Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Summertime 2013

Alright, so I'm back in the midwest for the summer aka home. It's been quite an adventure from driving to LA, walking Hollywood, using the LAX to get on the plane, to running across the Denver airport, and then the final flight to my destination. Worth the hassle? Yes and no. It's always great to see family, but I sure do miss having my own house.

I've learned so much since just being back home. It's not quite a vacation, although I've really enjoyed one the past two weeks. Up until now, its been chaotic trying everything figured out. Plus, mom and stepdad thought this would be a great break for me and hubby, since I've pretty much lost my shine.

The first week I got here, it poured, thundered, and lightninged almost all week. Mom drove up from KC when her jeep died, putting the kids in an unnormal state of anxiety and questions about when grandma was going to be home. Then my stepdad and I planned what was going on in the KC house as he told me they have everything financially set to have him retire at 62, pay off the house mom is living in until she retires, and their retirement property/house/workshop they are building.

Then I see that my step-sister is happily married and her husband treats her like a queen. Do I get that kind of treatment at home as I pretty much slave away like housemaid Cinderella? Not exactly.

The second week the kids and I go down to KC, mom shows me around the area, how to get to her work, and I have my to-do and shopping construction list. After seeing Lowes didn't exactly have what I needed, I had to just make do for a lot of it. In the end, I would love to flip houses for a living even though I can't do most of the manual/physical labor.

The third week and weekend, I had to check campers in. Not a huge deal, been there, done that. The fun part was Mom and Stepdad (M&M) went on vacation and I left for Denver. The kids and I spent a few days with hubby's grandparents and did the museum and light rail ride to 16th street mall. It was a great way to travel. I'm very surprised most cities don't have a light rail system!

We traveled back to KC and saw M&M's retirement property which was bluntly amazing. 50 acres, good size house, nothing fancy mind you, but it will be when all's said and done. Then we head to Lake McConaughy to spend more time with hubby's grandparents. I absolutely love his grandparents: hardworking and caring people. As M&M put it, they are real down to earth people.

The next part of summer will mostly be construction on the KC house for me and the kids. Even though I'm not doing it completely myself, I'll still be learning stuff that I should have learned when I was 16 or so. Either way, I've come to realize that I really can't do everything or anything by myself and that I really should be treated better by the hubby than what I am. I'm learning construction in case I buy or build a house on my own or with my family. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 27, 2013

I am inspired!

Summer is quickly approaching and where I come from, school is already out. Not here in California though-they still have two more weeks or so. Crazy, I know.

So what's today's topic? Finding inspiration. I know it sounds crazy, but the more you meet people from various backgrounds, the more you are able to experience. People may find inspiration at church, social groups, social media, or their own neighborhood. All these people or certain people influence your decisions. If you think about it, its quite amazing.

Where do I find my inspiration? Facebook, Pinterest, and my neighbors. It sounds very limited, but Pinterest has a ton out there and my Midwest friends are always doing something crazy- as well as my neighbors. One neighbor just completed a very large scale pond with koi in it while the neighbors in front of us maintain their yard like crazy (and took some large boxes to their dumpster at work).

Then there's Pinterest. They have absolute everything I love, plus more! That's where I find a lot of inspiration to try new meals, organize in ways I never thought of, and then compare it to my neighbors and friends. Or share it with them.

I have a lot of goals, but in order to get there, I have to at least try. You can't lose ten pounds overnight, you have to work at it. So print out a picture of your dream, goal, or inspiration-even if it sounds crazy and you'll work at it. I can almost promise.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Filling...The Flower Bed

It's that time of year... enjoying time outside, friends, maybe family. Us? This weekend we went to Lowes to look at what we could get for filler flowers-those odd spots where previous flowers didn't come up this spring.

What did I find?

Cosmos, 2.5 quart $1.99 each = bought 3: $5.97
Freesia, 2.5 quart $2.49 each = bought 2:  $4.98
Azure Bush, 3 quart $2.24 each = bought 2: $4.48
Tax: $1.16

So... grand total: $16.59 for 7 plants. Considering they aren't those little pansies or colorful annuals (well the Cosmos are), it was a great deal. Where did I find them? There were 3, yes 3, FULL racks of plants 50%-75% off! Some were half dead, lots of still blooming plants, some in hangers, but you couldn't buy these plants for under $20.

Then I got hubby to remove the two Washington fan palms out of our front flower bed. I know-those are worth money! We saw a full grown one at Lowe's this morning for $75. They grow all over our yard, so if you want them, come and dig them up. Seriously. I loathe the treacherous things.

So even if you take your time and look-even at the clearance aisle, you'll find great deals on plants and maybe even get hubby motivated to get the yard looking halfway decent compared to some of our pristine, landscaped neighbor yards. Then again, there's always our neighbor who has paint peeling off his garage. They're another story.

I apologize for not posting any pics-it was hot out and we wanted to get inside before it got any hotter, but next time I will definitely post pics!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 24, 2013


I know when I first started writing goals down, I didn't have a clue whether or not they were attainable or not. As my stepdad pointed out, most of my "goals" were dreams aka unattainable unless I won the lottery.

Here is what I put for my goals:

1 Year


Meal Plan/Grocery List/Freeze

Get Organized

Lose Weight

Finish Novel


Photography Income

Cake Income


Daughter's School/PTA- Maybe

5 Years


Live in Sacramento area, CA; 5-10 acres

Small, green, sustainable house

Free Range Chickens

Look for camping trailer/5th Wheel

Flip a house by myself (MO or CA)

House Cleaner

Help kids achieve their goals/dreams

$10,000 for retirement saved (Ameriprise)

1 out-of-state vacation

2 Paid Off Vehicles

Cakes, Writing, and Photography hobbies


Work from home

Travel might be required


Build gardens and/or greenhouses for low income communities, homeless shelters, food banks, etc.


PTA/Improve schools

10 Years


1 Out-of-Country vacation

Help kids achieve their goals/dreams

$50,000 in retirement account

Large greenhouse

House 1/4 paid off

Pay for Camping trailer 100%

Save for Jeep or Truck


Remodel/flip houses in California

Purchase future rental properties


Build gardens and/or greenhouses for low income communities, homeless shelters, food banks, etc.


PTA/Improve schools

It's quite an extensive list, huh? But with Excel master (stepdad)'s help, I was able to begin focusing on what is really achievable and feasible. 

So the revised goal list?

Jenn's Goals  March 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014

15 months

Goal #1
Save $3,000 for flipping house
Part 1
Work for $2,000

Part 2

Save additional $1,000 via budget

Goal #2

Get into better shape
Part 1

Lose weight

   Lose 1 pound per week

   Use a reward/consequence approach to keep on track

Part 2

Eat healthier

   Doesn't mean organic

   Ensure appropriate levels vitamin and nutrients are taken daily

   Doesn't require tracking, just a conscious effort

Part 3


   Running after kids is not exercise

   Every other day 45 minute walk, with or without kids

Goal #3

Create 2nd income
Part 1

Set target for monthly income amount

Determine if home based business is feasible

Track net from cake and photography business for Feb/Mar/Apr

Determine net from minimum wage job at 20 hrs/wk * 80% gross

Be ready to continue home based or go to work 20 hrs
Amazing, isn't it? The first step is to stop dreaming. I'm not saying you can't achieve your dreams, but make them attainable. Don't be afraid to ask someone to be your mentor and actually ask for help. I've been a stay at home mom for the past 5+ years and wanting to go back to work. I don't regret staying at home with the kids, but I'm ready for school to start and my family cannot afford for me to go back to work until the second child is in 1st grade. 

Sidenote: Kindergaten in California is optional. They must be 5 and it's only for 3 hours (part time). So those of us who are wanting to go back to work isn't an option. 1st grade will only be 6 hours, but then again, a part time job would be better than nothing.

What should you do? Figure out your goals. Start with one year goals. Plan ahead. Next step: your budget.

For those of you without that Master Excel Stepdad, don't worry-help is on the way!