Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some cool apps

For Christmas my husband got me an ipad mini, to keep me organized, and send me reminders of all the things I forget in one day. It has been so much fun finding apps that are helpful to my life as a busy mom. I will tell you of a few, since they go along with our goals for 2014.

Our main goals this year is to complete Baby Step 3 in the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It has been a few years since we have become debt free, and we have never reached the point where we have 6 months of income saved for emergencies (there always seems to be something that comes up that needs our money more!). So, if we have to save 6 months of Scott's income, we have to do one of two things...either we earn more money, or we decrease in our spending. We have opted to decrease spending, to see how much we can really budget (especially in the area of groceries, since this gets out of control)

My next goal is to watch my health (not to lose weight, or run more, or any other goal that I might not complete), but to simply track my health and make better decisions.

So, with these two goals in mind, I went app shopping.
Goal 1 - Save money - Apps: MINT and Grocery IQ
Goal 2 - Be Healthy - Apps: Seven and Lose It

Grocery IQ Grocery shopping made quick and easy with the features you expect from the #1 grocery shopping list app. Build lists from our extensive product database using text, barcode, or voice search; sync and share lists with other devices and the website only does it provide a birds-eye-view of your income, spending and investments, but Mint also recommends ways to save money on bank fees, credit card rates and insurance. Best of all, it’s free.

Seven * No workout equipment & just minutes a day

* Fun achievements and rewards to keep you motivated
* Based on the 7-minute workout featured in NY Times Magazine

Lose It - Lose It! helps you set a daily calorie budget, track your food and exercise, and stay motivated to make smarter choices and achieve your goal. We think it’s the best, most seamless weight loss system available.

If any of you know of some more excellent apps to use, please tell me. I am looking for a place to store my weekly food menus, and to collect my most favorite recipes too. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Month 5 of the Experiment: Get ready on time

Month 5...Change of Plans
Well, this Experiment to get rid of youth entitlement has been difficult to stick with, but we are seeing some nice results.
Here are some of the things that are happening...
- Zach sleeps on top of his blankets, so he doesn't have to remember to make his bed
- Tyler loves to cook and offers to help all the time
 -Zach has put all his spending money into his savings account, and is working to buy his own DS (since we will not get one for him!).
- Tyler continually helps his little brother to keep their room clean.
- All three boys come right away when I call them for laundry, and have successfully been able to put away their piles on their own. (I make the piles, and they grab them and go....we found it more effective this way. I do not fold, just put things in the right piles so there is not fighting)
- The boys have realized that a simple meal means less dishes and less clean up.
- They have to remind their Dad that they can do it on their own now.
- We have gained a sense of self and community through our service acts in December, and I have seen a huge change in Tyler with his courage to talk to others.
- Each boy used their own money to buy each other gifts for Christmas, and they felt so much more joy on Christmas morning when we opened gifts.

Our plan was to start with toilets and home repair in January, but there has been a change of plans. We are struggling with getting out the door in the morning without shouting/ challenge in January is to be ready on time. Our plan is to give them one warning, let's say at 7:50am. At this time, they need to have eaten breakfast, be dressed, teeth brushed, shoes and jacket on, and bookbag packed. At 8:00am, we load up in the van and leave. The toughest part is not reminding them, or scolding them. I help out the little guy still of course, he is 3, but the others are on their own. At 7, and 9, they know the routine.

We discussed it at the family meeting Sunday night, and Monday morning it started. The first thing Zach realized is that he needs an alarm clock. We put the things that needed to be completed on the chalkboard, and pointed them out, only when asked questions, like, "What do we have to have done again?".  The less talking the better.

We have been able to do it two days in a row. We quietly get ready, and at the warning...10 mins before we have to leave...the boys scramble to brush teeth, grab their bags and head to the door. It is amazing how they really can get it all done in 10 mins.

They only lose 1 coin for not completing this part of the experiment. If they make it in time, and forgot their bag (and Mom has to go back for it) 1 coin. If they are near the door, without shoes on when it is time, 1 coin. You get the idea. We have found that you have to be tough the first week, so they actually lose a coin or two, before they get the hang of it. You are not here to negotiate, you are here to teach them how to take care of themselves.