Toys Part Two: Organization & Decluttering

By on July 23, 2016

Little kids like to make messes. It’s fun for them. I have discovered that children don’t know what decluttering or organization mean. I don’t like messes. It throws off my zen and moves me towards the Dark Side. When I notice how messy an area is, I can’t unnotice this fact. Consequently, a few times a week, I become a cleaning tornado where I take 10-15 minutes to pick up random Cheerios, throw away junk mail, pick up toys, and put away clothes. Afterwards, I look around and say “This is good,” and my OCD self is again at peace. I’m not sure if Mrs. COD finds this humorous or disturbing. Both? I’m afraid to ask.

This is my problem to solve, not my kids’. Admitting I have a problem is the first step. Some organization keeps me from going crazy or at least as crazy. Me not feeling crazy = better parent. So what default have we changed to limit the problem? A couple things. Kids don’t need access to every toy in the house at all times. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids or you’re a bad parent. We Limit Maximum Disaster Potential (LMDP), perform strategic rotations, and other toys are primarily on a request access basis.

Limit Maximum Disaster Potential (LMDP)

We learned to LMDP by not having all toys available at all times, especially blocks, colors, or any other items where there are dozens or hundreds of pieces to pick up.

Toy Rotation

Some donated toys from family and friends have remained securely packed away in our basement. We have given the boys some of these toys for birthday and Christmas presents.  Of course, we wrap them up and they still get a boatload of new gifts from everyone despite our pleas. Then we rotate old items back to the basement for our youngest or donate them to a charity.

Request Access

Not all toys are within toddler reach. Some loud annoying toys, colors, markers, toys with small pieces, pianos, etc. are out of sight, out of mind. There are safety concerns with some of these because of the baby. We also want him to learn to ask for things and not have instant access to everything. It also works to Limit Maximum Disaster Potential.

How do you manage your toy landfills? How many toys are too many toys? What do you do with old toys?

Taking A Risk And Dealing With Self-Doubt

By on July 19, 2016

300 and counting. About five times a day. That’s approximately how many times I have already questioned my sanity in deciding to stay home this next school year with my kids. I hate these doubts, but taking a risk naturally brings some doubt to mind. Am I doing the right thing? What if this is a mistake?


“He likes the box more than the toys.”

By on July 16, 2016

I have no shame admitting we have bought very few new toys for our kids. As a matter of fact, I take great pride admitting it. Our kids have plenty of toys they enjoy; still too many despite efforts to curb the inflow of presents into our home.

I get it. I too have found myself in the bowels of the toy section in Walmart looking at all the cool stuff my kids would love (and I would like to play with). (more…)

Marriage money talks…how well do you know your partner?

By on July 11, 2016

Mr. COD and I celebrated our sixth anniversary last month. More in love than ever, we’re overflowing with thankfulness. Reaching that milestone causes pondering…what has worked, what hasn’t, and how we’re moving forward. (more…)

Save: Don’t sacrifice, look for solutions.

By on June 28, 2016

So a little over five years ago I cut the cord. I decided ESPN, the History channel (which no longer showed history), and dozens of unwatched channels could go. Our cord was actually a dish provider running us $60+ per month. However, it was the middle of the NFL season and the Walking Dead had just premiered on A&E and I likey me some zombies and Green Bay Packers. So it was going to pinch a little, but I wanted to save some money.

green bay packer zombies


Road Less Traveled Challenge: COD and Our Next Life

By on June 14, 2016

The Road Less Traveled Challenge: How are we doing early retirement our own way?

cod BUS

The friendly folks over at Our Next Life have issued a Road Less Traveled challenge, a call to others in pursuit of FIRE (financial independence and retiring early). They’ve asked people to share what they’re doing that’s similar to other FIRE seekers, and more importantly, how they’re unique in their plans and methods. Many early-retirement peeps are doing a lot of the same things (saving at a high rate, investing in a certain way, using the 4% rule and similar calculations), but since early-retirement requires some level of “go your own way” thinking and different mindsets from the general population, the ONL guys are asking for our stories. How are we designing our own lives? How are we different from the others in the FIRE community? We’re excited to join the conversation! Here’s how we’re diverging from the traditional path: (more…)

Limits And Why They’re Good For You

By on June 10, 2016

Limits. As we all know, they are often painted in a negative context:

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” –-Mary Kay Ash

“There’s no limit to what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it!” –almost every single high school commencement speech every spring

“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.” –Tony Robbins

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” –Michael Phelps

photo race crowd

There is no shortage of inspirational quotes to be found about not letting limits run your life. It’s great to unleash the power of positive thinking in achieving goals. Heck, I’m working on that as I aim to build this blog and a freelance career. (more…)

Cell Phone: Pay for what you use & save

By on June 3, 2016

So you only paid a penny for a $600 cell phone and for 80 bucks a month you have unlimited data, texting, minutes, and a lifetime supply of oxygen included for FREE! WOW! That’s a great deal!?

For many people you could spend less than $20 per month per phone, if you changed a few of your defaults by utilizing wifi options. The switch from major cell providers was easier for us once we realized how to utilize the FORCE (wifi) and that we could effectively and easily manage our data consumption, texts, and phone minutes.


My Last Work Week

By on June 1, 2016

My last work week was amazing. Busy. Encouraging. Emotional. Bittersweet. I sit here at the end of the day, the last day I went to my work. (Okay, so I’m finishing the writing of this post about a week later. No apologies…I’m semi-retired and I’ve been loving the time with my boys already!) It feels almost just like any other day. As a teacher, I’m used to the May feeling, the “school’s out for summer!” feeling. Every year, it’s the most incredible sense of freedom, to know that I’ve finally reached the END of something. Educators are lucky in that way–we get beginnings and endings, unlike people in so many other professions that just trod on and on and on with no respite. Today, I’m done, but not just for the summer. For the next three YEARS! (more…)

Dollar Shave Club: Save a Little Money

By on May 21, 2016

I use a razor every day to shave more than just my face. As they say I’m “follically challenged” and have been for over half my life. So good razors are important to me, but I also like to get the last bit of life out of my razors because they are so damn expensive. I was very excited when the triple blades came out. What an improvement over the dual blades. Smooooooth. As you may or may not know there are now several shave clubs to join which save a lot of $$$ and you can use fresh blades more often without feeling guilty for moving on to a new $4 blade.