Friday, May 28, 2021

10 Questions on Money

Stealing this from Natasha, and Emily also filled out {of course}! I always find things like this fascinating to read, and it's also really interesting to fill out - a lot of things I don't think about daily but have to evaluate myself very strictly ha!

1) What was your first job?  
How old where you when you started working? 

Technically my first job was babysitting. I probably started around 12 or 13 and babysat for families in our neighborhood and families from our church. I also spent the summer before my senior year of high school babysitting for Brent's neighbor - 5 days a week. I didn't particularly enjoy it, but it was a good way to make money!

The first job where I had taxes taken out of my paycheck was working as a Pharmacy Technician-in-Training at a local pharmacy in my town. I worked several afternoons after school, and about 25-30 hours/week in the summer. I also worked there Christmas break and summers for the first couple of years of college. I met one of my bridesmaids there, Angela, and we're friends to this day!

Allena and Angela in the pharmacy - around the year 2000?

2) Tell us about the best and worst job you ever had. 

The best job I have is the one I have now! I work for an amazing company with a great team. The benefits are incredible, the people are fantastic, the flexibility can't be's really the best. I am definitely not passionate about my job, but I am very content.

I am struggling to say what would be my worst job. I've only had 2 full-time jobs - both at the same company - so I guess I'd have to say auditing? But I honestly didn't hate it most of the time. Busy season was THE PITS. But I love the company I work for, so I struggle to say I hated it!

3). Are you a saver or a spender?  What about your significant other?  

I would say we are largely savers. We are pretty aggressive with our retirement funds and savings accounts, but we also have our moments of frivolity. We are definitely not debt free, but other than our house {which we just refinanced with a 15-year note}, the vast majority of it is interest free. We definitely love to buy things on credit as long as it's interest free - ha! We will keep our money and dole it out to you over time, thank you very much!

4) Have you ever played the stock market? 
Do you play the lottery? 
Ever gambled? 
Ever won big? 

My 401K is tied to the stock market and Brent is a stockholder in his company, but we don't truly play the stock market. We periodically buy a lottery ticket when there's a huge pot {with zero hope or expectation we would ever win!}. Our whole family enjoys scratch offs, but same thing - we don't expect anything from it.

I don't like gambling for the most part. It seems like a waste. When we were in Reno in 2004, every few hands of black jack I lost, I thought 'I could have bought some shoes with that.' The last time we went to Las Vegas, I did enjoy playing the slot machines because I could do that for a long time for not a lot of money ha. Trent has learned to play black jack recently and loves playing. I actually really like the game itself and we were having fun using random things as our chips {puzzle pieces was especially hilarious} until Trent remembered Brent had a poker set so now we use real poker chips and play.

5) What is your favorite way to splurge? 
What do you dislike spending money on most?

I would have to say clothes and lately shoes! I hope we can get to vacationing more now that Paige is older and especially once she's out of daycare. I have a pretty decent list of places I want to travel, so I really want that to be my main splurge in the future!

I dislike spending money on the boring adult things. New appliances, lawn equipment, repairs. We had to get a new water heater not too long ago, I am getting new tires, we need a microwave - I mean how lame is all that???

6) How do you save money? 

Retirement saving just comes out of our paychecks without us even thinking about it. We aren't maxing those accounts out yet, but we are close. Every year I have an annual bump in mine that is automatic. So our retirement accounts are very healthy and have plenty of time to grow.

Our personal savings account grows largely from bonuses at work. Sometimes we use those to pay for something special, but a lot of the times they just go directly into the bank and then we use as needed. We aren't perfect here, and I'd like to see us getting a little tighter with our frivolous spending {Starbucks, fast food, treats for the kids, shoes ha, etc.}, but we are definitely in pretty good shape.

7) Who pays the bills?  Who does the taxes?

Bill paying is a joint activity - Brent has a handful he pays, and I have a handful I pay. Although I track everything in a spreadsheet just to make sure everything gets paid on time. 

I typically do the taxes. I know I'm a CPA, but I don't feel like my tax knowledge is any better than Brent's, but I somehow have been the one stuck with this task, and at this point I'm pretty fast at it since our lives are very routine.

8) Name brand or generic?  Favorite stores to shop at? 
Grocery delivery? Pickup? Coupons? 

We use a mix of name brand and generic. My main grocery store is H-E-B, which is a Texas-only store, and their generic brand is fantastic. The more they make, the more of it I buy! I almost always do grocery pickup, which I did before COVID. It is just so convenient! I am NOT a coupon person. I don't have the time, patience, or organizational skills for it.

9) Do you shop thrift stores or yard sales? 
Ever use Poshmark or eBay? 

Largely no. I am not opposed to any of these, they just aren't for me. 

My mom is a huge thrift store and garage sale person. I HATED stopping as a kid, and that has bled over into my adult life. I also don't like hunting for things {which is why I also don't like places like Ross or TJ Maxx} which works against me wanting to shop at thrift stores or garage sales.

I have looked online at Poshmark and eBay a lot...but haven't shopped there much. I feel like this is something I could get behind...but again it takes some extra time versus me just shopping at the stores I know and like and waiting for a great sale!

10) Is there anything you collect or save 
thinking it may be valuable some day? 

Nope. I am NOT a collector. I don't really like knick-knacks so you won't see any collections around our house. My mom is a huge collector of random things, and she is always telling my sister and me that certain things will be worth money one day. So I guess you could say that I will eventually own some things that might be valuable...but I am in no rush to inherit them!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Currently: Countdown to Summer

Current Book

This one is very good! 
And I want to check out the one for kids/teens.

Current Song

I could name 10 songs from Jazzercise right now that I'm digging.
I'll spare y'all though and just name one - Higher by Shawn Mendes!

Current TV Show

One of my fellow Downton loving co-workers recommended this.
I just have to figure out where I can watch it!

Current Podcast/Audiobook

I just finished the 5 part series about Princess Diana on You're Wrong About 
and also listened to the episode about The Chicks - both were fantastic! 
I started the 2 parter on Vanessa Williams this week!
And I started book 7 of the Outlander series in the car. 
Trucking along as book 9 comes out on in November!

Current Drink

I have discovered a new place in our little town that sells 'energy teas'.
They use Herbalife, which I know nothing about.
All I know is they taste good and aren't keeping me up at night like caffeine does.
I used to never be sensitive to caffeine but apparently am getting so in my old age.

Current Food


Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

I bought more shoes last week y'all.
I guess I feel it is my duty to fill up all that new shelving in our closet.

Current Outfit

Workout clothes but with a cardigan to make it Zoom appropriate {grin}
I was on a Zoom earlier with the BIG BOSS - and didn't know she'd be on - 
while wearing one of Brent's old, ratty, hoodies. Sigh.

Current Celebrity Crush

This little 6th grade graduate is a big star in our house!
They had a Zoom ceremony on Monday night, and it was precious.
On to the Adolescent community for his last 2 years of Montessori - hold me!

Current Mood

So very, very tired of school.
6 more lunches to make...I can do it! Ha!

Current Anticipation

SO MUCH! Summer is here!
Swimming, holidays, late nights playing, no school - I can't wait!!!

Current Wishlist

We need a new microwave - ours has a glitch and doesn't work 95% of the time.
I know microwaves aren't NECESSARY but dang they sure are convenient!

Current Movie

I think I'm going to take the girls to see this over the long weekend!

Current Picture

Tuesdays start early but sure are fun!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Movie Review: Dream Horse

Holy cow. Allison and I went to a movie this weekend! We agreed to a goal of 10 movies in the second half of 2021, and I am beyond stoked. I have really missed going to the movies AND spending time with my friend. It was so great to see her and do what we love doing!

Plot: Dream Alliance is an unlikely race horse bred by a small-town Welsh bartender Jan Vokes. With no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elite.

Review: This was absolutely everything I needed to start my 2021 movie watching. This was a feel good movie with all the heart you could ever want. We smiled, we laughed, we teared up, we were on pins and needles - all the feels. It was fantastic. It's based on a true story and you can see why they made this into a movie - it seems no way that this could actually happen! It felt like every Disney sports movie you've ever watched and loved. I can't say enough good things about this one if you can't tell! {grin}

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Celebrating Brent

Yay! Brent turned 41 on Tuesday, and we had a few opportunities to celebrate him that were a lot of fun AND felt largely normal. It was a doubly amazing experience!

First, our 'regular' group of friends plus a few others met up on Saturday and we bar-hopped and did some day drinking around our awesome town square. Then we had a great dinner followed by another bar and then more shenanigan's on our back porch. It was about 12 straight hours of drinking and fun.

Happy birthday, Brent!

The kids stayed with Brent's parents, but before we had to get them on Sunday we were able to sneak in a quick brunch at another restaurant on our town square.

The bread puddingest French toast ever...and it was DELICIOUS.

Brent's mom and Drew made Brent a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, so we ate a lot of that on Sunday afternoon ha.

On Tuesday, Brent was able to play a few holes of golf {in between insane rain storms}. I got him a cookie cake and our neighbor/friends plus his parents came over for a quick drink and some cake. 

Just as delicious as it looks.

I really think the kids enjoy our birthdays as much as we do!
[Drew even woke Brent up to tell him happy birthday with no reminder from me that it was his birthday! She really is the sweetest kid.]

And yes, if you're wondering, I did have cookie cake for breakfast yesterday. {grin}

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Randoms for Your Tuesday

First up, this guy has a birthday today! Happy 41st Brent!
I'll share later this week how we celebrated and hopefully made him feel special!

You HAVE TO go check out @lubalin_vibe_emporium on Instagram.
He has made these videos called Internet Dramas that are the funniest.
I think I have watched them easily 10 times each and just laugh SO HARD.

I have 3 different book club meetings coming up soon,
not counting my original in-person friend book club. I love books!
2 are for work {#nerdalert} and 1 is my Blog Friend Book Club.

Drew has gotten into graphic novels. 
We had to have the librarian help us last week 
because I do not know anything about graphic novels!
She really likes the Guts series and read When Stars are Scattered {and said she loved it but it made her cry, she is definitely my daughter!}. Any recommendations for her?

This made me laugh! Happy Tuesday!

Friday, May 14, 2021

A Post About Carpentry

We've had some carpentry needs for a while and finally got our projects done this spring, and I love everything so much! What started as a need for a couple of new doors grew, so I'm going to talk about each project individually to show all the great things.

What we first needed were 3 doors:
1) Our bathroom pocket door kept coming off the track and finally stopped working all together - we wanted to replace with a barn door
2) I broke our bedroom door {let's not talk about how}, so we needed to replace it as well, and I thought it would be cool to have it be a stained solid wood door instead of the painted hollow doors we have throughout the house - make the master look a little more unique
3) Brent wanted a sliding barn door to separate the kitchen from the playroom - ever since we got the piano he's been eager to block off the sound over there! {grin} We also thought this would be a great thing to have as the kids get older and louder and had more friends over.

We got a quote for just the barn doors from a local company, and it was INSANE. Talking to a friend who had just built a house and had custom cabinetry/doors put in, we found a GREAT local woodworker who could do the doors AND MORE!

This led into us also deciding to:
1) Add some shelving in our laundry room - we've been talking about this for years but hadn't made it a priority
2) Add some additional shelving in our closet to use some wasted space.

SO...with all that chatter, let's look at some pictures! All the *before* pictures come from right after we moved in 6 years ago - it's crazy to see what has changed since then...or what we need to change out {I'm looking at all the rugs with a side-eye FOR SURE}.


I don't have great before pictures, but you can see when you walk in the closet a section {under that small window} where there is an empty space and we wanted to add some functionality.

When we designed the closet, we put in A LOT of space for hanging clothes.
But we didn't think about dresses and didn't have enough shoe space.

The finished product!
More space for shoes! I think I've 17 pairs of shoes over there now.
Plus a hanging section for my dresses, a shelf to stack sweaters,
and we added a space for our dirty clothes hamper. I LOVE IT!


As I mentioned above, all our doors matched and were very basic.
Although not a normal size, so when we looked into replacing ourselves...we couldn't!
You can also see the pocket door to the half bath right outside our room.

Same style door, just stained and a solid wood door. It's gorgeous!

And here's the new barn door instead of the busted pocket door!

You can see the arch leading from the kitchen into the playroom.

View from the playroom - this room looks COMPLETELY different.
Only thing that is the same is the rug I think!

To quote Brent 'Bye, kids!'

And the view from the playroom with the door open


I don't have a picture of the space above the bench because it was just a blank wall.
We always talked about adding hooks for backpacks or a long shelf...something.

And here's what we have!
Shiplap siding {hooks to be delivered today for hanging coats, backpacks, etc},
cubbies for masks, shoes, brushes, books, homework, whatever,
and some cabinets because you can't ever have enough cabinets, am I right?

One funny tidbit is we don't think the wood stain color looks anything like what we picked, but it's so hard to see how it will look when you are choosing from a small space. We wanted it to be similar to all the dark wood we have but a little lighter. Well, it is basically exactly the same color as all the rest of the wood. It looks great but not quite the difference we wanted, ha.

We picked the bottom color...but don't think that's what we got!

Brent asked me a few days ago what my favorite addition was, and I honestly couldn't answer him. I love it all! What's crazy to me is everything we did cost less than the original quote we got for just the 2 barn doors! It's also something I knew but didn't quite believe that your house is never truly done - we have a long list of projects that will keep us busy for several years...and that list never stops!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

I Spy Week 18

Another week of fun prompts from Lysha at A Camera and a Cookbook. I like how I have to think a little to decide what I want to post. Doesn't necessarily mean they are great pictures but still a fun exercise! {grin}


Nothing like a property tax increase protest!

{How You Feel Today}

It's been a week!
{And no, I don't know why there was a tape outline on our library floor!}


Goodwill, here I come!!

{Shoot from the hip}

Two kids enjoying Chipotle rice and graphic novels

{Your Choice}

All 3 of them in the same space and no one is whining? It's a miracle!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mother's Day Views from Paige

Parenting toddlers/preschoolers is such a wild ride, and Paige is no exception. Generally, she is such a happy kid with such a fun personality. She is definitely finding her place as an independent person, but she is really such a fun kid. However, twice over Mother's Day weekend, she really put me in my place.

First, on Friday when I picked the kids up from school, Paige climbed into the car just grinning from ear-to-ear {which is nothing new} and handed me a card she made for me for Mother's Day. She was SO proud of the card she made and as she gave it to me, she said 'Happy Valentine's Day!'. HA! She knew something special was going on, just not really what!

Sunday, on Mother's Day, we were getting ready to go to a birthday party. I was getting dressed and Paige made the following comment:

'You have big, big, big, big, big fat breasts.

And a fat tummy.

And fat legs.

And fat ankles.

And a fat butt.

And fat arms.'

THANKS, PAIGE! I love you too! Are there any body parts you forgot to mention you'd like to comment on?

She's lucky she's cute!

I'm really glad I don't rely on this child for my self-esteem!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Drew's First Holy Communion

On Sunday, May 2, Drew celebrated her First Holy Communion! Due to Covid, Drew didn't go to church for religious education classes this year, and we did the lessons at home with me as her teacher. It was a pretty good experience for both of us, but usually my mom is the teacher at church, and I'm sad she missed out on that opportunity.

Normally, there is 1 mass that is specifically for the First Communion kiddos, but this year {again due to Covid} they split the kids up, so Drew was with 4 other kids. My parents, Brent's parents, and my sister with her kids came. I was so glad they were able to join us!

Drew was SO excited! And here is the big reveal of her dress!
Didn't it turn out amazing? I love that my mother-in-law made it.

And the big moment!

Posing with the other kids and our new priest, Fr. Piega
A couple of funny things about this picture:
1) the girl to the right of Drew is technically YOUNGER than Drew. 
The height difference blew my mind.
2) Drew did NOT want to wear a veil, which was fine. I wanted her to be happy.
But Trent commented on the other girls being way overdressed, ha.

This picture gives me all the feels.

One lucky girl! She loves and is SO loved by all 4 of her grandparents.

After the service, we went and had hamburgers with my parents, sister, and her kids at a local place that has an outdoor play space. It wasn't a fancy party or anything, but we had a great time celebrating!

Friday, May 7, 2021

What Are We XX-ing?

I'm a little behind, but I'm back to link up with Anne in her 'Currently' post of the month! This month the topics are consuming, exploring, getting, hoping, seeing. So let's dive in!


Water, water, and more water!

I got in a bad rut with coke and sweet tea in March and April.
Really try to get back on the right track!
I should do a weight loss post {or lack thereof soon}, 
it'll probably do me some good to share my struggles and get them off my chest!

My view while I work! 
{Not sure why the straw helps, but it does}


Summer ideas!

We've got a local summer trip planned with Brent's family,
we're talking about some other small getaways,
looking at activities for the kids...


Excited there are only 15 more school days this year!!
We are limping to the finish line, and I'm SO ready for summer break!
And then I'll be ready to get the kids out of the house again in August. {grin}

Our countdown chain!!!


That this little girl keeps letting me braid her hair.
Drew has always preferred to wear her hair 'flat' {down/straight},
and it kills me. So thankful the little one has been enjoying braids lately!


Brent bought hangers for us to have hanging baskets on our porch!
The deer in our neighborhood are nuts and eat everything,
so we struggle with flowers. Seeing these hanging plants makes me so happy!