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Archive for March, 2013

A beautiful Easter

March 31st, 2013 at 05:03 pm

I woke up this morning to little Z patting my cheek, smiling at me and saying "ake up gma". Happy Easter to me! What a memory to treasure. He slept next to me last night and inched me right off the king sized bed during the night- but after I moved to the other side I got some sleep. (just a note to self...bio fam did not call Z this weekend. No attemp to wish him a happy Easter, whatsoever.)

DD1 had a houseful for brunch. There were 16 of us and we enjoyed a full spread of eggs, sausage, bisquits, gravy, hashbrowns, fruit and juice. After we ate, the adults hid eggs and I did dishes. Then, all the kids went and hunted eggs. Egg hunting is always such fun, no matter what age you are. Z found his share, and continued looking long after the originals were all found and everyone else was done. DD3 kept rehiding eggs behind him and he was entertained for a long time. The older kids had so much fun with each other. There is nothing quite like cousin time when you are young.

DD1 bought everything for breakfast- so I chipped in $40 towards the bill. I was so greatful that she hosted the morning that I didnt mind paying for lion's share of the food.

I came home to an empty house. DD3 went to visit a friend and will be gone a couple of days, so I have the house to myself. After a busy weekend, I was ready for a few hours to myself. I am still cleaning and decluttering, just not as fast today. I am putzing between reading, laundry and decluttering.

I made a big pot of black bean and chicken soup, which will be lunch and dinner for a couple of days. I still need to make oatmeal for breakfasts, but will do that after I get the soup cooled and put away.

I was channel surfing a little earlier and an Oprah Lifeclass show was on. Nick Vujicic was featured during the show. He is such an inspirational speaker. Each time I see him, I am inspired to be a better person.

Its been a beautiful day.

Happy Easter

March 30th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter- no matter if or how you celebrate-I hope you have a day filled with love, family, friends,and deviled egg or chocolate bunny.

Our little ones will be hunting eggs and playing with cousins. Should be a great day!

Hugs to all!

Spring cleaning continues!

March 30th, 2013 at 05:17 pm

Today was a productive day.

After a fun date night with my 7 yo granddaughter last night, she woke up a little after 7am and we made some refrigerator cinnamon rolls- (a grandkid favorite- they were on sale, and at 10 minutes to bake, they were too easy to pass up after a long tiring week) Gramma had some much needed coffee too.

After her mom picked her up, I started cleaning the back patio. Last weekend I brought my vintage hutch in from out there and all the stuff that came out of it needed to either find a new home, be donated or tossed. (Most of it was tossed. I am very pleased with the results this afternoon! My patio is cleaned and swept, the patio furniture is scrubbed, toys are all organized and I am ready to spend some Spring time out there!

DD3 and I loaded up a big box and a bag full of Goodwill donations. Clothes, books, knicknacks, misc dishes, etc. We took the hubs truck (and I drove, to make sure I would be ok driving it). That went fine- Im not sure why I have always been intimidated by it. After dropping off the Goodwill stuff, we stopped by the dollar store and I got a few things to hand out to grandkids tomorrow. Just little stuff. Their moms are also starting their spring cleaning and have been donating/tossing as much as possible, so I didnt feel a need to buy more stuff. I spent $18, which was a candy, sidewalk chalk and a ball or bubbles each child. I also bought a new bucket to use for general cleaning and watering some of the plants here...(I noticed my old bucket had cracked and so it got tossed this morning).

We stopped for groceries that should last for most of the week ($58)- which is a big bag of chicken, some pasta, black bean soup fixins, milk, fruits and veggies.

DD2 asked if we (DD3 and I) could keep Z tonight. DD3 has missed him and wanted to spent time with him, not knowing how much longer we will have him..and so he has been here all afternoon. He is so stinking adorable. We watched "Wreck it Ralph"- a very cute movie, but at 2, Z is still pretty young to understand much of it...but he sat on my lap the whole movie laughed with gramma and kept telling me how funny it was. He conked out about an hour ago and is asleep in the big bed.

After Z wakes from his nap, DD3 will take over most of the babysitting tonight. I plan to read, finish laundry and tackle a closet or two.

I received the $208 check in the mail for the refund on the cabin reservation that I cancelled. I was hoping the refund would arrive without problem, and it did..Now to wait for the check to clear! Smile

Today was a great day. Tomorrow we are all invited to DD1s for brunch. Then, I just plan to relax and enjoy the rest of the day here at home.

Got my car back, but its not fixed yet

March 29th, 2013 at 02:11 pm

The hub's friend who is fixing my car called last night and said I could come and pick it up today. The new part wont be here for 5-7 days, but, since he is leaving on vacation, he put it back together and changed the steering fluid so it is drivable for short distances (back and forth to work). Either my SIL or the hub will replace the pump when it comes in. In the meantime, I will baby the car and use it only as necessary.

It is SO hard to be at work this afternoon. It is a gorgeous, sunny day. Unfortunately, my office gets too hot when the sun is out, so I have to keep the blinds closed- which means I cant even look out the window and enjoy the sunny-ness! Frown I sure hope this weather carries over to tomorrow-.

Not much financial news this afternoon. Today was the hubs payday and everything went where it was planned to go.

Still no car

March 28th, 2013 at 03:49 pm

I miss my car. I havent had time to try driving the hubs rig and have relied on DD3 taxi-ing me around. NOT fun.

The hub suggested last night that I should consider replacing my car so it doesnt start nickel and diming us. hmmm. This, from my mechanic husband... My car, a 2005 Kia Amanti, has only 85,000 miles on it. Ive owned it since 2007. I would hope there are still many good years left on it before we get to that point. However, I will definately track any problems with the car so that I we will know for sure. Aside from this week, the car is still in really good (cosmetic) condition and is very comfy to drive, so unless I really need to change, doing so is not on my near-future to do list. (Nor do I want it to be).

The hubs paycheck is $200 more than budgeted. However, he had a couple of charges on his visa that we payoff each month. The net extra is being absorbed into the food budget. Having DD3 living with me and not having a car have both added to convenience foods this week. Whatever is extra will go towards the car repair bill.


March 27th, 2013 at 07:44 pm

ZERO. CC#3 is finally at the magic number!

Now to work on the final debts. I was going to rebuild savings, but it stll does not make sense. The last unsecured debt I have is a visa at my job that is 100% accessible if there is an emergency...so I will apply all extra money there, until it is also PIF. Granted, putting everything towards this debt can give me a false negative (Christmas club $, vacation $, freedom acct $, etc..and the balance will vacillate accordingly...but every dollar saved there, means less interest charged to me in the long run.) It just means I have to TRACK every penny in and out of this account so that I stay on track.

While I am paying down this debt, normal payments will go towards the car...Speaking of the car, it will be about 8-10 days before I have it back and drive-able. Not having my car is no fun. The good news is that the bill to fix it will be under $200, which is well below what is in the car repair account, thank goodness!

Time to think. I have a plan.

March 26th, 2013 at 07:16 pm

11 hours, most of them in the car today. For a whole bunch of that time, radio was out of service area. What's a girl to do but solve all of lifes issues floating around in her brain.

My thinking theme today was the stress that clutter is putting my my life. I constantly shuffle and try to organize..only to do it all again and again. Its time to minimalize my possessions.

When I stopped for lunch, I made a starter list of all the things to go through and thin out:

The toy closet
the garage
blankets and sheets
bathroom products that either didnt work, or I havent used
Kitchen gadgets

This is my starter list. Also on the side burner..the garage, old jewelry, miscellaneous storage drawers, old electronics and cords.

My goal is to end of with less of most of these items than I keep. Spring cleaning started tonight. I weeded through my dresser drawers and got rid of everything that doesnt work or that I dont use. Some was trash, some will go to goodwill. I succeeded on tossing more than I kept. Smile

CC3 payment is pending...tomorrow I should have a nice ZERO balance. I havent heard anything about the car.

The coast was gorgeous again today. I had a late lunch with a beautiful ocean view. What a treat. However, after 11 hours, I was ready to be back home and in my jammies. (The ones that made the cut!)

Smile Life is good!

Long day tomorrow!

March 25th, 2013 at 08:33 pm

When I arrived home tonight my car was gone. This is a good sign because the friend who came over to look at it while I was at work said he would take it if he felt he could fix it. If not, he would leave it here. Since it is gone, he must have thought he could fix it!

I drove one of the work rigs home tonight. I am going to the coast tomorrow to visit one of our locations, and will be leaving pretty early, so I was able to bring the work vehicle home. I will return it tomorrow afternoon when I get back in town and hopefully, my car will be here!

I had leftover chicken picatta for lunch and dinner today. Since I will be on the road tomorrow, a morning mocha and lunch will be provided by work.
I should be home in time for dinner, which very well could be leftovers again, since there is still plenty!

Tomorrow will be a long day with 3 hours of travel on each end.

Note to self-

March 25th, 2013 at 11:53 am

I made reservations last week to stay in a 'rustic' cabin the first weekend in June. (Which is my birthday weekend) The hub had suggested it. We have never been to this lake and so I thought it would be fun.

Unfortunately, after I booked it, I started looking at reviews. Uh-oh. Complaint on top of complaint about the dirtiness (filthiness) of the cabins and the condition/broken-ness of the old furniture and appliances. And more complaints about the really bad service from the staff. To top it off, a friend said she camped there several years ago and the mosquitos were horrible. I really dont like mosquitoes...

So I called the hub back and asked why he suggested it. He said a co-worker fishes there...but has never stayed there. The hub wanted to watch a fishing derby that weekend. ACK. Not the birthday get-away I would have planned.

I called and cancelled the reservation today. They promise to return my deposit via check within 2 weeks. Hopefully, it will be that easy.
Note to self...check out the hubs suggestions from now on BEFORE booking.

I hope to learn what is wrong with my car this afternoon. And I really hope it can be fixed this week.

Tomorrow, CC#3 will be PIF. I sooo enjoy logging into the accounts and seeing ZERO balance owed, but that will take another couple of days after the payment transfers.

My accomplishment today-

March 24th, 2013 at 07:11 pm

Today was a stay at home day.

I perused pinterest last night, which always inspires me in one way or another. I decided to look around my home and see what I could redecorate with that I already owned. I found it on my back porch..

When I moved into this house, I decided to put a cabinet I have had for about 30+ years on the covered patio to hold our bbq supplies. It has been out there for two years collecting some dust and just aging.

I decided it needed to come in the house. So I reorganized my dining room and made room for it...brought it in, cleaned it up and here is the result:

This is a vintage piece, (Napanee Kitchenete) so shame on me for not having it displayed accordingly- but it now has a place of honor in my home. The chicken on the shelf was my grandmothers. I can remember seeing that above her old antique stove as a little girl when I spent time with her. The butter churn was one of my moms favorite antiques that she found in her antique collecting days about 35 years ago. (Both of those pieces were kept inside, not outside with the hutch.)

DD3 wanted chicken picatta tonight, so I made a nice big batch. It was very tasty and will provide leftovers for several days. Smile

My SIL came by today to look and listen to my car. His suspicion is that the power steering pump is going out. He called someone and found out the part is a little over $100. A friend of the hubs who is also a mechanic is coming by tomorrow to see if he can fix it or not. If he can, I should have the car back in a day or two. If not, I will drive the hubs truck until the hub gets home. Hopefully, it can be fixed quickly. I am more comfortable in my car than that big truck.

I have loved having a couple days away from work this weekend. I stayed so busy today that I didnt have time to think of how busy the week ahead is going to be.

I am so glad I brought the hutch inside. This really is one of my favorite pieces of furniture! Isnt it cute?

Murphy strikes again...

March 23rd, 2013 at 08:07 pm

I scheduled a transfer to payoff cc#3 yesterday. Within a couple hours, I was driving my car and the steering went kaput. Not sure what happened- but the steering wheel no longer aligns with the tire direction and it is really hard to turn. I checked the power steering fluid- looks ok. Of course, the hub wont be home for 3 weeks. So, my sil is coming over tomorrow to take a look- and hopefully, this isnt a hugely expensive problem. Until it is fixed, I will have to drive the hubs tank of a truck that I have never driven.


I am still committed to paying CC3 as planned.

I currently have $350 in the car repair fund, and I have money in my allowance savings that I can use. I really hope the car repair fund will cover whatever is wrong.

blasted Murphy...talk to the hand.

I returned the magazines I checked out last week to the library. So far so good, no late fees!

Date night with Gs (age 4) was fun last night. At one point he came up to me and said "gramma, I need to tell you a secret"...then he whispered in my ear "I love you so much" and followed with a sweet little kiss on my cheek.

So funny story..I went to the mall with my girls and grandkids today. GD (age 7) rode with me. On the drive we were talking about her style sense (mismatched bright striped socks, a lion print hat, etc.) and I told her she was 'fashion forward' and that gramma used to mismatch her socks on purpose in high school. We got to talking about what she could be when she grows up..fashion designer sounded boring..and I told her she could do anything she wanted, so long as she paid attention in school and did her best. I asked her what she thought she wanted to do....and she said...
"well, I can count to one hunderd while jumping on one foot"...lol. Nuff said...we then discussed her new stuffed animal that was joining us for the day.

I love kids. They can say the darndest things.

CC#3 decision

March 22nd, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I have been pondering cc#3 a LOT lately.

Why am I slowly paying off that debt, when I could pay it off with savings and then rebuild savings.

If I pay the cc off now, I will still have about $5k in the emergency fund, and I will have the savings repaid by year end by paying savings back with the payment schedule I had planned for paying the credit card.

So, I did it. The payment is all set for Tuesday.

Now, not to hyperventilate too much. Big Grin

The hubs payday and an update on Z

March 21st, 2013 at 07:25 pm

The hub called last night with his schedule for the next few months. He is ending his 4/2 rotation, but not until the end of May. This means he will work one week more than I had thought...which means 1. a little more pay than I had budgeted for Big Grin and 2. the budget I worked for the rest of the year had to be tweaked. The way his pay works is he gets: a partial payday, followed by 2-3 full paydays, followed by a partial payday, followed by 1-2 weeks of no payday- depending on if he is 3/3 or if he is 4/2. It makes budgeting interesting. But the way it tweaked everything worked well. Of course, any extra goes towards CC#3.

Tomorrow night is date night with my grandson (age 4) who loves all things McDonalds. Hopefully, a plan B will sound better to him and we can forego the golden arches. If the weather is nice, I will suggest the park and a dinner picnic, follwed by an ice cream cone on the way home.

I didnt realize that our library only checks magazines out for one week, with no renewals- which means they are due Saturday AND I cant put them in the book drop. So, the library is on my to do list Saturday. I dont think I will check out more magazines, however.

I put my name on the reservation list for Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I have read his books before and thought a refresher would be good. I am #2 out of 2...so it will be about 5-6 more weeks until I get it. One of the novels I reserved put me at #117...that one will be a while...lol.

Update on Z:

Tomorrow was Z's permanency court date. DD2 has been preparing herself for the outcome. Today they called to tell her court was delayed, once again, until June, which is past the two year mark that Z has been with her (us). I am grateful for the extra time with him- in the meantime, DD2 feels like she is on an emotional rollercoaster. It is like peeling a bandaid off super slow.

Fabulous Girls Day today!

March 17th, 2013 at 08:44 pm

Today, I got to spend almost the entire day with my three daughters. What a great day it was. We started off with bagels and coffee in J, then did some shopping there. I bought a jasmine soy candle and a couple of small items for the kitchen at the kitchen store.

Then, we went to office depot so DD3 could look for a tablet or netbook. We headed off to lunch and finally ended up at Trader Joes. I LOVED having them to myself for the day and just having girl time!

This evening I made oatmeal for the week and made up lunches for Monday and Tuesday from leftovers.

Tomorrow DD3 is going to go shopping for me to pick up dog & cat food, toilet paper, laundry soap. I also am very low on quinoa and oatmeal. I love that she is willing to go pick these things up so I didnt have to take time out of the weekend to do it. Normally they hub does this type of shopping at Walmart, and I really dont like to go there. The quinoa and oatmeal we get at the grocery store as they carry the type I use. (Thank you DD3!!)

This weekend was more spendy than normal for me when the hub is gone, but I stayed within budget and allowance. And what I gained in time with my girls was well worth it. Big Grin

Library Day and Meal Plan

March 16th, 2013 at 07:50 pm

Today, I did something I havent done in over three years...I went to the library! It felt like visiting an old friend! I had forgotten how nice it was to pick out books, magazines, browse movies..and to leave with materials to enjoy for free! One thing I noticed was that the library was much busier than I remember. I checked out 3 books and 4 Arizona Highway magazines. One of the books is a book I started reading last fall at the rental house- The House of Sand and Fog. I didnt get all the way through it and have wanted to...now I can! I got the current Danielle Steel novel "Forever Friends" and a book called Save Big.

I have always been a big fan of the library. When my kids were younger I would spend my lunch hours there, and it was my 'quiet time' during the work week..and the kids and I would go together on the weekends. We are fortunate and have a big, beautiful two story library here with lots of reading chairs throughout. I know this is a luxury that could go away. The hours have been cut back over the years because of budgeting..one year, the library was even closed for months- but for now, it is open and I am looking forward to visiting it regularly again.

Then, I stopped by the grocery store and spent $81 picking up items for DD3 and I for the next week. Tonight I am having chicken and quinoa. (DD3 went out with friends) This week we will have enchilada pie, teriyaki chicken and rice, tortellini, spaghetti, and bbq chicken. Lunch is sandwiches or leftovers, breakfast is oatmeal.

Last night was my date night with Z. We had such fun. He giggled and played and slept in the big bed with gramma. I took pics and caught some moments on video...we had a great time.

Tomorrow morning DD1, DD2, DD3 and I are going to out for bagels, coffee and girl time! I am excited to have them all together for a couple of hours. We are going to the little historical town that I love to visit which is about 30 minutes away. They homemake their bagels and their coffee is wonderful...so everyone is looking forward to the treat and the time together.

While the hub was home, he accidentally backed over the neighbors basketball that was left in the street gutter. He delivered a new one to the dad within a couple of hours when the hub came home from running errands. Today the dad delivered a plate of homemade cookies and a thank you note. How sweet. I am a stickler about looking before backing up, so in no way did I feel the family needed to thank the hub, he was at fault for not seeing the ball (thankfully it wasnt a child!)..but it was very, very sweet of them to do. I put the cookies in the freezer for the hub to enjoy when he gets home.

Taxes update

March 15th, 2013 at 03:37 pm

I picked up the taxes from our accountant yesterday. I will need to pay $6700 for 2012 taxes by tax day..and also pay $1630 in quarterly taxes for the rest of the year. *choke*..I plan to pay quarterlies in April and June and then sit down with the accountant again and see what we will really owe for the remainder of the year to pay accordingly.

CC#3 on my sidebar is still going to be paid in full by the end of the year, whether or not I have to pull from ING to do it. AND I will make a dent in the 2014 debt payoffs by the end of the year.


I cancelled the cruise and eliminated the big vacation line from the budget altogether. Until debt is paid off, we wont take one. (I left the small vacation budget that provides a means of a long weekend getaway here and there...)

I reduced our allowance budget by 25%. I eliminated all but a small deposit to savings each month, since we have our emergency fund already. I shaved from just about every line item possible to come up with the $530 per month needed to pay the extra quarterly taxes. And, I am continuing the original snowball payment amount on the debt.

Thankfully, our original budget had wiggle room in it and it wasnt too financially painful. I am so grateful that we did. AND...I am extremely happy that I used all the added income last month to pay down debt BEFORE learning about the taxes. Otherwise, I am afraid I would have used this as a convenient excuse to use the money for taxes.

So...there is the plan.

I am so glad it is Friday. Tonight is date night and it is Z's turn. I am very much looking forward to one on one time with him. Gramma needs to enjoy him while I can...

Financial Planner appointment

March 14th, 2013 at 03:58 pm

I had my appointment this morning with the financial counselor. He is also a trusted co-worker, so I have full confidence in his review and evaluation.

The short version is that I explained our debt and repayment plan, he looked at the social security, 401k and pension statements and used his fancy program to come up with a plan.

Of course, life doesnt always go as planned on paper- but he had really good news. He said that if we keep doing what we are doing (he felt we live fairly frugally for our income- yay!) that my goal of retiring at 60 is very much possible. AND he said that, again if all goes as planned, the hub could retire by 60-62 if he wanted to!!! Hurray! We have to stay focused and frugal...but he was very encouraging that it can work.

He was conservative in projections- did not include any equity growth in the homes. Although at 60, we will need to rent the home in town for either close to the payment, or sell it. Which hopefully by then should not be a problem.

He suggested considering upping our 401k contributions to lower our taxable income this year..AND then after debt is paid off, opening and contributing to Roth IRAs.

He did recommend looking into a good disability insurance plan for the hub.

Anyway... THAT is good news!!

Free green onions continue and an update on Z

March 13th, 2013 at 07:25 pm

The hub is on his way back to Alaska tonight. He got a nice surprise at the airport when he was upgraded to first class- since he flies so much he is on stand by for first class (upgrade free) and every once in a while he gets lucky!

Several weeks (a couple of months?) ago I decided to harvest my own green onions in a glass of water on the window sill. They are doing great. I have clipped them several times and I ALWAYS have fresh, organic green onions. However, once in a while I have to clean them off and out..and there is nothing worse than slimy green onions that have gone bad...yucky mess. Thankfully, I usually catch them before this point, but because I was gone last week, I had some past- that-point tonight when I weeded through them. Yuck. However, the rest are very happy and heathly and will produce lots more for my cooking and garnishments! Such an easy thing to do...and no more forgetting them at the store!!

There isnt much financial news to post about. All bills are set to payout on time between now and the end of the month. I have $5400 of the $6500 tax payment set aside for April 15th (and not a day sooner!) The rest will come out of our April 5th paychecks.

Update on Z

We got news today that there is a high likelihood that Z will be leaving us soon. His biological grand-mother, who lives several states away, will most likely get custody. My heart is broken for him, my daughter and her kids. But if the courts feel this is in his best interest, there is nothing else to do. We learn the final decision on the 22nd if not before. I hope and pray that he adjusts well to the change. Since we got back from California, he doesnt want DD2 out of his sight. So I cant imagine what losing her and the kids permanently and swiftly will do to him short and long term. Heartbreaking for one family...hopefully joyful news for another.

DD3 arrives home tomorrow at 6:30pm. I am excited to see her!!

New budget...just not as exciting as the original one

March 11th, 2013 at 08:12 pm

I finaggled the budget, pulled the cruise savings out of ING (I refuse to call it the other name), and figured out how to payoff the tax bill by April 15th. And, I wont have to touch savings. $6500. poo. But, since there is no getting around it, I am grateful we have the means to pay it by the deadline.

I am not sure what the quarterly bill will look like, but I am hoping that I can squeeze the first quarter payment out of the budget...then we should be ok budget-wise. I was able to tweak things on paper and save $700 a month for a new quarterly tax bill. Next winter, when the hub is making extra in OT, I will be sure to set aside enough to cover this expense.

The good news is that I ddnt have to change much of the debt repayment plan. Vacation savings took a hit, as did extra savings for a few months..but I have a plan we can live with.

In May, I get to work over on the coast for 5 days, training staff. This means 4 nights at the condo!! Big Grin When Im not training, I will get to work at the condo, enjoying that wonderful view. What's not to LOVE about that? My work will require at least 1-2 days a month there otherwise.

The hub leaves for Alaska on Wed for another 4 week rotation. On Thur, DD3 arrives home from hers. It will be nice to see her again!

Blogoversary - 7 Years!

March 11th, 2013 at 11:59 am

Woot! Happy Blogoversary to me! Big Grin

Here are today's stats:

•Date Started: Mar 11, 2006
•Entries: 1,213
•Comments: 5,039
•Total Visits: 3,066,095

I want to appreciate all of the fellow bloggers here who have provided friendship, support, an occasional and much needed knock on the noggin, and lots of financial advice! Each of you have made this an amazingly interesting and fun 7 years!

I had to make a big girl decision today. Because of the tax situation and what we now owe to the state...I cancelled the cruise. There was a part of me that cried NOOOOOOO....but the realistic part won. It makes no sense to pull from savings to pay this debt AND still take an extravagant vacation. I will pay the taxes, budget for future year taxes, continue on the debt trajectory, and then save for a vacation. This is so much more in line with my BHAG of retiring at 60, if not sooner.

Because it was far enough out, there were no penalties for cancelling the cruise, but I will end up paying $75 on my airline ticket. I dont think there is a fee on the hubs since he is a MVP with Alaska Air.

Day one back at work is as insanely busy as I had envisioned, so this is my very short lunch break...just taking a little time out to woot with my SA friends! Thanks for making this financial journey so much more enjoyable!

The post is dedicated to....

March 10th, 2013 at 08:49 am

This post is dedicated to all of you who read the blogs, but have never joined. Every year on my Blogoversary-EVE I send an invite out to all of you to join us!

This is a special club- very knowledgable and very supportive...and a great deal of fun!!

Registering to blog is super easy.

Just as you enjoy reading the blogs, we would enjoy learning about you and your financial journey. Whether you're just starting, are a full blown saver, or somewhere in between, EVERYONE has something to share and everyone benefits in some way.

So c'mon and join us...hop off the fence, come out of the shadows, take the dive, and become one of the SA team!

Whale Watching!

March 9th, 2013 at 04:41 pm

We didnt realize that this is the time of year for whale watching. Today we went to lunch at a little place with ocean views...and we got to watch a whale enjoying the harbor. It was out there the entire time we dined. The whale shot water through its blowhole and then we would see its tail and it would disappear for a few minutes, only to return to the same spot and start again. It was such fun! (and lunch, $30 with tip, was yummy!)

Then we headed over to the beach and sat in the sand and watched the seagulls, boats, kids playing, kites, and just visited. Quality time with the hubby-very nice!

On the way back to the condo we stopped for an ice cream cone and walked along the pier. This particular one sustained damage from the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. It was surprising how few boats were docked. A reminder that our economy has not bounced back very quickly here.

When we got back to the condo, the hub went for a short walk and I took this picture from our balcony, of him enjoying his stroll:

This vacation has gone much too fast, as they often do. I squeezed an awful lot into 8 days...but enjoyed every second..with the exception of last nights news about Gus. :/ (I spoke with DD2 a couple of times today and she and the kids are coming to terms with his being gone.)

Tomorrow we head back home and Monday its back to work for me...but I wont think about that today. Big Grin

What a difference a day has made... :(

March 8th, 2013 at 08:14 pm

From the happiest place on Earth to heartache in one day. DD2 and the kiddos, lost their little dog tonight when it was hit by a car. Poor things, they were so excited to get home and see him, and tonight they are heartbroken Frown The hub and I are at the coast and it happened after we got here, so our condolences have to be over the phone.

Ugh. So not fair for them. Such a dark cloud over their vacation.

RIP Gus:

DD3 learned that she is done with her slope job for the season, so she is coming home next week. I am so excited to see her. She has had such a good time there, and has a nice savings account even only working for 8 weeks.

The hub and I have free use of a beautiful ocean front condo this weekend, that my employer owns. As an employee perk, when it is not in use for work, we can stay here for free. I reserved it a few weeks ago..and it stayed available for the weekend. We arrived this afternoon and the weather is wonderful. The sunset was amazing, and now we are just watching some TV and relaxing. Albeit, sad for DD2 and the kids. Here is the hub sound asleep in the sun earlier:

Tomorrow we may do some sightseeing, or we may just hang out here and do some beach walking- either is fine with me so long as I dont have to spend much time in a car.

The brick wall....

March 8th, 2013 at 08:19 am

With all the financial planning Ive been focusing on recently...I didnt see this brick wall and we slammed right into it. Taxes. Specifically state taxes. I assummed this year would be similar to last year, totally overlooking the fact that the hub only worked 5 months at the slope job in 2011, which is why we got such a nice refund...they dont withhold state taxes...and so a full year at the job means a full year of state taxes to be paid. $6500. OUCH.

The good news is that we will get SOME of this back on our federal taxes. The rest I will either take from our savings, OR I will use the money we were going to stash for airline tickets for the rest of the year. (option one uses a good chunk of the emergency fund, option two means slower debt repayment)

To add to the pain, we now will pay quarterly taxes AND 2013 is the first year we will not have DD3 as a dependent...so I also have to squeeze an extra $500 or so out of the budget to pay this expense...SO...debt repayment slows even more.

Sigh...Getting ahead is tough...but the tough keep going, dont they?

We got home from our Disneyland trip last night. We had such a great time...but my feet may never forgive me. This week was a perfect one to go..the park hours are a little shorter and they dont have the firework show (these change next week), so the park wasnt crowded...and the rides were mostly walk on, with a couple exceptions- the Car ride and a couple of kid rides...the rest were 10 minute wait or walk on. NICE.

Our hotel room had a great view of California Adventure and the World of Color show each night.

Here is what a day at Disney will do to you when youre four...this was at about 6:30pm and she didnt wake up until the next morning...

Today the hub and I will head over to the coast for a FREE weekend getaway before he heads back to the slope and I go back to work.