Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Let's Talk Technology : The New iPad

Apple has announced a 128GB iPad. It is set to be released February 5.

I remember when 30GB was a big deal. That was the top of the line MP3 player. It was also in black and white. This was my first MP3 player, which tragically died when I was roughly 14 years old. I dropped it on cement and it never worked again (this was before Otterboxes - or cases for that matter). I remember opening it at Christmas and was puzzled, asking my parents "uhhh what is this?!?" MP3 players didn't really get too popular until a few years later. Isn't it just beautiful?

It's crazy how fast technology changes. We can't even imagine what our kids will have to listen to music on. Who knows, it could be a small flash drive-like device that can hold 1-2 TB of music (yes, I know people who actually have that much).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Babies, Kids, & An Uncertain Future

This morning, Jon asked me when we should start trying to have kids. I'm okay with waiting until my Master's program is done - so maybe 2-3 years? My job offers a short term leave, so I can take a maternity leave when I'll need it.

After thinking about it, I don't know if I want to bring kids into this world yet. It's so awful - filled with hate, discrimination, greed, etc. I've considered the idea of home schooling, but that may not be an option (unless we can find someone else to teach them). At the same time, most of the home schooled kids I've come across have a hard time making friends as adults.

Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to have kids soon, but its seriously terrifying to see what the world is like right now. I keep hoping maybe it will die down in a few years, but it only seems to be getting worse. A lot of our friends are having kids, and we're definitely feeling the pressure. Jon is 5.5 years older than me too, so his age is also a concern. I don't want our kids in high school with a 65 year old dad. Okay, exaggerating a bit, but you understand what I mean.

I guess the best thing Jon and I can do as parents is to raise them in a Christ loving home - teach them what's right and what's wrong.


In other news, I've been feeling really overwhelmed lately. Yesterday, after church, I just broke down. I came home and was hysterically crying for an hour or so. I hate when I have episodes like this, because Jon feels so helpless. I've explained to him how I feel when I'm depressed, or my anxiety is really high. It's just hard for him to understand because he's never been there.

Today is a little better, because I took some of my anxiety medicine this morning (and I'm about to take another). Just trying to hang in there. Praying nonstop that all of this ends soon. A lot is going on, and it's really been getting to me lately. Every day, I just want to put on my pajamas and crawl into bed after work. If the TV was in our bedroom, you best believe I'd be in there every night. I'm just so worn...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Did It!! - Our First Home

This weekend, we bought a house. A new house. What!?!

Here is a mock-up of what it will look like (except we opted to have brick on it).


On Friday evening, my husband and I went to talk to a Realtor  We talked with the bank a few weeks ago, so we decided it was time to start looking at the options that are available. We set up an appointment with another Realtor on Saturday to weigh our options and see who would be best for what we were looking for. After seeing 3 houses on Saturday, the Realtor took us over to a neighborhood to discuss NEW HOME options. We had no idea we could even afford a NEW home. Really?

After talking numbers with the Realtor and the builder of the neighborhood, we decided it would be best if we just built a house. We went home to sleep on it & talk to both of our parents about it. My parents even offered to come down and make sure it all sounds good. We decided building was definitely the option we needed to go with. We even were able to add some upgrades to fit our needs - nicer cabinets with upgraded stainless steel appliances + a double sink and glass door shower in the master bath. Another awesome part of the deal - we didn't need a down payment because we can do it through a USDA loan. That was something that was holding us back, because the bank said we would need $4,500+ for a down payment..which we definitely didn't have. Come on, we're newlyweds!

Us with our lot and it's "SOLD" sign!
The weirdest thing about all of this? At church the last few weeks, we have been in a series about how important it is to tithe and give back to God first. Just last week, we decided to give 10% to God first, so we edited our budget a bit and worked around that. Now? We found the house of our dreams and then some. Unbelievable how good God is sometimes. He knows what he's doing, and he definitely has a plan.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Week 1: Financial Planning

Week 1 update: so far so good!

I've only had one accidental card swipe & another unexpected expense (Mia's new Potty Patch).

I've been using the envelope system and only using cash. When I had an accidental card swipe at the store, it made me realize how often I just automatically reach for the plastic. It really was an eye opener for me. I used to do it without thinking, it seems.

The grocery budget of $160 for 2 weeks...I honestly wasn't sure we could do it. However, we went to Aldi this weekend and got a TON of food for $50. We bought what we couldn't find at Wal-mart. We have ~$25 left over to use on groceries next week if we  need it. I doubt we'll need it though, because we got 2 weeks worth of food already (thank you meal planning for making shopping easier).

My husband and I went and talked with the bank about getting a mortgage. For a $130K house, we'll need roughly $4,500 for a down payment. Ouch. He asked how much we saved up and I just laughed...nothing. We spent our wedding money on the honeymoon and our new bed (which was needed badly). Luckily, I've started this new budgeting and we should be there in no time! We may have to extend our lease on our apartment for a few extra months, but that's okay. :)

We are meeting with a Realtor on Friday. We just want to get an idea of what's out there in our price range around this area.

I made a slight change to our budget as well. First $100 from my paycheck is going to God. I'm happy we went to church on Sunday, because it was an excellent sermon. Just the swift kick in the butt I've needed.

Deep breaths. This budgeting thing isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Meal Binder - January / Financial Binder

Okay, guys. Here's the first of my "binder posts."

I decided to make a meal planning binder for this year. I'm going to do one binder at a time for each month. I did January in December, and this month I will be working on February, etc. This is supposed to help with grocery shopping and our budgeting. I know the first few months will be rough, but I'm confident it will be a piece of cake later on.

Here is the menu for dinners in January. Before finalizing it, I had my husband take a look to see if everything on there looked good to him. After that, I typed out all of the recipes. I printed them out and put them into clear sheets in the binder. That way, food and spills can't mess up the recipes. Once I start accumulating more recipes, I'm going to put them into a large binder and sort them. This will make it easier to find the recipes later.

I'm also planning on making a shopping list for each week to put into the binder. I also need to learn to buy ONLY what is on the grocery list, and nothing else.


As for the financial binder, yeahhhh. I get really overwhelmed every time I start trying to lay out pages for that.

So far, I have my paycheck split into the following categories:

  • Rent - $320.00
  • Groceries - $160.00
  • Debt (CC, Loans) - $200.00
  • Gas - $100.00
  • Spending Money - $50.00
  • Laundry - $20.00
  • Weight Watchers - $20.00
  • Organization Materials - $20.00
  • Remaining (Into Savings/Vacation Fund)
It's a start, right? I also have bills laid out on a calendar with the dates they are due. I will be trying the envelope system, which was developed by Dave Ramsey.

We haven't worked on budgeting my husband's paycheck yet, but hopefully that will be finished up this weekend. I know this is going to take a few months to perfect, so I'm going to try to be patient with it. I'm excited to see our financial status in a few months!


This weekend, we are putting away the Christmas decorations - since the 12 days of Christmas ends on the 6th. It makes me sad, but it means Spring and warmth are on the way! Here's a Christmas photo, because I'm just not ready to let it go yet.

We are also taking both animals to get their shots updated and talking to our bank about getting approved for a mortgage (eek!). The Bengals are playing the Texans in the playoffs on Saturday, too. Busy weekend ahead! Hope you all have a good one.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Organizing My Life: One Room At A Time

Starting with the master closet.

I've always been in love with organizing, but I start in one room and jump to the next. This means nothing ever gets finished. This year, I'm organizing our place one room at a time. I'm starting with the master closet. My husband said he didn't care if I organized his side, so I'm starting with my side . . then I'll slowly move over to his. However, when I'm finished with his side, I'm sure I'll still find clothes on the ground. ;)

My mother-in-law gave me a shoe organizer + a $40 gift card to Wal-Mart for Christmas. I used the gift card to buy 2 storage boxes (I plan on buying more in the future) and a new laundry hamper/organizer. I took the wheels off of our hamper, because we don't have wood floors . . so no need for them at the moment. I used the boxes to store sweaters. Once I get more boxes, I plan on using them to store scarves and tights/leggings.

Today I went to The Container Store during my lunch break to get some hangers to test out. I only bought one bundle because I'd like to try them out for a bit before committing to them. Nothing annoys me more than clothes falling off hangers. The cool thing about the pants/skirt hangers - they connect together to save closet space! More closet space for Ashleigh is always a good thing.

With no classes, I needed to find something to do with my time. When I have nothing to do, that lets my mind wander and I start getting depressed. I'm excited to start getting everything organized. Yesterday, my hubby and I cleaned out the closet in the study. It was FULL of unneeded boxes (I am a box hoarder). Now we have room for the Christmas tree and all of the other full storage boxes that are taking up our coat closet.

Organizing is expensive. I've realized that. However, if I just get a few things a week, I realized it doesn't hurt as much financially. I'm going to be starting the envelope system once I get my next paycheck. I'm thinking I need to get an envelope made for the organization budget.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Name Is Ashleigh, & I Am Addicted To Food

Might was well start the new year off with stating what I've been hiding from myself for years.

I am addicted to food.

This week, I signed up with Weight Watchers again (for the 4th time). I feel like each time gets harder and harder. Today was my first day on the program, and I'm already having issues. I feel like giving up already. I try to eat healthy, but I just like carbs and sweets way too much.

I threw out almost all of the sweets in our apartment, and I still find myself wanting to go get fast food and desserts. I'm back to a size 12 (what I was the first time I started WW), and I really don't like myself. I know some of it I can't help, because with my neurocardiogenic syncope, I have to eat frequently and sometimes need an emergency protein  bar in the middle of the day.

My doctor said I was a healthy weight, which doesn't help. I don't feel good. Not liking myself means I'm depressed and lest affectionate towards my husband. We haven't been intimate in months. I blame it all on myself.

I'm so sick of crying about it, but I feel like it's an endless spiral. I love food, but it makes me hate myself. It makes me feel good, but at the same time . . it makes me feel like crap. I'm trying to get God to help me get through this, but it's a lot harder than it seems.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
- James 1:5