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Archive for July, 2012

I'm on V*A*C*A*T*I*O*N

August 1st, 2012 at 03:36 am

I am officially on vacation for the next TWELVE DAYS!!! Wahoo.

I was going to work tomorrow, but I have plenty of days saved up and knew my productivity tomorrow would be nil....so, I took it off. I get to sleep in and then take my time packing and getting ready.

It feels great to know I have some time off.

I called the hotel that we will be staying on night one to find out if there was shuttle service from the airport...NO. drats. However, the hotel is walking distance to the train depot, so it made sense to stay there. When I got the cash out for the trip, I got some $5s and $1s to pay for cabs and tips.

My newly planted tomato plants are not as happy as Id like tonight, so I made sure DD3 understand that she HAS to water them this week. ALso, there was a HUGE black widow by the plants with a big egg nest. I think I got both, but have a mental note to call a pest service tomorrow. I saw a black widow web in the front yard too...I definately dont want to get an infestation.

Black widow webs are easy to spot. They are big, dont break easily , and have NO PATTERN...as a matter of fact, they are one of the sloppiest webs you will ever see. Not the nice spiral webs at all. My son once told me that haphazard webs and tunnel webs are the ones you want to stay away from. THe nice rounded webs are usually garden variety. The others are more often poisonous.

I dont know about you...but no spider web looks friendly to me. But I do stay clear of the ones my son cautioned me about.

My spending today was $5 for a subway sandwich and $20 to DD3 for watering the tomatoes while I am gone.

Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and then taking the day to get ready to go...

LIFE IS SO GOOD tonight!!

Ouch

July 30th, 2012 at 04:56 am

Remember all that laundry I did today? Well, I went to hang all the hang up laundry in the closet and tripped over the hubs free weight...and fell onto a pile of metal things..since my hands were full, I hit on my side...and now I have a narly bruise all down my side...from armpit to hip. Dumb free weight.

No broken bones...just bruised. Argh.

Oh well, good news is the laundry is done, bags are nearly packed and I didnt need a trip to the ER lol

Hopefully it wont hurt too bad come morning. Ugh. Dumb free weights....

Today's Checkmarks...

July 30th, 2012 at 01:26 am

I spent today finishing laundry, including bedding, and getting all the clothes that I am taking to Alaska ready to pack.

I found all the airplane sized bottles that we have on hand and have them ready to fill with shampoo, etc.

I had been taking care of the tomato plants that I was given last month, but had not planted them yet...but DD2 and I did so today.

I have started a list of to-dos for DD3, who will be house-sitting for me. #1 on the list, WATER THE TOMATO PLANTS. Big Grin I sure hope she does as they will not make it in this heat if she forgets. I am looking forward to some fresh off the vine tomatoes when we get back.

I have the suitcase out and am packing the things I dont need this week.

I am enjoying a break to watch the womens gymnastics part of the olympics. How those young ladies do those balance beams, vaults and uneven bars is beyond me. But I love watching.

My to do list this week is to buy dog food and refill my meds. Otherwise, everything is about done for this exciting adventure!! (I leave Thursday...cant wait!!)

Here is one of the things we get to do while we are there:


I made oatmeal tonight for breakfast Mon- Wed.

Christmas Budget

July 29th, 2012 at 06:01 am

It is five short months to Christmas. Are you ready?

I have a hub, four kids, three kid significant others, six grandbabies, 1 foster grandbaby, 3 close friends, 5 co-workers, 1 father in law and a donation to save for each year.

I set a certain amount for each person that I want to save and divide that by 12 each year. Then, each month, I deposit that amount to the Christmas club account that I have set up at ING.

Then, during the year, I look for bargains...but it also has to be the 'right' bargain. I dont buy just because its on sale...it has to be something meaningful for the recipient. Having the savings allows me to take advantage of sales during the year...like when stores put clothes and toys on clearance during the year..

As the Holiday approaches, I am ready for it. I know what I can spend and when I have to say no.

I keep my eyes open for opportunities..I look for bargains and keep lists.

When Christmas is here, I have a stockpile of gifts that I have found during the year. Some are purchased on vacations...others, during clearance sales, others still, when I find the right gift when it comes along.

Because of my big family, I love Christmas. I am itching to find those great gifts. The money is saved...and ready for the deal on the right gift.

I do the same for birthdays..

And I save for the miscellaneous bills.

Initially, it was very hard to budget for these expenses.

But after the first year, it has gotten easier.

I keep these budgets on an excel spreadsheet and update it weekly. Like anything in life, maintaining it on a daily or weekly budget is much easier than scrambling at the last minute.

If you havent started your budget yet, this might be a good time to start. Five months will go by quickly. No time like the present to start a plan and get ready.

Free Pedicure today!

July 29th, 2012 at 02:48 am

Today was such an awesome day. I woke up to a strong urge for coffee, but didnt have any creamer...however before I made it to the kitchen, DD3 knocked on the door with creamer in hand. My little angel! We enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee and she needed to head off to kenpo. (She has some narly bruises on her legs to prove it...lol)

I had decided this weekend would be catch up since I have been gone the last few weekends. SO I did some laundry, cleaned the kitchen, made a shopping list and then decided a pedicure sounded good.

I was almost ready to call and see if there was an appointment available when I decided to just do the pedi myself. I have enough supplies to do this...

So I got out a little plastic tub and some lavendar epsom salt that I got for free a while back. That felt so nice..then scraped, scrubbed, filed, moisturized and put the polish on. It was actually fun and was totally free. and now I have pretty toes for vacation!!...and an extra $35 in my pocket!!

DD3 came back over and picked out a really bad B rated scyfi movie. (I took a little nap at the beginning and woke up for the really dark, depressing ending.) DD3 even admitted it was bad.

I ran to the store and picked up the things on the list for the week, got home, cooked a quick steak sandwich dinner for us (about $5 for both of us...and I have leftovers for tomorrow) and now we are relaxing watching another dumb scyfi movie. (she seems entertained, so Im finding other things to do.)

I loved the last couple of weekends and getting to go places, but I have missed my home time and was greatful to catch up some today.

Tomorrow I am packing and getting ready for the trip...only 4 days til I leave!!

Scams

July 27th, 2012 at 06:24 pm

I belong to an organization that works to combat financial fraud and crime in our community. We met this week and discussed current trends. Unfortunately, several folks have recently been victimized by the "Heres a big check, keep $X and send me back the rest via western union" scam.

It is hard to see this being pulled over and over again - and no matter how hard we try to get the message out, people still fall victim to it.

We even have the western union reps watching out for it...but some people are so {desperate, naive, greedy, etc} that they insist on sending the $$ anyway. The scammers even tell the victims "dont talk about the details of this transaction to the bank or with western union"..aich.

Another scam that is still active is on the elderly. "Gramma, Im stuck in another country with no money, can you send me some"...or..."I just noticed your roof looks bad and needs to be repaired".. I detest people who prey on our elderly.

My advice- be cautious when dealing with strangers. No matter how good the story sounds, proceed with caution when western union is involved. ASK the bank teller, the western union rep, or your local police.

Unsolicited repairmen should raise red flags. Dont allow any work until you have gotten a second opionion from a trusted company.

And finally, if it sounds too good to be true, no matter how tempting, it probably is.

A Mocha a day...

July 26th, 2012 at 01:45 am

Actually, that should read a mocha today. Anymore, I so get the annual math on designer coffees, so it is a once in a while treat. Otherwise, coffee is free at work and I just get creamer at about $2.50 per week. Today, I had to go to one of our outlying branches and decided to splurge on a designer coffee...and then I remembered I had a full punch card....so it was FREE.

Unfortunately, when it got to lunch time, I realized I didnt have lettuce for my sandwich. When the sandwich consists of bread, meat, lettuce and mustard, the lettuce is kinda important. I just couldnt do meat and bread...so I spent $6 at Arbys for a combo meal.

The lettuce is all ready to go in the morning, so I will be back on track. Dinner, if I get hungry, will be leftovers.

The hub got his phone, but is having trouble activating it. :/ So still no talk. He mentioned in an email that he wants to change phone providers when he is home next....WTH? We just paid $100 for that darn phone. I am not sure if this branc new phone can be used with a new provider...but if it cant, I will be a hard sell on the idea.

I am down to 5 work days until vacation....so excited for the time off. I just hit the next level for days off each year. I now earn 29 days per year, so I will take at least two week long vacas next year.

I found my glasses Hooray!

July 25th, 2012 at 02:21 am

I have been so bummed the last couple of days because I couldnt find my glasses. I thought I lost them during our trip this past weekend. Tonight I got home and decided to go back through everything again...and low and behold, I found them in my backpack that I checked three times already. I am scratching my head at how I missed them...but I am SOOOO glad I found them. They were about $600...after insurance about #250...that was not money I wanted to spend again.

Plus, with Alaska coming up in a week, I was worried that I wouldnt enjoy the scenery, since my distance site is so bad anymore.

BUT...problem solved!!

THe hub still has not received his replacement phone, so it has been almost a week since we talked last. Frown

I had a meeting at 10 today at a restaurant...so I combined breakfast and lunch into one meal and ate for free. Tonight I made chicken and taters...I have enough leftovers from last nights soup, and todays dinner for the rest of the week. Leftovers are my friend.

Enjoying a quiet nite and looking forward to a low key weekend ahead before the vacation. Life is good!

Wonderful Weekend

July 23rd, 2012 at 02:14 am

This weekend, I went with DD2 and GS to a retreat. It was up near a lake, within walking distance of the ocean. It was no cost to attend. The camp was really nice. The grounds were beautiful, and the rooms had beds and a private bath. (Some had kitchens, ours did not)

The food was all provided- and it was wonderful. GS got to meet new friends, play on and in a HUGe jump house with a slide, swin in the lake, canoe, paddle boat, play basketball, ping pong...and just have fun. One night we even made smores in the fire pit.

Dd3 and I enjoed watching him have fun and we enjoyed each other and the others at the camp. The services were perfect for a mixed aged group. It was just a fun, relaxing weekend.

The only downside is I think I lost my glasses. Frown I am going to have DD2 check with the camp to see if the found them, but I have a feeling they are not gonna turn up.

We got home tonight, I am a little sun/wind burned, a little tired, but very happy to have gone. Ive never attended anything like this, and wasnt sure what to expect...but am so glad I went. I spent about $40 on gas, and took DD2 and GS to lunch on the way to camp and lunch on the way home ($35 for both meals)...$75 was not too bad for a great weekend filled with wonderful memories.

I stopped at the store and picked up lunch meat, chicken and fruit...so with the other supplies I have on hand, I should be set for the week. $24.

10 more days until I leave for Alaska. Next weekend I plan to stay home and get everything ready to go.
What a fun, busy summer this is turning out to be!

Exempt

July 20th, 2012 at 01:30 am

My position is exempt. At my job, that means that I dont get overtime, but I also dont have to use PTO for partial days. I love that. I have had to take a few early leaves from work lately, so this week, knowing I need to get off early tomorrow, I opted to make up the time by working longer days. Technically, I dont have to make it up...but for my own conscience, I wanted to...so three days this week I came in an hour early - which meant waking up an hour early. Today was day three...(thank goodness) So tomorrow, I dont have to get up early AND...I GET TO LEAVE AT 3!!

Today was a crazy day...I am in risk management and it is clear the economy is taking its toll on folks (even though it seems to be improving here)...I am busy with dumb choices people are making. I am empathetic, but cmon. Dont jeopardize your job to fix a financial problem. Sad. Thankfully, I hand it over to HR once I am done investigating and they do the tough stuff.

So glad tomorrow is a short day. I have meals planned and ready, but I will need to get gas to head to the coast, so it wont be a no spender...but the offset is a great weekend ahead with DD2 and GS.

Life is good. Smile

The hub broke his phone

July 19th, 2012 at 08:51 pm

Ugh. I guess this is one time I am glad ? I had insurance. The hub broke his phone- talked to the phone folks and because of the insurance, it will only cost *cough* $100 to replace it. I guess the good news is that they will also ship it straight to him in Alaska. It should get there Saturday or Monday. He was hoping for overnight delivery, but no such luck.

He even had one of those protection covers that cost a small fortune on the darn phone...oh well.

DD3 was kind enough to do the leg work to get it replaced quickly..which saved me having to run around on my lunch hour.

Tonight I need to get laundry done and packed for the camp trip this weekend. I am excited to spend the weekend with DD2 and my GS (8). It sounds like the camp/retreat is really nice. Its walking distance from the ocean, but also on a lake. I love that it will be much cooler there than it is here!!

And since I have leftovers from last night, dinner is all but ready when I get home. Love leftovers!

I was hoping for a no-spend day..and it would have been, if not for that phone. :0

Quinoa

July 19th, 2012 at 02:00 am

I saw quinoa at costco recently and thought it looked interesting. I decided to try it tonight for dinner. I made Rachel Ray's roasted garlic, rosemary lemon chicken and made a small batch of the quinoa. I added a little butter and chopped green onion to it and then spooned some of the sauce from the chicken dish onto it. Wow..the two complimented each other so nicely.

I like that quinoa is nutritionally a full protien..so my next attempt will be to make it for a breakfast with a little honey or brown sugar.

I enjoyed the nutty taste of it.

I spent $26 today to restock perishables like fruit, milk, etc. I have ample left overs for a meal tomorrow. I still have a bowl of oatmeal left and sandwich makings at work...so tomorrow is all set.

I am very ready for vacation...it is two weeks away. I went waaay too long from my last week off (June 2011)...I wont do that again next year. Im feeling burned out. No bueno. A day here and there just doesnt do it.

Life is good, but Im tired. :/

Almost a NSD....

July 18th, 2012 at 04:35 am

Today I stuck to my meal plan and had oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich and fruit for lunch and a hot dog for dinner. So, no spending for food.

Dd1 and DD3 and I have been discussing the girls trip this year. (DD2 cant go this year). I found airline tickets for real cheap to go to So Cali to see my BFF in Sept...so the three of us agreed that should be our girls trip this year. I booked the tickets. We normally drive to portland and stay in a hotel. The airfare and a rental car were cheaper than our normal expenses...so we will save $$ by going to SO Calif this year. AND I get to see my friend. (The girls consider her their aunt) We have been friends since we were 12. I am SOOOO excited. We will stay with my friend and spend the trip with her. We enjoy Portland, but it just seems to be getting worse and worse for gang activity and violence...so I am somewhat relieved to be making a change this year.

I did spend $$ to book the tickets. I save a little each week to pay for my part of the girls trip- so the money was already banked for this. It is so frustrating to book tickets anymore...the original cost looks great...but if you are taking a sutcase, want to pick a seat, want any fluff whatsoever, the cost goes up quikly. We opted for no frills, and will share one suitcase. Its just a two hour flight, so we will deal with assigned seating for the flight.

Otherwise, I did not spend on anything else today.

Tomorrow, I already have oatmeal cooked, a sandwich and friut are ready for lunch and I plan to make chikcen for dinner...so it should be another no spender tomorrow!

I am just two weeks away from the trip to Alaska with the hub. Getting excited!!

Life is good!

Frugal week

July 17th, 2012 at 01:59 am

Today was a no spend day. The one thing I DID do Sunday was go grocery shopping. I bought a big thing of chicken breast, some lunch meat and a few other items so that I could cook meals at home and eat frugally this week.

Last night I made some lemon,rosemary, garlic chicken breasts and red potatoes. Enough to feed DD3 and I dinner and lunch today. I made a good batch of oatmeal- which will be breakfast this week.

Tonight I grilled asian chicken and had corn on the cob.

Tomorrow I will have a sandwich for lunch and soup for dinner...
And I have enough for the week. So it should be a no spend week, if I stick to the plan.

DD2 is taking her son (my 8 yo grandson) to a church camp this weekend and she and he have a large dorm type cabin to themselves...so she invited me to go too. There is no cost for going, so I am going to join them. It will be fun to have time with them, as usually they are busy and I have lots of others around when I see them...I think this will give me some quality time with them...and it is up by a gorgeous lake.

All in all, this should be a fairly inexpensive week ahead. Big Grin

Im still smiling about the meet up this past weekend. Baselle, if you are reading this, we all agreed we would love to meet you someday!! (As well as many others of you!!!) What fun that was!!

SA meetup and trip

July 15th, 2012 at 06:29 pm

What an adventure this past week was. DD3 and I left Thursday morning and spent that night with my son and dil...which means I got to see grandbabies there. I actually was invited to sleep with the kids...which always makes for an interesting, but totally special nights sleep.

DD3 and I got up early and headed to Napa to meet up with keeping it frugal, Swimgirl, Monkey Mama, and Looking Forward. We were the first to arrive, so we got a coffee and we enjoyed wondering if any of the female customers were our new friends...very fun to not know what the others looked like...

I turned around at one point and there was Laura..I recognized her smile instantly. Next was Monkey Mama and big monkey..and then Swimgirl and finally Looking Forward. We sat and visited for a while. We had such fun getting personally acquanted with friends we knew so well online. That was so amazing.

I felt like I was sitting and visiting with dear old friends. LoookingForward had to depart for a very busy day, but the rest of us headed over to San Fran to spend an incredibly fun day - I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend the day with everyone.

The day ended all too quickly and Keeping it Frugal, DD3 and I headed over to San Jose for the night. We got to the hotel at 11pm and all crashed. The next morning we got up and went to a great little cafe called stacks for some breakfast (yummy!) and then went to the Winchester Mystery house for the tour. THat was interesting and fun. Then we stopped by Lauras aunts house for a quick visit and then back off to Napa to, sadly, drop Laura back off to her brothers house. Frown

It was about 7pm...and DD3 and I decided that sleeping in our own beds sounded best...but it also meant a very long drive...but we arrived home shortly after midnight.

This morning I am reflecting on the weekend, feeling so blessed to have joined SA 6 years ago and made friends with such WONDERFUL ladies...I cant tell you how neat it was to meet each of them.

FUN TIMES.

Today will be busy playing catch up and getting ready to go back to work. It was a crazy busy whirlwind of a few days, but a trip I will forever cherish.

Hugs to all of you. Cant wait to meet up again!!