Budget Update

photoI know this has nothing to do with our budget, but isn’t she so cute!  I got Miss C all bundled up to go outside and visit her daddy while he was shoveling snow.  We only stayed out for about 5 minutes, and she didn’t seem too impressed.

I just got caught up on our budget for the month of March and things look great!  Here are some highlights:

  • We opened a 529 plan for the cutie in the picture.  We started with a deposit of $115 and are having automatic deposits of $25 each month.  As time goes on, we will up the amount we deposit.
  • We paid an extra payment to our smallest student loan.  The regular payment is $50 a month, but we were able to pay $100.
  • We got a hospital bill for $495 from Miss C’s birth.  We had that in savings and were able to pay it outright.
  • Even though we had the bill, we were still able to put $600 into savings (between our regular income and my photography income).
  • I made $560.00 from my photography business this month!  My highest month ever!  With all photography income, I split it up: 25% into an account for taxes, 30% into our savings account, and 45% into an account for photography gear.
  • We got our tax refund and were able to complete our savings goal for my maternity leave savings account.
  • Even though I haven’t updated it, our car loan is officially under $10,000!  The four digits look so much more manageable than the five digits.

Looking at next month, things look pretty go as well.  We are on target to put another $325 into our savings account.  Hubs and I have discussed the next savings goal.  Our lease is up on June 1st, and we have started the house hunting process.  We have a down payment ready, but we are going to start saving for all of those moving costs: moving truck, inspection, etc.   Our goal is to save about $750 by the end of May.  I am going to start a new ING (now Captialone 360) subaccount for the moving goal.  (If I remember, I will do a post about our savings accounts and how they should work.)

We are also on track to pay another extra payment to the smallest student loan.  I am ready to get rid of some more debt!  It is kind of hard to have a savings goal at the same time as a debt-reduction goal.  I look at all the money we are putting in savings and wish I could put it towards debt.  I like the emergency cushion of savings, though, especially knowing that certain things in our life could die (my computer or my car).

The past month has been really good, and it is giving me a lot more momentum to keep moving in the direction that we are going.  Even though we are not debt free, knowing where we are headed definitely gives me a freeing feeling.  It’s quite exciting!

How are your savings or debt reduction goals going?  



Snow, Snow, Go Away

So, apparently this is what the 4th day of spring looks like:



This does not make for a happy Miss Jessie.  I am done with winter.  It really needs to be done with us!  I miss going outside and enjoying warmth.  I miss going on walks.  I miss getting in a warm vehicle, instead of having to warm my vehicle up.  This is terrible!  They are predicting a total of 4-7″ today and tonight.  How miserable!

Luckily this weather means that Hubs took a day off tomorrow.  I was a nervous wreck while he was driving home in this mess today.  There was a bad wreck on one of the highways that he takes home, and he got stuck in the traffic while it was getting cleaned up.  He did make it home safely, though.

Unfortunately my parents are driving back tomorrow from Illinois.  This means they will be driving through some of this.  Prayers for their safe travels are welcome.

Even with being stuck inside I am so far behind on EVERYTHING!  I did get up early and get errands done before this mess started.  Miss C and I went to get my oil changed at 8:30 this morning, then went to Office Depot to get some business supplies, then to the grocery store.  I was home by 10:00 and have been snug and warm inside ever since.  

Today was one of those days that I feel like I worked all day, but still have so much to do!  I got groceries put away, played with the baby, hung up curtains in her room, fixed a coat hook that had been broken for months now, did a few loads of laundry, did a load of dishes, packed away my breast pumping stuff *tear*, played with the babe more, and found a new RSS reader since Google Reader is going away.  

And here’s what I still have to do: 

  • Finish laundry
  • Update budget and sidebars
  • Pick up, dust, and vacuum living room
  • Purge more crap (I am so sick of stuff everywhere!)
  • Clean the upstairs bathroom

Hopefully being snowed in will help me accomplish those things.

How is the weather in your area?  Are you having a very productive weekend?

Slow Down!

That’s what I want to yell at time right now.  SLOW DOWN!  I look at Miss C and can’t believe she is going to be 5 months in a week!  My goodness, she is growing so fast!  

I am also at the end of my spring break, which went way to fast!  I spent part of the time out of town visiting my grandma, and then I had 3 photo shoots squished in to 2 days.  It’s been a busy spring break!  Yesterday was a pretty low key day, though.  Hubs and I did start a new chapter of our lives: we started house-hunting!  We have been checking websites occasionally since September and have a realtor who sends us new listings, but we had never gone out to look at them.  Yesterday we looked at 2 houses in a town nearby.  One of them we really liked.  It was newly renovated and had a lot of space.  Unfortunately the two main things we didn’t like about it were things we couldn’t change: the location and an electrical pole in the corner of the front yard.  The second house we saw wasn’t for us.  It was a split level (which is what we live in now, but would like to get out of), and the downstairs was super tiny.  Just not what we want.  We are looking for a home to stay in long term.  We have moved enough in our short marriage already, and hope to not have to do it after we find a house (but that is our plan, and that plan seems to often be different than God’s plan.)

Since it has been such a busy spring break, the house is a wreck!  I am talking I would be embarrassed for my family to come over it is so bad.  So that is my plan today and tomorrow: clean, clean, clean!  Here is my to-do list:

  • Do dishes and empty dishwasher
  • Menu plan and grocery shop
  • Complete all laundry: wash, dry, fold, put away (the last two steps always seem to be the hardest for me to complete)
  • Update budget (home and business)
  • Edit all photos from my 3 sessions
  • Vacuum all carpet
  • Scrub bathrooms
  • PURGE!
  • Clean every surface I find after picking everything up
  • Blog about my secret sister gift!  (I loved it!!)

Yeah… it’s quite a to-do list.  If you can think of a cleaning chore, then I am probably going to try and get it done.  I have lunch plans with some family tomorrow, so that cuts down on some of my time to get things done.  

Wish me luck!  In the meantime, here is a photo of my cutie who is just growing too fast!  She is always drooling or spitting, so I think this photo just captures her perfectly. 🙂



Do you have a lot to get done this weekend, or are you lucky enough to be able to take it easy?

Sunday Night Chit-Chat

I haven’t played along in a while, so here we go…


Here is a picture of Miss C in her new jumper.  This was the first time I put her in yesterday.  She wasn’t too sure about it, but today she started to get the hang of it and seemed to have a great time.

Now to link up with Carla and play along.  
What are you…

Reading?  Nothing.  I have a huge stack of magazines that I need to get through, but I don’t feel like I have much time for books these days.

Watching? We have been following along with Amazing Race, so we watched that this evening.  We have also gotten hooked on Duck Dynasty which is absolutely hilarious!  You can watch full episodes online at aetv.com.

Baking/Cooking? I made a crockpot roast this evening, along with mashed potatoes and gravy.  It was my first time to make a roast, and I thought it was delicious!  Lots of yummy leftovers too!

Happy you accomplished this week?  Went shopping!  I went to a consignment sale with my mom and got some great deals!  I also did some fun shopping with my sister yesterday… I started getting some things for my secret sister!  I plan to finish that shopping this coming week, and hopefully get it in the mail soon!

Looking forward to next week?  My mom, Miss C, and I are heading out west to visit my grandma!  We are leaving on Saturday, and I can’t wait!  Our spring break is early this year… the kids have their first days off on Thursday and Friday, while we have meetings and work days.  Our spring break is the week after this one.  I am usually so ready for spring break, but it is so early this year and we had off 4 days for snow, so it seems a little odd that it is already here.

Thankful for today?  I was looking around our living room this afternoon while Miss C slept.  The house is somewhat a mess, and we have quite a few toys in our living room (where we spend about 95% of our time).  I was looking at the mess and toys and felt so blessed to have Miss C in our lives.  She is just such a wonderful addition to our family, and I am head over heels in love with her.

BONUS QUESTION: Have you ever left the house in your pajamas?  Yes I have!  And I will leave the house in my pjs tomorrow!  We have a pajama day at school tomorrow, so I get to go to work in my comfy pajamas!  So happy about that!

Feel free to play and link up at Carla’s blog, or answer in the comments!  Have a great week!



Ding-Dong Strikes Again

If you have been following the tales of Ding-Dong Dog (AKA Bandit), you know he enjoys eating what he should not.  We have started kenneling him, which has been going well.  We have even been able to kennel him without a cone for a number of hours, and he has not scratched himself into oblivion!  This is great news!

Well, today I went shopping with my sister and daughter, so Bandit was kenneled while Rose was left to wander the house.  Everything seemed great when I came home.  No messes, no bloody dogs… we were good to go.  

I was upstairs (probably checking Facebook), and I noticed Bandit ran downstairs.  This is not unusual, so I didn’t think much of it.  He came up stairs and things still seemed a-okay. I finally got up to go do something in the kitchen and when I passed the dog bed, I noticed something lying next to him:


I knew immediately what it was, so of couse I went to find my phone to take a picture.  As soon as I got close with the phone, he immediately picked it up so I couldn’t take it from him.  If you can’t tell what it is… it’s a pacifier!

Now, Miss C does not use this pacifier.  In fact she has found something much better than a pacifier: her thumb.  I had actually thrown this pacifier away a couple days ago since we did not use it or need it.  I guess Bandit felt like he should still be the baby, so he took it upon himself to get the paci out of the trash and chew on it.  He was certain he had found the best chew toy ever.  

It is now in a trash can with a lid, so in theory, Ding-Dong will not be able to get to it.  This dog will just never give up.