Monday, February 15, 2010

A good love story

2 years ago for Valentine's Day, Ward got me the book I Love You, Ronnie, which is a collection of love letters written to Nancy Reagan, from Ronald Reagan. It was the most romantic present he's even gotten me (besides the engagement ring) and I really loved it. I re-read it again this weekend in celebration of Valentine's Day and highly recommend it. What a thoughtful gift!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Our new "envelope" on system

On Dave Ramsey's plan, he recommends you move to a "cash only" system of buying. At first I didn't see the point, but now I totally get it. It really "hurts" to spend cash because you can see how quickly it goes away. When you use a debit card, it's much easier to "nickel and dime" yourself straight in the hole.

The envelopes weren't really working out because they were getting torn and dirty, so I found these little containers at Hobby Lobby for $3.98.

Cute, huh?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Ice Cream

Once the first flake of snow hit the ground this week, the boys started asking for Snow Ice Cream. They had never had it before, but had heard people talking about it and were intrigued. They jumped up and down, and pulled on my robe and BEGGED me to go outside and get some fresh snow and make them their special I did.

The recipe was simple: A gallon of snow, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of sugar, and some vanilla. I couldn't get it to become "creamy" just by stirring, so I put it in my stand-up mixer on high for several minutes until it became nice and creamy. It looked great and it tasted great. We needed to sit it in the freezer for a bit to "harden up" and then we promised they could have some.

Well, would you believe once it was ready, they were too afraid to try it???? Ward ate a few bites and so did I, but the boys haven't touched it.

Now we have a HUGE bowl of ice cream in the freezer and no takers. What gives? :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Trading furniture

We really need some new diningroom furniture for our every day eating. Our formal diningroom furniture (which hardly ever gets used but is too fancy for our breakfast nook) looks great, but our every day furniture is really on it's last leg. The suite is 30-35 years old and the chairs are very wobbly. We know it's probably time to replace it, but we aren't spending any money since we're on the Dave Ramsey plan and it's not an "emergency".

Well, today, my mom called and asked (for the 10th time) if she could buy the couch that's in our formal livingroom. The reason I have told her "no" repeatedly is because we don't have anything else to put in that room and it would look barren. Well, while talking to her today, I realized I have a big chair and ottoman just taking up space in our master bedroom that could take the place of the couch. I was just going to take the $100 she offered for the couch and put it towards our debt pay-off plan, but I remembered she had an extra dining suite she wasn't using so I offered a trade and she accepted!

We'll be getting our "new" dining suite this weekend!!!

Congratulations New Orleans Saints!

I became a fan of the Saints 2 years ago when I started playing Fantasy Football with my husband and friends. I drafted Drew Brees as my quarterback and because I watched so many of their games, I naturally became a fan of the team. I was so proud to see them make their way through their season the way they did and I couldn't believe it when they won last night!

My husband is a Colts fan (Peyton is his fantasy quarterback) and he was really upset at the loss. I told him I had a vision of Drew Brees crying after they won the game, so I felt confident that was a prediction of a Saints win. And I was right! Shortly before he took the stage last night he was seen holding his new baby son and crying.

Love those saints!!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Introducing...Dave Ramsey!

So, after we filed our taxes and found out we were getting $2,000 LESS than we had anticipated (and the money had already been spent), we were pretty upset and started really thinking about our finances. Ward went to bed in a bad mood and I wanted to try to fix things.

In our married life, we've had our share of financial ups and downs, like most everyone we know. We started out at age 24 with 2 car payments, a house payment, a student loan payment, and some credit card from me. Over time, we paid off the credit cards and vowed never to use them again. Well, when we wanted to remodel our home, we decided to take out a lien against some land we owned to the tune of $22k, which became another debt. Eventually, we moved to a bigger house, paid off the lien when we sold the land and went into debt AGAIN to remodel the second house. Then, we sold what was left of our land and moved to an even BIGGER house. Things were going great, but the credit card debt started creeping up again slowly. We were buying whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it. We ended up having to take out an HEL to pay off the second round of credit card debt in 2007. We swore we'd never use the credit card again. Well, then Ward decided it was time to change jobs, and this new job didn't have tuition reimbursement and he was so close to finishing his master's degree. We ended up having to put his last three classes and books on the credit card. Then the pipes busted outside, our computer died, our TV broke, and we had to put up a privacy fence, etc. And here we are again, $$ on the credit cards and now only able to pay off some of it because our tax refund was smaller than we thought.

I prayed and prayed and thought a lot about what to do and was staring at my bookshelf in my office when my eyes were drawn to a book we'd had for months, but never read...Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I knew a little bit about Dave, but not much. I knew he was against debt completely and thought it was important to have a $1k emergency fund. So I pulled the book out and read it cover to cover that night and then immediately got on the computer and started working out a plan for us.

On his "debt snowball" plan, we will have our emergency fund in place this week, and will have our credit card paid off in a few months. We'll have both of our cars paid off in 2 years. And when all of that is done, I will be calling his show to scream "Weeeeeeee're Debbbbbbbbbt Freeeeeeeeeeee!"

I encourage you all to read this book and take control of your finances if they have gotten out of control. We're only 4 days into this and I already feel great!

We have filed our taxes!

I hate tax season. My mother is an accountant and I can remember growing up that right after Christmas we basically didn't see her for 4 months. She would always manage to make it to our basketball games and dance performances, but she would go straight back to work after that, and she worked every Saturday. We couldn't plan anything from Jan to April because it was "tax season". She still has the same schedule now and she's 54.

Each year, Ward and I do our taxes with Taxcut online software. It's very easy, but we're always surprised what we're getting back. Luckily we still get refunds every year! :) This year we thought we were getting back a LOT more than we actually got because we misunderstand the college tax credit. So, we ended up being pretty upset since we had already spent that money in our minds. But, at least they're filed and we don't have to worry about it again for another year.

Next year I am vowing not to spend my refund 6 months before I get it so I can actually go shopping after we get the check instead of using it pay off something I bought so long ago I can't remember what it was!!!

Chicken Wing

I love that Wally and Beaver are to the age where they understand board games and can play fairly well. Beaver will be 5 in two weeks, so he can play quite a few games, but he gets devastated if he doesn't win and he doesn't mind to win even if he knows he only won because we all "helped" him get there. Wally isn't like this. He's very competitive and wants to win on his on accord, but he definitely wants to win every game. I love see the wheels in his mind turning and he's really started to develop some strategies for our family game nights.

We've recently started playing "Chicken Wing", which is a dominoes game played with the double 15 set. You start with 20 dominoes each, and you draw until someone gets the double 15. That domino is placed in the center of the table (we play on the tile floor) and that person will go first. We spend the next few minutes getting our dominoes in "order" by making a train (starting with the double 15) and then seeing how many dominoes that won't play on our leg of the chicken. This makes the game go much faster because you don't have to spend time digging through you pile looking for the next domino to play. Each person has their own leg of the chicken they play on, but there's also a "chicken wing" leg that comes out diagonally from the center that can be played on by anyone at any time. The key is run out of dominoes first. If you get to the point where you cannot play on your own leg or on the chicken wing, you must draw. If you still can't play after you have drawn, you become "open" and the other players are allowed to play on your leg. They can continue to play on your leg until you play on your own leg and become "closed" again. Once someone goes "out" (when they run out of dominoes) the other players must count the points (dots on the dominoes) they are stuck with. It's like golf, the lowest score wins. But the game doesn't end here! After the double 15 round is over, you play again but this time you start with the double 14, and so on. So, this game is 16 rounds long (counting the double zero). We only play about 3 rounds a night because that's all the kids can, it usually takes almost a week to finish the game.

We're having so much fun with this! :)