Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our New Bundle of Joy Has Arrived!

Our sweet Valentine has arrived!  Three weeks ago my Valentine: due date baby made his grand entrance into the world. He is the sweetest little guy who brings me so much joy.  I spend time every day soaking up his sweet spirit.  I just can't get enough of this little guy.  Since he was due on Valentines Day my husband wanted to name him Valentino.  It wasn't exactly what I had in mind and didn't quite fit him, but I told him he could have it for his blog nickname!  So here he is my sweet Valentino  or Tino for short!!!

I hope to share his birth story some time in the near future.  In the mean time I am just loving up his Tiny-Tino Days!

I am slow to update the blog, due to some computer problems.  I am crossing my fingers that my laptop is not in complete ruins.  I backed up a good portion of my data a month ago, but since then I had the baby and I haven't backed up all the new baby and birth pictures are on my lonely laptop.  I pulled these pictures over from my Facebook page and I am so happy I have them just in case the others are gone :( I am hoping to make it into a computer shop tomorrow to see what damages are done and crossing my fingers and saying lots of prayers that I have not lost the data and the photos from the last month!  I have a court date next month and all my documents to prepare for court are saved on the hard drive, it makes me sick that all the work I have prepared might not be there!

Happy Baby Days!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pinning Pleasure: Vintage Trailers

In yesterday’s post I talked about how much I have been meandering on Pinterest.  It is a wonderful guilty pleasure. 

Sometimes I get stuck on pinning yummy foods I dream of enjoying again when I am not pregnant.

Sometimes I dream of where we can go on vacation! I think a trip to Hawaii is in order!

Sometimes I mill about gathering inspiration stories of those who have become debt-free

I thought it might be fun to link up some of the ideas I have found on Pinterest here on the blog.  Yet again another distraction to keep my mind off not feeling well and being ready to have a baby!

Today’s Feature:  My dream of finding a small vintage camper and turning it cute!! Here is my “BecauseI am quirky” Pinboard.  And five, fun finds I have been dreaming about.

[Note:  Not all of the links lead to the original post/pictures so I have just included the pinterest links. FYI and you can follow from there]

This is one of the first pictures I pinned.  I love how the camper is compact, it incorporated my favorite colors of yellow and blue.  

What a comfy warm space!! I love the quilt and the bunting is oh, so cute!

Another cute bed space.  The back splash, love!  I love it when they paint the interior white, it makes it feel fresh and clean and ready to relax!

I love the modern touches of the updated stove and fridge as well as the large clock, yet it still has the charm with the original shelves, cabinets and simplicity!

This camper is fun! It is fresh, airy and at the same time it is simple.  Love it! I don't think I could have white cushions with my kids around, but I love how it looks!

I would love to be able to hook a fun camper to the back of my van and be able to take a little vacation with the kids, the hubs or just solo for some R&R.

What are some of your guilty pinning pleasures?

Happy Pinning!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Working towards Debt-Freedom!! $28,837 Paid off so far!!!

A new year, a fresh start and a 100% debt free-dom update…..

As I have been sitting around stirring waiting for my baby to be ready to be born, I have spent a lot of time mulling in my own thoughts. Lots of time dreaming. As well as a lot of time pinning in Pinterest.  Let’s just say I have been a little stir crazy.  I have been trying to keep off my feet to prevent my contractions from swinging me into labor, so far it is working. 3 ½ weeks until my due date!!

One thing that is on my mind often is our family’s large goal of becoming 100% debt free. Initially when I shared this dream on the blog I thought I would be doing a lot more posts and updates.  Frankly, I have kept my blogging and all things that are not completely necessary in my day to day live life, on the back burner since my pregnancy began.  I just don’t have the energy, to go and do, like I would like to.  It doesn’t stop my mind from milling though.

Feeling a bit discouraged a few days ago about my debt-free dreams, I decided I needed a pick me up.  I needed to see where we are really at financially. I could keep track of the numbers on a monthly basis when it comes to paying down our debt, but yet again this is something that has been put on the back burner.  One thing that has not however is sticking to and maintaining our budget.  We have been on a strict budget since our move in April (and have been on a strict spending diet for the past year and a half when my husband lost his job).  We have tracked all of our spending and we are seeing the fruits of that, I just needed to see a bigger number, than our monthly reserve we are able to use to pay down debt.

Let me re-cap for you our debts and money back ground.  The hubs and I have been money savvy our whole marriage, and all of our debts lie in real estate.  Prior to getting married we both had already paid off all of our student loans and cars and neither of us carried any credit card debt.  I had a home (house #1) and a few months after tying the knot, we purchased our second home (house #2) in hopes that we might settle down and make this our home for long term where our family can grow and remain.  House #3 kind of fell into our laps and we purchased it a year ago.

Some girls blow money on clothes and jewelry, I like to put my pennies into real estate. It is a terrible addiction! I have a guilty pleasure for window shopping for the next best good deal, although buying another home does not align with our debt free vision just yet.

It wasn’t until about two and half years ago my vision on debt changed.  I have always thought that real estate was a good way to invest your money.  At the time we were upside down in both of our homes, the market bubble had burst and things were looking bleak. 

I started looking at what we were paying in interest and it seemed problematic to me. The amount of money we spend on interest each month is insane.  When you take a mortgage and add up the amount you spend on interest for the life of the loan, and only pay the minimum payment you often can double your original price you paid for the home by the time you reach the end of your loan, sometimes it is even greater than the original purchase price.  I knew this walking into purchasing both homes, but I didn’t let it sink in until then.

With the inspiration of listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts and reading The Total Money Makeover, I have found that there are better ways to invest and better places we can put our hard earned money, rather than it all going to the big banks in interest.

It was about this time that the hubs and I started dreaming up ways to pay off our homes and become 100% debt free. 

We have had some road blocks… major road blocks, like right when we got really serious and put all of our goals down on paper and decided to attack our debt, the hubs lost his job.  We spent nine months unemployed and eventually found a temp job that lasted a few months before he found his current job.  We did not let this get in our way. 

Some of our other hang ups were tenants that were either not paying their rent or otherwise breaking their leases.  During this time we have evicted three sets of tenets, yuck!  People if your rent, keep your end of the deal!!!

We have had a lot of things break and either need replacing or repair in all three homes: problems with sprinkler systems, dishwashers, garage doors, furnaces going out, a new toilet, ect…the list goes on!!! Collectively losses and repairs has cost us thousands of dollars, but we persevere and keep moving forward!

So we got smarter and changed even more in our lives. 

*We had faith, prayed and studied the scriptures for guidance.
*We tithed and donated what we could to others in need.
*We stopped spending.
*We had already eliminated all the extra’s and have never had cable or any subscription memberships, and froze our gym membership.
*We used simple/cheap cell phones without data plans or texting.
*We grew a garden and used our food storage.
*We sold stuff, lots of stuff!  Garage sales (click here for my top tentips!), craigslist and even have taken things to the auction.
*We lived with in a mile and a half of several drug stores, thrift stores and grocery stores and when I felt the need to shop, often time we walked to save on gas.
*Date nights consisted of throwing the kids in the stroller and walking to one of the fast food places a mile or so from our house and grabbing an ice cream cone.
*We had support of family and friends through many prayers and even some monetary help.

*Our most drastic change was to move out of our home (house#2).  When we bought it we overspent and we found it really wasn’t as affordable as we had planned and made money tighter than we would liked.

Our solution for moving was to rent it out until the market recovered and then we would sell it.  We temporarily moved into my in my late grandparents home for four months (paying a very minimal/next to nothing rent) and then eventually moved into our tiny home(house #3) where we currently live.

$28,837 Paid Off!!

So here is the nitty-gritty…. Between all three homes when we started our 100% debt free journey 20 months ago our debts were (or were soon to be, with the purchase of house #3) $328,000.  Wowser that is a big number!!!

After adding up what we currently owe on our mortgages we now owe: $299,163.  
In 20 months we have paid off $28,837!!  Even with 9 months unemployment!! Seems like a small chunk when it comes to what we owe, but I am grateful we are moving forward. 

We are a single income family and the hubs makes less than $50,000 a year and so our goal of getting it all paid off seems forever away, but I am determined and we are driven to get it done.  The greatest thing is patience!!  Boise, where we live took a big real estate hit with the recession.  Things are recovering, we will be able to recover our losses some day! Again, patience!!!

Here is what we continue to do:

*We have faith, pray and study the scriptures for guidance.
*We tithe and donate what we can to others in need.
*We live thrifty, with our vision in mind!
*Strict budget, if it is not a need.  We don’t buy it! (usually!) If we know we are going to need a repair (like the new tires I got this winter) or have a want (vacation) we set aside money each month and save in a separate account and pay cash after we have saved up.
*All of our “extra” money from rents, and our reserve goes straight towards our debt on house #1.
*We have scaled back and live in a very small space 782 square feet, for a soon to be five person family!
*We limit our driving to save on gas.
*We shop at thrift stores for household and clothing needs.
*We shop sales for groceries, use coupons and meal plan.
*We still have too much stuff, so we are still selling stuff!
*If we come across “extra” money; tax returns, bonuses, gifts, ect. This money is not spent, it either goes toward the debt or goes into a special savings account for the down payment of our future home.

Here is our plan of attack….

*By the end of 2014 we will have sold house #2.  Just selling this house will eliminate 50-70% of our debt.  Our current renters would like to buy the house, but if they have not closed the deal by November, it will be going back on the market and we will get this baby sold!!! 

*Our original plan was to stay in tiny home (house #3) for two years, it turns out we might move out of here sooner than planned.  We don’t have a solid plan yet, but it may involve moving back into house #1 which is larger and would give us more room.  We also would like to sell house #1 in a couple years and moving there will help us avoid being hit hard with taxes at the time of sale.

When we do sell house #1, we can be debt free at this point.  We are hoping that the sale of this home will give us enough revenue to have a hefty down payment for our next future “dream home” and along with what we have been saving, we hope to be able to pay off our future modest “dream home” ASAP.

*We are also seeking a new employment for the hubs!  He is worth a lot more than we are currently making. We are open to re-location at the end of this tax season and if you have any leads for a CPA in your area shoot me an email!! mrs.domestica at yahoo .com!

So there you have it! Our lengthy update of our debt free journey. 

What are some of the things you have done to simplify your life, or to eliminate debt in your life?  Feel free to post any links in the comments sections so I can gather more ideas to move forward!!

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Debt Elimination!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

36 Week Update: Sweet Cheeks

Two weeks ago I approached the 34 week mark.  The morning prior to 34 weeks I woke up with some contractions.  I contracted all day. I was feeling pretty worn out and I didn’t want to time my contractions in fear that I might really be in labor.  Eventually I started timing my contractions and they were coming as close at two minutes apart but averaging more at four minutes apart.  Some were quite painful, but most were just really uncomfortable. Not only was all of the cramping wearing me out, it was giving my usually constipated body, diarrhea.  (Sorry if this is TMI, we are talking childbirth here!)

I finally called my husband and told him I didn’t know what to do, because I am not ready to have this baby yet.  Our last child was born at 34 weeks and this go round I am not ready for this baby to come.  Prepared or not… he convinced me that I need to call the doctor’s office and see if I need to come in.  I think I already knew their answer.  In my worn out mind, if I didn’t call, I wouldn’t have to go in. If I did call they were going to tell me to go into labor and delivery.  Sure enough that is what they wanted me to do.

My dad was able to drive me to the hospital and watch my kids. He didn’t want me to start going into active labor on the freeway while driving myself to the hospital.   With my mom’s third child she nearly had him in the car and did make it to the hospital but almost had my brother in the elevator.  I was grateful for his kind gesture.

As I gathered a few items up with the hopes I really wouldn’t need them for an actual hospital stay, my mind quickly became consumed and the contractions stopped.  I am not sure if it was the packing or the fact that Bean got into my mascara and began painting his face, my dresser and some items in the living room and then came to me and pulled the mascara wand on me as it were a sword.  Goodness kid, don’t you know I am trying to get out of the house to have a baby here! 

I couldn’t believe that they actually stopped.  It was almost 4pm and I had been contracting since 7:30am.  None in the car ride to the hospital. None as I walked into Labor and Delivery.  None as I was hooked up on monitors.  My labor was false labor and had stopped.  I think that I was psyching myself out with worrying about another pre-mature baby, putting my body into a tailspin.  For what ever reason, I am glad it all stopped.  They monitored me for about a half hour/forty five minutes, and told me I could go home.  I was so worn out, I just wanted to stay and take a nap or get some rest, but instead my husband came and picked me up and I went home and crashed.

The following weekend I pulled together all the loose ends I have been thinking about and got out baby clothes and linens and washed and put them away.  I was worried I would have a baby and not have anything ready as soon as I got home with my new baby.  We are now ready and this baby can come when it is big enough and ready to come!

This week at my doctor’s appointment my doctor said I am measuring “large” so she wanted me to get an ultrasound to check things out.  It turns out our little guy is measuring a week and a half sooner than my due date of February 14th. His estimated weight is 6lbs 9oz, we are on our way to having a big baby!  If he continues to grow at the same rate and I go all the way to my due date I could easily have a 9+lb baby.

In my family this is a common weight for babies to be born.  My sister’s and one of my sister-in-laws have had several 9+lb babies.  This will be a first for me!  I still have hope of delivering early, and now I hope I really do.  Maybe all the contractions I have been having tonight are a good omen!

Lil’Miss weighed in at 7lbs 3oz and Lil’Bean weighed in at 4lbs 15oz.  So this baby could almost weigh twice as much as my last child!  Both of my previous labors were relatively quick and when it came time to push, I delivered both kids in just a couple pushes.  I would love to keep the same track record, I have a feeling I won’t be so lucky this go round!

I am so disconnected from my body when I am pregnant.  I feel a little bit like it is an out of body experience, a little like I have been taken over by an alien.  It alters not only how I feel physically, but how I feel mentally and socially as well. 

I am just very far from feeling normal and it is hard to realize what is going on with in my body, it sounds crazy and I suppose that is a little how I feel, a bit crazy.  Going to see doctor and hearing the baby’s heartbeat and getting to have multiple ultrasounds though this pregnancy helps me to re-connect with reality and what is going on within my body.

Having a sneak peak of our baby boy, who we will see in just a few weeks or sooner is reassuring, there will be an end to this pregnancy!  In most of his ultrasounds he has been hiding his face with his hands.  The tech mentioned he might be hard to swaddle if this is his usual position.  I am looking forward to finding out.  Another thing the tech mentioned is that he has got some cheeks!  I am far enough along that we had a difficult time getting a clear picture, but he does sure have some sweet cheeks!

Looking forward to kissing those little sweet cheeks!

Happily another week closer to my due date!!

Do you have kids?  How much did your kids weigh when they were born?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013!! What a Year!!

Grandma and Grandpa's place in Caldwell, Idaho
Our family has had quite the journey. We started 2013 living in my late grandparent's home as we helped prepare to get it ready to sell, and to help with our finances as we were recovering from a long bout of unemployment. We were blessed by starting the year with a temp job and later landed a full time job in April, the same month we moved back to Boise into our Tiny home as we ventured one step closer to our 100% debt free journey.

We have spent a good portion of the year fixing up our little home and a good six months of the year as I have been enduring the pregnancy of our third child (As I have mentioned before...I do not make a very pleasant pregnant lady).  

Here is a re-cap of some of the fun things I have blogged about:

A vintage valentine I found of my Grandma's


February we celebrated Valentines by making my favorite sugar cookie recipe, makes my mouth water just thinking about them!

I also found 30-40 year old seeds for sprouting in my grandparent's basement.  I experimented to see if they would still sprout. Go check it out!

March we held a huge yard sale and I shared my top ten tips for having a successful garage sale. Over the years I have become a yard sale pro and it has been a blessing through our unemployment!

Tiny Home master bedroom before.

Tiny Home master bedroom after with fresh paint and re-finished floors!

April was a busy month where I played catch up on my blog, did some tiny home remodeling, and we moved out of my grandparents home and into Tiny Home!

This is tiny home, where we live.

This is Teeny-Tiny Home next door, where my dad lives.

My thrifty way of saving $100/month! I converted this old camp trailer to our storage trailer, click below for details.
Finished my thrifty storage solution aka Opal Alice the trailer!

My milk lover is pretty upset he dumped the whole gallon and has nothing now to drink!
Had a spilt milk incident with Bean on our newly re-finished hardwood floors 

more yummmm!

Shared my favorite Strawberry Rhubarb Jam recipe

July/August: Life on the blog began to slow down.  I was well into my first months of pregnancy and I did what I could to just survive!  I did manage to make it to a couple family reunions and we finished our thrifty fence!

Need to make a lot of food! Try out this recipe!

I also hosted Tomato Week where I shared the easiest way to peel a tomato, how to do freezer tomato sauce and my recipe for Sloppy Joes for a giant crowd.  Click on the link above for those details!

September/October: I didn't blog much because I still was feeling horrible with morning sickness, and just trying to survive.  All the while we were re-modeling the outside of our home with new paint, new roof, new windows and new porch posts. I still want to do catch up and get a full post on here with all sorts of fun details. In September Lil'Miss started preschool and loves it!

Lil'Miss on her first day of preschool.

She ran to greet me when I came to pick her up, "Mom, I am so happy you came back!"
Guess she was worried that I wouldn't come get her!
Tiny Home: Pre-paint, windows, roof, porch posts.
Tiny Home with a little face lift!!
Here are the kids in their Halloween costumes.

We kept things simple by picking costumes from our dress up box: Parrot and the Princess!

November: Celebrated Bean's 3rd Birthday and he started the developmental preschool at our local elementary school.
Happy 3rd Birthday Bean!!

His candy construction cake was a hit with his cousins!

Bean's first day of school!  Such a little guy to be going to such a big school!
The hubs took a solo trip to Arizona to be with family and I stayed home and rested!  

I also made it to my 34th week of pregnancy

2013 was quite the year!  I look forward to all of the new adventure that 2014 will bring.

I am thinking some more big changes on the home front, 
but I don't know what those quite look like yet!

Happy New Year!  Thanks for stopping by! 

What are you looking forward to in 2014??