It’s Been a Long Summer, But I’m Thrilled to Be Back to Blogging Full-Time!

So, you may have noticed that the blog has been quieter than normal the last couple of months. It has been a long summer, you guys. L-O-N-G.

As you know, we sold our house. Well, what I didn’t tell you — because frankly it was too stressful to talk about — is that our house sold not once, not twice, but three times.

Yes, the first two contracts fell apart. Through no fault of our house — but that doesn’t make the process of re-listing your home any less stressful. Nor of going thru inspections and appraisals and negotiations times three.

At the same time, my father-in-law fell ill and had to be hospitalized. After a few weeks of my husband trying to “be there” over the phone, it became clear that he really  needed to fly out to New Jersey to be with his dad. So, the last two weeks before we left Kansas, Frankie and I were separated: He on the East Coast, doing his best to help his parents navigate the hospital stay (thank G-d his father is much more stable now), and me in the Midwest, packing up our house (and thanking my lucky stars for family and babysitters to keep my kiddos entertained).

By the time we finished our 15-hour drive to Cleveland two weeks ago, I was more tired than I’ve ever been in my whole life. Not sleepy tired, but bone-weary-exhausted.

And we hadn’t even unloaded our trailer or started unpacking at that point! (Which reminds me: Stay tuned for a post on the cost benefit analysis of doing a DIY-ish move. Spoiler alert: We saved $2500 and overall had a very positive experience.)

With all this stuff going on, you may be wondering how the blog has kept running. Confession time: It wasn’t me! I’m fortunate to have a wonderful assistant named Meg, who has been working with me for the past two years. She helps me to research and prep some of the awesome deal posts I share with you everyday.

You may recall that last September, when my family went to Israel, Meg ran things here at KOAB. And again this summer, Meg has done a great job of keeping things running despite my frequent absences. I’ve missed being here everyday, and I’ve missed sharing myself with you guys, but honestly, I couldn’t handle one more thing on my plate.

1st day of school_3

And then, all of a sudden (in a slow motion sort of way) this morning, my children boarded the bus to their first day at a new school.

My daughter started kindergarten (*sniff, sniff*). And my boys are experiencing their first day at a brick-and-mortar school in two years! Yes, after an amazing run of homeschool for the last two years, we decided that all of our children would attend school this year.

I’m so excited for their new adventures, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a lump the size of Ohio in my throat.

While I’m already missing them fiercely this morning, I’m also realizing that oh-my-gosh-I-have-all-day-to-myself to get stuff done! Suddenly I’m staring at 8.5 hours a day to blog and develop all the ideas that I’ve been putting on the back burner for the last 24 months, while I spent my afternoons teaching my sons.

First up on my list is an ebook I’ve been trying to write for six months now about HOW TO BUDGET. I get emails every day from readers seeking advice on their family’s finances. If you, too, have wanted to figure out how to make a budget — and, more importantly, how to stick to it — this book is going to be perfect for you! I can’t wait to share it with you before the end of the calendar year. (Yes, I did just give myself a deadline.)

I’m also eager to incorporate new features into the blog. Remember when I used to share our menu plans? Yeah, this summer, there have been no plans. There have been scrambled eggs, PB&J sandwiches, and cold cereal.

But now I’ve got 8.5 hours a day – so plans will be made. And new recipes will be experimented with.

And, oh yeah, we bought a new house, which is needing some TLC, so I might even share some of the little projects I’ll be doing around the house. No-frills DIY-stuff. Nothing too fancy. (I.e. Don’t expect too much craftiness – 8.5 hours isn’t enough time in the day for me to develop a whole new personality. 😉 )

I also want to hear from all of you about what you want, so later this week, I’ll be putting up a reader survey: A brief series of questions about you, what brings you to KOAB, what you like, what you want to see more of… that kind of thing. And as my way of thanking you for completing the survey, three of you will win an Amazon gift card. (Yup, I’m not above a little incentivizing!)

So that’s been my summer – and my BIG plans for the fall.  I’m so excited to be back here fully and can’t wait for even bigger and better things in the months to come!

How has your summer been? Hopefully less eventful than ours, but if you’ve been going thru the ringer (like all of you who got flooded in Detroit! And ohmygosh, all of you Israel!), I feel for you. And I hope it’s looking up now – or will be very soon!


  1. Where are you sending your kids to school?

    • Mara Strom says

      Shoot me an email and I’m happy to tell you. Just don’t want to put it all over the Internet. (Paranoid Mommy moment.)

  2. SO glad you are back! Budgeting for families is great but I’m a newly wed. Will you address budgeting for two so we get down before having the little ones? Thanks!

  3. Welcome back – can’t wait to read the book! Good luck settling into your new routine.

  4. Welcome to Northeast Ohio! Hope you are settling into your neighborhood, shul and school.

  5. Hi Mara,

    I love following you! I have a couple questions if you don’t mind sharing. Why did you move out-of-state? And why did your family decide to stop homeschooling? Lastly, I’ve been using Mint for at least a couple years since I learned about it through you, but I recall you mentioning a new program which you pay for the service. Can you please tell us more about it?

    Thank you,

    • Mara Strom says

      Chris – I’ve been using YNAB — and it’s wonderful. I absolutely love it. I am going to write up a whole post on how to use YNAB, but I will say that for a budgeting “junkie”, it’s been well-worth the $60.

      Here’s a post I wrote about our decision to move to Cleveland – hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions.

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