Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Baby Adams Gender Reveal!

March 20, 2018 ~ So I have been sworn to secrecy for the last 4-6 weeks but I have known my little sister, Ashley and brother-in-law, Greg were expecting another baby! This was a surprise for them as they had recently decided that one little boy, Jaxon was plenty and they were content with just having one child until she took a pregnancy test one morning!

They kept this information from Jaxon and the rest of the family until they saw the doctor to make sure everything was OK.

 A little over a month ago we made a decision to start having weekly family meals. We would rotate between our houses and each person that was hosting that week would cook a meal. We all agreed that family is important but we all get busy and never seem to connect so this would allow us all to catch up and enjoy a good home cooked meal together! 

Ashley and Greg were ready to tell our immediate family they were pregnant when they were around 6 weeks however their doctor told them to wait until they were at 8 weeks just to make sure nothing changed. They agreed and they would not say anything. 

On February 19th after their doctor's appointment it was time to tell Jaxon. He was happy as he wanted a little brother or little sister. Then later that night it would be time for our family dinner and the perfect time to tell Granny and Papa.... 
Jaxon would wear this shirt and spill the beans about his big news! 

Everyone was shocked and surprised but very excited! 

Ashley and Greg decided to have the DNA blood test done to make sure the baby was healthy and to find out the sex earlier than normal. 

The test came back and they would be welcoming a healthy baby in September 2018 but the sex of the baby would be sealed in an envelope.

 I decorated the following big box and we took to the party store and had them put the appropriate color balloons inside based on what was sealed in the envelope!

The following is the video of the Baby Adams Gender Reveal..... 

Greg and Jaxon really wanted a little boy....
Ashley really wanted a little girl.....

Jaxon's face is so sweet when he learns what they are having but Ashley's face is priceless!

It's a Boy! 
Yes, Ashley was a little upset that it wasn't a girl... I mean this was her chance to have a mini-me and with all the things that were different with this pregnancy (this baby doesn't like sweets, lots of nausea with this one, etc) she was hopeful it was a girl.  

After the first initial reaction and after seeing the blue balloons as they popped up,  we are all very  happy and can't wait to meet this little boy!  
In all fairness, Greg and Ashley do make handsome little boys!

Monday, March 26, 2018

9th Annual Midway Heights Elementary School Read-A-Thon

March 12- 16, 2018 ~ This week was the 9th Annual Midway Heights Read-A-Thon put on by the Partners in Education. It's such a fun week and one that the students (and staff) look forward to having each year. Everyone works together as a team to make sure this event is successful and we pair it with a Reading Challenge to show the importance of reading!
This years theme was Fairy Tales! 
Every year we rotate our themes so that as a student enters Kindergarten and leaves the school at the end of their 5th grade year they never have the same theme twice. (Creating these themes were a little challenging but now that we have them created it's so nice to just change a few things or add in something new and fun and roll with it!) 

Throughout the week we have guest readers come to the school and visit a classroom, just one reader per classroom per day, to read a book to the students and then talk about why reading is important in their jobs. It's really awesome to see radio/TV personalities, police officers, highway patrol, sheriff department deputy's, retired teachers, grandparents, and many more people come to our school during this awesome week! 
We use Twitter to post pictures using #mheread if you want to see some of our guest readers throughout the week!

We know that there are several kiddos that don't want to read or has to be somewhat bribed to read (that was me many moons ago) outside of school but this week inspires them to read every day! Just knowing this is a huge part of any career path you may choose and the more reading they do the better their vocabulary will become! I can say that there are certainly lots of kiddos who do love to read and sometimes it's just takes time or possibly finding the right kind of books to keep them interested in reading. 

The PIE's holding little pie's on Pi Day!
I am so lucky to have an amazing Partner in Crime.... er..... Partner in Education! Tanya Alberty with D and H Drugstore has been a Partner in Education for 9 years at Midway Heights Elementary School! She has been awesome to work with and is by far the "techy" one of us and keeps us organized and structured! Of course I like to laminate things.... something they all laugh about but I like things clean and neat! We truly make a great team! 

The Eversole's with Spectrum Utilities are also a PIE along with us and we couldn't do what we do without great supporters like them! Thanks y'all! 

On Thursday morning we had a guest Storyteller, Priscilla Howe come to Midway Heights Elementary School to have two assemblies for the students. She did a great job and the kiddos really enjoyed having her! She had two puppets that came with her and they were a hoot too!

During this week long Read-A-Thon that includes a Reading Challenge we also add in Literacy Night! On Thursday night we have a family fun event at the school from 6:00 -7:30 PM that is geared towards our theme and reading. This year we had Hanzel and Gretel Snacks, Plant A Magic Bean Stalk, Too Hard Too Soft Musical Chairs, Fairy tale BINGO and more! Each student received a goody bag that included a free book from Scholastic! 

Students were encouraged to dress as their favorite fairy tale character - these were some creative kiddos.... love the 3 Little Pigs that is siblings and the little Mary Poppins! So stinkin' cute!

This year marks our 10th year of being a Partner in Education with Midway Heights Elementary School in Columbia, MO. This is the same elementary school I went to from Kindergarten through 6th grade and it was this school, along with many of the teachers I had through the years helped shape me into who I am today and because of that I wanted to give back in a meaningful way to this wonderful little country school located in Midway! 

Thank you to everyone involved in making the 9th Annual Read-A-Thon a huge success! The students at Midway Heights Elementary School were given a 40,000 minute Reading Challenge for the whole school during a specific time period and if they reached this goal they would get a Kona Ice Party. Well, I've already told you that this is an awesome little school and the students actually read a total of.......

54,949 total minutes!!!

You guessed it... They won a Kona Ice Party! 
Thank you Chris and Cathy Cook for bringing your party trucks out to celebrate! 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Wild Hair - Donating to Children With Hair Loss!

 March 15, 2018 ~ Today is one of my favorite days... it's Hair Day (aka: Tinfoil Thursday)! I love hair days which only come once every 3 months - because I can't stand the thought of going every month for highlights and a trim. When this day comes around I feel like a new woman and today I got a wild hair to cut off more than I would during just my normal highlight and trim! 

I have been talking about cutting my hair off and donating it for several months. It takes forever for my hair to grow and I just got it to a length I really liked but donating it was more important to me. 
I mean, it's just hair and it will grow back! 

I have been researching organizations that you can donate your hair to that would accept hair that was color treated (I just highlight my hair) and stumbled across Children With Hair Loss and was so happy that they would accept my hair and the minimum requirement to donate was 8" of hair - however they would love more if you have it.

So many organizations wouldn't take hair that wasn't "virgin" hair and I totally understand their reasons however I would like to believe that there are far more people that process their hair that would like to do something good for others and can't - until I found Children with Hair Loss! 

This picture was taken right after I sat down and we measured my hair to cut... then it was time to highlight before finalizing the cut! I wasn't really nervous but rather anxious to see my new style! I knew I would like it but also knew it would take a few days to adjust to this new look! Even blow drying my hair was weird because there wasn't much there and it didn't take long to dry!
(Yes I am a complete fruit loop and fix my own hair at the salon.... crazy I know!)

Shew wee sugars, now you know why I call it "Tinfoil Thursday"! There is a hot mess going on inside all that shiny metal and soon enough I will have balanced locks that are blonde again!  I can only imagine that they get a heck of a discount on tinfoil! (I am sure they go through a ton of it!)
As a side note I did have really great cell signal! Ha! 

The new haircut with some much needed highlights!
Feels so weird but I love it... Thank you Jen Bloss! 

It feels good to give back to others especially when it's something we have and don't need. I know it's not near as much but it's something I know I can do to help someone else. I have really fine hair and I know this won't even come close to making one wig but hopefully whomever receives a wig from pieces of my hair will find joy and happiness.

Interested in donating your hair and want more information?
Visit their website: http://www.childrenwithhairloss.us/

Just remember.....

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happy International Women's Day!

March 8, 2018 ~ For me, I try to remain neutral on all social media outlets when talking about subjects such as religion, politics and sexual orientation. I personally would rather sit down, face-to-face and have a real conversation with someone to better understand, educate and comprehend a topic or subject. When I see a post on someone's social media page I don't take offense as I know that they are trying to understand or possibly make a point however many times it's taken in the wrong context which causes many comments (both positive and negative) to start taking place. Sometimes the originator of the post can keep the conversation going and asking questions or explaining in further detail however many times no comments are made by the originator of the post and this brings mixed messages.

We all are curious and have our own opinions about many things in life. For me, social media isn't the best place to discuss those things unless you are willing to start hard conversations, offend others, be offended or simply be called out on something that you may believe in. Those face-to-face conversations are so much deeper, you see the emotion and feel the passion in the other persons actions, facial expressions and body language. I do think that if you are going to use social media to talk about politics, religion, gender equality then you need to give as much details and then ask for what you are looking for. When you put something out there on social media that is open ended then it opens the doors for negativity, misunderstandings and confrontation....  which you all know I am not a fan of. I certainly don't judge someone because of there choice or stance on a subject instead I try my best to respect others thoughts and beliefs with the understanding that we must agree to disagree from time to time. Listening to someone elses perspective gives you a view that you may not have thought of or the chance to ask questions to better understand - never to make fun of someone.

Today, I will celebrate International Women's Day by always remaining positive, trying to inspire others and applauding the many amazing women throughout the world that have done some incredible things to make this world a better place. I am certainly proud of women who have taken a leap of faith (at times) and started their own business, raising a family (many times doing both at the same time) and took time to give back unselfishly to their communities and beyond. They are setting the tone for other women and young girls that with hard work and determination you can do just about anything you set your mind to! 

As a side note: I completely understand that there are physically some things that many women can not do that men can do however I am proud that behind many of these women are supportive men (husbands, fathers, sons, grandpas, etc.) that encourage us to pursue our dreams. 

As a woman I do my best to lift other women up while recognizing their potential. I often remind myself that we all started somewhere and I certainly remember the women (and some men) that wouldn't offer advice or even tell you anything about running a business in our early years. I learned quickly that I don't want to be that kind of woman. If I can give advice or talk to another woman about trials and tribulations of owning a business in an effort to support, encourage and over come obstacles as they move forward then I would gladly sit down and talk to them. It's not easy but it is worth it. 

I am the first person to admit that I am the hardest on myself by always doubting that I can do something. I have several women in my life that have been a mentor, even if never officially knowing it. Having such positive, motivated, hard working women that I keep close to me is worth more than gold. Just watching these women move mountains (although not literally) they have truly inspired me along the way and I can't imagine life without them in it. I can't name everyone but a handful of specific women would be my Momma, Sarah Hill, Christy Asper, Shefali Burns, my Golden Girls...

I also have a very close circle of friends and those people are very much a part of my tribe and I lean on them a lot as well. I appreciate every single one of these people and couldn't imagine life without them in it either! 

What can you do to recognize other women?
1. Nominate them for an upcoming award that they would be deserving of
2. Send them a hand written note with a positive message inside
3. Connect them with someone you may know to help them reach their goals and/or dreams
4. Encourage them to do something they have always wanted to do
5. Promote them and/or their business
6. Become a Mentor to someone or perhaps find a Mentor for yourself
7. Pass their name along, something of interest to them (ie: Board position, volunteer position)
8. Support something they are an advocate for
9. Listen more - There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth
10. Lead by example - Be your authentic self all day every day

My advice to any woman - don't ever be afraid to follow your dreams and your heart. Do you admire a successful woman? Then sit down for coffee, lunch or a glass of wine with her... I bet you'll be surprised to hear her story and things that shaped her life along the way. Life isn't perfect but leaning on key people will certainly help you reach your goals... don't ever give up! You may need to take a few steps back or possibly get knocked down (not physically) but always stand back up, put a smile on your face and determination in your heart because girls... you are gonna set this world on fire!

The color for International Women's Day is purple. Lilac's are my favorite flower and it would take truck loads of these beautiful smelling flowers to give one to each woman who inspires, does amazing things and doesn't let anything stand in her way... these flowers are for you!

Just a few of my favorite quotes -

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Interview with Lt. Col. Ferrill A. Purdy!

March 3, 2018 ~ For anyone that has followed my blog and followed the journey of writing my second children's book, A Trip To Remember, you might remember some incredible things we found out when researching Lt. Col. Ferrill A. Purdy. Three key pieces that will always have a piece of my heart, besides Mr. Purdy of course, was finding his wing man, Major John H. Tashjian and reuniting them, finding a plane they both flew during World War II in combat - Corsair F4U-1A # 17799 and the Planes of Fame Air Museum family. We found these people and things in 2016 and for the last nearly 2 years they will forever have an important place in my life. (Photo Credit for above photo goes to Jeff Burg with Grindstone Digital Imaging)

For the last two years I have had the honor and privilege of traveling to Chino, CA and being a small part of their Living History Event focusing on the Corsair F4U-1A #17799. During the entire year they will pick a war bird and focus on it for a month, have presentations with veterans, historians and pilots to give the audience an over view of that particular aircraft then fly it. The Living History Event for the Corsair had been in August for the past two years and this year they bumped it up to March 3, 2018. Sadly, I couldn't make the trip with several commitments going on around home. I was really bummed as I didn't want to miss out on this very special event. Planes of Fame Air Museum understood and then I received an e-mail from Harry "T" Geier, Director of Marketing and Development who suggested that maybe we can do a phone interview with Mr. Purdy during this event. I loved this idea and it would certainly bring a different spin on this presentation because they have never gotten the chance to hear Mr. Purdy speak! We talked a little more and decided to try Skype... this way everyone would be able to see him on the big screen they have at their events AND hear his voice! 

 A few days before the event we tested the Skype connection at Mr. and Mrs. Purdy's house, on their 64th Wedding Anniversary and everything checked out nicely. We were all really excited to be able to have Mr. Purdy a part of their Living History Event. The best part was Mr. Purdy was really excited to do this and just couldn't believe that technology would allow all of this to happen! 

On the day of the event we were unable to test connections one last time. If you have ever been to one of Planes of Fame Air Museum's Living History Events you will know that the energy is high, volunteers, members of the community and beyond are checking out the various planes and waiting for this day to get started. (Plus it is 2 hours earlier than Missouri time) The event started and we were up but sadly we couldn't get Mr. Purdy on the big screen. A minor issue so we quickly turned to "Plan B" which was doing the phone interview just as we first discussed. I know it was nice for the 350-400 in attendance to hear his voice - the voice of the first known pilot to have flown their Corsair F4U-1A # 17799 but I really wish they could have seen him. We got done with the interview and Mr. Purdy was happy. He was so willing to help in any way possible. I visited them for a little longer and then headed home. 

I received a private message from Lorrie Hermann, who was in attendance at the Planes of Fame Air Museum's Event and suggested that we try Facebook Live - What a brilliant idea! Why didn't I think of that... I mean seriously I had the technology literally in my hands! 

I drove back over to Mr. and Mrs. Purdy's house and told them what I wanted to do so that everyone would be able to see Mr. Purdy and hear him respond to various questions I would ask him. It wouldn't be long but just something that would be kind of cool to share with others. He was on board and was ready when I was!

Posted by Michele Spry, Author on Saturday, March 3, 2018

This was my first "Facebook Live" video and I apologize for not having my thoughts well thought out but hopefully it makes sense! Mr. and Mrs. Purdy watched it after we were done and he just laughed. At almost 96 years old all of this technology is crazy to wrap your mind around. I love sitting and listening to his stories and I will have to do this again sometime - pieces of history being captured for many years to come. He said the hardest part about getting older is that he is starting to forget a lot of the island names and that bothers him. I think he does pretty darn good and because I have had the pleasure of visiting 60+ schools in Mid-Missouri and tell his story then I can help with part of it - although we haven't talked a lot about his time on Tarawa. 

I hope you enjoyed this video and I am so thankful that technology allowed Mr. Purdy to travel from his home (while sitting comfortably in his recliner) to California. Hug your veterans tight and thank them for their service often!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Frugal Living in 2018... Part 2!

February 26, 2018 ~ So I am truly enjoying this new-to-me simple (aka: frugal) lifestyle and I also enjoy sharing my thoughts, ideas and actions with you guys. I'll be completely honest, in the past saving money wasn't really something that was in my vocabulary. I wanted to travel the United States, make memories and enjoy life. Now that Brandon and I have seen all 50 states over the past several years we have made many memories and enjoyed life but it also meant that we always were on the go and never (or hardly ever) would sit still. I wouldn't change that fast paced and crazy lifestyle for anything however I suppose as we grow up and become adults things in life change. I am ready to be home and just enjoy making memories locally. (Don't get me wrong - we will still visit places throughout the years but not near like we had been previously)

To me saving is more important than ever as the reality of retirement is closer than it once was. Don't get me wrong... my husband and I are 42 (well, he's 42 and for the next 6 months I will be known as his "younger" 41 year old wife)... we still have several years to work but just before we turned 40 we set a "Retirement Goal" of 50. Now before y'all start getting all "Have they lost their mind" on us please remember that this is only a goal. Perhaps in reality we don't retire until we are 55, 60 or even 65 but if you don't set a goal for yourself then how do you ever work towards something? It's just getting the idea of retirement in your thought process and saving up as much as we can so we can afford to retire.

Setting goals can be a bit overwhelming, scary and even difficult but with determination, hard work and keeping a daily reminder of your goals you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I am a visual person. I will tell you this anytime we are going to work on a project or brainstorm because I need to see the big picture. From that point I like to work backwards to find out what I need to do right now in order to reach the goal or deadline. It's just how my brain works. 

In my previous blog post I talked about decluttering my home and living with less which I felt really was the pivotal piece that inspired this change. The next step to my frugal living journey would be to curb the spending. This would come in many directions but these few are huge ones for me. 

Eating Out! 

This was a major one for us. For nearly the past 10 years (give or take) we have just about ate out for lunch and dinner every single day. Obviously there were times when we ate at my parents house, my sisters house and friends houses but 90% of the time it was going out to eat.  Now realize that we are just two people that do not have children and I know it sounds crazy but it was cheaper for us to go out and eat rather than cooking at home - at least this was my old mentality.

At the beginning of this year I put the brakes on us going out to eat and decided that I was going to start cooking at home. Yes my family laughed at this idea because I was not someone who would cook. After about 6 weeks of seeing that I was now cooking lunch and dinner at home every day and even inviting my family and friends over for home cooked meals I have heard "I would have never believed it if I hadn't seen it / tasted it for myself"! (Seriously, they don't know me by now that when I set my mind to something then I go all out and prove everyone wrong!)

This has actually been an easy transition for me and although I do struggle from time to time to come up with something different to cook ..... it's harder than you think because I am a super picky eater and if I don't like it then sugars, I ain't cookin' it! I stick to my basic beef, pork and chicken and have managed to come up with easy recipes that have most of the basic things in my refrigerator and pantry. (Many thanks to Pintrest and Google) I have several "new go-to" recipes and some that I won't make again - I do have to admit although they weren't horrible it won't be something I fix.

Something else we never did was eat leftovers. Yep, like never! Learning to cook without a lot of waste can be hard. I have purchased I have a Food Saver so that I can vacuum pack and freeze meats that are smaller portions and much easier not to waste... I love that little machine! I have also learned that leftovers are all in how you save them and how you re-heat them. You want there to be enough juice on green beans for example that when you re-heat them on the stove they aren't dried out or you need to add water or anything else to them. (I'm sure many of you already know this but it's somewhat a new concept to me) Also another key piece to leftovers is to warm up the meats slowly in the oven. Re-heating in the microwave, to me, makes a funny taste and then makes the meat nearly rubberized - YUCK!

Now don't get me wrong... not every meal is a gourmet meal by no means but I know what I am cooking is better for us and we aren't over eating meals. I guess the best part is being able to cook for our family and friends while enjoying a meal without all the noises. Honestly I don't miss eating out!
(In the last 55 days we have ate out maybe 5-6 times tops.)

Let me just give you an idea of what this has saved us....

Lunch would run anywhere from $10 - $50 (if we bought lunch for others)
Dinner would run anywhere from $20 - $60 and could go up if we bought dinner for someone else

Let's just say on average we spent $40 per day for lunch and dinner for both of us
Over the past 10 years let's say we ate out 90% of the time which would be 3,285 days
$40 x 3,285 = $131,400 spent on eating out at minimum... GAH!
{insert picking myself up off the floor}

Remember me telling you that I am a visual person? Well, actually seeing these numbers knowing that many times we spent a lot more than the average but also eating at family and friends houses is crazy to think we've spent that kind of money on food while eating out!

I would expect that with my new method of a frugal lifestyle we could cut that by more than half  in 10 years and have healthier options which is ultimately better for our bodies. How do I expect to do that? Well here's my visual piece....

52 weeks in a year x 10 years = 520 weeks
I have been spending on average about $125 per week on groceries
*Realizing this is an approximate average*
$125 x 520 = $65,000

I am certain with sharpening my shopping skills I can drop this number as well but it will take time to figure out coupons, double coupons, etc.

Grocery and Shopping Lists!
I have always been a bulk shopper meaning that every time I needed to go to Walmart or Target I would buy 6-8 laundry detergents, 8 dish soaps, 24 bath soaps.... you get the point. My family and friends give me crap about how my closets look like Walmart shelves but honestly, I did this because I hate shopping for stuff like that but hate running out of basic supplies even more because then you were forced to go to the store for that item and come back out with 50+ items! I know y'all are shaking your head agreeing with me on this one... it's like once you cross the threshold of a store your list sudden gets tossed in the trash and it's a dang free for all! 


I have made lists for things I need to do each week at my office and sticking to those lists aren't hard so why is it so difficult to stick to a list when going to the store? So, I have a list next to my refrigerator and the moment I use up the last bit of something I add it to my shopping list. I have found that doing this has helped me to not buy things I do not need and use up the things I already have before replacing it. By sticking to this method I feel like I don't overspend or impulse spend nearly as much - Now if you think I never by something that isn't on my shopping list you are so wrong sugar.... I do!

I feel like I am being more structured, a better shopper and learning to be frugal in my financial habits. I also have been grocery shopping on the weekends with my sister which I love because I get to spend time with her but also because our goal is to get in and out of the store - no dilly dallying around! We make our Sam's Club run (I've never really paid attention to price tags - clearly because we ate out more than bought groceries) which I was very surprised at the savings of items we use often, then run over to Hy-Vee to get our groceries. I have always said that I would never run to 3-4 different stores to get things I needed but in reality when you know you can save a large amount of money then it sudden makes sense and becomes worth it. (I mean Sam's Club is next door to Hy-Vee so it's not like you are running from one side of town to the other)

In the past it seemed like I was forever in a store of some sort but now I feel like this scheduled shopping has helped me so much. Plus it's one more thing I don't have to do in my busy schedule of life is spend time trying to remember what I walked into the store for in the first place!

Zero Spend Days! 

Wait... What?!?! How do you expect me to live not spending every day? Yes, I freaked out at first when I thought about zero spend days but now I love marking down in my calendar every single day that I didn't spend any money from our personal accounts! Actually, it's became a fun game to me and when I have a spend day - grocery days and paying bill days but I try to do these on the same day so it only counts as one spend day per week - then I hate writing what I spent on my calendar but it's the reality of what we actually spend from month to month.

Gift Cards = Zero Spend Days!

Say what?!? Yep I made a rule that I can totally live with! We all get gift cards for holidays, birthdays, returning items to a store with no receipt or sometimes just randomly in the mail from a friend.  (My friends know I love Starbucks and always pay for a beverage for the person behind me in the drive through each time I go... randomly someone will give me a gift card which I will upload to my smart phone app and use it to pay it forward)

The gift cards have been previously paid for either by your self or others right... so there is no exchange of money taking place therefore when you use them it still counts as a zero spend day, unless of course you spend more than the gift card has on it. Brilliant idea!

I have a random collection of gift cards from food places to gas stations to local shops and more that I keep with me at all times. When I am thinking about something I really need I look at the gift cards to see if I can get those items at a place I have a gift card to. Food gift cards... I know we will want to grab something quick sometime or maybe have a date night and I have 7-8 different gift cards to choose from ranging from $25-50 each. I had taken a few items back that I didn't have a receipt for and have a small handful of gift cards to craft shops. When paired with coupons you really get more for your money and stretch it a little further.

Now before y'all try changing the population in Tightwad, Missouri (yes it truly is a real town) just know that I am 100% still human and will enjoy a normal life. I needed to put a financial plan in place and this seemed 2018 seemed like the perfect year to start! I just want to be aware of what we are spending and where it's going while putting money back to continue growing our emergency funds, savings accounts and retirement accounts while moving towards a retirement goal.

Now if you are already doing these things to save money monthly and even yearly - great job! Sorry that I am just now figuring this out and thinking about our future. If you aren't doing these things I would just encourage you to just take a look at these things and see where you might be able to shave a little off your monthly expenses and knock out any debt you may have. I can tell you that in the last  55 days I have learned what I truly need vs. what I want, where my money is truly going and how to shut down the areas that you don't really need while getting rid of things around your house that are stuck in a storage unit to never be seen again... Y'all get rid of the clutter and simplify your life! Take baby steps and I promise it will make you feel better!

Saving for Retirement! 

So the final piece to all of this, for me, is to put more into our IRA's each year. Through our business we have a 3% employer match and my goal this year is to bump up the amount we personally put in our IRA's with each paycheck to watch our retirement funds grow! I would like to bump it up to a total of 15% going in each paycheck including the 3% employer match. Baby steps right?