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Celebrating 10 Years


Facebook reminded me that this month is 10 years since we became a family of 5. So I thought I would take a minute and re-introduce myself. I have been writing here for 5ish years (is it really that long?) and I’m sure there are people who don’t know who I/we are…so here goes.

From 3 to 5

Ten years ago, I was a single mom of two kids. We were living in a home owned by my dad after 3 years of housing instability since splitting from my husband. I started a consulting company when my youngest (Gymnast was 1 year old) and it was my sole income source supporting out family. I had student loans, a car payment and no other debt…

And I had just completed becoming certified as a foster parent the year before after dreaming of being a foster parent since 8th grade. We had had 4 foster kids through our home by this time, but none for a very long time. Then I got the call..

“Emergency removal of twin boys, can you take them?”

That was literally all I was told. Then the twins showed up carting about 1/2 dozen black trash bags full of their possessions…

This is where it began, the first day with the twins!

Life is like a roller coaster

There have been lots of first times since they arrived. First birthday party, first home cooked meal and first trips. And we even had a few other foster kids here through out the years. But the twins stuck and here were are, party of 5 now 10 years later.

First Halloween!

To be frank, I didn’t plan at that time, that they would still be here. Adoption was not in my life plan. But alas, God’s plans are much grander than our own.

We’ve lived through multiple moves, job loss and almost homelessness, physical challenges and so many more unexpected adventures. It has been hard, really hard. There were times when I really, really wanted to quit. But I have been blessed with an amazing support system and chosen family. (My biologic family is great, but we aren’t super close.)

I have made terrible financial decisions along the way…too many to list them all. But long term readers would agree that some of the highlights include: purchasing and selling way to0 many cars, taking on more debt for all the wrong reasons, spending too much on kids – activities, experiences and such, failing to prioritize my debt payments and on and on.

Now we are here

The twins will turn 23 this year. I am back in the corporate world after 15 years as a consultant. We have 1 more child in the family – Beauty joined us just over a year ago so now we are 3 boys and 3 girls (and 4 dogs.) I bought the home we have rented for the last 4 years since summer, the first home I have owned since my marriage ended 14 years ago. Life is good. And I am getting out of debt.

Writing here keeps me accountable. I am notorious for making terrible decisions. But right now, in this moment and time, things are good.  And I am definitely on the road to getting out of debt!!!

I would love to learn more about you…what’s your story? Where are you in your debt payoff journey?

Cost of DIY Projects – Part II


This is a follow up to my ongoing list of house projects I am prioritizing this last quarter of the year. The changes and updates since the last post are in BOLD. There are definitely some projects that are going to go a little slower due to the cost and challenge in getting certain supplies.

Here’s the first update on the project list I originally published:

  1. New blinds in the front windows – DONE
  2. Paint all the trim – DONEIn addition to the trim around the living room windows, I’ve painted all the trim in the main living spaces and touched up the walls. No money spent since we have paint leftover and brushes on hand, but lots of time!
  3. Trim out living room doorway which we expanded – labor DIY paid $300 – I ended up outsourcing this and some work in Princess room, this total includes several projects (listed right below.)
  4. Patch and paint Princess bedroom – included with #3
  5. Hang blinds and curtain rods in Princess room – included with #3

    Princess room refreshed!

  6. Install kitchen backsplash – labor DIY – planning to do in a couple of weeks
  7. Center and install ceiling fan in kitchen – pay for help
  8. Change out dining room light fixture – labor DIY?
  9. Install kitchen light fixture – DONE
  10. Paint existing switch covers and reinstall – DONE
  11. Upcycle existing 5 interior doors – still researching, will be DIY but don’t have firm plan yet or know if I will need to purchase any supplies
  12. Create some focal walls – still researching, will be DIY but don’t have firm plan yet or know if I will need to purchase any supplies
  13. Clean, rearrange and decorate Princess’ room – DONE (see #3, 4 and 5)
  14. Furnish deck – ON HOLDAfter some research, I’ve decided to table this. I moved a lounge chair and table back (both came from VA with us) there and will just use existing plastic tables if company comes over for a meal.
  15. Upcycle some old doors that I’ve had for ages to use as decoration/cast iron storage hangers – on my list to complete this week
  16. Build barn door for hall bath – labor DIY, expect supplies to be around $150-200
  17. Hang new curtains in the living room – labor DIY CONTRACTED OUT – I’m having trouble getting the brackets into the wall so have asked my handyman to come by and put the 3 brackets up for me
  18. Complete upgrades to hall bath & hang bar door – ON HOLD – this is actually going to be done in phases due to the cost and because we don’t “need” another bathroom until next summer when I anticipate we will have a full house again. Still making decisions on design. This will not be completed this quarter.
  19. Build myself a closet of sorts – labor DIY? (have a paid labor quote for this but may attempt myself) – ON HOLD – I think we are going to attempt to build this ourselves. Materials will run around $400, maybe a little less.

Total spent in the first two weeks of September = $100.

Additional monies spent (since the last update) =$50 (mentioned in last update) + $300 in labor

The Hall Bath

This is the current state of our hall bath…

We had to replace the joists under the floor and moved some walls. And have updated the electric. But then we stopped and have left it like this for a couple of months now. With just Gymnast and I here, we really haven’t missed it. (Even with the girls here, it hasn’t caused any hardship.)

I’ve changed my mind on design so many times. And then when I settle on something, ie tile, find out it’s back ordered for some undetermined amount of time. Frankly, it’s fallen further and further down my priority list. Also, as I’ve priced things out, it’s fallen even further…

So here’s where I’m at…

  • Need to make a decision and purchase a tub or shower pan,
  • Need to make a decision and purchase tile for the shower walls,
  • Need to purchase a vanity/sink (decided and it costs $800),
  • Need to purchase a toilet (decided and it costs $100),
  • Need to purchase a sink faucet (decided and it costs $140).

I think everything else is already purchased and here. Labor to finish it completely will run $1,800.

I am thinking that I will get the tub/shower pan decision done and purchased and then have my contractor install the floor and toilet (he will have to set the tub/shower pan to complete the floor). And then hold on anything else until April/May-ish. I just want to 1) do it right, 2) do it cost effectively and 3) design it so I will love it 20 years down the road.

This project just falls way outside the money I wanted to spend this fall. But I do want to make some progress. So I’m thinking that my goal by end of year will be to have floors in, toilet installed and useable and door built and installed.