life Parenting Reading

Current obsessions & things making me happy

July 18, 2019

1- Personal finance/frugality/financial independence blogs & podcasts. You guys, I don’t know what has gotten into me because quite honestly I’ve always had a very ‘easy come, easy go’ idea about money. And to a big extent I still feel that way, and don’t mind spending out on big things (kids’ activities. PLENTY of excellent childcare. outsourcing of cleaning and household tasks. travel. good food etc . . .). But I am really enjoying this new perspective. I started with How to Money and am now really fascinated by Marriage Kids & Money. Favorite recent episodes:

Interesting perspective: Interview with a Canadian couple that achieved FI at 31 (!). NOT a goal of mine (haha I’m already WAAAAY too late) but I found them inspiring and agreed with many of their thoughts on home ownership.

Avoiding Money Fights: Josh and I don’t have money fights. I still loved this episode and made him listen to it on our drive.

I guess I am finding that being more intentional with $ fits right in with my (perpetual) desire to do the same thing with my time. And life in general. Not sure why it has taken me so long to really see that link.

a sneak peak of a piece of my podcast queue 🙂

2- My new much shorter, curated Instagram feed using the criteria of “would I feel comfortable texting this person”. I greatly reduced my ‘Following’ list and am happier for it. (If this spurs you to unfollow me, that’s totally okay with me – I understand and even support!! I’m pretty sure that being a profitable instagram influencer isn’t going to pan out for me 😉 )

3- Summer reading. My steady consumption continues, though I am taking longer than expected to get through The Gown (apparently vacations with toddlers are not that great for getting through a lot of pages, who knew!?). I have not one but two non-kid-weekends away in the next month (!) and I plan on using that time to plow through more of my selections! I am near the top of the library queue for Evvie Drake Starts Over, The Last Romantics, and Save Me the Plums.

PS: I think seasonal reading lists might be a new ‘thing’ for me. Juicy light picks for summer. Cozy picks for fall. Some more introspective picks for winter. We will see.

4- Parenting win. Last night I had an entirely pleasant and enjoyable experience putting A&C to bed. I guess it’s sad that this is not the norm, but evenings have been a little tough lately. I think they are both wound up AND tired from camp, and this is a difficult combo to manage when I’m not necessarily at my best energy level either. I was solo last night and reminded that often, paradoxically they seem to respond better to one-parent-in-control than 2. I also spent some more time really connecting intentionally with them (inspired by the awesome Julie Morganstern, who will be coming soon to a certain podcast 😉 ). And it worked!

5- Our plans not to go anywhere this winter. This may sound silly, but I am oddly excited about not dealing with kid travel again for a while. Next year (2020! Is it really coming!? It sounds so much like THE FUTURE) looks like it is shaping up to be a big travel year (ie I need to renew my passport for not one but two potential overseas trips) so it’s nice to lay low on family trips for a while. And on that note, I’m also oddly excited about my 2020 calendar in general. I feel like I’ve reached a very contented place in my life / career / self-development right now. A prelude to 40 (which is a mere 10 months away)? Who knows, but I like it.


  • Reply Marissa July 18, 2019 at 7:30 am

    We have friends who travel quite a bit with young kids. Honestly, I’m just not into it! It’s wayyyy too much work for me & I feel like we’ll have time to travel in the next few years when they get older & everyone can enjoy it a bit more. We have three girls, ages 3.5, 2, & 3 months! Needless to say, life in general is quite crazy right now.

  • Reply Angie July 18, 2019 at 9:51 am

    I will have to check out those podcasts! Our only debt is our mortgage but at the same time I’m trying to be intentional no what we spend money on too and teaching my kids that as well. I’m also looking forward to summer winding down because we’ve traveled so much and I just wNt to chill at home and explore where we live and hang with friends and neighbors. On the flip side I should be glad we’ve gone to a couple national parks and other small trips.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns July 18, 2019 at 10:23 am

    I need to check out Marriage, Kids and Money. I started listening to HTM after hearing Laura on an episode. My husband and I are total finance geeks and are very frugal (but willing to spend money – we are just super intentional about it). We recently talked about FI and what it means for us. We both work in financial services which is a very volatile and shrinking industry so we feel like one or both of us will lose our jobs at some point so we save as if that is going to happen. Anyways, it’s an interesting concept to think about a good goal to work towards. I’d love to retire young but the wild card for us is health insurance. I have RA and one of my medications is extremely expensive (like $50k/year – eeks!) so we will always need a good insurance policy!

    We have a 16-month old and have definitely decided that plane travel or long road trips are not going to work for us. Our little guy does not sleep in the car, so the furthest I’m willing to travel with him is 3 hours. Luckily my parents have a lake home 3 hours away so we are going up there once a month. We’ll be up there for 5 days in August and I’m so excited. It’s so low key up there and we have no agenda besides hanging out, swimming and soaking up the vitamin D. I do think we will try to go somewhere warm next Feb/Mar if I’m not pregnant. Plane travel with a toddler sucks but Minnesota winters suck even more but we are willing to put up with an awful flight to escape the frigid temps for a few days!

  • Reply Sara July 18, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks for the podcast recommendations! I am also not super frugal, but I like to think I am intentional with my spending. I’m really enjoying The Worth Project podcast – it’s all about using your money in an intentional way (they fully admit they are not into FIRE mindset!)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 18, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      Ooh thanks for the rec!

  • Reply Kate July 19, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Totally agree with you on point 4. My husband and I are generally both home for bed time with our 3 little kids, but have come to the realisation that it is smoother and less stressful if just one of us manage bed, books, bath. Then the other says goodnight at the end too. Usually my husband does it as I’m home from work earlier and have already spent some time with them.

  • Reply Sue July 19, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Always love when you recommend podcasts, thanks! And thanks for the positive bedtime inspiration…always the hardest part of the day for me because of my own low energy level.

  • Reply Liz B. July 19, 2019 at 9:46 am

    I’ve started using a new guided journal by Habit Nest to take better control of my mornings, and reading your blog has landed a spot on my morning ritual. I absolutely love listening to you and Laura on BOBW, so reading your blog seemed like the next logical step in my “happier” journey. 🙂
    This particular post speaks to me – last summer, we barely traveled since our youngest was a wee baby. So, we packed our calendar this summer (what were we thinking?!?!). While in retrospect, I think we over-scheduled (TODDLERS ARE TOUGH!!!), my remembering self enjoys the better memories. We have one more big trip to Vegas next week to celebrate my folks’ 50th wedding anniversary (fingers crossed that our toddler will be more amenable to staying in a lap during takeoff and landing). Then, we’ll be done traveling with a toddler for a while.
    Excited to read your blog every morning to improve my morning ritual!

  • Reply Erica Sparkenbaugh July 19, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Dan has a guy’s night every other Monday, and I really look forward to those evenings. It’s so much easier getting the kids to bed when it’s just one parent, for some reason.
    I had a big interest in finance and money saving podcasts a few years ago. One that I got really into was Pete the Planner. I like when I have little flirtations with things like finance. I set up a bunch of systems (like a bunch of automatic withdrawals to various savings accounts, etc) and now I’m much more relaxed about money.

  • Reply Victoria B. July 21, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Now that A & C are older, have you considered doing special weekend trips with just one of them and one parent? I have a friend that does this when she needs a break and her and her husband rotate who goes and who stays. The kids help pick the location and plan the trip and it becomes a family event complete with a trip review when the travelers get back. It’s easier to manage one child, and you can both stay in one hotel room with two beds.

  • Reply Rachel July 22, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Do you have a place where you post all your reading lists? I feel like that would be another good header at the top of your blog. I am always looking for ideas!

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