Monday, August 28, 2017

Money Saving Monday: Life After a Terminal Degree

I was so blessed to have gone through my undergraduate and graduate degrees without the need for student loans and the accompanying debt.  However, I was not as fortunate when it came to my Ed.D. I took out loans to finance my degree and now it's time to pay up. The amount of debt incurred to make my dream a reality is sobering.  I could buy a small house with the amount of student loan money I owe.  Or go on a really amazing vacation.  Regardless of the amount, I need to pay it back.  The sooner the better.

I come from a long line of thrifty folks.  I enjoy finding a bargain and saving money.  I also LOVE thrift stores.  I'm not going to lie - some of the stuff that people donate belongs in a trash pile.  But a lot of good, usable stuff goes to thrift stores and I am happy to give some of those items a new home. My favorite day to shop at our local Goodwill is on Sunday.  That's when their clothes and sundries are $.99 for a certain "string" color.  On my most recent trip the items with blue strings were on sale.  I shopped ONLY for items with that color.  This allowed me to focus on what I was buying instead of being overwhelmed.  I was able to purchase all of the items below for less than $15.00!

Cleo did not want to get off the unmade bed for this very high end photo shoot.  Since she's cute, I let her stay. ;-)
Clothing was the big item of the day.  I have been using a lot of black and white in my wardrobe since returning to work a couple of weeks ago and I have been loving it!  It requires minimal effort on my part when it comes to deciding what to wear and I can use accessories to dress up a look.  The first item I purchased was this Jones New York blouse.  It was a bit large on me but I thought it would look nice as a jacket over a tank with a pair of black or white jeans.
Jones New York blouse $0.99!
The next item I went back and forth on before finally making the decision to buy it. It's a polyester jersey fabric and I wasn't sure how the fabric would look on my middle aged body but I'm glad I bought it!  I can't remember the brand (and I'm too lazy to go look at the tag) but I know it is a Walmart brand.  I loved the red mixed in with the black, white, and gray so I put it in my cart.

I think the brand is George. Again, $0.99!

While the first two items I purchased are for fall, this one is perfect for the heat of August and September in Virginia.  And it has polka dots.  I love polka dots.

White blouse with black polka dots Venezia brand $0.99!
The sweater I purchased will not win any fashion awards, but when I tried it on in the store I knew I had to have it.  I could see myself curled up with a hot cup of coffee on a cold day all snuggly in this dark green sweater from L.L. Bean.  This is one of my favorite brands because of the classic pieces and durability.  So when I found this with a $0.99 tag on it I snatched it right up!

L.L. Bean Cardigan $0.99

The last clothing item I purchased for myself was a pair of pajamas. I am trying to wear actual pajamas instead of a 25 year old college t-shirt with holes in it and threadbare leggings so that The Hubs still finds me somewhat attractive.  Granted these pjs won't get his blood pumping but I figured they are better that the holey t-shirt. Right? They are also really thick so they will be nice and warm this winter.

Jockey Pajamas BOTH pieces $0.99 (that's less than $0.50 for each piece!)
Now I simply cannot go thrifting without looking at cute stuff for Babycakes and my recent trip did not go without something cute for her closet too.  My first find was her Christmas dress.  This is the time of year that I start looking because no one else is even thinking about those cute pictures of their littles with Santa in August.  Except me.  I love and treasure our visits to Santa each year.  And I love searching for "the dress" that will grace our picture for years to come.  I also realize I have a six-year-old daughter and that life is messy. So I don't want to spend $50 on a dress that she spills paint on and is ruined.  Nor do I want her constantly worrying that mommy and/or daddy will be mad if she ruins an outfit.  So when I found this little red corduroy jumper from Ralph Lauren (with the tags still on it!!!) into my shopping cart it went!

Ralph Lauren jumper $0.99
The other dress I purchased for Babycakes was one I debated on for a while.  It's a black velvet jumper with a sequin swirl pattern.  I couldn't decide if black was appropriate for a little girl.  Then I pictured her in it with a white turtleneck, white tights and black patent leather Mary Janes and into the cart it went!
The Children's Place $0.99
The last piece of clothing I purchased was a pair of capri pants.  I wasn't sure Babycakes would like them, but I have a niece who is two years younger and could grow into them.  Babycakes tried them on and into the basket for her cousin they went.  They were cute pants, but they didn't "feel good."  I am not fighting that battle.  But here they are in all of their cuteness.
Kid's Capri's $0.99
The last few things were not included in the $0.99 sale but were things that I wanted needed.  I have been searching for a set of speakers for my computer at work.  I didn't want to spend a ton of money on them, but I really needed them to show videos to my students (Kid President anyone?).  I finally found this set, still in the box for $2.59. I tested them out this week and they work perfectly!

Picture frames are some of the best things you can buy at thrift stores.  My mom had gotten Babycakes a horse picture for her room, but I had yet to find a frame.  I found this oak beauty for $0.59 and it looks great in her room!

The last thing I picked up was this caddy.  I have plans for it, so hopefully I can get myself together and get my craft on one night.  I loved the setup of this little caddy for outgoing bills and mail.

Mail Caddy $1.99
And that, my friends is a thrift haul! As you can see from the receipt below all of this was less than $15.00!
I will say that I was shopping by myself this day.  I could never do this with The Hubs or Babycakes along.  They are both waaay to impatient to wait on me while I dig through the racks.  I enjoy the process so it's more like a hobby than a chore.  How about you? Do you enjoy thrifting?  Leave me a message in the comments about your favorite thrift store find!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Wilted Acres Update

The other day I sat down and did a massive Brain Dump at work.  I had what felt like a million thoughts racing around in my brain and I could not focus on all of the things that I needed to finish. So I sat down and made two lists - one for work and one for home.  The one for work was massive - but not shocking.  The one for home surprised me. In dumping out my thoughts I realized how much I miss blogging.  It's my journal. It's my outlet, and I miss writing.  I don't know if anyone reads what I write, but I enjoy looking back at my old posts.  I wrote a post back in February that I honestly have no memory of writing.

In my defense, I have had a terrible time uploading pictures from my iPhone to my computer.  And who wants to read a blogpost with no pictures?  It wasn't until The Hubs took Babycakes out for a couple of hours this morning that I took the time to figure out the problem (user error).  So here I am.

Babycakes isn't a baby anymore.  She is now a big bad FIRST GRADER!!!

I am in the midst of year 20 as a proud public school teacher!

I have finished the requirements that I needed to add school administration to my state teaching license.  All I need to do now is submit the necessary paperwork.  I plan on looking seriously for administrative positions for the 2018-2019 school year.  But for now, I am enjoying my work in the classroom as I teach my sweet group of 6th graders!

The Hubs has also joined the Dark Side  middle school education.  He is in a neighboring county on the other side of the mountain teaching agriculture.  This will be year 24 for him!

On July 4th of this year, Hubs and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary!  It was the first time we had been out to celebrate in several years so we lived it up by enjoying a dinner at Red Lobster. That's fancy eating here in rural America! (LOL!)

So between being a wife, a mom, a student, and a teacher things have been a little crazy around here. Now that I have figured out my phone (Praise the Lord for Google!) it is my hope that I can begin a regular blogging "schedule."  

Until next time! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I'm Not Dead!

One Year, Six Months, and Nineteen Days.
81 Weeks and Two Days.
569 Days.
13,656 hours (give or take).

Regardless of how you break it down, I have been absent from my blog for a REALLY long time.

I didn't plan it.

I don't have an excuse, but I do have an explanation.

After I completed the requirements for my doctorate I was in a funk.  Nothing felt quite right.  I felt like an overeducated, underpaid, special education teacher. I started to pursue my endorsement in school administration.  Then I quit.

Then I realized I couldn't apply for any of the jobs I was interested in without an endorsement in school administration. So I took the rest of the classes. I continued my learning - reading, writing papers - the exhaustion continued.

It wasn't until I contacted the graduate librarian at my university about an unrelated question that I realized what was wrong with me. Postdoc Depression.  I doubt that you'll find that in the DSM-V, but for me it has been very real.  I achieved something that I have wanted since I was about 10 years old. I should be happy. Proud.  And I am, but (you knew there would be a but) what do I do now?

I celebrate this...
At my Hooding Ceremony with my younger brother and sister. (Yep, I'm the oldest!)
And I remember the important things...

My AMAZING Family!
Yes, I am a Doctor of Education. But the most important titles I hold are Wife and Mommy.  I can't forget that.  Being a woman is tough business.  It hasn't even been 100 years since we have been given the right to vote.  Women with families have only entered the workforce during my lifetime.  There are no instructions.  There are no rules.  We have to make it up as we go along.

So right now, I am working everyday to be the best mom, special education teacher, and wife that I can be.  Sometimes  Often, my role as wife takes a back seat to my other roles, and that is not something I am proud of.  But it's true.  

I often think of my now 95 year old grandmother and the choices she had at my age.  By this point she had six children who ranged in age from (around) 20 years old to an infant.  My grandfather had a good job as an accountant, but what options did grandma have?  I'm not sure daycare centers were even available in the early 1960s.  I try and remember that I am doing things many women have not done before.  There are no instructions, no hard and fast guidelines on how to "have it all."  

I have what I want.  

And this, for now, is enough.