About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Natalie: Ten Months

Vital Stats

Natalie is over 20 pounds and is getting very tall! She hasn’t been weight or measured since her 9-month checkup. She still is in 9-12 month clothing. Her pj’s are only 12-month now; those 9-month are too short!

Milestones This Month

Natalie walks! She started walking two weeks ago and hasn’t stopped. She doesn’t crawl. Ever. She loves to practice walking, although she falls down quite a bit. She’s such a trooper; just hops back up and keeps on going. Since she has started wearing shoes, she likes to walk outside in the lawn. There is so much room to move around!

Natalie likes to stomp her feet. She thinks it’s very funny when Mommy or Daddy come up to her and stomp their feet, saying “Stomp, stomp, stomp!” She tries to stomp her feet as well but walking in place very quickly. Sometimes she falls over, but always with a smile on her face.


Natalie is a sleeping champ. She takes good naps and sleeps great at night. Her morning naps can be shorter on occasion, and sometimes she takes a longer afternoon nap. Before too many more months go by she will be heading towards one nap a day. Mommy can’t decide whether she’s happy or sad about that…


Who needs baby food?! Natalie rarely eats baby purees anymore; she mostly eats finger foods. She loves all her snack foods, especially Goldfish and fruit. Some of her favorite meals are chicken fettucine alfredo and Perkins chicken crunch breadbowl salad. She loves her carbs! Natalie has tried ice cream twice. Both times she has cried with Mommy/Daddy refused to give her anymore. We have a little sweet tooth!

Natalie can drink out of any glass with a straw, which is great when she goes out to eat.


Natalie clearly understands the word “no” and has occasionally obeyed, which makes Mommy very happy. She has finally started babbling, and says “mamamama,” “dadadadada,” and “bababababa.” Mommy keeps trying to get her to say “mama” but so far it’s a no-go.

Play Time

Now that Natalie walks her favorite thing to do is get into everything. She prefers kitchen cabinets over her toys and Mommy’s magazines over her own books. She likes to pull the toilet paper off the roll. She loves to rip up paper products and put them in her mouth.
Outside is still a favorite; she always has the biggest smile on her face when she’s out and about. She loves to walk around in the yard at Grandpa and Grandma’s. Daddy said she was kicking a soccer ball around yesterday.

Natalie still enjoys games like "patty cake" and "the bumblebee." She understands when Mommy starts that the bumblebee will tickle her in the end, and starts smiling even before it gets her.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Starting and Maintaining an Emergency Fund

If you know me in real life, you know I'm very involved in tracking the money we spend, moving funds around, and maintaining seven different bank accounts.

No joke. Seven. Plus a CD.

Having so many accounts helps me separate and track money used for different purposes. One of our savings accounts is our "emergency fund."

I think an emergency fund is one of the most brilliant idea ever concocted. Funds go in and DO NOT GET TOUCHED, except in the case of an emergency, obviously.

Now, "emergency" can mean different things to different people. For some, it may mean "replacing the water heater" or "medical bills" or "my husband lost his job and I need to buy groceries."

For me, emergency means "I have NOTHING left." That is when I will dip into our emergency fund.

Popular recommendations are to have enough money in an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of typical living expenses. That's a lot.

Not everyone has $10,000 sitting around they can just stick into a savings account and never touch. I don't. So here's what I do: I set up automatic deposits on a monthly basis, where my bank transfers $100 on the first Monday of each month from our checking account to our emergency fund savings account. That's it. That extra $100 a month adds up over time. I started this about the time we got married and right now we have enough in our emergency fund to cover two months of living expenses, easily. Three months if we were tight with it, which we would be, since it would be all the money we had left to our name.

Setting up and maintaining an emergency fund takes time and patience. Making monthly deposits is, for me, easier than throwing a big chunk of change in there and knowing I can't touch in. Somehow, I just don't miss $100 a month. The trick is to not dip into the account when you want to buy something fun. Since we started our emergency fund, we have never made a withdrawal, and our balance is slowly, but surely, climbing.

My goal is to have enough money in our emergency fund to cover six months of living expenses, easily. At that point I will stop depositing money and the funds will sit there, until such a time they need to be used. Hopefully never. Then when we die our children can inherit them.

So, if you don't have an emergency fund, there's no time like the present to begin!