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Fat Head Pizza Part 2

After George made his pizza, he had some dough left. He stuck in the fridge and we pretty much forgot about it.

Today was a crazy day. His phone was DOA this morning and one of my closest friends lost her dad – unexpectedly. We both had our hands full and decided we really didn’t even want to eat dinner tonight.

That worked great until tummies started grumbling later in the evening. George remembered the dough and made some more pizza.

This time he rolled it out super thin and he said it was a lot better this time around. It was so good that I thought it was worthy of a blog post. I was sitting in the living room waiting to hear the bad news. Instead, amazing smells came from the kitchen followed by a platter of pizza and stir fried broccoli.

I’m normally skittish over anything that’s hung out in the fridge more than 3 days. I posted about our first Fat Head Pizza dinner on the 4th – more than 2 weeks ago. This is longer than I’d preferred to wait but again – I’m posting as this is definitely a recipe than can be made ahead and then quickly rolled out and finished in the oven with your preferred toppings.

Our home maintenance fund got also got a solid boost from our big rebate check that came from Costco. The check was $557.56 and it went straight to the house repair fund. I am so ready to get this done and get back to the Money Game. I haven’t been myself since we had to make this detour.

House repair target fund: $20,000

Saved so far: $6,922.56

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Fat Head Pizza

FatHeadPizza

This is going to sound trivial to some people but I know it isn’t. My friend, KV from the Debt Free Fanatics board, will probably love it because it’s about getting what you want while honoring your budget.

George developed several food sensitivites including one to wheat. He’s given up so much and his health has gotten better as a result (significant weight loss, awesome blood chemistry, etc.)

The Super Bowl is a big day to him with wonderful emotional memories of being with his brothers, pigging out and watching the game.

I found a recipe for wheat free pizza that people seem to rave about. George would probably weep over an honest to god pizza especially later this evening when the big games gets underway.

The recipe calls for a microwave and we don’t have one. I snapped a picture of one from Costco the other day and we joked about it. But we locked down spending because our home is going to need some expensive work in the next month or two.

Today’s the day. He went to Costco for a few staples and again I joked asking if he got the oven so we could make his pizza. He laughed and shook his head.

This is epic people. The old us would have bought a new microwave the instant the old one was carried out. If for some unexplicable reason that didn’t happen, we would have definitely bought one the minute we learned a favorite food could be made again if only we had a microwave.

The ending? I just did a search and found a method for making it without a microwave. It’s actually better as you mix the dough in a food processor and you don’t have to work fast to overcome it cooling. We both high fived as he just rolled out the dough. Toppings are waiting after the base pre-bakes.

(Note – we converted the recipe to American measurements and used

  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated mozarella cheese
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 ounce cream cheese (the package was marked off in ounces)
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

We set the oven to 425 F.

Some people on the old Dave Ramsey boards criticized me for not buying whatever I wanted after we finished Baby Step 6. These are the reasons why we’re still in Baby Step 7 years later and why our wealth is growing. It shows you don’t have to do without and often your new solutions turn out even better.

I think the other best example of this is how we stopped going out to eat in Baby Step 2. We learned to enjoy cooking together and to do other things like riding our bikes that focused on play and fun instead of spending money to entertain ourselves. It made our life a lot better and we still prefer an evening in.

On the home front, we continue to save. We just signed and faxed the agreement to the structural engineer to get everything going and hopefully we’ll be back to the Money Game soon.

The pizza smelled wonderful and George said it tastes great (I’m allergic to dairy so I can’t eat it). I had to come back and update with a picture.

House repair target fund: $20,000

Saved so far: $5,250

Life happening

No – I didn’t raid the Money Game.

But we are slogging on. January always seems like a month where I freeze figuratively and literally.

We did our taxes and didn’t owe. The money I set aside from social security income for taxes was freed up so $1,806  got moved to the fix the house fund. It’s a good start. The estimate came from the engineering firm but didn’t include fees for the survey, landscape arcitect, bulldozers or foundation repair. At least the ball got rolling. Right now, we’re trying to get about $20k together.  We keep telling ourselves the longer it takes, the better chance we have to cash flow it all.

I thought I’d be despondent that these types of windfalls couldn’t go to the Money Game but it hasn’t bothered me at all.  I’m grateful we haven’t had to get into savings or the Money Game to fix the house. More windfalls are expected – the proceeds from selling my Lexus to a family member, a big Costco rebate check, tax refunds, etc. I guess I can report on that while we wait for this season to pass.

The power bill came and it was actually over budget. I had to WAM (whack a mole in YNAB speak) by moving a few dollars from our fuel category to cover it ($3.06 if you are counting).

Yesterday temps moved to the high 50’s and I got to spend a pleasant afternoon cleaning up the azaela bed in our front yard. Spring will get here soon enough. These breaks in the weather help so much!!

House repair fund target: $20,000

Saved so far: $1,806

 

Procrastination: Today was different

If you read this blog regularly, you know I sometimes write about routines and that struggle as an adult with ADD.

One thing that tries to get me is procrastination.

But I have to back up and tell you something else first. I’ve also been struggling with prayer. I don’t want to just pray at a set time like a robot. I don’t want “religion”. I want a genuine relationship with my heavenly father. I’ve been through enough as a follower of Christ to have seen how He works in my life. I know that He loves me. I want Him.

I think about Him a lot during the day and I sense His presence. But if George came home and wanted to sit close and really talk to me, he’d want my full attention. Not sideways glances while I surf on my laptop or even clean the house.

I had a lot to do today and there are a few big things also happening behind the scenes. I won’t bore you with details; it’s stuff that’s common to all of us. But I didn’t have time to try to get to “My Perfect Routine”. I rolled over on my face when I woke and earnestly prayed for help.

The clouds didn’t part. I didn’t hear voices. There was no thunder and certainly no music. (Not even from Alexa.)

I didn’t think any more about it but got started on the day. Only today is my dreaded scheduled “Deep Clean The Kitchen” day. The day that I usually manage to mop the floor and wipe down a few cabinets.

Some of my friends are coming over tonight and I didn’t think about it being a Tuesday. I took a deep breath and decided they’ve seen my house plenty of times. It was going to be okay.

Then it hit me in a new way that I only needed to deep clean one section at a time and there were only 7 small sections. I put some music on and looked at the most cluttered one. The one with the heavy Kitchen Aid mixer, all the cutting boards and the big heavy marble slap that has ended up out again (it’s supposed to be stored away).

“Take everything off the counter, properly clean the counter and check the cabinets.”

I did it. It wasn’t hard except that the rest of the kitchen was unusually messy. I found places for everything even the marble slap and cleaned the counter. The cabinets were fine. 5 minutes later everything was replaced.  3 more countertops, the cook top and the island followed. They were all easier (but oh my goodness – the counters really needed attention). Through it all I loaded dirty dishes in the dishwasher and ran it.

Now my kitchen gleams. And I’m realizing procrastiation comes for me when I don’t know what to do (and when what I have to do looks like a lot of not knowing what to do). Because I work in the yard for hours raking, mowing, shoveling compost and looking forward to doing it again. In other words, I’m not lazy.

But I’m also realizing again in a fresh, new way how real and practical prayer is.

Baby Step 2 of Keeping House

A few years into our first starter home, we were burned out and struggling. The place still felt like a dump and back then, it felt too small for a family of six (we married with 4 children).

We went camping and I was hit with inspiration waking in our tent the last morning. I was going to completely empty our bedroom and then put it back together. I emptied everything – all the drawers and the closet. I took down the curtains and even took the bed apart.

It didn’t take long to clean the empty room and the windows. Then we put the room back together. This time, we only put back what looked and felt right.

It was an amazing experience. I fell in love with our house. It was before the minimalist movement (okay I admit – it was before the internet!). I realized our house wasn’t the problem. The problem was our clutter.

I wish I had before and after pictures. It would be so much fun to go back and revisit that experience in a visual way.

Baby Step 2 for me is going through each room to tidy, declutter, organize and clean. I work my way around the room and try to make some progress every day. My only rule is stuff that comes out of this room can’t get piled in another room that has been baby stepped. I can shove it out of the way and even toss it in a room that hasn’t been done. But now way can I mess up progress I’ve already made.

Clutter does have a way of reappearing at least at our house. By the time I finish upstairs (I’m have two bedrooms left to finish) I’ll need to do a quick redo of our laundry room.  It’s a clutter magnet and if I had to guess, I’d venture that most homes have one.

I tag these posts ADD by the way. Establishing routines and getting our home clean and organized has helped me deal with my ADD without using meds.

Random Stuff #1

Tricking out housework

I realized this week that I have a few minutes when I’m drying off after showering. My skin feels too clammy to put on clothes but my hair is too wet to start doing makeup, etc. I got the idea that I could use this dead time to trick out some housework. I deep clean that bathroom once a week so I thought I’d do it quickly and see if I could still be ready more or less the same time. I was shocked that it worked.

(One reason is because I deep clean that bath so much and stay on top of it each day. It didn’t take any time to clean the mirror, spray the shower and tub with Scrubbing Bubbles, knock all that off with a Mr. Clean magic eraser, wipe down the counter and vanity, swish and swipe the toilet (thank you FlyLady) and swiffer the floor. It took longer for the floor to dry.

That went so well that I did it again this morning vacumming the room next to the bath.

I felt like I won an hour each time because those weekly jobs have an hour assigned to them.

It felt so great I started thinking about how to trick out work in general. An obvious one is to take off shoes before coming in the house. If the dirt doesn’t get in, it doesn’t have to be cleaned out.

Another obvious one is to choose one of those dinners that taste better reheated and make twice what you need. We go to church services on Thursday night so I do that every Wednesday. Thursdays are awesome because dinner is cooked. There’s an extra hour right there plus clean up is easier.

Does anyone know how to prevent dust?

Building Routines

I’ve tried lists, reminders and apps. Then I switched from iPhone to Android and found Keep. It’s a game changer – here’s why:

  • I can make a template and then copy that template each day renaming it to the day of the week, the day’s date or a crazy name given what that day’s schedule looks like.
  • It has a checkbox option. People like me love checkboxes.
  • As soon as I complete a task, I tap the checkbox and it gets checked, demoted to a grayed out list and basically disappears (but I can easily see what I’ve accomplished). My list gets smaller and easier as I work through each day.
  • I can add non-recurring things to my working copy of the template each day.
  • I can easily reorder items on the template and/or the working copy (it’s life and life throws curve balls). This also means as I work on building routines, I can easily go back to the original template and tweak it.
  • I can also add anything I want to the template and delete it later. I love this option. When a project finally gets deleted from the template, it feels like a huge load lifted off along with a great sense of accomplishment.
  • I can assign different colors to my lists. I love that!
  • Once the day is done, that day’s list can easily be archived and deleted if I like.

Another thing that has been helpful is knowing I’ll see these recurring tasks every single day. I’m a recovering slob and I finally have the downstairs looking good on a daily basis. Upstairs is another story. When something like “dust and vac upstairs” comes up, I know I can’t knock it all out in one day. Since I know I’ll see it every day, I can chip away at it. When I start conquering a new room, I start working to the left of the door I enter and working my way around. The next day I’ll make more progress and eventually it all gets under control.

An easier way to drink more water

One of the things in my daily template checklist are reminders to drink water. I entered water1, water2, water3, etc. They are numbered because it encourages me that the end is in site and that I’m making progress.

But that’s not even the tip. The tip is to fill a measuring cup with 8 oz of water and then try filling different glasses and cups you have on hand. I found a tea cup looks small compared to the 8oz water glasses I had. Since it’s looks so much smaller, it seems that much easier. The more I drink, the more I want. I tap on the checklist after drinking a cup and boom! water1 is gone. I also spaced out my water reminders sprinkling them through all the other daily tasks I have. That keeps me drinking throughout the day.

The Money Game

No change in funds today but a big change in me. I listed a mens Disney golf shirt and put a stack of more things to list upstairs. I’m about to head up and get to work. I am dying to get back to normal on the Money Game and threatened to sell my car if we don’t get the house issues fixed soon (waiting on a professional engineer) soon. “Back to normal” will include regular selling so it’s all good. I’m thankful I can recognize what this season is teaching me.

7 Baby Steps of Keeping House

I was talking (well okay learning) about some of the finer points of housekeeping today with some online friends. I realized it could be organized like Dave Ramsey’s famouns 7 baby steps for organizing your finances.

I’m a recovering slob and didn’t really know how or what to do until my kids were grown and gone. I learned I had adult ADD later in life. As I learned about ADD and how to cope with it, I realized why housework was so difficult for me. Nothing ever got accomplished. I didn’t feel like I had anything to show for my efforts. Dave Ramsey’s genius of his baby steps is how they give you quick wins right out of the gate.  He also gets you to focus on one thing at a time. Let’s use his approach, get some things done and keep them done!

Baby Step 1

This is your BEF (baby emergency fund). He advises getting $1,000 together to start. It’s meant to keep you from going backwards so you won’t have to use credit cards when unexpected things occur. This list is meant to keep you from going backwards too. I’ll write another post soon on how I approached this and you can do it way faster and easier than I could have thought.

Run the dishwasher every night and unload it every morning. Race the coffeepot to make it fun. You got this. (This keeps you from going backwards because everyone in your house can now know that dirty dishes go in the dishwasher. No questions. No wondering. Your kitchen will look cleaner.)

Do a load of laundry every day. This means seeing it through – wash, dry, fold and put away. You’ll do a lot less work if you take the clothes right out of the dryer. Seeing it that way helps.

Make sure every bathroom has a roll of paper towels, a container cleaning wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner and glass cleaner. Once this is done, just spot check before you go to the grocery store to keep your supplies stocked.

Use your powder room once a day. While you’re in there, quickly clean the mirror (it’s clean but do it anyway). Wipe down the sink and vanity and then use that wipe to quickly go over the toilet starting from the top and working to the seat. Check under the seat and rim. You may need to toss the wipe at this point.  Quickly check the outside of the bowl and around the floor grabbing another wipe if necessary.  Swish the toilet bowl with cleaner and replace the hand towel. You will get really fast at this. I can do ours in two minutes flat.

Tuck a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie in your kitchen. From this day forward, date everything you put in the frig. If leftovers are 3 days old, they’ll get tossed. No more cleaning moldy yuck. This one will make your life easier.

Find something cute or quirky to put on your top frig shelf. Every day you’re going to check one shelf for things that are getting old, for spills, etc. After you do it, move your little item to the next shelf so you’ll know where you left off.

While you’re there, what’s for dinner? If something needs defrosting, take it out of the freezer.

Make your bed as soon as you get up.

Time each task – now that you  have these tasks going like clockwork, time them and leave a comment with your time. It will help you dispel the lies (it will take forever) and give you a reality check (it it takes you 90 minutes to clean your powder room every single day, you need to ask for some ideas on how to streamline it)

When you’ve done each item once, you can start on Baby Step 2 (that’s like making minimum payments on your credit cards while you are still saving for your BEF). After you’ve done the starred items every day for a week without missing a day, you are officially done with baby step 1.

If you like this approach, the rest of the baby steps are here as an overview. I’ll add more details later.

Baby Step 2

Get out of debt – this is where we’ll get each room decluttered and organized. We’ll maintain it by keeping each room picked up and tidy while we continue to work our way through the remaining rooms.

Make a list of every room in your home (don’t forget the utility room, basement, shed, garage and/or attic if you have them and your car).

Order them from easiest to hardest. Now save the list and I’ll write more about this step soon.

Baby Step 3

This is our Fully Funded Emergency Fund. in this step, we’ll start establishing cleaning routines while maintaining a clutter free lifestyle. I’ll write about how I

Baby Step 4

This is where you start investing in your 401k. In this step, we’ll tackle  maintenance – replacing filters, starting a project list for things that are aging and need replacing, etc.

Baby Step 5

Here you start a college fund for the kiddos.  We will start teaching our kids to do these steps beginning with their own rooms and then their own laundry. Add more age appropriate responsibilities with the goal of your kids doing it all before they leave home while you grow into the role of manager.

Baby Step 6

Now Dave gets you to pay off your house. We will start thinking about decorating and/or remodeling.

Baby Step 7

This is where people go crazy with debt free screams and start seriously investing their money. We’ll think about investing in systems, outside help and anything else that will make life easier for you. Now that your home is clean, orderly and running well, you might want to think about hiring some help for heavy seasonal cleaning or even passing it all off to a good housekeeper! I couldn’t have hired help when I started. No one would have been able to find the floor.

In case you are wondering, I haven’t completed Baby Step 2 of housekeeping yet. I have our downstairs going pretty well but I still have two bedrooms upstairs, the utility room, the shed, the garage and the attic to go.

What do you think? Would this work for you?

 

 

 

 

 

eBay Selling Tips

Here are a few eBay tips if you are just getting started.

  • Start small so you won’t be out much if you misjudge shipping. Let your first couple of listings help get through eBay’s learning curve.
  • If you don’t have a PayPal account, go ahead and get that set up.
  • Install eBay’s app on your phone. It makes taking and uploading pictures for your listings super easy. You’ll also get addicted to the “ca-ching” cash register sound it makes every time you get a bid or make a sale.
  • Get a small kitchen scale, Post-It notes, a Sharpie, some clear packing tape, various boxes and mailers,scissors, packing material like Amazon air pillows, white tissue wrapping paper and make sure your printer has ink.
  • Find a basket, bin or designate a spot for these supplies near your printer
  • Before you list an item, find the box or mailer you’ll use to ship it. In the very beginning, take it to the post office and ask them how much it will cost to send it as far away in the US as possible. eBay will help estimate shipping which helps but you don’t want any crazy surprises like selling something for $5 with free shipping only to learn it will cost you $14.98 to send it to your buyer.
  • Jot the item’s weight on a Post-It note and stick it on the box or envelope it will be mailed in. I keep the items with their shipping boxes or mailers in a sealed Rubbermaid bin until I actually ship it. It keeps everything clean, dust-free and organized until it actually ships out the door.
  • I was surprised how PayPal prompted me through ordering shipping and printing a label. This helped me avoid waiting in line at the post office and I got an eBay discount which saved me enough money to cover the PayPal fees.Having the item’s weight on a Post-It note will help you as the shipping rate is calculated. If you see a big difference, you can adjust it or just bail and let the post office do it. (I haven’t had any problems using PayPal’s software for this.) After you print your shipping label, look to the right and you should see an option for printing a packing slip. It can even be edited if you’d like to include any extra remarks.
  • I noticed an option where I can request a free pickup at my home for the item to be shipped. This can help save you time and money but I haven’t used it yet. The post office is 2 miles from my house and I have just been running by and dropping things off.
  • If I’m selling clothing, I like to wrap the item in white tissue before tucking it into its box or mailing envelope. Slip the packing slip in and make sure the ink is facing away from the item.

There are probably a ton of things I haven’t considered but the tips above have made selling and shipping a lot easier. I lost money the first time around because I had no idea how much shipping cost. After a few sales, you gain a lot of confidence and it gets a lot easier.

I have a teensy power up to report as a sewing pattern sold on eBay. After fees and shipping, I netted $1.64 but you know me. I’ll take it.

Today’s Deposit: $1.64
Level Completed: 176 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $188.90
Total Balance: $27,420.60
Our Money Game fund has increased .7% so far this month.

$729.24 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Having fun with Canva

Living The Life

I learned about a new website for graphic design called Canva today. In just a few minutes, I was able to create this PDF (it’s just a light hearted flyer I made joking around with George). I don’t have any artistic talent or graphic design skills but it makes it easy to create attractive graphics for your blog, Facebook post, Pinterest, business cards, etc.

It’s free and I think it’s going to be worth my time. If you are selling things online, you can also use it to create professional looking graphics for the things you want to list on Facebook and other places.

Along those lines, my first eBay auction intended for the Money Game ended and I have a nice little power up of $13.57.

Today’s Deposit: $13.57
Level Completed: 176 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $187.26
Total Balance: $27,418.96
Our Money Game fund has increased .7% so far this month.

$730.88 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Ready, set, sell!!

CharlestonSnowman

(Snowman and photo are from the kids of one of my favorite online friends, Alicia taken a few days ago in Charleston, SC! Is that not the coolest snowman ever?)

Let’s talk sales.

First – we started remodeling our master bath.  The demo uncovered some serious issues with our home’s foundation. The first estimate to fix it was over $20,000. Going forward, any money leftover in a budget category is going to get moved to home maintenance instead of the Money Game until this is resolved. George and I have a lot of work to do. He is getting an official report from a professional engineer and I’ll need to check on our insurance, etc. We had an earthquake in 2012 that may have caused the damage that can be seen on one of the concrete pillars that supports our home. We’ll know more after we get the engineer’s report.

At first I was bummed. I want to see deposits increase not decrease. But we’re fortunate to have a home let alone the resources to care for it. Once my attitude changed, the Money Game did what it does. It started teaching me again.

I saw that now that we’re doing a great job staying on or under budget, I can be trusted with more. It’s time to add sales to my skill set.

I resolved to list something each working day. That’s a tough one I may not hit because I have to find things to list for sale. I’m starting by looking around the house and it’s the time of year when many of us tend to declutter and organize anyway. There’s not an endless supply though so I need to watch for things to buy to resell too.

On January 2, I listed a drop spindle for $60 (this is something most people don’t know about but it’s a hobby related thing for making yarn out of wool). No bites yet.

January 3, I listed some name brand kitchen knives (I bought several sets to use as gifts when I came across a great sale).  They sold quickly for $15.84.

But this is what I’d like you to see. I found these knives for $9.99. Just the chef’s knife is selling around $15 on eBay right now. I knew I could easily sell these for $15 (it’s a high quality chef’s knife, paring knife and serrated knife). My buyer is excited as she’s getting a great deal. I’m happy because that’s a decent profit.

I reopened my eBay account and listed a wristlet wallet by Coach I no longer use and several sewing patterns. I’m financial_mom on eBay if you’re curious. The Coach wallet got a bid fairly quickly and I’m back in the game.

If you’re playing, listen up. Saving money from your regular operating budget is very, very good. Anything you can glean is tax-free. I’m glad this happened first for me. I don’t want to go back to my sloppy spending habits. But it can only take you so far. The quicker you can learn some selling skills, the better off you’ll be.

Selling is not my strong suit so I started looking at the different levels of the Money Game again. I challenged myself to work my way up the levels. The knife sale netted $5.84. That’s about a level 65.  I hope to gain some confidence and work up to bigger and better sales (or a lot more of the smaller ones).

I mentioned before that some members of the Debt Free Fanatics forum are playing the Money Game. A much loved and respected member wrote an article she calls My Secret Envelope. It’s full of tips on selling things you no longer need. I reread it recently and it put the wind back in my sails. You may have to register for the site to be able to read it but I promise, it’s worth it.

I think the thing that has surprised me the most so far is that stuff is selling for more than I would have thought. Research what others are selling similar items for and you may be surprised.

Today’s power up includes the money earned from selling the kitchen knives and our regular $125 deposit (it’s on auto pilot so we’ll let that one slide in).

Today’s Deposit: $135.84
Level Completed: 176 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $173.69
Total Balance: $27,405.39
Our Money Game fund has increased .06% so far this month.

$744.45 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game