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Archive for October, 2013

Easy dinner and planning a mental health day!

October 30th, 2013 at 04:20 am

Tonight's dinner was PB&J on toast. Sometimes simple is good and tonight was simple. Cheap, easy and quick-the perfect choice when you are home alone!

I decided to take a 'mental health' day next Monday, making the coming weekend a three day one for me. I have been working, watching grandbabies, volunteering, etc..and I am pooped. A 'me' day sounds wonderful. Do you ever just take a me day?
I am not sure how I will spend Monday, but will certainly appreciate only working four days next week, followed by a week of vacation and a four day week the week after.

We have our family trip coming up in a couple of weeks, and I am planning some surprises during the trip. I want to get little prizes for the Halloween party night and for a shuffle board contest. Nothing expensive, just fun small gifts to add to the festivities. So I will do some shopping one day this weekend. I love doing special unexpected treats!

I volunteer on a board for a non-profit- we are planning to have a 3 day conference next April. I get the opportunity to build the budget for the event. I am going to plan on 75 attendees, but set a stretch goal for 100. I know we can hit the goal, but others on the board aren't as optimistic. I have confidence in this team..so I am sticking to the goal.

My little house is COLD tonight. (well, not cold enough to see my breath) But I am starting to second guess my decision not to get a big propane tank. However, we have a nice electric fireplace-type heater in storage that Im gonna have the hub set up when he is home. There isn't much space for it, but I think I can make it work..and it has a mantle, which will be a great space to decorate for the Holidays. And there are always sweaters and blankets to help stave off the chill.

Day 1 - Christmas Countdown

October 27th, 2013 at 05:04 pm

I received a post on Facebook this morning that today is the kickoff for Christmas Countdown. This is a six week plan that helps you get ready for Christmas. Where did this year go? My goodness. Anyway, I do find that organizing ahead of time helps me avoid last minute craziness for the holiday.

I don't have anything on the agenda today outside of football....housework, laundry and making soup in the slow cooker. All the latter are chores that will help keep me on track for the work week ahead. It is a beautiful sunny day, so I should be able to hang all of the laundry outside. (yay!) I splurged on some wonderful smelling fabric softener just for line dry days. I cant wait to see how the sheets turn out!!

The hubs employer was sold recently. (this is the third time since he has worked for them) The good news is that his new 401k has a 5% match! He faxed off the paperwork this morning to enroll and get started. We will start with 5% and up the amount as we pay things off. My 401k has an 8% match, which I have always taken advantage of.

The value on our homes continues to rise. I sure hope this trend holds until we sell the city house next summer. I would love to show a profit for that purchase. By then, we should be debt free except for the country house. Our plan then is to maximize 401k savings and focus on paying off the country house. All part of our BHAG goal of me retiring by 60 and the hub cutting back at 55. (He is 7 years younger than me)

Time to start the laundry and get the soup going. I hope everyone has a fabulous day!








Great day, except for the library fine!

October 27th, 2013 at 03:08 am

My granddaughter and I slept in until 7am this morning. Then we got up and had a cinnamon role and visited. She is getting so big and smart. I really enjoyed the sleepover!

I double checked my library account this morning to make sure all the books I returned showed as returned. All but one did, and that one is over-due. So I started looking...and looking. I finally found it. It had fell in that black hole on the back of the recliner. Sucked totally out of sight and mind. So I went to the library today and turned it in- bringing my borrowed items to zero. A fresh start. I checked out 4 books and a book on CD for the car.

Then, I ran some errands with DD2 and Z. He is such a good little guy. We popped into Pier One. DD2 did some browsing, while Z and I found the swingasan chair. It had a couple of fluffy pillows and a cozy throw on it. He cuddled up on it and stayed perfectly content to lay there while we waited for DD2. Everyone commented what a good boy he was..he really enjoyed the gentle swing and the fuzzy, fluffy pillow and throw. And all the pretty breakables in the store, stayed on the shelves and in tact- which was my ultimate goal. Big Grin

I came home after that and had left overs for a late lunch and have been vacillating between cleaning and relaxing since.

Tomorrow I will catch up on laundry and make soup in the slow cooker. The week ahead should be a much more relaxed pace. I have lots to do at work, but no early or late appointments planned.

The leaves on all the oak trees have turned and are really starting to fall. A light breeze this afternoon made it look like it was raining leaves! So pretty. Nature's freebies are the best kind of frugal entertainment!

I love fall

October 25th, 2013 at 03:09 am

I read a post on Facebook the other day that said "My favorite color is fall"...I have to agree. I attended a meeting today about 3 hours north and the drive was gorgeous. I snapped these shots with my phone (I was the passenger in the car)- they don't really do justice to the beautiful colors, but capture many of them:




The fir trees were inner-mixed with splashes of orange, gold and red. Absolutely beautiful.

I have had a crazy week this week. My days have all started before 7am and I've not gotten home until after 9pm. Thankfully, today was a shorter day and I got home at 4pm after being on the road about 6 hrs and attending a 2 hour meeting. Im pooped.

Tomorrow I have another busy day plus I am getting an evaluation. Then, tomorrow night my oldest granddaughter (age 7) is spending the night. Rest...well, that will happen on Sunday.

On Monday, my steering started acting up again on my car- (again, while the hub is in Alaska). Thankfully, my son-in-law has time to fix it for me, so we swapped cars. Hopefully, he can determine what this issue is and fix it (and it wont be too expensive)

The hub is starting to pick up overtime. His check tomorrow is $115 more than budgeted. I will hold onto this until we determine how much the car fix is. I also have money in the car repair account just for times like this.

I was glad to come home today to leftover roast (that I made last weekend) Dinner was a hot roast beef and swiss sandwich. The price was right and it was a quick fix.

Its hard to believe the end of October is only 7 days away.

Leadership class done, and meals for the week ahead

October 20th, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I am home from the class I attended Friday night and all day Saturday. It was fairly intense and was more of a self awareness course than a leadership course. I slept over 10 hours last night, so it drained me- but in a good way.

I have a 3 lb roast in the crock pot today. That will last most of the week. Tonight will be roast dinner, then- sandwiches, burritos, and a hash will make up the rest of the meals. I also have the makings for soup, which will fill in the rest of the week. I do need a few groceries, which I will use the remainder ($33)of a Winco gift card to buy everything.

I am meeting friends for dinner on Monday to celebrate one's birthday. I need to pick up a birthday gift today- and the other friend asked to go in on it. I waited until the last minute for this one..I usually am better prepared than this. I have a couple of ideas so I shouldn't have to spend too much time shopping. Tomorrow will be a long day. I have to be out the door shortly after 6am to be at one of our remote locations to train. Dinner with friends isn't until 6:30pm...Leave before sun comes up...get home well after dark.

Tuesday night, the fraud group I belong to is hosting a financial fraud seminar. We will be serving pizza to all who attend. Our topics include counterfeit bills, elder financial exploitation (my pet peeve), and the DA will be covering a current case as an example of the prosecuting steps for financial crime. It should be really educational and interesting. I am pleased that we will be able to offer this for free to the attendees.

This means that Monday and Tuesday nights, I wont be eating roast, so tonight I need to separate it into meal size portions and freeze part of it for later in the week.

No new news still.

Bosses Day!

October 17th, 2013 at 02:52 am

The hub left for Alaska today. Next time he is here, I will be on vacation for a week! Only 3 more weeks...during the vacation my kids, their spouses, the hub and I and a couple of others will enjoy a long weekend at a mountain getaway. We have planned a "Halloween Party" one night...it will be November, but a dress up party is always fun, and by choosing a Halloween theme, we can get everything on sale right after Halloween! Frugal is good!

Today was bosses day. I got the most beautiful roses and card from my staff. I was so touched by their thoughtfulness.

I realized today that I had a $100 gift card to Winco in my wallet. This was a card we got for the hubs aunt back in Feb. She used about $40, reloaded it back to $100 and gave it back to us because she doesn't shop at Winco normally. (?) I tucked it in my wallet and forgot about it until today. So, after work I stopped off and did some stock up shopping. Winco has some great prices- so I got quite a bit- and I still have $33 on the card for another shopping trip. (small house living means only stocking up what you will use in the next few weeks- otherwise things start spilling out into living space and, for now, the trunk of my car is the holding spot for Christmas gifts, so that space isn't an option- lol)

Friday night and all day Saturday, DD1 and I are attending a women's leadership course. A friend of mine is kicking off a new business and this is her first weekend course. We are helping her work the bugs out of the program. I have been to similar classes, DD1 has not- so we will be able to provide my friend two different perspectives. I am eager to help my friend and to go through the course.

The CEO at my job and I needed to go on a road trip yesterday- we spent 5 hours roundtrip in a car together. Things have been so busy and are changing so much at my job that I was concerned about my position and possible changes. So, I took the opportunity to ask...and was very pleased with the responses. I enjoyed the day immensely- and am re-energized. And best of all, the results from the road trip gave me a nice fat checkmark on a project Ive been working on!! On to the next project!

The little house if very quiet tonight. The hub is gone, DD3 is visiting a friend in ALaska, the pets are sleeping. Quiet is good.

Absolutely no news on our sweet little Z.

Son's visit!

October 14th, 2013 at 01:12 am

My son and grandson have been here visiting all weekend. What a wonderful treat that has been. And as an added bonus, my son sprayed the houses for pests- which will hopefully help keep those eight legged creatures away. (major arachnophobia here) We ate out a couple of times this weekend- once at Olive Garden and once at the mexi restaurant. We took advantage of OGs buy one meal, take a meal home deal- so we will enjoy a second round sometime in the next day or two.

It is such a beautiful day here. We have all the bedding washed and on the line, the hub is mowing, and he is smoking some ribs for dinner. It smells so good out there. Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the foods, a cup of hot tea, wearing layers, football, and enjoying a warm fire in the pit when its not raining. Today is exactly that kind of day.

The Packers won, so that always makes it a great Sunday!!

Tomorrow is a training day, so my job is closed to the public, but staff will work. Typically, Columbus Day is used for training. I have heard that tomorrow will be used more as a fun day since this has been a crazy busy, successful year. Whatever it turns out to be, we work fewer hours as we don't have to be there until 10am, so I get to sleep in!

On Tuesday I make a round trip over to the coast for work, not staying over night. Then on Wednesday, the hub leaves for Alaska. Then, it is back to the single routine for 3 weeks.

Miles and more miles

October 9th, 2013 at 12:06 am

The hub and I met for lunch today. No special reason. He was running errands and I was ready to get out of the office for a while. We met at a local Mexican restaurant that serves lunch specials, is quick, friendly and the food is always good. We had a nice visit- we are still working on things- so an impulsive lunch now and then is probably a good thing. There are times when fixing what's been broken is easier said than done- especially when it involves a long distance relationship at least 50% of the time. But so far so good.

We will just have something simple and light for dinner tonight.

I need to buy the hubs airline ticket for his November trip home, but he is only 400 miles away from enough miles to fly free. So I am going to wait until the points for his trip back to Alaska hit his mileage account so that we can use points instead of cash. Once that is done, his flights for the rest of the year are booked. (I booked his December flight a few months ago when we had enough points because that trip is almost always double the cost of flights during other months.)

I still have a $270 credit in my mileage account from a trip we cancelled earlier this year. The credit expires in January, so I need to use it or lose it before then. I also have a credit for a $100 companion ticket and can use both at the same time. I am keeping an eye out for ideas - maybe I can book a flight for DD2 and I to go visit Z once he gets settled.

(Z's departure has again been postponed. Apparently DHS didn't realize that his state-appointed attorney has not yet approved for him to be taken from Oregon. I am assuming at this point, this is just a technicality, but it sure makes it tough for everyone concerned when the right hand doesn't communicate with the left.)

We have had a trip planned since earlier in the year to the mountain resort we like to go to. This trip (4 days) is for the adults (all of my kids and their spouses or guest). All of the grandbabies will be with other grandparents that weekend. I am getting very excited. I never have all the kids together for more than a meal and rarely where we can just enjoy big people fun. The house we rented is 8 bedrooms, and beautiful. I wish we could do this yearly- but am happy we can do it at least this year- it's been a complicated year for everyone and I know the 'down time' will be enjoyed and appreciated by all.

Perspective

October 7th, 2013 at 12:29 am

I am squeezing another day of line drying our clothes into the season. It is a beautiful sunny day today. It started out very chilly, but is warming up nicely- perfect weather for a laundry day.

I am also watching some football, although I opted not to buy the special football package this year, so I cant watch Green Bay- I am following that game online. (And Green Bay is winning!) Update- they won!

I took my left over split pea soup out of the freezer yesterday and enjoyed a bowl for lunch. The hub and grandson are gone hunting until tomorrow, so tonight I will make something chicken in the crockpot for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.

Perspective hit home this weekend. A young couple I know welcomed their first born, a son, 3 weeks ago- he was born with serious issues and has been on a heart-lung bypass machine and underwent surgery last week- sadly, he passed away this weekend. My heartbreak over Z's leaving is suddenly coupled with gratitude that he is healthy and has a chance to live a full life, even though it wont be with us. No matter how bad our own situations seem, there is always someone dealing with much worse. Any way, if you have a few moments and can send prayers and healing thoughts to J&M, I know they could use them. Very, very heart breaking.

FIrst REALLY cold morning in the little house! Brrr

October 4th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Today was payday for both the hub and I. We are on track to pay off my car loan balance, $8800, by next month. I know we should pay down the credit card instead, but I want to go for the smaller victory first- especially since the larger credit card will be paid off by April and the other, which is zero interest, will be paid by May.

The little house was very cold this morning. We are skirting it, which hopefully will help. I currently have one small space heater and the heating system, which runs off propane. But I only have a 15 gallon propane tank and I am not sure how long that will last. If I need to add another space heater or get a larger one, I will. A large, 90 gallon propane tank will cost $3-4 a gallon to fill and I have to fill it twice a year or I will get charged a "low usage" fee. I am not sure I am willing to make that big of a financial commitment. I don't mind being chilly, but when you can see your breath, it's too darn cold! One way or another this needs to be remedied before the hub leaves for Alaska on the 16th.

The hub left with our oldest grandson, 9, this morning to go "hunting" (which is really a trip to the woods to shoot guns at non-living things, sit around the fire and drink beer - regular for the hub and root beer for grandson.) They are due back on Monday- I was going to go join them, but learned a few days ago that this is Z's last weekend with us. DHS delivered this message to DD2 so I am assuming it is true this time...heartbreaking and true. I want to spend all the time I can with him. DD2 and I may take Z (2.5) and granddaughter (4) up to the camp for an afternoon - not sure yet.

I am ready for the weekend. I sure wish work weeks were 4 days instead of 5!!