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Budget

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Hello. My name is Ann and I've fallen off the wagon. It has been nearly a year since I've written and followed a monthly budget. And this is a rally big deal to me because I love having a budget which sets boundaries for safe decision making and leaves me with a feeling of security. 


It's past time to get the budget up and running again, so what format to ues? Kenn and I have tried some of the apps (YNAB, Mint, Every Dollar), we have used pre-formatted spreadsheets, and spreadsheets we have created ourselves, but this time, I am taking it right back down to the paper and pencil format I know and love. This is a simple tool that I first started using when I had my first apartment, 30 years ago. It is very comfortable to me.


I actually enjoy creating the categories and writing in the amounts for budget and actual. I like doing the math, making corrections, re-allocating. It's all part of the process and when I do it by  hand, it is very real. I feel the pain of overspend…

Home Educating this week

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Home educating, unlike school educating, looks different each day. I mean we do have routines - morning routine, chickens, cleaning, and laundry - but the details of each day are unique, depending on activities scheduled, energy levels, motivation, interests, and so much more. 
This week we have activities planned: grocery shopping, a trip to the library, book club, a hiking meet-up, park day, and game day; but we also have a lot of free time to do whatever we choose. Lessons are planned for math, copy work (language arts), Newsademic (current events), the human body work book. We may or may not get to them each and every day. And that's ok. Life is so much more  than workbooks.

Like this morning, while I am writing up this blog post, Isabelle is in her room listening to a Fabulous Five story on CD from the library, while she is getting dressed and making her bed (ok that's my plan she's actually playing with her dolls, getting them ready to go to book club).  In my versi…

Home education this week 14 September 2018

Home educating wears so many disguises. Sometimes it looks like books and papers all over the dining table. Other times, it is a week of adventures with very little book work. Most of the time, it is somewhere in between. This week, for us, was filled with adventures, and exhausting, but we loved it.
Monday, Kenn and I attended an all day training class and Isabelle spent all day at a home educating friend's house. she packed her lessons in her backpack, and somehow managed to come home with them completed while also enjoying a whole day of play.
Tuesday, Isabelle and I left early (for us) for the city to meet up with the home ed group and watch the Pandas documentary at the IMAX theatre which is in the Melbourne Museum. Of course, we stayed on to play and chat with our friends. It was a long and gratifying day, working on friendships. I think we were finally home about 4:45, just in time to start supper. We completed one lesson on the train.
Wednesday is Park day. After lunch, w…

No More Chores or Chore/Reward Charts

They're everywhere!!
Chore charts, responsibility charts, by age, starting at age 3! And most of them include intimidating notes - If your child isn't doing THESE chores by THIS AGE, then she is DOOMED to a life of irresponsibility.  Or worse, you are DOOMED to a life of cleaning up his messes.

Chores.. ugh... everyone hates them. They're horrible, boring, no fun. But they have to be done, even if you hate them. Here is a reward (for your child, not you) to make them more palatable. Sorry adults, you'll just have to suck it up and do them. You're an adult now.

I have had my own struggles with getting chores done - first in my parents' homes and then in my own. Those feelings of "why me?" and "I don't wanna." were so hard to shake. But does it have to be that way? Could it be different for me and for my daughter? I say yes.

Chores are chores because they don't go away and seem to serve no higher purpose. They are menial and I have better…

Book of the Week: Stepping Up by John Izzo

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Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything by John Izzo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a powerful, amazing, life-changing book. Each chapter focuses on a different way of Stepping Up, a specific behavior, what Stepping up means, what it doesn't mean, and includes personal stories from folks who have stepped up to bring the ideas to life.

It is important as we go through life that we are always working on ourselves, learning new skills (physical and mental), and growing. This book is a great tool to use on that journey. I can see myself owning this book (The copy I read is from the library.) and reading it annually, always looking for a new way to apply the wisdom and advice to my life.

You can (and do) make a difference every time you step up, even in the smallest way. Be that person. Be that voice . See a need. Fill a need (from Robots).

The main takeaway from Stepping Up, for me, is to stop looking to the government to solve problems -- whether they are local or gl…

Home Renting vs Home Buying.... get out of the game

I have a theory. Not a dream, but a theory. And it goes like this: All of us who aren't independently wealthy are being bilked. We're feeding the money-making machine without getting any part of the pay-out. And here's how it's happening, or at least one particular example....

Buying into the belief that we need to buy a starter house, then a home to raise our children in, but it's not the house we'll own forever. Because truly, who (besides the Amish) owns a house forever anymore? We're not tied to the land we live on anymore the way our agrarian ancestors were. We allow job transfers to uproot us from family and friends all the time, and so this idea that we need to own the house we're living in is outdated. But.. but... the equity, the money "wasted" on rent, it's a financial investment, my children. Really?

A quick google search showed that in Australia, average home ownership is 10 years; and in the US it's 8 years. That's…

Book of the Week -- Stuffocation

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Stuffocation
by James Wallman
The material equivalent of the obesity epidemic. That's how author James Wallman defines Stuffocation.
All the time and money we spent buying stuff, we thought we were improving life, making ourselves (our families) happier, improving the economy, thumbing our noses at terrorists. But evidence shows this isn't the case. We're more depressed, anxious, in debt, and lonely than ever. So, now what? 
  In his book, James takes a look at minimalism, the medium chill (as opposed to the big chill), and simple living; and then casts them all aside for the one thing they all have incommon -- experientialism. Then he spends the second half of the book defining, tearing down and then defending experientialism.
I found this book to be well researched, well presented, and an easy, comprehensive read. It has certainly helped me expand and shape my thinking about minimalism and my values and goals after the  Big Declutter which defines minimalism.
I highly re…