Boundaries and Such…by Ms. Coco

Boundaries and Such…by Ms. Coco

The Gentleman Farmer asked me a couple of weeks ago about personal boundaries and if we give each other enough space. At that moment I thought we did a pretty good job. Then when we went to North Carolina he decided to be the best person and clean out my car. Ha! I had no clue where he was for a few hours during our annual family cookout for Mother’s Day. I happened to wonder aloud, “Did the GF get lost on his way to the grocery store?” My hometown is small and there is really no way to get lost, especially with the usage of technology and GPS on the phone. My sister said, “Oh, he took your car to the car wash.” No problem there. Until he came back and he put all of my items in a bag. I tried really hard to not be aggravated. We made it all the way back to Kentucky before I expressed my frustration.

Now…please do not misunderstand me. I love this man. He is the best man I know. Even in that task of being helpful I should be grateful, and I am. However, there is a thing about knowing where your boundaries lay. And one of mine is that if you must use/move/clean anything of mine the items should be placed back where you find them. I don’t know why that is my thing; I just know that it is. This has occurred enough times in my life to know that I would be upset about it no matter who did it. One time my sister came to my house and moved all of my furniture in the house. I was very upset about it. I waited until she left to rearrange my furniture the way I had it. At that moment I was a young 23 year old and I wanted to live my life the way I chose and she interrupted that by moving furniture! It WAS serious! Haha.

After the Gentleman Farmer and I discussed the feelings I had about him cleaning my car he brought up a concern. He wondered how this would affect us living together. Anyone would be wondering the same, I suppose. However, when the GF and I decide to move in together, I am going to assume that we will both agree on where to place items. Once we decide TOGETHER then I will have no problem when it comes to the movement of items. However, the problem I have always had is that when my items are kept in other places within my home, my classroom, my office, or my car, others feel that where I kept items were not good enough and took it upon themselves to rearrange to the point where I could not find my things. That is my issue. The GF usually finds his stuff in the same place I got it from…even if he finds additional things there too. Haha. That is what I need to work on myself. Not leaving additional things for him to find. 🙂 He loves me anyway. And I love him more and more each day.

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

“Maybe we could live together now, that we’re grown. But that was the worst year of my life, you were so dirty!” This was what Ms. Coco’s twin sister told me when I asked about what it was like to live with Ms. Coco.

This might have made me a little worried if I didn’t have so much faith in Ms. Coco. 

I’m quite experienced at having a roommate. My first roommate when I was young was my brother. I don’t always fully appreciate what a good little brother he was growing up. 

Summer Camp for three months every year was a experiment in how many kids you could cram into a small dirty cabin, for three months, while not bathing or washing  anything properly, and see who could survive.

Boarding school was another experiment in how many kids you can cram into a small room and keep them alive till college. 

By college I had decided I had enough roommates and I wanted my own apartment off campus. Let’s just say that did not last long!

My roommates in college mostly came about by a friend asking if the could crash for a couple of days at my place. Three months later I would end up charging them rent. 

After college the same thing happened over and over again. I can safe say Ms. Coco is the only roommate I’ve ever planned on having, she the first one I’ve ever asked to move in. I think that’s a very good sign!

I try to make every day fun for us and jump at the chance to try new things to break up the routine (the routine is also important). So when I saw the figget cube and figget spinners I knew, I have to get one for Ms. Coco. 

We are off to family for the weekend. Next week is my turn to live at Ms. Coco’s place. I’m hoping, I’m as good of a roommate for her, as she is for me! 

We Are Living…Single….OR Together? By Ms. Coco

We Are Living…Single….OR Together? By Ms. Coco

The month of May brings the Gentleman Farmer and myself living together. I must admit, I have never lived with anyone other than family. Well…I had suite-mates in college and the last person I lived with was my twin and that was a disaster! We were Resident Assistants in the same on-campus apartments and it was someone’s bright idea to have us living together. She complained about the bathroom being dirty while I complained that she would leave dishes in the sink overnight. We drove each other CRAZY! So after her I decided I didn’t need roommates to survive.

I am pretty sure I have scared the Gentleman Farmer with the fact that I haven’t lived with anyone for several years now. Or maybe not scared him but I am sure he has some concerns. I don’t really know what to expect so I can only say this will be some form of an adventure. I have very few concerns (usually I am joking if I say that I have any). I may only really care if I feel annoyed or am being annoying. I have realized since I moved to Kentucky that I get annoyed over certain things. Things like food (or lack thereof), phone calls, and tiredness brings crankiness. I only like a few things for breakfast and ideally I’d rather it be real food than junk.  I think it’s rude to talk on the phone if we’re in the car together. This goes for my friends as well. Haha. I get super annoyed when I haven’t been able to sleep well. I try really hard to not let my mood affect how I interact with the GF…but it doesn’t work in my — or his — favor all the time.

The Gentleman Farmer told me I shouldn’t be disappointed if things don’t stay the same. The real question is, who isn’t disappointed? Engaging conversations, pieces of cake or macaroons when I see him, or flowers when I least expect it are things I live for! Ha! However, I am well aware that I may not do the same things I did when we first started dating…well, hopefully I still do a lot of what I did when we started. So I can’t — and won’t — be upset if we gradually change, as long as we are changing for the better. I only hope and pray that we will continue to move in the same direction with the same purpose.

So since we have been in May for two weeks now it hasn’t been that strained. Like I mentioned previously, I was at a conference for a week. This past week hasn’t been that bad either — due to the Gentleman Farmer. I went to the greatest concert of my life — my boo Trey Songz! Haha! I have LOVED him since 2005 when he had the braids and the oversized t-shirts. ❤ ❤ ❤ I have been to SEVERAL of his concerts and this one was simply amazing! That was the good part. My oldest sister took my keys out of my pocketbook and I didn’t realize they didn’t find their way back into my purse until my other sister called. However, I was halfway back to KY by that time. So they were to be overnighted to me but you know mail is slow sometimes. So the GF was kind enough to allow me to borrow his car so that I may get to the many meetings I had scheduled this week. That was really no surprise — he’s done it before. However, I know that he was inconvenienced this week and I certainly appreciate his generosity. 🙂 Waking upan hour earlier each morning to get to work has driven me crazy. I am not used to doing it on a weekly basis and it has just solidified that I don’t want to drive an hour to work and back each day. However, waking up next to him each day has been so pleasant. When we decide where we should reside I definitely think we should take commute time into consideration.

 

Extreme Couponing and Acts of Service

Extreme Couponing and Acts of Service

Ten for ten dollars is my new jam! But free is even better. These are some of my new mottos.

The monthly challenge started out slow. I made it the first two weeks with only a few coupons, totaling about $30 in savings.

I managed to step my game up by using couponing apps like SnipSnap (good for non groceries items) and KrazyCouponLady (good for telling you what items are on sale at every store).

I could average savings from 20-30+% per shopping trip if I planned well and focused on building my weekly menu around sale items. This could be exciting at times when a new item I had never tried was on sale (I’m making pickled radishes! Radish bundles were 2 for $1), but mostly it was work.

Mailer coupons were the best! $10 off when spending $20 or free milk, eggs, chips, or bottled water were all easy to come by.

Acts of service was the other part of the challenge this month. I agreeded to help Ms. Coco teach a class at work. This made me a bit nervous since it’s been a while since I taught anything.

While Ms. Coco seems to have missed out on the deals this month she has been very good about acts of service!

She has helped landscape the entire front of the house. We have shoveled mulch for hours and have found ourselves covered head to toe in dirt most weekends.

After all the landscaping Ms. Coco still agrees to walk on my back even after a long day of shoveling. This might sound a bit weird, but for me, it’s the best massage I’ve ever had. Something about her perfect weight and feet kneading my back muscles! It’s the best!

Looks like next month will be roommate month. This should be fun!

We have three months without any challenges any suggestions on what we should do next?

Extreme Couponer Or Not…by Ms. Coco.

Extreme Couponer Or Not…by Ms. Coco.

I have not done well at all with this extreme couponing month. And I thought I would. Obviously those people take the time and effort to find coupons. I haven’t tried AT ALL! I feel so bad too because I am the one who suggested to do the extreme couponing to donate the items to our local Family Resource Centers in the schools. The programs help with what we call the “Backpack Program.” Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch also get items to take home on the weekend to ensure they are eat over the weekend. Sooo…the Gentleman Farmer clearly won this challenge. I will try to do better this week since he did so well. I must at least find enough coupons to match his savings. Hey, we both know our strong points in this relationship.

We will call tie on the random acts of kindness part of this challenge. The GF did teach a class for me on finances at the Adult Education Center. He thought it could have gone better but I thought he did a FANTASTIC job. I am the teacher by trade in this little family we are creating, yet he stepped up to the plate and made me look good with his professional ways. I will forever remember this…or at least until my memory fades.

Since I am sooooo late on this post and also on my couponing, we will look forward to the future. The Gentleman Farmer and I do not live together currently but we do spend at least 50% of our weeks together. For the month of May our challenge will be living together. HA! I have NEVER lived with a man except my father or grandfather. And I haven’t lived with anyone else since my twin sister, Natalie, and I lived together in college. And that was an experience; also that was over eight years ago! So we will see how this works out for us. We may do really well…the first week I am away at a conference. Did that occur on purpose? Hmmmm…I am slightly nervous. Who will cook breakfast? (He will.) Who will annoy whom first? (Probably I will annoy him.) Whose house will we stay at the most (his…I cannot have a dog at my house…even though I like spending time in my own bed.) But none of those are actually important. Will we make it through? Will we continue to create routines that will work for the both of us? Will we figure out the next step in our lives, separately and together? Will they align with our needs, wishes, hopes, and dreams? Those are certainly more important to me. I hope they are to him as well. If not, what are we here for? Obviously I am here for him. Forever, for always, for love.

Carolina on a Budget (kinda)

Carolina on a Budget (kinda)

We’ve been traveling this last week to Ms. Coco’s home state. I’ve been trying to keep my budget system going from last month while traveling, I’ve had mixed results.

Ms. Coco asked me to help her with a class on personal finances for adults. I’ve been thinking about what are the most important aspects of getting your finances in order. I’ve come up with three things.

1. Goals/Standards

So what are goals and standards? Goals help me define what I want. Standards for me are how I choose to live my life.

I didn’t think much about my standards until Ms. Coco’s uncle gave a very good speech recently at a ceremony where he was being honored. When asked why his track team has done so well winning titles for the last 20 years he said,

“Our kids succeed because we set high standards for them and hold them accountable” 

In the age of everyone gets a trophy and everything is special, where are the high standards? 

In the books I’ve read about success in business, sports, and life. The truely great set high standards for themselves and the people around them. This could be why like attracts like. People with high standards attract other with high standards. This helps bring up everyone’s performance. 

One of my favorite quotes is “A rising tide lifts all boats”. 

How does one be the rising tide? Could it be having higher standards for yourself and those you choose to spend your time with?

2. Systems

Are the steps you put in place to reach your goals. This saves time and makes decision making easier.

Last month I created an budget and system to help control my spending. It has been working pretty well but I’m sure it will need to adjust over time.

I’m trying to find a new system for fitness. I’ve been toying with some new apps and training systems but I need to find something that works wel for me.

Systems are great it gives you model to live by but you also need to know that it’s working for you.

3. Evaluation and Analysis 

Recently I’ve been taking a lot more notes. I’ve always enjoyed writing but my notes are to track different aspects of my life that I feel need improvement.

The data gives me information I can then look at over time to develop a picture of what works and what doesn’t. 

I’ve learned recently that increasing my weight training by more that 5lbs on any exercise can lead me to be sore or possible injured after my workout. So now I limit my increases in weight to no more than 5lbs on any workout. 

I wouldn’t have known this if I had not been tracking my workouts and the weight I’ve been lifting.

Monthly challenge. This month is all about acts of service and extreme couponing. I’m helping Ms. Coco with this personal finance class, I always try to open her door and carry her bags, and I cook us dinner every Sunday night. So I feel like I’ve got a decent handle on the acts of service. 

Extreme couponing is not going well. I have only one coupon that I’m planning on using at the moment. Hopefully I can pick it up in the second half of the month. If you have any tips please let me know in the comments! Where can I get some good deals?

Nothing Can Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina…by Ms. Coco

Nothing Can Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina…by Ms. Coco

For the month of April, the Gentleman Farmer and I are supposed to be focusing on good deeds and an extreme couponing month. The GF usually says I am a sucker for doing things for others, even if it isn’t in my best interest. However, if I do something for others I feel I am somehow helping the “angels” among us and I know favor comes back. It is not solely this purpose of receiving favor, but knowing I am able to help others is so important to me because so many people have poured into my life and have assisted me in the path that I have taken that I can only repay them by helping others. So I am so excited to do this coupon challenge and donate the food purchased through this activity to our respective Family Resource Centers in the communities in which we live and work.

The Gentleman Farmer always is doing something for me or others. We are in North Carolina this week for my uncle’s induction to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. He has won over 28 state championships and is pretty amazing, although I feel my family members are superstars anyway. Before driving to NC he called me several times to ask what he should get my uncle as a gift (I honestly didn’t even think to get him one), bought my other uncles things they would like, and bought several other gifts for family members. He does this every time we go, even though it might also be slight bribes to be seen as favorable (I love him, so they do too)! 🙂 SO I know he will do well with the random acts of kindness this month, as well as the extreme couponing. He is the saver between the two of us and I look to him as inspiration. Otherwise, he asks when I buy new clothing or where I got it from. He misses few things.

While in North Carolina we took a trip to my house in High Point because I am hoping to sell it. When we drove into the driveway he was like, “Oh, your house is cute” like he was surprised! I’m quite confused at this point because I never said it was ugly. I just said I need to sell it ASAP! Then he goes into his whole advice giving speil about what I need to do to sell it…I really want to get it off my hands. I am less interested in making a huge profit by this point…but you know how men can be. They must be heros. Haha. Wish me luck and a speedy process with this. I have learned much from being a homeowner for the past 8 years but it is time to move on to something else.

We’re also spending the week in Asheville for a conference I’m attending on Extension Volunteerism. I am excited that we will be here for a warm week and that we will be able to eat at Tuppelo Honey again! I have been dreaming about their buiscuits and chicken. Who doesn’t like that combination?!?! I mean, the place is really amazing. And if you have never been to Asheville, it is one of the meccas of Hipster living. My honey should fit right in, even if he denies being part of that subgroup! Haha.