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Archive for August, 2013

December in August blog

August 28th, 2013 at 03:06 pm

Today was library day. I took back all the books that I read while on vacation and checked out several new ones. I love leaving the library with a book bag full of reading options to enjoy. I am 2/3 of the way through with the book on CD that I am listening to "Unbroken". My drive to and from work each day is 30 mins each way, so having a book to makes the drive fly by. I found a new one to enjoy when this one is done- the new Danielle Steele book (Sins of the Mother?)

Anyway, free is always my favorite price for treats like this!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posted a blog "December in August". It mentions military families as the audience, but this is good basic information for anyone, especially with Christmas under 4 short months away. Anyway, it was nice to see something on their site besides regulation. Big Grin Made for a fun diversion to my afternoon.

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/december-in-august/

The hub ended up bbqing chicken for dinner last night. He mentioned hot dogs for dinner tonight, but I am really hoping he has a change of heart. Tomorrow is his birthday, so we will most likely go out tomorrow night.

No meal plan = No Bueno!

August 26th, 2013 at 07:35 pm

Ack.

I *dislike* coming home and not having a dinner plan. We didn't go shopping yesterday after returning from our vacation- and I had used up most of the stuff in the fridge/freezer before we left. (and DD3 finished off the few things left while we were gone) The hub got hung up over at his friends fixing the power steering on my car and I got home to...not much.

Usually I have something made from the crockpot, or some soup in the freezer...but no such luck tonight. My choices, a hot dog or DD3 had made a frozen lasagna and offered to bring a plate over. Thank you to DD3- but ugh, it was not very good. :/

Lesson learned. Time to restock the freezer!

Tomorrow, I have a lunch meeting at work, so lunch is paid for.

We had a pack of chicken breasts left in the freezer from camping. I am going to toss that into the crockpot in the morning to cook up for some soup, lunches and to have some premade in the freezer for easy meal prep.

Back to the daily routine

August 25th, 2013 at 09:27 pm

We are home from our week away and I am getting ready to head back to work tomorrow.

I love my morning coffee and am lucky that my job provides it free. I just need to pick up a container of creamer each week. I usually spend about $3 for the creamer. I drink two cups each morning for .60.

While I am at the store, I will also pick up some inexpensive lunch supplies. My goal is to keep lunch to $3 or less per day.

Dinners will be the hubs responsibility.

Sept 3-6 are work out of town days, spouses invited. Planning session time. So the hub and I will get to stay at a resort for a few days, all meals included. During the day I will work, while he plays. Then at nights, it will be team bonding for staff and spouses. Should be fun. The hub is staying 4 extra days to attend. Luckily, when we changed his airline ticket, there were no extra charges or fees.

The hubs birthday is on Thursday, his present was included in the new trailer and generator package. Sept 2 and 8 are birthdays for 2 granddaughters and DD2.

I have DD2s gift, just need gifts for 6 year old and 8 year old girls.

End of a wonderful week using our new trailer. This is our example of spending in one area (the new trailer that we plan to use long into retirement)...while shaving what we can in others (less expensive vacation destinations, weekly food budget coffee at work, etc).

Last night camping surprise

August 24th, 2013 at 09:42 pm

This campground we are staying at tonight offers a special treat on Saturday nights. They set up a big campfire, provide free hot dogs and s'mores and lemonade or iced tea. The whole campground is invited.

We joined in and had such a nice time. There was a guest there who played his guitar and sang good campfire music. Then, he had another guest join in- her voice was so beautiful. She sang Patsy Cline's Crazy. People told stories and shared their adventures and we enjoyed the company, the fire and a free meal.

NICE.

It was just a sweet end to a wonderful week.

Vacation

August 24th, 2013 at 05:03 pm

Greetings from the last night of vacation!

We have enjoyed a peaceful week along a river in our new 5th wheel. It has been sooo nice. We arrived at the campground on Monday afternoon. There is much to be said about arriving after the weekend as most of the sites were available! We picked out a really nice one, where the river rushes over the rocks and drowns out all other noise. The campground was $18 per night- or $90 for the 5 nights.

Here is a view from the campground:




On Wednesday night, a big thunderstorm passed over. The sky grew dark and the clouds boomed for hours. It rained most of the night. We sat outside under the awning until the wind started blowing the rain our way. Then, we came inside and enjoyed the show from the warmth of the trailer.

I checked out lots of books from the library and brought them with. Books on frugality, cookbooks, a couple of novels, a book on ancient ruins, travel books. 15 books in all. And I have enjoyed them immensely.

The hub fished, we sat outside next to the river for hours on end, went for walks and even enjoyed two of the daughters when they came for a visit. (The campground is just an hour from home)

Tonight, we came to a full hookup campsite *($32) (11 miles down the road) so that we could dump and clean the trailer before heading home in the morning.

We cooked all but two meals at camp. There is a cute, rustic restaurant within walking distance of the campground that makes good old fashioned burgers and homemade pie...we went there twice. A real treat!

It is always sad when vacation comes to an end. This is no exception- but it has been a very enjoyable week filled with new awesome memories!

Who needs new toys when there is imagination..

August 11th, 2013 at 10:56 am

For the last few days my sons kids (5 and 3) have been staying with me. DD3 has taken care of them during the day while I work, and I took over after work. It has been so much fun.

Before they got here, I considered buying some new toys for them to play with while here...but decided not to. I am so glad I did not.

We have an old hand-me-down wooden swing set with a slide, a wooden fort that the hub built, a smaller playhouse that my parents bought at a yard sale for $15 about 7 years ago, a few old Tonka trucks and two acres.

The kids found a frog, and set him up with a "pond" in an old bucket. Even used some oak leaves as lily pads.

They each got a bowl to fill with interesting rocks.

They each found a "special hideout" on the property. Not really hideouts at all, but somewhere that was theirs to claim. A stack of scrap wood and some bushes were all they needed.

They learned how to start the washing machine and pour in soap and then watch for the rinse cycle to add conditioner. Sitting on top of the washer while waiting for the washer to finish spinning was fun.

They each have a special blanket that they take everywhere. They washed and line dried their own blankets and were so proud of how nice they smelled and that THEY did it all by themselves. Hanging clothes and checking to see if they were dry was fun....and then there is always the hiding places in hanging sheets and towels.

We sat outside at night and stargazed. I learned they like to sit in my lap because I am the "soft and fluffy" gramma. Smile (Out of the mouths of babes)

My dog and cat were very patient. My cat tends to not hang around when little ones are here, but surprisingly, he allowed himself to be carted around and petted numerous times. (Followed by a very "I cant believe I did that" cleaning- cats are so funny)

In the mornings, this is what I woke up to:


And when they went back to mom, they said they had the best time.

I remember spending time with my gramma when I was little. I hope they have fond memories of their time here when they are older. Im so blessed.

Today I am getting the house cleaned back up and getting ready for the week ahead. 5 days before vacation.

Small and simple...at least for now

August 6th, 2013 at 07:53 pm

I finished listening to one of the books on CD that I checked out from the library. "Sail" by James Patterson. It was a good mystery. Having the books to listen to have totally transformed my driving time. I really enjoy it. I have two more to tide me over until the next library visit. A Danielle Steele book, and another James Patterson.

I have been in the small house (390 sq ft) just over 2 months now. I have weeded out all but the necessities in the house. Honestly, this is plenty of space to live. Living with a grown lab and a cat make it more of a challenge, but it works.

Small space living forces organization. Everything has to have a home- otherwise, it gets cluttered fast. It also forces me to really think about what I buy. There isn't room for new 'things' unless I get rid of something else first. I waste less food. The fridge is smaller, so I tend to buy what I need and then use it. Also, I plan my meals around my crock pot, electric skillet, rice cooker and microwave. Usually in that order.

Laundry- I have to carry it down to the other house where the washer is...so I try to keep dirty laundry to a minimum. Towels are reused, clothes are hung up after wearing them, sheets are washed on Sundays...I use the washer...everything gets hung on the line to dry.

Most of the mail gets tossed in the trash on the way back from the mailbox, so there is no stack to sort through later.

Water for consumption is a little trickier. I keep several gallon jugs that I fill each week at DD1s. I always keep a few empty jugs in the car incase I have an opportunity to refill.

All in all, it is simpler here. At least for now.

Another busy day

August 4th, 2013 at 06:28 pm

Today was the birthday party. DD1 hosted it at a local pizza parlor. Everyone had a good time, it was nice to visit with my girls and see the grandbabies. The birthday boy had fun and received several new Power Ranger toys, which I am sure he will enjoy.

I came home and got all the laundry done. I also finished the book "Gap Creek" which I checked out from the library last weekend. It was a good story. I really enjoyed it. It is so relaxing to just get lost in a good book.

When it cools down tonight, I plan to clean out my car.

I am two weeks away from a week long vacation. I cant wait. We are going to go pick up the new 5th wheel and go camping at our favorite place along the river. I have missed camping. At least camping as we call it.

Tonight I enjoyed some of the slow cooker ribs I made yesterday. There is still enough left for 2-3 more meals. I am going to put the rest into meals size portions for lunches.

This next week is a busy one after work:

Monday: Scheduled massage with therapist Smile
Tuesday: medical procedure (third test to see whats up)
Wednesday: Sleepover with my sons two kiddos (5 and 3)
Thursday: free baseball game with box seat tickets and food Smile
Friday: Sleepover with sons kiddos again

Hopefully, sometime this week I can catch a few of the Perseids (meteor shower). I love nature's freebies and have enjoyed watching the Perseids in past years. DD3 and I sat outside for a while after dark last night, but I think that was too early. Hopefully by Friday, we can see them.


Busy, productive, inexpensive day

August 3rd, 2013 at 05:32 pm

Today was a very productive day.

I had a sleepover last night with DD1's two little ones so DD1 and SIL could go out for SILs birthday. The grandbabies were up by 6am and I needed to have them home by 9ish for soccer.

After I dropped them off, I went and got my grandsons birthday present. He turns 5 tomorrow and is about to start kindergarten, so I got a back pack- which came with a free lunch kit. I also got him a Power Rangers toy that he really wanted. I have a budget for birthdays with a set amount for each person, and his came in just under...I also bought 4 boxes of crayons (24) for .25 for each box. Those always come in handy for grandkid visits and stocking stuffers.

Then, I went to the dollar store for the wrapping. While there I bought a couple of birthday cards for friends. (August and September are very busy birthday months for me!!)

Then, I stopped by a local spa and bought a gift certificate for DD2s birthday next month. (again, within budget) THis is the daughter who has 2 of her own and Z, our little foster guy...she is also a single mom that works full time...so a massage is perfect for her!

Then, I went to the library and spent TWO HOURS browsing. I checked out two more books on CD and 5 books -1 short novel, a cookbook, a book about people of the stone age, a book on frugality, which DD3 is probably going to borrow and a non-fiction from an author I wanted to read. I just love the library. The books on CD are wonderful when you have a 25 minute commute. I look forward to the drive and the time flies. Sadly, our library system is on the chopping block if the budget doesn't pencil out. I got there before they opened and counted 30 people waiting for it to open. By the time I left the library it was once again (as every Saturday I am there) VERY busy.

Finally, I came home and tossed some boneless ribs and potatoes in the crockpot for dinner and did some housework. Now I am enjoying a late afternoon visit with DD3 who is home from Alaska. She wanted to watch Project Runway, so we are watching it together and enjoying critiquing.

Tomorrow is the birthday party for SIL and GS. It will also be laundry day.

All in all a great weekend so far.