Gratitude, Mom, Spending

Spending Update: May 8 – 14th (Hint: It’s not all about money…)

Every Monday during 2022, I am posting an update on what I spent for the week (variable spending only) as a way of keeping myself accountable for my impulse spending. Also, in order to see my true savings, I am also tracking items I was tempted to buy but didn’t. 

Photo by Printexstar on

This past week was a bit unusual for spending. I was visiting my Mom for Mother’s Day in New York, and brought her back to Virginia to hang out with me for a week. She needed the break from all the anxiety and stress that went with the decision to put my Dad into a Memory Care facility. It’s been a long road, but hopefully we are now on an upswing. It’ll never be normal again, but my Dad is getting the care he needs, and my (almost 90 year old) Mom is finally getting the rest she needs. I wanted to make this week special for her, so most of the spending was all about her.

My spending for May 8 – 14th:

  • Groceries: $206.65 (My husband did this shopping while I was away 😉 )
  • Travel Gas: $150.39
  • Eating on the road: $26.00
  • Eating Out in NY: $70.00
  • Mother’s Day Lunch w/Mom: $90.00 (My husband and I took her to a ‘fancy’ lunch)
  • Gifts: $40.00
  • Supplies for my Mom & Dad: $244.67
  • Coffee Machine filters: $20.84
  • Barnes & Noble: $30.00 (books on retirement, and membership)

Total: $878.55

That seems a bit high for one week, but money well-spent. No regrets this week.

My number one goal this week was not about saving money, but to give my Mom a very special week — a special Mother’s Day lunch out with a bookstore run, visits with my daughters and their children at their homes, watching movies and just hanging out. And, that is exactly what we did.

Below are some pictures I took of my Mom’s visit. She got to see her great-grandchildren (who absolutely ADORE her), Auggie (who wouldn’t leave her alone!), and make it to her my grandson’s First Holy Communion. As an added bonus, she met and chatted with our Bishop at the celebration party. Seeing her smiling and relaxed? Priceless.

My Mom with Addie & Jack
My Mom with Liam, Angelina & Anna Kate
My Mom and Auggie
Liam & My Mom at 1st Holy Communion
My Mom, Bishop Burbridge and Liam. 🙂

As I said, this week was not about money. It was about family. And the realization of how truly blessed I am.

Your turn. How was your week?

Fear, Gratitude

Not a financial post. But still needed.

FEAR: False evidence appearing real.

It saddens me to see all of the garbage on the news and on social media, spreading fear of all kinds. Sensationalizing food shortages, stock market crashes, and, of course, the end of the world will only cause unnecessary fear. It’ll make even the sanest person go a bit bonkers.

You will not find fear on this blog. Ever. I will only bring you positive content. You are safe here to feel GOOD, and there is still GOOD in the world. Gratitude will help you find it.

If you feel you have lost all faith, take a minute to figure out why. Then watch this video. (if you are a non-believer, this song is beautiful nonetheless!)

I wish you all much-needed peace.

Fear, Gratitude, Positivity

5 Ways to Move Past Fears and Live Joyfully. Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to ... - Marie Curie quotes fridge magnet, White: Home & Kitchen

The past 18 months have been hard.  Most of us (including myself) have experienced some sort of loss.  Fear and anxiety are at an all-time high, and for some, it is downright debilitating.   It doesn’t help that we continue to be bombarded with nonstop fear-mongering news.  From the continuation of the pandemic to possible food and gas shortages; from natural disasters to conflicts over health choices and politics.   It’s enough to make all of us crawl back in bed and not come out until this mess has all been figured out.

Well, as much as I love my bed, I know that is an unrealistic choice.

FEAR can be debilitating if left to its own devices.  Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the fear that is associated with being chased by a bear. I’m talking about the fear of what could happen.  It can cause havoc to your mental, physical and emotional well-being.  I know because I felt it. It paralyzed me for a period of time. Thankfully, I was able to pull out of it by following a few simple steps.  If you are feeling the fear of ‘what if’, perhaps these steps will help you too.

5 Simple ways to move past your ‘what if’ fear and live joyfully again.

  1. Stay off the news. I’m not saying ignorance is bliss because it’s not.  Find a fact-only site and research for yourself what is going on.  More than likely it’s not as bad as you think.  Critical thinking is a very important skill to have when it comes to interpreting what you are reading.   Don’t let some fear-mongering hack who is trying to make money get you sucked in.  You are smart.  Research for yourself.  If you understand, you can eliminate most of the fear associated with it.  (Speaking of researching, if you are looking for information on the pandemic, vaccines, etc. may I suggest Dr. Zubin Damania.  I trust him for so.many.reasons, and you may like him too.  He can be found here.)
  2. Stay off social media.  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  These platforms are huge time sucks.  Your time could be better spent reading books, cooking delicious meals, finishing a project, or just about anything else.  I do not use Twitter or Facebook and have taken Instagram off of my phone.  So much more peaceful. 🙂
  3. Take a walk.  Nature has a way of making everything right with the world.  There isn’t a tree, mountain, lake, or flower that I don’t like.  I walk 3-5 miles every day, listening to uplifting podcasts and observing the changing of the seasons.  It centers me for the day, and it doesn’t hurt that I get a dose of Vitamin D to boot.
  4. Take POSITIVE action. I realized I couldn’t control what was happening in the world, but I could take care of myself.   And I did.  I started taking vitamins, eating better, and exercising.  I read everything there was to know about immunities and vaccines and I made sure I was vaccinated (Flu, Covid, and Shingles).  I also made sure I had my annual mammogram and physical.  Most importantly, I made sure my mind was protected.  (See Nos. 1 & 2 above).  Doing things that I could control helped me tremendously.
  5. GRATITUDE! – Yes, you knew this was going to be on the list, right?  I saved the best for last.  I truly believe instituting daily gratitude has changed my world.  I’ve been turning things that could be construed as disappointing or heartbreaking into something to be grateful for.  For example, when our trips got canceled last year, I wrote:  I am grateful for having the extra money to pay down our mortgage so my husband can retire sooner.  When my brother-in-law passed away suddenly, I wrote: I am grateful for the chance to have reconnected with him before he was taken from us.  I’m grateful he is at peace after being sick for so long.  (That one was hard, but in some strange way it helped.)

I try to live each day with positivity and joy.  I visit with friends and family, plan trips, outings, and things I’ve always enjoyed doing.  I’m no longer paralyzed with ‘what if’ fear.  I know that things can change on a dime, and I can’t say that I’ll never grow fearful again. But I now know how to pivot and take positive actions.  And, of course, to always find a way to be grateful.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”



Cruising, Gratitude, Pandemic, Positivity

What to do instead of travel. Cruise travel, that is.

Getting cabin fever?  Tired of this never-ending pandemic?  Yep.  Me too.  I was so excited in May when I thought it was all behind us.  In fact, I was so excited, I booked five cruises.  Of course, they are spread out over three years, but I was able to lock into rock bottom prices. My husband and I love this way of travel.  We miss it and were very excited to get back to it.

One of our cruises was scheduled to take place this November, celebrating my 60th birthday.  I even got the t-shirt.

Cruising My Way Into 60 Gift Black T-Shirt Front

The final payment was due at the beginning of this month, but after careful consideration I canceled.  The cruise line protocols were more than I wanted to endure — masking, testing, and possible quarantining if contact tracing led to a case on board.  Not my idea of fun.

After canceling I sat down to think about how we could entertain ourselves this Fall that mimic some of the fun things we do on cruises.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • Hiking new trails in our area.  Exploring new places is what we loved to do at ports of call. Bonus: we can take the dog.
  • Movies under the stars.  Our county offers several places to do this.  We would bring our favorite snacks and drinks.  We loved doing this on a cruise ship.
  • Go to a winery and enjoy dessert wine tastings paired with chocolate. Most wineries in our area offer this outside.
  • Hosting a casino night.  We aren’t huge gamblers but do like a good poker game. We could invite a few friends over.  No need for money to change hands.  Chips can be exchanged for chocolate. (Sensing a theme here?)
  • Trying out a new restaurant.  We always love trying out specialty dining on a cruise ship. It is a fun way to add a new culinary experience. There are plenty of restaurants in our area we have not yet tried, and this would be fun to pick one.
  • Driving to a beach.  Can’t have a cruiselike experience without the ocean.  Luckily we are less than three hours away from Virginia Beach.  A day at the beach, lounging in the sun, reading a book, listening to the ocean, and eating seafood.  Sounds almost perfect.
  • Spending uninterrupted time with my husband.  This may be the best part of cruising for me.  We aren’t distracted with work, family, or chores. It’s AHHHMAZING. Still trying to figure out how to replicate this one.

All of these ideas don’t really come close to a true cruise experience, but they will help divert my attention from the reality of a prolonged pandemic to some fun adventures this Fall.

Of course, let’s not forget all the fun “Fall” stuff, unrelated to cruising, we can do as well.  Sounds like another blog post coming in September!

Has anyone cruised or is cruising this year? Please share!