She Works Hard For The Money

A few years ago, when I started this blog, I wrote a post about money, and how our family does a budget and whatnot.  I know you are dying to hear how we are doing now, so this post is an update!

The first part of the update I’m going to talk about is what all we have paid off.  To date, all of our debt is paid off.  Say Whaaaaaa?  No, not our mortgage, because people like to bring that up, but we have a plan to pay off our house so we have separated that from what we consider debt, so back off!  Ahem.  Anyway, both of our cars are paid off, which feels amazing, and we have moved on to saving more money in our emergency fund.  We’ve saved over 8,000 dollars for our emergency fund so far!  Not only that, but along the way we paid cash for our IVF procedure, along with our doula and midwife totaling over 10,000 dollars.  We’ve had emergencies with our heating and air-conditioning, our roof, and a few other events that we were able to take care of without credit cards without borrowing money, and without going back into debt.

How about our bi-weekly budget meetings?  Yep, we still have them before every pay-day.  Even when one of us was away, the other would still do the budget and discuss any major changes needed.  We still start off the same way, tithing 10 percent.  I was recently asked if we tithed from our gross or net income.  We have chosen to tithe from our net income, but we also tithe any other time we receive money, including our tax return.  Our funds may have changed a bit, and our amounts to each of those funds, but over all we continue to do everything the same.  We pay God first, then ourselves, then the bills and so forth.  We still have our pocket-money set aside to spend as we wish.  And we make adjustments as needed.  Our income will be decreasing significantly in the near future, so we have been slowly making adjustments towards that so we don’t go into shock.  We also have our cash funds in envelopes, and try to pay for things with cash as much as possible.

With little changes here and there, things have run rather smoothly financially for our family.  At least for my husband and I.  My oldest daughter is still learning.  I’m hoping we’ve at least instilled some good money values for her.:)

As far as the class we took, Financial Peace University, we are on baby step number 3!  WAHOO!!!  If you’re not familiar with the program, you can check it out here on Dave Ramsey’s website.  Again, I don’t get any commissions for referring anyone, I just have faith that the program will have a positive impact on any person or family who puts its principles into practice.

So how about you?  Do you have anything you would like to share about finding your way out of a financial rut?  I would love to hear your stories below!

Thank you as always for reading today!

Jenn

p.s.  If you haven’t yet, please ceck out my facebook page here!

 

The Thunder Rolls

Hi folks! Remember me? It’s Jenn, the author of this blog, and well, the person who has had a pretty tough season in her life over the past couple of years. When I started this blog, I wanted to be able to share with you all what was go on in my life and all that stuff I said in my first ever blog post http://jennsjourneythroughlife.com.  My intentions did not match up with the reality which was that I had been so completely overwhelmed that even the thought of taking a minute or two to write a blog post added even more anxiety to the already mixed up mix.  It has been a roller coaster ride, the kind that goes upside down and then does the whole thing backward.  Normally that would be thrilling for me, but recently it was discovered that roller coasters are yet another migraine trigger for me!  Yes, please do feel sorry for me because I love them so.  Sniff sniff.

What is a girl to do when she feels like she’s lost touch with her audience, and maybe even lost some of her motivation?  She reaches out to them, and digs a little deeper to reignite the passion she has for writing.  She takes the few minutes she can hold her eyelids open after her toddler falls asleep to reintroduce herself to her blog readers and followers.  Lastly, she smiles as she realizes that she is again inspired to share what’s going on in her life again, and this folks, is what she is going to do!

Thanks for reading, I’ve missed you!

Jenn   

“Look at You! You Have a Baby! In a Bar…”

As I sit here snuggling with my 3 and ½ month old sleeping baby girl, I thought I would take a few minutes to share with you all some of my pregnancy journey.  It wasn’t easy.  Here are some of the comparisons between my first and second.

The nausea was the first thing I noticed that seemed to be more extreme then with my first daughter.  I never did throw up, and I was constantly hungry, so it was a little bazaar.  It was hard for me to focus at work.  (I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes.)  I remember being nauseated with my first, but having no appetite and I did throw up once but I had a migraine as well.  Speaking of migraines, I had 2 with my first pregnancy, and 5 with my second.

My belly decided to pop out pretty early, which I hear can be common with your second child. Apparently even if it’s been about 18 years since I was pregnant with my first.  I did carry long in my belly again though, so that was similar.  My lovely stretch marks appeared in the same places too. I don’t mind them though.

I had the same numb/tingling/stabbing pain in my lower right rib cage, though this time around was more severe.  Of course the doctors looked at me like I was crazy for doing research on what it might be, and told me to take Tylenol. No thank you.

One thing that was very different was the back pain.  It was pretty awful, and constant.  I did go to a chiropractor a couple times, but I should have paid to see a better one.  Work wasn’t any help, and I spend most of my days hiding the pain from my face and then coming home to veg on my couch because all of my energy had been spent trying to put on a happy face all day.  My doctors were no help, wanting me to take muscle relaxers.  Umm, did they miss the part where I said I wanted to avoid taking any medication?  They did finally refer me to physical therapy, but I only got to go once a week.  My loving husband also said we could budget for me to get a prenatal massage every 2 weeks, which helped me deal a little more.  I miss those…

Now the labor and delivery were certainly similar, but this time definitely had some big differences.  This time, I hired a doula and a midwife, and gave birth at home, in my living room, in water.  I cannot recommend getting a doula enough by the way, they are wonderful! So there was of course pain, but nothing scary.  (I hate how Hollywood portrays births like they are some kind of tragic trauma for women. ) I was in labor for about the same amount of time, giving birth only 3 minutes earlier than my first, but this time, my husband caught the baby,  we delayed the cord being clamped, and she was brought directly to me for skin to skin.  There was no taking her away to get cleaned, though she really didn’t need it, and no crying.  The lights were out, candles lit, and the fireplace was glowing.  I remember being pretty loud as well, calling to the Lord for His help, and to the baby to come out.  I didn’t feel ashamed either.  I remember being told to be quiet with my first.

What I have learned from this pregnancy is that if we have another child, I will certainly not be working during the pregnancy, I will see the good chiropractor, I will get those prenatal massages regularly, I will hire a doula and midwife, and have a lactation consultant with me at birth as well.  I will invest in a birthing tub with a better heater too!  That water was a little chilly…

That’s all I can think of right now.  It’s about time for my little squish to wake up and be fed.

Thank you for reading today!!

 

Jenn

 

Ps… If you are on facebook, would you consider liking my page?

Could Have Missed the Pain, But I’d a Had to Miss, The Dance…

Hi there folks!! I know it has been a long while, but things have been a changin around here.  For those of you who don’t know me personally, I gave birth to a baby girl in December, and had a bit of a rough pregnancy. I haven’t had much free time to speak of, so I haven’t given my blog any priority  Today, both my girls are napping and I thought, why not spend a few minutes and reach out to my loyal readers to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them, or given up on sharing part of my journey through life.

I won’t write much this time, but I am excited to share some of my experiences and things I have learned over the last several months.  I think the first thing on the agenda will be to talk about my pregnancy, and how it was so different compared to 18 years ago with my first.  It may take a couple of weeks to write, but I really think it might be something that some of you can relate to and maybe even learn from.

Thank you again for being patient with me while I find a little normalcy in my life again, even if that ‘normal’ has a bit of chaos stirred in.:)

Until next time….

Jenn

ps… Check out my facebook page for more things I’m interested in/ learning about!

Hey Good Lookin, What Cha Got Cookin?

I tried something new a couple weeks ago.  I was a little nervous about how everything might have worked out, but in the end, it was a success.  What did I do?  I planned ahead and even prepared meals ahead of time!!!! Now this may sound like it’s no big deal, and maybe for you it isn’t, but for me it is quite an accomplishment!!

I have wanted to do this for a while now, in an effort to try and help myself out during the week.  By the time I get home from work, all I want to do is lie down and put my swollen feet up.  There is such a small window between the time I get home and bed time that the thought of preparing a meal is furthest from my mind.  So a couple weekends ago I decided to try the whole “make-ahead meals” thing out.

I started by finding a few recipes that I could use similar ingredients in, and that were able to be assembled ahead of time and then cooked later.  I made my grocery list, and headed out to the store on a Saturday to get everything together.  On Sunday, I started to put everything together.

The first recipe I made was for Chicken Bacon Chowder.  I decided to start with this one because it needed to be cooked in a crock pot.  So I could have it cooking all day while I prepped the other two recipes.  Then that afternoon when it was about done cooking, I could divide it into glass bowls to have individual servings ready to go for the next couple of days.  I decided that would also be dinner for Sunday night.

The next recipe was for Spinach Artichoke Chicken.  I love spinach artichoke dip, so I was sure this would be one super delicious meal!  I even made the mayo from scratch!  The instructions called to bake the chicken part way, then add the spinach artichoke topping and bake some more.  What I did was bake the chicken most of the way through, let it cool, then added the topping and stuck it in the fridge to be completed a few days later.

The third and final dish was some Cheese and Veggie Cakes.  If you know me, you know that I do not like veggies very much, but this called for lots of cheese and bacon so I thought it would help cover the taste of the non-fruits.  I used zucchini and carrots for my veggies.  This one took some extra prep because you have to drain the liquid out of the veggies for several hours before hand.  In this case I prepped the veggies and stuck them in the fridge with salt to have them drain overnight, then I just mixed the rest of the ingredients, minus the eggs, in a separate bowl so all I would need to do is combine the three and cook when I was ready later on in the week.  . Now when it finally came down to cooking these, I had a little trouble.  Since I don’t have a griddle pan – yet- I decided to try cooking these in my cast iron skillet.  That did not work out as well as I had hoped it would.  Thankfully, not all was lost; I only tried a few out so I had plenty of mixture left over to cook the rest in the oven.

Despite not having a griddle, the third recipe ended up being the most successful.  Both my husband and my daughter loved the veggie cakes!!  SCORE!!!  My daughter actually finished a whole one in one sitting, and she normally eats more healthful foods like a bird.  So I have been told that should be made again.  My husband enjoyed the first 2 recipes as well of course, but he generally likes anything I cook for him.:)

I have learned that planning and prepping ahead isn’t as daunting a task as I had thought it was, and it made cooking throughout the week a breeze.  I’m sure that if I could make a habit of this, it would really help out towards the end of this pregnancy and especially after baby Camp is born!

If you are interested in checking out these recipes, here are the links to my Pinterest:

Chicken Bacon Chowder

Spinach Artichoke Chicken

Cheese and Veggie Cakes

Have you ever tried preparing ahead-of-time meals?  What was your experience?  Any tips and/or tricks to share?  Please comment below, or on my facebook page.

Thank you very much for reading!!

Jenn

What Not to do When Your Friend Jenn is Expecting

Hello my loyal readers!!!  Thank you so much for sticking around these last couple months!!  I haven’t been missing, but in case your haven’t heard, my husband and I are expecting a baby.  :)  As I’m slowly sliding out of the first trimester, and starting to get my appetite and energy back, I should finally be able to post at least somewhat more regularly.  I cannot make any promises, however I really miss writing so I am hopeful that my energy allows it.

With this new chapter beginning in our lives, I thought I would write about some things that really annoy me now that I’m pregnant.  Actually, they are things that annoy me anyway, but now that I am pregnant and people will want to ask questions and drop annoying clichés, I thought it would be fun for me to give people in my life a heads up.  So here we go…

First and foremost, I am not ‘preggers’ or ‘preggo’.  I don’t know who came up with these two words, but I do not like them.  I don’t think they are cute, and if you say those words to me, I will most definitely roll my eyes at you and let you know that I do not like to be called those words.

The second thing, which is just as annoying as the first, is when people ask me if I want a boy or a girl.  If you think about it, it really opens a can of worms later on.  If I said I wanted a girl, and then had a boy, I would then get the comments about how maybe someday I’ll get my girl or some other silly thing like that.  I would never want my child to feel unwanted, or hear about how I really wished they were the opposite sex.  I just think that’s mean.  So please don’t ask.  I am happy to be blessed with a baby. Period.

Third on the list of things not to do is to not touch my belly, unless you are given permission by me.  I don’t know why being pregnant automatically makes other people think they have permission to touch me in any way, but it does not.  Even if I know you.  It’s still my body, so please do not put your hands on it without an invitation.  I will not be held responsible for the actions that may follow.

Fourth on the list, really goes along with number 2, asking if I am excited.  I really don’t understand why people ask this question.  It’s a very exciting time, of course, how could it not be?  And if I were to answer ‘no’, what would my future child think of me if they found out that their mom wasn’t excited about having them?

Number five has to do with telling me your stories.  I will ask for advice or opinions when I want them.  Please do not go on and on about how this or that happened to you.  I’m not comparing my pregnancy to anyone else’s, and neither should you.  I might compare it to my first pregnancy, but that makes sense because it involved me and my body.

The next one has to do with knowledge.  I am normally a fairly open person; however there are some things I will keep private.  If this offends, or hurts you, please get over it quickly and move on.  This would include family and friends.  No one is entitled to any information about our pregnancy; anything anyone knows is a result of my husband and me agreeing to share that information.  That being said, I will be sharing some information about what’s going on, just not everything.

Now a note about buying gifts:  Understanding that it’s been 17 years since I’ve had a baby, I would love to have a baby shower!!  I understand that some people just like to buy things they like, or think we would need, but in my case, I encourage anyone who would like to give us a gift, please make sure we are either registered for it, or we have told you personally that it is something we would use.  I am grateful for all of the generosity we have been shown so far, and being a giver myself, I understand wanting to give all I can to someone.  Because I care so deeply for all of my friends and family, I do not want anyone to waste their money on something that I’m not going to use.  I am pretty darn picky about what items we would like for our little one.

That about sums up the big stuff.  I’m not writing any of this to be mean, so please don’t anyone who knows me go taking any of this personally, because that would be silly.

What about you?  Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to what people say or do when you’re pregnant?  Please share below or on my facebook page.

Thank you for reading!

Jenn

p.s. As I mentioned in my first blog post, negative comments will not be tolerated.  If any of you have any negative feedback, I, again, ask you to send me a private message.  Thank you!!

I don’t brush my teeth with toothpaste.

As my life has been steaming full speed ahead, though I haven’t finished my post I was planning to post last weekend (sorry!), I did want to answer some questions about what I use to take care of my whiter than pearly whites.

During my detoxifying my body process, I learned a lot about how fluoride is actually not that great for you.  This blog post I read by Cheeseslave gives some insight as to why.  So, after some more research of my own, I ditched the traditional toothpaste, mouthwash and floss I had grown accustom to using for so many years, and started using some better stuff.  Some of the websites I visited to do some dental research are the Weston A Price website, and the Oral Wellness website.  There are a few more articles and studies I have read as well, but those 2 websites are good places to begin.

So what the heck do I use?

First up, Toothpowder and Gum Serum!! Here are the products I currently use, though I have also made my own remineralizing tooth powder that I alternate between.

Next, I have recently made a remineralizing mouthwash, minus all the mint, because I’m not a mint person.  This is kept in the fridge, and I think that gives me the ‘freshness’ I might be missing from mint.

What about floss?  I simply use one that I buy from Whole Foods that has Tea Tree oil throughout, instead of fluoride.

But wait! That’s not all!!

I also do oil pulling!!! What in the Sam hill is oil pulling you ask? Well, it’s basically swishing coconut oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes, and then spitting it out. I have heard of people using other oils, but I prefer coconut.  Why would I do this?  Because I like the taste, of course! Ok, not really, though its not too bad.  There has been a lot of buzz about oil pulling recently, and I’m willing to bet you could find all you ever wanted to know about it’s benefits by doing a Mypoints/Google/Bing search like me, but here are a couple places I recommend going first. Check out OhLardy’s post hereand Grassfed Mama’s post here.  It is controversial, of course, because who would want to believe that something so simple and inexpensive could be good for you and improve your health when you could be spending more money on other products and medicines.  Oh well.  Ultimately, the choice is yours.  If you do try this oil pulling thing out, I do recommend starting with a small amount at first.

Anywho, that about sums up my mouth care plan.

Thank you for reading!!

Jenn

ps Please head on over to my Facebook page, and give it a like if you wouldn’t mind.  I appreciate the support!:)

pps I do not receive compensation for referring you guys to any of these links by the way… but I might some day.  I would let you know if I started using affiliate links.  I think it’s actually a pretty good idea because it doesn’t cost you guys anything. Stay tuned…