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Archive for February, 2008

Score at the store!!

February 28th, 2008 at 04:36 am

I scored today guys. Have you ever heard of Harry & Davids??? They are a big corp who specialize in fruits, nuts, gift baskets, etc. Well, their headquarters is right here...pretty darn close to where I work. So I stopped in their store on my lunch break today and they had baskets on sale super cheap!! What's cool is that they are great quality. I bought a couple of those picnic baskets with the lifting lids, fully lined for $9.99...I bought wood bed trays ( for breakfast in bed) white with pretty scalloped edges for $4.99 each...easter baskets for $2.99-$3.99 ...and some great red totes that I can use for gift bags at christmas for $2.47...WOW. I love living near this company because they sell their overstocks at ridiculously low prices after the holidays. This stuff all normally sold for $30-75 originally. wow.

I thought I would put a great teapot for one, napkin and some teas and cookies together for the bed tray... or a vase with a rose and a magazine and coffees...you get the idea. I am going to keep one of the picnic baskets. Ive wanted one forever, but never felt justified spending so much..but for $9.99 I am thrilled!!

The red totes...oh I love this...i bought 8 and will watch for sales all year-- when the whole family goes for our week at the big rental house the week aafter Christmas, I will give everyone one as a care package to use that week...candles, toiletries, deck of cards, etc...too fun!!

I love good deals...REALLY LOVE GREAT DEALS!!!

Diagnosis...and a year back in the 401K results

February 23rd, 2008 at 03:36 am

I recently received the diagnosis on my recurring pinched nerve. This has occured twice..and each time causes about 2-3 months of spasms and pain in my right arm. I have a moderate to severe degeneration in my c6-7 vertebrae. CHances of recurrences are high and I am a candidate for back surgery...ugh.

I am choosing to take my chances and see if it recurs...at which point I will see about an MRI to nail down whether it is a simple bone shave --- or more intrusive. (niether sound fun to me)...

The upside of life is exciting. I have been back in the workforce for 11 months,,,and my 401k is on track to hit 10K by my one year anniversary!! YEAH!

Things have been very busy, but also very good.

Fingers crossed the hubs back is fixed...

February 20th, 2008 at 02:18 am

The hub had his back procedure today. Instead of another surgery, they went in with a needle and moved the nerve and injected something to keep the nerve from being pinched again. We will know within a day or two if it is indeed fixed. Please keep your fingers crossed for him.

We did stop on the way home and lunch at Olive Garden...I love their chicken and gnocchi...yum. It was a definate splurge..both financially and welleness plan wise. But YUM. We spent $30 (incl tip)

I re-booked the house at the resort for my birthday weekend. Not because I necessarily believe in spending alot on my birthday- I do not. But because it was so much fun the last time and I figure by June we will be ready to get away again. Last year, we would have just hopped in the truck and pulled the RV somewhere peaceful...but the kids are living in ours now- since a tree fell on thiers last year. So, a new type of vacationing...and one I am enjoying quite a bit!!

In April, DD1, my mom and I are flying down to So. Cali for a wedding. An expense that has to come out of the vacation fund.

I am also starting to plan the hubs 40th birthday party. I have never threw him a party and so this year we are going all out. My DIL's mom has a great party house..pool table, swimming pool, volleyball court, horseshoes, etc...and so I am renting it from her and we are going to have a luau...complete with a pig in the ground...grass skirts, fruity drinks, tiki torches...

And then, we are renting a LARGE home for New Years as a Christmas gift to the entire family. I felt we should have something besides the one year anniversary of papa's death to anticipate...and I think it is working. Everyone is focusing on taking a big family vacation this year.

Quite a few exenses this year to be sure...but all budgeted and being saved for. (Sometimes I feel like I am out of my league with all of you who have budgeting your vacations down to a science.) But for now, this is working for us. The upside is that we will be cooking all meals at home during the house stays...and I get to stay at a friends for free the week of the wedding.


Finance Blog--or LIFE blog....

February 18th, 2008 at 07:09 pm

I look back at many of my blogs and realize that my blog is not so much a financial blog as it is a life blog. I always try to incorporate something financial into my posts...but usually finance is in the back seat on what I'm blogging.

How wonderful (for me) it is to be able and read about those two years off to be with my family...and how we've welcomed new babies...financially caught up and then took a few steps backward...

And then those last few days saying goodbye to my dad...wow. Those of you who have read my blog know me better than most that I call "friends' in "real" life.

And I have a record of some very important life lessons...right here at saving advice!! And even more importantly is all of your uplifting, supportive and inspiring resonses.

Which is exactly why I credit all of you for helping me find my way back to a careful spending plan now that things have settled down. I could have gone off the deep end and started spending...but you all and your kind words, encouraging support and gentle nudges in the right direction have helped me get right back on track. I think it is wonderful that we have a community of friends who support each other wheather it is with financial advice, weight loss support, medical worries, child rearing, thrifty ideas, recipes, ...basically LIFE.

So much more than just a financial blog...how lucky for all of us that stumbled into this community...HUGS to you all!

Spendy week...Cheap Weekend

February 18th, 2008 at 12:56 am

My good friend from Cali was here for a few days last week. She and I have been friends since we were 12. While she was here we went out to dinner a couple of times and then went wine tasting...we had a blast. The hub paid for dinner one night out of the wood business account...so only one of the meals out came out of the household account. I did treat her to the afternoon of wine tasting and bought her a couple of bottles of wine...but that all came out of my saved allowance....so, this weekend we ate all meals at home and did not spend much money...actually, all we spent was $4.50 when we went to the movies today. We had gift cards...but by the time we paid for the tickets and got popcorn and soda...we owed $4.50. I wish I could say it was worth it...but I didnt really enjoy the movie (I Am Legend) and $5.75 for a "large" popcorn makes my head spin...but it was the family outing that DH and DD3 wanted--so I wont complain too much.

The household account is still on track..which is a relief/
.
The past two days have been absolutely GORGEOUS...sunny, 60's...quite nice after months of rain and snow. I am off for President's Day tommorrow...and am sure hoping for more of that sunshine!!!

Tonight...we are bbg'g steaks and I have potatoes in the oven...so a yummy meal that will feed 5 for under $10!!

All in all, a great several few days....blessed indeed!

How can it be?

February 17th, 2008 at 05:53 am

Odd.

February. The shortest month of the year. And we will receive as many, and in some cases MORE paychecks this month than any other.

Not sure how that happend...but most months I get two (bi-weekly) and the hub gets four(weekly).

But in this, the shortest month of the year...I will get THREE and the hub will get FIVE.(corrected)

and that, friends....adds up to almost $2k extra this month!! woo-hooo!!!

I will be using the extra to catch up, put $$ down on vacation, and put some into savings.

This is also the month we get our year end bonus...which should hopefully mean another $1200 or so to stick back!!

It feels good to be catching up a little. I just think it is odd that February is such a profitable month....











Wellness check

February 10th, 2008 at 05:17 am

I mentioned in my previous blog that we are having a challenge at work to get healthy since we are now a self-insured employer.

So...I am now at square one..I weigh too much, I have high cholesterol and I am borderline diabetic. At least I know where I am starting...everything measured can be reduced with a good diet and exercise. so....this week has been the star of a low carb, sensible protein diet.

I have an eight month timeline to get healthier..and that is what I fully intend to do...so here is what I have incorporated into my diet..

bye-bye coffee stand mochas...rather, brewed coffee with non-fat vanilla creamer...also- add 1 string cheese and a low fat or non-fat yogurt for breakfast (i never ate breakfast before)

Lunch...black beans on two corn tortillas with lettuce and salsa...

dinner 3-4 oz of low fat meat with veggies and a carb w/ fat (bread and butter)..or salad dressing.

snacks= fruit or juice.

and 1-2 glasses of red wine each night...

Quite a change from the menu plan before..

Lots of water...and no regular soda (an occaisional diet soda is ok)

8 months to go...

I hope to lose 50 lbs in 8 months....starting weight...well, I know what that is..I will post progress as I go.

Go Ray.

If I am successful, I will receive at leas $50...which will go into a challenge account...I'll be thinking about a challenge acccount between now and then...

Frozen body parts?

February 6th, 2008 at 04:55 am

This past weekend, the hub, DD3 and I rented a house in a resort a few hours from us. The house was cheaper than a hotel room...and it included a hot tub, movies, puzzles, games, free iternet and long distance, and all the snow we could ever enjoy.

Have you ever hot tubbed in a snowstorm??? wow. The hard part was getting out and running into the house before body parts froze and fell off.

We spent 4days/ 3nights...watched TV, enjoyed the scenery, tubbed, put a puzzle together, bbq'd and visited.

Any idea how nice a little mini-vacation like that is after you've been through---well, some very tough times? wow. We really savored it.

cost for 4 days=$400 + food, which we cooked at 'home' (no meals out).

The hub learned today that he will not have surgery, but rather a shot of something to help with the blown disk. (please let it work!)

My bills have been coming in for the physical therapy after my last pinched nerve...and the sweetest words known to these eyes...."Patient has no financial obligation for this bill, paid in full" (so dual insurance does have it's value!!)

Tomorrow. My job became self insured this year...so tomorrow, we have an opportunity to join (for free) an 8 month wellness program to help us get healthy. I will have to be weighed (gads) pricked,measured (wt..?) checked and fill out a personal evaluation...but when it is all said and done, I will receive a roadmap to help me get from here to healthy in 8 short months. If I succeed, there is at least a $50 bill waiting for me to spend however I want...not to mention a cache of wonderful prizes to be won.

So, tomorrow is day one. Pray for me...I am a non-recovering junk food junkie lately.

Life seems to be slowly turning around and promising to be rich and rewarding once again.. It is amazing how your perspectives change on what is important and what is trivial.

Just let me make it through the weigh in without fainting or breaking the scale...lol. Then, it should be downhill to health and....well, we shall see!!