Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Financial update

Well, as the first quarter of the year rolls to a close, I'm reassessing how well we have been doing as a family with our financial goals.

At the beginning of the year, we decided to start paying off some things. I took over the majority of the bills and have been making a big effort to get things in control.

Here is where we stand at the end of the first three months...

We have paid off our Lowes credit card (and then quickly had to purchase a refrigerator since ours went out a month after paying it off). So essentially, we paid off our Lowes card twice.

We paid off our Best Buy credit card.

We paid off our furniture card from when our bed broke last year.

We paid off our Dell computer card from when our computer crashed last year and we got another one for me for school.

This month, we paid off a large medical bill from my surgery last year.

So all in all, we have paid off 5 bills totaling roughly $6,500 in 3 months. That is hugely freeing! I am really happy about the positive steps we are making.

In addition, we made a goal to be actively adding to our kids' tuition accounts each paycheck, to add to an emergency savings account each paycheck, and to add to my tuition account each paycheck. We have done all three.

The emergency fund got accessed already when Jansen got sick last week and we had to take him to Urgent Care, so we don't have as much in there as I would have liked. I was hoping to have tuition for the summer saved in that account by the time the Spring semester ends in May. I still have a month left to save and I need about another $150 to cover the cost. We have to pay for my nursing school out of pocket each semester so I have to keep saving! BUT, all of those accounts have more money in them than when we began in January, so that is another positive.

We still have many bills to pay off. Next we are working on paying off Caleb's braces. I have 2 more credit cards and Josh has 2 more. We have one bank loan, two vehicles, and a travel trailer to pay off. Baby steps!

My goal for the end of June is to have Caleb's braces paid off, my 2 credit cards paid off, and have double the amount in our emergency fund and my tuition fund.

My goal for the end of September is have one of Josh's cards paid off, my Fall tuition paid in full, and $1,000 in the emergency fund.

By the end of the year, I hope to have Josh's last credit card paid off, my final tuition payment for Spring on lock, another savings account opened in addition to our emergency fund, and then we can turn our attention to our loan, vehicles, and camper.

Financial independence is coming our way!

Pool noodle TNT sticks (Minecraft Party)

Two red pool noodles...

Electrical tape...

Printed TNT labels...

Two sets of pool noodle TNT sticks to decorate the mantle for the Minecraft party.

Who is excited????

Monday, March 30, 2015

Life-sized Creeper

Jansen's 10th birthday is coming up in May and we will be having a Minecraft themed sleepover. We will be decorating the whole house with Creepers, dynamite, Steve's, pick axes and anything else Minecraft related.

I wanted to create a life sized Creeper to stand on our front porch holding some balloons, so my parents brought over some boxes and I wrapped them with dollar store green wrapping paper.

I cut out the creeper face using construction paper and taped it to the top box.

When I went to throw away the empty wrapping paper tube, I realized that it was the perfect size to cut into thirds and create some TNT.

I wrapped each piece in leftover crepe paper from Caleb's birthday last week. I found some electrical tape in the garage, wrapped the tubes together, and printed out TNT on some paper to tape on that as well.

On the day of the party, the creeper will stand on the porch with balloons attached to the TNT. That's one less thing I have to do later and Jansen LOVES it!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Vintage Nintendo party decor for my preteen!

The child is officially 12!

Every year I always say. "I can't believe it!" But I really can't believe it!!

He spent the night before at my parents house because I had to be at clinical at the hospital so early in the morning. So the night before I baked him a quick chocolate cake and did a little bit of decorating. I hoped he would be surprised when he came home from school.

He definitely was. I made it home just before him and he was so excited to see some game-themed decorations for his birthday.

I can't believe I was able to stay awake until after 10pm to get it all done. Waking up at 4:30 am for clinical is for the birds!

That night he chose to eat at River Point so he could have fried pickles. He even ate a crawfish!!!

Then we came back to enjoy some cake and ice cream. He was really happy to open his new red headphones since he has been complaining since Christmas that his earbuds have been hurting him.

I hope his day was special! I love this 12 year old stinker!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A 12 year old's trip to Dave and Buster's

Instead of having a party for Caleb this year, we decided to keep it small and take him, his brother, and his cousin, Nate to Dave and Buster's for lunch and some games.

We had a great time!

This was really the best thing for Caleb because honestly, he doesn't have many friends, and he gets really amped up at birthday parties. Dave and Buster's was packed so it was totally ok for him to run around and make crazy noises like he does when he gets really overwhelmed.

The food there was ok...the service, well, it was pretty poor. They were short handed and it took us 2 hours to eat. If we hadn't already promised this for Caleb's birthday, then we would have left about 45 minutes into it.

The highlight was eating the Nintendo cupcakes....a big hit with the kids.

But the kids had a great time. All three of the boys hit a jackpot on different games and we ended up with almost 16,000 tickets split three ways.

Nate got a remote control Batman and a Domo Batman character. Jansen chose a set of Nerf walkie talkies and a Minecraft character. And in true Caleb fashion, he chose to spend all his tickets on Pokémon cards. Whatever....it's his birthday, he can buy what he wants :)

We grabbed some Whataburger on the way home, the kids played in the rain, and we all just enjoyed some time together. It was low key, low prep, and Caleb had fun.

I can't believe that my baby...this cute little baby face....is almost 12!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Vintage Nintendo Cupcakes

I'm taking a break from being neck deep in patient education plans, care plans, research papers, med discussion preparation, and respiratory studying to bring you a little family joy.

My big boy will be 12 next week on Thursday. This year, instead of having a party, we decided to take him, his brother, and his cousin to Dave and Buster's for the day to eat, play, and celebrate. His cousin is then going to spend the night with us.

I'm super, super, super exhausted from nursing school, clinicals, and all of the above work, so I bought his cupcakes this year. I really fought about it in my head and then just realized....I physically cannot put a ton of energy into it this year. I'm trying.

So we are taking these cupcakes with us to Dave and Buster's tomorrow to celebrate.

They are super cute!

Then, on his actual birthday next week, he will be staying at my parents' house. He stays there two nights a week because I have to be at the hospital so early in the morning. YUCKAROO!!! I love to decorate and have the boys wake up to something special in the mornings, but they will be at Nana and Pops' house. So I am going to decorate the kitchen a bit the night before and he can come home to a birthday dinner after school instead of a birthday breakfast.

Vintage Nintendo rules!!!!! Gamers fo life!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day morning

My children are definitely the gold at the end of the rainbow!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Man, I love these faces!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Minecraft gift bags

Jansen's 10th birthday is in May and this year he asked for a Minecraft themed sleepover.

Ok, so I can do that. But because I am in nursing school, I have to plan ahead...big time.

So, this week, our local dollar store was having a sale on gift bags. I grabbed 6 lime green bags, drew a creeper face on each with a black sharpie and called it a day.

These will be filled with candy and some sort of Minecraft themed trinkets. I'm not really sure yet. But plans for this party are swirling in my head. I'm actually looking forward to it!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Break getaway to San Antonio

Here we are on day 7 of Spring Break and it has rained the entire time! Yes it's annoying, but on the up-side, I have slept a lot, read a couple of books for fun, watched several movies, caught up on all my DVR'd programs, and we even got away for a quick weekend trip with the family.

We weren't able to spend a lot of time outside due to all the rain, but we still had a good time.

On Friday, we checked in at the Holiday Inn on the Riverwalk with the kiddos and immediately got ready for lunch. Our family plans vacations around food. Just sayin'.

We walked the Riverwalk for a bit before it started to rain and then headed back for naps in the hotel room. That night we went to the Magic Time Machine for dinner and that was pretty cool.

The kids drank potions...

we saw crazy characters...

got balloon animals...

and just spent time together.

The next day we headed to the Culinary Institute of America for my youngest, Jansen. He was so excited!!!!

Then it really started raining, so we spent the rest of the afternoon at Dave and Busters playing games.

That evening Josh's parents met us at our hotel and we went for dinner at The Palm.

I was just happy to be wearing normal clothes, perfume, and makeup.

I love The Palm. We will get our pictures on the wall someday for sure.

The next morning, we slept in because it was still raining, and then hit up Lulu's for lunch. We grabbed my parents one of their famous 3 pound cinnamon rolls, and began the long rainy drive home.

Honestly, this weather is starting to get to me. I need some sunshine...and watch it come out this weekend, now that school is about to start again.