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Archive for August, 2012

Squeezing the pennies...

August 31st, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Welcome Friday and the three day weekend!

The budget is pretty tight until next Friday. I have three birthdays, but I have already bought two of the presents and I have just enough in the birthday account to cover the third (for my oldest grandaughter (7) who wants new school clothes- since she is starting FIRST grade this year. Big Grin)

My son and his family will be visiting, but we wont have time to go out (agood thing since I am low on $$)..I am actually babysitting for 4 out of six grandbabies tomorrow night so the parents can go out and have fun. My sons daughter (5) is having her birthday party on SUnday. I offered to chip in $40 on a bounce house ... I have $55 (15 after the bounce house) in cash and another $70 for gas and food in the checking account (I need gas, and that will run about 60)...so I have $25 for food ...with what I have in groceries...I should be able to make it just fine until next Friday when the reset button hits on the budget and we have a two paycheck Friday to start with.

I already have birthday cards. I dont always get cards, but I found some nice ones in the .97 section. I am (cheap?) when it comes to cards. Instead of an expensive card, (they can cost $5 or more!!) I buy the less expensive ones (if I get one) and write something meaningful in them. In all honesty, I rarely remember when someone gives me a card..but I always love what they write in them....so I suppose thats why I am the way I am.

I have all the makings for a nice batch of chicken and black bean soup...so that will be a primary staple for the week.

I also have all the makings for some banana muffins.

It has finally cooled down a little so baking and cooking sound fun again!

In the meantime, HELLO Friday...

If it sounds too good to be true..guess what?

August 31st, 2012 at 03:25 am

Is it Friday yet?

I am feeling much better, but this has been a long, tough week.

Part of my work involves fraud, and since the 18th, I have been keeping an eye on the fallout from Zeek... Unfortunately, folks fell victim to this (alleged) Ponzi scheme. what is amazing is that there are people signing petitions supporting it. Denial I suppose. Earning big $$ from doing basically nothing sounds too good to be true...and we all know what that means. Unfortunately, there are still some that buy into too good to be true. Sad. Not just a few bucks...thousands to tens of thousands all gone in one fell swoop.

There have been lots of new mortgage regulations that Im trying to stay abreast of. Holy cow. 3500 pages of new regs in the past few weeks..my brain hurts at night from absorbing so much.

Im looking forward to this weekend. My son and his family will be here for his daughters 5th birthday.

I am happy to see September arrive. Our budget has been tight the past few weeks and September is a much easier month to budget for..and I will catch back up. Thankfully, October and November will be good too..if all goes as planned.

It is nice to feel normal again. I appreciate having energy each day!!

Massage day

August 27th, 2012 at 07:50 pm

Caving in and going for massage therapy this afternoon. Still in pain, still grumpy..its days like this I wish my ex lived closer so Id have something to run over.

just kidding.

I am still elated that he is no where around and I dont have to deal with him....24 years later. lol.

Because of the massage, it wont be a no spend day..but at least it is a no-spend -on-anything-else day. Big Grin

I thought I would share this pic with my SA friends..sorry its blurry....but this is a pic of my son and grandson at about the same age:



Cute, arent they? (Of course Im not biased at all...lol)

I double checked the freedom account today and I have funds in the household and a little in the misc. tab that I can use towards the RED balance in the budget. Then I can start September with a clean slate. I attribute the misstep to the lower paycheck and paying for a couple of dinners out while my guests were in town. sigh. But the meals were fun, and enjoyable...just a reminder of how quickly those treats can derail the budget.

Picked up, dusted off and back on track. Life is good.



Stop making me grumpy world!

August 26th, 2012 at 05:11 pm

Rant post...totally OT.

This morning I am grumpy...and its NOT ME...its everyone else. (tongue in cheek) ... Move faster, step aside, stop whining, get a life....etc...etc...

The good thing is that I am working on changing my attitude because it looks like a beautiful day out there.

Im not sure if this is a stage in life or just a buildup from being sick and then hurting my neck and being in pain for a week...but everything is MAKING ME ANGRY. From the people driving slower than I want, to the shoppers who cut in front of me in the store isles, to any little annoyance...suddenly, I am near rage mode. And I hate it. At least I am aware that its happening and consciously wanting to change it.

Grrr.

The hubs paycheck this week was much smaller that we expected ($500 rather than $1000)..but it was still an 'extra' paycheck. The electricity bill is $352- quite a jump from the $175 its been the past couple of months. I need to find out what caused it..but Im pretty sure it is due to the ac at the rental house.
My budget is behind and I am pondering pulling some $ from savings rather than start September in the red. (Thankfully I am only off about $300- which I can repay by November)

The next few weeks I should stay on track fairly easily. No extra expenses or guests. I am going to make a meal plan today, which will help keep food costs under control.

I am feeling much better. I think I pulled a muscle in my neck from caughing so much...or kocked something out of joint...but it has sure hurt. I massaged and tried heat/cold for a couple of hours last night and so far today the pain is all but gone. NOW THAT is something to smile about!!!

I apologize for the rant. I really am that grumpy and want to get over it. Do they make a pill for this?? lol. If I leave the house today, I promise to behave. Big Grin




DD3 got a job!

August 23rd, 2012 at 02:17 am

DD3 found out today that she got a job up in Alaska with the company her dad is working for. It is a seasonal job that will last about 4 months. She is excited for the opportunity. I have mixed feelings- but am happy that her dad will be there too. I dont know if she will come home mid-shift or if she will just get a day or two off somewhere during the season. She will learn more next month and will start sometime in October.

I spent $5 on a sandwich today for lunch. Dinner was leftovers...so a fairly inexpensive day.

I am eager to start baking. It is still too hot to get motivated to heat the house with the oven...but it should start cooling off soon and then the baking will begin.

Looking forward to this weekend and having my friend from California here for a visit. Unfortunately, I will only get to see her one day, Saturday. But that will still be fun!

Otherwise, its pretty quiet with the hub back up in Alaska.



Back to Alaska for the hub..

August 22nd, 2012 at 03:07 am

The hub is heading back to Alaska tomorrow. He will be back in three weeks. It will be busy while he is gone with out of town visitors and three birthdays. I am still dealing with this cold, but am definately on the mend. Just a residual cough now. I really havent had much energy until the past day or so...that was quite a bad cold actually.

Tonight we took DD3 (20) and her new bf to dinner at Olive Garden. He seems like a really nice young man. DD3 has not had good luck picking her bfs...but I am impressed with this one. A good job, manners, and very nice towards her. Dinner was $108 including tip. Not cheap, but everyone enjoyed themselves and the dinner was good.

Now back to the budget. I had enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I plan to stick close to a budget these next three weeks.

DD2 is pondering the budget advice I gave her. (Thanks for all the suggestions). She was told that starting Sept 1, she gets all her hours back- so she should be ok after that. The hub and I did buy her new tires for her van. We couldnt let her drive on the tires she had knowing the babies would be with her...The hub used his firewood money to pay for them...$400. His next hitch home will be spent processing wood....but that $$ will go into his account to replenish what he spent helping kids out this hitch. (Thankfully the $$ didnt have to come out of the household budget!!)

This coming weekend, my friend from California is coming to visit. I get to spend Saturday with her. I am really looking forward to girlfriend time...especially now that I am feeling better. Not sure yet what we will do, just know whatever it is will be enjoyable!!





Newbie budget...what do you recommend.

August 18th, 2012 at 07:28 pm

Not for me, but for my DD2...a little more on that in a minute...

I am so glad it is the weekend. It is tough to work when you are as run down as Ive been. The cold/cough was no fun but add in this heatwave and I was drained all week.

I am feeling better today. I have cleaned out my fridge and scrubbed it down, which feels great. It was needing attention. It never fun to see waste..and my fridge had several expired and even science experiment worthy items. But, now its nice and sparkly again. I am washing my sheets and cleaning...After feeling so useless, it feels good to be productive.

The one good thing about being sick is that Ive reduced my appetite and Ive been eating much healthier. I plan to continue on this course and see if I cant lose some weight for the rest of the year.

Tonight we have been invited to our friends house for dinner. They went deep sea fishing several weeks ago and want to share their cod with us. We have this couple over fairly often, and they are treating tonight, so we just have to show up! A free, relaxing evening with good friends sounds wonderful!!

I sat down with DD2 today to try to help her get budget focused. She is a struggling single mom, who tries...but she could do better. I suggested she read Mary Hunts "Freedom Account" article for starters. I know I have used a freedom account for years and it has been very useful. Im not sure if she will look at it or not. But I will keep tossing suggestions her way. To her benefit, she has no debt outside of her rent and utilities and cell phone. She could just be better at allocating what she gets so that she isnt in such a pickle when things like new tires and dr visits come up. I know there is so much out there to guide her to...what do you guys recommend??? What has worked for you?

The hub is back home until Wednesday. It is nice to have him here- he is changing DD3s brakes right now...but after, it will be a relaxing afternoon and evening.



ITS HOT outside

August 16th, 2012 at 02:01 am

I am FINALLY back to feeling somewhat normal again. Whatever I came down with kicked my hiney. High fever for 2-3 days followed by very congested lungs. I worked half day on Monday and Tuesday, only to come home and spend the rest of the day in bed. I made it at work all day today.

Although the hub is on his rotation home, he is gone to training this week in California. The company pays all expenses and he is paid 10 hrs per day for the training..which is nice to get extra pay, but I wish he was home. We missed time at the beginning of our vacation...then I got sick...and now hes gone to training. At least he will be home 4 days before he heads back to Alaska next week.

I stopped on the way home tonight to pick up some food for the week ($54). However, the house is so hot, I dont really feel like eating-nor do I want to heat the house any more by cooking... so I opted for some nice cold grapes. I have the shades all pulled in my bedroom and the fans going- my airconditioner has a hard time keeping up when it is this hot outside...so for now, Im using plan b, which is working ok.

I forgot to water my tomato plants yesterday, so I made sure to go out and check them when I got home...clearly, they are LOVING this hot weather. I watered them and they are doing great. No tomatoes yet, but the plants look very healthy.

Blasted fever fog...

August 12th, 2012 at 05:54 pm

Im starting to see through the fever fog. After two days of near delirium, I am up and able to focus a little, thanks to meds. Still not sure what I have, but antibiotics are working and my fever feels like it is way down this morning. Cost of meds and visit, $60.

Food has been more $$than I had planned for the weekend. The hub has been in control and since I would say sure to anything .. he and DD2 and DD3 ate fast food and pizza. (I had chicken noodle soup or toast)

However, since we didnt go anywhere to use the budget for entertainment, the food was covered.

I just took my temp, it is still 100.1 so I am not doing as well as I thought...but maybe a full day on the antibiotics will kick the fever once and for all. Frown

I have sproadically felt like looking at pinterest and so many are posting fall and holiday pins..It puts me in the mood to start planning, but I just dont have the energy. I am excited for fall. The soups and foods that I love mostly are during the fall time. (Not to mention all the football and snacks!)

I know on the drive from San Fran to San Jose, KeepingitFrugal shared some of her fall recipes and I want to make sure to ask her for those recipes. I love it when recipes are shared here...cause they are almost always frugal and easy...

This is a get better day...since its back to work tomorrow. Staying quiet, taking meds and drinking lots of water. not much else on the radar today.



Fever...no bueno.

August 10th, 2012 at 02:12 pm

One thing I didnt count on while travelling, was getting sick. Of course, it makes perfect sense that when you are around hundreds of different people over the course of a week, visiting several touristy places, you might pick something up. Drats. 101.5 this morning..so far it is feeling like my asthmatic lungs are the culprit, but not many symptoms beyond the fever and a little trouble breathing. Thankfully, it didnt start until I got home (2am this morning)...

Hopefully this will run its course by Sunday, since I go back to work on Monday. pffft.

The hub worked an extra day on this rotation (when his flight was cancelled at the beginning of our vacation.) He also worked some extra OT, so his check has an extra $400 on it. I will put it towards the debt that we are chipping away on. Also, next week, the hub has to go to training for four days. This will be 'extra' money that we hadnt counted on - so that will go toward house repairs. My house will need to be painted next year, so I need to start saving for that.

We are in the midst of birthday season in our family. Aug 1, 2, 5, 9 (anniversary, the hub and I have now been married 22 years!) 29, Sept 2, 8, 8 (yep two on that day). So I am quickly depleting the birthday account. Thankfully, after these, there is a repreive until Nov- when the next slew of birthdays start... Nov 16, 22, Dec 21, 24, Jan 2, 27. Keeping up with this big family is a job!!

I was supposed to have a playdate with a girlfriend today...but that wont happen now. DARN IT. But it will probably save me some $$ to stay home. :/ I just wished I didnt feel so stinkin crummy. bleh.

Home

August 10th, 2012 at 01:04 am

We arrived home at midnight last night. I thought I would share some sights with my SA friends.

This is the boat we took for the Kenai Fjord tour.



This is the town of Seward, taken from the boat as we sailed towards the Kenai Fjord glaciers. The day was very cloudy and we got some rain, but it was hardly noticable because of all the great things we saw.



Views on the train between Seward and Anchorage:






I have calculated a rough budget and we came in well under budget, so all in all, a fantastic trip- in spite of the bumps along the way.

Most of my pictures are 1-2 minute video clips that I took on my ipad. I will see if I cant figure out how to share some of those images too. That is where I catured all the glacier and animal sightings...except for these guys from the Sealife Center...



Waiting at the airport

August 8th, 2012 at 10:43 pm

The vacation is coming to an end. It has been such an awesome week. I have gotten to ride trains, buses, boats and have seen whales, moose, bear, carribou, sea lions, otters, puffins, eagles, seals and lots of other fish. And the best...was seeing and hearing a huge glacier...wow,

Thankfully, the hub finally caught up with me Saturday night, so we had 3 full days together. (His flight off the north slope was cancelled on Thursday and didnt go out again until Friday night, then he had to catch a bus the next day and travel 6 hours to catch up with me..)

Alaska is a gorgeous state this time of year. Everything is green or greener. (except the glacier, which is blue). The food has been phenominal..and the people have been very friendly.

Everything is more expensive here. But I am certain we stayed within budget. I plan to do a little accounting on the 3 plus hour plane trip ahead of us.

I will post pictures after we get home. What an amazing adventure!!

Beautiful Vacation, just not what Id planned

August 4th, 2012 at 07:09 pm

I am writing this by the fire in the lodge Im staying at in Denali, Alaska, It is so gorgeous here. At home, the weather is 105 today. Here, a brisk 48 - hense the fire. I am in hot flash heaven...lol.

I cant begin to describe how beautiful this state is. Yesterday, I took an 8 hour train ride through the most beautiful country. WOW. So far, I have had several phenominal meals, mostly fish- since it is so fresh here. I am literally in paradise. I will post pics soon.

THe only problem, MY HUSBAND ISNT HERE....yet.

The planes off the slope were all cancelled on Thursday because of fog. FOG??? Then, he didnt get out until late yesterday afternoon. He had been up 36 hours and ended up sleeping on a bench at the airport in Anchorage (where we were supposed to meet on Thursday)...

It is now Saturday and am hoping he caught the 7am bus...which will get here in an hour or so....(6 hour bus trip for him). I have tried to enjoy the first half of vacation by myself. And I have, its just NOT what I expected. But life is like that sometimes, isnt it. So I have made the best of it.

And it has been amazing so far. This afternoon, we are meeting up with an old friend of the hubs and his wife. They live here in ALaska...he is actually the friend that talked the hub into considering a job up here. They have a new baby, so I am eager to see them.

Tomorrow we leave this beautiful lodge to head to Seward...and the adventures there. But for today, I am soaking up the beauty and trying to capture everything in pictures.

Because the hub hasnt been here, I am well under budget for the trip. Maybe even ahead, since he worked an extra day. I hope he enjoys the second half as much as I have enjoyed the first.

Smile

Free upgrade on the sortof free ticket

August 1st, 2012 at 04:58 pm

My airline ticket for my vaca was free because of my mileage account. Well, then again, I have paid a fee for the mileage card for the past two years, so in that sense, the ticket cost $100. (normally I pay $600-700 for the hubs tickets so I am still ahead.) I am able to log in 24 hours before the flight and upgrade seats for free- which I did this morning. Big Grin

I am enjoying this extra day off. I slept in a little, have read several blogs and had some coffee...and next I will start loading the suitcase.

I will miss my son-in-law and grandsons birthdays while I am gone, so we are going to dinner tonight to celebrate. Its one of those restaurants where you sit around a grill and the chef chops and cooks while telling extremely corny jokes -(adds to the fun IMO). I love going there, but save it for only special events. I will digress for a minute to add that it is also always bittersweet to go there... Before my dad passed, he had been pretty sick and spent about three weeks in the hospital and assisted living. When he was released, he said he wanted to go to this restaurant- because he had thought while he was really sick that hed never get to go there again...sadly, he was released and within a day his health again deteriorated and he never got to go. Frown
The night he passed, we all went to the restaurant for him...and go each year on either his or my moms birthdays. But we have a good time when we go and always toast nana and papa. THe young ones LOVE it when they light the 'volcano' (stacked onion rings with oil poured inside.)

My tomato plants look MUCH happier this morning than they did last night. No sign of the black widow..which isnt all that reassuring. :/ So long as I can water safely, I am not too worried...but will still get the yards sprayed as there are constantly youngsters here and I dont want to risk a bite. And I know that when there is one black widow, there are others.

I cant wait to start harvesting from the plants and putting some of my fellow blogger ideas to use!!

Ok, time to get serious about this trip. YEEHAW>