Monday, April 16, 2012

Death & Taxes

I followed an example on Pinterest to organize our household bills a few months ago and love it!! So, when I was doing our taxes this year, I realized that the 3+ days of work it takes me to gather and organize all our data could be cut down if I used a similar system. (I itemize everything I can, so I have lots to gather.)

First... the 3 ring binder. A 2" binder works for us. (I'm falling in love with binders again, can you tell? And I also love my labeler.) :)

I divided the notebook into the sections of the tax form (and Turbo Tax). The main sections are Income and Deductions. I added the front section "Return Copies" for a place to keep the printed copies of the return until I'm done and ready to pack it away. When I came across a sub-section that was too big to keep in the main divider, I created a sub-section. Below, Charity is a sub-section of Deductions, and I have a sub-category after Charity for an organization that I have donations and travel to track.

As I went through the information that I needed to gather, I created lists of the items and made a coversheet for each section. Here is the Itemized Deductions cover sheet:
As statements and paperwork comes in during the year, I now hole punch it, put it in the right section, and check it off. The items above with lines are things I have to pull from our records.

Once I had all my notes together and data pulled from different places, I made a list for the front of the notebook with what items need to be pulled and where I get them from. This list will make it much easier to zip through and print off what I need, add it to the sections, and then I'll be ready to run through Turbo Tax with all the info in one place!

Half the battle each year was remembering how I pulled certain information and what was the easiest way to record it. This has taken away the need to "re-invent the wheel" each year, and I can tweak the process as we go.

It also provides me with a neat bundle using round head fasteners that I file away once the money has been deposited into my account:

Have you tried something similar? Any tweaks to what I've done that might be easier? Please share below!

Blessings in your Adventure,

PS - The "Death" part of the post title was what it felt like doing our taxes Before. :) I'm not saying I'll rejoice about Taxes, but it sure will be easier!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Singing Beagles

This cracks me up every time. It happened pretty much daily when Hope was with us, but it was very hard to get on camera as they would stop whenever someone came near. This time I happened to already be in the room when they started. :)

Jasmine is on the red couch
Hope is standing (bouncing) on the white couch
Sophie is up on the back of the white couch.

Blessings in your Adventure,


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We can help

Shared from Susanna Musser's blog, The Blessing of Verity. Please share: Share

NOTE:  The following blog post was copied with permission from Shelley Bedford, and you are invited to help spread it far and wide!  Don’t miss Shelley’s brilliant idea near the end under the heading, “Here’s the challenge……”
In this blog post, I shared about the appalling conditions in one particular orphanage in Pleven, Bulgaria. The update on the findings of the medical team were shared here while I was in Bulgaria. The medical team is actively working to bring the children in groups of 3 to the hospital and to date, over $31,000 has been raised to cover medical expenses for the children through generous donations. I will continue to update on the medical efforts and the progress of the children as reports are provided to us.
Now, we are adding to our efforts for the children in Pleven to work to ensure that the ENTIRE ORPHANAGE has what it needs to meet the needs of the children that live there. The findings of the Child Protection Agency were that the most basic of things are needed in mass quantities at the orphanage….food, diapers, basic care items and STAFF to hold the children, feed the children and ensure that their basic needs and basic medical needs are met.
These are the specific needs that the Bulgarian government have asked us to address at this particular orphanage: 1.) food and formula so that the children can be properly fed 2.) diapers, so that the children can be changed more than once a day 3.) Personnel to work in the orphanage to be “extra hands” to hold the children, meet their basic needs and also interact with them to help their development.
They’ve also asked for accountability and oversight of how these needs are being met.
One Heart Bulgaria is a licensed non-profit in the US and also a licensed NGO in Bulgaria. We will be partnering with them to get the needed supplies to the orphanage. One Heart Bulgaria is well established in their work in orphanages in Bulgaria. They have an in country team that will be the “boots on the ground” to help with this effort.
One Heart Bulgaria works with a diaper company in Bulgaria in order to buy diapers in bulk at a discounted rate. They already have programs in place to buy food. Donations to One Heart Bulgaria that are specified for Pleven will go to purchase diapers and food for the orphanage. Providing enough diapers to meet the needs of over 200 children on a daily basis is a HUGE expense. It is a constant ongoing need. The Bulgarian government provides a “food budget” for the orphanage, though it is grossly underestimated at the present time, based on the number of children there and their nutritional needs.
One Heart Bulgaria also has a well established “Baba program”, which employs Babas, the Bulgarian word for grandmother, to go into the orphanages and hold, feed, play with, teach and interact with the children. Babas are assigned to a specific child and they care for these children daily on a 1:1 level. I have personally met several of the Babas that are employed through the sponsorship of One Heart Bulgaria. Their presence in the orphanages and the attention that they give the children is LIFE CHANGING for the children that they work with.  One Heart Bulgaria is now accepting sponsors to donate the money to pay the salaries of Babas to work at the orphanage in Pleven. The salary for one Baba is $120 a month. That covers the Babas salary and also her bus pass to get her to the orphanage.
In addition to hiring Babas, One Heart Bulgaria also wants to ensure that once the children have received the medical care from Toduka Hospital, that the after care is done at the orphanage. There are many children that need to be fed on a special schedule, need specific attention to their medical needs, etc. In order to help meet these needs, One Heart Bulgaria is also going to seek to employ qualified NURSES to work along side the Babas and orphanage staff. The estimated cost of employing a nurse for one month is $175.Current salary rates are being checked for that exact amount, and I’ll update as soon as we have an exact amount.
These are the specific needs that the Bulgarian government has asked to be addressed immediately and as an on going effort, while they work on the government side of things to change/retrain the staff and improve the conditions.
If you would like to help, donations can be made through One Heart Bulgaria. All donations are tax deductible for US donors: 1.) Donations can be made via Paypal at this link. Donations being made via Paypal need to have “for the Pleven orphanage” written in the comment box, so that the funds are designated appropriately.  Please note: Paypal takes a 3% fee from each transaction. So, if you are making a large donation, please consider sending a check. 2.) Donate via check by sending the check to: One Heart Bulgaria 561 N. 150 W. Centerville, UT 84014 USA If you’d like to make a reoccurring monthly donation, you can also set that up on this page. We are actively seeking donors or two/more people to partner together to fund Babas. We’d like to get more PEOPLE into the orphanage as quickly as possible.
Here’s the challenge……..
While we may be dreaming big, what we’d love to see is groups of people (churches, community groups, co-workers, mom groups, etc) coming together to fund a Baba. It is $120 a month or $720 for 6 months or $1,440 to pay the salary of one Baba for an entire year. I would LOVE to see a minimum of 10 Babas hired for Pleven and their salaries covered for at least 6 months through donations by the end of April. That’d require $7,200 total ($720 per Baba). We also need the donations for diapers and food. People willing to just sponsor the orphanage in general to meet these most basic of needs for all the children can make a monthly commitment or one time lump sum sponsorship donation on this link too.  No amount is too small, as every penny will be used to meet the needs of all of the children in the orphanage.
*At this time, monetary donations are all that is needed. It is not cost effective to ship diapers and food to the orphanage, as shipping costs and customs make this an unnecessary expense. One Heart Bulgaria has a team in Bulgaria to deliver the supplies to the orphanage when the monetary donations are made. We ARE working to get special high calorie formula in for the children in the most critical conditions. This is being organized by several moms that have adopted/are adopting from Pleven now*

Please help & share in any way that you can.
Blessings in your Adventure,


Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, April 2, 2012

Light it up

Please join us...

Blessings in your Adventure,


Is your dog cool?