Category Archives: Writing

New Year No Spend

Happy New Year, friends!

I don’t know about you, but when January comes and the craziness of Christmas finally ceases (I’m not a huge fan) I breathe a sigh of relief. Time to relax. Also time to start over. New year, new habits, new growth. What are you doing for yourself or your family in the new year?

I try to pick a few things to work on in the new year for myself or our family, and start small. This avoids the resolution meltdown in February after pledging to go to the gym every morning at 6 or never eat proccessed sugar again, or other unrealistic goals.

One challenge I am taking on for our family is a New Year No Spend Challenge. 12395181_1499274417045599_627505169_n

I’m teaming up with several other bloggers who are taking the month off from spending. This is a great opportunity to save money (especially after Christmas) and practice simplicity. I would like you to consider joining me. Emily, you may be thinking, this is crazy, the new year starts tomorrow, this is impossible to pull together by then.

I would agree with you. I have been feeling under the weather for the last month (more on that later) which is why I’m just now getting this up here. And since my husband is a school teacher, we always do things by the school calendar, which is why my no spend month doesn’t actually start until Monday, the 4th, when he goes back to school.

So, there actually is time to pull this together. Would you consider joining me?

Here are the guidelines:

  • Know your necessities. Obviously I’m going to put gas in our vehicles, pay medical expenses, and regular bills. I checked with Comcast, and they weren’t as excited as I was about just skipping my bill for January. So, pay your bills.
  • No impulse spending. This is avoided by simply avoiding shopping. I’ll explain more below about our grocery situation.
  • Absolutely no eating out, unless you have a gift card.
  • Be creative. If you run out of something, can you make it? Can you wait until the month’s over?
  • And finally, give yourself grace. If a birthday party pops up in the middle of the month, by all means, buy a gift and go! Community is more important than this challenge. Community matters.

So, how do you avoid shopping for a month? Meal plan. It’s not as hard as it sounds to plan an entire month of meals. I give each day a theme: Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, etc. So I just need to plan 4 meatless recipes, 4 mexican recipes, etc. Then make a huge shopping trip before the month starts. There are lots of great meal planning resources online. Start there if you need help.

Fresh produce is a large part of our diet, so I will be going to the grocery store every Wednesday to stock up. The trick here is to take a list and ONLY buy what’s on the list. Nothing more.

My no spend month is a pretty modified version. Not only will I be shopping for produce every week, but I’m co-hosting a baby shower in January and obviously need to spend money on that (which is a joy to do!). My girl Brittany, over at Little Mountain Momma  will be doing a stricter version, and she’s done it before and rocked it. Check out her post on how she does it.

We’ll be tracking our month on social media using the hashtag #newyearnospend if you want to join in on the fun. Let me know, would you, if you want in on this? Doing a challenge with friends makes it easier. Or do your own version of a no spend month. Maybe for you, that means avoiding the coffee shop on your way to work, or eating at home instead of eating out. The point is to take a break from what we regularly do and focus on living simply. I’m excited about it.

Check out these other bloggers too, who are teaming up with me:
Adriane over at Balance With Me
Rebekah over at My MSPI Baby
Chrissy over at Anchor My Soul
Brittany over at Little Mountain Momma

Let me know what you think, and I will let you know how the month goes.

Happy New Year!


I’m Back! And Better Than Ever. Maybe.

My palms are sweating, my heart is racing. This might have something to do with the absurd amount of coffee at my elbow. But I’m nervous. The Dependent Life has been in hiatus since March, and it’s time to get it rolling again. This is hard. But I tell my boys all the time that just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. We do hard things. So here we go.

In March I initially planned on taking a month off to spend some time planning where I wanted to go with The Dependent Life. I had a solid plan, a financial goal, and a writing schedule. Then April came, and everything fell apart.

I received a life-changing diagnosis in April. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I had sought out medical help because I wasn’t feeling quite right, for years, honestly, and we did all the bloodwork. Everything was off. Even my cholesterol was high, and I’m only 30. That didn’t seem okay. Then came all the words I had never Googled before: Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, auto-immune disease.

In terms of diseases, this is not a terrible one to have. I’ll write another post about it later to dig deeper. And I’ve since met dozens of women who have it as well. But it was life changing for me. Ultimately in a good way.

Receiving a diagnosis that explained my chronic fatigue, insomnia, abnormal cycles, depression, anxiety, and pain was the biggest relief in my life. There was a reason for the way I felt! It wouldn’t always be this way! I’m changing things up, in the way I eat, exercise, live. I will write more on that in a later post, for sure.

I feel good. I feel like I’m thriving. Finally. Really. I have hope for my health. Life is good.

But the spring and summer were weird. It was jarring to receive news that there was something really wrong with me. Especially since this is my year of healing. I felt like I had nothing left to say. If you’ve previously read my blog, you know I’m not shy about the hard things in my life. But this was difficult to write about. I didn’t want to write about thyroid stuff. I didn’t want to write about the Paleo Diet. I didn’t want to write about all these things that were suddenly at the forefront of my life. Yet I couldn’t go on pretending this all wasn’t happening. So I stopped writing.

And there was a summer of silence.

I needed the summer of silence. It was good to focus on my family, and my health. But it’s time. My fingers have been itching to write. I’ve got a lot to say (not surprising, if you know me in person). So welcome back, Dependent Life. Readers, welcome back to you as well, and thank you. Thank you for stopping by throughout the summer (my stats keep me updated). And thank you to those of you who have told me how much you appreciate my writing, and who have challenged me to pick it up again. You are the best.

Happy Fall!


Writer’s Block Has Got Me Blocked Up

When I was young I took piano lessons when I wasn’t playing some sort of sport or being a drama queen (in school plays…mostly). I didn’t excel because when I wasn’t taking lessons I hardly practiced. What was the point, really? I didn’t have a teacher to impress and therefore, didn’t try.

One of my piano teachers would have all her students do recitals at local nursing homes. The residents loved it and didn’t care a bit whether they heard a concerto or the plink-plink-plink of a 4 year old.

One Christmas we held our recital as usual and I was eagerly waiting my turn. I was playing the song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and was anxious to begin. If you’ve ever sat through an intermediate piano recital you may recall how excruciating these types of things are. Young children play terrible songs terribly, there is polite applause afterward, and the next one slides onto the bench. But I was going to be different.

I knew my song inside and out. I almost didn’t bring the sheet music because I wanted to impress everyone with my memorization skills. I was going to bring tears to the eyes of my geriatric listeners. When had they ever heard such beautiful Christmas music?

Finally, it was my turn. I slid onto the bench. Slowly opened my book. Adjusted the bench. Got my feet ready on the pedals. I imagined the suspense that was building. They all must have been leaning forward in their chairs waiting for me to begin. I started to play.

After the second line my fingers fumbled. I took my eyes off the music to figure out why I wasn’t hitting the right notes. When I looked back to the music I had no idea where I was. I didn’t even recognize the song. I looked back at my hands and I kid you not, it felt like I had never sat before a piano before in my life. I didn’t know the difference between middle C and F#. I tried to play. It was awful. It was embarrassing. I managed to fumble my way through the rest of the song, hitting more wrong notes than right ones. Something that I had done dozens of times before slipped out of my brain. 

The past 3 weeks have been like that night. I have sat in front of my computer trying to write. I look at my hands and I don’t know how to make words come from them. I try to form a coherent sentence and come up with gibberish. Lajfs al;;oit jatlsafd te;leotiwheo stekhwoihw I couldn’t even write a readable grocery list.

It’s been painful. I love to write. It’s how I process things. It’s how I communicate my emotions. I’ve been feeling all stopped up. I have no point to this except that I think I’m coming out of it. I was able to write this rambling stream of ridiculousness. That’s something at least. I’m back, I just can’t promise anything amazing is back with me.

If you’re one of my faithful readers (hi Mom!) thanks for sticking with me. I only keep publishing on this silly thing because so many people have told me they enjoy it. Keep reading. I’ll keep writing.