Tag Archives: Working Moms

Saving and Homemaking 5/7

IMG_2208Planting

DH ordered a huge pile of mulch and has been spreading that in all of our garden beds.  We are still having frost and even freeze warnings at night, so we haven’t even gotten the peas planted yet.  We keep saying, ‘Maybe this coming week . . .’  Meanwhile, the lawn is growing like mad despite the cold temps.

Saving

This week was Teacher Appreciation Week and I won a gift certificate to Sur la Table and also a cutting board and knives.  I am very appreciative for the gift and the nice snacks and meals the parents provided for us.

DH happened upon a 50% off haircut at our local walk-in salon.

I used $ 4.00 in Extra Cash at CVS to purchase two jars of peanut butter.  The Extra Cash was just about to expire.  It’s maddening when an ECB escapes only to be found after expiring.  #Cvsproblems  I also took advantage of the extra cash given for Colgate toothbrushes and Kleenex.  Generally I only play “the CVS game” when it is an item we will use and the price is a good deal.

IMG_4055-private_fotorCooking

I found a nice size bag of frozen broccoli florets for 1.98 at Trader Joes.  This should hold us until fresh prices come back down.  Speaking of produce prices, garlic is also in short supply right now.  The produce report said, “Concerning Chinese imports, in February US Customs placed a hefty import duty ($4.71/Kg) on one of the few Chinese shippers who historically had little to no duty. The 2016 Chinese crop was already less than normal. This additional factor has further lessened the amount of Chinese product available in the US market.”  California garlic is a few months away from being ready.

We have been pretty diligent with eating meals at home for the last few weeks, so much so it feels like I have made every meal so recently.  I look forward to summer to have time to try some new recipes.  For the week ahead, we are going to have to roll with it because suddenly so much is going on with ballet, school concerts, and the like.  On Sunday I made some hard boiled eggs which can always work into a salad meal or to accompany tuna salad.

Cleaning

Better than anticipated!  I moved a few couches to vacuum, moved an end table to wash under it, and detail dusted some accent tables that are usually ignored.  My lofty goals for the week include putting away the mittens and hats and detail dusting the bathroom blinds.

Reading

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“American Street” by Ibi Zoboi, about a young Haitian immigrant.  I’m having many thoughts about this book related to the state of American homelife, which I will share in a separate post.

I hope your week was good and that if you are busy with soccer, baseball, recitals, and spring concerts, know that quieter days are ahead and enjoy the madness while you can.

 

 

 

 

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Close Call on Debt Free Anniversary

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Love those cute readers

Well, it seemed like a definite possibility that I was going to lose my job today on the ol’ debt-free anniversary.  Sobering!

Yesterday I got an email inviting the 4 people in the the school district that have my position to a meeting with the HR director and Finance director.  Never good.  Especially a meeting with no agenda.  We suspected there was a 70% chance they would reduce the hours (again) and 30% chance I would be gone altogether in the next school year.

It turned out that they are going to reclassify the position which will take away vacation pay and some of the holiday pay.  I can live with that.  I am relieved because I love my library job and the kids.  My husband is relieved because he is really eyeing up retirement at 57, and a comparable job would be hard to find for me in the current education climate.  I am not ready to give up summers off because of DD’s age.

So, debt-free day will close with massive gratitude and relief.  Underlying these feelings is motivation to “make hay while the sun shines” and keep saving for both a UK vacation and retirement to make my husband’s early retirement a reality (he has over 10 years to go).

Have you had an employment wake-up call like this?  In education it’s become dicey every single year.

 

 

 

Working Mom to SAHM… And Back Again

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When I was a kid, the one thing I never expected about being an adult is how many different lives you can lead all within the same life.  Parenthood, it turns out, is one event that can be a life-shifter.

I worked in an educational sales field before being a mom, and never expected that I would want to stay home full time as a parent.  I wrote about our transition to a single income here.  The days spent reading nursery rhymes on the couch and playing “Dinosaur Train” in the driveway were unforgettable and such a blessing.

I wondered if I would ever go back to work, and if I did, how hard would it be to transition back?  It turned out that the hours spent reading with my daughter were the foundation to my return to work.  We read books about American Girl characters, classics like The Wind in the Willows, and many, many dinosaur books.

My husband and I are not willing to give up having me home in summers, so that has limited my work choices.  When my daughter was in 1st grade, I started back to work at her school as a substitute cafeteria worker.  This was hard, physical work, but it gave me experience interacting with all kinds of children.  I met amazing, hard working, ladies who worked at the cafeteria and then went to work at other physically demanding, low paying jobs.

Taking a very entry-level job in a school was my starting point for other school opportunities that didn’t involve lifting 25 pounds of mashed potatoes.  I got to know the principal which allowed me to step into a reading paraprofessional position.   I have found that to increase your wage in these part-time positions, you have to be willing to move around a little and try other school districts.  Each position increased my hourly rate and gave me more experience.

This fall I was looking on the teachers’ job positing website to read about a position a friend was applying for, and I happened upon the holy grail for me… a school library position.  I silently showed it to my husband and he was fully unboard.  It was 3 miles from home, paid about 20% more, and had benefits like paid holidays.

I got a call back for an interview quickly, but it was a strange interview and I didn’t think I had a chance.  At the end, I handed them a list of the 50 or so kids’ fiction books I read in 2016.  

I got the job.  I think the knowledge of kid lit was the clincher.

So, I am happily at a school library every day, home before the bus drops DD off, and making enough that I get matching retirement benefits and an opportunity to contribute to a 403b which I definitely am taking advantage of.

It felt like a long road back, but every job I took contributed to the next job.  As soon as I got the library job I emailed my cafeteria boss and thanked her for my time there…without that job I would have never have landed the other ones.

My advice to a parent choosing to stay home with small children is to do it if your finances and heart are telling you to.  You may find that being home gives you new skills and interests that take you in a career direction you would never have anticipated 📚!
 

 

 

 

 

Wisdom from Tasha

IMG_7247“Nowadays, people are so jeezled up.  If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.”  – Tasha Tudor

I came across the quote from Tasha Tudor when researching corgi dogs (dangerous thinking I know)!  Corgis appear in most of her books and artwork.  The quote was the perfect sentiment at the perfect time for me.  It’s been a S-L-O-W week at home, with people still recovering from illnesses, leaving me the only one still awake at 8:30 p.m.  I’ve been reading my old issues of Victoria magazine, taking time to enjoy all of the beautiful photos and gracious living articles.

My little garden frog.

My little garden frog.


I needed to slow down, too.

I haven’t really found a good balance between home and work since switching jobs, and having my family resting so much made me realize what I high gear I am operating in.  

I want to take a bigger step back into my “core business” of family-food-home and one step back from the demands of work.  Thoughts, working moms?

According to Tasha, chamomile tea is required! 

 

Feeling Accomplished

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Pretty Blossoms Before Rainy Day

I started my day off with a great feeling of saving money and accomplishing a neglected item on my to-do list.  We recently made a switch to Dental insurance because braces are coming down the road (check your plan because you may have to be insured for 1 year before you are eligible for a benefit for braces.)  The new insurance required me to switch to a new dentist — something I was reluctant to do.

We loved our dentist and referred many friends to her over the years, but the new dental plan would pay 100% of preventative care for one of their providers.   Today I tried the new dentist, who had a gorgeous office, gentle techs, and HGTV in the treatment rooms.  Sold!  I walked out with nary a bill or statement . . .  just a lingering feeling that I too, need an “island home” as touted on HGVT 😉  Our prior dentist was costing me about $150-200 per cleaning.

My daughter is not happy about having to leave her beloved dentist, but it does come down to FREE (after paying the insurance that is)!  I was able to soften the blow with a special card from the new dentist that she can take to her orthodontist and he will give her a big Oral-B kit which includes an electric toothbrush and other dental swag for tweens. It pays to have dental friends!

Are you takin’ care of business this week too?

 

Hi ho, Hi ho, Off to Work I Go…

Vintage-Sleigh-Silhouette-Scene-thm-GraphicsFairy-150x150It sure has been a long time since I have posted!  I have been enjoying keeping up with everyone’s blogs despite my own silence here on healthfulsaver.com

In early October one of the reading aides at my daughter’s school left for another opportunity.  As soon as I heard about it, I felt like my next career step was right there at my feet.  I applied and a few weeks later I was on the job, working more hours, for more money, and better benefits.  As part of my job I have a few book discussion groups going with elementary school kids, and even when I am home, I still need to keep up with my readers.

The job has definitely had some pros and cons on the home front.  We have been pretty disciplined about eating dinner at home.  Couponing, though, has been very erratic.  For a while I was in the groove with Flylady’s system to keep the home organized, and I need to get back to that ASAP.  That is a major goal as 2015 nears.

We have used the extra income to boost general savings and college savings.  We are actively saving for summer vacation and for kid activities for summer.  In winter we save for summer and in summer we save for Christmas!

I know I am more disciplined with home organization, meal planning, and personal finance when I am blogging, so I hope to carve out time for this in 2015.

Thank you for all the ways you have enriched my 2014, friends!