Liz’s Diary and Update – 2022 Reflections

Melanoma removal, a new puppy, getaways to Orange and Adelaide, casual primary school teaching, lots of TeachingBrave writing and traffic, and goals for 2023! Read on!

Introduction

What a year! There has been my melanoma removal, mini getaways to Adelaide and Orange, a new puppy, I started teaching as a casual in primary schools, lots of family time and babies in the family! I resigned as a child care director, worked from home, loved Op shopping and finding new ways to score free food and free groceries! Lots of TeachingBrave guest posting and my blog traffic quadrupled! It’s been a wonderful year.. head to the bottom of this article for my quick lists of ‘What I loved in 2022 that I want to continue doing’, as well as my ‘2023 goals and Resolutions!’

Personal Life

One of the highlights of 2022 was buying a puppy for Andy for his 12th birthday. I surprised him one afternoon after school and it was the best decision ever. Andy was heartbroken after we had to put down our 16-year-old staffy 3 years ago, and he had been asking for a puppy ever since, but I told him we had to wait until we move to a larger place. I decided it was time. We didn’t move, but I figured out ways to make it work. Little Missy is cheeky, sassy, very smart and full of affection. Andy loves her so much and she has already brought us so much joy..

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My little Missy! Andy’s best friend.. we love her so much..

I went on a girls weekend to Orange, in NSW, and it made me realise I need way more of these! It was wonderful to just have relaxation time with my closest friends, drink wine, dine out and talk shit! Weekends like this are so valuable!

I became an Aunty again! My sister had a baby in 2021 and I have loved getting to know beautiful baby Lily, and then my brother and his partner had a baby early 2022 and it has been precious to get to know little Amy and watch her grow! Andy has also LOVED having little cousins! He can’t wait until they’re old enough to play with him. Andy actually loves the company of little babies and toddlers though and always did when he would visit the daycare centre I was working at. He would visit the nursery room and loved entertaining the little ones rather than play with the 5 year olds!

I went to Adelaide in early 2022 for Fringe festival and to visit my good friend Captain Fi. We had such a wonderful time going to various shows, dining out, and visiting the beautiful wineries in the Barossa Valley.

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Adelaide Fringe festival in March 2022

There were lots of end of year family birthdays, a big family wedding at the start of the year and a big milestone birthday for my dad. He came to Sydney and we enjoyed celebrating together in a very low key way with family.

I was in hospital a couple of times this year! The first time was when I cut my finger with a brand-new bread knife! Waited in emergency for the entire day, and needed several stitches in my finger. : ( The second was a melanoma removal from my chest which I was very nervous about. You can read about Melanoma in Situ in my article HERE. I was exposed to a lot of sun as a kid and a teen and I have very fair, vulnerable skin. I have now had 2 melanomas – one on my arm and one on my chest. They have both been removed with clear margins but I will now need to have thorough skin checks every 3 months for the rest of my life.

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My melanoma
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After melanoma removal surgery.. wear sunscreen!

So for my personal life, 2022 was lots of family time with babies, puppy play, short trips away and some necessary surgery.

Money

There was definitely some unexpected spending this year, and I was not able to save or invest as much as I would have liked, but at the same time, this spending was either necessary, or I deemed it valuable spending. After all, it’s so important to spend according to your OWN values, right??

My biggest purchase this year was my puppy. The breeder had reduced the price a bit, and to be fair, most Cavoodles are sold for around $5k or more, but I paid $3200 and she has brought both Andy and I so much joy as a beautiful new family member so I deemed this purchase in line with my values. Of course there was also the additional spending when it came to vet bills, desexing, equipment etc and food, so this probably added up to at least $5k.

My next biggest spend this year was on my melanoma surgery. I actually had the choice of doing this through the public hospital and not paying a cent, but I opted to pay a plastic surgeon to do this removal because of the location of the melanoma – right in the middle of my chest, right under my collar bone. When I had the melanoma removed on my arm, I did this through the public system and I didn’t pay, but you also don’t know who you are going to get on the day to do the removal. This could be an experienced surgeon, or it could also be a registrar who is rushed off their feet and want to get the job done quickly. This is what happened with my arm and it has been over a year now and the scar has faded a lot, but I also don’t think the doctor took the time and effort required to minimise any future scarring. Paying a plastic surgeon to do the removal of the melanoma on my chest cost me $4000 but in my opinion, was worth it. It has only been about a month since the surgery and the scar already looks amazing. the plastic surgeon I chose was very highly recommended to me and he did a fantastic job with the stitching. This was important to me as I would have felt quite self-conscious with a large scar on my chest. Therefore, this spending aligned with my own values.

I also spent money on my small getaways – to Orange and to Adelaide, and thoroughly enjoyed these trips. The fact that they were wonderful for my mental health aligned with my values in terms of spending.

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Beautiful Orange in winter..

I enjoyed a few Op shopping trips this year, (you can read my 10 best reasons to go Op Shopping HERE), and scored some serious bargains, including brand new dresses, soccer boots for Andy, jumpers and my biggest win was an original, brand new Louis Vuitton scarf! I bought this scarf for $3 at one of the Op shops and I ended up flipping this (re selling this on Facebook marketplace) for $420!! You can read my best tips for selling items online in my article HERE.

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This was the exact scraf I found in an Op shop for $3 (brand new!). I later re-sold it for $420!

Towards the end of the year when I was doing Christmas shopping online, as well as booking my January holiday with Andy, I used Cashrewards and Shopback and boosted my balance! Shopping online saved me time and effort, and if I was able to use Cashrewards or Shopback, I scored cash back as well! Booking.com was offering 15% cash back at one point so this was fantastic to take advantage of!

If you don’t use them already, Shopback and Cashrewards are definitely worth using, and they even give you free money to sign up! You can score $10 FREE by signing up to Cashrewards HERE. (I’ll get some money too). You can score $10 FREE by signing up to Shopback HERE (I’ll get some money too).

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My Cashrewards cash back balance!

I started casual primary school teaching this year too! I have loved the flexible work life and this has given me some extra income too.

December was Net worth calculation time! After using the Money Smart Net worth calculator online, I calculated a net worth increase of $4355 since August 2022. I kept my home valued the same as I need to have this revalued again, yet my mortgage has of course decreased. My Super has increased a little since I started teaching at schools, and after doing some more research into what my website is worth, I have estimated it to be at least valued at $10k, though probably more with a content bank of more than 130 articles now. My savings (Emergency Fund) has decreased a little this year after buying puppy and after surgery so I will need to build my Emergency Fund back up again after I return to teaching. My shares through Pearler have been a bit up and down, but I continue to invest when I have a bit of extra cash (which there hasn’t been much of this past year). Microinvesting through Raiz also makes a difference because I have $20 direct debited every fortnight and try to forget about this. Before I know it, this has grown from about $100 to $1200!

Professional

It was a big move for me to resign from my job as child care director early on in 2022. It was a change that needed to happen for me though, and it allowed me a more flexible work life balance, as well as the opportunity to really focus more on TeachingBrave and work from home doing some website management. And WOW, my mental health improved 10 fold! I didn’t realise how much stress I was under in my role as child care director until I left!

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Saying Goodbye to this daycare centre was hard.. it was also the best decision I made.

Towards the end of the year, I decided to enrol myself with the Department of Education as a casual primary school teacher. My early childhood degree qualifies me to teach ages 0-8 but I had always stayed within the childcare industry. This was a new challenge for me! I was already a proficient teacher (you can read my article about NESA Accreditation HERE), and there was a bit of extra admin and mandatory training to complete, but within a few weeks I was ready! Again, I love the flexibility of casual teaching – if I want to work, I add into the Class Cover app that I’m available (and I always get booked), and if I don’t want to work, I simply mark myself unavailable. If I don’t like the school, I don’t go back! There’s no preparation, no programming, no staff meetings, no parent-teacher interviews, no school reports, and no staying back after the bell! I’m usually in my car by 3:05, and home by 3:30pm! I also enjoy working with the different ages and stages and getting to know different teachers too.

I have enjoyed keeping in touch with my old work friends from daycare and we organise meetups and lunches from time to time which I love.

Parenting / Co-parenting

Andy finished primary school this year and he’s so excited about starting high school! He has had a wonderful last year of primary school. He made new friends, loved every minute of his year 6 farewell dinner, went on year 6 camp, excelled in his swimming carnival, received his orange belt in karate and loved improving his soccer skills. Andy requested to do more extracurricular activities this year including music and volleyball but I just couldn’t justify paying for more than 2. As I have written about before in my article – Extra Curricular Activities; Kids don’t need them all, I think a couple of good ones is enough, and of course, this needs to be aligned with your own values as a parent.

Co-parenting has been relatively amicable this year which I’ll take as a win! You can read about my struggles as well as my tips on successful Co-parenting in my article HERE.

TeachingBrave

My TeachingBrave blog traffic this year has significantly improved! That’s all of you who are reading this, so thank youuuuu! When a little blog like mine gets increased traffic, it means I can monetise the blog a bit better (through mostly Google ads) and start paying myself back for some of the time and effort I have put in.

It’s so good to compare traffic to 12 months ago! Although there has been a slight drop in blog traffic lately, it’s still a big increase since last year, so I’m happy!

I did some Guest Posting this year with the following articles:

5 Best Tips for travelling with Kids

Summer Activities for Kids 20 ideas!

Parenting tips every new dad needs

Why you should say sorry to your kids

My Catfishing experience

Me on the My Millennial Money Podcast, talking about Financial Abuse

It’s not your business! (What others think of you)

How Parents Can Help Beat Schoolyard Bullying

Baby Number 2! Preparing Your First Child – 6 Tips

How to be financially free – from broke single mum to financially thriving

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Managing Allergies in Children in the Early Years

Tasks and duties of a childcare educator

Sustainability Side Hustle | Turning Trash to Treasure

These were my most popular articles of 2022!:

Bucket Filling; What Is It And Why Is It So Important?

Barefoot Investor Buckets – How Do They Work? (Updated)

Single Parenting Payment: How Much Am I Entitled To? (updated)

Jolly Phonics: What Is It, And Does It Work?

Kids First Aid Online Course – Review

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Breast Feeding Sports Bras; The Top 6

12 Ways To Get Free Food Or Free Groceries

Risky Play In Early Childhood; Why Is It So Important?

Summary

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who support me and my blog, as well as through the socials (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter). It has been a wonderful year.

I have made some goals / resolutions for 2023:

Here are the things I’m already doing, that I love, that I want to continue:

  • Continue being the best mum I can be
  • Prioritising quality time with Andy and the puppy
  • Making time for friends and family
  • Making mental health a priority
  • Balance of work – WFH and teaching. A flexible work life.

What about you?? What were your reflections, and what about goals for 2023? Let me know in the comments!

Just my Christmas Day charcuterie board!

2 thoughts on “Liz’s Diary and Update – 2022 Reflections

  1. Wow what a year! You have certainly been busy and kicking some absolute goals! Looking forward to catching up again (I want in on one of those charcuterie boards!)

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