.

Ethan finished up his math book. I do two different math's. I like DK to supplement Saxon. Because of DK I was able to smooth Tucker into the times table. So when he came across them in Saxon he didn't freak, there were no tears. And if you know Tucker there are always tears. Same with Ethan it just helps smooth the kids from one new math concept to another. Ethan will be done with third grade math shortly.

The boys are getting a new play area. You see the area on top of the goat feeding area? Yep. We are on the hunt for a slide. But the garden comes first, so it will be a work in progress this summer.

We got 15 yards of dirt today. I can not begin to tell ya how sore I am at this moment. We are filling new beds, topping off old beds. Even put the neighbor kid to work. I will be here until we are done. We have rain coming in on Thursday so we ordered this early. The guy was two hours late, so hubby had to leave for work. So hoping to work our tails of and be done by Thursday. Hubby has next week off, well most of it. And there is way too much to do around here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Catching Up

So the boys are working really hard. They just had a week off and LOVED it and they want another week off. BUT you have to work hard for it. Well the three boys are neck in neck racing to finish their math books. Now when Cole is in his groove he can do his math, he is a math whiz, when he wants to be. There are times I set up his book go and help his brothers and come back and he is just done. So they have something going they all three wanted to finish up their books. Well Cole pulled ahead and finished it last Thursday. I gave him a math break until after our second spring break.

I think Tucker is next. We shall see? I will order Tucker's new books over spring break. Cole will move into first grade second book. And Ethan well, let's just say dividing is hard. He is getting it but it's taking time. Can't tell ya how many times I had to explain something to hubby well explaining it to Ethan. Slows us way down. Yeah, fourth grade just excites me!

Next. Spring. YES, Spring is here. And oh is it glory. I didn't want to go in today, but yet didn't have a lot to do outside, in the front yard. So I broke out the mower and mowed our yard and the neighbors yard. Yep, that crazy lady with the purple mower was off mowing yards. Ethan wanted to learn how to drive the mower, Although he lacks weight and height, so he either has peddle trouble or weight on the seat trouble. But we worked it out and here he is driving up and down the road. Scared to death, but he LOVED it.

Next, Did I mention Spring???? As of today our night time temps should not drop below 40 degrees. So it was time to move our starts outside. And it was time to start the veggies. OH has it been a day. Got the starts outside and organized. Got all the veggies seeded and labeled. I somehow have a flat left over. After some thought I think I will go and start some more things for the neighbor. I do starts for her but after thinking I don't think I did a wide enough mix for her. I also have a heater set up out there now. We will run it in the morning when we get up, during the day probably turn it off and run it again after dinner until bed. I hope it really helps this year. Now need a good temp watcher, ours just broke so i'm running out there every so often.

Now a What NOT To Do. I don't know how the hell I did this? But last summer, I put seeds away and labeled them, and put them away for the winter. Well I go to pull out my seeds and find this. Seriously? I marked it Icing and put it away? Seriously? Just yurks me, I have two jars of seeds and don't know what the hell they are? Now I"m growing a few seeds to see if I can figure it out.

But spring has showed up. So happy to be outside and in the Sun. Out cleaning beds and moving and doing things. Next Monday we have about ten yards of dirt coming in. Hubby has the week off and we are getting everything just done. Beds will be done, a list a mile long will be done. Hopefully I can take photos as I go. The herb area will be looking snazzy and we are doubling some beds for carrots and parsnips. Filling the new beds, topping off some older beds. Lots to do but I see an end in sight. Exciting stuff around here. Well then holding tight until the end of May to start planting. But it's OK I should have plenty to keep me busy????

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting Our Crap Together

So we have been on a very loooooooooooooooooooooong process (life). And we seem to be doing OK. Medical bills paid off, paid off van, have a small savings, saving cash for a truck. We are getting there, slowly but surely.

Although we got 700 dollars worth of medical bills in last week. Tiring to have insurance and they pay for Nothing! I don't understand why we pay weekly for insurance and have to pay all bills?

Saving cash for a newer truck for hubby as we are still down to one car. Math wise should have his money by November (don't tell him it's that far out!) although with November then we have Christmas and probably need more in savings. But come Jan. we plan on paying down the house. Oh boy those will be exciting times around here.

We can only do this because we are now living far below our means. Last year nope, living well above our means, and it wasn't to our doing, we needed gas, and this and that. So you shell it out. The 401k loan we had to take out for gas back when the in laws were so very sick. That will hit the half way mark this upcoming Friday. That is exciting. I'm hoping to move that money from re-paying a loan to just putting it into the 401k. With it being a company match, hoping to build a retirement. We are really, really far behind, but something is better then nothing right? In November we have plans to stop building an emergency fund and put that money into a Roth IRA. More exciting times. I just can't believe we have to hand our money over to someone to save it. (it's with a money person relax)

On top of that our paycheck took a 50 dollar a week hit. Between the payroll tax, life insurance and many other things. It's tiring to see others can just touch your paycheck like that. 50 dollars is a lot of money here. Heck we were fighting a company over 4 dollars last week. Because we work hard for every single penny and that four dollars should not have been removed from the paycheck. Tiring.

What is even more tiring is my parents. After 37 years of marriage, they don't talk to each other, they have never sat down and done a budget. They don't know what they have coming in verses going out. If there is money there, mom takes it and spends it. Now they have double what we have coming in, but yet they didn't pay their mortgage for 3 years. So starting to pay rent really took a hit on them this past summer. Just wait until that tax bill comes in. They still don't get it. Once their house does finally close, the amount written off by the bank, the IRS will tax it as earned income and come after them for the money owed. My mother thinks the bank pays that. Nope, they go after you. At this moment that bill will be over 47k. You would think that would be enough to freak them out? Nope. Why do I have a feeling they won't be doing their taxes this year? or next? Why? Tell ya through if you owe someone 47k plus they will go looking for ya. And then what? Don't call on me.

You add in an accident my father had last week that left the car really un-usable, but lots of phone calls to insurance and such, because they HAVE to have a second car, they can not live without that car. Seriously my father shouldn't be driving, he is facing surgery because accident jarred a past surgery. But yeah lets get that car fixed ASAP.

They don't make sense to me. I left their house last week, needing a shower, because of all the crap and clutter everywhere. Why do people need so much stuff? Tell ya when we moved them last summer, hubby and I come home and declutted the house. We are to live without crap. Tell ya I really enjoy it now. It takes 5-10 minutes to clean the kitchen. The boys can clean their room in just a few minutes. The playroom is an easy clean up. We don't need crap. But I do realize my mother has a shopping problem, and it's probably from her past of never having anything and now that she can afford crap she is going to buy anything and everything. She isn't to the hoard stage yet, but we will need to watch things.

But seeing their mess, and all their crap, and papers everywhere and I know if something happened to my father today, the nightmare it would be to bury him. To find docs, to find money. I take my parents day to day. I often tell my parents no. Because honestly I need to keep myself on track. We are right on that edge, where we are not great, but we are not bad. Everyday I think more and more on how can we live below our means. Do we really need that, how can I get that for free. We don't need that. It has allowed us to keep money in the bank. It allows us to save for the truck and upcoming events. Tell ya it's nice at the end of the week to put a 20 away and that is 20 more dollars we have for gas to get us to the camp ground this summer.

We have also decided it's time to get our crap in order. We finally got life insurance what a battle as hubby's labs are never normal. This was suppose to be a non medical life insurance, it turned into a medical insurance. As they were telling us hubby is in kidney failure. Hum no he isn't. So that was a lovely battle, but in the end we finally won out. So one box checked. Many more to check.

So I saw the Suze Orman box on Qvc. I never watch that channel. Toyed many days with buying that box. It has everything you need in it to get your crap together. But boy it hurt to spend that money, but I caved, because caller after caller talked about OMG my parents had their stuff together and within a week the estate was settled. It was easier to bury this person we had all her docs in one spot. My family is passing this from person to person and we are all getting our crap in order. So the box is on it's way and we will soon sit down and get our crap in order. Won't be exciting but a relief when it's done.

Any thoughts on if I can get my parents to get their crap together? HA. They don't even open most of their mail these days. Get their crap together, what a laugh!

So our next steps is to work on getting our crap together, keep living well below our means. To keep saving for the truck and just to have a savings. To pay off the medical I have here. When the 401k loan is done to move that money to the 401k and adding the money we have going to it now. Open Roth IRA's soon, probably November.

So our crap is coming together. It's a nice feeling. Just wish those in the family talked to each other. I wish my parents were open, but they are so closed down. Again...Tiring.

Off to find Spring. I need Spring. I need to get in the garden and play in the dirt and plant something and not think about crap! OH wait we are moving horse poop in about 3 weeks, can't get away from crap if I tried.

Is your crap in order? Your wills, and living trust, You NEED a living trust, so things don't go to probate and costs lots of money. Do you have enough for retirement? Do you have enough socked away if something happened today? If something happened today I wouldn't have to have a panic attack and that is a very nice feeling. What about you?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Herb Area

Do you see it? Do you see the vision? We started brick by brick, it took us hours to lay it out and figure it out. But I think we have it? If you don't see the vision you will as we go. Basically the pots will sit there, we will fill dirt around the pots. Top with a weed blocker and top with mulch or something else. So all the bricks have been bought. Now working on buying the pots. Math wise I won't have enough herbs. OH Darn right? But this will allow me to keep expanding and growing next year.

We won't know until all pots are bought if we can house 28-36 pots on each side.

The middle is double bricked because of this stump. Hubby has tried to burn it, then he axed it, yeah lets just bury it.

We have big plans for the front here, a really cool walk way. Don't know if it will be a project this year or not. Many things on our plate this spring.

Bella says HI! She's a bit ratty from winter. They all need to be hosed down, and hooves trimmed.

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Garden Beds

So I went out back the other day and said I NEED more beds. After some thinking, debating and moving brick we have three new beds. Well it's a start. So I took some photos and thought I would update things here.

Two new beds.

Different view.

Different views.

You see the plastic on the right? That is the bed we are re-doing.

Our third new bed. We have a pile to move first.

Another view

One of my herb areas.

Another view.

Future home of my herb area. Lots of work ahead of me.

I am hoping to install even more beds. But this might be it for this year as I have a lot in front of me. Getting the herb area up and going alone is huge thing. So we shall see?

PS: I added one new bed in the front yard. It shall be a basil bed. Well one of them. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

First Mortgage Goal HIT!

Well we have hit our first Mortgage Goal since the re-fi. We just skimmed under 125k at               124, 998.14. YEAH.

Next goal I want it to be at 100k. But lets be logical. 120,000 here we come.

When hubby gets his truck and if we yeah "if" we are still doing OK, the truck fund will start to pay down the house. So hopefully start cruising on the Mortgage sooner then later?

New Flash: Green House Exploded In House!

My house looks like a green house exploded in it. And honestly it's fine by me. After last year we decided we would start in the house, once they are going and weather depending they would move to the green house. Although not everything is going now. Just the tomatoes and onions and a few herbs. The onions are going insane which is lovely to see. OH the boys started their trays.

You can't read the tag, but it says Holy B. I'm growing a Holy Basil, And Emily along with a few others. So exciting around here.


These are bought don't get excited. I'm good, but not that good.

Watching them grow.

Our current outside project as weather allows. You see that grass pile? Well it's actually a bed. Yeah, year after year I dig it out, I plant, I dig out the plants, the grass regrows and I end with nothing. So we dug up all the grass. We have removed the wood. Hubby has plastic over it to "burn" it, don't know how anything will  burn in this weather? Hubby is off for a few days next week, our goal is to get all beds ready for a load of compost we have coming in at the end of March.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Obsessive Gardener?

So I'm reading a gardening blog last night. It's one I check out many times a week. Last nights post, was about being an Obsessive Gardener, well yes that is me. BUT, you can't call yourself one unless you have Hens & Chicks. I thought huh? really? huh?

Well I have had hens and chicks on the brain and thinking on them lately. But really they are not food so why use up garden space for them? But on the other hand I do like looking at them. So OK I cave. But now how do I get some? They are running 3 dollars each at Trader Joe's. And we all know I won't pay that! The nurseries I checked out on Thursday are running 3 dollars each as well. Thinking, Thinking, Thinking. DUH Seeds.

Went to look up my seed guy and another person popped up and before I know it for the price of two hens and chicks I have 212 seeds coming. Spent last night instead of sleeping, thinking about where I can place these in the garden as not to take up food space, but yet, be allowed to grow and spread. Figured out the perfect spot. So as I get the seeds and get them started (not all 212) and planting them I will let you all know.

I can now call myself an Obsessive Gardener. I can now die happy! Although way too busy to die right now. As Spring is creeping up on me. And we have a LOT to do.

As Spring is creeping up we try and take care of small projects as weather allows. One of the small projects was to install a bed in the green house. We bought the bricks yesterday and today we installed it. This was the before.

My Fruit Punch Mint is doing so very well over the winter. I will plant it later in the garden later this Spring.

The after, but not fully done. We are going to cut the braces and have them rest on the brick so we can even out the bricks. The bed is NOT as big as I was hoping. But it will hold lettuce over the winter. It will hold peppers this summer. The spaces will hold radishes, green onions, and herbs this next winter. In turn saving us about ten dollars a week. As we eat salads daily for lunch.

Obsessive Gardener? YEP.

Takes Straight Photos? NOPE

Friday, March 1, 2013


So got an email today...From my Mortgage company congratulating me on it being a year. I'm thinking yeah, and how much did you make off of me in one year? Appx. $5196. To me that is just unreal. On the other hand we have paid down the mortgage by $2157.

This month we will hit our first Mortgage goal of 125,000 even. So that will be nice. What we say around here is 125k never again. Meaning we won't ever be above 125k again. At this moment we have no plans to re-fi. Although if our Mortgage company calls we will be asking, because hey you can ask, might not get it, but it would be nice.

Right now we are saving to pay cash for hubby's newer truck. After that is bought we plan on paying down the house.We would like to see 100k soon. It's do-able in a two year time frame if we really bust our tails around here. We may re-fi at that time to get a lower monthly payment. Our biggest worry is something will happen and we can't make the big mortgage payment we have now. By reducing it and if something happens maybe we can make it? IDK we will make that call another day.

So our goals right now is to work hard to save for hubby's newer truck. Well paying a little bit down on the house. Well not touching the savings. I have put into place a new budget and it's so ever tight. I'll have a new Mortgage goal as soon as I make March's payment.

On the other hand we had a spike in our energy bill. So during a money class day, I explained to the kids the energy bill and how I really can't afford it. So we need to get tough on how much energy we are using. I need lights turned off, I need heaters off. We also try and have the house heater off for 1-2 hours a night, plus when we are in bed it's off. One month later, our bill was reduced by 60 dollars and it fell within budget. So I thanked the kids and told them to keep it up. Because if the bills fall within budget then I can afford food. The kids like to eat.

So onto our very tight budget. Hoping, and taking things day to day. I can't wait for the day we can just pay and pay and pay down the house.


Got Seeds?

I Do! Hundreds of packets of seeds. From Organic to Heirloom to Ed Hume. Love them all. What you don't see is about 20 different tomatoes and tons of herbs. Yesterday I stopped at Fred Meyer they have a 50% off coupon, I took in my list and filled my cart. My total was over 100 dollars. Between the coupon and discount my total was about 30 dollars. So I'm just about all set. I had to come home and order a few things I couldn't find. Like purple cabbage? Grape tomatoes. I will be trying sweet sorghum this year and got those seeds the other day. I will be trying about 4 different types of butternuts. I will be using the seeds I saved from last year along with new seeds to not only make sure I collected right, but my seeds grow. I want to do more seed saving this year.

I ordered all sorts of herbs over the winter I will be starting those soon. The onion seeds I started have been taking off and spouting all ready. I will be starting the shallot seeds when they show up.

Today I got all the brick I needed to put a bed in the green house. And soon hubby will have a few days off so we have lots to do. We have a garden and a yard to get ready. Exciting stuff happening around here.