A Look Back at 2016!

One thing I look forward to each year is writing this post! I like to look back and reflect and share the good things that happened throughout the year. I guess you could call this my “Christmas Letter”. Each year (and this year is no different), I hope that others will either leave a comment with a few (or all…it’s up to you) of your own answers! I love reading them. Without further ado…let’s take a look back at how 2016 was!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you had never done before?

This one’s easy! I completely cut sugar out of my diet. I went from eating an insane amount of sugar a day to none. I probably ate a weeks worth of sugar each day. The good news is, I don’t miss it at all!! Not one bit!

 2. Did you keep your New Years resolutions and will you make more for the new year?

YES! Two goals I had for myself for 2016 was to get healthy and do something I enjoy each day (read more). Not only did I lose over 80 lbs this year, but I also read over 77 books!

 3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No and I’m super sad about that. I don’t know that I held a baby at all this entire year.

 4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, but a whole bunch of celebrities did. It’s crazy how many passed this year.

 5. What would you like more of in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Exactly what I want more of every single year…more time with my husband. It makes me very sad that he has to travel so much for work. If I had a magic lamp with three wishes, I’d only make one wish and having Dan home more would be it.

 6. What countries did you visit?

Just the USA! Never left.

 7. What date will forever be etched in your memory and why?

January 23, 2016…this is the day both my husband and I decided to get our health under control and start the Keto diet.

 8. What was your biggest achievement this year?

Losing 80+ lbs. I never, in a million years, thought I had the will power to do the Keto diet and give up sugar, but I am so glad I did.

 9. What was your biggest failure?

Probably yelling to much. I get stressed and then I yell.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope! I was pretty darn healthy all year long!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My iPhone 7 Plus. The camera is amazing!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine. I have a 10 year old daughter (going on 15) and a 12 year old son in middle school. They are alive and I am not an alcoholic. Need I say more?!?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I have a middle school aged child. I think everyone would agree that, at that age, from time to time, things get pretty hairy in the behavior department!

14. Where did most of your money go?

To the kids sports. Both kids play travel sports and between hotels, sports, fees and travel expenses, it’s pretty darn expensive.

15. What did you get really, really excited for?

One of Dan’s cousins got married this year in Pennsylvania in a barn. If I could do my wedding over again, it would be identical to theirs!

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

That Justin Timberlake song…Can’t Stop that Feeling.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • Happier or Sadder? Happier
  • Thinner or fatter? Thinner
  • Richer or Poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you had done more of?

I think I say this every single year, but family dinners. I love sitting at our kitchen table as a family and having dinner together. I wish we could do that more often.

19. What do you wish you had done less of?

I really wish I didn’t yell as much as I did.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas is a week long adventure in our family. On the 18th, we had Christmas dinner with my mom, brother and his family. On Christmas Eve, the kids, my husband and I stayed home, ate and played games while watching Ernest Saves Christmas. Christmas morning my mom came over, we opened presents from Santa and ate breakfast. After that, we went to my inlaws house for Christmas. The day after Christmas we celebrated some more with my inlaws! It was fun!

21. I copied this from MoscatoMom.com a few years ago..she had no 21 then…apparently there is still no question 21!

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Well considering I am still in love with the one I married, that would be a yes!

23. How many one-night stands?

um…none…what a weird question.

24. What was your favorite television show?

This is Us. If you haven’t watched it…start. You will love it.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate at this time last year?

Hate? No. Dislike strongly…yes.

26. What was the best book you read?

I am currently reading The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. I absolutely love that couple and the book is great!

27. What did you want and get?

I never really want much…however, my husband surprised me with an awesome 27 inch monitor for my desk and I have to say, it’s pretty sweet!

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don’t know that I really have an answer for this!

29. Hmmm…another question STILL missing. Maybe next year I will make up one!

30. What was your favorite film this year?

I really liked the new Independence Day movie! I thought it was good. Would have been better if Will Smith was in it…but Liam Hemsworth was nice to look at!

31. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 35. I really don’t remember doing much of anything on my birthday.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurable more satisfying?

This is easy. My year would have been better if my husband was home more. I’ve almost forgotten what it was like to have a second adult in the house on a daily basis.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Yoga pants and a hoodie. Most comfortable clothes ever!

34. What kept you sane?

My Kindle and having Kindle Unlimited (if you don’t have that…get it!). I found my love for reading again in 2016.

35. Which celebrity or public figure did you fancy the most?

I really don’t have one.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Pretty much everything having to do with the election irritated me this year.

37. Who did you miss?

My dad. It’s still very weird that he’s not hear anymore.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I don’t know if I really met anyone new. How sad is that?

39. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2016.

Live for you. Don’t try to please other people and it’s OK to take a step back to get back to what is best for you.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Let it go, let it go

Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care

What they’re going to say

Let the storm rage on.

The cold never bother me anyway.

Happy New Years! Now it’s your turn. Leave me a comment with some of your answers to the questions above OR if you decide to fill this out on your site, let me know….I’d love to come check it out!

Life Interrupted

When I graduated high school, I thought I had my life all figured out. i was going to go to Eastern Michigan University to become a teacher. Since teaching jobs, at that time, in Michigan were over saturated, I had grand plans of moving to a place in desperate need of teachers. At that time it was Arizona. I figured once I graduated college, I would meet a guy, get married and live happily ever after and have 2.5 kids (which…I never quite understood how a .5 kid worked, but that was what I was having). Fortunately for me, that is not how things worked out. Life interrupted.

life interrupted

About a month after starting college (at Eastern…that part did happen), I met a guy at work. I had no intentions of dating a guy from work. I had worked at this place since I was 15 years old…I didn’t want a guy making it awkward. However, he was very persistent. Always walking me out to my car when I got off after dark and always asking me out on dates. I said no for the longest time until one day i looked at him and said, “if I go on a date with you, will you stop asking me?” Little did I know, I would fall completely head over heels for this guy. Life interrupted.

10 months into our relationship, we got engaged. Quite a few people thought it was rather sudden. A mistaken even, but we knew it was the right thing for us. Neither one of us could imagine spending the rest of our lives with anyone else. About a year or so after we got married, and right before I was going to start my student teaching, I got pregnant. I finished my student teacher and graduated college one month before my son was born.

Life Interrupted

After he was born, and as I anticipated, teaching positions were just not happening in Michigan. There were TOOOOOO many teachers graduating at the same time. So I did a lot of long term subbing. I also decided to go back to school to get a Masters in Early Childhood Education. But again, life had other plans for me and I got pregnant with my daughter. Since she made me sick the entire pregnancy, and the smell of dry erase markers sent me running from the room, I finished those classes and didn’t sign up for another semester. Again, life interrupted.

I had my life completely planned out at 18 years old and guess what, not a single thing happened the way I had planned. Sure I got married and had kids (still waiting on that .5 kid…maybe my cat qualifies for that part???), but other than that, it’s nothing like I imagined. I am not longer teaching or have a desire to teach; we still live in Michigan and that guy I went out with just to get him to leave me be, ended up becoming my husband and we’ve been married for 14 years and you know what, I wouldn’t change anything. So while I still have my pipe dream of becoming a published author one day and writing a book or a series that is as popular as the Alex Cross novels by James Patterson and becoming the breadwinner of the family, I am here to tell you that it is OK to have dreams and it is OK to plan your life out, but be prepared for things to jump in your path that completely sends you in a different direction. Everything always has a way of working themselves out in the end.

life interrupted

7 Easy Ways to Reduce Household Costs

Do your bills make you cringe? I know mind do. To me it seems like for every penny I earn there are at least two service providers or bill collectors ready to take it. Yet as I learn to be more financially aware, I’ve come to find that there are a LOT of things my family and I could be doing differently to cut back. With a few lifestyle changes and creative thinking, we could actually have money left over each month to do something we enjoy.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So here’s what we did:

1.Write Down Expenses

Accounting for every penny that comes into your home is ideal for cutting costs. When you see where your money is going you have a better idea of what you need to cut back on. For example, we found that we were spending a great deal on ATM fees. While one transaction may only be $2, if you withdraw from the ATM 10 times per month, that’s $20 plus whatever your actual bank charges you.

2.Shop for Better Insurance Rates

When it comes to costs like auto insurance, you should continually be on the lookout for a better deal. As car insurance providers look to find new business, they offer incentives that might include lower prices, additional services, and so on. Not to mention the fact that an improved credit score can get you a better quote. It’s a good idea to compare insurance rates at least once per year to get savings. This can apply to things like home and/or renters insurance as well.

3.Ditch the Coffee

Okay, so I love my caffeine fix just as much as the next goddess, but when I realized how much my habit was costing me, I had to reconsider. In fact, according to ABC News, the average American spends about $1,100 per year on coffee alone! I could think of a ton of things I could do with that instead. If you need your caffeine fix, invest in a good coffee pot and brew it at home or take advantage of the free stuff from the office.

4.Cut the Cable

On average, we were spending about $200 per month on cable, Internet and telephone services. However, with modern technology, you can watch your favorite movies and shows without a cable subscription. A more affordable alternative might be to pay for Internet service while utilizing a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. These subscriptions are under $20 a month.

5.Compare Electricity Rates

This one was new to me as I always though you were stuck with the same energy provider, however, new laws provide a bit more flexibility. Deregulation in the U.S. allows residents to choose an energy supplier. Because energy companies now have to compete for your business, the rates are going to be a lot more affordable.

6.Buy Generic

Don’t be afraid of generic brand food items as they can save you a lot of money. Most people assume, you get what you pay for, but store or generic brand products can actually be very good. Since they don’t advertise through commercials and other costly avenues, they can afford to offer you products for less. Of course there’s nothing wrong with having a few brands that you’re loyal to, but if it’s not on sale or you don’t have a coupon, generic versions are usually just as great.

7.Ask

This last one really shocked me, but did you know that many companies have deals to offer and all you have to do to get it is ask. Contact your utility, cell phone, credit card, or car insurance companies and ask them about deals and discounts they have for existing customers. Since they want to keep your business, they’re going to do what they can to get those prices down for you. Whether it’s a one-time deal or an ongoing thing, a penny saved is a penny earned.

If you feel like all you do is work to pay bills, it may be time to give your household budget a once over. When you actually record your spending habits, you get a real understanding of what expenses are draining the most income. From there, it is a matter of coming up with a plan of action to eliminate or reduce the costs. Hopefully, I’ve given you a few ideas to get started.

*This is a partnered post

A Look Back at 2015!

I know it’s said every year, but I think 2015 flew by. As I sit here on New Years Eve and think about all the different things that went on throughout the year and I really do believe this year definitely flew by faster than any other year. Like last year (and in previous years), I thought it would be fun to look back at everything that made up my 2015! Happy New Years!

look-back2015

 1. What did you do in 2015 that you had never done before?

My husband took a week off work and we had a fun “Staycation” with the kids. In order to fill our week full of fun things to do, we opted for a Staycation so we could save money on meals and hotels. The kids asked us if we could do another Staycation next year!

 2. Did you keep your New Years resolutions and will you make more for the new year?

Sort of. I didn’t lose as much weight as I would have liked, but I 100% maintained what I did lose. So that’s pretty good! I will definitely make more resolutions (or goals, as I like to call them) for 2016!

 3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No…not this year!

 4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. Unfortunately my grandma passed away.

 5. What would you like more of in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Exactly what I want more of every single year…more time with my husband. It makes me very sad that he has to travel so much for work and it makes me even more sad that today is Thursday and on Monday his vacation time will be over and he will be heading somewhere sometime that week.

 6. What countries did you visit?

Canada! My mom and I went to see The Sound of Music!!

 7. What date will forever be etched in your memory and why?

September 19, 2015…the one year anniversary of my dads passing. While it was a sad day, my husband was in another state for work, realized what day was coming up, and he drove all through the night to be here when I woke up in the morning so I wouldn’t spend the day alone.

 8. What was your biggest achievement this year?

I made it my goal to save up money and purchase a desktop computer for my office upstairs. Having that computer upstairs has really helped me a lot with work. Not having to lug a laptop up and down the stairs when I need to work has really helped keep me on schedule! Not to mention, it was the first time I made a goal where I was going to spend money on myself and I actually did it. I have a hard time spending money on myself.

 9. What was your biggest failure?

Not cooking as much as I wanted to. I need to plan ahead and get meals in the freezer so I do better in 2016!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I was pretty healthy in 2015! I did get pneumonia in October, but other than that…nothing! Deciding to use essential oils has been the best decision ever! If you would like to know more about Young Living Essential Oils please let me know! I would love help you out!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Ford Taurus Sho…favorite car I’ve ever owned!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine. I should be celebrated. Raising a middle school tween and a pre-tween is enough to drive me to drink. SO…the fact that I am not an alcoholic and they are still alive should totally be celebrated!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Um…please see question 12!

14. Where did most of your money go?

To the kids sports. It’s absolutely insane how much their sports cost.

15. What did you get really, really excited for?

Three family members got engaged this year so that means THREE weddings in 2016. THREE awesome new dresses and THREE fun weddings! Can’t wait!

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

That Whip Nae Nae song. It’s one of those songs that gets in your head and stays there. I think my kids whip and nae nae’d all over the place this year! My daughters soccer team, after winning ALLLLLLL of their games, whip and nae nae’d after the last game!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • Happier or Sadder? A tad happier, but not much.
  • Thinner or fatter? Thinner
  • Richer or Poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you had done more of?

Family dinners. It’s the ONE thing I want more than anything…for my husband, my kids and I to sit down to dinner together more.

19. What do you wish you had done less of?

I wish I had my crap together so we didn’t eat out so much.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas is a week long adventure in our family. On the 20th, we had Christmas dinner with my mom, brother and his family. On Christmas Eve, the kids, my husband and I stayed home, ate and played games while watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Christmas morning my mom came over, we opened presents from Santa and ate breakfast. After that, we went to my inlaws house for Christmas. For two or three more days, we celebrated with my husbands family some more. The kids had a blast, I had a nice time, but I am beyond tired!

21. I copied this from MoscatoMom.com a few years ago..she had no 21 then…apparently there is still no question 21!

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Well considering I am still in love with the one I married, that would be a yes!

23. How many one-night stands?

um…none…what a weird question.

24. What was your favorite television show?

Hart of Dixie! I started watching it on Netflix. Love that show.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate at this time last year?

Well…I would love to say no to that, but there have been a few things that ended up being a real eye opener to us about people we thought we knew. So…yes…there are some that I now dislike that I didn’t last year. Unfortunately.

26. What was the best book you read?

I have been reading the Shade of a Vampire series. LOVE it!

27. What did you want and get?

I honestly didn’t want much. However, my husband surprised me on Christmas morning with a pair of real diamond earrings. I love them!!

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I really don’t know that I had a great musical discovery.

29. Hmmm…another question STILL missing. Maybe next year I will make up one!

30. What was your favorite film this year?

I really really liked Jurassic World! Jurassic Park was my favorite movie when I was a kid. So…when I found out there were making a new one, I was so excited!

31. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 34. We went to a hibachi grill place. It was good…although, the kids didn’t like it.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurable more satisfying?

This is easy. My year would have been better if my husband was home more. I’ve almost forgotten what it was like to have a second adult in the house on a daily basis.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Hahaha! I don’t know that I have a fashion concept. I wore what fit and what was clean. Oh and what was comfortable.

34. What kept you sane?

My Kindle and having Kindle Unlimited (if you don’t have that…get it!). I found my love for reading again in 2015.

35. Which celebrity or public figure did you fancy the most?

It’s tied between Channing Tatum, Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Hilary Clinton saying she supports GMO’s.

37. Who did you miss?

My dad. He’s been gone over a year and it is STILL weird going to my parents house and not seeing him sitting in his recliner.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Is it bad that I really didn’t meet anyone new?

39. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2015.

Don’t be afraid to let go of toxic people. Also, don’t be afraid to put yourself first once in awhile.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Let it go, let it go

Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care

What they’re going to say

Let the storm rage on.

The cold never bother me anyway.

Happy New Years! Now it’s your turn. Leave me a comment with some of your answers to the questions above OR if you decide to fill this out on your site, let me know….I’d love to come check it out!

Novasure Procedure Update to the Update

Back in 2008, I had the Novasure procedure done. If you are not familiar with that procedure, is an endometrial ablation that removes the lining of the uterus. I was having a lot of female gynecological issues and my options, at that time were to either deal with it, get the Novasure procedure or have a hysterectomy. I was only 27 years old. Getting a hysterectomy seemed rather drastic. So I opted for the ablation.

Over the years, I’ve updated on how I’ve been since having that procedure done. A few years ago, I updated that I felt that the Novasure procedure failed for me. Well I was wrong. You see, a few years ago, I was on a medication called Metformin. The Metformin was prescribed because my sugar levels were within the Type II Diabetic range. For people with Type II Diabetes, Metformin works really well. It is also prescribed to women with PCOS. So while I was taking it for the Diabetes, it was also helping to restore regular menstrual cycles.

Thankfully, through diet, exercise and losing weight, I no longer test within the Type II Diabetic range and no longer need to take Metformin. As a result, I went back to not having a period at all. Every once in a blue moon, I will have a little spotting, but nothing that has me running out to the store to buy pads or tampons. I have noticed that every other month I tend to have some slight cramping around the time I would get a period (if I got one). It lasts for about 1-2 days and is nothing more than an annoyance than anything else. Nothing like what I was dealing with before I had the Novasure procedure done.

Being almost 8 years later, I still believe that it was the best decision I ever made. If you think that you need to have something like this done, I encourage you to speak with your doctor. Only he or she can answer questions specific to you. I am more than happy to answer any questions in regards to my own personal experience. If you would like to see my past posts on the Novasure procedure, visit this link.