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Northern Expressions

Northern Expression: Most people leave no traces.

Today’s Northern Expression comes from Ivan Illich in his H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness. Illich was a fascinating Croatian/Austrian philosopher that had very interesting perspectives on many everyday things. In today’s quote, he talks about how we leave no traces in our fast-paced lives:
Most people do not dwell in the place where they spend their days and leave no traces in the place where they spend their nights.

“Most people do not dwell in the place where they spend their days and leave no traces in the place where they spend their nights. They spend their days next to a telephone in an office and their nights garaged next to their cars.” – Ivan Illich

He’s onto something, right? If you work full-time, where do you actually spend most of your time? And how do you interact with your “stuff”? It’s something we don’t think enough about.

I like the idea of where you leave your traces. As a work-at-home mom, I definitely leave my traces on my home, but they’re not always the best traces.

Where do you leave your traces? Are they the traces you want to leave?

Happy Friday and last day of March! See you next month!

Love, Maggie

Why I Want to Move to the U.K.

Why I Want to Move to the U.K.

I often wax poetic about wanting to move to the U.K. and long-time readers of the blog know that I sincerely mean it when I say I want to move there. But, recently, I had a breakthrough in thinking. Last week, Mr.T and I were on a road trip from Dallas to San Antonio with two sleeping 3-year-olds in the back seat. So, we were stuck in a car with time to chat.

Our usual conversation is about where we would move if we left Alaska. Our parents are in the Northwest and we grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and Portland, but we’ve found that when we go back, we’re stressed out by the amount of people and traffic and the bustle that has moved into the suburbs. Living in Anchorage has made us small-time people. We’re now definitely more country or suburbs-of-suburbs type of people. We also would love to live next to siblings, but our siblings are all over (Texas, Nebraska, California) and we’re not in love with any of those locations and we can’t count on them to stay there either.

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What's Stopping You From Cutting That Budget Line Item?

What’s Stopping You From Cutting That Budget Line Item?

I am a big fan of making sure I get value from my money. Each month as I look over the month’s spending, I look at where I can improve and where I can optimize and where I’m happy with my spend. Each budget line item should have a purpose. So often, we get stuck with ones that don’t, so why do we avoid cutting them?

Things Change, So Should Your Spending

We used to cloth diaper, but with health problems after Lui’s birth, we stopped. Paying for diapers was worth the expense.

This week, we returned from a 2-week vacation to visit the kids’ cousins in Nebraska and Texas and I realized diapers are no longer worth the line item on our budget. Lui’s 3 now and is ready.

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Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Several people have suggested putting a certain amount of money in savings every single day, aim to spend less than a certain amount of money on any given day, etc. On a day to day basis, I don’t do well with that. I save in monthly spurts. But I liked the idea of tracking how much I spent and saved on a daily basis. Here are our 2016 expenses broken down into daily spending amounts in each category:

Daily Spending and Savings 2016

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Your Breakfast is Robbing You

Your Breakfast is Robbing You

If you haven’t yet calculated it, your breakfast is probably costing your family much more money than you think it is. Stop eating expensive breakfasts and switch to some cheap breakfast ideas. I’ll share the numbers of how much cereal could cost us and how much we actually spent last year on our inexpensive breakfast alternative (and how oatmeal can actually be yummy).

Cereal is Expensive

About once a month, we eat cereal for breakfast as a family. That’s right. Once a month. The last time we did this, I realized our family of five goes through the equivalent of one Costco box of cereal each time we eat cereal.

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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: Inspiration is like Mario

Remember how I told you Lin-Manuel Miranda is better than you? Well, he is. And today we have just another proof. Way back in November, he tweeted a series of amazing tweets about inspiration that I haven’t gotten out of my head. Mr.T worked his graphic design magic on the tweets, and now look how amazing it is!:

Inspiration is exactly like getting a star in Super Mario Bros.

“Inspiration is exactly like getting a star in Super Mario Bros. Exciting, and super rare. You’re invincible for a short time. The rest of your time, you’re breaking bricks, navigating pitfalls, you’re living and dying. You’re doing the work.”

– Lin-Manuel Miranda

Isn’t that brilliant? Some days we’re struck with awesomeness and we feel invincible. But I love the imagery of Mario breaking all those bricks. He just keeps breaking the bricks. Every day, we get out there and we break more bricks. If you don’t jump up to break those bricks, you’ll never get the stars.

Let’s go break some bricks, my friends! And when you happen upon a star, plow through the obstacles as fast as you can! It won’t last long.

Love, Maggie

Comparison is the Thief of Joy and Productivity

Comparison is the Thief of Joy and Productivity

Teddy Roosevelt is famous for saying: “Comparison is the Thief of Joy.” I took the liberty of adding “… and productivity.” When we compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of what we’re busy accomplishing.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is Better Than You

Last week, a Facebook friend of mine posted:

Lin-Manuel Miranda and my alumni magazine make me feel like I’ve done nothing with my life.

I totally agreed. A few days later, I happened across this article (headline is NOT changed): Lin-Manuel Miranda even sings karaoke better than you do.* Of course he does!

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An Honest Look At Your Awesomeness

An Honest Look At Your Awesomeness

An Exercise in Self-Reflection

  1. Grab a Piece of Paper and a Pencil
  2. Write down 5 things you are AWESOME at.
  3. Write down 5 weaknesses you have.
  4. Write down 1 thing you want to actively get better at.

Are you Too Hard on Yourself?

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Am I Happy? Stop Looking Outside Yourself.

Am I Happy? Stop Looking Outside Yourself.

We introduced our children to Wii Fit recently and they’ve been loving it. Florin, my 6-year-old, will finish every single game and then say: “Am I happy?” and wait to see if her character is excited (happens when played well) or sad (happens when played poorly). She can roll down the entire hill crashing into things in Wii Fit Skiing and STILL be surprised when her character is crying. On the flip side, she can do an amazing Wii Fit ski jump, but she won’t be happy or excited about it until her character starts jumping up and down with excitement.

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Rockstar Finance #GivingCard: A Loved One

Rockstar Finance #GivingCard: A Loved One

Each month, the Rockstar Finance Giving Fund gives out 25 VISA cards loaded with $20 for people to go help make the world a better place. In February, I signed up for one of them. February’s assignment was to help a “loved one.”

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