Free Printable Father’s Day Cards For Nerds & Moms!

FathersDay (1)I used to celebrate Father’s Day. I would give my dad small things I made in school, cards, little trinkets. One year in college I got him sea monkeys. The kind that you grow yourself, they become little creatures and you keep them on your desk. I thought that presents were bandaids and reasons to be happy, which is what you think when you’re a kid.

I have a new reason to celebrate Father’s Day, I have in-laws who are funny and nice and I have my husband who will one day be the best father, but every year I celebrate my mom on Father’s Day, which is why I have included a card just for moms. There’s a reason, which you can read all about below, but for now here are some printable Father’s Day cards for nerds and mom’s who play the role of dad and mom:

 

Why I Celebrate My Mom on Father’s Day:

It wasn’t until around 23 when I realized there was a reason for my father’s actions. It’s never easy to admit yourself or anyone that your parent has a mental illness/personality disorder, it’s embarrassing…but you know what…so is being dragged up the stairs by your hair and your t-shirt because you got a B- on a paper, so is spraining your wrist playing softball and having your dad tell you to suck it up and that you were embarrassing him as you fight off tears and then your coach calls the school administration because she is concerned, so is finding pictures of women who aren’t your mother on your family computer and having to try to explain it to your 7-year-old sister, so is coming home from school to a old trunk with a note that says “you’re going to military school” because you got a B in math, so is standing in line at the Bursar’s Office because your father has sworn up and down that the college you worked your ass off to get into was paid for with your college fund, but he actually spent it on women who weren’t your mother.

He told me that I was his least favorite, I was a failure, I was worthless, and my mom got even worse. It wasn’t until I was in the car with my father and he sped up his car to pull into a gas station just to stop short as he unbuckled my safety belt and I flew into the dash, that was the moment I gave up completely. Many nights I slept with a knife under my bed because I didn’t feel safe. Sometimes I dared him to hit me in the face instead of just toss around and accost my mom and I, that way I would have evidence and could call the police, forcing him to leave. I knew I had to leave and I did. Then my sisters and my mom did as well. Now, he only calls to tell us he will never ever talk to us again, that he hates us…or he calls to tell us that he’s going to kill himself or find my mom and hurt her. I learned at a young age that you can literally kill everything you are trying to save someone else. I don’t think that’s a lesson you should have to learn at 23.

People will tell you “it could be worse” and it can–but that doesn’t make your pain any less substantial. People will tell you to get over it, but what they don’t realize that your most powerful relationships (or the lack there of) shape who you are as a child into adulthood, and finally (and arguably, most disgusting), people will attribute your toxic parent’s attributes to you, they will tell you that any disagreement or conflict you have with them can be written off bad “behavior” and that you use your childhood to as an excuse. They are dead wrong. Stand your ground, if “bad behavior” is standing up for yourself and that is finally something you can do after years of not being able to, do it…and make no apologies. Especially because people that have something to say about your family and childhood when they know how challenging it was, are terrible, disgusting people to begin with.

Over the winter, I saw a Pantene Pro V commercial that featured NFL players doing their daughter’s hair. They insinuated that girls that have present fathers that spend time with them grow up to be better in all kinds of ways. I completely reject this notion. Maybe our moms just worked that much harder! I am not the only person in the “no/not great dad” club, countless people are, including the President of the United States. My sisters and I all have degrees, we are all with great, driven men, and we all work hard and continue to advance in our careers. In fact, I just got an amazing new position that is a huge, HUGE step up for my career and my family. This is because of my mom; she took the worst of it from my dad so that we didn’t have to. She is responsible for all of my best qualities–her compassion, her drive, her work ethic, her unrelenting nerdiness—these are all things that inspire me.

So, if you don’t have a father for whatever reason this Father’s Day, know I’m thinking about you. Also, celebrate your mom today if she is in your life. She deserves it.

 

Budget Like A Boss, Beginners Edition

BudgetGraphicI had a visit from my family over this past weekend which was so much fun. I finally got to meet my future brother-in-law and Mr. JD and I love love love him. While they were visiting I came to some realizations amidst all of the fun; I need to start saving for 1) my sister’s wedding in France (her fiance is from the French countryside) and 2) my mom’s inevitable retirement. Also—and somewhat related—I realized that people can be really disgusting, have zero integrity or accountability, and love to make assumptions, but that’s a story for a different day because I wasn’t going to let anything ruin my family being here :).

As I was saying, most people believe that their parents will spend their golden years with a robust retirement, but that’s just not the case for everyone—I wish it was! For example, because of my unaccountable (and estranged) father, my mother has very little savings and she’s past the age where she can technically retire. I want her to be able to stop working when she wants and live comfortably, so this is something I have to start budgeting for. Luckily I have help from my sisters, one is a vice president at a hedge fund and her fiance is an architect—my other sister manages creative content. We will all be in the position to chip in, but I also have to think about my in-laws and my sister-in-law, who has medical needs. Everyone needs help at one point or another, especially in retirement and I want to be able to provide that.

Because I want to be able to take care of my entire family and can only count on limited amounts of help, Mr. JD and I are going to do the best we can to budget more than we normally do.

Here are 5 easy step to start a budget or strengthen the budget you already have:

  1. Get Organized: At work, I have binders for everything and my budget is no different. I happen to like this free printable from Printable Crush—it has almost everything you need to get on track, including: monthly budget, expenses, schedule, and meal planner. The only thing is doesn’t have is something to track your student loans (which can be complicated, but we’ll get to that later).
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  2. Track It On the Go: Everyone has to have extra spending money for clothes, toiletries, etc. This can get out of control really fast so I suggest giving yourself a set amount of personal spending money and then track it using Trello. I make boards for line items in my budget and then as soon as I spend money I make sure I account for it so I know where I am at on a weekly basis. Trello also has an app, so you’re mobile on the go! And the best part? It’s FREE, which means it’s budget friendly.
  3. Pay Down Debt With High Interest: This depends on the debt you have, Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 11.09.34 PMgenerally credit card debt is going to have a higher interest rate than your student loans, but it really just depends. Paying your high-interest loans and lines of credit down will free up money to pay down other debts, make investments, or just save. I created this Student Loan Payment tracker because most of the time people have multiple loans with different interest rates. I always try to round up and pay at least $10-$40 more on each of my student loans every month.
  4. Save For Emergencies: Saving 10% of your paycheck is crucial, this way you will have savings on hand in case you have a astronomical vet bill, insurance premium payment, doctors visit, etc. There is no worse feeling that having your budget be blown out of the water and/or not having cash-on-hand in case of an emergency. Typically, Mr. JD and I save between 10% and 15% of our monthly income, but we will be bumping that up a bit so we can help our family in the future.
  5. Decrease Your Required Payments: This is important because low payments are so attractive when you really want something with a big price tag, but financing isn’t always the answer. Also, there is an opportunity cost that comes with everything. I was talking to my aea2447ce69e0692e17d5c686ad494d0sister over the weekend and she was talking about how she disagrees with people who have upwards of 8 kids (because she saw a gaggle of kids at a Museum we were checking out). Her argument is that, just because you can provide food, clothing, etc. doesn’t mean you can provide the attention and care that each child needs. This is where the term “opportunity cost” comes in, meaning, just because you can afford payments for something doesn’t mean you have the time to invest in it. My best suggestion would be to keep things you have to make payments on down to things that are invaluable to your everyday life…like a car, perhaps a house and maybe not-so-much a giant jet ski or flat screen tv. For me, this means putting some of the big projects that I wanted to do on hold, like an in ground pool. We can certainly afford to do it, however, we don’t have the time to fully enjoy it or take care of it…maybe in the next house we buy! 🙂

I hope these tips put you on the right track to budgeting, it’s hard work and takes time, but I know you can do it—it works well for us, in fact, we’ll send you a post card from Paris next summer. ❤

 

 

Dreamy Houses in Old Line State

I am currently in Maryland on work/mini vacation with Mr. JD. We’ve only been here for a few days and one of them I had a project to finish up and the other Mr. JD had a huge, huge presentation that put him on track for a promotion. Needless to say, we didn’t do the whole “DC” experience. Maybe next time.

We did, however, see some beautiful houses, ugh…the houses! On every corner of the historic district in Rockville, MD (a suburb of DC) was a house of my dreams (with a hefty price tag, homes around here are easily half a million dollars for the same amount of space I have at my current house).

I digress…we’ve all thought about our dream homes, mine “has” the following:

  • Victorian or colonial-style house with a wrap around porch
  • A small pond with ducks
  • A skylight and solar power
  • A Christmas tree window (aka a window that splendidly displays your Christmas tree.)
  • At least an acre of land with a small barn so I can have chickens, goats, and an old horse that is happy to roam around my yard and spend his days chasing my puppies.
  • Willow trees, vegetable gardens, beautiful flowers everywhere.
  • A pool with a small pool house/office
  • A working fireplace
  • A florida porch

Tall order, right? Because my parents lost my childhood home, I always want to make sure I can, above and beyond, afford whatever house Mr. JD and I have. I am not a fan of living beyond or at your means (saving is important!), which is why instead of 1/3 of our monthly income which is the “standard” our house payment is a little shy of 1/5 of our monthly income. I realize this isn’t a reality for some people, but if you can’t afford/don’t absolutely need an extra $20,000 worth of house, why put yourself through the stress? Just settle for less and maximize your space! However, home budgeting/maximizing space is for a different post.

Back to my “tall order”—no matter how much we grind, work, and put in extra time (I wish I got paid overtime as a salaried worker!), we might not ever be able to get my dream house, but I can just look at these dreamy houses instead!

Here’s A Freebie For Your Monday!

I know it’s not Freebie Friday, but I needed to share this…mostly because everyone needs a pick-me-up on a Monday. The past week has felt kind of like a game of dodgeball, except I am on a team of 2 (my husband is my favorite teammate) vs 10 and the balls are hiccups in plans, passive aggressiveness, and exhausting amounts of work.

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This week, I need to be incredibly focused. I have a potentially life changing opportunity that I have to be fully prepared for and I can do without curve balls, comments from the peanut gallery, and probably just Facebook all together. It gets super negative, super fast, especially if you are reading political articles.

So, as I prepared for this week I decided to create some Monday Motivation after listening to my second favorite JEW album. I mean, if it’s good enough for Taylor Swift, it’s good enough for us all right?

Click here to open and save/print the poster. Hang it next to your vanity because you do everything you can…and don’t you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say. ❤

Click to Download

Prepping Your Veggie Garden This Spring!

SINCE 1972It’s almost spring and the first signs of life are sprouting out of the ground! We always see gorgeous, fragrant hyacinths and tulips in our yard during the spring, then as the summer approaches we get tiger lillies, peonies, and roses. As much as I love flowers (and I plan on adding to my garden this year), I also want to approach the spring with a more utilitarian mentality.

First of all, being a veggie is hard and expensive. In order to get really good, organic produce, without going to 3 or 4 different stores, I end up shelling out at least $20 on produce a week. A few weeks ago I bought 6 bell peppers and it cost me $8, but what else are you going to do in a week where you are having salads, stuffed peppers, and tofu fajitas for dinner?

Now, I’m not going to lie, I don’t have the greenest thumb, but it’s in my blood (my uncle is a farmer), plus I have a friend who happens to work at the local food bank who is also passionate about growing her own food. She’s giving me tips and for every dollar I save on what I would have spent on produce this summer, I plan on donating it to her Foodbank, because they really do amazing things in our community, which unfortunately, is considered a food desert.

I digress, I have committed to growing my own produce this summer and I am super excited about it! I will not only be saving some money and do some good, I will be eating super healthy! I plan on growing hot peppers, sweet peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, strawberries, herbs, lavender, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, mini tomatoes, and berries. I also plan on adding dahlias, hydrangeas, more peonies and roses, and ranunculus to my existing flower garden.

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Seeds and Herbal Seed Paper

So, I’ve been told the best way to start your veggie garden is with a seed starter kit. I also grabbed some herbal seed paper from work and seed kits for fun. Here is everything you’ll need to start your garden:

  • Seed starter kit
  • Seed paper
  • Seed starter soil
  • Your choice of seeds
  • Water
  • A sunny area

First step is to add your soil. I purchased soil that is specifically used for starting seedlings and I added a healthy amount to each pod. Next, dampen the soil and stick your index finger into each pod creating a two-inch hole. Place the seeds in the hole and recover with soil. Add a bit more water and soil, then cover the seed starting kit with the plastic top and put in a warm, sunny place.

When your seeds start sprouting, you will eventually take the plastic top off and cut down all of the weaker sprouts, leaving the strongest seedling behind. Transfer the entire pod, seed and soil into your garden area, then BOOM—veggie garden—and then you get to eat all the vegetables!

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All the fruits and veggies!

 

Mixtape Monday! Home Sweet Home.

Fall is my favorite season, but there’s something really special about the Spring. Seeing little sprouts in the ground, all the kids playing outside, and preparing my house for warmer seasons makes me so happy.

Home

Our home. It’s a work in progress.

This past weekend was all about spring cleaning, especially our yard. It was a resolution of mine to put a ton of effort into our home this year in order to get our house just how we want it—the yard, the rooms, everything. I spend a lot of time wishing there were more minutes in the day to work on all of the projects we have in our house. My friends keep telling me there will always be projects and not to rush, but I can’t help it—I want them done, like yesterday.

I spent a lot of time thinking about exactly why I feel this way and I realized that it is because my parents lost my childhood home. It was truly a magical place to live; hyacinths hugging the wrap around porch in the Spring, pocket walls with vintage glass, 125-year-old hardwood floors, the perfect Christmas tree window. No matter how messy life was at the time, the one consistent was my cozy, magical home. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a place that I knew I was going to spend more than a few years in since I was 19. My husband is really the only constant “home” I’ve had in the last 8 years and yes, home can be places or people, after all. ❤

Now, I am exceedingly proud to be a home owner. As a millennial, statistics show that I am technically supposed to be a renter forever. I mean, I know people who have their parents covering some of their rent or their parents helped them generously with a down payment or partial payment on their house. My husband and I bought our house, we saved to cover a heaping chunk that went into our down payment and we are responsible for *every. single. cent.* of our mortgage. We even moved all by ourselves (big mistake, actually, next time we are hiring movers). A lot of my peers can’t say the same thing, I mean, look at my parents! However, while I am proud that we accomplished this huge thing, we have awhile until this place feels like it’s ours.

mixtape

Click to play.

In the meantime, while I chronicle our projects on Moxie and Spark, you can enjoy this Mix Tape Monday with my favorite songs about home.

  • Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros – “Home”
  • Mr. Twin Sister – “I Want a House”
  • Ben Gibbard – “You Remind Me of Home”
  • Bright Eyes – “First Day of My Life”
  • Death Cab For Cutie – “You are a Tourist”
  • Something Corporate – “Konstantine”
  • Feist – “Musaboom”

Click here to play on Spotify.

 

 

 

Oolala! Lavender Syrup Cocktails & Mocktails

oolalaIt’s been awhile–who knew migrating a website could be so time consuming? Needless to say, with everything going on at work recently, I’ve needed (with what little time I have off) to relax.

I have some friends at work who are into essential oils and told me lavender works wonders for sleep, anxiety, and stress—so the next time I went to my favorite local coffee shop I ordered a Tangerine Lavender Honey Latte and fell in love! Not only does lavender smell wonderful, it’s delicious–very delicate and floral.

Because I rarely drink soda, wine, beer, juice, or dairy this leaves me with a lot of water, coffee, and tea. I discovered that adding lavender simple syrup to cold and hot tea, sparkling water, and coffee is truly amazing. There’s

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Tangering, Lavender, Honey Soy Latte

nothing like throwing some herbs, fruit, and garnish into some sparkling water for a nice mocktail or cocktail if you’re having people over and have some vodka on hand.

Here’s the recipe to make lavender simple syrup and a recipe for my favorite mocktail/cocktail:

Lavender Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup purified water
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 3 tbs lavender
  • purple food coloring (if desired)

Add the water and sugar to a small sauce pan and stir, then add the lavender and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir and bring down to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain our the lavender buds using cheesecloth and store in a mason jar. Your simple syrup will end up a caramel color, but if you want it to look more purple you can add a bit of food coloring (red and blue).

Store in the fridge for up to a week.

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Citrus, Cucumber, Lavender Mocktail

My Favorite Lavender Mocktail

  • La Croix Orange Sparkling Water
  • 2 Crushed Basil Leaves or a Slice of Cucumber if Basil is too strong for you
  • Slice of Lemon
  • Lavender Simple Syrup to taste

My Favorite Lavender Cocktail

  • Large shot of vodka in a cocktail glass
  • Heavy Splash of Grapefruit Juice
  • Soda Water
  • A Few Crushed Mint Leaves
  • Lavender Simple Syrup to taste (I like about a tablespoon)

Pro Tip: If you have a friend who works at a non-profit in a development capacity, recruit them to be a bartender at your wedding/event, hell recruit them to coordinate your entire event/wedding. We have all had to play double duty at fundraising events as a event coordinator/bartender/florist and have learned quite a few tricks! I know more about linens, seating grids, centerpieces, menus, catering, and ordering bistro tables, eight and ten tops than I ever, ever thought I would know.

Lavender may be on the expensive side, HOWEVER, feeling relaxed with a delicious drink is priceless—so tune out all of your work worries, miserable, mean people, loud kids, and have a delicious drink with a few friends!