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I will send the bill….

man-paying-bills

 

I grew up with a dad who felt his primary obligation to the family was to “bring home the bacon.” Oh, and to “exact justice.” But that’s another tale. It’s the “financial” burden that has always griped me. My dad was raised that women were lesser beings and that their roles were not as “important” or arduous as men’s.  I am by no means a feminist, but when I hear the occasional comment made from a male whether in print or via a friend weary of hearing her husband’s reminders that “he’s the one paying the bills,” I want to punch the guy.  This financial worth thing has been on my mind so I decided to look into a little of my “financial worth” just for the fun of it. Let’s just pretend for a moment that I have been hired to serve….

I have given birth 12 times. The average surrogate mother’s fee ranges from $20,000 to $35,000 plus expenses. I have never received an epidural or any other type of pain reliever while in labor. That being said, I gave myself the maximum fee of $35,000. I know they charge extra for the pain relief but I have no scruples about earning for braving transition. There was also that labor that lasted seven days….I could charge extra for that one…

So…

12 x $35,000 = $450,000

That’s the minimum.

A quick search on nannies resulted in the following:  “Check your state guidelines to determine whether live-in nannies qualify for overtime above 40 hours per week. For part-time nannies, hourly nanny rates start around $12 per hour and can run as high as $20-25 per hour in affluent areas, particularly those without public transportation. You get what you pay for.”

I don’t really know how long a child “needs” a nanny so I’m just going to guess until they no longer need a babysitter. I believe in Indiana, a child must be 14 to be of “legal babysitting age” so I’m going to go with that.

So….

For 12 children receiving in-home nanny care from 0-14 without overtime:

$3,066,000

I didn’t add in overtime just to be fair to my olders who have helped tremendously with the youngers. If they were getting paid, they would have earned a pretty penny themselves.

I could stop at $3,516,000 but why would I want to do that?

We homeschool. I’m a private tutor, a proven method for superior education. (Can I just interject and say that if all these years of people asking my kids where they go to school, if my kids had answered, “Oh, I have a private tutor,” folks would be all impressed and “Oh, la-dee-da” then commend us parents for going the extra mile to provide our children with exceptional education. I think we’re going to try this. I’ll let you know how it goes.)

For a private tutor – $10-$15 per hour. Holy cow. I have no idea how much time we’ve put in. I’m going to give a low-ball estimate based on the 180 day school year, average 4 hours a day (sometimes more, sometimes less – the kids do more on their own as they get older) and include all 12 kids AND preschool though we’re far from done. I want to know the grand total!

$1,555,200

We’re at $5,071,200.

I have to include my laundry service as there has been rarely a day in the past 20-some years that I haven’t done at least one load of laundry. I’d say the average is 6 loads a day, some days more. I looked at a couple of sites and laundry services such as Laundry Locker or Lazy Bones who charge by the pound or item and charge for each additive such as detergent and softener. I have no idea how many pounds of laundry I have done! If they charged by the mountain or trash bags, I might be able to guesstimate but that’s overwhelming. I can’t NOT include it, though, because I have spent so much of my life on it! So, going with Lazy Bones’ $1.70 per pound, and I average out the fact that in the earlier years of our family, we did not have MOUNTAINS of jeans, towels, etc., I’m going to guess 25 pounds per week. (I know this week, I’m working on at least 50 pounds if you could weigh it all.) 25×52 weeks = 1,300×27 years=35,100 x $.73($1.70-$.97*-the cost to do one load at home) = $25,623.

That makes $5,096,823.

I haven’t even included my earnings from being a private chef, private chauffeur, event planner, “administrative assistant,” not to mention MAID! Nope, can’t leave that out –  I briefly peeked at what a house cleaner earns: “Professional house cleaners typically set house cleaning prices one of two ways: By hour, or by square foot. Hourly costs range from $25 to $35; square foot rates are often used for a “first clean,” as a baseline for pros to work from.” If I “just” cleaned 5 hours a week at $25/hour, and we know it’s more some weeks, less during “those” weeks, that’s an easy $175,500

Ahem…. $5,272,323

I could go on but then this post would be one of those you look at to see how long it is then pass it up because you don’t have the time. Am I right?

You pay the bills? Well, sir, pay that one. Better yet, try doing all of the above. One of the reasons a woman’s brain is spaghetti is she has to tackle all of her professions pretty much every day, keeping track of it all and mentally preparing for the next task and the next day and the next week… A man’s compartmentalized brain would implode!

Well, I must be off…I have to “earn my keep.” The first thing I’m going to do is delegate because I didn’t even get to my roles as a business-owner…which I need to do today in addition to all of the above…sigh….

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

 

*I found the cost to do a load of laundry at home in this fabulous post, “A Cost Comparison of Home Laundry and Laundromats” on “The Simple Dollar,” a resource to save to your favorites. Incidentally, in this post, the author says it will take 600 loads to recoup the price of the washer and dryer which will take 2 years if you do one load a day, compared to going to a laundromat. Yep, our appliances paid for themselves a long time ago….

(Photo Credit: http://cdn.moneycrashers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/man-paying-bills.jpg)

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A Stitch in Time

Several years ago, I met a “mom of many” who became a sweet friend but, at the same time, she made me sick. She sewed most, if not all, of her children’s clothes and they usually matched. Sometimes she would even match. Our kids were in homeschool band together and during rehearsal, moms would chat in the nursery and this friend would sometimes discuss sewing techniques she had discovered. I remember thinking, “I need to try that! (except when she spoke of an easier way to make the boys’ ties…my eyes glazed over for that one. I’ll just buy the matching vest and tie, thank you).  I used to sew all the time. In my younger days, I would take advantage of the quiet of the night and sew til 3 a.m. so as to finish my project. My first two girls had a few matching dresses, many that didn’t match, costumes, doll clothes and I made all of the kids’ stockings until child number 8. I have fabric for everyone’s stockings. I just don’t see that hunk of time sew. I asked my friend (we both had “only” 6 kids at the time) how in the world she found time to sew so many outfits. She told me that some days, she only gets one stitch done. Say whut? She said she leaves her sewing machine out with her current design left under the presser foot ready for the next five minutes she can sneak in and sew a seam. My personality type was stymied. I’m the kind of person who wants to get a project DONE in one sitting. I could not wrap my brain around it.

I have implemented that principle of getting things done in bite-size pieces in many areas but mostly with housecleaning and business projects. I can organize a pile for five minutes then stop when the timer goes off. That’s a big deal for me! I did have it down for the sewing at one time but got out of practice. Now I have a new laundry room with a sewing table and I feel motivated and obligated to get back to it.

One area I struggle with the “one stitch at a time” method is writing. For example, I need to quit right now and head to the shop to carve a cake and make curly Q fondant strips for the mane but I’m having a hard time stopping because I’M NOT DONE, YET!!! Oh, fine….I’ll be back….

Okay, I’m back. It is not easy to get back on the train of thought after being derailed by the to-do list. So…where was I? Oh, yea…early this morning, I took a moment to read a post from one of my favorite bloggers and guitarists, Mark Lee.  His latest post is “Embrace the Chaos,” which totally describes my life, talks about learning to blog amidst the nuttiness of life rather than wait for that ideal day or idea. He also suggests working this habit into other aspects of life.

That takes practice and an attitude of “must write.” People often ask me, “how do you do it all? How do you balance the big family, homeschooling, theatre, owning a business?” Balance? Um, no. We have had to learn how to blend.  Having babies constantly in our home became a part of our norm. Home educating became a part of our lifestyle. Theatre came into our lives and it’s just “what we do.” The catering scene has become a big part of our days and that’s just it, it’s something that becomes a part of our schedule. Sometimes we work what needs done for the business around our homeschool; sometimes homeschool is worked around the job that needs done. I know I need to squeeze in two loads of laundry a day in order to maintain the piles and keep everyone in clean socks and underwear. I use a lot of post-it notes and checklists to stay on track. I’ve also learned to use a timer to limit time spent decluttering or cleaning projects. If I didn’t, I would spend the whole day on that one project until it was done. I have other things to do! Like write. I have blogged many times here about how I haven’t been blogging, yet have not once considered quitting. I don’t think I can. Some of us think through the written word! I need to blend the writing into the batter and stop treating this as if it’s “extra;” something I can do after I get everything else done. Being  practical, if I need to set a timer, I’ll have to learn to stop then pick it up later and add “another stitch.”  I received a Bluetooth keyboard for Christmas and it’s one of my favorite tools. I fumble around with texting and trying to email on my phone.  My keyboard not only removes that frustration but I can sit in the car waiting for play rehearsal to finish and start another post on the WordPress app…which I have done. But you’ll have to wait for that one…it needs a few more seams.

I did it. I have proven to myself that it’s possible for this “must finish” personality that I can step away from the project and come back to it later then just  add to it in between the other parts of my day. Guess what else I did today? I started hemming some jeans I found at Goodwill. I only have them cut and pinned…and waiting for the stitching to begin.

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

 

Make Your Home a Haven Challenge

I just wanted to take a minute and share this challenge with the ladies. It’s from the Women Living Well Blog and I’m going to take a breath once a week to do this. I thought maybe someone else out there would like to as well. Just click on the button and you’ll be magically transported to the challenge.

 

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

Gorgeous Wall Treatment

This is the first time I’ve been so impressed with an idea on Pinterest that I had

to post it. Inspired by artwork made with metal, you can use a canvas, apply

stickers, decals, etc., and spray paint. Remove decals; hang white or colored

lights behind it….this is wicked awesome! This would be so incredible to do in a

cafe! While these look very elegant, I’m seeing the possibilities with whimsical

   themes or even a “rock & roll” feel. Very cool. Don’t stop here – go to the

website to see the other examples and how-to suggestions in the comments on

the site. Enjoy!

Love Potion

I thought I better get this out before it’s too late in the day for you to go get supplies. A family Valentine tradition our family enjoys (and for which I have been in trouble for when forgetting previous years) is Love Potion. It’s easy, it’s tasty and it’s pink.

What you need:

  • Raspberry Sherbet
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Sprite or 7-Up
  • Pretty glasses
  • Crazy straws

This is very complicated so pay attention: Place a scoop or two of sherbet in the pretty glass. Fill 1/2-full with pink lemonade. Fill the rest of the way with your sody pop. There you have it. The straw makes it more fun. Kids love this, it’s yummy and just one little thing we can do to make the day more special. We also make pink, heart-shaped pancakes. What Valentine traditions do you have? Please share!

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

A Day in the Life

Folks are always asking, “How do you do it?” Every once in a while, I think to jot day the ins and outs of my day. Much of it is a blur but here are the highlights of my day:

5am Seth woke up, curled up with him on the couch with his bottle, we both fell asleep. Usually, he stays awake and he helps with my work-out then eats a “pre-breakfast snack” while I read my Bible, start laundry, check email and check in on my social networking, etc.  Isaiah and Isabelle are also early risers and keep me on my toes. I have them get dressed  and help me with laundry then start chores. Tuesday is a crazy bad day for me to not be up and at ’em! I have to pick up shop groceries and get specials going. But cuddling with Seth and sleeping a bit (for a change) was refreshing.

8am-ish THAT is sleeping in! At least on a work/school day. I believe it was Jillian who woke me up. We kicked it gear, chores, breakfast, quick devotion, Jillian and Benjamin (with school packed) headed off to get started at the shop. I try to plan ahead but some weeks, like the last, exasperaggravates (my word, feel free to use it)  my O.P.D. (Obsessive Procrastination Disorder). So specials were planned on the fly this morning: Apple Tuna Salad Croissant & Barley Cheese Soup. I threw together a grocery list and flew to Meijer then off to the kitchen. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Natalie oversaw K.P. and kicked off school.

10am-ish Arrived at the Panache Kitchen and when I arrived, Jillian had the Almond Coconut Brownies done and she and Jacob, “adopted” son who helps at times,  were putting the finishing touches on the Chocolate-drizzled Peanut Butter Cookies (decorated for fall). 

10-ish is pretty late to get started on soup but we don’t have that many folks come in for lunch so we don’t fret about having everything “ready” as much as we use to. They were on that as I left. I took off to drop off a package at the post office, return You Know My Name (starring a favorite of mine, Sam Elliott – I recommend) and picked up some NCIS (For those that don’t know us, we don’t receive any broadcast TV or cable so rely on DVDs for R & R ).

After zooming home, I started laundry, returned some business calls,  then commenced reading lessons for the small fries and did some spelling. After lunch (and more laundry), Natalie, Judah, Autumn, Isabelle & I headed back to the kitchen, picked up Jacob, then went to homeschool art lessons. I enjoyed some wonderful visiting with the other moms.

Art lessons finished, we went home for a “rush meal” of Hot Pockets and carrot sticks. Yes, you read that right, the “homecooked meal” people eats that stuff. You do what you have to do. On Tuesdays when half the clan has art then the other half has Civil Air Patrol in the evening, that’s what we have to do (usually, it’s pizza).  Craig arrived home somewhere around here.

CAP peeps off, we cleaned up, did more laundry,baths, got kids ready for bed, read stories, put small fries to bed, then sat down to NCIS, blogging and now I’m going to crash and burn.

There you have it, a sampling of one of my days.  Let me know if it makes you as tired as it makes me.
Let’s hear it for coffee!!

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

What’s not shared is lost,

Michelle

I See a Sign!

After finding out that our “sign person” is booked until the end of the year, we debated (for about 2 minutes) about whether to spend twice as much to hire a professional sign company to make our signs or go at it ourselves. We had already purchased materials to make the street sign so Natalie said she was game. I went to Officemax with our logo on my flash drive and, as our sign lady said they would, they delivered. We now have our logo printed as big as life (okay 24″x 36″) and ready to stencil onto our already primed sign. Natalie will start on that today. We also had my FIL come to the shop and move the phone lines to where we want them while sharing with Benjamin his knowledge on the subject (while snapping at him occasionally in a way that only a Grandpa can get away with – it didn’t faze Ben at all, but if (when) I do that, then I’m being mean. Not fair.) Anyhoo, the previous owner, for whatever reason, had multiple phone jacks on the “appliance” side of the shop while the counter side had a couple of lines dangling there for the security system and another that was damaged. We’re “all good” now and have our charge card machine, fax and phone ready to roll!

That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:13

Today, I MUST needs stay home. Besides starting a business, it’s seasonal switchover time for 13 people and we host church on Sunday! And I just need to stay home. I don’t know how much longer I will have that opportunity!

I will stay home. You can’t make me leave…

I don’t have time to blog but feel compelled to tell somebody, anybody that I am staying home today. Every day that I purposed to be home for a day, duty has called me, demanded that I go somewhere. I have been trying for some time to explain to my DH, who is also frustrated with my non-stop running, that starting a business would require a huge amount of busy-ness and running to and fro is a part of the deal.I confess I’ve been anxious about this because I already have a full-time job being a homeschool mom of many. BUT, today, I am determined that I will be home, I will conquer the mountains, albeit organized mountains, of seasonal switchover, plan the menu for church on Sunday, have the house clean, pay bills, do some marketing, AND homeschool….all in a single bound. I do, in fact, take Supermom pills and something makes me think I should go take them…I’m going to need them.

I have been asking God over and over again how I am suppose to be a homeschooling mom while doing this catering thing but Craig keeps reassuring me that God wants us to do this and He already has it all figured out. Dear God, being the coordinator of all things homeschool AND business start-up, I really need You to let me in on the plan so I know how to do this. I realize our mornings are starting earlier and earlier and am counting on those hours for school but I need to know the rest of the game plan. Thank You.

Well, with the hub-bub of getting the day going, I cannot think to write so will call this one short and sweet. And that’s okay, because I’m staying home with my precious hub-bub makers and I’m going to enjoy every interruption.

Play with your food!

Michelle