Organizing Month 4 – Zen and the Art of Sorting Paper.

paper

Organizing Month 4

This year one of my goals was the get my house in order. To do that I am working my through the book “One Year to an Organized Life.” So far I have gotten thought the kitchen, bedroom, and garage. This month was tackling paper. Ok, I know it doesn’t seem like a lot compared to the mammoth garage clean out but for anyone who just waded through a mountain of paper to file there taxes knows this can be a monstrous task. It was also an emotional clean-up of sorts and really made me think of the reasons why I do things and how to do them better.

This months organization started off easy enough. I pulled together all the leftover bills, pay stubs and miscellaneous paper that had been lying around and gathered them up into a pile. A big pile. How long had I been letting this grow for? Week one was all about figuring why we organize or don’t organize our paper, what it says about us and our history. It seems funny that so much can be determined by the way we file our bills but there is always emotion attached to money and this is no exception.

Growing up I remember my dad filing all his expenses and deductions in a black and white composition book. When I first lived on my own I followed his lead and created a ledger where I meticulously recorded money in and money out. That all changed when I became a mom who worked full time. I just never seemed to have the time to file and records things properly. This resulted in overdrafts and late payment. I have since found a way to automate most of our bills, and now I record our transaction easily in an online budgeting program. (The modern day version of the composition ledger book my dad had.) What I realized during this time was that I felt overloaded with responsibility after having children and just simply didn’t want to deal with the bills and paperwork anymore. I felt overloaded and did not want to know where our money was going.pexels-photo-large

As my children got older and we still were running onto overdrafts and shortages I realize I have to get back to managing the finances but had difficulty being consistent until I discovered the online budget. If you are having difficulty getting control of your paper bills and expenses, maybe remove the “paper” and start doing things online.

Week Two the author moved into electronic accumulation, multi-tasking and delegating (outsourcing). This was a big deal for me. A working mom’s most prized resource is time. I know I don’t want to spend it sorting emails, and doing laundry. She makes the suggestion to outsource some tasks. This is starting to come into pay in my house as I no longer want to be “house elf,” (yes a Harry Potter reference) to my family. You can make use of the free chore chart to try this in your home.

The author also addresses two big emotional hurdles that I struggle with almost daily, multi-tasking and saying “no.” She goes into detail about what overdoing multitasking really does to you.

She recommends keeping a journal to records how you feel after multitasking. I discovered that I feel well…fried. I feel like if I stop being in constant motion then the tiredness will overwhelm me and I will never get up off the couch and never get anything done. When I reviewed my multi-tasking ways, I realized that this is the reason I crash on the couch and 8:00 pm and pretty much can’t get up again. I need the downtime to recover from a day of ridiculous multi-tasking mania.

The chapter also addresses the art of saying “no.” Here we go with the guilt again! Yes, everything I have to say no I am overcome with guilt. This is due to a codependent upbringing. For more on this check out my “It’s not a problem in you” post. I will not go into to much detail as I am trying to recognize and overcome this way of being. Only to say that I have said “no,” several times this month and have felt a bit less stress in my daily schedule.

The final week of the month we actually get down to sorting out paper and putting in place various systems to deal with paper clutter in the future. I set up hanging folders and sorted all my paper piles into the appropriate folder and discarded various envelopes, expired coupons and flyers that had been lying around.

I now check the mail daily and immediately trash anything that is junk mail. I also have stopped most magazine subscriptions that I never read and gotten rid of old manuals and warranties that we’re taking up space. I have also set up a system to wade through my emails and go through 10 emails a day. I unsubscribe, delete and sort at least 10 emails a day. (I get an average of 25 daily) It’s not perfect but it’s a start.

That’s the thing about paper (and electronic) clutter. If we deal with it from the start then it doesn’t get a change to accumulate. As for the emotions around being less of a  multi-taking and saying “no” more often, it is like a muscle and if we start using it a little everyday, it will get stronger. We just have to start.

 

 

Over the Moon Link Party #24

Let’s Party

Hey Inbetweenmoderation readers. As you can see I have joined up with some friends to bring you my first ever Link Party. Link parties are a great way to find new blogs, interesting topics and share some of your own posts as well. I have discovered so many great recipes, blogs and posts this way and I am overjoyed to bring this to you. I know you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Over the Moon Link Party

Welcome to the Over The Moon Link Party #24

 

Welcome to the Over the Moon Link Party!  You can link up any family friendly posts without profanity. Have a post you want to give more reach? Need some comments or shares? Want a post that’s close to going viral takeoff like a rocket? Now is the time to link it up!

We pin EVERY link you leave and may even share on other sites as well! So come on in, be one of the first to link up, and remember to go Over the Moon with us!

We’d like to welcome Melissa from In Between Moderation to the Over the Moon Link Party!

Statistics for Over the Moon Link Party #23 saw 327 pageviews, 122 links, and 157 clicks on those links.

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Be A Kid Again. 5 Ways To Have A Child Like Summer

being a kid again this summerAdulting is hard. Paying taxes, earning an income, maintaining a home.  It’s hard to work all day  then June Clever it when we get home. With the end of the school year approaching and the beginning of summer right around the corner, I think back to childhood and summer break that seem to last forever. One of  the cruelest jokes of being an adult is losing our summer break. As an adult we lose this precious play time and are told to work the whole 12 months of the year. Since I am looking forward to a relaxing, fun summer, filled with freedom and frolicking (well, in between work of course,) I have decided to recapture that childlike summer feeling. I invite you to do the same, at least for a weekend.

(Ok, I’m getting a bit dramatic now) But seriously, tap into your childlike creativity, find something you want to do just for the pure fun of doing it. For at least a weekend leave your adulting behind and think like a child again. Here are some ways I intend to do this:

  1. Go watch the boys of summer and catch a live baseball game –  Even if you can’t take in a Major League Game, you can always cheer on the local t-ball team that plays down the block. Nothing is funnier and more childlike then seeing a 4 year old throwing their baseball glove carelessly in the air as the ball rolls by them. Priceless!
  2. Go get some ice cream with your kids – No, I don’t mean the low-fat fro-yo, I’m watching my weight version of ice cream. The good stuff! You probably can’t do this all the time but once in a while get a cone full of real ice cream that melts in the summer heat, drips down your arm and tastes divine.
  3. Break out the sidewalk chalk – Channel your inner Burt (from Mary Poppins,) get on the ground and start drawing. Make a hopscotch board, a winding path, or race track. Ok maybe you can’t jump into the picture like Mary and Burt did. But you can totally pretend!
  4. Play Marco/Polo – Remember the summertime pool games you played as a kid. Try them out as adult. You might not look the coolest doing an underwater handstand, but you will defiantly have more fun.
  5.  Enjoy the great outdoors –  Remember all those summer cookouts as a kid where you would just run around and play as the sun sets. Then you made s’mores by the camp fire and looked at the stars. You can still do that if you take the time. Take one evening, make some s’mores on the grill  and sit outside with the kids trying to find the big dipper in the night sky.

I know we can’t act like a kid all the time but sometimes tapping into your inner child is the perfect way to put life into perspective and rediscover what is truly important.

Healthy Tomato Bruschetta

Healthy Tomato BruschettaHere is another simple recipe just in time to us those summer tomatoes.

Can I even call this recipes? Maybe they should just be “put two things in a bowl and stir?” Anyhow, this is a nice, refreshing Tomato Bruschetta that I make when I got way to many tomatoes in my CSA vegetable box.

You can use any variety you would like. I have used a few pints of cherry and grape tomatoes in the past. When using one on the larger side, like a beefsteak, just be sure to remove the seeds and squeeze out some of the water. If not they will make the mixture watery. Be sure to add enough salt to bring out the flavors of the herbs and tomato. You can enjoy this over roasted chicken, or on some pita chips. You can even create your own crackers using parmesan cheese. To keep this a completely veggie dish try it on top of sliced cucumber “cracker.”

tomato bruschetta
Tomato Brushetta
Print Recipe
Fresh, healthy and 21 day fix compliant. (1 green)
Servings Prep Time
6 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 10 minutes
tomato bruschetta
Tomato Brushetta
Print Recipe
Fresh, healthy and 21 day fix compliant. (1 green)
Servings Prep Time
6 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Chop tomatoes and place in the food processor. You can also use 2 pints of cherry/grape tomatoes.
  2. Add garlic with the papers removed. Smash garlic using the side of a large knife. (See video)
  3. Add a handful if basil, adjust the amount to your taste.
  4. Finally place Italian seasoning salt and pepper in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is chunky. If it seems a bit watery. drain off excess water.
Recipe Notes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEhLo9EEZBI

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Stop financing your teens! Money advice for teens and 20 somethings

7 money tips for teens and 20 somethings

7 Tips For Teens and 20’s to find financial freedom

Guest post by: Patricia Sanders, a freelance writer. She is associated with Debt Consolidation Care Community. She loves to write on various topics, especially finance. Her writing gives useful suggestions and financial insight to solve their problems.

How can teenagers stay top of their finances?

It needs no mention that we all love money and love to spend it. What you must think is whether you would love to have a little money now or later? If you’re just in your teen’s or 20’s, knowing and understanding the significance of money is very crucial. Making the transition from a high school student to a college student can often become confusing. Apart from a lot of changes, there comes a huge amount of responsibility. You will start facing financial challenges and tackling them is your responsibility.

Save money successfully in your 20s?

Twenties is the right time to practice good financial habits. Because at this age, everyone should prioritize their money to make a smooth financial life. If you have a habit of spending more than what you earn, it would be really difficult for you to fight debt. The major reason that people incur debt is they don’t know how to live within their means. If you have a couple of credit cards in your hand and indulge in heavy shopping without thinking about future consequences, then you’re in trouble. Once you fall in debt, you’ll realize how difficult it is to get rid of it. It is better that you start building new habits to become a money saver.

Some good financial habits help you to stay financially independent not only in your 20’s, but throughout your life.

  1. Determine your cost of living

Make a clear list of the mandatory monthly expenses so that you get to know where your money is going. Things like transportation, utilities, parking school supplies, debt repayment will fall into this category. Once you get a clear picture of where your pennies are going, you can clearly understand the significance of managing your finances on your own.

  1. Set up a milestone

You should have some reasons to save money. Think of what do you want, your goals, a home, financial independence, or freedom from student loan debt? Take your first step and achieve them, one step at time. Your desire will inspire you to save money and thus you can build good money habits as well.

  1. Give yourself a deadline

Always fix a date by which you can meet your goal. This will give you a push to save money. Think about your goal once a day. This will motivate you can avoid big expenses and stay within your budget.

  1. Create a budget and modify accordingly

Budgeting helps you spend less than what you earn. This helps you to save more as well. As you spend less and save more, you incur less debts and even if you do incur some, you’ll have the money to pay those off. You’ll have to make a list of your income and your expenditures in order to create a budget. A budgeting calculator can help you prepare your budget. If required, you’ll have to analyze and also modify the budget from time to time due to the changes in your income and your spending.

  1. Use your brain

Sometimes, trick can help us to save money even on a tight budget. You just need to use your brain to find out some ways. For instance:

  • Couponing

Coupons are a great way of saving money. You can collect coupons from newspapers, magazines and even some websites, which allow you to download free coupons. You can use these coupons to buy items at a discount. Check out couponing websites, local couponing groups and even Facebook couponing communities for more information.

  • Using cash for shopping as much possible

One of the major reasons why people get into debts is credit cards. When you have a credit card in your hand, you can barely resist the temptation of buying something that catches your fancy. This is easy to do without thinking whether you need it. Instead, if you use cash for purchasing, you would not be able to overspend much, even if you want to. Carrying a limited amount of cash prevents you from overspending.

  • Eating homemade food

Eating out, ordering food or buying lunch can make your wallet considerably lighter. It is better for you to skip eating out, except for those very rare occasions when you want to go out to celebrate a special event. You should also carry a lunch bag to work so that you don’t need to buy food.

  • Setting up an automatic savings account

Set up an automatic savings account to avoid spending money on something else. You can ask your employer to directly deposit a certain amount of money from your salary into the savings account. Pay yourself before paying others. Start small with just 1%-2% of your salary. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll see how fast your money grows.

  1. Fight with debt

You should work on your financial obligations as soon as possible. The sooner you pay off your debts, the quicker you can start saving money. Try to pay the high-interest debts first.  Fix your credit card and student loan debts now.

  1. Give priority to your career

Take your job seriously because your profession will give you a smooth financial life at the age of 30. A good job is a steady source of income. Work hard and acquire advanced skills in order to stay financially secure in the long run.

Bottom lines

Remember, less is more. Become more disciplined and lower your expenditures as much as possible to save money. In addition, lower the usage of credit cards as these incur higher debts. This way you can discover your own path to handling money.

 

 

How My Help Was Hurting My Family

familyIt was one of those days when I felt like the worse mom ever, the worse wife ever. You know those days. When you come home from work, you have a splitting headache, the day was absolute crap and all you want to do is get home and cuddle your babies.

Then it happens. You enter the house, step over the toys, clothes and shoes strun about, head into the kitchen and stare at the pile of dishes in the sink. You proceed into the bedroom to change out of your work clothes and glimpse the two heaping mountains of laundry awaiting your arrival. Then your partner asks, ” What’s for dinner?” It’s an innocent enough question. Not one that should put you over the edge in their view. Not one that should send you into hysterics. But right then and there you lose your ?&%$.

The pressure from having all this stuff piling up on top you is to much. The overwhelming responsibility of feeling like everything is just sitting waiting for you to get it done. Sometimes, some days it is too much. However, if I am honest with myself. I know this literally was a house of my own making. Somewhere along the way in my journey through motherhood. I got the mistaken impression that only I can cook food, only I can do the laundry and only I can touch the floor to pick up things.  Why would my family every venture to do any of these things? I had always done them.

This my friends is called enabling! Yes, I am an enabler. I have enabled my husband to play video games while I cooked dinner. I have enabled my children to think throwing clothing on the floor is ok. I picked it up, I made the food. I have driven myself bat guano crazy trying to keep up this enabling façade.

Maybe I felt more superior, more important, more needed by allowing this to go on. But that’s the thing about overdoing it. There comes a point when you can not do anymore and you are crushed by the weight you have loaded upon yourself. So there I stood in my closet feeling crushed by a simple question of what is for dinner and all the expectation, false disappointment and self-pity I feel welling up inside me.

I tell you this story as a cautionary tale. I made a desion to stop the madness. The next morning I didn’t make breakfast, or lunch. I let the laundry sit in the basket. I left the dishes in the sink. Yes, my house is a wreck but that’s just it. This  is not only my house. It is our home. How dare I think that I am alone in caring for it, or cleaning it or living in it. So I made a decision to let it go. Yes, it is hard…really hard to walk past that lone sock in the hall or leave the half eaten cereal bowl right where it is. But I’m learning. I’m learning that it is not all on me. I’m learning that the only real pressure in my house is what I create for myself. I am learning not to be an enabler… and whether they like it or not, my family is learning too.