No Spend September

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September means back to school and a renewal for many to turn the page. With that in mind, I thought September would be a good month for finances to be re-worked so to speak.

Quick Backstory: Because of the kind of health insurance we have, it didn’t cover all of my needs as well as the baby’s when I was pregnant. In addition, there were extra tests I needed during my pregnancy and more doctor’s appointments than usual and so we are still paying on medical bills from last year. Add to that, my husband had an emergency room visit during that time last year due to an allergic reaction he developed from taking a doctor-prescribed medication. ER visits are a cost onto themselves.

Suffice to say, we have all these 2017 medical bills that we are still paying for and we would like to make more headway with these. So a few weeks ago, I brought up the idea of a “No Spend September” to my husband and he was on board!

Basically, we are only spending money on “needs”, not “wants”.

We are spending money on:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Insurance (car, health, etc…)
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Groceries
  • Other bills not listed above

We are not spending money on:

  • Eating out
  • Random purchases
  • Anything else that is not a need

Any money saved this month, will be directed towards these medical bills.

Anybody else doing a “No-Spend September”?  🙂

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New Year, New Baby!

IMG_0318Happy New Year everyone!!!

Can’t quite believe it is 2018, though. I remember when it was 1999 and about to be 2000, and everyone was freaking out buying bottles of water and extra batteries, in case something was going to happen. Lol…  🙂

Well, onto the exciting part! My baby girl is here!!!!!

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I am now the proud mama of two beautiful girls and feel so blessed. My husband and I are so thankful and Christmas was definitely extra special, that’s for sure!

I am also tired from taking care of a newborn, so again, apologies if I haven’t commented on your blog, or haven’t posted on here quite as often as I would like. But this is my season of life right now and I am rolling with it, albeit with massive cups of coffee  😉

How have you guys been? Let me know!

Currently: Baby Is Almost Here Edition

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It is almost Thanksgiving and I am ready to eat all the food. And watch the Macy’s Day Parade. And of course watch football. And eat more food. Yup, that is how we roll in our household  🙂

Also of course, we are on baby watch. Babies notoriously come whenever they want to and due dates, at the end the day mean nothing. When babies decide they have had enough of being in the womb and want to make their debut and see what all the fuss is about, is your actual due date, lol…

That being said, this mama is plumb tired. I waddle, I don’t walk. My ankles are always swollen and some days I have the energy of a gnat.

So, this will be my last post for a while. I need to get ready for our new addition with the little energy I have left. I hope to be able to blog a post here and there in December, but that will just all depend on how well we are all managing with a newborn and a 7 year-old in our household  🙂

I will still try and comment on blogs when I can

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!!!

-Mackenzie

 

My 2017 Goal of Wellness: The Highs and Lows

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Back in January of this year, I wrote a post entitled “2017: The Year of Wellness”. In this post I described how setting goals just doesn’t work for me because I end up breaking them by February and then getting down on myself for not realizing all of my resolutions.

Instead I chose a word, just one word, to encompass what I wanted to accomplish holistically for myself, for the year 2017. And I choose the word: Well.

Be Well. Feel Well. Live Well.

I wanted to be well physically and considering that I lost 30 pounds in 2016, I definitely wanted to continue down this path and become a healthier version of myself.

I wanted to be well emotionally. I wanted to get into yoga and do meditation on a regular basis. I also wanted to continue to minimize the items we had in our apartment and pare down the clutter, which in excess, can give me anxiety.

Finally I wanted to well financially. Sell some stuff, save some money, pay off some debt. Do what needs to be done.

Those were items that I wanted to continue to work on during the course of 2017 and always remember to be well.

How did I do and why I am writing this in November when we still have technically two months left in the year?

Bet you know the answer!  😉

Yup, because of my pregnancy and the baby who will making their debut in the next several weeks!

When we found out that I was pregnant in late Spring, certain things had to be gently laid aside and that totally makes sense in the grand scheme of things. For example, I kept up my daily meditation until my morning sickness kicked in and it was all I could do to stay functioning. The exhaustion mixed with the constant nausea made it impossible to pay attention to anything, let alone meditation or even attempting to do any yoga.

I did walk whenever I could and continue to try to walk now, but I am in the waddling stage and I can’t go very far for too long of a period, but I try to do what I can.

With the exception of crazy cravings, I do continue to try to eat healthy.

I have done really well in the decluttering and minimizing aspects that I wanted to accomplish this year. You can read more about that here and here.

With the help of my husband, we did get rid of a lot of things that just were not conducive to the kind of clutter-free living that we were desiring. I am a huge bookworm and I made myself honestly look at the books that adorned my shelves and posed the value question. “Do I get value out of this?” “Am I really going to read this book again?” If the answer was no, we sold the books. And this is just one example of items that we got rid of.

We did pay off some bills this year and our savings account is chugging along, I am happy to say!

Be Well. Feel Well. Live Well.

I believe that I still lived my year of wellness for 2017 even though I’ve been pregnant for most of it. You have to be healthy physically and emotionally for your baby that is growing inside of you. Wellness is a part of your life even if you may not realize it when you are living for two people.

And I realize that there is still time to go before 2017 is over and I could have written this follow-up post at the end of December or the beginning of January, but I am being proactive because I already know that once the baby is here, blogging will fall down the list of priorities and I wanted to share this with you before that happens!  🙂

How have you guys done with your intentions for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Currently: The Farmer’s Market Edition

We are approaching the end of October and here in California, Mother Nature hasn’t received the memo that the seasons have changed and that it is no longer Summer. Today marked our 3rd straight day of triple digit temperatures. Good grief, right? Everybody else is running through leaves and wearing scarves already, and we are over here drinking gallons of water, lathering ourselves in SPF 700 sunscreen, and blessing whomever created the air conditioner. The weather-people who smile on our television sets, standing in front of green screens with our cities listed on them, have promised us that the heat will dissipate, so we’ll see…  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Our trip to the local farmer’s market!

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We picked up some great stuff, including the best pumpkin seeds I’ve ever had! Apple Pie-Spiced Pumpkin seeds are my new favorite thing, and these did not last long in our house!  And the strawberries were so good! I used some of them to make Strawberry Muffins, and let me tell you, those were yummy as well!

One of my big 3rd trimester cravings (besides barbecue potato chips  🙂 ) is strawberries. I seriously cannot get enough of them! So these strawberries were definitely put to good use!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Bad news in general. Every day is bloody awful. Is there like, a “happy news” channel we all can subscribe to? I think our brains are overloaded by the sheer madness of everything…

On The Healthy Living/Pregnancy Front: As I mentioned above, my serious cravings have been for strawberries and barbecue potato chips, although not eaten together because, ewwwww… I am officially 8 months pregnant and when I look straight down, I can no longer see my feet, so there’s that  🙂 We just purchased the car seat for the baby last week so things are starting to come together!

On The Minimalism/Decluttering Front: Definitely, definitely working on this! If you missed my latest post on decluttering, you can read it here.

In Other News: I recently finished this book about Eleanor Roosevelt.

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I originally purchased this book last year at our local library’s book sale for 25 cents. Yes, you read that right: 25 cents. Then as you know, life happens and then the whole “I keep meaning to read this book” thing kept happening, and finally I hunkered down and read it. It took almost three weeks to finish because I don’t have a lot of free time to read and also the book was over 600 pages, which is probably what inhibited me from starting it in the first place.

But this book, which chronicles Eleanor’s life in the White House while her husband Franklin was president for the years 1932-1938, was really, really informative and honestly, really good. I am a great admirer of Eleanor’s and I have previously read her autobiography. She did so much as First Lady and really tried to help the people she felt were being forgotten during the Great Depression. She also tried to help pass an Anti-Lynching bill during a time when that senseless act of murder was still a component to instill fear in the Deep South.

This book was a great read and I definitely want to read this author’s other books on Eleanor Roosevelt that take place before and after this particular time period.

How has October been for you guys?  🙂

Life Is Short

I actually didn’t know if I was going to write this post or not. I hemmed and hawed and finally decided to write it out because keeping it inside helps no one, myself included.

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By now you all have heard the events that transpired in Las Vegas this past Sunday night. As a nation, we are still reeling from the tragedy and the news continues to bombard our psyches and our heart.

Well, for our family, Sunday night was a difficult one.

My husband went to Las Vegas Sunday evening for a business trip. He had meetings scheduled there for the next day. My daughter and I were home here in California.

And then I received a phone call, a phone call no one ever wants to get.

My husband called me and told me that there were shootings going on and that there was chaos and no one knew where the shots were coming from, and that him and his boss, were literally running for their lives.

I can’t even begin to describe my feelings in that moment. I am at home with my daughter, 7 months pregnant with our second daughter, and feeling like my world was starting to slip away from me.

To make matters worse, my husband didn’t have that much battery life in his phone so he had to call me in like, 30 second intervals. At one point, him and his boss were hiding in the bushes, not knowing where the shots were even coming from. There was panic and everyone was running and fleeing. A lady who was running in front of my husband tripped and fell, and then my husband tripped and fell over her. Everyone helped each other up, and everyone kept running.

I also was on the phone back and forth with my husband’s boss’s wife, because his boss lost his cell phone and had no way to get into contact with his wife. Since my husband’s cell phone battery was getting lower and lower, I ended up calling/texting her with updates.

Sometime in the wee hours of Monday morning, the Las Vegas police stated that there was only one gunman and that he was dead. I let my husband know, as I had been attached to my phone for all the latest updates.

At that point, him and his boss were able to make their way back to their hotel rooms without further incident.

Needless to say, I was very emotional and gave my husband the biggest hug I could when he came home Monday evening.

My story has a happy ending, but there are so many families hurting right now, that cannot say the same thing. My heart breaks for all the victims and their families.

I am not going to get super political here, but as a country we need to do better. WE NEED TO BE BETTER. These mass shootings have to STOP. We have to come together and pass better legislation.

This hit too close to home for me…

Are Nesting and Minimizing Compatible?

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My answer is yes.

But before I give my whys, lets define the term “nesting” for those not in the know. Here are two similar definitions from two different websites:

“Nesting is the act of preparing your home for your baby’s arrival, often fueled by big bursts of energy late in pregnancy”. – BabyCenter.com

“Nesting is the urge to clean and organize during pregnancy…to get your home ready for your new baby”. -AmericanPregnancy.org

Basically you are getting your home ready for your beautiful baby and making sure everything is ready to go when you come home with your new bundle of joy. Diapers at the ready? Check. Bottles ready to go? Check. Piles of paperwork that needs to be sorted through? Check. Wait. What?

Yes, I am in the nesting phase. I am making lists of what we need for the baby since it has been 7 years since my daughter was born so we are basically starting from scratch. I am slowly accumulating what we need and getting ready for our new arrival in a couple of months.

But…

I am also decluttering and minimizing things that have absolutely nothing to do with the impending shift in our family dynamic.

I am cleaning out closets. I am sorting through drawers. I am going through mountains of paperwork that seem to have accumulated over time. I am getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose or are useful.

I am cutting out the crap.

And it is not just because of hormones and the whole nesting vibe that comes on about this time during pregnancy.

I am doing it because it needs to be done.

I am well aware of the sleep-deprivation and major life adjustment that comes with a newborn and the first few months of a parent’s life. I remember all too well that phase with my daughter, and there are days when you literally are in survival mode and wonder when was the last time you ate a meal.

With a baby and my older daughter to take care of, there will be zero time to declutter stuff that shouldn’t be here in the first place. There will be no time to minimize and be intentional about what is occupying unwanted space in our home.

So I am doing it now.

When I do get a burst of energy, I am tackling a project. When I need to take a break,  I take a break. But when the next burst of energy comes, I am in minimize-mode and getting things done. We live in a small apartment and anything extra that has no use can make our abode feel very overwhelming quite fast.

Any tips or tricks you have when it comes to minimizing your stuff? I’d love to hear about it!

Currently…The End of Summer Edition

Hellooooooo September!  🙂

I can’t believe we have reached this point in the calendar year, yet here we are! Although, the temperatures here in Southern California were undeniably hot and yucky. Yes, yucky. We had a crazy heat wave here every day with absurd temperatures. Lots of 100°days and grouchy people everywhere. See, our summers here are pretty normal but around this time of year, Mother Nature doesn’t get the memo that the thermostat is supposed to go in the other direction. Ahhhhhhh life…

Oh well, it has cooled off from the insanity of last week, but the month is still young and I am guessing we will be back to praising whomever created air conditioning once again  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: The book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner.

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I loved this book and I get why everyone raves about it  I had to wait a few weeks until my request came in at the library but it was worth it. Definitely a must-read!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Every single day, there being a news story concerning the person occupying the White House. Not going to get political here but I am exhausted by the sheer madness of what continues to headline our news stories. *sigh*

On The Healthy Living/Pregnancy Front: Trying to eat as healthfully as possible and to drink enough water and stay hydrated. Pregnancy is one of those things where something sounds good one day, and then the next day, you’re like “bleh!”  🙂 Cherry frozen yogurt has been my newest craving, and in this warm weather, it hits the spot!

Also, a friend gifted us some baby clothing that they were no longer using as their daughter is now in the toddler stage. This gift was truly a blessing!

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We are literally starting over with this baby and all the accoutrements that they need and require as my daughter is 7 years old and any baby stuff she had has long since found another home.

And yes, I am having a girl!!!

On The Minimalism/Decluttering Front: I am trying to, on days when I actually have energy, to organize and declutter things because once the baby arrives, there will be zero time for any of that.

I needed a container to hold some things but I didn’t want to purchase one. So I took a shoebox and covered it with scrapbook paper to make it pretty and voila! I have a container that didn’t cost me any extra money out-of-pocket! #frugal

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In Other News: School is back in session which has been an adjustment to say the least. We are back to a schedule which after the looseness of summer, has taken all of us some getting used to. I figure by the end of the month, we should be doing all of this, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy   😉

How is life going for you these days? Are you ready to transition into Fall?  🙂

Applesauce Muffins

Pregnancy cravings are real, yo…

I had a taste for homemade muffins which in my opinion, are better than store-bought primarily because they don’t have a list of unpronounceable ingredients. Seriously, it is just a freakin’ muffin, not a science experiment!  🙂

Anyways, I’ve had this muffin recipe for years and let me tell you, it totally satisfied my cravings and my husband and daughter ate ’em right up as well. Pregnant or not, these muffins will not last long, because they are that delicious!

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Applesauce Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • I cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup nuts chopped (I did not add this, as I hate nuts in muffins, cookies, etc…)
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. all spice
  • ½ tsp. salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Cream butter.
  • Blend in white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs.
  • Add nuts, cinnamon, baking soda, all spice, and salt. Mix well.
  • Add flour and applesauce. Make sure everything is mixed together well.
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Enjoy!!  🙂

So, I Have Some News To Share…

Yesterday, I shared on Instagram my big news…

I’m pregnant!!!  🙂

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Yup, we have a new addition to our family coming later on this year! Can I tell you, my daughter is simply OVER THE MOON that she is going to be a big sister! She is super excited. She is also wise. I asked her if she will help with the baby’s poopie diapers and her response was, “No. I am not doing the poopie diapers. Daddy can do those. I will handle the clean ones”.  😀  Lol…

In terms of how I am feeling, I am feeling better than a couple of months ago when morning sickness slammed me and wouldn’t let up. I don’t think I ever thrown up so much in my life. (Sorry if that is too much info, but it is the truth!) The morning sickness was definitely worse this time around than with my daughter. Maybe because of my age or who knows, but I am oh so thankful that me and the porcelain throne are no longer on intimate terms 😉

I am currently in my 5th month and plugging along  I have already been through the “ice cream craving” phase. Cookies ‘n cream if you are interested 🙂  What I have a complete aversion to is garlic. I can’t eat it. I can’t smell it. I can’t even be around it. No garlic, absolutely zilch. Which sucks because I do like it, just the baby can’t seem to stand it. So that means no hummus, no pizza, no Italian food of any kind, etc… (Waaaaaaaahhhhh…..)

But Mexican food has been my jam! Thankful for living in Southern California where it is indeed plentiful and my cravings can be satisfied 🙂

So excited to share my news with you all!