Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Debt - the Basics

So I finally got around to answering your requests to post about debt. This first post is an overview to make sure debt is better understood. I will post shortly about strategies to pay off debt efficiently. Leave any questions or comments on the post, and I will try and respond.

See the post here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

camping trip

We went camping last weekend, and it was the best.thing.ever. Ben took Friday off and Thursday afternoon we drove to Bull Run Regional Park to camp. This particular campground held special interest for me because it is right next to the First Battle of Manassas. That was where Jackson stood "like a stone wall". Cool, right? I think so. James does too. Anyways...James hung out in the pack n' play while we set up the tent and then we ate our tin foil dinners. I LOVE CAMPING FOOD! We were kind of worried about how James would do with sleeping since he would be in a tent, I was expecting him to wake up all night. We have a four man tent, so we set his pack n' play up in the tent and after dinner, we put him in it and he fell right to sleep. He didn't wake up once...what a champ. Just like his mom on road trips! Ben and I spent the rest of the night sitting by our fire, eating s'mores and talking. It was the best thing in the world and I loved it so much. Here are some pictures of Friday morning:



We had planned on hiking around the battlefield the next day, but we decided to save that for another day when we would enjoy it more. We forgot our pillows at home, so I think James got better sleep than us. We were sleepy...so instead we came home that afternoon and took a two hour nap. Booyah.

Monday, August 9, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Sarah Katherine Terry Porter, soooo this is a tribute to her awesomeness. Behold:

Sarah and Rachel




Sarah was the Prom Queen at her senior prom




3 Terry sisters-Me, Sarah, and Rachel

One of Sarah's many summer dance camps. One summer she spent several weeks in NYC for a summer intensive...she's such a big deal!

Sarah is the tutu in the middle, isn't she beautiful? She's been about an bajillion different roles in different performances in different styles of dance, including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Odette...so bomb



{Photography credit for the next two: http://kristinaileenphotography.blogspot.com/}
Add Image Isn't she crazy gorgeous? I'm seriously so proud of her...she's such an incredible dancer.


In 2009 Sarah Terry became Sarah Porter and married my amazing new brother, Jayce! They do amazing things, like hike Timp and camp out waiting to take care of people that get hurt along the way. (Jayce is a part of TERT)

Sarah is one of my all time best friends. Even though I'm the older sister, I've learned everything from her. Next to our Dad, she's the most selfless person I've ever known. We talk in movie quotes together, which I really can't do as well with anybody else. She snorts when she laughs, and she makes it look good. I love you so much, bebe. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

P.S-I WILL SEE YOU IN FOUR DAYS. HIGH FIVE...NICE





Monday, July 19, 2010

tricky tricky

Ben noticed that one of our Wii remotes had gone missing, and we couldn't find it to save our lives. To make matters worse, it was my favorite remote, the pink one. (gasp) I made dinner for a group on Friday, so I pulled out my biggest pot to start cooking. Here's what I found:


Tricky tricky, James. I guess I really have to look EVERYWHERE if I can't find something from now on. Well played, sir.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

James' Birthday! (...was over a month ago!)

We're waaay behind on family events here, but just go with it. :) May 27th was a big day in our little family. James Terry Stay had his first birthday. (So weird.) This post is for James' birthday, so if you don't want to hear me talk about how cool it is being his mom, you should just stop reading and look at the pictures! We drove to Boston to spend time with Mama and Pop Stay on James' actual birthday, so we had a little party at our place on the 26th. Ben (aka THE GRILLMASTER) made some burgers and hot dogs for everybody and James opened up his presents. He got some awesome toys from everybody, thank you all SO MUCH!!! He seriously loves them! We went all out and got him a cardboard box. Yeah...just a box. I stuffed it with packing paper and wrapped it with gold paper, then taped it all up with packing tape so it's basically indestructable. Big spenda! Right now it usually serves as a parking lot for his sweet cars, a drum, and a chew toy. We're just happy he's easy to please. We also got him his cute little swim suit. Picture time:
  • Delicious cake, recipe courtesy of my rockin sis-in-law, Megan. (Sorry it's sideways.)

  • My family came, as well as the Schmutz family. Ken Schmutz is my Dad's cousin, and they moved with their six kids to the area nearly a year ago, which has been sooo fun. I don't have any first cousins, so having the Schmutz fam around is awesome. Love them!

  • Check out the food in this picture. We're just doing our part to keep America healthy.


  • We thought James would go to town with the cake, but he turned out to be healthier than we are. He wasn't a huge fan.

  • Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jayce came all the way from UT :-)

Being a parent has blessed our lives so much. I am a huge emotional sissy now, and I blame that on James and Ben. I married Ben in May 2007 and I had James in May 2009 and with those experiences I've become more and more like the women I used to make fun of for crying over everything. My capacity for emotion has increased and I think I feel things more deeply now. One change that caught me off guard is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Right after James was born, I was holding him and I felt a rush of love for the little person I had been carrying for nearly nine months. I felt scared for the trials he would face and I wondered how he would handle them. I felt the need to protect him and take his difficulties away from him, but I knew that I couldn't. Mostly I knew that I was going to love him, no matter what. Then it felt like my world shifted a bit and I realized that THIS was the love Heavenly Father felt for me. I just felt extremely loved. I felt really stupid, because I'd always known that he loved me, but loving James had changed the way I felt that love. Ben and I have had the most amazing year of our lives with James, and we've been blessed every single day. Happy birthday, sweet baby James. :)





Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tax Post on www.afrowhitey.com

As mentioned previously, I was interested in starting a blog on finances. Rather than dealing with all that is required in setting something up, I am piggy-backing on my brother's website, www.afrowhitey.com, which provides useful tips and tricks for home theater and computer services.

If you're poor and looking for practical advice, it may be worth adding to your reading list. My first post is on Tax Credits vs. Deductions, which is something where every U.S. citizen should probably have a general understanding. You can view it here. After describing what you should consider with your taxes, I give some strategy I used on our personal return.

Leave comments with any questions you have.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tax and Finances for those making less than six figures?

As many of you know, I work in tax. With my background and just general desire to make smart use of my money, I have acquired a decent amount of strategies that are useful for this stage of my life: being poor and young.

For those of you who read this blog, I'm curious if you would have interest in tips and advice on taxes and finances in general. There's a lot of cool things you can do while you're poor that I think a lot of people do not realize. I'm not looking to make money off a blog or anything. I just love talking about this stuff as many of you may already know. Here's some ideas that have come to mind:

-Health Savings Accounts (HSA's)
-The Earned Income Credit (EIC)
-Investing for retirement when you're poor
-Tax credits, deductions, and strategy
-Current and proposed tax legislation - whether it's right or wrong, all these bills being passed have tax implications
-How to pay off debt when you're in debt
-Budgeting
-Insurance - Health, Auto, Life, AD&D, Disability
-Anything else you might be interested in...

I was thinking I could even have some guest postings from people I know who have more experience in the field. Honestly, there's so much out there to know that unless you have a background in accounting or finance, you might not really understand, especially if you're still in college or just started in your career. The blog would not just be informational, but I would also give my opinion on what I think most people should do.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or interest. If you are interested, tell me your top 3 areas of interest in order.

-Ben

Friday, May 7, 2010

WeezerTherapy

Being the #1 fan of an 11-month old means lots of things. Here are a few:

  • I wear more food than I eat.
  • Did I wash my hair today? No. Will I wash it tomorrow? Yeah...I guess...maybe...
  • Some days you get peed on. You just do.

Would I trade it for anything? No. Never. I don't think I can emphasize NO enough. That being said, some days it's kiiiind of hard to feel like a girl. Enter, WEEZERTHERAPY. One of my all time favorite loveloveLOVE things is when Ben sings to me. The louder the better, full on belting. (Anybody remember Brown House karaoke parties?) Up until a few months ago, my favorite was "Baseball" by Ozma. It's been replaced by...THIS:



The Prettiest Girl In The Whole Wide World, by Weezer. Today I had macaroni noodles smushed into my hair by sweet baby James. I don't care though, because Ben thinks I'm the prettiest girl in the whole wide world. So suck oooon THAT, macaroni noodles. :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Flying Baby



Happy Sunday! :)




Sunday, April 18, 2010

James has a new best friend. And it is James.
He LOVES being around other babies, he'll usually start cracking up when he sees them. Babies at play group, the park, the grocery store, church...and in the bathtub. He loves his reflection in the overflow drain, it's so funny. (Overflow drain-is that even what that round thing is called? Oh well.)





Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tax Man

Alright, the only point of this post is to brag shamelessly about my husband. As of yesterday, Ben has officially passed all four sections of the CPA exam...on his first try. The CPA exam is a beast of a test, given in four sections, taken to become a Certified Public Accountant. I AM SO PROUD OF HIM! It reminded me of a conversation I had with my Aunt when Ben and I were dating. After I told her a little bit about him, she said, "So...he's a...rocker accountant...?" (followed by some laughing) Yes, yes he is. It's that rock star geekery that just makes me weak in the knees. :) Anyways, Ben is super relieved...and I am obviously really proud.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Here are two videos of the James-man. They were taken within the last two weeks, and he's already changed so much. It's nuts. He's been pulling himself up to stand on the coffee table and couches. He's also taken a huge interest in our stairs, which I don't appreciate. ;-) His favorite place to hang out would be the kitchen cabinets, he loves getting into them. Watching him grow is the most amazing thing. I know that sounds so corny, but whatever. It is. There's a reason parents get all sappy and cheesy about their kids! :) I love life.




Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The land of Snow-bama

This past weekend we received around 34 inches of snow (slightly less as you go further east into D.C.). School is canceled for the week and tonight we are expected to get another 12-18 inches. That could be over 50 inches of snow... Global Warming? Beats me, but this is crazy. Since I have been trapped in the house, I figured I would update the world with pictures.
Here I am shoveling after the first down pour of over 20" we had on Dec. 19. I thought this was pretty bad. We didn't have the ability to use one of our parking spots for about 2 weeks.
Here are some fun Christmas pictures we took in our backyard after the December snow. Notice our lovely tree acting as a backdrop.
This is a picture from the same spot last Saturday morning. The snow was just over halfway done at this point. You can't tell but its still snowing through the next few pictures.
After some much appreciated help from my neighbor Bill, we managed to get the tree to look like this. We only lost a few feet on the top, don't ask me how only the top broke.
Here's a view from the back of the tree. Look closely and you'll notice the series of rope tied to keep it upright. Hopefully that will make it last through the additional 12+ inches we'll get tonight.
Finally, some play time with James walking on the sidewalk. We still have not gotten him a snow jacket so this was the first time he went out in the snow. Needless to say, he wasn't out for very long.

I'll try and post if we get any other fun pictures after tonights snow. The snow plow piles are already over 8 feet tall, so it will be amazing to see how they handle another foot of snow fall. We've really had to re-evaluate our food storage practices which have been non-existent up until now.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Entire Box of Candles




I'm 24! January 21st was my 24th birthday. I love it. I got to use all of the candles in the box...and I blew them all out so I'm pretty sure that means I will definitely get my wish. In fact, I made two for good measure. I figured this would be the year to double it. I'm going for two wishes every year I use a full box. So...bring on 48! I had the best birthday ever, filled with Red Robin, presents, James, and Ben-Jammin. My Dad was so sweet and took us to dinner...and my sister, her boyfriend, and my brother came over the next day to make my birthday last TWO days. (Best idea ever.)


This is the chocolate satin deliciousness. And my 24 birthday candles, baby.


I got a bunch of free wrapping paper and told Ben the only stuff I didn't want to use was some creepy kitten/puppy stuff. Guess what he wrapped my presents in?


I love my husband. I love my sweet baby. And I love every birthday I get to celebrate with them. Here's to 24.