Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How I learned to LOVE to clean!

I don't know about the rest of the mom's that work outside the home but this mom was a mess when it came to keeping up with cleaning our home.  

I cleaned the bathroom because it was resembling a gas station bathroom, did laundry because we were running out of clothes and who washes the windows or cleans the blinds (not this mom!)

I was in constant crisis management mode when it came to cleaning house and I HATED every minute of it.

I entered into being a work from home mom using the same cleaning techniques that I used when I worked outside the home for 18 years.  We had a blast, don't get me wrong, but I was feeling like I was not fulfilling my role of being home.  I dreamed of taking care of our home and loving every minute of it, I just didn't know what to do to get there and had many years of practice the other direction.

So...I did what any other blog addict does, I cruised blogger and got me some ideas!  I came up with a cleaning schedule...who would of thunk it, clean the bathrooms because it is Monday instead of when they resemble the corner gas station!  

I also searched into my heart to figure out what would help me want to clean and LOVE it.  First of all, I figured out I needed it to be easy and not give me an asthma attack.  First thing I did was to remove toxic cleaners from my house.  That was a big ah ha moment to understand why I was so exhausted after cleaning.  It's amazing what bleach and ammonia can do to the old lungs.  I found products that did a great job, didn't waste resources and cost less than other green cleaners on the market.  SCORE!

The next thing I needed to do was to make it easy to grab my cleaning supplies so when I have 10 minutes it wasn't a big production to get it all gathered up.

My Organizing Utility Tote has every thing I need, to clean anywhere in the house.  When I find a few minutes between running errands, folding a load of laundry or hanging out with my kiddos I can grab my tote and get a little something done.  It is always loaded with micro fiber cleaning clothes, an assortment of scrub brushes, gloves (absolutely not necessary with the cleaning products I use unless I'm avoiding a chipped nail), and all of my non toxic cleaning products - I can clean my entire house from top to bottom with this little tote!

Last week it hit me, I have learned to LOVE to clean.  I can clean anytime I find a few minutes and I find a few of those every day.  My house stays cleaner all the time, we are no longer a crisis management crew, except when the kids decide to carry everything they own to the living room.  And I have clean blinds and windows!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Gaining control...with the envelope

I have several items on the list to change in 2013.  One of those items is to get control of our budget and work toward being debt free.  While I'm not a Financial Peace University student or graduate, I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey and this year is the year we incorporate more of his system in our financial life.  The first step for me is turning to good old CASH.  I know, American's really don't do cash these days, we like to whip out our cards to pay for things.  Paying cash is so archaic but at the same time so many, including me, tend to spend more when I whip out the card to pay for everything.

We are BIG users of our debit cards.  And that makes for a lot of receipts and a lot of entries in the register.  I embraced the idea of the cash envelopes because I got tired of looking for receipts in my wallet, or forgetting that I had made a purchase (or five) until my husband was balancing the checkbook, sorry honey!

If you haven't heard of the cash envelope, it is part of the budgeting system that Dave teaches.  Basically, you are taking items in your budget that you would normally pay for with a card, either debit or credit, and removing the card factor and paying by cash making it easier to stick to your budget.  The idea is to take those items in your budget such as groceries, gas, entertainment, clothing, latte's, etc. and creating an envelope with the budgeted amount that you will spend in the envelope for each category and when the money is gone it's gone.  I know that I tend to spend more when I am paying by card, even if it is my debit card.  A few weeks ago I was out grocery shopping, I had brought my list and I was sticking to it and then it happened, I found a few things that I wanted to get and then a few more and my list and budget were thrown out the door.  By the time I got up to the cash register I had exceeded my budget by more than $30, rather than stick to the list and budget I didn't pay any attention to it I just whipped out the debit card and paid the bill.  With the cash in hand I will be more conscious of my purchase and stick to my budget.

The only downside to the cash envelopes for me is loosing those little things in my purse, after all they are often white and look like many other pieces of paper in a mom's purse.  I did some research about systems that have worked for other moms, some like to make their own cute envelopes out of scrap booking paper, others don't mind the white envelopes and others like cute envelope systems made like a wallet.  For me I need something that will be easily identified in my purse, durable to hold up to all the items that get shoved in by my children, and I wanted something not so blah.  I know, we are talking about saving money and spending wisely and I'm worried about fashion.  So I ruled out the scrap book paper envelopes worried they wouldn't be durable enough, the white envelope was definitely out too.  I found a lot of cute ideas, and then I made my final selection...

The Coupon Clutch!

It is the perfect size for my purse, has five interior pockets, five colored tabs to label the cash spending categories and it came in the perfect color to match my wallet and other accessories.

I'm excited to see how the cash method works for my family budget.  I know it will make checkbook balancing less stressful for my sweet hubby.

Send me a message if you need help picking a functional and fashionable item for your cash envelope.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

WOW, time has flown by...again

Looking at the blog it has been nearly a year since I have posted.  So much has happened in the last year.  My heart had made some big decisions and my body and mind needed to catch up the last time I had posted.  I, being the human that I am, kept telling God if you do ______ I will leave my job and stay home to care for my family.  I could really feel that God was calling me home to care for my family and to care for me.  The last few years at my job had really paid a toll on my mind, spirit and health.  Of course, God doesn't really like for us to tell Him what to do.  He instead led me to believe that He had this all taken care of and for me to trust Him so I waited for further instruction.

Fast forward a few months...my hubby was offered a job that he couldn't refuse and ... it came with health insurance.  One of the big factors of my job was the health insurance.  So that was the clear sign that it was time for me to leave my job of twelve, yep you got it 12, years.  I had been there the longest of any job, the majority of my adult life.  Many people thought I was crazy to leave a good gov't job after so long.  My health and my family were paying a heavy price for that good job, I was having foot problems and could hardly use my left hand (thank goodness I am right handed but it did make for interesting times opening jars).  I woke up the day after my hubby decided to take the job (he declined the job at first) I woke up with full use of my left hand, nothing like getting confirmation from God that He is taking care of everything.  On June 20th I left my office at the court house for the last time and became a work from home mom!

The last six months have been an adjustment for all of us.  Some of them have been great, spending the summer hanging out with my kids picking strawberries/cherries, canning and taking my kids to school and picking them up at the end of the day.  Others have been an adjustment, learning to live on one income, while we have saved so much money by me being at home by not paying for daycare, eating out and convenience meals that use to fill our life because of my full days working outside the home.  I use to arrive home from work after 6 pm to then have to think about what should be for dinner, I know I should have planned better for it and many moms who work outside the home do so much better with it than I did but for some reason I didn't make it work.  So often I would be pulling through a drive up window grabbing dinner, running home to grab the family to eat somewhere or pulling something out of the freezer or pantry that was loaded with preservatives.  I have found my love of cooking during these last 6 months.  I love cooking meals for my family that are fresh and preservative free.  Now each afternoon after picking M and E up from school we head home to do homework and work on dinner.  Dinner is served in our house normally by 5pm and we are finished with dishes done by 6pm.  It still amazes me that we are done with our evening meal before I would have gotten home from work.

I am so ready for the adventure of 2013.  I am ready to embrace and find the love of cleaning and organization again.  We have been living the last six plus years in a state of getting by, doing what has to be done and letting everything else skate by.  I am so excited to have a home that is healthy so my family can be healthy.  It's been amazing with the small changes we have made over six months how much healthier we all are.  The kids have been fever and stomach flu free!  My hubby has had a few cold bugs but the rest of us have been able to avoid it.  In the past we were always fighting one string of illnesses after another.  I have been doing so much research on healthy toxin free living and can't wait to share it with you.

Ok, enough of the story of all that was missed during this past year.  Looking forward to being a better blogger and sharing 2013.  Happy New Year!