Finding Balance

 

11150407_10152881528944576_2738157974536688199_nWhen people see that I work from home, they often think I have it all together and am “Supermom”. Well, sorry to burst some bubbles, but that is totally false!!! I’m like every single person out there, struggling to accomplish it all and some days forgetting to brush my teeth!! Most days I don’t wear an ounce of makeup (except mascara!!), am in gym clothes, and run around all day long. I have days where I feel super overwhelmed and think I have way too much on my plate. And its moments like that I have to take a step back and remember what is most important.

I have three healthy, beautiful, smart children!!! I get to spend all day, every day, with them!!! Working from home has helped my family tremendously, I’ve paid off my school loans and my SUV (HUGE happy dance from that this week)! I have so much to be thankful for!!! So the laundry might only get done once a week, the grass needed to be cut two weeks ago, and my wardrobe only includes gym clothes. But who cares!!! I’m always been very OCD, but slowly and surely, I’m learning to go with the flow a bit more.

 

11026588_10152886604509576_8022368932152025326_nBalance is still something I struggle with. My husband works a weird shift so really only has one full day off right now. The funny thing is, that doesn’t bother me. The kids and I are always on the go as we FINALLY live in an area where we have stuff to do! I can run errands, take them to the park, go for hikes with my aunt, we have fun stuff to do everyday!!! I don’t think we have been bored once since we moved to GA. It’s a freeing feeling to have options and not be stuck in the house all day!!

 

The only negative has been my work. I’ve been so busy with the kids, and my husband’s schedule is different, the time to “work” I had each day has changed. At first I got stressed. I have worked hard to build my business and to make an income from home. But then I remembered why I was working, to help my family!!! We have paid off so much debt, and now my income goes directly towards my kids college funds!!!! That’s an amazing feeling in itself to accomplish that while being home with my kids each day. For many people, my family included, money can be stressful and to remove that issue has been a huge weight off my husband and I’s shoulders.

 

I’m sticking more to a schedule to help with the work time I have. I get up early and that’s my exercise time. I also use that time to make my “to-do” list for the day. On that list I make sure to include the most important items, and the ones that can be done that day, or another day. That’s a huge help with keeping me on track and making sure I accomplish what HAS to be done each day.

 

The truth is, most people do NOT have it all figured out. We all struggle with getting things done and prioritizing. For me, the number one priority is my kids. I want them to be able to do after school activities, take fun family vacations, and go to college. So on the days I feel stressed, I remember my goals are for them and that reminds me to take a step back, figure out a new way to achieve balance, and when all else fails, go swing at the park. Because sunshine and the laugher of my kids reminds me of the important things in life!!

Dana

The Drive

My biggest fear with our move from Virginia to Georgia was the drive. My oldest son gets car sick, and my youngest hates the car. Luckily my daughter enjoys car rides so at least I had one I didn’t have to worry about. The scary part for me was the fact I was driving by myself with all three of them!

Our goal was to leave around 5am so they would sleep a few hours in the car….ya, that didn’t happen! About 30 minutes into the drive Will started getting sick and asking me to stop. Then after we stopped, Adalyn, who never gets sick, started getting sick!! And of course this made the baby wake up so it was a car full of nerves! To add to that, I’m not a big night driver and the highway we were on was all semis. I don’t know if its just me, but they have some crazy lights on those trucks and I swear I felt like I could hardly see the road.

It took us about 2hrs to go 60 miles. I’m not sure who was crying more at the start of the trip, me or the kids haha. I had a nice long chat with God though and one of my best friends said the words I needed to hear, “You can do this!” For me, nothing is worse than when my kids are miserable and it breaks my heart to hear them upset or in pain. It was the longest drive of my life, but we all made it and decided no more long car rides for the next 10 years haha!!!

I did learn some interesting things after spending 13hrs in a car…..11103024_10152829499969576_5239625367741261538_n

  • Nacho Doritos are great for kids with an upset stomach! That was the only thing Will would eat and he kept it down!!! Who would have thought?!?!
  • Rest stops have great outdoor areas for kids to run around!!! And for Mom’s to do some walking lunges and wake up a bit haha
  • DVD’s players in cars REALLY need a remote control!!! It is super hard to try and push those buttons while on a highway!!!
  • If your child gets car sick, you can NEVER have too many trash bags in your car. And even if your child doesn’t get sick, have them anyway and space them out around the car!!! Trust me, this is VERY important!!
  • Kelly Clarksons Heart Beat Song is GREAT to dance to in the car to wake yourself up!!! And it apparently provides amusement for other drivers too!
  • The first hour and the last hours are the longest parts of a car ride! You need a recording of yourself saying “No, we aren’t there yet!” so you don’t go hoarse.
  • If your child is watching a new movie, don’t interrupt to ask them if they need to go to the bathroom. They would rather hold it than have to pause their movie.
  • Cars with third rows should come with a “stretch arm” so you can hand things back to the child riding in that row. Especially when everyone in the second row is sound asleep.
  • It never fails, the moment all 3 kids fall asleep, you are going to run out of gas!!!!
  • Coffee is great to keep you alert….but it does cause more bathroom breaks!
  • Nothing feels as good as when your feet touch the ground!!!!

 

Dana

Big Changes

GAA few months back, my husband made the decision that he wanted to return to school and get his Masters Degree. Only problem was, in the area we live in, he didn’t have a place to do his required clinical hours. So in order for him to return to school, we would need to move. And thus began a very scary and life changing decision…where should we move?!?! We had only been in Virginia a few years, so we weren’t very attached to it, plus snow is not my favorite thing. We knew we wanted to be close to family as its hard having 3 kids, a husband who works long hours, and no one around to help when we need it. A date night would be nice too if we had a family/friend to babysit. Its been almost 2 years since our last date night haha!!!

 

So we narrowed down our search to GA, TN, and FL. I didn’t have anything pulling me towards FL so we crossed that off quickly. TN was crossed off next as although its pretty and further south, we aren’t the least bit familiar with it. GA was the best and obvious choice. I was born and raised in the Atlanta area and still have a lot of friends and family there. My husband was raised in south GA, but the job market and housing market is not great there for him, plus that holds bad memories as he went through a lot in that area. So Atlanta area was the winner!!!

 

Back in November, we began the process of my husband applying to jobs. He had to have filled out our 50 applications, but we weren’t hearing anything back! He has lots of experience, has gotten rewards at work, and has a higher degree than many people in his field, but no one was calling! We went ahead and started fixing up our house to sell, we painted a few rooms, sanded our back porch, and removed the dated wallpaper in the laundry room. And began de-cluttering!

 

Then we got a call in February.  It was for a part time job, but it was at the hospital my husband REALLY wanted to work at. If you are familiar with the Atlanta area, then you know it is very busy and has a lot of traffic. Both things my husband wanted to avoid. BUT it was super important to us to be in a good school system and close to my family members which meant we were praying hard for this one hospital to call. And they DID!!!! Out of over 50 different applications he put in, the one we wanted the most called to schedule an interview!!!!

 

The interview went great, but the only problem was the job was not full time hours which meant a pay cut. We did the math and with my income, we knew we could make it work. We decided to go ahead and put our house on the market so if the job came through, we would be ready. And then we waited. We heard nothing back for over a week. During that time, THREE more calls came in asking my husband to set up interviews. Another week went back and no call back from his dream job. We were disappointed, but we knew God had it in control. Then, out of the blue, over two weeks after his interview, they called and offered him a FULL TIME job at the hospital he really wanted!!!! One week later, our house was under contract!

 

This whole process has been exhausting, stressful, and nerve racking, but it helped teach me again how important it is to trust God and not to make plans because it is all up to him! Now we are in serious packing mode as we leave in a little over a week!!! Luckily, my AMAZING in-laws are coming up from south GA to help us move and get settled in. The drive is going to be rough though as its 9hrs and my oldest son gets badly car sick and my youngest son hates the car. Plus, the baby is still nursing and REFUSES a bottle so we are going to stop often so I can nurse him. At least my daughter loves the car and hopefully leaving super early will make things a bit easier.

 

Needless to say, my life is a bit crazy right now. I won’t be taking on any new personal training clients/nutrition clients or hosting any Jamberry Parties for awhile. I have also put a hold on advertisers on this website and the facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/workingathomemoms ) starting this Friday until May. I’m so sorry for any trouble this causes anyone. If you need a personal trainer, I have a few great ones I can recommend until I’m back to working again.

 

If you have traveling and moving tips to share with me, please please please post them below! My kids are 4 1/2, 3 and 9 months so I’m happy to have any tips to make this process easier!!! For those in the Atlanta area, I can’t wait to meet you all in person and thank you so much for following my blog! I’ll be renting in the Conyers area, while looking to build in Walton County. Share your tips with me on home building, finding schools, finding churches, and fun kids activities in that area!! I’ll try to keep everyone updated as best I can. Thank you for your support and baring with me during these big changes <3

Dana

Blog Link Parties

11404_10205621130676317_4834179443480644860_nHappy Monday!!! Call me crazy, but Monday is actually one of my FAVORITE days of the week!! I know, I know, I’m weird haha. The reason is though my family has a flipped schedule from everyone else as my husband works Fri-Monday. And night shifts! So he sleeps all day, works all night. Come Monday I’m so excited because it means I have help putting the kids to bed!! Let me tell you, putting a 4 1/2, 3, and 7 month old to bed by myself would make for a fabulous episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Especially on nights like last night where it is super windy so my oldest two did not want to sleep. Extra coffee for me today!!!

I’m using my coffee time today to mingle on some great blogs!! I highly suggest everyone go check out these fabulous blog link parties!! It’s a great way to spend your Monday Coffee Time!!

Monday Link Parties:

Create With Joy

 

Moms The Word

Strangers And Pilgrims On Earth

The Modest Mom Blog

What Joy Is Mine

A Proverbs 31 Wife

I Should Be Mopping

Flour Me With Love

The Life Of Faith

A Blossoming Life

 

Tuesday Link Parties

Time Warp Wife

Time To Sparkle

Our Home Away From Home

Cornerstone Confessions

http://timewarpwife.com/

http://www.growinghomeblog.com

http://www.astrollthrulife.net

http://www.adelightsomelife.com

http://www.hopestudios.blogspot.com/

http://teachingwhatisgood.com/

http://www.stonegableblog.com

http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com

http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net

http://funkypolkadotgiraffe.blogspot.com/

http://myuncommonsliceofsuburbia.com

http://www.carolynshomework.com

Wednesday Link Parties

Handy Man, Crafty Woman

Ginger Snap Crafts

Ducks ‘n a Row

A Peek Into My Paradise

We are THAT Family

Milk And Cuddles

To Love Honor and Vacuum

Things I Can’t Say

Whole Hearted Home

Mama Buzz

Thursday

A Handful Of Everything

The Crafty Blog Stalker

Have A Daily Cup Of Mrs Olson

A Glimpse Inside

Saving 4 Six

Bloom Designs

Domesblissity

Jordan’s Onion

Graced Simplicity

Serving Joyfully

Living Well Spending Less 

FRIDAY

http://christianmommyblogger.com/

http://www.sarahtitus.com/

http://www.answerischoco.com/

http://romantichome.blogspot.com/

http://www.atkinsondrive.com/

http://www.thejennyevolution.com/

http://whipperberry.com/

http://www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/

http://tidymom.net/

http://www.sunscholars.com/

http://www.123homeschool4me.com/

http://b-inspiredmama.com/

http://www.simplysweethome.com/

http://www.dearcreatives.com/

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/

http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/

http://thebestblogrecipes.com/

http://lifeasweknowitbypaula.blogspot.com/

http://www.myturnforus.com/

http://www.craftyspices.com/

http://chiconashoestringdecorating.blogspot.ca/

http://too-much-time.com/

http://www.iheartnaptime.net

SATURDAY

http://faithalongtheway.com/

http://www.pamspartyandpracticaltips.com

http://www.littlemisscelebration.com

http://cookingwithruthie.com

http://www.raisingmemories.com

http://piecedpastimes.blogspot.com

http://www.classyclutter.net

http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/my_weblog/

http://tatertotsandjello.com

http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/

http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

SUNDAY

Pams Party & Practical Tips

Silver Pennies

Barbie Swihart

http://www.onemoretimeevents.com

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com

http://www.flamingotoes.com

http://www.niftythriftythings.com

http://www.lifeonlakeshoredrive.com/

http://www.pinkwhen.com

http://2crochethooks.com/

http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com

http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com

http://boogieboardcottage.blogspot.com/

http://www.3littlegreenwoods.com

http://www.creativejewishmom.com/

Dana

How I Save Over $1000 Per Month

save er monthFor many people, money is tight right now and especially for those families on a single income. When our family grew and we needed a new car, I found that we were living paycheck to paycheck with not a single dime extra. My husband couldn’t work more as he was a full time student, and with 3 young kids it would not have made us any more money for me to return to work as the childcare for 3 kids is crazy expensive. So I began to look at how we could save money each month. You actually have lots of ways to do this and it can add up to quite a bit of money over time! First and foremost, make a budget and stick with it!!!

 

Groceries:

This was where most our money went each month. We were spending about $250 per week for a family of 5, plus eating out at least once a week. My goal was to reduce this down to about $400 per month giving us a savings of $600. Here is how I did it.

*I planned out our meals for the entire month, wrote them all down on a notepad on the fridge

*I made sure that we had a veggie night at least twice a week (meat is expensive, but you can get protein in the form of beans)

*We had a leftovers night once a week to clear out our fridge and pantry

*I switched up where I was grocery shopping. We have an Aldi’s about 25 minutes away and I go there twice a month. I save a lot this way!

*Freezing foods! I buy cheese and meat in bulk and freeze it. 10557459_10152408716339576_1367961862174007812_n

*I stick with canned and frozen veggies

*I always buy the generic brands of foods

*I cook from scratch things like spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, biscuits, muffins etc

*For my kids, I make a huge batch of muffins for them for breakfast and keep them in the freezer

*Fruits are either bags of apples and bananas or canned fruit

*For seafood, we go with frozen swai. Very cheap and delicious.

*Make a list for the grocery store and stick with it. If its not a necessity, don’t buy it

*Use cash!!! We take our grocery money out of savings each month and put it in an envelope. When that money is gone, we are out of luck. This helps us stick to our budget!!!

Check out my Healthy Eating on A Budget Plan to get meal plans, recipes, grocery lists, shopping tips, saving suggestions and more!!!

 

Utilities

WATER

Where we live the price of water is VERY expensive. It is 5 times the price of at our previous home so this took some getting use to. Here are tips to cut your water bill

*Take showers not baths

*Only run the dishwasher when it is full

*Do not hand wash dishes, that uses more water

*Never leave the water running

*Make sure your washer is full when you do a load of clothes.

ELECTRIC

Electricity is where many people spend a lot of money. Here are some ways to reduce your bill.

*Unplug your appliances such as computers, TV’s, coffee pots, toasters, etc when they are not be used

*Only keep the lights on in the room you are in.

* Add weather stripping to any doors that aren’t sealed tight.

*Use natural light from the windows whenever possible

*Turn your air off during the summer and open the doors and windows

*If you have a fireplace, use that as often as possible during the winter

*Skip all the Christmas lights during winter and go with non electricity using decorations. Use battery powered lights in your windows for a classic Christmas look without the high bill

*Use curtains and blinds. Keep them shut to help cool the room down, and keep them open to allow the sun to warm it up.

*Use your washing machine on the cold mode as it uses less energy

*Dry your clothes, towels, blankets on a clothes line during the summer instead of using the dryer

*For small meals, use your toaster oven or microwave instead of your oven as this will consume about half the power

 

cut cableCable/Internet/Phones

Cut the cord on cable! You can spend less than $20 a month by subscribing to Hulu and Netflix. Netflix provides ton of shows for kids plus full seasons of shows for adults. If you want to watch current shows, Hulu posts them the day after they air on TV. Great way to still watch your favorite shows but save money each month.

Check out different internet providers in your area for the BEST deal. Sometimes switching a provider can save you a lot of money. If you don’t use internet daily, consider cutting that all together and instead visiting the library or an internet café when you need to.

Phone bills are very expensive, especially if you don’t look at the fine print. Many providers charge you insurance and other fees you did not agree too. Make sure you are using all your minutes, if not reduce your plan or consider switching to a provider with a cheaper plan. Check into cutting your data usage too as that can save a lot. Many plans charge one price for the entire month.

Clothes/Toys

Consider shopping for your kids clothes twice a year at Consignment Sales. Most large cities have them and you can also sell your used clothing and toys there too. Another option is online yard sales. I use this for selling my kids clothes and usually will put one size in a giant trash bag and sell the bag for $20. That gets someone an entire season of clothing for $20!!! We usually buy all our clothes new from Kohls, with two boys we pass them down. I always look online for a 30% off and free shipping coupon. Using those allows me to spend about $100 for all 3 kids each season.

For toys make sure to check out local consignment shops. We have quite a few in our town and most the toys in there are still in boxes totally unused! It’s a great deal and then we just donate the toys after they are done with them or re-sell them

Cars

The truth of the matter is, cars cost a lot of money! You have gas, insurance, plus upkeep on your vehicles!

*For insurance, make sure to check out all the different providers for the best deal. Pay your payments twice a year vs monthly to save money.

*Don’t buy a new car! Always go with used and instead of trading yours in, sell it outright as that gets you more money. If you can get by with using one car, downgrade! That will save you a lot of money each month.

*Gas is expensive, especially if you drive a larger vehicle and drive often. Consider the costs when you are going places and carpool whenever possible. budget your life

 

More Ideas To Help You Save

*Start a garden

*Grow your own herbs

*If you family has land and enjoys eggs, consider having chickens

*Skip going to the movies and use Redbox

*Sell extra books and clothes on ebay

*Cut your families hair yourself (I do this for my husband and three kids!)

*Use dish soap and vinegar for cleaning instead of expensive products

*Make your own soaps, cleaners, and detergents

*Use up items in your pantry and fridge

*Use coupons

*Order items like diapers, wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels from Amazon

*Have money from your check put into your savings account automatically each month

*Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page

*Don’t use credit cards

*Make one extra house payment a year and reduce your mortgage by 8 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dana