We're still in the middle of moving, but the blog is now found at everythingisntnormal.com

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Links I Loved Today

I've been on Pinterest a lot lately. I know, it's such a time waster. But I'm not just pinning, I'm READING every single link BEFORE I pin it. And I'm focusing my search on finance related blogs. The more you read the more you know. Because I want to educate myself as opposed to perpetually procrastinating.

I want to link a few pages that I fell in love with during my "research" on Pinterest.

She Who Makes Bills Binder
1. This lady follows Dave Ramsey's plan also and she created this really cool binder that she uses for bills. I love the look and the organization that goes into it. I may use this system at some point. She Who Makes.

- She also links from her post to a website where you can get tons of printable calendars and other template forms as well as coloring pages for those of you who need a way to occupy the kiddos while you're busy with your budgeting! PrintFree.

2. Some other cool binder organization tutorials and examples can be found on Dimplicity. 

3. I also, after clicking through several links, found this really adorable mail organizer tutorial. After reading through it and being slightly disappointed that it requires sewing (my machine got displaced with the rest of all our other belongings in the last move,) I closed the link. Then I quickly formulated a way I'd be able to make it without sewing and I restored the closed tab. I'll share with you all my no sew method (note to self: don't throw away those empty cereal boxes - gotta make a fully recycled organizer!) once I get mine made but for now, you can check out this mail organizer over at Noodlehead.

4.  Oooh my gosh these are so freaking cute.
They're patient forms for pretend doctor playing for kids. I'm obsessed with this right now. How on earth could I not include this!? Miss Poppins: Doctor Pretend forms. 

5. Would totally be the link to Bevin's post about their debt pay-off progress but she won't be posting it until Monday so I'll link it then or you can just keep an eye out on Adventures Along the Fritzy Waters.

Anywaaayyy. I'm pretty sure I need to finish up an essay or some other school project right now. Yay being a mom/professional/student all at once.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Made SOAP!

Recently a friend of mine wrote this blog post about how they recently completed Baby Step 1 of the Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom. I was instantly proud of her and also a little envious. I want to be debt free. I want to stop being fearful of whether or not I'll be able to make my car payment. I don't want to HAVE a car payment. I want to spend that $400 a month on me and my kids! I want to go on vacation damnit!

So over the last 4-5 days, as long as we're both on Facebook, we probably never shut up. I've learned so much from her and from Dave Ramsey. I've listened to his show every day for the last four days. I can hardly wait until the one this afternoon. I have printed the budget worksheets from the Dave Ramsey Website and I placed them in paper protection sleeves and I've worked out my budget several times over to put myself in good place to become "Gazelle Intense" and save, save, save. It's a hard time because I'm about to move into an apartment and there's deposits and furniture to pay for. But I budgeted for it, so guess what!? We're all good. I should finish the first baby step before Christmas.

Now, along with that, Bevin has been sharing her soap recipes on her website this week. After she posted her Laundry Soap Recipe I made my way out shopping and I spent $13.75 on supplies between K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and Lowes. (Thanks Lowes for being the ONLY place out of those three that sells 5-gallon buckets with lids!) Tonight I made up some laundry soap and not only does it smell GREAT in my kitchen but I've got some soap ready to put in bottles tomorrow!

Thanks Bevin for being a great coach and Dave Ramsey for being so inspirational!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Why I'll Never Be a Stay At Home Mom Again

Don’t get me wrong when I say this, but I’m pretty sure I never want to be a stay at home mom again. I mean, I really love my children and I definitely enjoy the days I do get to spend the entire thing at home with them, but my reasons extend beyond the actual stay at home part of being a stay at home mom.

But hey, first let me name the ways being a stay at home mom kind of stinks in itself. First of all, it stinks, literally. All day long the scent of poop, pee and under arms that need another layer of deodorizer just builds. It’s repetitive. I’m pretty sure knocking down towers of blocks and then begging mommy to build them up again for you has to get old for a kid at some point. No, it doesn’t? Okay then, hand me the blue block again. Also, what is it about Dora the Explorer that is really that entertaining? Sure, I love the bilingual nature of the show and my kids really do learn from it. And yes, it’s definitely better than Spongebob Squarepants. But her voice annoys the daylights out of me after I’ve seen the same episode for the fourth time this week.
And probably not last, but this list could go on forever, why on earth do children not ever want what you fix them for lunch. Yesterday it was “Mommy, I don’t want peah buh-er and jeuwy sanishes, I want hock docks and taytos.” And todays it’s “Mommy, I don’t want hock docks and taytos, can we pwetty pwease have peah buh-er and jeuwy sanishes?”

“No you pwetty pwease may not.” And then twenty minutes later I’m cleaning up the empty plates from their baked potatoes and hot dogs and realizing their picky brains don’t generally translate into picky tastes and I wonder why I have to go through this lunch time banter every day. Every. Single. Day.
But in the end, it’s really not the experience of spending every waking moment bathed in sweat and drool and wondering when I last bathed with water was that makes me sure I’ll never become a stay at home mom again. It has nothing to do with them and everything to do with financial independence and what happened when my husband left me.

The technical term is “displaced homemaker.” It’s the definition of any woman who up until the recent time was married and didn’t work outside the home for a living. It defines the woman who is recently separated or divorced and now has to rely upon her own hard work to make a life for herself and potentially her offspring. Although I didn’t learn the term until about 9 months after my separation, it’s something that would’ve been applied to me during that time after he left.

Having spent my entire adult life up until that time being a mom to my children and not working except for once a month or so with a direct selling business I didn’t have a lot of working experience. That job with direct selling happened to be excellent for my resume and I got hired after for a data entry position at a really well known bank by a temp agency in Des Moines. What was unlucky for me was that I didn’t have any personal savings for the divorce, the moving, my own place and quite simply the “starting over.” About two months before Jon left I had actually started taking courses at a community college in Omaha. I knew our relationship was on a downward track for a little while and between trying to fix my marriage and caring for our children I really wanted to have a career. Not with the intent of any financial independence, simply the intent to live out my career goals and dreams. When he moved out he stopped watching the kids during the days I had classes and I couldn’t find childcare quickly enough so I had to drop out.

I found myself penniless with a new lump of student loan debt and the sadness of a failed marriage, a broken family, a failed semester and the realization that unless I did something relatively fast to get myself out of the hole I was about to slide into, I would have to start at square 0 (Mom & Dad’s in Northern Minnesota) as opposed to square 1 (dependent on income that was going to end in the near and uncertain future.) And I really wanted square 1.

I moved to Des Moines, with the help of a friend and my half of the tax return my husband agreed to split with me, and accepted the position with the temp agency. Square 2. I made it. I still had to deal with a divorce. I still had to find permanent child care. I still had to find success in my personal career goals and I still had to feel emotional joy again. But I could provide for my babies, barely, and I had my own place.

All this happened about a year and a half ago. Right now I’m in a pretty different place than I was then, in every way imaginable. And instead of working 40 hours a week to make ends meet I’m working even harder 30 hours a week at a lower wage to make ends meet. But I’m doing to things that make me believe I haven’t really taken a step back at all, but possibly a few forward. And I’m in school again, with really ambitious goals again. And I get 2-3 full days at home with my kids which make me think, for just a second, how much I would love to just be a stay at home mom again.

But for every second I think about it, there’s a reasonable reassuring voice inside my head that reminds me why I won’t even if I have the opportunity. As much as I know my future marriage will be better than my first, as much as I know I’ll always nurture my relationship into a long lasting one, I will never forget how scary it was to be a “displaced homemaker,” and I could never allow that to happen to me again. Not to mention, and I love you kids, but being an editor at a publishing company and a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist sounds a lot cooler than watching you knock down that tower I worked so hard to build for you.

A Leaf

Hello Blog Reader Readers Reader. I originally wrote this in June after Nick and I went on a lovely hike on High Trestle Trail here in Iowa. I'm finally posting some finished drafts and doing a bit of writing. I hope you like this one, it's called; "A Leaf."

A Leaf
By Shelby Michalek

A leaf
A leaf up there
Up there, not falling down

Attached to that branch
That branch of that tree

You right here
Here beside me

We walk along
Along this path of green

I love you
Love your smile

Beard upon your face
Your face, I want to kiss it

Leaf above my head
My head will hurt if I write another verse.

Poem that I wrote
I wrote this poem for you.