Happy Friday! It has been A week. I was out of town for 3 days and without fail the house always explodes the second I get on the plane. Before I landed in Philadelphia, Matt had already taken Thomas to the doctor for extreme ear pain and then cleared his schedule and stayed home with him all day, the family spent one sleepless night without AC after a tree fell and took down the power and believe it or not, there were more events that occurred in 72 hours but I digress. Shout out to Matt for being a rock star and handling it all much more gracefully than I would have. He is the real MVP of our house.
I had so much fun receiving and answering all of your questions submitted on Instagram earlier this week! I was able to get through about half of them and still have a lot more to answer, but am now trying to respond to all of the follow up messages before I tackle the rest of the questions. I haven’t read all of the new questions, but so far, the top 5 questions I think I’ve received have been:
- Will you get another dog? Matt and the kids would get a dog today if I agreed to it. At this time in our life, I just don’t think we have the capacity to train a puppy (we are gone all day) or give it the attention it would deserve. I also don’t want to take care of any additional living things right now (I can barely keep my plants alive) and I definitely do not miss all the dog hair. So for now, I’m winning this battle.
- How do you approach budgeting? How do the weekly budget discussions go down and what is discussed? Do you each get an allowance for fun things? How do you save for trips and house projects? And lots of requests for a full in-depth post on this. I considered writing a post on this, but I just think it would be super boring and I don’t have any amazing advice. Here’s the short version: We link all of our accounts to Mint where we have budgeted every penny per month into a line item. It’s a lot of work to set up, but once you do, you just have to maintain it (mostly takes time categorizing line items to the correct bucket). We have 48 budgets in Mint — 48!!!!! These include all fixed monthly expenses like daycare, college & other types of savings accounts, Netflix, gym, home security, mortgages, house cleaning, blog expenses, etc. Then we allocate the balance among budgets like groceries, eating out, date night, Christina fun money, Matt fun money, clothing, hair cuts, kid stuff, etc. We receive notifications when we’re getting close to maxing out a budget each month so we know when to scale back on certain spending. At the end of each month, whatever money is not used in that budget gets rolled over to the next month (how we build savings for vacations & house projects). Almost every Sunday (sometimes we miss a week here and there) we skim the line items together over mimosas (because that makes talking about money a little better) and discuss any big recent or upcoming expenses and make sure we’re on track for our financial goals (which you set up in Mint). See? Boring.
- Can Sara please share about her weight loss? Since this was such a popular question, my sweet friend Sara agreed to share her recent health journey for others who may be struggling with weight loss as well. We are all so proud of the hard work she’s put into her health and to see her happy means the world to us. Read her weight loss journey here.
- Marriage tips for getting through the tough times. I think I’ll do a post on this around our anniversary.
- Are you still doing FWTFL? No. After the first round, even though Matt and I saw awesome results, we decided this lifestyle was not for us. I had a hard time tracking everything I ate and couldn’t keep up with which foods to eat on what day. I do believe this diet is amazing for anyone who can commit to it, but it just didn’t work for us. However, we do still continue to do the intermittent fasting and we also eat low carb during the week.
I am loving this new dress! The color is what caught my eye at first but I love the fit too. I grabbed it for work but will also wear it for church too. It comes in regular and petite sizes. (wearing a 2P)
3. Swimmers Ear
Thank you all SO much for all of the advice on Thomas’s swimmers ear! He is doing SO much better now! Lots of you sent recommendations for home remedies and some product recommendations too. We ended up grabbing Swim Ear from Amazon. Of course, Thomas’s swimmers ear didn’t show up at his and Caroline’s 4 & 5 year old well check ups just a few days earlier…
4. A God Wink
I received the most amazing God wink yesterday. Shortly after my dad passed away I ran through my voicemail inbox to see if I had any voicemails from him I could save, and sadly I didn’t. However, yesterday I received a notification that my inbox was full and I needed to delete some voicemails. So I sent all of my voicemails to the trash and figured I should probably permanently delete all the messages I had just sent to trash. I guess I hadn’t emptied the trash in a long time because just before I hit “permanently delete” I skimmed the trashcan and my heart absolutely stopped when I came across a voicemail from dad. I immediately recovered it and stared at it for a few minutes before mustering up the courage to hit play. To my surprise, my reaction was completely opposite than I had anticipated. The insane burst of happiness I encountered as I listened to it was truly indescribable. I’m crying just thinking back on it. For those 55 seconds, all of the pieces of my world came back together and I felt like I was receiving the biggest hug ever from my dad in those seconds.
5. Amazon Tools We Couldn’t Live Without
- mini hair dryer: I’ve been meaning to blog about this forever and every time I travel I remind myself and then forget. I have the BaByliss full size hair dryer and love it SO much — it’s the best hair dryer I’ve ever owned. So I grabbed the mini version for travel and laughed so hard when I opened this tiny blow dryer when it arrived. But dang, this hair dryer works SO well and is excellent for travel. I’m adding the mini flat iron to my birthday list!
- rapid egg cooker: This miracle egg cooker can whip up hard boiled eggs, soft boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, individual omelets, and all within minutes of the push start button – it is amazing. I blogged about it over a year ago and we still use it weekly!
- toaster tongs: Several readers sent me links to these toaster tongs after I mentioned helping Caroline get her toast out of the toaster. These are brilliant!! I primed them immediately and am excited for them to arrive!
- lazy tools: It’s been 4 years since I’ve shared my love lazy spoons! We still use ours every day and love them!
- electric cutting tool: I almost made this it’s own item in today’s 5 because we are so obsessed with this tool. I’m embarrassed by the amount of cardboard that is delivered to our house each week (mostly Amazon packages). We pile up the boxes in the garage and ignore them until recycling day. We used to break them down by hand until we discovered this insanely awesome tool that has made breaking down the boxes SO much easier and faster!