It crossed my mind, “this might be the end…”

FeaturedIt crossed my mind, “this might be the end…”

It would be unfair to say that I had not noticed how much time has passed since my last post.

In fact, I have noticed.

Nearly every day I noticed. But the truth is that the nagging desire, even longing, to come back here and write again was trumped by other particles, much less passively needy, in my daily climate.

That being said – while I hope you’ll pardon the long absence – I’m excited to be back!

And while we’re speaking of being back; we ended our out of province holiday early, but to follow through here are some iPhone shots at the beach. We were able to meet some long time friends who we hadn’t seen in a long time…

 

We rode a Ferry to Nowhere

FeaturedWe rode a Ferry to Nowhere

It’s not something most people prepare for.

When we got there, the realization stopped me in my tracks. At least, it would have…

…had I been riding on tracks, or leaving them.

Regardless, we had travelled by ferry to stay with Allie’s mother on Vancouver island and upon arrival I noticed there was no cell service. Zero. Zilch. Ick, but…no problem, internet sevice will suffice.

Wait, what?! This is grim. Very grim. No Internet either.

Likely the sun will still rise tomorrow (I’m actually cheating here when I sound so confident because it’s been two full days since we landed and the sun hasn’t failed to appear), but sometimes you find yourself in a bit of rough water.

Below are snapshots from our ferry ride that I planned to share with you earlier but it turns out… well, you know.

Enjoy ūüôā

Wild Horses Couldn’t Stop Us

FeaturedWild Horses Couldn’t Stop Us

Because we hadn’t done anything interesting or particularly exciting recently we felt a family Road Trip would be best suited to break the doldrums (kidding of course; this trip was pre-planned long ago which is why it ended up being so inopportune in timing)!

Never-the-less, we saddled up the truck and off we went, heading west. 

sign  Amazingly, while careening down the highway doing the old ‘post departure inventory’ in our heads (not sure why one does this; should you think of something you forgot it’s too late anyway and only serves as a source of stress) we felt self satisfied at concluding that we hadn’t forgotten anything. Although perhaps our self satisfaction was misplaced as we were bleary eyed and had missed way too much sleep prior… I doubt we could have picked out anything we’d forgotten anyway. Still, at the time we felt sensible enough. Besides, it was much later then we had intended to leave and the daylight had broken nearly an hour ago… adding to the illusion we were fully coherent.

So anyway, there we were… a baby, a 5 year old, 2 adults and 1 loaded truck, careening along.

Que the wild horses. Now, I’m not an expert on horses so; were they indigenous or merely domestic animals gone wild… I don’t know. But they were there, on the side of the hwy somewhere near the middle of nowhere. Of course, we stopped for pictures…

horseshorse

Well, on we traveled, enjoying both the anticipation of what was yet to come and the freedom to explore the road ahead.

…before you start to worry that I’m going to narrate the whole of our trip in glaringly monotonous detail, let me assure you I’ll be both succinct and speedy.

If a picture is worth a thousand words then perhaps you’ll enjoy these wordy glimpses of the rest of the day’s journey:

 

roadpoachers point

selfie
Brenden and I exploring Poachers Point while Allie fed Kezia
tunnel3 amigosyohoice

After swapping out our home province for our nearest neighbor and close to 12 hours on the road we finally pulled in to our hotel for the night; successfully and happily completing the first leg of our journey. 

This was the view from our hotel window:

sunset

If you enjoyed these, stay tuned as I will be adding further updates as we venture on.

 

Good night.

 

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Moving, Costco and a blender

After spending much of the day in Family Restrooms… because that’s what families with a 5 year old and a baby do, they hang out near or in public restrooms. Mostly in them.

We were in the city to shop for furniture after the ‘Great Move’.

And of course, when I say ‘Great’, I mean terrible. But I also mean, epic. It was spectacular in it’s chaotic characteristics. It wasn’t even so much the fact that it went poorly… because it didn’t. It went well. Many people showed up to help, worked very hard and we were so blessed by it. But we were still moving the following day. And the one of after that.

During our long moving career, we have gone from house to house… big, small, odd, old and now new. It has felt like watching a child try to inflate a balloon for the first time. You know when they exhale and the balloon inflates, but then they inhale the same air and it deflates again? Have you seen that? Yes, I don’t doubt it. And so our stuff and ourselves have been packed into a small space, then suddenly inflated throughout a larger place only to once again be compressed back into a smaller one.

This time we thought we would outsmart the cycle. Our plan was to give away most of our mismatched belongings (like furniture) and then rebuild once in the new but smaller house, thus magically ‘fitting’ into the new place. Well, we got rid of many things, but somehow the other house had so much storage (and not at all in one centralized location) that we had managed to accumulate a plethora of belongings so great that… well, enter the ‘Great Move’.

…and subsequent to that, we find ourselves in the city, still reeling, exhausted and shopping for ‘stuff’.

We decided to finish up the meat grinder day at Costco, somehow managing to stay focused enough to load up the cart with our list items and we were starting for the tills… I was feeling plagued by this feeling that we were forgetting something. Then I saw it… The Vitamix roadshow demo.

‘Allie, look over there!’ I pointed, directing her gaze away from the warehouse sized bin of apples. 20 minutes of smoothie samples and grain grinding demos, we were again headed to the tills. This time with a Vitamix blender. Now, before you fault us for falling for costco roadshow demo sales, you need to understand that this particular blender has been on our ‘to buy’ list for years. In fact, I had donated Allie’s old blender mere days earlier promising her..

‘I’ll buy you a food processor.’

If you’re into eating healthy you probably can understand the value of a capable blender/juicer/processor. Salads are tremendous amounts of work, make you feel like a rabbit gnawing through vegetation and just generally take a long time. Smoothies on the other hand… sweet! We wasted no time in using it.

Puts a smile on my face.

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Remember when…


You moved last?

Boxes everywhere. Stubbing toes. Searching for that roll of packing tape you just used. Frozen dinners.

Chaos.

Yeah. It’s here.

Don’t hear me wrong, I have an amazing team mate who is ultra organized and never lets the chaos get out of hand. Allie is tireless. When I am tempted to huddle up in a corner boxed in by wayward furniture, she always has a plan. In fact, she’s already planning our family holiday for later on this spring. I’m not kidding, she’s booking a hotel as we speak.

But stuff is still everywhere. Brenden is feeling unsettled… roaring around the house with his dinosaurs. Kezia is laying on a playmat on the floor with a mobile above her.

I feel like I should apologize for how quiet it’s been here… but maybe I don’t need to, maybe you don’t mind or care.

It bugs me though; having a place to write and not having time to write anything. I’ve been trying to write a post here for a week now, and all I’ve accomplished is this. I will be back… I will be more dedicated.

All of us are looking forward to getting settled in the new place! It’s undeniably better. When you’re moving forward in life, sometimes we have to unsettle the status quo to be able to step into the extraordinary. When you stop making corrections in your life, that is when improvement ends.

Like the box in the picture points out… this way up.

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That feeling when…

…you take another sip of coffee and realize your cup is empty.

What is a Sunday afternoon in winter without a hot cup of Coffee or Tea?

In my family, Sundays are about decompressing from the week. They’re about enjoying peaceful moments… ¬†like rocking my baby daughter to sleep for her nap.

I hope that you get a moment to have a hot cup of whatever you enjoy today!

Happy Sunday!

 

7 smart budgeting tips for 2017

Featured7 smart budgeting tips for 2017

 

Everyone has one. Or at least, should have one since we all have to balance our spending with income. Good money management should be a basic skill that each person possesses.

And yet, money consistently comes out on top as the #1 stress for individuals and families.

Allie and I spent far too long fumbling with our spending and being in and out of debt. Eventually though, by being intentional about it and using the strategies below, we have been able to move our spending well inside our income amount. We have no debt, a growing savings account and we are able to do things like spontaneously going on mini holidays or buying a new smart phone.

Maybe you’re like I used to be; the thought of a ‘budget’ made me feel confined, limited and stressed. Or maybe you’re a rock-star and you’ve got the most detailed and well functioning personal financial operations….

Here are 7 smart budgeting tips that will help you in 2017:

  1. Know your income. Successfully managing your money means only spending what you have.¬†If you don’t know your monthly income you will find it very challenging to stay inside that amount and avoid going into credit debt.

  2. Be extremely detailed. One of the biggest mistakes I used to make in managing money was not being detailed enough. For example, spending $2.08 for a coffee at Tim Horton’s twice a day doesn’t seem like a big deal and you might be tempted to overlook it in your budget. But after 1 month of a coffee twice a day, 5 days a week, you’ve spent $83.20 of whatever you brought in as income. It adds up fast and can put a bigger hole in your budget then you realize.

  3. Communicate.¬†If it’s just you, then this just means to be aware of what you’re spending where and when. But if there are more then 1 person working off the same budget, spending a little extra time sitting down together to make sure everyone is on the same page will save you from blowing the budget without knowing it.

  4. Don’t borrow from next month.¬†I used to do this all the time when I was justifying a ‘one time’ expense that I didn’t want to wait for. It might seem like you’re adding flexibility to your life but in actual fact you’re just throwing next month into bankruptcy. If you can’t fit in this month, try temporarily reducing your spending on something like fast food, so you’ll have extra cash at the end of the month.

  5. Use an app.¬†Budgeting apps can be extremely helpful. Need to budget on the fly, try an app like Mint that tracks your spending and account balances, letting you stay on top of how you’re doing in real time. Or try an app like Apple Numbers to put together your budget on your smart phone while you wait for the bus.

  6. Have an Emergency Fund.¬† Want to know the fastest way to blow up your budget once you get it running well? Unexpected expenses. Having an emergency account (with money in it) will help you manage sudden one time expenses that you can’t plan for.

  7. Aggressively pay down credit Card debt. It might seem like a convenient way to manage expenses but it will cost you. A lot. Most credit cards will charge you 19% interest on any balance you carry. If you took 5 years to pay off a balance of $5000.00, with a monthly payment of 129.70, you will have paid $2782.17 in interest. You can see that it is in your best interest to pay off credit debt and ultimately keep that money in your pocket!

 

Well thanks for taking the time to read through these 7 strategies! If you found any of these helpful or you think of one I missed, please comment below. I would love to hear feedback and I will implement it in future posts.

All the best!