Maybe I figured something wrong.


We got a summary of charges from the hospital dated Sept. 22 around the beginning of October. It was clearly labeled “not a bill”. We have received nothing from the doctor, anesthesiologist, or the heart clinic …. summary of charges, bills, nothing. So I am just waiting it out. Eventually their computers will kick out something and we’ll get a bill. Till then I am not worrying about it, really. We do have a health savings account plus insurance so we should be able to cover most of it between those two.

I am just very excited to be attacking the house most of all! To have that debt gone will be a BIG raise in itself!

I just realized something when I looked back at the budget. The tweaking was supposed to include a housekeeper 2x/month. However, it is not working. Will have to have dh look at it.

Just wanted to say I am so excited about something.


Dh and are tweaking our budget and pay (self-employed) and attacking the house payment and non-retirement investments. We already have a FFEF of about 6 months household expenses and our only debt is the house. Our business also has a reserve. All our business and personal expenses are kept totally separate.
We are already maxing out our IRAs each year so that will stay the same.
We are at a point that we can invest on a monthly basis in non-retirement mutual funds so that is starting in November. Our non-retirement investing will be about 8% of our take home pay. Our investment guy totally understands about being debt free and investing. According to him we are a little on the aggressive side for our age but not so risky he is walking away from us. We have spread the investing across 12 different mutual funds and it will come out in an automatic draft. Once we get the house paid off we will increase our investment percentage.
One thing that is a big hindrance to investing more is our health insurance premiums. Our health insurance premium is over 11.5% of our take home pay & this is with a very high premium. Since we are self-employed we must buy our own health insurance. If your employer pays even a small amount of your health insurance, thank him or her for that. It is outrageous to buy on your own. Oh, and if you want to switch places, I’ll trade for what you’re paying in a New York minute! LOL However at least we are blessed to have insurance and will not give it up! Okay, looking back over this I realize that the health insurance is not really a hindrance but really does allow us to plan. We know how much we are responsible for (deductibles & premiums) and that the insurance will pick up the rest, in general—according to the contract. Occasionally there is a minor thing it won’t cover but it is not often.

We were already paying an extra $100/month toward the mortgage principle. Now, instead, we are going to add to that and pay a total of $500/month extra. If murphy should hit we can discontinue the extra toward the mortgage without fear of getting behind. That would allow us to have an emergency fund for the emergency fund so to speak, as DR has mentioned. One thing I want to do is ask the bank how quickly we can pay off the house by paying an extra $500/month. That way we can see an end to the debt.

I’m going through closets and checking out coats and jackets this week.


We have ample coats the problem is a lot of them are light colored or are ones with light sleeves. As a result of them being several years old, and despite being laundered on a regular basis they have “that” gray on the cuffs and some ring around the collar too. Other than that the coats are in great shape. The stains are dark enough they would prevent me from wearing them to a nice meeting or party (and the holiday season is coming.)
So do any of you have a good homemade recipe for removing this grime stain? One coat is nylon ( a puff type coat), but others are more like lettermen coats (they all have Disney Characters on the back) and then there are the cotton/poly blend jackets. I really don’t want to have to purchase new coats for us this winter when these are structurally sound. If you don’t have a homemade recipe do you highly recommend one commercial product over another for this purpose? Oh yeah, one of the letterman coats has a bad coca cola stain on it too.
One of the cotton/poly jackets is maroon in color.
While we are talking coats, what is the best way to spiff up leather coats? Jack has a long leather trench coat and both guys have leather bomber jackets.
Any good hints on “refreshing” men’s felt hats? Dh has several different styles (I love him in a hat—heck I love him anyway, but he looks wonderful in a hat) and they could stand a littler perking up too.

2 of my kids upgraded to and got phones with data plans


Because of their busy schedules–work and college, we all thought this would be best. This way they can check both the school email and personal email without too much trouble. They are paying for the data plans.

I still need to upgrade my phone and another phone soon–they just don’t last very long. I’m trying to decide what I want–smart phone or just texting. with all the changes in the house, not sure which way to go. The kid will get a texting only phone.

The last phone that will need to be replaced is a phone that my kid’s former employer got for her–go phone crackberry, because I had grounded her and taken her usable phone to a kid who’s phone was dying and the boss thought she was taking too much time to text her….HELLO, just call…she had been using a $15 cheapy from dollar store. We will have to decide on if to do the data plan because of the busy schedule and being in

can’t speak


for the Apple masses who buy latest and greatest, but I do a massive amounts of baseball stats every year. I started on an iTouch, which works well, except when I had to enter 345 games worth of data in a week, on a 4″ screen.
So I got a 7″ Android-based tablet, which crashes at least once in any application I am using, daily.
Den has an iPad (work based) but it is way too heavy and bulky for me to use on a regular basis even if I could.

A 7.9″ Apple tablet which traditionally has a 100% stability rate is VERY attractive.
I don’t know about having the latest greatest…. I do like having what I perceive to be the best. Then I hold onto it until it doesn’t work anymore. My iPad has continued to be a great investment, and I just haven’t found a reason to upgrade it and it still works as it did when first purchased. Now Apple will make it obsolete by refusing to offer it upgrades after a while.

I had an iPhone, just don’t care for it, but I feel generally the same way about phones. Their planned life cycle is much shorter.

I’m one of those people who just doesn’t get it.


I don’t understand the upgrading to the new and improved Apple everything every year. My daughter has a good income, isn’t married, hasn’t any dependents, has me to cover her health insurance (I’m sure she’ll slide until she’s 26 which is ludicrious, but that’s another conversation), has to have the new Apple laptop/cell phone every year and can’t make rent. My son can look at my Iphone (my work provides it to me) and can tell me what model it is. What is the deal? I don’t get it. It’s all just stuff. I’m thankful for my Iphone, and if my work didn’t provide it, and if I didn’t have the job I did which requires a lot of long distance phone calls and emailing (sorry, but I will always have a landline because I appreciate the value of my 911 phone calls going directly to my local 911 services and not to some other vague city in the cyperspace world), I wouldn’t have it. It’s neat, but it’s not that huge of a life changing deal. It’s a convenience. As for what Apple puts out next, I’m not forking over money for something that is seemingly new and improved and then in another year or so will be old and obsolete. It’s silly. Again, I just don’t get it.

What feels like triplets


are our birth 2.5 yr old and the two 5 yr olds. They are all about the same level so its definitely difficult! We adopted a boy and a girl (not 2 girls) and they are both 5. Our 5 yr old son is academically at level (smart as a whip) but socially and emotionally a 2 yr old. Also, our 5 yr old daughter is much more verbal and has great language development but socially/emotionally a 2 yr old.

So, our 2.5 yr old is now going through the challenges most 2 yr olds go through (hitting, kicking, biting, yelling NO, etc). Our newborn is the easiest baby ever! We had a baby boy named Donovan Kwade.

They don’t speak Mandarin. They each speak different dialects.

I was just wondering


about you and if your husband and fil had gotten home safely with your new son and daughter. I can’t imagine what an uproar your family must be in. The little ones having limited English suddenly being in this big family and a new baby immediately thereafter. You wanting to be SuperMama and worn out from being pregnant and then delivering. You left the link off your webpage (which I seem to keep losing from my bookmarks) So I can’t skip over there and catch-up (as if you have had time to write on that).
As for the new van, I don’t know that is such a bad thing. Your circumstances are unique and safety is a huge consideration. With that many little ones that are not yet use to each other you need one adult that is not distracted by driving to make sure everyone stays in their car seats and getting along.
After all is that, that much different than my saving for an expensive trip while still on baby step II? A trip we can put off and save up for.

I’m on daily digest again


and hope to pop in once in awhile. I know ya’ll understand!

We had the baby on Sept. 18th…just 5 days after my husband came home from China with our two newest blessings. Its been 5 weeks now and things are settling down finally. We are starting to have more good days and eventually the bad days will be rare…until then I’m grateful for the quiet calm days because they seem so rare right now!

We did a bad thing….we’re buying a brand spanking new van. The new Nissan NV…Husband will trade in his Nissan Xterra, plus a large chunk of cash down and finance the rest…we can’t stand having to take 2 separate vehicles all the time. Plus, we’re not saving anything in gas with two vehicles.

Anyway, I’m trying to get my life organized with 7 children and its a challenge!

I buy chicken on sale.


Sometimes it is whole chickens sometimes pieces. I then roast them and wait till they are cool and shred them. Put the shredded chicken in a pan with some canned roasted tomatoes and taco seasoning and cook down. You can keep the chicken in a crock pot so it stays warm. When you go to serve have some shredded lettuce, tomatoes, refried black beans, sour cream and some cheese. I do it with the mini taco shells they come in a pack of 24 and since it is going to be a potluck 1 or 2 should do a person or you can bring tortillas chips and they can make their own chicken nachos.

Great job


on getting it paid down and saving a sinking fund! One thing youcould do, is leave the sinking fund be until you only have $4000 to pay off then dump it on it. That way, you have cash for repairs if necessary while you are still making payments, and $1000 plus the snowball for that month should you have a big repair. I agree you don’t need a replacement fund until you’re out of babystep 2 if you have a decent vehicle already. I also love that it will free up your payment to make progress on other things.

I like to put together what my calls “a mean batch of nachos”


which shouldn’t be very expensive:

1 bag tortilla chips, round or triangular
2 8oz cans of refried beans (or you can cook up a batch of refried beans if you wish)
1 jar of salsa or picante sauce
1/4lb of pepperjack cheese

Using a microwave-safe platter or large dish, first spread out the bulk of the chips on the platter, as a base.
Then spread the refried beans over the chips (they spread easier if they’re warmed up)
Then pour the salsa or picante sauce over the beans, as much or as little as desired (we like a lot!)
Slice up the pepperjack into slices and arrange on top, or shred over the top

Microwave for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

That feeds us for two days. So it might not be big enough for a party, but it’ll be a darned tasty part any meal!
what about doing enchiladas with cheese only on the top and just the meat & peppers for filling… could add beans to the filling… Ive had some like that too.
that would go lighter on the cheese. What about some sort of rice & bean dish… seems that mexican dishes use those as a protein in place of actual meat sometimes.

the car loan is down to approx $7900..


I’m considering using the $5k auto replacement “sinking fund” envelope and then scrape together the rest. It is one of the few budget items I can get rid of. Credit cards are paid off. Then I’d have $300/mo to add to the old medical bills and they’d be gone fast.

I have a couple of large debts that are essentially added to Baby Step SIX because of the amounts.

It’s scary to lose the sinking fund, but it does seem like I’ve been dumb to have it there and have a car payment. The vehicles aren’t fancy, but they’re not clunkers either.

the average family spends 76$ on this holiday


I admit to spending much more in years past, it’s VERY easy to do when you have a big family.
But this year we spent $12.00. I am very excited to report that small fact. Especially since we are still in the shadow of a major move, which would have been (in previous years) enough of a reason to give myself permission to go off budget. But this time we didn’t. I think the idea of DH coming home so soon is scaring me straight (or crooked depending on your perspective!)
I was able to get the candy for treats at a good price. My downfall was that DH went to Hobby Lobby to get thread and saw the decorations—he did fairly well since everything was 50% off, so only $10 there. I did have to pick up a six pack of Bud Light for my neighbor….I left him talking to our whiney 65 yo neighbor, so I owe him for that, he’ll get it Halloween night.

Good reminder!


Each holiday season, I *try* to shop our local downtown square. There are lots of shops–most of them gifty type stores. Once I’m down there, I always think–why don’t I shop here more often? The shopkeepers are so helpful and really enjoy finding out about what you are buying and for who. But the part that really makes me smile is when they hand you your purchase and say–Thanks for shopping local!
Makes me feel like I’m making a diffence in my local economy.

Speaking of holidays,


a friend of mine just forwarded a note to a bunch of us, about buying Christmas gifts this year from local, family owned businesses. I didn’t want to pass on the email itself because it’s one of those that has been forwarded 50 gazillion times. But it did remind me of the website someone here sent me, when I was looking for Made In The USA power tools earlier this year:

That website is a clearinghouse of companies which are owned and run within the USA, employing American workers, making goods for the American people. As we start to figure out what to give for the holidays, I would humbly but strongly suggest we keep our dollars home as much as possible. Whatever your gift-giving categories (clothing, accessories, home decor, artisan goods, baby gear, appliances, etc), that website provides links to companies who make and sell those products. Here’s to keeping our dollars in the good old USA, and helping to boost our fellow American employees and business owners.