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Archive for November, 2015

Bring on December!

November 29th, 2015 at 05:17 pm

I finally made time to upgrade my laptop to Windows 10. Buh-bye windows 8, I wont miss you one bit! I really enjoyed getting a better product free!

Black Friday ended up being a no-spend day for me. I just didn't see anything in the ads that made me want to fight the crowds or even shop online. I actually just worked, rather than take a vacation day. I have done a pretty good job of shopping sales this year and using coupons to get all of the grandkids gifts. Some, like my grandson's new concert ukulele- didn't have a sale, so I paid full price, but for special gifts like that, I don't mind. I really avoided computer and gamebox gifts and instead went for STEM items, building sets, art kits, outside games, etc. Things that they may not go "WOW" about on Christmas morning, but hopefully will pull out when the holidays settle down and make them think or learn new skills.

All of their gifts are wrapped. I also got each family a family gift- a board game, some jellybeans, popcorn, and a sand kit.

The adults will get cash or gift cards. This is not only easy and requires no wrapping- but certainly lets them get exactly what they want. I am totally at peace with not shopping for the 'perfect' gifts for the adults anymore- as I do special things all year for them.

My son and his family will be here on the 18th for the weekend. We will do our annual 'road rally' and gift exchange on the 19th. The road rally is an annual tradition the teams up different family members in each vehicle and they have a list of tasks they have to accomplish within a set time period. I plan it and the kids and grandkids participate- it is always great fun for everyone.

My son in law and DD1 are hosting Christmas dinner on the 25th.

Which means- with the exception of final touches on the road rally planning, I am pretty much ready for Christmas and am so relieved that I don't have a long list of things to do between now and then.

Work is another story. I am super busy and will have some long days this month. Which means I need to BALANCE work/home and not burn out.

Wishing all of you a peaceful month ahead.

10 year lookback

November 23rd, 2015 at 02:10 am

When I first started this blog, in 2006- I was working with my son, helping him start a business and also taking care of my parents. Back in those days, I was practicing very frugal living- and loving the challenge.

To supplement my income, I was breeding labs and working with the hub in his firewood business, splitting, stacking and selling firewood. Hard work, but enjoying the opportunity to be at home.

In the almost 10 years since- both of my parents have passed- and sadly my sons business failed.

I had went 'all in' on his business and invested most of my retirement savings into it. I knew it was risky, but I was so confident in my son and his determination. And when it finally failed, I knew the failure was because of the economic downturn of 2006-2009- rather than my son not giving it 100%.

I went back to work in 2007...and in the 8 years I have been back to work- I have rebuilt my retirement to where it was in 2006.

And now, 8 years later, my son is starting year 3 of rebuilding his company and doing great. 2016 marks an important turn in events- as he will start paying back my investment this year. This will put my retirement goals on the fast track- and for that, I am excited!!

If we stay on course, I will easily retire in 2019 or 2020- which will be 58 or 59. If my son's business continues as it has- he wants to hire me part as an advisor- which would help him and supplement my income nicely.

By then, if all goes as planned, our bills should all be paid in full with the exception of the house.

Free flu shot today!

November 3rd, 2015 at 03:30 am

One of the many perks my job makes available are annual flu shots. Today was flu shot day...and I partook. My arm is cranky tonight, but my body will thank me when flu season passes without incident (I hope!) Free preventative maintenance is good!

The holiday bug has bit me early this year for some reason. Maybe it's the excitement of being 'home' finally- but I am happy to have the Christmas music on and may even start decorating soon. I know, a little crazy..but that's where my mind is right now. Of course, I have to gather up all the decorations from the storage here, in town, and wherever else Ive spread it out over the past 6 years!

I have NO idea what to do for everyone this year gift-wise. I am leaning towards a memory maker rather than things- a family getaway, tickets to a show, I don't know. Gotta put that thinking cap on.

This coming weekend I am driving down to visit my son and his family. I miss them and have spent so little time with those grandbabies- So, Friday I hope to get off a little early to make the 5 hour trip down and will come home on Sunday.





An unexpected gift

November 1st, 2015 at 03:31 pm

Every other year I plan a long weekend trip with my kids to a resort a few hours away. I rent a big house and we all stay there- Just the adults go and we play games, visit, have a themed party and visit. This year, I was fortunate to bring my cousin, who I haven't seen since my brother's funeral 27 years ago. What a treat that was. It was like time stood still and we were kids again as we caught up with each other's lives. My kids loved her and her husband.

The trip was a huge success, everyone had a great time!

But the REAL treat happened after we got home.

My cousin had one extra night here before her flight- so we went through my parents old photos. We reminisced and since she is a few years older and remembered a little more, I learned a little more about my relatives. Such fun.

I was looking for one specific picture to give to her- the picture had her mom and dad in it- and she has very few of those since her parents divorced when she was fairly young.

I couldn't find it...so I was searching through everything. My mom had stored an old latch hook rug that I made for my dad when I was 17 in a pillow case. I had assumed that was all that was in the pillow case and had never pulled it out. BOY was I wrong.

When I pulled out the rug, out fell some amazing treasures. A pair of my brothers cowboy boots that he wore as a small boy, an old Italian wool suit of my moms- a beautiful lace dress that looked like a prom dress from the 50s.....and a box.

The box was very pretty, very 50s. Inside, 16 love letters that my dad wrote to my mom in 1957 when my dad was 24 and my mom only 19 - all in perfect condition- they had been carefully opened and stored- WOW. My dad was living with my cousins parents when he wrote the letters, so as we read them, we each learned a little more about our parents. It was such an amazing find.

The letters ended about the time my mom and dad were married and later that year, they welcomed my brother who was 3 months premature.

I feel like we were meant to find that wonderful treasure together. It was an incredible end to a wonderful reunion. And I now have some new family heirlooms to pass on to the next generations some day.