Friday, November 19, 2021

Financial advice: From debt free family of 16

 We were asked to give a talk to about 20 couples on finances. My husband and I don't  have a program or system we invented. We just had the desire to be open to THE WILL OF GOD and to sacrifice everything we possibly could to make that happen. 

So I have been searching a lot on line to see other peoples programs so maybe I can share their advice to better help families meet their financial goals. 

This was a helpful site call Six dollar family...

Bible money matter is another site with lots of information. 

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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Day one - losing weight again...


10 years ago, when I was 43, and the last baby I gave birth to was 17 months old, I worked incredibly hard to lose weight. I was 163lb.  Mainly doing the 17-day diet and working out five days a week. I lost about 36lbs. It was hard but I felt great mentally and physically. I bought a new wardrobe and got into great eating habits, I could even cheat about once a week.


Well, 21 months ago I weighed 130 lbs. and wore a size 6. With older age, menopause, and covid restrictions, I now weigh 160 lbs. and wear a size 14. As a hugging extrovert, the pandemic really affected me. The closing of gyms and 90% of my activities left me moping on the couch and causing lots of stress. So, the weight came on and on, and I kept stress eating more and more.


In the past I would just do a 17-day cleansing and get back on track. Lately I would try, and try, maybe lasting a couple days, I would lose a few pounds, and then gain it all back again. I love food, all food, not just salty, but sweet too. ALL THE THINGS…


I have tried different diets; keto, carnivore, low carb, intermittent fasting, but none have lasted with my weak self-control. I have asked people for help and advice, trying new things, and getting great suggestions. Nothing really worked significantly.


Each month I would try and try again. Working out each day, getting back to the gym, and trying to eat better. But could never have the motivation I had years ago. Then it dawned on me…I used to do the 17-day diet with others and publicly share my successes and failures. I would post my weight and my food daily.  Maybe having accountability was all I needed…


So Here I Go.

August 1, 2021

Weighed 159 lbs

Ate three turkey burgers and some pickles

Lots of artichoke Salad

(Cheated-licking the icing on birthday cake)

August 2021- 159 lbs
November 2019- 130 lbs

Thy Will Be Done!!! +JMJ+

Sunday, June 20, 2021

This is me


This is me

I love:

My God

My husband

My kids

My family

My friends

My parish

My town

I am a bad Christian, wife, mother, sister, friend, and neighbor

I love to serve my God, my husband, my kids, my family, my friends,

my parish, and my town

I am a bad housekeeper & cook, and I have way too much clutter.

I love mornings and I am a grouch in the evenings

I am a sinner

I have a strong personality

Not everyone enjoys my temperament

I make lots of mistakes,

but I mean well

I have a big mouth,

but I usually try to use it for good

I mean well,

but sometimes I am misunderstood

I am bold

I am loud

I am pushy

I am obnoxious

I love, love, people

I love meeting new people

I love connecting people

I love helping people

I love holding babies

I am sure I am lots of other things that

people don’t like,

but I am trying my best to be

the person God made me to be.

This is me, the good, the bad, and the ugly.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

How to save money from a Debt-free family of 16


How to save money from a Debt-free family of 16


Let me share what I call my S.A.M. hack. Why SAM? Well, it has been my nickname since I was twelve weeks old. My four older brothers thought I looked like a boy, and since my brothers could do no wrong in my eyes, it stuck. Unfortunately, my beautiful birth name Cecilia Ann did not. I tried to make up for that by naming my tenth child, the fifth girl, Cecilia. Even when I try to be a mature catholic woman and write Cecilia on my name tag on events, those who know me say, “nice try! You are a SAM through and through!”


I could go on and on about S.A.M. Hacks. Let me give you an idea of where I am going with this. With my hacks, I can promise you if you follow some of them, you will save money. Maybe not millions, but it all starts with baby steps.



Let us start with S. S is for words like save, simplify, self-control, sales, sacrifice, suffer, and then some more.


“A” stands for things like asking for help, being assertive, appreciating, and abundance. These are tactics I use daily in my life.


The last letter is M. “M” is a good one, make a plan, minimize, make do, motivate, meditate, and Mother Mary.


I have used these tricks to help my husband and I live debt-free, pay off our house, and plan to retire early.


Some may only be able to pick one. I would suggest using what works for your family and your state in life.

For example, “S” for save. If you have a bad habit like going through the drive thru every Tuesday after soccer practice, remember to pack snacks. Boom! Ten dollars saved per week. If you have kids like mine who go to wash their hands in the kitchen sink and grab the roll of paper towels like they are streamers at a birthday party, then stop buying them or hide them until they learn how to use them sparingly. We have a box of rags under the sink. They are used daily…reminder to self…” don’t cry over spilt milk!” Check your online credit cards for monthly payments. You may be paying for a subscription or membership you did not realize you were still paying monthly fees, or you no longer need.

How about ”A”, asking for help? My superpower is being a spoiled brat. Just ask my eight older siblings. Or am I just persistent, a nag, annoying, stubborn, tenacious, and needy? Oh yes, I am all those things. God bless my dear husband and friends. Asking for help is not a dreadful thing. As I have said often, asking for help is giving another person the grace of service. I used to be very much in need of help, socks to match, kids to be read to, milk needed at the grocery store, someone to drive my kids, the list can go on and on. Now that I am     not pregnant and nursing, ALL.THE.TIME. I do not need as much help. It is my turn to offer to help, match some socks, read to others, grab some milk at the store, and drive other kids. It is my pleasure. 

I tell my kids you are not spoiled if you appreciate. Another a word I love. Writing a thank you note, texting a photo of you using the item given, or just a call to say, “hey, thanks again for picking that up for me!” Remember the leper who came back to thank Jesus. Were there not nine others??? Do not be the nine.  Again, these suggestions do not work for everyone.

 My go to is what is best for your family. So, when I say A is for Abundance I mean buying extra. This only works if you have a big freezer, a spot in your house for a gift basket or closet or can handle extra junk in your house and the chaos it may cause in your mind. You know who you are. I have a go to cabinet with baskets labeled. Frames, candles, girl, boy, baby, grandchildren on them. When I find a good deal, or I hit the after-holiday clearance bin I fill up with the stuff I know I will use. White fancy candles are great for a friend's birthday, anything with unicorns is perfect for my granddaughters, a baby bib or blanket are perfect when you are delivering a meal to a new momma, so I grab some when they are on a super sale. At the end of the year, I donate a basket with all the extras. Food, there was a time when I could not keep up with all the food my kids ate. Then something sad happened, my three college boys moved out and leftovers were not eaten, I cooked too much for meals, so my husband and I tried to scale back for the six small eaters at home. We now adopted about five widowers that get little packages weekly. I cannot stand to waste anything, so this helps me from ever throwing out food.


Make a plan is essential for any family, with food, life, or just plain get through the day. I hope I am not the only crazy mom who has showed up at the doctor and the receptionist says, “your appointment is tomorrow, not today.”  Minimize, even my clutter free friends find it necessary to minimize, I am so bad at this because I like my junk, but I still fine time to clear out when I can.  (like having guests over) My mommy taught me the pure skill of making do or offer it up as some of us say. Do not like your sneakers, make do until your birthday.  Want a new car? Make do with this one until it is unfixable.  How about getting motivated? This may be part of your money spending plan. Make a note or sign or something that says when we save $400, we can put a down payment on that vacation, or that fun day trip. I have learned the hard way about missing my time to meditate. There is a saying, “if your too busy to pray than pray longer.” A priest friend of mine says, “don’t tell me you forgot to pray today, did you forget to eat today?” Especially mommas need some quiet time. I would stick my babies in the bathtub and say the rosary or read while sitting next the them while they were content while splashing around. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t call on Mother Mary for her intercession and example. Our Lady Undoes of Knots is my new go to. She does not miss a beat when I am in a predicament

I hope you find a nugget or two in this little SAM hack. I know it is hard but as Catholic Mommas we can use this suffering to bring our souls and the souls of our family to heaven. So, offer it up!                                                                                                                                                                        

+JMJ+ Thy will be done!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021



Cell Phone Rules 

Our kids get to buy a cell phone at 15. They start with a dumb phone then if they behave they get a smartphone since school and maps are important uses for a phone. 

1. Phone Number: Do not give your phone number to anyone stranger.

2. Caller ID: Do not answer any calls or reply to any texts unless you know who it is (Caller ID).

Always answer when Mom or Dad call.

3. Extras: No downloads ("Get It Now") or joining websites with an email.

4. At Night: Phone MUST be turned off by 10pm each evening and left in mom and dad’s room for charging. It stays there till the next morning after school and/or chores are done.

5. Pictures: Do not send inappropriate pictures! If you receive any pictures from friends or anyone that make you uncomfortable, tell Mom or Dad about it.

6. At School: Phone must be turned in. Phone cannot be used at school during school hours unless you have your teacher's approval first.

7. Off Limits: No cell phone till your homework and jobs are done. No phone during family times (dinner, family night, or when company is over).

8. Contact List: You can only call or text those who are on your contact list.

9. Inspection: Mom & Dad can request to inspect your phone at any time.

10. Time Out: Remember this is our phone...even though you paid for it and pay for the service. If any of the above rules are broken, or you have a bad attitude, Mom or Dad may put the phone on "time-out" for as long as we feel it is necessary.


11. NO PHONE UPSTAIRS…if you get caught 30 days phone jail.


SIGN HERE: _________________________________________

Sam +JMJ+ Thy Will Be Done!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

My Husband is Amazing

My husband Rob is pretty amazing! Besides putting up with me all these years he has accomplished many financial and physical goals! I heard from a radio show (pre podcast days) that it is important to write down your spouse's positive qualities, so when they drive you crazy you can read it; over and over, and over again!!!

1964: Rob born

1978 age 13: First 10 miler

1984 age 19: Met Me (yes I was 16)

1985 age 20: 10k (first and only race with ME-I was 17)

1989 age 24: Rob married Me-I was 21 

1990 age 25: Our first baby was born

2003 age 39: First Marathon (just after 9th baby was born)

2007 age 42: First Iron Man (just after 11th baby)

2008 age 43: First 50K

2011 age 47: First 50 Miler

2012 age 48: Paid off our home (after baby #13)

2017 age 52: Ran Boston Marathon (after baby #14)

2018 age 53: First 100 miler

2020 age 55: Wrote first book: A Catholic Guide to Spending Less and Living More

2022 age 57: Plans on retiring


Thursday, January 28, 2021

One of those days...

 Some days I go to bed and look over my day and wonder if I really did all that...

4:45- wake up    

5:00- go to gym   

6:30- go to mass  

7:00- get son ready for school           

8:00-tea and devotional time   

9:30- parish staff meeting             

10:30- pick up granddaughter           

10:45- pick up free school lunches  

11:00- homeschool 

1:00- stop by the thrift store on the way to carpool pickup    

2:20- pick up carpool                   

3:15- get home and unload                    

4:00- pick up free couches              

5:30- check out new car purchase     

6:15- eat dinner    

7:00- (date night) parish unbound talk 

8:30- home and clean and rearrange furniture                

9:30- hot bath and popcorn😍         

10:00- bed and relax

Thy Will Be Done +JMJ+