Friday, October 2, 2009

Live Like No One Else

Last week we had the good fortune to see Dave Ramsey Live. I bought the tickets for Matthew for his birthday, and what a wonderful experience it was. I cannot even tell you how motivating this guy is, not to mention that he is probably one of the funniest guys that you could ever encounter. We were literally in tears we were laughing so hard! If you ever get the chance to see him live, do it. You won't be sorry.

The current statistics in our country are shocking. They're unbelievable. They're infuriating!
Here are just a few to consider...

*70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
*68% of Americans could not cover a $5000 emergency without going into debt
*The average American household has $91,000 in consumer debt, (That doesn't include your home mortgage!)
*In 1929, only 2% of homes had a mortgage. By 1962, only 2% DID NOT!
*28% of Americans spent more time watching reality TV last month than they have spent planning for their financial futures... EVER!

If you've never read a Dave Ramsey book, do not walk, RUN, to your nearest library or bookstore and get one. Unless of course, you do not have any areas of your financial life that could use improvement, in that case, perhaps you should pick up a book on HONESTY! ;)
Our book of choice is Total Money Makeover. In this book, Dave details exactly how to get out of debt, stay out of debt, and build wealth like crazy. He lays out his plan in "Baby Steps", and gives specific advice on how to do each one.

Matthew and I began Total Money Makeover back in February 2009. We're embarassed to admit that it was the first time that we'd really sat down and talked money. We'd always been fortunate enough to just be "okay". We immediately completed Baby Step One, (Save $1000 FAST) Since then, we've been working on Baby Step Two, (Debt Snowball). Since we started, we've paid off off 7.1% of our overall debt (Including our home mortgage, real estate, car, student loans, and consumer debt). We're super proud of our accomplishments so far, and we're looking forward to paying down the rest of our debt. One day, (not so long from now) we're going to be DEBT FREE! We have a plan, and every dollar has a name. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you have a budget and focus on the future.

We have big plans, BIG PLANS I SAY!! Our next car... We'll buy it with cash! Our next home... We'll buy it with CASH! We know these goals aren't normal... Normal is broke. We want to be WEIRD!

Sound Crazy? Read the book.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad: Father-in-law edition

Today is my fantastic Father-in-law's birthday. He is the big SIX-OH today!! I'm really looking forward to celebrating turtle soup style next weekend, but until then, I just want to say that I hope you have a wonderful day and that I'm so glad to have a father-in-law like you!! Happy Birthday Dave!! We love you!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicken Mystery Solved!

I decided to take the advice of the "chicken lady" and separate our birds to determine who was laying. I am pleased to announce that Black Betty is indeed a hen!! She just produced a lovely egg in her private quarters. So for now, my rooster fears are over. Her eggs are still awfully little, but according to the lady, they'll get bigger as she settles into a routine. Here is a picture of Betty's egg sitting next to a regular "Large" egg that was purchased from the store. Betty's is on the right.

I am pretty excited though, because we have gathered four eggs since she started laying last weekend. She's laying just about every 36 hours.

Do two chickens and four eggs qualify me as a chicken farmer? I'd like to think so, but considering that two days ago I was sure that my hen was a rooster, I think that I better hold off on the "farmer" label for awhile!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Little Bit

Just two quick Owen stories before I head to bed...

1. During dinner my sweet little boy says to me. "Mommy, thank-you for dinner, it's good. It makes me happy when you make me dinner."

I almost cried. That was about the sweetest thing that he's ever said to me. He has been *such* a good boy lately!

2. Tonight when we sat down to do Owen's dump truck chart, we were going through each of his expectations. When we got to "Share Toys", I asked him if he thought that he'd shared today. He gives me a sheepish little smile and says, "A little bit..." I about died laughing. It was one of the first times that he gave an accurate description of his behaviors!

Whoa Black Betty (Bam-a-lam)

About a month ago we added two new additions to our family: Betty and Rachel. Owen picked them out himself. Betty is a Black Australorp, and Rachel is a Barred Rock. Betty even came with papers certifying her breed and sex, just in case we wanted to show her. (mmm, probably not). We decided to get chickens because we thought it'd be nice to have fresh eggs. Another plus is that they are easy to care for, and something that Owen could be very involved in raising. He has been great about feeding and watering them daily. He really enjoys these cluckers!

Anyway, I was told when I got these girls that Betty was already laying and that Rachel would start laying within two months. We brought them home, and anxiously awaited our first egg... Fast forward 3.5 weeks, still no eggs. BUMMER!

Then this past weekend, we went to Mom and Dad's, Friday and Saturday to celebrate Dad's b-day. We came home to TWO eggs!! The thing was that they were teeny weeny. I called my dad, the closest thing that I have to a chicken expert, albeit, probably not that close. :) He figured that Rachel (the young pullet) must have started laying and that was why the eggs were so small. That made sense I figured; little chicken, little eggs. That still left the question as to why Betty still hadn't resumed laying...

Fast forward again to this morning. Owen was super excited about getting to eat his first eggs from his chickens. I took pictures to memorialize the event!

Owen shows off the first two eggs!

Yummy omelet


Pleased with a farm fresh breakfast

All of that was good and well, but the thing that I noticed when I cracked the eggs in the bowl was that they both had a white circle on their yolks with a bullseye like appearance. My immediate reaction was that they appeared to be fertilized. I called my Chicken Expert AKA "DAD" again to see what he thought. He confirmed that the white circles would usually indicate a fertilized egg. I google researched the matter further and from all of the results that I found, I am about 95% convinced that those eggs were indeed fertilized.

So guess what that means... If I have a fertilized egg, I must have a... ROOSTER! ACCCKKK.

My next step was to call the lady that I bought the chickens from. She assured me that there was almost no way that "Betty" could be a rooster. She was "guaranteed" to be a hen. She told me that I could bring back my alleged rooster, or seperate the two birds and confirm who is actually laying. On any account, I am supposed to call her back next week with my findings.

Here is a close-up picture of the suspect eggs. It's really not a great picture of the bullseye effect because of the glare, but you can at least see the white circle on yolk on the right side.

Suspect eggs

The most unfortunate part of this whole event is that I've spent a good portion of my day today fiddling with, photographing, cooking, researching, calling, and now blogging about these silly eggs.

The fortunate thing is that if the worst thing that I have to worry about is whether or not my chicken is a rooster, things are going pretty smoothly :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my wonderful Dad's birthday! Here's wishing him a very happy day, and that he hopefully starts feeling better very soon! Just want to say that I love you Dad! I think the world of you, and admire all of your strengths. You've taught me so much, and helped me become the person that I am today. You're truly one of my heroes with all that you've overcome in this life. So Happy Birthday Dad! I Love You!!