Monthly Archives: October 2010

Little Swimmers

I know that I’m a biased water lover, but I think that swimming is a skill every child should learn, and the earlier the better. So we sign up for swim class on Saturday mornings from fall through spring.


It’s a relative bargain at our local community center for $40.50 per child for 9 classes. We can walk there, and we often sign up with friends to make it a play date too.


My only real tip for signing up for class is to make sure that the class time works for your current routine. I once made the mistake of signing up as our nap time was shifting, and we missed several classes. I’ve heard from several friends about how challenging summer classes can be when they are scheduled for every afternoon. Swimming is exhausting, and it could be too much unless they are used it already. It’s probably an age/experience level thing though, because I vividly remember wanting to swim every single day of the summer as a kid.


Yet, secret extra bonus for me is that Hubby usually uses this time to clean, and the kiddos are always tired enough for a nice nap when we return. So in reality I get multiple benefits from a simple swim class. I certainly think it’s worth the “investment.”


What classes do you do with your family?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Travel Planning

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”  ~Susan Heller


For the past several months, I’ve been preparing to achieve our goal of traveling to Denmark next summer. I’m lucky to have many host families and friends there, but Denmark is still very expensive. Thankfully, the exchange is the best it’s been a long time, so I’m hoping that stays in our favor too (5.4 kr = $1).


Here is the rough budget I’ve got so far, which will really hinge on getting inexpensive flights. The meals/groceries depend upon our exact length of stay and closely prices match the costs when I lived there over ten years ago…my next step is obviously to talk with friends and family about how much they would budget.


Tickets x4 $4-5k
Rental car $800
Sightseeing (Legoland, Tivoli, Cultural places) $500
Meals/groceries $800
Gifts to DK/Home $200
Misc. $200


High End Estimate $7,500


This budget makes my college trips back to Copenhagen for under $1k seem so cheap now. It’s also what has intimidated me for so long and made me convince myself that such a trip was out of reach. You may wonder why we would prioritize spending so much of our family income on a trip, and the answer is that this is really a trip to see extended-adopted family. Many of my friends now have children that I have never met. Plus, I remember dreaming about one day taking my kids to Legoland!


Our primary saving strategy is that we saved $2k last year from my child care reimbursements, and this year I’m saving every penny. This will give us a total of $7k to travel and any extra will come from our regular monthly expenses that we would be paying whether we are at home or abroad.


Have you planned a family trip to Europe?
Any tips are welcomed!

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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Minimalist Mamas

I’ve become hooked on a blog called Becoming Minimalist, where she shares about her family’s journey toward simplifying life. She just had a guest post from Minimalist Moms on the practicalities of needing some essential stuff to succeed at modern motherhood. I’ve also been following Making This Home, and her personal experiences with trying to simplify.


These minimalist bloggers are inspiring me to take baby steps toward simplifying our lives further. They have lots of great tips, and the most important is just to start taking action. Voluntary simplicity isn’t just about being frugal, it’s about feeling abundance no matter what you have.


We certainly started out with simplicity in mind, but as our kiddos are quickly out-growing clothes and toys and stuff, I’m starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. While our community yard sale was fun, it sure didn’t make a dent in getting rid of kid stuff. I definitely need to get it together to start being a swap mamaI wish that I had a week to go through everything, but I’ll have to be happy with a day: this Friday. Wish me luck!


Are you a minimalist? 
Does the notion intrigue or inspire you?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Living Your Dreams

I don’t want to come across as being too woo-woo, but one of my favorite daily rituals is to receive Notes from the Universe by email. My very first post nine months ago mentioned being inspired by the universe, but I haven’t shared much about my personal reasons for dedicating so much time and energy into this blog.  


Writing helps me focus a portion of each day on creating a vision for my family, taking baby steps toward achieving our goals, and reflecting and sharing beyond myself. I don’t get many comments yet, so it’s hard for me to know how much my thoughts are rippling out into the world. But I have faith that by taking action, we will be rewarded with greater and greater abundance. I can also hope that eventually we will all be successful in achieving sustainable abundance.


I just finished reading Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams. The insights and advice are both simple and profound, and I am determined to continue to apply them in my life. It’s brought to light some limiting thoughts of my own around money, because I realize that I’ve never seriously fantasized about being rich and always assumed that we would need to balance our budget and struggle to live within our means. It makes me even more aware of the unlimited power we have to define our values and live our lives toward our dreams.


Start today by doing what you can, from where you’re at with what you have.


Do you believe in the magic of creating your dreams?

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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.