MSfit Momma’s mini MS bio

Walk MS is coming up in April. I updated my “Why I Participate” section on my website there and just thought I would share it here. I am a strong supporter of MS Fundraising efforts. Let’s find a cure, already!¬† ūüôā

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/talkiewalkiemsfits15

Why I Participate:

I still remember that day so vividly. It was May 2012 and I was sitting in the lunchroom at work and we were discussing that Jack Osbourne had just been diagnosed with MS. It was so sad for him. He was so young.¬† He’d no doubt end up in a wheelchair some day. I didn’t know anything about MS except Montel also had it and now Jack and he was basically my age.¬†

Two short months later in July, I was at work training some reps from our out of state location and I kept tripping on my foot. It was weird but I thought I must be walking too fast.¬† That was a Thursday.¬† Friday, my left leg was really heavy and it was hard to walk.¬† Saturday, I went to Urgent Care because as I climbed out of bed that morning, I face planted on the floor because my whole lower left side was numb and I couldn’t feel my leg. I assumed I must have pulled a muscle.¬† By Sunday night I was in the hospital and received the news that I had 6 lesions in my brain and I had Multiple Sclerosis.¬† I was told I was lucky that I only had 6 but where they were located in my brain was troublesome.¬† My largest lesion sat directly where my brain communicates with my legs regarding walking. My second largest¬† impacts my cognition.¬† When I left the hospital four days later I was on a walker. The doctors weren’t sure how much of my leg strength I would recover. I was in physical therapy for 3 months learning how to walk again. I now walk with a slight limp and often with the aid of a cane or walker. You best believe I RAWK THAT WALKER too.

This will be the 3rd year we participate in the MS Walk. My kids call it the Orange Parade. Not only have I learned to walk again but I have learned to live with a disease that battles me every day. Not every day is good; some are definitely harder than others but I am still here.  Each step we take brings us closer to a world free of MS.

About MS

Millions of people are affected by MS and the challenges of living with its unpredictable symptoms. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and it stops people from moving. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, a disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS.

Please support me!

Your gift helps provide local programs and fund cutting-edge research. Your donation puts us closer to realizing our promise to STOP MS in its tracks, RESTORE lost function and END MS forever. Ending MS means no one will receive an MS diagnosis again. Every step matters.  Every dollar counts.  Every person makes a difference!

MSfit Momma Fake it til ya Make it!

Fashion Friday Tip:
When lacking confidence,  wear red lipstick!

In my experience it is hard to fake confidence in red lipstick. If you can pretend to be confident, pretty soon you will fill that way! Even if its only for a few minutes or hours.

MS depression is very dark. Things are hard right now and while I am trying to stay positive,  its hard to wear a smile every day. I also know how easily it is for me to be sucked into the vortex of depression, so sometimes even if its only for an hour it can help change my day.

Your magic lipstick doesn’t have to be red, but I challenge you to find something out of your normal make up routine and RAWK IT! Blue Mascara, sparkle eyeliner, neon green nail polish . I challenge you to change one teeny tiny addition to your normal color palette. Let me know if it made you feel any different.

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MSfit Momma plans new date nights!

I was messing around on Facebook and noticed the last place I checked in was 3 weeks ago on a date night with the hubby.

We had went to a hockey game because he won tickets from work.  After the game, we went to this 5 star steak house for appetizers because they were running a promo for $4 appetizers after the game.  It was fun and was at a place we typically would have to reserve going to for an anniversary & saving up because it was FANCY! (We were way under dressed in our jeans and sweatshirts from the game.)

The memory got me thinking of how we could afford to have more adventures like that to places we couldn’t typically afford or places we might think to go or haven’t even heard of.

I decided that every time we get a $5 bill, we will stick it in a jar for Date Nights and then when it’s time to pick a date, we will go on Living Social or Groupon and pick something fun to do that might take us out of our comfort zone.¬† They have so many fun things on those sights: comedy clubs, whale watching, restaurants. I think it could be a really fun!¬† Adding $5 to the jar shouldn’t be too noticeable either and should add up pretty easy.

I really wish I had thought of this idea yesterday before I spent $5 on Lotto scratchers and LOST that $5!  Lesson learned.

MSfit Momma Meal Plan #3

So I am following this 28 Day Detox but the cost of Organic is killing my food budget.¬† I will be doing some serious price comparison on Weds when the Ads come to see where I can stretch my pennies the most.¬† They sent a bunch of meal ideas that you could stick with or create your own.¬† Since I spent so much last week, I hit my pantry and freezer to make similar healthy meals but from what I already have.¬† I routinely look through my freezer and pantry to stretch our food budget when I menu plan but If I can stretch that last weeks $89 to cover this week also, I think I will be less discouraged about eating better. It wasn’t all spend on food per say.¬† We spent $11 on a jug of Olive Oil. We spent $6 on Almond Butter.¬† IE- things that we will use to cover more than one meal but that $89 still really hurt my grocery paying brain.¬† I was going to go to the local farmers market today too to see their prices on organic food but it’s rainy so I stayed in. So anyways here is this weeks Healthy Eating Plan!

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Who is MSfit Momma?

I am a bored housewife.

Well not really. Bored is not the right word. Housewife also isn’t really the right word.

I have a husband that works incredibly hard at a job with long hours and lots of complaining people.¬† He does it because that is our option. I can no longer work. It is whats best for my health. I am still waiting to see a Judge for my disability hearing. It’s still months away (and we’ve already been waiting over a year.) We constantly teeter on the edge of Barely Having Enough Money or Playing Catching Up From Last Month. We are stuck in the Hamster Wheel of life. There is no other Hamster I’d rather be stuck with though. 13 years and counting.

I am a Stay at Home Mom now. I have two kids and they have crazy schedules. Like most parents, Moms or Dads or Both, I am their taxi service, homework supervisor, and appointment setter and deliverer for school and church. My 9-5 is to make sure Ish gets handled!

I have Multiple Sclerosis. I am a MSfit and proud of it.¬† I embrace it because it is the cards I have been dealt.¬† I don’t look at it as a negative. I love to raise awareness and fund raise.¬† It zaps my energy everyday. Everyday, I have to push myself past my limits because that is life and sometimes you gotta just suck it up and keep moving forward.

I had a blog before when I was first diagnosed with MS two and a half years ago. It was really just to keep my large, nationwide family informed of my progress.  Over time though, it became a negative, dark blog (It was a brutally honest blog) but I stopped writing because it was not what I wanted to be sharing. It is overwhelming to be diagnosed with an illness and I think I needed a  year or so to really focus on REFOCUSING my though process.

A few days ago I decided to start blogging again but this time with information to share.¬† I always make jokes like “Let’s thank MS for getting us to the front of the line” or “High five to MS that I saved thirty bucks on our groceries.” I really do want to Thank MS for forcing me how to slow down somewhat.¬† MS forced me to learn how to budget and coupon.¬† Even when we get in a different money situation, I don’t see myself stopping doing that (hello, free money!) I don’t know that everything I post will be sugar and spice but it will be honest.¬† I plan to share with you silly stories, meal plans, money ideas, and MS education.¬† It doesn’t matter if you have MS or not, my topics are relatable to life.

With MS, I suffer from Brain Fog (obvious as it sounds: confusion, memory loss, etc) and Brian Cog. It is getting harder and harder for me to find the right word, to use it correctly in a sentence.¬† I hope writing with help strengthen my brain again. I apologize now if something slips through the cracks. I do proof read before posting but it might not look like it.¬† I also tend to use the same words because my vocabulary is shrinking.¬† Prepare yourselves for lots of “Awesome” and “Amazing”, Not my first choice but I’m using what I’ve got to work with. I suffer with more issues from my MS and I know they will come up in my posts. If you have questions, you can ask. I tend to be an open book.

“She believed she could, so she did!”¬† MSfit Momma over and out!

MSfit Momma tackles organizing the kid’s room 2 days before vacation is over.

As fast as I clean, my kids come in and mess it up.¬† They were incredibly blessed at Christmas time plus my daughters birthday was mid-November so I had waited to organize and straighten up toys they don’t play with until the beginning of Christmas Break but hey, at least it’s technically completed before they’re back in school. High five to me!

I get really overwhelmed by projects like this.  I have to wait until my energy is up because I know it will take a large part of the day and wipe me out for the rest of the day (if not a few days after, depending what it was that I did.)

This morning, I went into their room, said a prayer and plopped down to get started with a toy holder that pretty much holds whatever we can shove in there.¬† I turned it in to a game with my “helpers”.¬† My daughter looked for food items, while my son looked for blocks.¬† Then they put them in their temporary bucket homes.¬† I threw miscellaneous items into a third carton to go through after my helpers thought it wasn’t such a fun game anymore. That way I could trash stuff or donate stuff without their opinions or promises to play with it.¬† 20150103_10244620150103_104304

I kept having an obvious bucket (barbies, cars, dinos, blocks) a question bucket and then a trash bucket. If it was something to donate, I threw it in a Book donation box or a Thrift Store donation box.¬† I kept reworking the piles/boxes smaller until I could find a spot for something in some organized fashion.¬† I don’t expect this to last long but at least for now everything is categorized in some way that makes sense to me.20150103_11151920150103_11473420150103_114745¬†¬†¬†¬† 20150103_132851 20150103_133220¬† 20150103_15111320150103_151059

Also by happy accident, I found a big box of hand me downs that my hubs had helpfully put in the top of the closet. They will fit my son perfectly right now! Score!

What do you do to keep things organized, especially with kids? I’m always grateful for suggestions!

MSfit Momma’s Average Joe’s New Years Money Tips

It’s New Years Day and littered all over the internet are articles of ordinary people paying off $5000, $10,000,or $20,000 and becoming debt free and riding off happy into the sunset!

I hate those articles!

I¬† don’t think they are practical.¬† I’m happy for those people but I think the average person can’t follow their tips.

As I mentioned before I stretch our food budget by meal planning  https://wordpress.com/post/81700486/8/ .  I stock up on meats at low prices and leave in our freezer. I make sure our pantry is stocked.  I shop clearance shelves first. I use shopping apps to earn rebates or discounts. ( I will do a different blog on that with specifics this week.)

What if you have cut everything you can? We are trapped in a Cable Contract that¬†will cost us more to break, than¬†just pay our bill for then next 3 months (We have already downgraded to the lowest package cost.)¬† Once our contract is up, we are switching to Netflix.¬† $8 a month for a variety of TV shows and movies via internet (even with the cost of upgraded internet we will be paying less than half of our current cable bill).¬† My husband will miss Sports but someone just told me that you can hook a cable from your laptop to the TV and stream the games to the TV to watch.¬† If that doesn’t work, I think my husband will just have to figure out other places to catch the games he wants to see.¬† We already can’t watch the Dodgers on¬†Cable unless¬†we switch to a particular cable carrier.

We have an additional problem of only having one income while we wait for me to have a Disability Hearing next summer¬†to see if the State of California, says I am disabled enough to earn my Disability Payments.¬† It’s a lot of pressure on my husband to be the sole bread earner.¬† When you are already stressed about making ends meet, it can be incredibly stressful.¬† Money stress is the #1 cause of divorce in the United States.

Here are some tips, I think anyone can follow regardless of how much money you have coming in. They are not money savings tips as much as laying the foundation to start taking control of your debt and stretching your pennies.

-Write it down. I use Excel and list all of our bills as they come in the mail monthly. I have a tab for all 12 months.¬† I always have my bills mailed because I note when I paid something or if I made a partial payment directly on the statement.¬† It helps me see it and remember. (This MSfit’s memory isn’t that good)¬†I also have a running total at the bottom of my sheet¬†that tells me how much money we need that month. If we are short money, I highlight in Excel¬†in blue on my sheet and as extra money comes in, I know I need to pay it as soon as I can.

-It is important to communicate with your spouse or¬†family/kids (if they are old enough to be apart of the conversation)¬†about your money budget.¬† My husband gets paid twice a month so we discuss twice a month (minimum) where¬†our money is going. If we know he is hitting a bonus that month, we decide together: Are we applying it towards a Credit Card to pay down our balance? Are we getting new tires?¬†Do we need it to help¬†cover our bills that month?¬† These conversations are not always easy but it helps us in the long run and no one can say they didn’t know what is going on.

-I am not a saver. I admit it. It would make my life easier¬†if I was. Knowing I am not, I opened an account with my Momma at her Credit Union. I didn’t get checks or a debit card.¬† I have just been giving her cash and she makes the deposit.¬†We have¬†a savings¬†goal. Once we hit it, we will start a new savings account for a Hawaiian Vacation using this system.¬† We are not focused on Hawaii right now.¬† As the hubs pointed out, “Those islands aren’t going anywhere.”

-Lastly celebrate the small wins. Paid all your bills on time this month? Make your favorite dinner. Made an extra payment on your credit card? Paint your nails that bright purple so every time you look down, you remember that you did it.¬†¬† Knock out one of your 5 credit cards? Rent a movie, eat some fancy popcorn and drink some cheap bubbly.I think it’s so important to have a “Here¬†& Now” goal like setting up a savings account or paying off a credit card. But just as important is an “Once we are Done” goal like Saving for Hawaii. It makes all the little repetitive steps seem worth it.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a financial expert. I don’t know how to balance my check book.¬† There have been times I have¬†overdrawn my account. These are things I have had to learn and implement in my life and that have worked for me to slowly chip away at our debt.

MSfit Momma Menu Plan #1

I have adopted the habit of Menu Planning our meals on Sunday nights.¬† I do it for a few reasons.¬† I can stretch our Grocery Budget if I know what I’m making.¬† I also go to the grocery store and just stick to the list (for the most part. I am guilty of adding things if there is a good sale or I can get a rebate on an item from one of the many shopping apps I use.) It also helps us eat through our fridge and pantry so I waste (hopefully) less food.

It also really helps me not come home and panic about what to make for dinner.¬†¬† My kids have different school schedules and when they are in school, we pretty much drop one off and pick up the other and drop one off, etc.¬† It’s a ton of Mom-Taxi Service during the school year.¬† My husband comes home for lunch at dinner time and it helps me have dinner for him ready to eat if I know what I’m making.

I used to plan a month at at time but I feel like we eat the same things all the time.  In fairness, I am super picky though and the foods I like, I really LIKE.  Haha.

I also really don’t like leftovers so when I plan, I try and make 2 different meals out of one thing.¬† Example: Ground Beef: Tacos one night and Lasagna another. Chicken: Chicken and Chicken Salad Sandwiches later in the week,¬† This also saves me prep time because I can brown a pound or two at the same time.

I also make sure I do a crock-pot meal on Monday’s to get back into the flow of the week and one Thursday, because I’m pretty exhausted by then.¬† This weeks menu doesn’t reflect that since the kids are still on Winter Break from school.

Today’s meal was supposed to be Turkey Taquitos to use the last of the Turkey from Christmas but I am soooo turkey’ed out. So while I was at Target today, I noticed they had seasoned Chicken Cutlets on Special for $3 off (making it $5) and I had a box of wild rice in my pantry. It’s ok if you change it up if necessary.¬† It’s a PLAN, it’s not binding.

These are pictures of the 2 planners I have. Both are you can write on/wipe off and magnetic.I stick them to the side of the fridge.20141228_195014 20141228_195002

This is my menu plan for this week:20141228_200918

Also just because it’s scheduled on a particular day, doesn’t mean we will 100% eat it that day.

Do you menu plan? Do you have an easy go to recipe for when the weeks are just too crazy?

MSfit Momma makes a Ta Da List!

Hello and Welcome to MSfit Momma! I’m a momma with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).¬† I am Married and have a 5 and 3-1/2 year old. I have been diagnosed with MS for about 2-1/2 years now. Since my life suddenly changed, I have been¬† forced to figure out new ways of doing things.¬† I have issues walking and thinking.¬† In the Summer, I often have to use a mobility device because my left leg goes on strike and doesn’t work.¬† I have had to find ways to stretch our pennies, stretch our food and stretch my sanity.¬† That last one is part of where this blog comes in. I need more Adult interaction.¬† It’s hard to be with my kids 24/7.¬† I love that I am home with them but sometimes I just want to talk about adult topics.

I have never been a List Maker. Writing out Lists panics me. The thought of writing things out is so overwhelming. What if you forget to put something on the list??¬† It was never an issue before MS because I could just remember things…Birthdays, groceries, things that needed to be done, phone calls that needed to be made.¬† It was never a problem.¬† Now it’s a huge problem because my brain plays tricks on me.¬† Just thinking about something, sometimes gets translated to that I took care of it and I don’t know the difference until it comes up later (often in the form of a Past Due Notice). ¬† I just want to share some ideas I’ve come up with that have helped me become more organized. Hopefully a tip here and there will help you too!

1) If the thought of WRITING things down overwhelms you enlist help.  My husband writes out most of our lists for me. We have Family Planning Meetings about once a week.  We have a conversation after the kids are asleep and he writes down the main things that need to get done that week.  (Birthday gift for Grandma, getting our son to his class because I have a doctors appt, etc.)  I also have been known to call my best friends or sister to write lists for me over the phone.

2) Keep a notepad and pen in the kitchen and one set in the bathroom.  As you use the last of the milk, add it to the list in the kitchen. Out of shampoo? Add it to the list in the bathroom.  Grab the lists on your way to the store.  (I put them in my coupon binder so I can try save money at the store and match them up with coupons and sales.)

3) When we first moved in to the house we live in now, I had my husband scribble out cleaning supplies for each area of the house (Bathroom, Kitchen and Laundry Area) I also read this list to jog my memory before going shopping to make sure we don’t miss something we forgot to add to the lists.

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4) If all else fails, TEXT something you suddenly remember to someone.¬† I send texts all the time to my BFF or Mom that say odd things like, “String Cheese”, followed immediately by a second text that read “Ignore that”.¬† There have been many apps suggested to me by friends to help write lists but none have really worked.¬† If I text it, I can reference it later since I sent it.

5) Keep a calendar.¬† We have a calendar in our bedroom, one in the Man Cave and one I carry in my purse. I update them all on the first of the month with whatever has been scheduled that month already.¬† We have busy schedules and something is bound to slip through the cracks but automatically updating on the first works for us.¬† The calendar in the Man Cave is also helpful to my husband.¬† He can look at what our week or month looks like. Sometimes I forget to tell him I scheduled something or sometimes it doesn’t occur to me to tell him about something. This helps us communicate without having a conversation sometimes.¬† If something gets added, I go around and update all 3 calendars at once.

6) Lastly, I have a cleaning schedule that I try really hard to adhere too.¬† It doesn’t always happen because there are days I’m too tired/lazy/hurting to care if the carpets get vacuumed but it’s nice to have a schedule to reference.¬† This makes housework feel less overwhelming to me. Also things that are less important to me like dusting every week, my husband takes care of on his day off.¬† (I do dust but it’s not weekly.) 20141227_151250

See I made a Ta Da!! list of 6 things you can try to do in your house to help you keep your house running slightly smoother! What are somethings that you do around your house to keep it more organized?