In between overdoing it

Archive for September, 2015

TV’s, Travel Drama, and Tropical Storms

wpid-wp-1443575024123.jpgSince I have was a last in a plane there has been a revolutionary advance. There are TV’S in the headrests. It was awesome. One of my big fears with flying was how my kids would handle this new environment and how I would manage thier behavior should things go horribly wrong. It was amazing my kids watched 3 hours of teen titiens go, supplemented by a few kindle games. I had the most relaxing transportation experience I can remember.

After a brief problem here at home. The rest of out travel went very smoothly. The problem at home. Well, my moms key was not working and she could not get into my house to feed my dogs. After much longer distance screaming and yelling and a call to a local locksmith everything turned out ok. I figure one has to go wrong every trip. Something forgotten, left behind but one episode or drama. Well we got it over with in the beginning.

Once we got in we hight aimed it over to Canada to see the Falls. They were amazing (I’m saying that a lot) it was a bit rainy because of the tropical storm and jet stream hitting the northeast. Some reports say there might be flash flooding so we wanted to make sure we saw Niagara Falls first thing. I’m so glad we did. Even with the rain we had a great time.

My Fall Checklist

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Just read a post by AdventuresofLexie where she shared 12 goals she wanted to experience in Fall. I thought this was a great idea.

She said “I want to make memories, because when it comes down to it, memories are all that matter.”

I thought her sentiment really hit the mark. Life is for living. Each years we roll thoughts around in our head of things we would like to do if we had the time, or money, but then life gets in the way and we never get around to doing them. These things don’t have to be expensive or expansive. They can be experiences that we share with those around us, things we have always wanted to try, or like Lexie says, things we did as a child that would be fun to try again.wpid-20150925_141806.jpg

Since I will be traveling to an area where “Real Autumn” exists I think I will follow Lexie’s lead and map put my own Fall to do list.

So here are 20  things I want to do this Autumn

  1. Collect leaves
  2. Take pictures of leaves changing color
  3. Try a canning recipe
  4. Pick apples
  5. Play soccer with a chill in the air like I did growing up (instead of high humidity and sweat)
  6. Make a Halloween themed cake
  7. Go to a Fall Festival
  8. Bake a Pie
  9. Eat a Candy Apple
  10. Do something Oktoberfest related
  11. Wear a scarf (This will be a tough one in south florida)
  12. Go through a corn maze
  13. Drink apple cider (or eat apple cider donuts)
  14. Make Butternut squash soup. This is something we do yearly but will still add it to the list
  15. Have a nature scavenger hunt
  16. Get canned foods for food drive
  17. Do Trunk or Treat
  18. Make Burlap wrapped Eek sign from Pinterest
  19. Finish Jan /Feb/March 2014-2015 scrapbook pages (I’m 2 years behind)
  20. Make a Thankful tree
I know we won’t get to all these but it will be fun to try. Have a great Fall Yall!

Covering The North South Divide

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This week is going to be an interesting one for me. I head back to my home territory in NY. First we will start in upstate New York, then later in the week we will head south through NYC and to Long Island where I grew up. It will be kind of weird to revisit my life as it was almost 20 years ago. I have not been back for almost 10 years and the last trip was kind of sad.

This time around I want it to be a happy memory. I want to show my children where I grew up. Where there grandparents came from. Why people in NY talk funny. OK maybe I can’t answer that much.

I plan on continuing the journey into what has made me…well me. That might mean confronting some difficult memories and reconciling the past. But fear, pain and discomfort has kept me from visiting and embracing my New York self. It is time that I accepted all parts of myself even the ones I have been running from. I guess I have been running from seeing things change. Having to confront that my Dad is gone and I am no longer from New York. I am no longer the 20 something college kid I was last time I lived there. But change can be good. I just have to embrace it.

photo by Adam Ciesielski

photo by Adam Ciesielski

On a happier note, I plan on taking you with me to see the sites of New York. Upstate where the leaves are starting to change. New York City, with its kinetic energy and excitement, and Long Island, which holds a little of both with some family thrown in.

I am excited to show you New York and re-experience it again myself. Should be a fun trip!

Shannon’s Creative Photo Challenge: Toys

Here is my entry for Shannon’s Creative Phot Challenge: Toys Love this theme since I am always taking pictures of how my kids set up their toys.

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Bathing Beauties

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Hang on Raph…

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Yes… Lite Brite is back

Mint Budget Review – Week Three (Part 1)

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I know it’s over due but Welcome to Week Three!

Like most of my review for Mint this will probably be a bit longer then my other reviews. This program just has so much going on, it has taken quite some time to sift through it. Over the next few weeks we will look at the four remaining feature tabs, Goals, Trends, Investments and Ways to Save. I have decided to break these last four sections up over two posts since there is so much going on here and it was running into a ridiculously large amount of words. This week we will focus on Goals and Trends.

The Goals sections objective is pretty obvious it wants you to set some financial goals. On the left side of the page they identified some of the most used goals, (and have identified them with pictures!) There is also an option to create your own goal. The right side of the page gives you some brief directions on setting up your goal. This part was pretty easy. I selected “pay off credit card” as my first goal and the work was really already done for me.

Since all my accounts are linked to the program, my total balance of my accounts is already there. It asked for the interest rate and minimum payment made to the accounts, then gives you a really neat sliding scale to play with. Here you can get a better idea of how quickly you will pay off your debt if you add additional money to your payments. The really cool part was it calculates how much you would actually save by adding to your minimum payment.  To me this was a great feature. Loved it!

There are several other goals to select from, but you can also create your own. To do this you name the goal, set an amount to save, and upload a picture. It does sneak in a little advertisement in the suggestion of opening a new account to save for the goal, but you can bypass that an select one you already have or put that off until later. You select the amount you want to save monthly and the date you want to achieve your goal. So far, despite the advertisements, I love this section. It really brings home why we are doing the budget in the first place. Unlike, other areas of the program, this one was quick and easy to understand and it was actually fun to set goals and envision reaching them.

The Trends tab is the next to explore. This one was not so intuitive. On the left sidebar of the page you can view various bar graphs which break down financial trends for spending, income, assests, debt and net worth. These bar and pie charts further break down over time, by spending category and by merchant. (Your can see if you are hitting the Starbucks to many times!)

At the bottom of the page it gives you a breakdown of your spending by category. This might be helpful if you are having a hard time determining where you might need to trim in your budget. Next to this area, is what I feel is the most important piece of information on the page. It tells you what categories you are making the most purchases. I discovered (as I suspected) I am over spending on food and restaurants. I found this tab interesting and fun to look at, but it was almost to much information to sort through to have a real impact on my spending.

There is also an area entitled Graphs to Try. Here you could cycle through various questions like ” How did I spend my money last month?,” and “How have my food and dining cost compared to last month?,” I thought this was a great feature of this area It was more specific and easy to understand then most of the other graphs, that to me offered to much information to make sense out of. Frankly, I don’t have the time to sort through most of these graphs and find out where my spending is going “overall,” and “by category,.” Seeing these questions laid out this way was just much quicker for me to understand and make use of.

Next week I will go into more description of the Investment and Ways to Save tabs. Finally, I will finish up this section with a summary review of Mint.com.  This program just shows you so much information in different ways it is a lot to get through. Thanks for hanging with me.

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Faking Fall Change

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Change.”

Fall is a season I look forward to every year. The leaves change color, the weather gets chillier, seasonal change is literally in the air….well unless you live in South Florida where it is still hot and humid. So down here we kind of have to fake the change. We turn the ac up and pretend it’s fall.

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Fake fall leaves

Fake fall scene in my office

Faking a change of season

Hello, I’m 40

Image from balanceyourspending.com

Image from balanceyourspending.com

Today I celebrate 40 years of life. The Big 4-0hh. I’m not really sure how I should be feeling right now. I mean it is a exclamation point in life showing you have traveled through time a significant period. I feel a mix of emotions about it. I realize that at this point there are some areas of my life that I thought I would have accomplished more by now. Like having a career, being more financially set, and having a mastery of some sort of skill. I do kind of morn for the time that has passed and what I might have accomplished. It’s hard to realize there might not be enough time life for me to do all the things I have ever wanted to do.

However, along with this there is a an appreciation. A happiness that I have only just started to discover in the past year. In the realization that this life doesn’t last forever. I have come to appreciate what is truly important and have worked to make those things priority in my life. Letting go of drama and distraction. I have spent many years pre-forty feeling a bit lost and misguided, looking for something to be angry about. I admit I was terribly ungrateful for the blessings that I had been given. I truly didn’t know myself and what I wanted so I was pretty consistently unhappy with everything.

Entering into my 40th year I can honestly say I am truly happy. I have wonderful children who teach me everyday what true joy and fun are. I have a fantastically supportive husband, who is honest, genuine and a truly good man. I have also reconnected with those in my family who value me and have let go of those that do not. I have found a voice again, in writing this blog. (Thank you all for that.) And I have found a wonderful creative outlet in cake decorating thanks to a wonderful teacher and friend. But most of all, I have stopped trying to please everyone. I have stopped trying to be someone I am not. I’m just me. Oh don’t worry I’m still totally awkward, but I have come to accept this about myself.9627154b3e9f4509e252b4004df5dda3

Yes, this lesson came to me after 40 years, but it came to me. I have finally learned to accept myself for who I am. I finally realized that most of what I was trying to change was outside of my control. I realize I have some many blessing and gifts in my life now and it took me 40 years to learn to see that and appreciate them. I understand our time here, together, goes fast and we must love and appreciate what we have while we have it.

There is a little bit of melancholy inside happiness in turning 40. The lose of time, but the gaining of appreciation. The lose of youth but the gaining of knowledge. The lose of the future pursuits but the acceptance and understanding of our past struggles.  I guess turning 40 is really about finding balance. Ironic huh???

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