Our Journey to get out of Debt – Part 2

Our journey was going well and very successful.  We were completely out of debt except for our mortgage and had a fully funded emergency fund. HAPPY DANCE!!!! Then it happened…I found out I was pregnant with our second child. WILDER HAPPY DANCE!!!! It was such a wonderful blessing. I continued to work through my pregnancy. gabgarrettWe realized that we needed to finish our basement- to move my office from our extra bedroom to the basement.  That would be my dear son’s nursery. It didn’t kill us, my husband refinished it and we paid cash as he built it. We were very happy with the rebuild and spent a lot of time as a family in the extra space.  But, I have to admit our starter homes’ walls were starting to cave in on us me.  We needed more room. (Or so we I justified). My DH is the sensible one.  He is happy with whatever he has. He doesn’t have a materialistic bone in his body.  But, I am the driven one and really wanted to move to what I would call our more permanent family home. So…The house hunting began. Model 2   We made a list of our must haves and bought a bigger home. WE were buying when the banks were loaning money like crazy.  My new promotion was bringing in good money so we jumped in head first. and landed pretty well…if we would have been able to stay on track. Something happened when we bought this home. I felt invincible. That we could do and survive anything. A real false sense of everything will work out- no matter what happens. Higher mortgage payment, higher living expenses and we decided to keep the previous home as a rental property. (bad idea- we didn’t own it – it was financed). Whew…I am getting tired just thinking about it all…Of course I left out that we paid cash for a truck and “bought” (financed) a small cabin in the mountains during the good times.

cabin in the woods.pngWe were even making extra payments on the cabin every month… Of course the loan on the cabin was a horrible interest only loan. Yikes…subject for another post. So we went from a small percent of debt to income ratio to a very large one. Thinking as long as we had money in the bank, weren’t using credit cards, had emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses and my great job– we were living the life. yeah a life balanced on top the head of a pin. Looking back–the move was a good one. When I see the great neighbors that we have gotten to be close with, and my DS’s neighborhood gang of friends that he hangs around with ( 9 boys- count them- 9) …it is a no brainer and I am glad we made the move.  And of course–  I love our home.  DD was 8.5 and son was 2.5 when we moved here. A lot of great memories…

Neighborhood Gang2.jpg

It spending money on a truck, cabin and keeping the rental that wasn’t smart.  It was weird.  We embraced the debt free life – but only with consumer debt. We never considered the cabin, rental and our home— debt. Normal people mistake number one that will always keep you broke. This is what made our situation so dire when life hit us hard. We moved in and paid cash for all of the extras we bought. We were very committed to staying debt free.

craxy mommy picture

Then the bottom fell out, I hit crisis mode at my job , health issues and a law suit all within a 6-12 month period.  We went through our entire emergency fund- SNAP! (for legal fees-etc).  (Thank God, we had it or we would have had to move).  We went back into debt… about 39 grand…plus our previous homeand cabin debt.  It was was a horrible feeling.  How did we get here again??? I went back to work once my health issues resolved and realized that the foundation of my health problems were the stress from a not so stable work situation. I refocused and worked hard and I found a new job, my health improved and our lawsuit was settled. (that sentence is simple but the process was definately not). The lawsuit was a financial loss and one that you fight because it is the right thing to do, not to become rich. “To be come rich”- that job is for the lawyers (on both sides).  But, I grew more as an individual during that time than I ever did any other time in my life.

MotherTheresa quote don beth

 I learned to be confident and grew in confidence.  I am a great mother, wife and employee.  I know I am willing to do the right thing even when no one is looking.  To do the right thing because – it is the right thing. I have been given more gifts and perspective than a large financial settlement would have ever provided. Ever. I realized during that time that I will do whatever I need to. I am the type of person that never ever gives up. Even when my mind and body was telling me different I rallied on…amazing quality. I am blessed. I got this from my dad. We lost him this year on March 31st. I have his fight.


At our lowest point–I will never forget looking out our master bedroom window, and making a vow to myself that we will never be in this situation ever again. I was so overwhelmed. I kept thinking that I had worked my entire life (I am the breadwinner, DH is a stay at home dad) and we were close to being completely broke. BROKEN. How could this be? Granted we live on one income, and have for years, but we made more than enough money- not to be in that situation. What does Dave Ramsey say? We make too much money to be this broke. In the end, Life happens and I could “blame” it on life circumstances, but when I reflect back it was also a lot of STUPID decisions. At that point I realized that we didn’t understand or completely follow “the Debt Free including our mortgage” if we got ourselves back into this place again.

This was the beginning of our second try at the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. More in Part 3.

Craft Room Update – Thrift store craft table

It seems that I am on a mission this year–redoing and updating our home.  My latest project is my Studio/Craft Room. When we moved in about 9 years ago, my DH made wonderful shelves along the wall and built me a pretty cool space.

Our original design was flawed.

Too much counter space put not enough workspace. That doesn’t seem to make sense…but it was our reality. It ended up being a dumping ground for anything and everything.  Even though I worked on organizing it…it seemed I was spending more time cleaning and organizing than I was creating in the space. Not good…

My dream was to have wood floored studio.  So if I spill paint or glue–all is good. Squirrel……On to Step 1:


Part One of the makeover, is about finding the right type of craft table.  I want a craft table in the middle of the room.  ONe the is not too small but, not too big, round, with a pedestal base, very sturdy and durable. Cute and fun, very inspirational…Oh yeah and did I mention that I don’t want to spend any money?


I downloaded the Craiglist app for my iphone and began to stalk all of the dining tables on CL.  It became an obsession because now their new setup / feature you can star your favorites.  I kept it in a price range of 50-75 dollars. I starred quite a few of them…but nothing hit me just the same.  We spent money on ikea shelves (more on that later) so I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money. 50-75 bucks is alot to spend… Bad enough we I was demolishing the shelving my DH built. 

Then I decided on a whim to hit our local habitat for humanity store.  “Just to look around.” Famous last words… I don’t know..as much fun as I was having hunting through CL. I was losing interest, and not feeling like I have the time to contact someone on CL and coordinate etc… Wow did I make a good move…heading to habitat for humanity store—oh my goodness was that the way to go!!!

Look at this baby that I found for 10.00 dollars.  It is sturdy, just the right size, shape and if you can believe it has a huge heavy piece of beveled glass on top. Thick glass….perfect for projects.  I also donated a box of stuff that we gathered this Saturday so they gave me a 20% coupon. 8 bucks people! 8 bucks.  It is almost silly…yes I know it is formica, and an ugly brown, and it is a little worn…but that is what makes it fun…(I took this at the thrift store on Saturday—please don’t confuse this for my basement…hmmm there is a resemblance…LOL…

I cannot wait to reveal the AFTER.  Here is the BEFORE:

craft table




HomeGoods Haul…

It is kind of ironic that I am placing a shopping haul right after I began documenting our debt free story, but a girl has to have a little pick me up every now and then. Don’t cha think?

I will say that HomeGoods which is the domestic part of TJMaxx store is awesome. Their stuff is trending but, stylish and at a discount price over retail.  I especially love their throw  pillows.  They go very fast but, you can usually get two for the price of one.

I have been trying to update my colors and was inspired by quite a few blogs across the information highway…I love all of the bright colors…

I was on my way home from work and my DH(Dear husband) and DS(dear son) were  at the course- chipping and putting. My rock star DTD, (dear teenage daughter) was at dance…so I didn’t have a reason to rush home.  Figure that.

So I pulled into the HomeGoods parking lot and actually sat there for a moment and smiled.  It has been awhile since I have taken a deep breath and actually got to shop without being in a rush to get a gift, or have a major errand to run.

It was the perfect time to shop…here is my haul:

Home Goods Haul 1


1. What did I tell you?  The bright pillow set- was 24.99 for a set of two down pillows.

2. They had the cutest plastic stools that folded up.  I got one for my Diva closet that I have been working on.  (I will post the closet redo soon—I promise). It is such a great addition to our space and it has helped with packing for work trips, and saves me so much time. Who would have thought it would have such a positive impact.  Okay…Only took us 8 years to update it—had to save the CASH —couldn’t charge it. (DEBT free and all…)

Diva Closet Stool


3. Thin Velvet hangers to save space in a closet.  I got two packets of them and one for dress pants.  I saw them on line and they are so amazing.  They save space. I will use them and post about it during my DIVA closet reveal.

4. iPad holder for my desk.  I have an iPad for work and we have one at home, and they are constantly “laying around” this holder helps them stand upright on my desk and has a built in speaker. So cool. It was 1/3 the cost of the ones I have looked at on line.

5. I bought 2 ipack coolers. One for my DS lunches.  You just put the entire case in the freezer and pull it out and pack it in the morning.  The one here is a large one I bought for our travels to the cabin. I had already popped my DS’s in the freezer for use- si it isn’t pictured here.

Well, that does it for my HG Haul. What a blast I had and got some fun items.  I don’t shop like I used to unless I am thrifting or on a trip buying Birthday gifts.  I don’t miss it really.  It is more enjoyable now that I don’t go very often.

Please share links to any HG shopping you have done…when you have gotten a break.

Our Journey to Get out of Debt—Part One

My husband and I made a goal in 1999 that we wanted to be debt free including our mortgage. We want to get out of debt! It happened after we had too many–okay–cough cough – a ton of fights over money and spending.  Okay–cough cough – my spending habits.

At the time, I took a class at our local recreation center.  It was from an ad in the newspaper and the program was by Ron Kumata. I actually cut our credit cards in half during that one day class.  We were instructed to bring a list of our debts and all of our credit cards.  I still have the workbook today.  It is very sentimental.  It changed my way of thinking–our way of thinking about money.


You will want to shoot yourself if I bored you to death with our entire journey over the last 13 years. But, I will try to give you the snap shot.

What debt did we have anyways?

  • Transition Debt- when my husband quit his job to stay home with our 3 year old (now 17.5!!)

(A move we have never regretted. So many people ask me how I can work so hard.  Because my husband is home with our babies.)  It was a rough financial transition. Pre debt free class, I hid a lot of money issues from my husband.  My deepest secret on our  pre debt free journey—get ready to cringe—like bad—- is when I used an advance on our Discover card during the transition to one income to pay our mortgage payment. OUCH!  I hid it cause I knew he would never quit if he knew our situation was that dire. (Live and Learn) Lesson 1 of any debt free program is not to keep financial secrets. EVER!!!!


What else?

  • Student Loan Debt(mine)- I had at the time what seemed like a mountain…23K…

I know that Dave Ramsey (the popular and wonderful debt free program) and other programs tell you not to get into debt to go to school.  But I worked full-time and lived in my car for a spell…gotta do whatcha gotta do….

  • Credit Card other than the Discover that we used for our transition debt…
  • Car Loan
  • Clothing store credit card
  • You name it we probably had it…as well as a mortgage

I really should get the book out and get the original figures.

So we jumped in full force. I read everything I could get my hands on about getting out of debt fast.

We started to live off of the envelope system, and cash.

Budget Envelopes



Oh was it hard at first, then it got fun. It turned into a challenge for me to see what type of  quality life we could live on for less.   It made me start to yard sale and cook more.  I furnished our house with yard sale furniture, and bought secondhand alot.   After that initial stretch….ahem yes initial stretch (more about our fumble later cough cough)—

we paid off all of our credit cards, our family car, and my student loans and managed to fund a complete emergency fund.(6 months of income).  It was amazing.  My spending habits changed.  I helped quite a few friends with their finances. 

There was alot to our journey…as you can imagine…One of the funnest challenges was to continue to get people gifts.  I love to buy gifts.  I am a gift giver…generous by nature.  We would eat out of the pantry and eat leftovers so I could use grocery money to buy a birthday gift…no credit cards.  One time I used my birthday gift card to buy someone a gift…but, it didn’t hurt.  It felt good and like a challenge… I garage “saled” a really cool chair and handpainted for my Goddaughter for her birthday.gift_guide_photo

Step 1 if you are just starting your journey is to read about being debt free. and then face the music.  Write down everything you owe. Every penny and come clean with your spouse if you are hiding anything….hope you make some progress before Part 2 post of Our Journey to becoming debt free….





Really Random #1

Sometimes I want to share things…y’know random stuff that is not enough for an entire post. I decided to make a series called Really Random.  It will be a place to “dump” all of my pieces of awesomeness! with out worrying about not having enough content for a full post and  wasting everyone’s time! Here goes…


 I made the most delicious Alfredo Pasta with asparagus and tomatoes this weekend. I was so excited to make it with our homegrown tomatoes. I could only sneak a bite due to my carb- restriction- blood sugar -deal…but wow it was delicious.  Love homemade Alfredo sauce…so NAUGHTY…RIGHT?

Halloween Mask Random


One man’s trash is another’s treasure.  Okay…creepy right? But my son and his neighborhood friends run a haunted house in our basement every Halloween. These were a dollar at a yard sale last Saturday.  I never seem to have time to “sale” anymore since we are cleaning out the basement.  What? Hoarder? Me? How dare you? Yeah Kinda…. LOL. My son was thrilled!! These were like gold to him.  His friends stopped by last night and were commenting – “where did you get these…These are awesome.”etc… there were a whole bunch of “cools” and other pre teen slang.. A definite crowd pleaser….better than 15-20 dollars at Halloween. SEEEriously!!!

Bugles Random 3



Okay…one of my favorite snacks.  You can find perfect size bags at the dollar tree.  Never buy a large bag of these…they are so addicting. Again, not on my Carb  restriction–so these were for the kiddos. They don’t last long in our house. Remind me of growing up…these were never in the parent’s budget-so when we got them they were a treat!

Preparing for Golf with an Onion Cheese Frittata

My Boys (my hubs and son) are playing in a Charity Golf Tournament.  I wanted them to have a good breakfast but, I didn’t have much time because we all played lazy today after the alarm went off. Aren’t they the bomb? All dressed up for golf and humoring me…by letting me take their picture. (“I always say someday you will be glad you have this picture!”–pre coffee and food it’s not so much fun for them).

Garrett.Don Golfing

I have this really cool ability.  Nothing that will make me rich or famous but one that I am really good at.  I have an amazing ability to make a great meal out of practically nothing. When everyone is opening the fridge and pantry and screaming that there is nothing to eat.  I can make a really good meal.  ERRRRR….weird? Maybe but…fun.

I actually like the ” hardly anything in the pantry/frige -get creative and save- the -day” cooking as much as I do the formal recipe cooking.  Everyone is at times even more grateful…okay not more grateful than if they have been smelling my soup all day.  But you get the picture.   So this morning was a “Rescue Cooking” morning. (Hey I should make that a category on this blog).

We had eggs, onions from the garden and one flour tortilla.

Frittata1 Collage


I sauteed the onions, scrambled the eggs, poured eggs in a hot skillet with the onions and cooked it like a pancake while the tortilla was prepared with olive oil and sea salt and put under the oven broiler til crispy. Make cocoa for my son and my hubs got his coffee a brewin….

Crispy Tortilla

Picture of the tortilla Roasting…. no pan needed…

Frittata 2Collage

Doesn’t mean I get to get out of going grocery shopping today at some point but I can’t have it all now can I?


My new toy…HCVP Rockler Spray Gun

Zooie Momma!!! The new sprayer is here ! The new sprayer is here.!

I came home from my work trip this past Friday to a package…I love packages.  Something about getting something in the mail.  Maybe it is because I remember as a very small child when we lived in Ohio and my Grandma Rose would send us a package at Christmas from Colorado.  There was nothing better.

I have to confess that I was too exhausted to open it or have it register that it came until Saturday morning.  My DH tried to coax me into interest on Friday but, it wasn’t happening.  Sometimes, re-entry, as I call it can be difficult. Re entry is re entering back into home life after being on the road for business travel. (Probably a subject for another post).

Well here it is..


It was quite the commotion Saturday morning when it was finally opened.  My DH was stressing out big time.  He was excited for me but more concerned.  You see he was a professional painter in California in his beach bum days and has very particular requirements when it comes to painting. I have to admit he is a master with a brush.  Now me on the other hand. Let’s just say I get as much paint on myself at times as the item I am painting.  So in his defense he had fair reason to be saying:” Honey where are you going to do this? Not in my garage. Sprayers don’t work, they clog and make a mess….they use too much paint…”

First we very very concerned about the banged up edge from shipping.  And when we opened it and there was no packing just the machine we were even more concerned. But this little bugger is solid. It was perfect condition. I have to secretly admit, even though I was acting cool infront of the Hubs I was very nervous.  What if it was a total waste of money and effort.  effort?- well I stalked this machine on line for a year prior to purchasing.  I was so disappointed that I was not able to find the blog that recommended the sprayer and how awesome it was.

Well it was easy to assemble, easier to test the paint with the little viscosity tool, and even easier to load.  It was very intuitive. I was jumping up and down and doing a happy dance as I headed off to the store to get paint. This is what I picked out.

Patio Paint colors

Patio Paint colors

Aren’t they the bomb? Seriously. So summery… I chose outdoor primer paint combination heavy duty from Behr @ HomeDepot. I have learned my lesson with cheaper paints not holding up to the Colorado weather. This paint was awesome.  I just bought 2 quarts because I didn’t know if I would like it or not.  (Headed back to the store today to get more…).

My hubs was so worried about me ruining everything I was painting around and what I was painting that he convinced me to paint an old patio table that has been in his way in the garage for over a year. It was a table I pulled out of my DFP (dear friend Penny’s trash)–it’s okay. We have been friends since I was 19 and she is aware of my rescue mentality.

I forgot to take a pre picture- I was so excited to try it ya know? Here is a picture mid paint cycle.

Pennytable 1

I really wish I would have gotten a picture cause it truly was a mess. This sprayer is the Bomb!! It covers evenly. Is not as messy as one would think.  My studio (garage with a hanging piece of plastic) stayed so much cleaner because the overspray is not bad. It is because the paint mist is so fine and easy to control.

Here she is finished.  I sent an iphone pic to DFP and she wants it back for her patio. I am happy to accommodate her.

pennytable2The finish is so smooth. It is a semi gloss.

Pennytable3Check out my Fancy studio to the left. Crazy daze…

Pennytable4An even closer view!

Well, I couldn’t stop there after having so much fun learning on this table, I pulled out the tables that I bought the green paint for. These tables are heavy and solid.  I got them at a yard sale about 6 years ago. They have moved around our house for various purposes until they ended up in the basement. I figured while I was waiting for summer patio chairs to go on sale, I would work on some tables.

Patiotables1I know they look like they have been to a few too many parties. lol.

patioendtbles.2Didn’t it turn out so great. What? That ugly brown table is now this patio end table? Yesss sirrreee- bob… happy dance. I put it with one of our outdoor dining chairs because I love the pop of yellow with it.  I will have to remember that when I am shopping for pillows and end of season furniture for the other end of the patio.

Another shot- close up.

patioendtbls1It looks very bright in this photo but, the first photo is a true representation of the color.

Well there you have it my friends the best sprayer out there!  It is amazing. I painted these so fast it was amazing.  I am not a love to paint with a brush kinda gal. So this is perfect for me. Cleaning it took me literally 6 mins.  My hubs had me so worried that it would take hours to disassemble and clean and reassemble. It was a breeze I tell you.

Here is a link to the Sprayer if you are interested in getting one. I paid 174.00 with tax and shipping. When I was looking at HomeDepot yesterday they all looked way more difficult to assemble and the prices were crazy.  If you are looking for a sprayer my experience with this has been amazing!!!!

I linked up to nifty thrifty link party!






Garden Box

Garden boxes are a great way to add function and personality to a yard.

I was searching the net for an easy way to make a small garden in our yard. The theme and concept is simple, make a sturdy enough box to hold enough quality dirt to make a garden fit in a small space. Wow are there many options out there.
My ds, who is 11 now, was amazing help, and then as always my dh comes in to rescue the day to finish out the project. I looked at purchasing one, thinking the materials would be so much more expensive. I was able to build it for 1/3rd the cost. 110.00 for all supplies.  I know that is alot of money but, this thing is built like fort knox.
What you will need:
Lumber- 4- 4X8′
Rust Proof Screws- 32
Gardening Dirt- 2 large bags
A spot in your yard that gets a good amount of sunshine during the day.

Garden Box

Garden Box

I took a picture yesterday morning with all of our vegetables planted in it. It exceeded my expectations. It adds much needed something in this “awkward” corner of our yard.
I planted:
red onions
2 kinds lettuce
hot peppers
and in separate large pots I planted green beans and snap peas!

Don’t you just love the metal tags that label the plants? I got them at the Dollar store last year. (never got around to planting my garden but, a deal I could not pass up!)
garden box2

Just love summer!  Don’t you just love the metal wire nest? It helps keep critters away because it blows in the wind. I also collected these blue glass electrical pole jimmer bobs and added one of those to the corner of the garden to personalized.
garden Collage

This weeks Top 3 Saturday SuperStar Blogs…ones that I love to follow..and why.

There are so many wonderful blogs out there in blog land.  I wanted to take a moment to share with you some blogging superstars.

The following blogs have these wonderful attributes:

  1. They are easily navigated.
  2. They have great personal stories and personality. You want to follow them and cheer them on!
  3. You learn from them on whatever topic they are covering.

I have put links to each of their sites so you can check them out!

Shaunna is amazing. Her and her husband team up on their shop and how to utilize ASCP furniture redoes.  It is the best site for furniture redoes and Chalk paint know how.  Her pictures are amazing and I like her honesty about burnout.  We all have been there.

Visit Everything Etsy!

This blog is hosted by KIM but is a family affair.  It is very well written and full of creative inspiration. What an amazing idea this family had. Wow….wish I woulda thought of that….LOL
What I love about Sarah is that she shows you the good, bad and the ugly in her home. She makes you feel like she is human and struggles as we all do. I always get inspired by her blog.  If I am at a loss for what I want to post about she always gets my hopes up!


Happy surfing I hope you enjoy these blogs and they give you inspiration for the new year…just don’t forget to still visit here.  We would miss you.


Alex and Ani – Favorite Things Friday

I have seen them on Pinterest, copy cats on Etsy and they have a kiosk at the Denver airport–and I have to say I love love love them. I kept hesitating to buy one. They are pricey…and low and behold I received in the mail this holiday season from a very good friend two bracelets. Yes you heard me right – not one but 2 bracelets. I felt very humbled and grateful to say the least. Enjoy one of my favorite things…
Thanks P! Love ya! You shouldn’t have –but I am so glad you did.

Source: dailygrommet.com via Apryl on Pinterest


Aren’t they amazing? They have the coolest expandable clasp. They are light and very comfortable to wear.

Source: alldressedinargyle.tumblr.com via Laura on Pinterest


I love how you can wear one or two and they look amazing, but you can wear 30 and they look insanely stylish.

Source: fashionsalade.com via Monica on Pinterest

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