When playgrounds fight back

You know when you’ve got a perfect Sunday in the spring. “The birds are back in town” – and may or may not wake your wife up just a bit too early. Hey, the windows were open because there’s no topping a cool, crisp, freshness during the night. The temperature dips around the mid-50s in the early morning then climbs to a steady 73-75 at mid-day. There isn’t 1 visible cloud in the entire sky, and the plants are finally starting to buy the fact that it’s springtime (we’re in Ohio and day-to-day temperature fluctuations can be astronomical this time of year – flowers, freezing, flowers,…).   Monica and I knew this was one such Sunday. Most of the weekend chores were done on Saturday so we had some spare time. Secondly, we were in that solid window before dinner and right after Clara’s afternoon nap. Timing was right. It also […]

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Here’s What to Do After you Crush it and Retire Early

Way to go!! You buckled down and are able to retire early! Now what? Here - we paint 2 great pictures of the best possible outcomes - then leave it to you! #retireearly #finance #travel #homestead #snarky

Well, congratulations… You did it! You called on all the great frugal tips, created the perfect family budget, and took advantage of all the best tax credits. And because of all your hard work, you achieved the dream – you earned the right to retire early! Congrats!! …But now what?   If you’re one of the prominent FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) bloggers/proponents, you’ll then go on to travel the world, live in either a sailboat or an RV, and blog about all the highs and lows of “living the dream!”   Or maybe you won’t…   You could go the other route of being “debt free including the mortgage”, plant some routes, and set up a co-op workspace for all the local entrepreneurs in your activity-rich town of choice.   But – you’ve worked so hard to reach FIRE and now have to completely evaluate all the pros and […]

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How to Host a Killer Holiday Party Without Going Broke

How to Host a Killer Holiday Party Without Going Broke #Holidayparty #budget #fun #family #thrifty

Hosting the annual holiday party is serious business. And with so many factors at play, it’s not difficult to send your friends and family away thinking, “Well, we’re not doing that again next year…” So here we’re going to cover the ins and outs of how to host a killer holiday party – without going broke!   (Photo courtsey of Randy Monfredi)   But first, a MikedUp Blog original:     As I unlaced my shoes and took a long deep breath, I quickly reviewed our entire battle plan in my head. Where were we exposed, did I plan for all potential contingencies, and what could come up during the conflict that I hadn’t previously expected? So many questions running through my mind and only a single white door separated the present from the future…   On one side of this door stood me – inside of my garage (…that probably […]

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Top 10 reasons why fall is king

Let’s get this out of the way – fall (autumn) is the best season of the year. Unquestionably, unequivocally, and any other ‘un’ word you want to throw in there. We all agree on this, right? Okay. Sweet.   Moving on.   This list is written from the perspective of an Ohioan living in a temperate climate complete with 4 seasons. We have 3 other seasons to ‘consider’ when we’re trying to decide on the best, but let’s be real.   The winter is the winter. Cold, miserable, dark. It has Christmas but that’s about it.   “Summer,” You say? Humid, miserably oppressive (in terms of heat) where all outdoor activity and exercise must be complete before 6:00 am or after 9:30 pm. I agree that the summer vacation is crucial but do we want to anoint an entire season for 1 week… 2 if we’re lucky? Not in my […]

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Is greed killing our water park?

  I’m a 30 year-old child when it comes to certain things (sand volleyball, road trips to the beach, days at the zoo, walks to the splash pad, park activities, certain workouts, …, and a day at the water park). Meaning, I get so excited these things are coming up that I often annoy those around me with questions, lists of possible things to do, and a generally high energy level in preparation for the desired item. My family and friends use the phrase, “Calm down,” abundantly in those situations.   So, when The Cruise Director (brother-in-law #1) told me that The Groom’s (brother-in-law #2) bachelor party would start with a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo and day at the water park, anticipation spiked early and often.     Monica and I have a season pass to the zoo but that doesn’t get us backstage to interact with the animals. […]

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