Decluttering My Life

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As I sat on the couch last night, with my newborn sleeping on my chest, I suddenly realized how technologically cluttered my life is. Next to me, I had my cell phone, my tablet, and my Kindle. Even worse, I had been alternating between each item as he slept, while I watched Netflix. There’s no excuse for that. Continue reading “Decluttering My Life”

Letting the Little Bird Fly (And Getting Stuff Done)

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Tomorrow my Peanut leaves for Hawaii with my parents for ten days. Must be nice to be 6 and traveling the world. Haha. There are some people that think I’m crazy to let her travel halfway around the world without me. To those people, I’d like to say, Mind your own business. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and she’s going with her grandparents – two people who treat her like she’s their own and love her beyond words. Also, I might add, two people who have raised 7 children into adulthood. If we all survived, I think my daughter will too.

Now, to counter my last post, I’m planning on being as productive as humanly possible with an infant in the house while she’s gone. First spot to tackle? Her playroom.

This is a room that I had such great plans for before we moved in. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to it and all my plans. Then the actual move in process happened and my boxes ended up in there as well as a whole bunch of toys she’s outgrown. Some of those will be utilized when Little E gets big enough to play with them. (What kid doesn’t want a toy kitchen? Boys have to eat too!) The plastic makeup vanity, however, we no longer need. Yes, she’s still into makeup. But she’s getting older and I’d like to create a more useful little station for her. She’s also not really into playing dress up anymore. That’s a whole corner of the play room that I can get rid of (I’m keeping the garden gnome costume, though. A) It’s gender neutral, and B) Look at the picture below, courtesy of walmart.com. It’s hilarious.)

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Anyway, the plan is to go through the room, get rid of anything that doesn’t actually get played with anymore (and will likely never be played with again) and organize it in a way that actually looks cute and is functional. Oh, and to get my crap out of that room while I’m at it.

I’d like to put up some shelving for all of the boxed toys (board games, games that have yet to be opened- we have a lot of those-, puzzles, jewelry making kits, etc), maybe decorate the walls a little, and create a reading corner. We’ll see how that all plays out. It also depends upon what I can find on sale. Good thing it’s yard sale season!

Wish me luck!

 

 

If I had a billion dollars…

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I grew up near Atlantic City and because of that, I am not a gambler. Around my 21st birthday I took the obligatory trip to AC, lost $200 on the roulette wheel in about 20 minutes, and decided that I work too hard for my money to let that be a habit of mine. The craziest I usually get now is buying $20 in scratch offs if I’ve hit my tip goal for the week at work. Then it takes me so long to cash the winning scratch off tickets in that the game has long since expired. I’m just not a gambler.

I did, however, cave and buy $20 worth of Powerball tickets today. I don’t really think I’ll be the one to win, but who can pass up the chance at $1.5 billion?? That’s an absurd amount of money. I wouldn’t even know what to do with a million, let alone a billion. But I’m more than willing to take on the challenge and dream about what I would do with that much money.

The first thing I would do is hire a tax attorney. Then, I will pay off my debt, T’s debt, our house, and set aside a trust fund for Peanut and Baby #2, along with setting aside their college funds (yes, they still have to go to college). We’d also start looking for our forever home (or homes – I’ve always wanted a beach house) and rental properties. Once that is all taken care of, I’d like to pay off the debt of our immediate family and close friends – probably in the form of a set amount per person, but I’m not sure yet. The goal is for them to each have a home that’s paid off, no credit card debt, and no student loans. They’re on their own from there. Whatever they use the money for is up to them, whenever they blow it all is on them also.

Next, I’d like to travel. Just spin a globe and go wherever chance takes us. I’ve always wanted to show my kids the world and let them experience different cultures and ways of life first hand. That way they are more tolerant and understanding of all the different people they meet. I don’t expect them to like everyone. I do expect them to not judge new people until they get to know them. The best way for that to happen is for them to experience different people.

I’d also like to quit my job. I always thought I would be the person that continued to work even if I had all the money in the world. Now that I’m a mom, I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Instead of working, I’d like to go back to school indefinitely. Not necessarily for a degree, but just to continue learning new things. It would be nice to have that opportunity without worrying about financial aid/debt/etc. I’d probably still write, though. I’ve really started to enjoy writing on here every day. It’s rewarding to finally feel creative again.

While we’re daydreaming here, is $1.5 billion enough to buy my way into Congress? Because there are quite a few things I’d like to change there. Sorry to get political on you for a moment. First stop, term limits for Congress men and women. I don’t think anyone should be able to make a career out of being a politician. It should be something you do in addition to a real job – to keep you humble, grounded, and out of the nation’s wallet. There should be regular, everyday, hardworking people throughout Congress in order for the actual voice of the People to be heard, not just the people who have made a career out of setting themselves up to be financially secure forever. Okay, rant over. Sorry.

Probably the most satisfying part of winning, aside from being financially secure for the rest of our lives, will be walking into work, yelling, “Peace out, Bitches!!!!” at the top of my lungs, and walking back out the door. LOL

Well, a girl can dream. Until then, I’m going to continue sticking to my budget and saving for the future. Good luck to any of you out there who played.

I’ll write again tomorrow.

-C

Traditions

Growing up, consistency is one of the hardest things your parents can provide but it’s also one of the best. Specifically, it’s difficult to create traditions that your family grows to look forward to month after month, year after year. Each family succeeds in making their own traditions, however, which shows how important it is.

In my family, my grandmother has a belated holiday party the first Sunday after New Years’ every year. This has been going on for as long as I can remember. Her house is open all day to any family members for as long as they can stay. In many instances, this is the only time we get to see our extended family and catch up on everything that’s happened over the past year. As kids, it gave us a chance to play with cousins we hadn’t seen in forever. As adults, we can catch up on who got married, who’s pregnant, who has had a baby in the past year, and what our kids are up to. It’s been an amazing progression that I’m happy to be part of.

Unfortunately, this year I wasn’t able to make the trip back to New Jersey to be there. I was definitely saddened by this. Even though I’ve been to so many of these get togethers I look forward to them every year. I look forward to seeing how my cousins’ kids have grown and seeing my own peanut interact with her 4th and 5th cousins that she doesn’t see on a regular basis. Not being there this year actually created a void in me. There is also the added knowledge that my grandparents are getting older and I’m not sure how many more of these parties there will be. Hopefully someone will continue the tradition after they are gone (probably my aunt, in all honesty).

Starting out a new family, especially a blended family where we have to alternate holidays with my peanut’s father, is difficult. The great thing about it is that we have a clean slate as far as new traditions go. We can literally make anything our tradition. For instance, Peanut’s school has an early dismissal one day a month for a faculty meeting. There is no after school provided and there are no buses to bring the kids home. We use this opportunity to go to the movies one day a month. It’s our own little date. We look at the previews to plan what to see the following month, she gets the kids’ combo, we usually have the theater to ourselves and can laugh and talk about what’s going on, and then on the way home we talk about our favorite parts. Sometimes T is able to come with us, other times it’s just us girls. The point is, it’s something we both look forward to.

This year we also started what I hope will blossom into a tradition. T’s mom slept over our house on Christmas Eve so that she could be here when Peanut opened her presents. We all made cookies on Christmas Eve that she decorated for Santa, then they went to bed in her room while I patiently waited for everyone to fall asleep so that I could set everything up. In the morning, it was so cute to wake up to the two of them walking around the house checking to see if Santa came, gasping over the “proof” of his arrival (the half eaten cookies, the note I had to write with my non-dominant hand so she wouldn’t recognize my writing, the boot prints by the door), and comparing their conspiracy theories of how he got in and why he left such a mess. When I came into the living room, she looked me in the eye and said, “Mom, we’ve got a mystery.” These are the moments that give my life meaning and I’m so glad my mother-in-law was here to share them. This will have to be one of those every other year traditions because her father and I alternate who gets her for Christmas, but it’s still a tradition worth continuing.

Even just sitting and eating dinner together is a small tradition, and one I enjoy immensely (usually). Of course there is the pressure to make something we haven’t had in a while so we’re not repeating the same meals over and over, but it’s worth it. And there’s the joy of her always having the smallest portion and usually starting to eat before us, but talking so much throughout dinner that she’s always the last one done. One day, though, she won’t want to talk to us, so I’m trying to enjoy it while I can – even on the days I want to rip my heart out.

One of the moms from her class told me that every night as she lays down with her son they go back and forth about both their favorite things that happened that day and their least favorite things. We tried this for a while, but then it became a way for her to talk herself out of going to sleep on time. It’s a tradition I wouldn’t mind starting back up again, though, because it’s a great way to open up the lines of communication.

What traditions do you and your family have? Which ones would you like to start? I can’t wait to hear back from you.

Have a great day!

-C

Starting the New Year early!!!

Welcome to my blog!!!! I am so excited to be starting this adventure. This is supposed to be one of my (many) resolutions for the new year, but I figured now is the perfect time to begin. Why wait for January 1st?

This blog is going to focus on who we are as women. Too many times my identity gets wrapped up in being my daughter’s mother. Please understand, I’m not complaining. That little girl changed my life and led me down the best possible path. But, I’d kind of like to have an identity again, too.

Topics will include budgets, cooking, parenting, finding time for you, date nights, how to do it as a single parent (I’m not there anymore, but I did it for 4 1/2 years, and you can too), along with anything else that happens to come up. I’ll try my best to be funny, upload posts consistently, and stick to subjects you’re interested in.  Please feel free to leave suggestions and comments regarding posts.  I can’t improve without feedback.

Enough about the blog, here’s a little about me.  I was born and raised along the Jersey shore. I was on my own at 18 and worked for everything that I have. At 28, I had my daughter and, knowing I was going to be a single mom, moved to western PA to be closer to my mom.  Four years later, I met the love of my life. We were just married this past September and we’re expecting our first baby together in May. I work part time at a job that I’m pretty great at but don’t love and I’m always looking to try new fields of expertise and learn new things.

The goal is to post every single day for the year. Please keep in mind, we’re expecting baby #2, so I may falter on that slightly, but that’s the goal.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and lucrative 2016 for all of us!  Thank you for reading.

-Candice