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An Update on Small Space Living – Hope


Several readers expressed interest in how living in a tiny space worked out for us.  I have written a couple of posts about it at my personal blog:

Multi-use Spaces

Sleeping Arrangements

But I thought I would give you a tiny glimpse into how things are going now that we’ve been here for four months. First and foremost, we are still living without a microwave, and frankly I do not miss it at all. The kids have learned to read packages before they buy them on their grocery weeks to make sure there are instructions for stovetop/oven preparation, taking the guesswork out of cooking We are LOVING our electric popcorn maker. All of the kids continue to cook dinner at least one night a week and we continue to strive for a $100 a week food budget with a little flexibility.

Our dogs have developed some challenging behaviors and I’m not sure if it’s because of the move, the new schedule (only outside 3x a day versus whenever they wanted,) or just the temptation of being nearer to trouble (ie trashcans.)  As a result, we are having to be cautious of what we put in trashcans, place our kitchen trash on top of our washing machine when we go out and be more diligent in watching their behaviors. But the coolest thing we are doing as a result of this is that Princess, as part of her homeschooling, is working with a dog trainer in a kind of train the trainer program and then she has daily homework with our dogs.  We are doing it together once a week with a professional dog trainer, two of our dogs and us.  It’s been great mommy/daughter time and she has such a gift/heart for animals that she’s getting alot out of it.  I wasn’t able to barter for this, but after calling around and explaining the situation, we got a GREAT deal.  So for $200 (coming out of kid’s activities) we are getting professional advice on our dogs, a train the trainer program for Princess and we are getting to participate in some classes with trained service animals.  It’s been super cool.

Our dogs just BEGGING for Princess to drop something...this has got to stop!

Our dogs just BEGGING for Princess to drop something…this has got to stop!

My most common phrase these days is “we don’t have room for it.”  Almost every purchase is something that is consumable (food, school supplies, etc.)  We’ve continued to downsize our closests, rearranged furniture and room use 1/2 dozen times and spend the majority of our inside time working on school projects, reading or sleeping.  I’m going to the library three times a week to get in solid, undisturbed work hours, and have an open invitation to the kids if they want to get out.  Nights are spent in front of the TV (Netflix,) computer (games,) or a book.  The little ones and I play lots of board games, but it’s typically under duress that the twins join in (which I understand at this age.)  We received several new board games for Christmas that we LOVE.

It’s really not as bad as it could be, and as most people who know what we are doing think.  I definitely have a challenge in getting solid work hours in, thus the frequent library trips.  And at night, the noise level just seems crazy.  But we are managing, learning to really take care of our stuff (so mom doesn’t trip on it in the middle of the night,) and definitely spending lots of quality family time due to weather and since there is literally no where to get away in our space.  Overall, it’s been a good experience for us all, I believe.  And since our old house bills are finally over, I am really looking forward to moving forward onto what will be the next phase of our lives!


Debt Be Gone, Debt Be Refinanced and Debt in My Sights


It’s been a busy week and I’m so ready for a break from children’s activities, school and the busy-ness of the holiday season. Do you get that way at this time of year?

My parents visit wraps up today. It has been a whirlwind of activity – robotics competitions, gymnastics meet, choir performances, drama class holiday production, foster care holiday party and so much more. It’s been great fun but every free moment has been keeping up with work so I could participate in all the fun.  Therefore, I haven’t had a chance to write out my new plan but it is ready so I hope to get it typed up and presentable this afternoon after dropping my parents at the airport. But in the meantime, here’s some updates:

    For those watching the housing drama unfold…my dad did not have time to review the financials before coming as he said he would. So he has assured me he will do that at his earliest availability upon returning home. So more waiting on that front…
    The car debt for the boy’s car, the $1900 is now officially paid. I have title in hand and have paid the registration for two years, gotten an oil change and got it inspected. Today I will add insurance.
    I have been able to re-finance my highest interest debt…the Retail Card at approx 25% interest and a balance of $3200 to a 6 month introductory rate of 3.99% for 6 months. So the clock is definitely clicking to get that paid off. I’m pretty excited about this. I plan on putting a debt update up at the end of the month.
    I have two goals that I am gunning for this month…paying off old house utility bills AND paying off checking account debt. This is a pretty lofty goal in light of the holidays, but I’m not ruling it out yet.

So those are the big highlights. As I mentioned before I’m hoping to get my “life plan” timeline up this afternoon, but it could be tomorrow depending on how the travel to my parents flight plans works out. It’s an hour drive each way and have to make sure I’m caught up on work before I sit down to transcribe my hand written notes.

Chapter Closed


Well, almost…our house sold today. It’s officially over. As a result of the finishing touches I had to complete this week, it’s been extremely emotional for me, lots of crying. The new owners even moved in early, paying a per diem rate to take possession last Friday rather than waiting for today’s closing.

My parents will come for a week long visit in one week, and my dad said that he will tell me at that time what, if anything I will receive from the sale. I’m not going to rehash this, I’m not holding out any hope, what I am going to do is do my best to forgive and forget this house debacle even happened. Time heals all wounds, but I have a week to get my game face on and soften my heart. The wounds are fresh and the reality of our home being gone, well it’s really sad to me.

I just wanted you to know that this chapter of my life is closed…well, except for the remaining utility bills I must pay.

The House


My house sold!  The signed contract isn’t in hand yet, but we got the offer on Monday and on Thursday we came to terms.  It will close next month.

What a total and complete blessing!

For those of you into numbers, this means the house sold in 1 week and we got almost what we asking for it.  I have no idea what this means for me monetarily, and am not ready to ask my dad that question but in terms of psychology and stress, this has lifted a huge burden off my shoulders.  Now I can look forward without worrying about how my decisions affect anyone but me and my kids.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement and even gentle nudges to do better as I walk this path.

I will be posting a new budget this week, but in reality it won’t really take affect until December since I need to finish paying bills from getting the house ready, etc.  More on that later…just wanted to share this exciting news.

Car Wreck, Real Estate Agent and Rotten Food


Yup, the title says it all about how my day went today…not exactly how I’d planned it.

Over the weekend, we discovered that our refrigerator had lost power, and it had been off for at least a couple of days.  Can you say grotesque smelling!!!  How? You ask, could I have gone that long without noticing the power was out?  Well, the kids had said, “Hey Mom, the refrigerator light is out?” and I took that to mean that we needed a new bulb, not that we lost power.  Ugh!  I didn’t cook a lot either since I was the event planner for a large event on Saturday and then Sunday went from church to choir practice to…you see how it went.

So today after I dropped the twins at the FIRST (competitive robotics) team’s weekly meeting, the little’s and I went to Sam’s to grocery shop.  Then I had to head to the bank to get the money to pay my replacement painter…who finished yesterday!  It was raining, there was lots of traffic and we were stopped at a red light…the CRASH!  A large work van rammed into the back of my large van.  Boy, was I grateful we were in the large van and not the little Honda Accord I will be driving once it sells.  So grateful!  But his van is now un-driveable and mine is damaged.

So while I was dealing with the police and firemen and insurance companies and children who were excited to be so close to all this action, my phone rang and I let it go to voicemail.  I’m thankful that the other driver has car insurance.  I am thankful that the police responded so quickly so my new replacement food did not spoil.  I am grateful that no one was hurt (this is really my first grateful so don’t take these as order of importance.) And what I’m really grateful for is that my dad took us to the movies this week to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! If you haven’t seen it, you should, and you will understand why it meant a lot after the day I was having.

So got the insurance claim filed, got home with my new groceries, ran the gymnast to his workout, ran back to pick up the twins, walked the dogs in the rain and went back to pick up little gymnast.  It was a crazy full day.  It was hard and full of bickering between the kids, lots of chauffeuring to activities and so much more.

But as I wound down from the wreck, I noticed a voice mail on my phone….

A real estate agent called and has a client who is VERY INTERESTED in my house and wants to show it tomorrow.  So today was Hope’s Stress Filled, Over-crowded, Rain Filled, Over the top Day…and someone who is VERY INTERESTED in buying my house is going to look at it tomorrow morning. (The ad went out today, the website went up yesterday.)

So sorry for the late post, but today I am so grateful for my many, many blessings…money to buy more groceries when the power is out, a cozy home on a rainy day, a big car that protected us from what could have been a very bad wreck, that my kids are bright and engaged and involved and mostly, right now…that someone who is VERY INTERESTED is going to see my house tomorrow.


Oh, what a feeling…


We are finally on the final stages of getting the house ready to go on the market.  There have certainly been times during these two months that I’ve wondered “why me?” but I’ve held on to the fact that in every bump in my life I’ve been able to look back and find the reason.  This experience has taught me so much, not just about money but about selling a house.  I’ve never sold a house before as my only other house I owned was sold as a spousal buy out in my divorce.  Okay, so those are the obvious lessons.

I’ve also learned more about maintaining a home, fixing a home and the big one, having money!  I know that sounds crazy since I’m pouring everything into the house and living.  But for these past months instead of paying debt extras, etc. I’ve been hoarding money for things to do with the house.  Granted I’m tapped out now, but for these last couple of weeks, when I needed to buy something for the house or pay someone for work…I just paid it.  I didn’t have to budget for it, wonder if I had it, etc.

I’ve been living so close to the wire these past years, especially this past year that I’ve been so focused on paying off debt that I rarely could spend money without really thinking it through, thinking what was coming in the next four weeks, etc. So this has definitely inspired me to consider changing out I manage my money, no just after the debt payoff is done, but even maybe some small changes now.

So I’ve been considering a couple of things:

I’ve been inspired by Ashley’s living on last month’s income, but that would take me a few months of no debt pay offs to get far enough ahead and I’m not sure I am willing to do that.

My emergency fund is steadily growing from my part time job so I could use that as my “cushion” but I think I’m better off leaving it be and going back to forgetting it’s there.

I could take a month or so to pad my primary checking account with a few extra hundred.

I’m not sure if any of these will work, but I do know that these weeks have definitely taught me some very valuable lessons on finances and home maintenance and selling.   I will feel so much better when I (and my dad) can have complete closure on this issue.  And even though I no longer carry the financial burden of the house, I certainly feel the responsibility for putting my dad is this situation. The house goes on the market on Saturday…please pray for a quick sale.


I Quit!


“I quit, I’m over it!”

Seriously, that’s the call I received yesterday at 5pm, 2 days before the job was to be done! It was the painter/handyman/landscaper I hired to get the house ready to sell.

So not only is my dad here making lists of all the things (expenses) that need to be done to put the house on the market, but the contractor I hired to do the bulk of it quit.

I don’t know if there was an exchange between them or if he is just exhausted, but now it’s a mess.  Nothing is complete, shelving and lights have been taken down, the paint that was put up is 1) the wrong color and 2) splotchy.

And on top of that I had paid him more than half of the agreed upon amount up front…


Needless to say I’m stressed, stressed over the money, stressed over the work and even more stressed over my dad being here to witness it.  I so wanted him to be proud of me, to come and have so little to do that we could put the house on the market.

So on the good side, we are settled in, the apartment is tiny and cozy and all the kids seem to be settling in okay.  I will post more on that later, but today, have to help figure a way to get out of the mess we are now in with the house.