Monday, January 23, 2017

Month 1 to financial freedom

So it's been almost a month. We installed Mint onto our phones and hooked it all up with our accounts. We began seeking some more personal help with budgeting, that dirty word.

We made appointments to chat with friends. (friends who had more money than us, or seem to be more financial well off than us) We asked them, what do you do and how can we get started.

Of course the information came fast and flooded our minds with too much information. So we started making appointments with those willing to help.

We just had our first appointment with friends who were 'expert's' with Mint. They were super helpful in tweaking our budgets and giving us tips on how to use Mint to our liking. They took a look at our receipts were were keeping and we noticed we didn't write on some of the receipts and we were not always sure what we bought from where. For instance something said Abby #52 on Mint, but we found no receipt. Another receipt said something about StoreCanoe for $7.41. Later we found out it was a coffee shop. So we found out it was very important to keep the receipts from new or obscure places. Also it is best to enter this information ASAP onto Mint and put it in the budget where it needs to go to track how much we have left. Bascially Mint just tracks where you spend your money. You get to put in your own budget amount like $50 coffee each month and then it's up to you to stay within that $50. If you need to go over, you must take money from another budget say "entertainment budget" and slide more money allowed to the coffee fund, taking money away from the entertainment fund. You must also keep your budget to zero. This was difficult to understand until someone showed us on Mint.

Now it's practice week. We left their house feeling better handle on things and we had a list of "to do's. Unfortunatley it's already day one and I didnt' do any of the to do's. Another good reason to set up a following check up date with each other or friends, so your honest about following through.

I hope by this week Sunday we will have done at least one thing on our to do list.

Here is a peek at our list this week:

To Do:
1. Cancel our overdraft (it doesn't help our credit and we just keep dipping into it)

2. Apply and open a line of credit at at least 1 other bank than our own, get quotes from at least 4 banks. (pick the one with the lowest interested rate, such as 3-5% -try to get this at least 10,000)
Do not take any money from it.
We learned it's great to have a line of credit and not use ANY of it. (raises your credit rating)

3. Make an appointment with our bank and let them know we were approved at 3-5% with such n such bank and can they lower our interest rate or should we jump ship to this other bank? Since we have a line of credit but the interest rate is too high.

4. Make decisions based on what our bank tell us to do. If our bank lowers our rate - great, pay it off at our own bank, but keep the line of credit open at the other bank and DO NOT use it. Just there as a credit raising plan.

5. If our bank says no, go back to the other bank with the lower interest rate and use that line of credit to pay off ours at our bank. That way we are paying a lower interest rate loan off.

6. Of course keep using MINT and keep receipts that are obscure or have more than one kind of thing on it. For instance, Walmart may have homeschool stuff, gifts for bdays and groceries, you want to see how to split those up in Mint, so keep that receipt until your done with Minting it!

7. Pay off existing credit card and line of credit debt. Always pay off the smallest debt first, so you can feel the progress of it. So if your Sears account is only $500 and your credit card is $1000, pay Sears first. You will feel awesome, your debt is gone and you will be motivated and determined all the more.

8. Make a goal in MINT for paying off debt and link it to my hubbys phone and my own.

9. Look into how much my accounts are costing me and if other banks let you have more than one account free of charge or nearly free?

10. Keep breathing, listening to Pod Casts and reading books about money, no matter how BORING I find it. Keep it up. Soon it will be fun, once you see progress... I am told! haha

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Financial freedom? Or enough money to pay bills?

It's Jan and that's resolution time. What did we pick for this year's resolution, yup - get out of debt and climb the ladder to financial stability. So here go - dive right in. First step - start listening to Money Pod Casts. Now I can hear words like Liquidy Ratio, Index Fund, Mutual Funds, Assets, Capital Employed, Dividends, Fixed Costs, FOB, IPOs, ETF, NPV, Share Capital, Restricted Funds, Working Capital and wait... my eyes glazed over and I can't function - off to Facebook or something...

Ok I'm back. Where was I? Oh ya and the dirty word, the filthy dirty word everyone says and very few know how to use the BUDGET! The problem most people have is not that they can't budget, but they don't have enough money to even budget with. So how does one save, climb out of debt and follow a budget, when most months your running out of money just to feed a family?

Well we are about to find out. Enjoy reading our journey on this process. Hopefully this will be a successful story and not a story of, "They tried, they failed, they are off to jail."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Emotions - the non verbal comunicator part 1

So many preschoolers go through so many emotions. They can be in a fit of giggles, and fall down into a storm of tears and all in a matter of a few minutes. What can we do as parents to help them through this stage of life? Yes, I said what can WE do to help THEM. You're the adult, so hopefully you have already learned how to handle your own emotions, or have you?

Take some time to watch your child closely one day. What and even record all the emotions they go through in one day, you will be amazed on how many different conflicting emotions they go through in one simple day. As adults, we have hard times dealing with our own emotions, but children haven't learned how to identify all their feelings yet. It may be difficult to talk about their emotions and children at this age haven't learned how to cope with them. It doesn't' help when adults tell children they shouldn't feel that way. Have you heard yourself say,
 "Settle down."
"Quit acting like a baby."
"Stop it!"
"Be quiet, don't' act like that."

What does the child hear? It could be interpreted as,
"Don't feel like that!"
"Don't show your anger."

So what's a better way for adults to help little ones control their emotions?
Here are something to think about...

Isn't it nice to know someone understands you and hears you, especially when you are upset? Adults can create this open, trusting relationship by doing a few adjustments to how we respond to children.
When we hear little Jonny melting down and saying,
"I hate you!", or he throws a toy, and shouts, "I don't like playing with you!"

We as adults can see his physical reactions, his words are letting us know how he feels. We detect that he is angry and frustrated and clearly has no idea on how to handle this. So instead of saying,
"Jonny! Don't' talk like that!"
Parents can identify with his feelings and validate them and then give him information and ideas on what he should do.

For instance it may be more helpful to say,
"I can see your pretty angry and frustrated. I can't let you throw your toy, let's find another way to express your feelings that doesn't hurt anyone."

As a mom of 3 boys, I've had to be pretty inventive on teaching my boys how to express anger. We've gone outside for quick runs, screamed in pillows, pounded on playdough, jumped on our indoor personal trampoline (we have gone through 3 of them in 6 years), pounded fists into mattresses etc.

Most times, just a firm hug has my boys collapse into tears, letting out their emotions safely and bonding us as well.

It maybe hard to hug the 'unhuggable.' But it is all the more necessary to show love to a child who is hurting, even if the hurt comes as anger. You know your child and through trial and error, you will find out what each child needs to calm their anger.
Once they calm down, you can teach them what to say and do next time they feel this emotion. Sometimes picture symbols of what to do can help, especially with boys, as they are more visually inclined than girls, in general.

Sometimes parents feel bad, when they made a decision that sets the child off into a tantrum. Parents fear they will be judged for having a child who is creating a scene in public, therefore parents threaten, bargain, beg, yell, spank, or worse, give into the demands. By setting boundaries and validating the feelings, but stick to their word,they are stronger parents and they keep the child's self esteem and dignity intact.

I found validating feelings are the most effective way to calm a child's outburst. You can say,

"You look frustrated. I know you really wanted candy, after lunch, we can look at snacks."
"I see you're sad, when he's done playing with that toy, you can have a turn, I know it's hard to wait."
"You are sad to leave grandmas, I bet you can't wait to come back."
"I can see you're angry about leaving the park, we can come again tomorrow. Do you need a hug?"

By validating feelings, your not giving in to the demands. By actively listening and guessing at their emotions your not allowing the misbehaviour, but your sticking to your word. Children will respect your word and learn that you mean what you say and say what you mean. This will be invaluable to you as they grow older.

Don't worry so much about if your child is melting down in public, most likely your around other parents. I'll bet you thousands of dollars, it has happened to them at some or other in their lives with their own children. Most people are pretty empathetic; and who knows; maybe you can be the one who shows them how best to deal with a meltdown toddler.

I remember one time, my three year old was yelling at me in the supermarket and I picked him up, as he was yelling and wiggling, I said, "It's time to go, we will try again later." I left the cart of half filled groceries. As I was leaving the store, some random lady said to me,
"Your doing a good job mom."
I sheepishly smiled and said. "thank you," but tears started brewing and my throat got all choked up. I rushed to the car, placed my now crying child in his seat and cried a bit myself. It meant so much to hear that small support from her, like she knew what I was feeling. By the time we go home, he fell asleep and I felt better. We all need empathy sometime.

The milk was not bought that day - and we all survived.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

30 Ideas for Romantic Married Life

It's been a long time since I blogged. This year has been tougher than before and yet also the most hopeful and rewarding year. We lost our grandpa. My husband's father. My father in law. It was a long struggle health wise for him this year and he went in his sleep and peacefully without pain. We are grateful for his spirit in our lives over the years and he will be missed. He had many around him that loved him very much on his last days.

This all got me thinking about love and the importance of showing love. We all love people, some even love us back. Many of us have busy lives and it makes it harder for us to take the time to express our love. Ok I have a busy life and often will forget the small stuff. As I'm running the home and taking care of the children and working towards my degree, I have a difficult time with balance. Forgetting people's birthday cards, or not having time to make that special gift for the person who was weighing heavy on your mind. I find it especially hard to find time to be romantic with my husband. We are busy running the house and helping children, some days it feels like roommates and now so much lovers. So I decided to come up with a  nice easy list to find little ways to enhance your relationship.

Feel free to add your ideas on how to do slide in romance into your everyday life in-between.

1. Bring home flowers - easy, can be cheap if your in season.

2. Make coffee for the other, this is especially good if you don't drink it yourself

3. Leave a note on the laundry your other just folded - leave a flower, a thank you, anything.

4. Leave a note on bathroom mirror, nice foggy mirror or a post it with words of love. ex "your beautiful, your amazing, I know your going to have a great day!"

5. Text a funny face picture to them - or sexy pic, or send an email throughout the workday.

6. Plan a date night, organize a sitter and let them know so they can look forward to it.

7. Arrive home with their favourite take out

8. Plan a date night for them and their friends - let them have that night out without you.

9. Do the unexpected - fix that old broken door handle and tell them about it,

10. Serve dinner somewhere unexpected - the attic, outdoors, the living room - add candles for romance, even if the little kids are home - have them help. It will still be super special.

11. If possible, deliver a treat basket to their work or a coffee -drop it off yourself.

12. Fill a room with balloons or their car - cause ya awesome.

13. Pay attention to what they circle in a magazine and get it for them -surprise them.

14. Leave notes in their going away suitcase when they leave for business trips. Or a hot pic of yourself.

15. Pre-pay and preplan a dinner out. Pick the restaurant, the food, the wine etc. Arrange the sitter etc. They just show up and enjoy.

16. Go for a walk with your loved one and hold their hand. Say as little as possible, don't talk about bills, what needs fixing, the kids, just shuddup and hold your honey's hand.

17. Draw them a bath - not with a pencil, fill it candles, Epson salts, and their favourite music.

18. Make them a song, or play a DVD with their favourite song on it, let them know your dedicating the song to them.

19. A tender kiss -  Gently kiss the top of each closed eyelid of your beloved before planting a kiss on his/her mouth with the merest touch of your lips.

20. Breakfast in bed - get the kids to help

21. Cuddle in the morning, even if it's just throwing the snooze button. Be naked and cuddle

22. Send them something in the mail - a letter, a package, anything.

23. Take care of something your partner usually does - finish a chore they started, clean up before they wake up - if you don't normally do it - take some time off in morning to get the kids to school -your partner and your kids will be so excited about this little thing you do.

24. Change your morning alarm to a romantic song and let your lover know you did it for them.

25. Roll over in the morning and whisper something sweet in their ear like - I know you'll have a fantastic day - or I'll be thinking of your hands on me all day long.

26. Here is an idea that kids can help with and they will love it too. It is excellent as a romantic surprise idea too. Make a String Maze for your mate to find a small gift or token you have made or bought for them. You will need a ball of yarn or string. If the gift is small enough, start by winding the end of the string or yarn around it. Starting at the gift, unwind it all over your house (and yard, weather permitting) over and under and all around (Sh-h-h-h-h!) until it eventually leads to your sweetheart. They must follow the string (winding it up as they go) until they get to the end and the gift. This is especially fun in the morning before work.

27. Tell them what you appreciate about them - do it often!

28. Ask them to share their passion with you. If they have a hobby ask to see what they are doing and then shuddup and listen, ask questions and stay focused.

30. Have a tech free day - no cell phones, no TV's, no computers, just family time. We have rule in our home, you can't touch your phone in the morning before you touch each other! Go swimming, go for walks, just have a picnic in the living room and plays some games. Being together is my favourite gift.

Even if you do one of theses a month, you will find your life will become a bit more romantic, a lot more fun. Feel free to share your ideas or if you tried one of these and how it turned out.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Think on these things

Questions I have for myself as a parent..

What do we need to teach our young ones besides the ABC's?

Some things to think on. Did your parents teach you some essential life skills to be able to be a functioning, healthy, happy adult?

Some things specialists believe all children need to learn and many are not learning...

Children need to:

1. Need to be aware. Awareness is the key to relationship, social, personal health, problem solving, and communication.

2. Spiritual curiosity and growth. What is their life purpose. They have special gifts and limitations. Are you encouraging their gifts and attributes.

3. Personality. What is your personality, how is composed. Who is your true self?

4. Learn how to earn and keep self respect. Learn self esteem.

5. Tolerance. To build tolerance despite differences.

6. Encourage to identify their emotions and see them all as useful. Be able to use their emotions as guide posts to measure what I need right now. Use it as a guidance system.

7. Make use of guilt. Learn the root of it and how to deal with it and what it means. Learn how to differentiate between anger and frustration. They are different. Help accepting emotions as useful and how to use them.

7. Need to learn how to communicate and problem solve personally and socially. There are about 7 communication skills.

8. Learn how to grieve. They need to learn the 3 levels of grief and the fases of grief. We need to be able to grieve to have an understanding and how to see the process of bonding.

These are just some questions I have read about and wondered, how can I teach my children these things on a daily basis? Feel free to add your comments and ideas on how you are accomplishing this with your kids.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Power Struggles with a 3 year old

Power Struggles with the 3 year old…

Not all the tips work all the time. Kids change, we change. Moods are altered based on our sleep, support system, eating habits and more. Nothing will work always all the time. Except one thing, your love and patience.That is why is it best for us to keep reading and finding new information and new ‘tools for our toolbelt’ to use when we need to use them.

I’ve heard the words, “avoid power struggles” and I think it is better to say that you can’t avoid them, you can, however, diffuse them. We are the adults and they are the children. When kids act like 3 year olds, we need to make sure we don’t act like 3 years old too. You won't avoid emotional breakdowns, that is their age appropriate response. What we CAN control is our reactions, our own atmosphere. That is where the power struggles can end, with us.We have the ability to change their moods based on how we react to them. Don’t let the little 3 year old change your mood based on how they act. You can be the atmosphere that helps create the environment of peace and joy.

I find validating feeling at this age is super important and helps a lot when they have their ‘moments.’ They are brand new to this world and are learning every day from us. From how we treat other and ourselves as well. Don’t allow them to manipulate you into a power struggle for sure. Everytime! There is time enough for reasoning, discussions and arguments when they are a bit older and start to develop reasoning skills.Discussions and disagreements can be healthy for sure. and sometimes it’s absolutely in a parents right to say NO! Especially when it’s a safety issue. Diffusing power struggles means not getting involved into an argument that makes no senses and gets everyone upset. It’s feeding their desire to engage with you in whatever way that is,even if you're mad.

For example if your child is wanting to climb something unsafe and they begin to argue or whine about it. Don’t engage with reasoning with them. They are too young to talk them out of it. That is the beginning of a power struggle. Instead you say simple statement that make sense. “It’s too high, we can play somewhere else.” “It’s dangerous, choose another activity.” If they don't’ listen, you are in your right as a parent to gently pick them up and move them to another location to play. If they continue to run back again and again. You simple say, “We need to leave the park if you continue to run back to here.” And then FOLLOW THROUGH!

If you make statement about a choice you made, following through will build trust and a bond between you and your child. Let them cry as you gently pick them up and leave. It’s ok to follow through and be the adult. Trust your own parenting style and your own heart.

I tend to use a lot of humour with my youngest. I pretend I am a robot and tell him if he doesn’t comply, we will program our circuit to go home, Humour tends to make him laugh and forget about his mini power struggle he wanted to have. But I know my child and my own parenting style. Trust yourself and keep reading articles. Some work, some don’t and often only some of the time. SO change it up. It’s ok to change it up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Another children' book idea.

Instead I Was a MOM

I could done a LOAD of laundry
but instead I dumped a LOAD of trucks.

I could have made stew from SCRATCH
but instead I made a playdough from SCRATCH.

I could have WASHED the dishes up
but instead I WASHED toy cars up.

I could have WIPED the walls and counters
but instead I WIPED the etch a sketch clean.

I could have CLEARED the cupboard out
but instead I CLEARED my child's eyes.

I could have MADE my bed
but instead I MADE the planet Venus.

I could have folded my LONG line of clothes
but instead I sprayed water from a LONG line of hose.

I could have TOOK the garbage out
but instead I TOOK my son out.

I could have PREPARED lunches for tomorrow
but instead I emotionally PREPARED my son for tomorrow.

Today I could have WORKED and kept up with the HOUSE.
I could have cleaned, tidied, scrubbed and washed.
But instead I PLAYED, laughed, SANG and DANCED.

I know in the FUTURE, he won't remember if the house was CLEAN
But he will REMEMBER how he FELT when MOM was AROUND.

-Amanda Biden