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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Food blogs - WFMW

I thought I would share my favorite food blogs as they DEFINITELY Work for Me!

First is Leigh Ann at Your Home Based Mom. All of her stuff looks delicious and real (I could make it and my family might eat it). Maybe for Friday night, I'll make her cake pops, which Kate, below, also made this week.

Next would be Kate at Cooking During Stolen Moments. Last week I made her Piled High Chicken Melts. YUM!! And soon I'll be trying this, even though I'm not a Taco Bell fan.

And who could ignore Ree at Pioneer Woman. Every time I go to her site, I find my mouth watering and I'm ready to hit the kitchen!

Finally, if I don't already have a recipe for what I want to make, I head over to AllRecipes. I have quite a few recipes from them that have become family favorites. Like Anniversary Chicken, which I first had at Denise's house and had to have the recipe. I especially love that I can do an ingredient search! And I found a recipe there for zucchini bread that I'll be trying this week (and I'll be trying this recipe for Zucchini Brownies too that I found on WFMW today).

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WFMW - Job Hunt

No, this is not a post that says we like to job hunt. But it is our life right now.

We have several criteria as we search for new jobs. First thing we consider is location. We like where we live so Network, or even PC Support, jobs in this area are always considered and normally applied for (there has been one we didn't apply for because it was nights, which wasn't the biggest problem - the bigger problem Thursday night through Sunday night and we don't want to work on Sunday, especially every week).

But we are willing to move, ALMOST anywhere. Here are the criteria for location, if we are to move. 1) Closer to a Temple. 2) Close to a meetinghouse (we are SO SO SPOILED by living less than 5 minutes from our assigned meetinghouse). 3) Not a major metropolitan area (we don't want to live in Chicago, DC, Miami, New York, Philadelphia). 4) Not in California; not in states that don't agree with our moral standards. (I still love my friends who disagree but I won't live in a state that has legalized same sex marriage; if you want to, then that's fine. I'll even visit but I don't want to live there.) On another note, my husband prefers (but not refuses) not to live in a state with gun laws he doesn't agree with.

So how are we finding jobs to apply for. First, we took a map and marked the Temple locations and an hour radius. Then we research those areas, looking for who their major employers are. Next, I create a Favorites/bookmark folder for that area and add links to those employers' career websites. I also create a spreadsheet of those employers and print out the list. Then each day, we go through as many sites as we can. Basically everyday we do our local community. Then another location. So as soon as a job is posted, we can know about it and apply.

And I just figured out how to post his resume to the internet using GoogleDocs! So if you know of any IT server/network jobs, please send them this link.

And that's how this job hunt is working for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday, go check out We are THAT Family.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Provident Living - Budget during unemployment

As part of Frugal Friday, I decided to share how I budget since I recently showed my mom and she exclaimed "I was trying to figure out how to do exactly this!". I'll explain what I do and then there is an image of my spreadsheet (with made up numbers).

All the financial books I read tend to do budgets on a monthly basis. That probably works for those who have a monthly paycheck or even twice a month paychecks. But for us, we've always had bi-weekly paychecks. So a long time ago, I started using Excel to do our budget. I've tweaked it over the years and right now I'm loving it.

Across the top, I have two columns per paycheck (if Love and I both have a paycheck on the same day, that day would have 4 columns). At the top of each column, I put the date of the paycheck. Next comes the expected amount. Then those two columns per paycheck are broken down into the date the bill/payment is due or paid on the left and the amount to come out of that paycheck on the right.

Going down the very first column on the far left are a list of all our expenses/bills. The next column shows how much is generally paid for that expense. Then I look at when that bill is due. I then assign each of the next upcoming bills to a paycheck, making sure it's before the bill is due. I also leave a few rows blank at the bottom for various expenses - like a trip or birthday (then instead of the due date, the expense is written in the left column of that paycheck)

At the bottom of each paycheck, I have the spreadsheet automatically total how much I've assigned out to expenses for that paycheck. Then underneath that it shows how much I have remaining. If I have extra after expenses, I then add a second Savings line for an additional amount to add to our savings.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Starting a new Chapter in Life - Unemployment

In May, we learned that 14 people at Love's job would be laid off by July 1 (out of 680 employees). Because there were only 2 people on his team at this location, we thought we were safer than some. But in the meantime, I started evaluating how we could cutback and put off buying things that we didn't NEED until we heard our status. I also started using my clothesline more (added reason was with rising temperatures, I didn't want to heat up my house with the dryer). And I kept thinking we would be told we were moving to the corporate offices.

Then THE Wednesday in June came. People were starting to be told that their job had been eliminated or moved to a different city. Love was told he was to meet with one of the big wigs at 4:45 pm. And we knew we were going to be impacted. The question was would he have a job in another location or was he being laid off. The meeting didn't last long. He was being laid off. His official termination date would be at the end of the month, but he was no longer working. And it was a lot bigger than 14; 70+ people were laid off.

But we are BLESSED! Because we had received the warning a month earlier and the Spirit had whispered to me that we were in for a change, I have been fine. At first I was cheerful in fact, but now I'm tired.

We are also blessed financially. We have been following Dave Ramsey's baby steps and through hard work and provident living, we are on Baby Step 3. That means we have no debt outside of our home mortgage and are working on our 3-6 month emergency fund. With our savings, an even more frugal living effort, and his severance, we will be able to survive in semi-comfort for a while. And if we find a job relatively soon, we should be able to quickly complete Baby Step 3 and move on to Baby Steps 4 and 5 in quick succession. We are both anxious to be on Baby Step 6 (paying off our mortgage)! It was thrilling when we received his last official paycheck last week to actually put $500 into savings!

Love has his bad days where he feels defeated because he's not out there providing for his family. But Princess1 and Princess2 are LOVING having Daddy home. I'm liking it too because I can sometimes go to the store, just me. Or go visiting teaching without having to find a babysitter. Princess1 and Princess2 will have a ROUGH time when Daddy finally does go back to work (which means I will have a rough time too). In the meantime, we are loving having Daddy around more.

As for the job hunt, we keep looking, applying and interviewing (yes, he's had a few interviews but no offers yet). I think the worst for Love is waiting to hear after the interview. So if you hear of an opening for a Network Engineer, let us know. I'm going to work on posting his resume this week.