January’s Story

General Budget Update:

Savings Goal:  55% funded

Retirement Fund: 12% funded // I would like to contribute at least $500 to each of our accounts this year.  I really wish we could do more but at least we have them started!

Taxes: On track

Housing: On track.   I ended up buying some new kitchen towels, salt & pepper shaker, water filter and a couple other odds and ends that I’ve been putting off for a bit.  Nothing extra though so I was able to stay on budget and uncluttered.

Food:  I expected to go over this month since I had to restock a few bigger items.  The plan is to really empty out the pantry for the rest of the month and keep spending at a minimum.  Through February I expect we’ll be able to make up the difference.  My goal is to only spend $75 or so a week.  We’ll see if this is plausible or not.  We might have to bump up this category but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to watch things and make do.

Auto: On track.

Clothing: On track.

Medical: On track.

Misc: We’re over in this one.   A couple too many redox rentals, tool purchases and unexpected toiletries.  As long as we slim it down through February we should be able to be back on target.

Babies: I was able to sell some outgrown baby items and actually was able to put some extra into this category which meant our paycheck money got to be used elsewhere!  Good stuff.

JCR Business Account: On Track.

Remodel: On track.

Overall we were able to stay on track and avoided buying too many unnecessary things.  We can still do better but it was a good first month!  Proof that it really won’t be too painful to stick to our goals.  It was very freeing to be able to walk past stores and just not worry about going in or feeling guilty for buying more “stuff”.   Ready for the next month!

Adventure Update:

We booked our campsite for Memorial weekend up at William O’Brien.  I booked about the same time last year without any trouble but this year things went even faster!  We were able to snag a site but no electricity and not the site I was hoping for.  It’ll be grand all the same but I’ll have to get our reservation in even earlier next year!  It’s going to cost us $78 for three nights.  We already have a park sticker for this year so it should be a pretty economical trip for us.

  • Estimated cost: $130
  • Total cost so far: $78

We were able to check off our first adventure for the year.  We went snowshoeing with our friends at Afton State Park in Minnesota.  It was a wonderfully warm day and I felt like I could snowshoe for miles!  I’m used to having to wear a baby but this time Isaac had Honeybear and our buddy wore Sister Bear.  It was a great day to get out in the beautiful MinniSconsin winter.

  • Estimated cost: $50 (I budgeted in snack money.)
  • Total cost: $25 for park sticker.  (I was able to put together a great snack of crackers, summer sausage, cheese & carrots for us from home.)
  • Saved: $25!img_9378

Isaac and I were also able to enjoy a lovely snowshoe walk out in our backyard one Sunday morning.  My parents were able to watch the kiddos and we headed out early before they woke up.  It’s amazing how easy it is to go for a hike when you don’t have a baby on your back!  When we got back we headed into town for some coffee that we got to enjoy with a gift card that I had received for Christmas.  Had an amazing date and it didn’t cost us a dime!img_0367

Couple of goals for February:

I want to start rounding up stories of our homeschooling/unschooling life and our home renovations.  I’m finding that writing these little blog posts (or really more like journal entries) is a great way to motivate myself and a fun way to share our story.


2017 – Adventure Goals

I thought I would take a little moment to write a post about our other 2017 goals.  I like to break down our goals by Local Explorations, Hikes, Camping & Day trips.  We transfer things over from the previous year that we either didn’t get a chance to do or ones that we want to repeat.  Then I put them on the calendar right away.  We’ve found that it is easier for us to accomplish these things if it’s already on the calendar.  That way the days don’t slip past us and another year has gone by that we didn’t get to explore or see some of the things we had hoped to.

Local Explorations:

  1. Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge
  2. Eagle Center in Wabasha
  3. Science Museum & Omni
  4. Picnic & the airport viewing space
  5. Franconia


  1. Banning
  2. Minneopa Falls
  3. Afton State Park  !ACCOMPLISHED!
  4. Navigation hike at Lake Elmo
  5. I wanted to go to Oberg Mountain but it’s going to be too far for a day trip.  Any suggestions?


  1. Two Harbors for our family Christmas 
  2. William O’Brien State Park
  3. Wausaukee — although this one has already been canceled so we’ll probably move it to next year.  We decided to cut this out of the running so we could afford to rent a cabin with Isaac’s family this fall.  It allows us to keep on track with our 3-year rotation goals.  (If you didn’t read my last post you can find out more about our financial goals and how we’re planning to make our money work for our adventures!)
  4. Up North with Isaac’s family.  We decided on renting a cabin in Solon Springs and getting in some good family time.  We’ll travel up to the Bayfield area to explore and admire the Apostle Islands too.
  5. Willow River
  6. Clear Lake with church

Day Trips

  1. LaCrosse
  2. Lake Maria State Park
  3. Wausau
  4. Cabin
  5. Rustic Roads meandering


Looking forward to another year of wonderful adventures with my favorite people!  What is on your adventure list for the year?

2017 – Financial Goals

I would like to write a post about all the things I hope to accomplish in 2017 but I’ll save all that for a later post.  This is a big enough goal that I want to focus this post solely on this topic.

My goals for writing a consistent blog last year, obviously, failed.  I never wanted it to be something that I really felt tied to though.  I don’t need something else in my life to feel guilty about not completing.  Just want it to be a creative outlet if I feel so inspired.

Like now and being inspired to share our 2017 journey with people.  I’d like to spend less time on Facebook but still want to be able to share our adventures with people.  We’ll see how this works and how it is received.  Make sure to comment letting me know what everybody thinks!  What you want to know or what you don’t care for.  I’m curious about the readers thoughts on things.

Onto our goals.  Every year for the past few years Isaac and I have sat down and reviewed our budget for the previous year.  We look at the areas where we overspend and discuss if we need to increase our budget or decrease our spending.  It usually ends up being a little of both.

2017 we sat down and did the same as usual.  Set some savings goals and are still working towards our 3-6 months of emergency savings.  We are putting some money aside for Helen’s account.  We have a goal that each girl will have $2,000 by their second birthday for an investment account.  Once we reach the $2,000 goal we decrease what we set aside for them so we can focus on our own savings and retirement funds.  Once we reach a place where we are able to comfortably fund our own accounts, we can resume funding the girls accounts if we need to.

We were able to meet our goal for Nora just after her 2nd birthday and we are on track with Helen as well.  It’s nice to know that we already have this little nest egg started for them and whatever their adventures will bring.  It’s also great that they have their own accounts for the grandparents to contribute too if they want.  We usually do less toys and stuff for their birthdays and holidays and put the money into their account instead.  They don’t know the difference but their future college, car, house, fund sure does!

It also feels like each year we have a little more determination to stick to the budget that we set.  Each year we get a little more accurate in how much money we should budget for each category which definitely makes it easier to stick to our goals.  It also seems like each year we move towards wanting to spend less money on less stuff and spend our time and money on experiences instead.

One of our big goals for the year is our travel budget.   The idea came about when I was sharing a cup of coffee with my sister-in-law.  I can’t remember now if she read it somewhere or if we just brainstormed it but I’m excited about it regardless!  One of the things we struggle with is saving up for trips overseas because we don’t want to stop traveling locally until we have enough money.

Our idea is that we will do a three-year rotation, each year planning to budget $3-4,000. Year one we only travel/camp locally, spending $1,000-$1,500 and save the rest. Year 2 we plan a trip within the U.S., spend $2,000-$2,500 and save the rest. Year 3 we plan an international trip, spend $5,000 -$6,000 and then repeat the cycle. We’ll see how well we’re able to stick with this plan and if it’s a good way to help us save and plan for these future adventures!

The last part of this post focuses on our general spending goals for the year.  This is an idea that I’ve been mulling over for a few years and decided this was the year to really challenge ourselves.  That and I finally talked Isaac on board which will make this experiment a lot easier than going at it alone.  I really want to try to minimize our spending for the entire year.  Eliminate as much spending as possible!  No extras of any kind within reason.  We will obviously still be buying food, doing vehicle maintenance and other daily necessities.

Our plans are to focus on homemade gifts.  Staying out of our favorite stores like REI, Cabela’s & random Target runs.  No little random craft supplies.  No random gun supplies. No clothing unless absolutely needed.  No little travel toys or trinkets.  We have enough of all that stuff.  If something that we really can’t do without breaks or the kids outgrow their shoes we will replace them with as economical and affordable an option.

Just today I placed an order for new clothes for the girls since they are both outgrowing their current wardrobes.  Instead of going out shopping or buying brand new I found an online consignment store.  (Threadup & Swap.)  I looked carefully at what they currently had and which items would be the most wearable for the most amount of time.  They each have less than 20 items in rotation and can be worn at anytime of the year.

I purchased more short sleeve shirts and just one black long sleeve and one white long sleeve shirt.  This way they can wear the long sleeve under the short sleeve and be able to wear their clothes through all of Wisconsin’s seasons.  I was able to stock both their wardrobes for the entire year for about $80 each.  Pants, dresses, shirts, swimwear.  I budget $150 for the year and so they each have enough left for snow gear, socks or shoes if they end up outgrowing something.

The experiment isn’t so overwhelming if we look at it month by month.  To think of not buying anything for an entire year is a bit intense but if we just look at making it to the end of the month it seems very manageable.  I would like to post an update at the end of each month about how we are progressing.  I think it will be a great way to chronicle the experiment and see if we’re able to hold true or not.

I’m looking forward to the freedom of being able to focus on our true priorities of family, experiences & travel.  Not feeling guilty for coming home with things that I know we really don’t need cluttering up our home.  Hopefully writing and sharing our journey with you all will help keep us accountable as well!  Look forward to hearing all your thoughts!


Thursday – Post 2




I meant to post a new blog post last week but last Thursday was a day I do not want to relive.  A rough day to be a mother and a rougher day to be a toddler and a baby.  Being a mother is not for the faint of heart.

I had a lot of goals that I haven’t been able to accomplish yet and trying to give myself grace for that.  These baby days are meant for relaxed daily rhythms and lots of outside freedom.  Things that are hard for me to incorporate in our days but I’m getting better.  I hope.




Update on the last posts goals:

• Get handles on the new kitchen cabinets.

• Start thinking & planning for the winter school semester.

• Get drawer organizers for the new kitchen drawers.

• Put trim and curtains up in girls room.

• Laundry.  Laundry.  Laundry.

• Make playdates with all our favorite people.

• Get planner prototypes made.

So as you can see I didn’t get done the past few weeks.  It’s just been so busy and I feel like I’ve been running in circles.  Going nonstop but not getting anything done at the same time.  Hopefully these next days will be easier on all of us.

That being said our (re)Lived home is really starting to feel like a home and just in time for cozying in for this Wisconsin winter.  I hope that I can get out to the goat barn and get that winter ready soon too.



Still missing my morning time but until Helen starts sleeping in more than one hour chunks it’s just out of the question. Hopefully as we keep going to therapy that will improve.  Making an emergency visit to the chiropractor this afternoon as Isaac and I just can’t handle any more sleepless nights.

I really can’t think out any farther in my sleep deprivation.  My body and brain are just totally zapped.  Here’s to an extra helping of coffee and some much-needed rest.  How do you all get through those long days after short nights?



Thursday – Post 1



While in Oregon a few weeks ago I had some time for inspiration to seep in.  Away from housework and daily duties I could actually reflect on what I wanted my days to look like.  That combined with the inspirations of the mountains and my creative sister-in-law I decided it was time to get my blog up and running.  Something I’ve wanted to do for years.

Here you will find a raw look at my adventure.  It will be a place to share my unique (or maybe not so unique) look at life.  I won’t be spending time editing these posts or posing pictures.  You’ll find iPhone snapshots and grammatical errors.  It will be simple and fulfilling but not perfection or stress.  There’s a good chance it will include goals and renovation lists and hopes for homeschooling.

I came up with visions for both my Etsy shop and this blog space while I was daydreaming in Oregon.  For now my goal was to get a post out there.  To take that first step and simply start.  I hope you enjoy this journey with me and will enjoy watching this project unfold.



The girls are keeping me busy.  A 3-year-old is a very busy sort of person.  Turns out a 1-year-old is too.  When you combine the two of them it’s a whirlwind sort of situation.

This week, however, has been one of those perfect weeks.  They’re happy.  They can play with each other with minimal struggles.  They’re eager to learn and explore and giggle.

The weather is gorgeous.  Perfect fall days.  We’re making progress on our kitchen remodel  and it feels so good to see our home come together.  It’s good and grounding.

I worked this week and whenever I get freelance work coming in the rest of life piles up. Here’s a current goal list that comes to mind while I have a moment to think.

• Get handles on the new kitchen cabinets.

• Start thinking & planning for the winter school semester.

• Get drawer organizers for the new kitchen drawers.

• Put trim and curtains up in girls room.

• Laundry.  Laundry.  Laundry.

• Make playdates with all our favorite people.

• Get planner prototypes made.



My birthday was the 18th and it got me thinking about goals for this year.  Here is the list I wrote while eating a perfect birthday dinner.  (Mom made me pizza and  it delicious.  Followed up with coffee ice cream drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce.  I’m a blessed daughter.)

• Explore Wisconsin more.  (We’re planning all our trips for this upcoming year to stay in the state and take advantage of the state parks and hiking that are right in our home state. )

• Work more with less stress.  (Meaning that I have a better schedule and plan in place for when my freelance work comes in.  Could mean a different daycare situation or maybe just later nights.  Something to evolve and unfold as we go along.)

• Get my mornings back.  (I miss my Jesus time and yoga time.  The quiet before the family wakes up.  It’s been challenging with a Helen who doesn’t sleep well and wakes up as soon as I leave the bed.  Long story short; I’m taking her to therapy which will hopefully help her sleep and trickle down to better everything for the rest of us.)

There you have it.  An imperfect and incomplete mashing of my thoughts.  Can’t wait to see how this all unfolds.  What do you want to know?