Friday, January 25, 2013

the spending diet

Blessings are abundant for our little two person family, blog world.  I've been working extra hours at my office and building quite a bit of job security.  JD got moved up to FULL TIME!  Yay!  These are both incredible blessings for us at this time!

However, I often look at our money situation and think, "How did we survive when I was the only one with a pay check?"  It really was not that long ago that JD was out of work still and I was the only one bringing home very little from my part-time paralegal gig.  I thought and thought about this and realized something: We were much more careful.  We knew we ONLY had $400-$500 for the month.  We carefully planned out every cent.  And we thrived and survived, with the help of not paying rent (my parents really are our saviors as we work up the ranks, earn money and save for a house.  I don't think I'll ever be able to really express to them or you how awesome they are.) and having limited expenses. 

As I was looking at our financials, our expenses haven't really changed.  However, we have not been budgeting as we used to.  We feel as though we don't have to be as tight as we once did, so we spend on frivolous "extras."  Lately, we've been seriously looking at purchasing a home.  We're needing to save up for school expenses so both JD and I can attend school this fall.  We want to start saving for a baby.  So, obviously, spending needed to cease...or at least be controlled.

One of my very favorite money savings blogs is And Then We Saved.  Anna got out of $24,000 of debt in 15 months!  She shares tips on saving money, doing things yourself, and most inspiring to me, The Spending Fast.  If the Spending Fast seems a little too difficult for you (because I thought that when I read it), try the Spending Diet with me! 

Read more about the details on Anna's blog.  Essentially, at the beginning of the month we make a list.  First, we begin estimating our income for the month.  Then, we estimate our NEEDED expenses.  Let me say that again...NEEDED expenses.  Yes, there are huge differences between NEEDS and WANTS.  Don't worry friends, it's difficult for me to grasp that most of the time too.  Generally, once the needed expenses are done, we give ourselves $200 extra (Anna does $100, but we're starting with $200 to start).  This money can be used for whatever we want during the month.  Eating out, buying clothes, etc.  Once it is gone, it's gone.  Any money left over after the "needs" list and $200 extra "play" money is done, gets put straight into our Savings Account preparing for house, baby and college for JD.

This month we're starting the plunge and, I'll tell you (even where we basically have no debt right now) it feels liberating.  We feel like we're taking total control of how and where we spend our money.  So, join me in the Spending Diet!  Do you have any favorite budgeting or spending tips?  What things do you deem "needs" and "wants"?  (i.e. I have yet to convince my husband dyeing my hair is steps I suppose).  I guarantee you're going to like how it feels to take total control of your finances.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

the "other" man

I like to say that JD has two personalities.  The one that I fell in love with...and the one that comes out when he is asleep.

DISCLAIMER: I love him no matter what.  However, this beast comes alive when the man is asleep.  He's very affectionate and cuddly when he's awake.  Then the second the REM cycle begins, it is like this incredibly non-touchable menace is born.

I get cranky when I don't get enough rest, which is normal for most people. However, JD gets cranky when he is actually asleep, when he doesn't get enough rest or is dreaming.  I will never understand this.

Perfect Example: The other night I was having really bad, strange dreams.  I kept waking up so I attempted to shake JD awake, at which point he pulled his entire comforter around his face and rolled to the farthest side of the bed.  I fell back asleep...and had another scary dream.  I attempted to shake him awake again saying "JD...JD, honey..."  His response: "What?!"  I quietly said, "I had a bad dream."  His response:

At which point he rolled over and went back to sleep.

After I told him this story in the morning, I received lots of kisses, hugs and heard him say quite a few times, "I'm sorry my subconscious is such a jerk!"

It's hard to get mad at him with a face like this.

 JD circa 2008, shortly before his mission...yes, he still owns that beanie and t-shirt

Monday, January 7, 2013


"You know you found your perfect woman when she can quote the entire 'Saga Begins' Star Wars song by Weird Al."  (I've been able to do it since fourth grade...he's impressed)

"FRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIICK!!!!!"(Every time he dies in Halo)

"Will you cook for me forever?" (to my mother...I guess I still have a thing or two to learn...)

"My laundry is so clean...[my wife] must be doing it." (True.  He said his laundry was only ever done this well when he lived with his parents still.)

"You put a random pastry in my bag and you didn't even tell me?" (To the woman at Arby's that gave us a free apple turnover)

"I really think that you can't ever really be happy unless you're following the Lord...and have a super hot and gorgeous wife like mine." (Also, true.)

Friday, January 4, 2013

the book is always better

I'm sure many of you have heard of "The Book of Mormon."  No, not this one (although it is awesome)...

This is the one I'm speaking of:

Yes, The Book of Mormon: The Musical.  It has caused mixed feeling among members of my faith.  I know of people who are completely offended by this new show.  They think it is completely desecrating the LDS faith.  They believe this show is ripping apart the very book they love so dearly. 

Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a lover of musical theatre, I've researched this musical extensively.  This musical is quite humorous, however I would not consider it a work of art.  It's a fun, lighthearted, satire piece.  Nothing really to "write home about" in my humble opinion.  However, it is apparent the writers of the musical know there is something special about us "Mormons."  They extensively read the Book of Mormon, went to church historical sites and did lots of history research into our church.  There are even little jokes in the musical referring to "quit being such a Lemuel" and things only members of the church would understand.  However, this musical does present some false doctrine.  For example, the young elder who is constantly making up and misusing scriptures.  The statement that God's plan involves everyone getting their own planet.  The statement that Mormons just believe.  These can be seen as horrific and terrible mockery and blasphemy.  I disagree.

We live in a culture where nearly all publicity is good publicity.  While this musical does put Mormonism in a skewed and satirical light, it also peaks peoples interest.  I flew back east to New York City about two years ago to perform with the National Honors Choir at Carnegie Hall.  It was an amazing experience, not only because I got to sing at Carnegie Hall, but because of all of the people I met.  There were 80 chosen from the 10,000 that auditioned for the program.  And, shocker, there was only one other LDS singer selected.  Between the 12 hours a day of rehearsals, there was little sight-seeing accomplished.  I was able to go to the "Top of the Rock," shop on 5th Avenue, eat over in the Hell's Kitchen district and see two amazing Broadway musicals.  Not to mention, our rehearsal space was in Times Square, so we were constantly walking around there each day.  A few performers, in their spare time, saw The Book of Mormon as at that time it was still in previews and had not yet premiered.  I had so many of those singers asking me about the gospel and what Mormonism was all about after they had seen the musical.  While there were some misrepresentations in the show, it got people intrigued to explore the church and learn more about the gospel.

I know some of you members of the  church are reading this thinking, "What a heathen!  Any bad things said about the LDS church are obviously horrible and need to be stopped!!!"  I say you're entitled to your opinion.  However, do you want to know who agrees with me?  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Once the Book of Mormon Musical began it's tour this year and continued on Broadway, the church took the opportunity to make some great publicity by doing this....

I love that the church did this!  I think it shows that the Church is evolving with the times.  Church leaders understand that while this is a satire piece poking fun at many different religions, including the LDS church, there is always a way to turn anything potential harmful into a positive tool to promote the church.

*In no way am I promoting that you run out and go see this musical.  Quite honestly, I really do not enjoy it.  However, I think it is amazing that the LDS church has decided rather than be upset about this musical and it's inappropriate at times content, it is celebrating the fact that this musical gets people interested in our religion.  In my humble opinion, only good can come from others discovering how awesome the church is.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


It has been awhile.  It was quite an eventful Christmas filled with family, new babies, loud games, lots of beautiful gifts and my dad putting his head through a wall.  Pictures forthcoming.  However, with the new year upon us, I thought it fitting to talk to you about my goals for the new year.

Some of you may or may not have seen the buzz around the blogosphere, but the One Little Word project is one I think it amazing!  Ali Edwards challenges readers to select a single word to help them throughout the year.  To let that word speak to you, to embrace the word and all meanings/possibilities encumbered by it.  I really enjoyed reading about this challenge, she's been doing it for a few years now but I am now just learning about it.  However, I love it. 

I often find myself making the same resolutions each and every year, then never keeping them.  It gets overwhelming, I get busy and I end up just "surviving" the year rather than conquering it.  Not any more...because the word that spoke to me for this year is...
This year, I am determined.  I'm attacking this year with determination to achieve my goals and not just simply live, but to  conquer.  I hope to continually improve myself and be determined to do so.  I hope to be determined in all things including: taking care of myself, more enjoyable work experience, continuing to improve my school work, being determined to keep things tidy and always determined to stay positive through any trial.  2013 is looking to be an amazing year and I am excited for it. 
Do any of you have a word you hope to inspire you new year?  What is it and what does it mean to you?  I'd love to hear what word inspires you to be your best self in this coming New Year.