One more debt gone!

Standard

All paid off!

Back in 2014 my husband bought a pick up truck for himself. It was his first nice car since immigrating here and he was in love. I wrote all about it in this post. We were due to pay it off December of this year but after paying off all our other debts (except one of mine which we strategically are leaving for last due to tax benefits) we decided we need to focus on getting rid of this debt too.

So, for the last month and a half or so we put all our extra funds towards it. Despite me being on a parental leave salary, we managed to go into the bank this week and make a final lump sum payment and close the account 6 and a half months early. The car is officially ours and no more payments will be coming out of our account. So exciting and freeing!

We are now almost debt free except a new tax bill that I just got and my last student loan which we saved for last as the government has a program that helps a bit with it. The tax bill I will get rid of pronto and next year the student loan will be gone as well. Then we will be 100% debt free (until we buy a house). We could pay off everything from our savings/investment accounts immediately but decided it was better to have them open and live a bit more of a balanced life as the interest is not significant.

Gotta say, I am feeling pretty good after being so debt burdened for so long!

Advertisements

Week three diet progress…

Standard

So, I have been on my diet for three weeks now. I am happy to report that I lost some more weight but not as much as I had hoped. However, I know exactly what went wrong and why I did not make as much progress as in the past. My little weekend getaway threw a bit of a wrench in the diet. Although I was much more conscious of what I was eating, it was harder to track calories when eating in small bistros or restaurants where nutritional information was not available and, sometimes, I just wanted to splurge as I was on vacation! I have no regrets as I did not go too overboard.

Half way to my weight loss goal in three weeks! Hopefully it will only take three more.

So lessons learned include: 1). No need to eat the whole dish at the restaurant! One breakfast included a big serving of heuvos rancheros which no one wanted to share with me. I could have left some instead of cleaning my plate (but it is my favourite!). 2). Roadtrips mean that travelling companions may want fast or convenient food at times so make sure I know what my options are at such places OR find a healthy fast place like Subway. 3). Getting to the hotel late at night and tired makes it tempting to order pizza. This is fine BUT just have one or two slices or make sure to eat earlier! 4). When you just HAVE to visit a famous doughnut shop, only buy one doughnut as tempting as the others are. Besides, you want to eat them fresh the same day and not stale the next day. 5). Bring along some healthy snacks as there can be long periods of driving. 6). This is really not a diet but a lifestyle change…or expect the weight to come right back.

Yup, those were my lessons learned. Overall, I did pretty good  though. Normally I would have eaten much more and made way worse choices in terms of the meals I could have selected. However, this diet has made me aware of how unhealthy some foods are for you, what portion sizes should look like, and that moderation and awareness is key. This past week I only lost 0.5 lbs but I will take it! It takes me to the halfway mark of my goal and is still a move in the right direction so I cannot complain.

Look forward to seeing what the scale says next Friday!

My first Mother’s Day!

Standard

It was not until the end of April that I realized I will be celebrating my first Mother’s Day EVER as a mom! I suddenly felt moved and excited. This day was a day I always spent thinking of my mom but not of being a mother myself. Now that I am a mom I have a whole new perspective on this day and on moms. Moms really are heroes. They truly are undervalued and underappreciated in our society-and raising a child really is hard work-and the most important work! I feel so blessed to be a mom and have this experience (never guessed I would be saying such a thing if this was 5 years ago!).

For mother’s day weekend, we decided to get in the car and do a roadtrip to the Oregon coast. The weather was supposed to be great. I will get into the roadtrip details in another post but we ended up having an adventure at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. I think I will make it a tradition to do something adventurous each Mother’s Day from now on!

I did get to spend some quality time with family on this trip and during Mother’s day. I often have to tell my husband that life is not all about work and when we look back on things we will not value all the time we spent working but the time we spent together having fun. I wish everyone the chance to spend some good quality time with their families or loved ones. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Two week diet progress report…

Standard

This is 1 lbs of butter. I have lost 4 and a half of these!!

Okay, so today is the 14th day of my diet. At the last update I had lost 2 lbs. My goal is to lose 10 lbs. This past week has not been too bad. If I eat at home, I am easily able to stay within my caloric budget. However, when I look at the nutritional information for restaurants, I see it can be very difficult to find low calorie meals that are appetizing. I mean, personally, I do not like to go to a restaurant to eat a salad! If I am going, I want to eat something delicious!

Luckily, the two time I went out in the last two weeks, I was able to split a meal with my sister or pack half for home. At the end I was full and only ate about 550 calories which was reasonable. Plus I saved some money!! Another time my friend suggested lunch after a walk and I declined whereas normally I would have said yes. Restaurants must be avoided for now. The third time I chose to just meet a friend for a drink and not stay for dinner. A glass of rose is only about 110 calories and I still got to catch up with her and get out of the house.

45% towards my goal!

Eating at home often also makes you realize how terrible the food at restaurants can be-not only in terms of health but some of it just is not as good or delicious as the homemade version. Having the right groceries at home is also definitely key to staying on track. It keeps you from the temptation of just going out and eating something quick and, probably, unhealthy. I am definitely finding it easier and easier to eat at home.

So, after 14 days, I am pleased to report that I have lost a total of 4.5 lbs! I am a bit surprised as it is more than I expected. Some could just be water weight, however. We will see in the next while. I do not want to lose too much too fast in an unhealthy manner and would be thrilled with a steady 2 lbs a week-but will take any movement in a downward fashion! Looking forward to hitting the half way point of my goal next. Wish me luck!

If I had a million dollars…

Standard

If I had a million dollars… That old song always makes me smile! These days a million dollars does not go as far as it did then BUT I am writing this post from a fantasy plane. Recently my husband decided to start playing the lottery. Despite odds of 1 in 80 million (for example) he feels he may win it one day 🙂 This got us talking about what we would do with a big win! His world will involve many cars but mine is a bit more complex.

If I were to win BIG, I realize I would do the following (not necessarily in this order):

  1. Pay off all debts
  2. Take care of my family
  3. Have another baby (or babies)
  4. Top up/maximize all the investment accounts/retirement accounts etc
  5. Set up a trust fund for my child(ren)
  6. Donate to charity
  7. Buy my husband his dream car (which changes often…so whatever one he likes at that time!)
  8. Build my dream home (a rural green hobby farm)
  9. Build a dream vacation home (somewhere hot)
  10. Hire a chef and learn to cook
  11. Travel regularly
  12. Pursue some bucket list items
  13. Live the good life

So, if I ever do win, I need to refer back to this post to keep my priorities straight! Now I guess I better start playing if I ever even want a chance at winning. Ha ha ha.

Food is such a great thing…and dieting sucks!

Standard

For the last week I have been watching what I eat and trying to make healthier choices. Nothing makes you realize how great food is until you have to watch what you eat! Ha ha ha. I am not cutting out all sugar or fat or carbs etc so not feeling like I am missing out on yummy foods but I am watching my portion sizes and trying to stay within a certain amount of calories per day.

This means not eating as much as I would normally like to at each meal. This was hard at first since I want that nice full feeling BUT have realized a short while after I stop eating that I do feel full and there is no need for that second helping. I know I have had a tendency to overeat in the past but think another week or two of smaller portions will make it feel more natural-and it will soon be easy. It is definitely getting easier each day. Eating this way also means more smaller meals per day rather than a few large ones which can be hassle to cook when you work but, since I am on parental leave, there is no better time than now to try to build good habits like this one.

The next issue with my diet that was a challenge at first is keeping within a certain calorie budget per day. This can be hard as I may want a cupcake in the afternoon and would have thought nothing of it a month ago but, now if I eat it, I may have to eat nothing for the next 16 hours in order to stay in the calorie budget. Obviously this is not good and if I was strict enough on myself to punish myself and not eat for the 16 hours, I would learn pretty quickly that the cupcake is not worth it. I have not yet had this issue-although cupcakes etc are tempting.

20% of my goal achieved! 80% to go. Hope I get there

However, even with regular food it can be hard to make sure you do not blow all your calories early in the day. You do not always realize how many calories are in things you consider healthy so you always have to be on the lookout for the lower calorie versions. For example, whole wheat bread vs white bread etc. All the small savings can lead to a whole extra meal later which is great! As the week went on I found it easier and easier to stay in my calorie range (and sometimes even had some left over).

In addition to watching what I eat I am also taking a multivitamin daily, an iron pill occasionally, a B12 pill daily, and I try to drink a protein shake here and there as I am vegetarian and it can be a struggle to get enough! So far my hard week of work has paid off and I have lost a whopping 2 lbs! I am very pleased as it has not been too hard and my goal is to lose 10 lbs….so 20% accomplished! I am just hoping I do not plateau or that my scale is wrong and this success was not a success. Ha ha ha. That would be horrible. Anyway, wish me luck!

A fancy cake before my fitness challenge!

Standard

The weather is finally getting better. I have been complaining about rain for months. It is time to get outside, have some fun, AND get active. I have felt like a bit of a slug lately and some weight has been creeping back on so I got to nip this in the bud. Before that, however, I decided to check off one thing from my list of 35 and bake a fancy cake. This is my adieu to the bad weather and bad habits since, starting May 1st, I will put myself on a fitness….or rather, wellness, challenge…until my birthday mid-June.

But, back to my cake. I was very excited to make it! I decided to go for a cream cheese frosting carrot walnut cake. Carrot cakes can be decadent and are a pain to make due to all that carrot grating! I have been craving it for some time but decided I would, from now on and for the next while, force myself to bake things I want rather than buying them. This will probably reduce the amount of sweets I have but also allow me to know what is in each product and, I hope, eat healthier. I know I felt a bit strange adding 1.5 CUPS of sugar! It makes me think twice about eating a store bought version of this cake in the future-I mean who knows how much sugar they put into it! Anyway, it was nice to spend the hour or so baking the cake-which I shared with my family (and packed some up for a friend). Baking can be very relaxing and I love to show off what I make.

So, I enjoyed a slice of this cake with coffee today. Come May 1st I am going to get a bit more serious about my wellness. I will not get into details but share soon and hope for some good progress. I want to clean up my life a bit before my birthday mid-June. Wish me luck-I know I will need it!