The passing of an ERA

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last night my husband and I took our children to the downtown Appleton Christmas parade. While my honey and I enjoyed it, I think our girls have outgrown it. Its sad to say,but I think we are at the end of an era. I just don't understand how they grown up so fast. That used to be a huge deal to them, but instead it was boredom and complaints. I spent most of the parade thinking about Christmases past and wishing I had "cherished" the time more.

Don't get me wrong, I have always been very thankful for my time at home raising my children. My wonderful husband was so supportive of us and never questioned our decision- not even when living on one income got very tight.

Jay, just got a promotion at work. I am so proud of him. He is a very hard worker and incredible at detailed work. He has been capable of this promotion for years, and has been turning it down for years.

For those of you who quit your very busy hectic career to be a more supportive mom- you will understand when I say that I was a little bit jealous of him. I couldn't help but wonder if that would be me had I not quit in September, 1999. I know most of you wont understand what I am talking about, but for the rest of you, you know-Its a tough balance. Knowing you are wonderfully blessed to be called "MOM" and putting their needs ahead of your own, versus choosing your career where you have promotions, raises and measured success. Its a struggle I have contemplated since 1999.

That brings me back to the parade. Those days are gone, my babies are now turning into lovely young women. I am not sure what they will need from me next, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will put their needs ahead of mine. If that means I need to -I will pass on the fancy job, fancy car, fancy title so that I can simply be "mom". I still feel that is the best job ever.

Flex Spending Accounts

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For those of you fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take advantage of your company's Flex Spending Accounts, I would tell you with a Great big YES! Go ahead and do it!

Many companies offer options to help pay for Child-care costs, out of pocket medical, dental, vision expenses as well as over the counter medications and prescription drug expenses.

So, it may seem like a little bit of work to fill out the papers ahead of time and try to estimate for next year how much to put aside. But you work hard for your money- Take advantage of this money saving benefit!

For example: if you make $30,000/ year and contribute $600 per year pre-tax for health care expenses, and $4800 pre-tax for child care expenses, your net spendable income would be $17,798. If you DID NOT contribute money to the pre-tax account and paid for them out of pocket, using the same amounts for expenses, your net spendable income for the year would be $16,305. The difference is the amount of money you save on taxes!

If you want a faster way of looking at projected savings, you can use the rule of thumb that you will save between 27% - 43%. (Its a wide range I know, but tax situations vary widely!)

Now, the trickey part is trying to decide how much money you plan to spend. You will need to figure out your child care expenses seperately from the medical/dental. The first thing I do is add up my prescription costs per month and multiply that by 12, easy enough. Now think about anything specific you know needs to happen this year- new glasses, kids braces, fill a cavity. Once you have a list of items, try to estimate what that will cost you. Dont freak out about getting it perfect, just estimate.
Now, you have a good number, I would be willing to bet it is larger than you expected isn't it? Now, what you do here is up to you, you can round up for those expenses you under-estimated, or you can take the safe route of rounding down to make sure you dont end up at year end with a surplus, because you CANT GET THAT MONEY BACK.
Money left over in your account is EASY to spend. You can buy asprin, NyQuol, band-aides, hearing aid batteries, contact cleaning supplies, allergy medications, or cough syrup. The only stipulation is that you have to spend this money before 12-31 at the end of the year.
I hope that this helps some of you. If you have any questions, feel free to post them and I can try to answer your question.

Tomato Basil Pasta

Monday, November 16, 2009

MMMMM, I am writing this blog as I eat my leftovers, tomato basil pasta. It is one of my favorite meals! It is vegetarian, and delicious very good for a Lenten meal. But, I don't want to wait that long for it!

Saturday night, we had dinner guests, and my husband made Beef Stew. It is one of his signature dishes, he has 2. (love you honey:)) Anyhow, as the guests were in delicious amazement regarding his Beef Stew, my guest and neighbor, told me that she asked another neighbor to borrow a cup of flour. I cannot believe what this woman told her, she doesn't keep those things in her house. Hello......What? How can you live without having flour in your house? Even if you despise baking, what about cooking? Breading, making a Roux, thickening sauces, Beef Stew?? WHAT?

A few years ago when I was a stay at home mom and had time on my hands, I made homemade cookies quite often. I was appalled at how the stores were selling place and bake cookie dough. I remember talking to another SAHM about it and we couldn't believe it! Why would you buy that when the homemade cookies are Light years better?

Well, I have since gone back to work and the night has come when I was in NEED of a hot chocolate chip cookie and have had no choice but to buy the place and bake. So, I succumb, however I still make my own cookies most of the time.

So, my question today is this, do you keep flour in your house? If not, how do you handle those cookie cravings?

Oh yeah, the pasta, is gone. And it was SUPER. I think it was better than many restaurants I go to.
Christy Glocke. Design by Pocket