Debt Free Anniversary Part 1 – Plan Your Life

cropped-cropped-img_0852-2-e1365534476304.jpgThree years ago this week we retired our last debt – our mortgage.  Our debt-free anniversary makes it onto the family calendar as a special day right along with birthdays and family gatherings.  We worked very hard to get to the point of being debt free, and perhaps like getting a college degree or getting married, you aren’t quite sure what life will be like when you meet this hard won goal.

You might imagine life with no payments looking like hitting the mall with a wallet of cash and vacations anytime, anywhere.

Our life is not like that.  A wallet of cash at the mall and perpetual vacations will not keep you debt free . . . that’s the catch.

We still work our budget just as ever before.  We are still having budget meetings every Saturday.   Being debt-free has given us freedom, and at times the freedom is like the water a fish swims in… we forget the freedom is even there.  The freedom being debt-free gives us is the freedom to plan our life with a good deal of our income.  Sure, some of the choices aren’t super exciting, such as retirement and college savings, but having income to make those choices IS a great blessing.  The fear of losing the freedom to plan our lives is enough to keep us  working a budget.

So, what did we do on our debt-free anniversary?  We had a family weekend getaway that included driving all over the place to find a Webkinz for our daughter.  Mom and Dad enjoyed staying in a room on the executive level of the hotel, which was the only thing ensuring a decent night’s sleep with a bunch of hockey kids roaming the other floors.  After a ‘polar vortex’ winter, we came home refreshed and appreciative.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my reflections.  If you are new to our debt-free journey, you can start at the beginning.





Well, according to WordPress my blog is a year old today!  I started a blog because my daughter has one and it just looked like so much fun!  I knew the best way to keep me from hijacking her blog would be to get my own.

The best thing about having a blog has been the great people I have “met” this past year. Budget Loving Military Life, No Pension Will Travel, Fiscally Fit Chica, CountryHomeandHearth, and An Exacting Life and more…

The other part of blogging that I have really enjoyed is taking and sharing pictures.  Here are my favorites:  “Good Bye To Summer”, below:



Beautiful Butterfly Nets

Beautiful Butterfly Nets

I’m told that once spring break is done, there are only 36 more days of school left before summer!  I hope to have more time to share with you  when the lazy days of summer arrive and I’m not spending the afternoon as a midwife for geometry homework!

Thanks for reading.





What’s New

Well, we have our vegetable seeds all bought for the garden this summer, but haven’t quite shook winter out of our system yet!  It will be divine to have fresh greens and herbs outside my door again.  IMG_3448-private

I have been healing up from an esophageal dilation procedure a few weeks ago.  Ouch! Can I state that no one likes it when Mom isn’t well.  I kid you not, DD said “Gosh…, it’s looking kind of messy around here.”  If there were a robot to deal with school papers, I’d pay any asking price!  I am back to cooking and continue to try to focus on lower saturated fat, low acid meals.  Lots of cooked vegetables, rice, beans.  For now I have said good-bye to coffee, tea and carbonated drinks.  Miss them all!  Water is very boring.

This month we will embark on re-siding our house, along with some masonry work.  We have saved for a year to be able to pay for it.  Fingers crossed, we will be done with exterior improvements for a while.  We continue to save a little money every week for a new water heater, as we know the replacement time is not far off.

Has spring sprung where you are?


Menu Plan Monday – Feb 17

Last week I made Split Pea and Cauliflower soup from the Forks Over Knives blog. That was a wonderful and easy soup. The garam masala really made it exceptional.  I also recommend the Tuna, White Bean and Arugula salad from last week.

Monday – Kitchari, requested by DD who loved this dish at Annapurna in Santa Fe.  This restaurant is reason enough to move to Santa Fe!  Kitchari is basmati rice, dal, veggies and greens.

Kitchari, the turmeric makes is that beautiful yellow color

Kitchari, turmeric makes is that beautiful yellow color

Tuesday - Fajitas with black beans

Wednesday - Dinner out!  The temperature may go over 30 degrees F so we will leave our den.

ThursdayTarascan Pinto Bean Soup from last week.  I didn’t end up cooking that night because of our water main break.

Friday – Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

For more menu inspirations, see!

Happy Valentine’s Day


Hope you are enjoying a nice Valentine’s Day.  The sun came out, our water is back on, and I have Split Pea Cauliflower soup on the stove from this week’s meal plan.

Have you perused any of the great Dave Ramsey Valentine’s Pick Up lines?  My favorite came from the comments section: “How would you like to be a line item in my budget?”  If I weren’t already happily married….

We got our federal tax refund back and used it to bump up our emergency fund, as well as topping up some other categories like car repair and summer kid activities.  This last batch of crazy winter weather has me more motivated than ever to keep saving for retirement somewhere warmer!

Do you have any special Valentine plans?


Waiting on that Boring Day . . .

Today began with a doorbell ring at 6:50 AM.

Starting the Morning with our friends at the DPW

Starting the Morning with our friends at the DPW

New water main break – two or three of them actually.  One right next door.  The frost line is down so far this year it is reaching pipes that normally would not be affected.  Note to self: don’t plan to put any seedlings in the ground in May.

Our neighbors have a big hole, and no water yet for any of us.




One thing that makes ‘Murphy’ come around is extreme weather.  I speak from experience this week, and it is only Tuesday!

Yesterday we had a flat tire that was so beat up that it required a completely new tire.  The roads around here are crumbling with huge craters from the extreme cold.  We have no idea what caused such a big puncture.  Cost:  $200.00.  Paid for out of our ‘Auto Repair’ fund.  Now, you might recall we are saving for new tires and brakes for one car.  Murphy’s Law … the car with the puncture is NOT the same car that needs new tires this Spring!  Grrr.

Today our neighborhood water main broke, again from the prolonged extreme cold.  We haven’t seen 30 degrees F in months.  The water main is the pipe that brings fresh water to your home.  The water gets shut off while they dig up the street.  There are so many water main breaks in our village that they are working 24 hours a day to keep up.   We were preparing to foot the bill for a hotel stay tonight, but they were able to get it repaired in time.  Got lucky on that one.

Emergency fund = Murphy repellant.  As Dave Ramsey says ‘An emergency fund turns a crisis into an inconvenience.’

I am hoping for a boring day tomorrow!