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Off topic- Foster care deja vu (Here we go again)

September 11th, 2016 at 04:20 am

Last night and today were traumatic on everyone.

BM and BF were arrested late last night on outstanding warrants. DHS put all three kids in emergency placement in DD2s home.

Today BM/BF were released, but could not contact each other or DD2/kids. (who knows if they are together today or not)

DD2 spent the day making arrangements for daycare,buying diapers, and taking care of the baby who was very fussy.

Backing up a bit....Yesterday BM and BF ran out of gas. It was 100 out. BF and baby stayed with car, while BM hitchhiked to DD2s job to borrow $5. Later that night the baby was dropped of with the other kids at DD2s house. Much later, DD2 recevied the call about the arrest.

Today, the baby woke in considerable distress. An ER visit later to learn he was dehydrated from yesterday's stint in the heat.. and had to receive IV fluids. He is only 18 months old. Apparently they ran out of food and water while waiting in the hot car for BM to return and then did not hydrate him sufficiently.

Monday is court to determine placement for the kids. The father of the eldest girl wants her. So she will likely be placed with him. The boys have no family that will want them. Both of their dads are either in jail or currently homeless and in and out of jail. Extended family is not interested. So likely, they will stay with DD2 indefinitely.

Which means, here we are again. BM and her mother are angry that the kids are placed in foster care. DD2 is doing what she can to create a safe and stable home for the boys.

SMH at this turn of events. I guess we will learn more on Monday what the future holds for the kids.

Ima Saver (Julie)

September 9th, 2016 at 01:51 am

Does anyone know if Julie is ok? I noticed she has been ill and hasnt posted in several weeks...Not sure if anyone kept in touch with her outside of SA???

Frugal Rythm

September 9th, 2016 at 01:01 am

I am working on getting my frugal rhythm back this week. When the hub is home, we spend more than I do when I am home alone. So far so good. I am using up the last of my chili that I made last weekend, minus the 10 chili bean burritos that are still in the freezer. Those are still waiting for a later date.

I always have free coffee at work, rather than buying coffee on the way to. I used to spend about $3.50-4 a day, everyday...but about a year ago, I stopped. Now I prefer regular coffee over foo-foo coffee. I have even broke myself from needing creamer and just use a little sweetener.

Ive been taking lunches and trying not to spend. I did have to get gas today.

Tomorrow will be a spender though. It is DD2 and my granddaughters birthday, so I will be taking them out to dinner tomorrow night.

I am starting to plan Christmas gifts and love that I can use verizon points to give magazine subscriptions as an option. Rachel Ray, Oprah, womens magazines, teen magazines...I will see how well I can utilize those options!

Football starts tonight! I am so excited that it is once again football season. I love making soup and watching the games. I am a HUGE Packers fan. Any other Packers fans here? If not, WHO is YOUR team???

I still havent turned in the pennies. I have been pretty busy at work...but...tomorrow, I plan to bite the bullet and get it done.

Z had an awesome day with DD2...and sis made it to her first day of school. The plan is that all 3 kids will stay with DD2 again tonight. Another day for the kids to feel safe and secure. BM and BF did sleep in their car last night. They were hoping welfare would come through today so that they could get a hotel room tonight. FOr the unborn baby's sake, I hope they were successful.

Z is 'home'!!!!!!

September 8th, 2016 at 02:46 am

Z and his sis were dropped off at DD2s job about midday today- DD2 then brought them by my job - which was such a joy! They have both grown SO much. After work, I met them at the mall so that we could get sis a new dress for school tomorrow.

Out of the mouths of babes, they talked about bits and pieces of their lives- and it was so sad- primarily to hear a 7 and 5 year old know some of the things they do. (They were sad they had to leave there toys and clothes and pets behind, "but mommy and BF were in trouble and they left during the night" and "their house was trashed with all their stuff, and cat poop" etc.) It is clear there is no filter when they are around the adults, drugs, and fighting at home. I pray the school and DHS will sort through this and help protect them.

But HOORAY...they are back for today and it was amazing to hug those sweet kiddos.

Unfortunately, BM and her bf had no place to stay tonight, so they came to the mall and picked up sis so that they had a reason to drop in on sis's aunt and see if she would let them stay there tonight. With tomorrow being her first day of school, sis was excited...so I hope BM follows through and gets her there.

Tomorrow is DD2s birthday, what a great birthday present this is for her!!!

Thanks for letting me share my Z story. I am such a happy gramma tonight!

Update: BM dropped sis and the baby off with DD2. All three will be safe tonight! Didnt expect her to leave the baby too, but DD2 welcomed all three with opened arms.

Old Colony depression glass - I have a name for it!

September 7th, 2016 at 01:26 am

I looked up the depression glass pattern of the set that my mom had- it is called Old Colony- and its pink. The set is beautiful, but very fragile. At least now I know what it is as I determine what to do with it. Letting the dishes sit in a box will just allow them to deteriorate. I know there is someone who would appreciate them and I could put any $ from a sale towards college funds for the grandkids. I say this like I have decided, but the truth is, just thinking about selling the dishes makes me sad.

I think I will tuck my dad's coin collection away. Coins wont lose value- and maybe someday a grandchild will appreciate receiving a coin from their great grandfather.

The rest of the things, I just need to donate. It's time.

So, Z still isnt here. Supposedly BM is actually on the road today and plans to arrive at midnight. The plan tonight is that she will drop Z and his sis off at DD2s when they get to town, and DD2 will take them to school in the morning. Until it actually happens, we dont know for sure. DD2 spoke to the principal at the school today, and the principal has an appt with DHS tomorrow to start a case.

Today was a no spend day. I packed my lunch and then as I was leaving work, a co-worker offered my here pasta salad from lunch that she didn't/wont eat. (It has too much garlic for her taste) Since it was destined for the trash, I took it. Super yummy!

I found a dollar in the bottom of my computer bag tonight, so it is going into the tip bag for the cruise we are taking in November. So far I have saved $72 towards tips by turning in loose change and saving my small bills.




'Stuff' what to do with it?

September 6th, 2016 at 01:20 am

In our quest to declutter and downsize, we are finally starting to go through all of my parents things. Its been almost 8 years since my dad passed, and 6 since my mom. My mom had a full set of depression glass, my dad a small collection of silver coins. What to do...

My mom's depression glass is carefully packed away- in several boxes. Very beautiful, very fragile, but not something me or my girls have space for, nor do my girls want it. My dads coin collection, probably less than $500 is in a box, not taking up much space....but again- not something anyone really wants.

What do I do with keepsakes like this? Each year, my dad kept a journal..those are a no-brainer...I will keep, no question. But when it comes to things they collected, what to do?

They are heartbreaking to part with, but then just taking up space to keep. Suggestions? Do I keep for grandkids...do I sell....

Free magazine subscriptions and other savings!

September 4th, 2016 at 05:38 am

Unfortunately, I dont have an update for Z. It is two days later and there has been no word from or sign of BM and Z. We dont know if they are on the way, if plans changed, or what happened. This isnt uncommon for BM to change plans without any notice. DD2 held off on registering the kids at school in case something like this happened. I am still hopeful that they will arrive by Monday.

Today I made a big pot of chili so that I could make a batch of chili bean burritos for the freezer. I love having ready made dinners, and this is an easy one that I enjoy. The chili cost about $8 to make- and I had enough for 10 burritos and at least additional 5 meals of chili. Nice, easy, cheap! I stopped at the store and got celery, onion, carrots and a ham bone for red beans. I will make those on Monday. I also picked up a jar of pasta sauce on sale for $2 which I will use for 2-3 dinners. I got sandwich stuff, fruit, and enough meal makings for about 10 days for $84. I am going to try to stick to that budget for the next week, or longer. I have chicken breast in the freezer for lettuce wraps. and lots of stuff in the cupboards.

We have verizon phone service- they have a rewards program that I have never paid attention to, but each month we earn points for. The past couple of weeks I have been checking it out. I was able to get 2 free magazine subscriptions. I also got a couple of gift cards for 10% off at stores we shop at- an instant $10% savings! and there is a local BOGO dinner coupon where I like to dine...one dinner last 3 meals for me...so I will get 6 Thai meals for $15. We have over 400k points...so we will never run out - since most of the deals I am selecting are 1000 pts or less! I plan to keep an eye on deals for Christmas and birthdays. Much of the stuff is not anything I would buy, so I will be using points sparingly- and only on things we will use or need. (Unless it is 100% free, like the magazines- 1= Rachel Ray, and the other was Woman's Day)

I am enjoying the long weekend this weekend. No real plans. Which is nice.



Where is the time going

August 11th, 2016 at 10:20 pm

Boy, this year has FLOWN by. It's hard to believe we are already half way through August!

I would love to report that we are closer to our annual financial goal than we are, of paying off the remodel debt, but alas...

We had to get our AC repaired this summer. Cost $1100.

The hub, who works on the North Slope of Alaska had all overtime cut back for most of this year, which was a significant reduction in monthly income. Frown

Before I realized the income reduction, I had increased our 401k contributions- and now I dont want to reduce them...NO NO NO

DD2, single momma, lost over $500 in monthly benefits because she made $80 too much last year...I am still scratching my head over this logic. She is a great budgeter, but is needing some help each month for necessities.

And then lots of little things that just added up.

So, we are no where near where Id hoped this year and the forecast through December doesn't look much more promising for paying off the house remodel debt.

Hopefully, overtime will be reinstated next year...but if not, we are still making strides...just not as fast as Id hoped. At least we are going the right direction...

This weekend, my girls and I are going to see the Lion King in Portland. This trip was paid for months ago..so we are all looking forward to a weekend out of town.

Oh, and I am super excited...I just noticed my blog has now surpassed 10 million views! Holy Cow!

End of vacation

June 5th, 2016 at 12:59 am

I am wrapping up a week of vacation this weekend. We started the week out camping last weekend, and then came home on Tuesday to a heatwave. Ive thoroughly enjoyed the week off- I had gone about 7 months since my last week off.

I go back to work for a week, and then the following week, I am off for 4 days to attend a wedding in upstate New York. It is expensive to travel to a wedding. wow. Between airfare, rental car and hotel, I have spent a small fortune...the wedding is a 'theme' wedding, which would have required added expense for a costume, but I am good just going in my normal clothes. I assume I should give the bride and groom a gift...(this is my cousins daughter)....needless to say, this trip hasn't helped our tightened budget.

My son called a few days ago to invite me to go to Arizona with him for a long weekend in July. He is scoping out locations for business expansion and wants to take a look there. I am so excited to spend one on one time with him! The business is paying all expenses, so my expenses should be minimal.

Budget-wise, I feel like we have taken a step or two backwards. The hubs 'winter season' was cut short due to the fluctuating oil prices which was a cut in finances that also put the hub home more- which usually costs more. I would have liked to be farther along in our payoff goals this year, but we are not. Also, we have a trip planned to Hawaii next spring and ticket prices are double what we paid last time we went- ouch.

I am happy that he still has his job- hopefully unemployment isn't in our future.



I earned my FREE bike finally!!

May 11th, 2016 at 03:12 am

A year ago, I signed up for a program at work to earn a free bike. Yes, FREE. It is part of our wellness program and the offer was to ride 30 round trips to work, or 5 miles on your lunch hour and you earn the bike up to $500. I picked out a super cute beach cruiser in sky blue. I live much to far from work to do the round trip to and from work, so I have rode on my lunch hour. I have TWO more rides this week and my rides are DONE. YAY! I cant wait to bring my bike home and start using it just for fun. Later this month we are going camping and I will get to take my bike and enjoy it there!

Today was a no spend day. I always have coffee at work, free- and I took my lunch and then just had a simple dinner at home. Tomorrow should be another no spender.

Our new dog is doing great. He LOVES to fetch, more than any dog we have ever had. So I am getting some exercise in each night playing with him. He is such a sweet boy.

This coming weekend I am going to the coast for a day trip. A couple of years ago I found a long lost friend- he and I were children on the same street in southern California until we were about 8. THen, our families moved and it took 43 years before we reconnected. The magic of social media! I found him on facebook and as luck would have it, he and his wife moved to Oregon last year. It has been fun reminiscing and getting to know him again. His wife is so fun, and we have a great time together. So I am heading over to spend the day with them- and very much looking forward to it!!

Happy Mother's Day

May 8th, 2016 at 04:31 am

To all my SA friends, Happy Mother's Day!

I am preparing for a family breakfast tomorrow morning by making a blueberry French toast bake tonight and letting it set overnight. My girls are all coming over for breakfast, so I thought a nice treat was called for. A day old loaf of French bread, some milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, and blueberries...and a yummy treat is ready to pop in the oven!!

DD1 and I went to a street fair today- and one of the booths had fresh strawberries on sale for a great price. I have some dark chocolate chips, so in the morning I will make chocolate covered strawberries as an added treat.

The rest of the day will be quiet. Just resting and preparing for another busy work week.

I wish all of you a blessed Mother's day!

Worked from home today!

May 5th, 2016 at 03:25 am

Monday and Tuesday I travelled for work and got to stay at the beautiful coast condo overnight. Yesterday was a 12 hour day with the work and travel home. Today, my job let me work from home, which was much appreciated as I didn't feel like getting dressed and driving 30 mins to and from work. I got quite a bit of work done, and even squeezed in a short nap. Smile

I received my refund today on the cupcake holder that I bought last week from Amazon. It had arrived broken. I don't understand why they didn't package it better- there are now 8 reviews complaining about the problem. Rather than waste time reordering, I will see if one doesn't become available elsewhere locally so that I can spy before I buy.

SG (inherited black lab) continues to do great. He is losing weight, playing lots, and gets along GREAT with all of the other doggies. He is such a joy.

GS birthday party

May 2nd, 2016 at 04:13 am

This weekend was my GSs 12th birthday party. My DD2 had asked if we could have it at my house and so we did. It was a sleepover party with GS and three friends, his sister, and DD1's son and daughter. Ended up with 10 kiddos, 7 adults, and 5 dogs. Thankfully, we have two acres for activities! I made lots of cupcakes, and they turned out yummy and cute. Some slept in the house, some in the 5th wheel, and the boys all wanted to sleep out in a little open cabin..I am sure they got cold, but they seemed to love it.

I was POOPED today, but I think everyone, especially the birthday boy, had a great time.

Today was a go nowhere, spend nothing day. I just had zero energy or desire.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I will be traveling for work- meaning all my meals will be paid for. (sweet!)

SG (dog) is doing great. He has lost some weight, which was really necessary. He loves to fetch, and so we play fetch A LOT. While I am travelling the next couple of days, DD3 will watch him. He is an exceptional dog. Extremely well behaved and just a good boy.

I'm not sure I am ready to go back to work already tomorrow. But alas, duty calls.

Free is good! Cupcakes in my future!

April 28th, 2016 at 10:12 pm

Recently a co-worker brought cupcakes to work. She had them in a really cute cupcake carrier and they were super delicious. The combination of the carrier and fancy frosting made them absolutely adorable!

One of my goals this year was to start a new hobby- and I think, with 6 grandkids, cupcakes might be a good choice. I found a cupcake holder that I liked on Amazon, but it was $39-so I held off thinking maybe it would make a good birthday gift idea for the family.

A few days ago I went back on Amazon and up popped an offer for $80 in free credit if I got an amazon credit card. Hmmm....so- I got the cupcake holder, a tool for frosting, some heavy stock cupcake liners (which helps maintain their moisture and makes them bakery like)...and got it all for FREE. The cool thing is that the boxed mixes turn out great in these liners...so dessert for birthdays and holidays will be fun and way less than a store bought cake!

And I got everything today...just in time for my grandsons birthday party this weekend! Now I cant wait to start creating.

Changes

April 10th, 2016 at 04:06 am

The last couple of weeks have been super busy ones at work. I am actually filling in for a vacated position during a very stressful period. I am so blessed by a great team who surprised me Friday with a gift certificate for an hour long massage as a thank you. I enjoyed that luxury this afternoon. OMG. Then the hub took me to a nice dinner. I am so relaxed tonight.

My former brother in law passed away on Monday, leaving behind his beloved dog. The arrangements that BIL thought were in place for his dog fell through after he died, so I am happily taking the dog, a black lab. DD2 went to pick him up (11 hours each way this weekend) and he will be 'home' tomorrow.

The hub is home from Alaska for three weeks. This will be helpful in transitioning our new lab into the family. I didn't count on a new inside dog, but given the circumstances, will make it work.



$100 credit for military, yes please!

March 17th, 2016 at 03:55 am

I was looking at the website for our Mexican cruise in November and realized that the hub can get $100 in shipboard credit for having served in the military. Sweet! So we filled out the document and will send it in. But that got me thinking, what other benefits is he entitled to...so I did some searching and found a plethora of places willing to give discounts for former military. We had no idea. We knew about Lowes, and saved about $400 when we bought our appliances during the remodel...but there are many places that give like discounts. Restaurants, stores, hotels. We just need to start asking, and so we will. Smile

My cousin, who lives in upstate New York, asked me to come back for her daughters wedding in June. So last night I checked and found reasonable tickets- that I was able to upgrade to first class using the hubs free upgrade codes. Since he flies so much, we get either free or reduced airfare and can also upgrade a few times a year. So, in June I will be making a quick trip back to NY (upstate) for the wedding.

I also will have to take a business trip this year...so lots of travel in the next several months. Depending on where I go, I can get a BOGO airfare, so maybe one of my daughters can go too!

Since I love to travel, I am looking forward to all of this...should be fun rest of the year!

Enjoying the weekend!

March 13th, 2016 at 06:44 pm

Happy Sunday!

Weekends are such a priceless commodity for me. Work is crazy busy right now and downtime is my sanity saver.

I am in a program at work that will 'forgive' $500 of an interest free bicycle loan if the employee does 30 5 mile rides during the workday. (To/from home or on lunch hour) I live 15 miles from my job, so, I have been using my lunch breaks to make the rides. It takes me about 30-35 minutes usually. I have until May 15 to finish 12 more rides. Its rainy season right now, so hopefully I will have ample days to knock them out! I want to bring my bike home so I can enjoy it without having to go back to work after I ride!! The perk is part of our wellness program- and ends with a free bike! I opted for a cute beach cruiser- a perfect gramma bike, but not as easy to tackle hills as some options. So, I just avoid hills. Big Grin

We have decided to take our first ever cruise in November, to the Mexican Riviera. Since we are on the west coast, it is the least expensive cruise for us. Our vacation budget is sufficient enough to cover it- and we have always wanted to try one. We are pretty excited. If we like cruising, we will probably plan an Alaska cruise in a couple of years!

The rest of our vaca time this year will be spent camping or staying home.

I will need to attend a conference for work this year. Right now my options are Colorado in August or Las Vegas in December. I am not sure which I will attend, but will probably tack on a couple extra days to either to sight see.

Otherwise, things are plugging along. Just trying to tackle the remaining remodel debt as we can.








10 years!

March 11th, 2016 at 05:55 pm

Today is my 10 year blogiversary! Wow.

Ten years ago, I was semi retired to care for parents and help my son start a business when I stumbled on to this site while searching for ways to make ends meet.

What a fun journey its been getting to know many of you, both here, on facebook and some in person!

Thank you for all the amazing advice, friendship and support everyone has provided over the years!

Today I am attending a funeral service for my next door neighbor. He died in a boating accident last week. Very sad story. We have lived next to him and his wife for 20 years and it is so hard to believe he is gone.

We decided to have our taxes done this year, to see how my turbo tax estimate compared. Holy cow. $3000 difference. I am not sure what button I didn't hit, but instead of paying we are breaking even. I WILL TAKE THAT!! Yay.

Our goal of paying down the house remodel visa is going well. We started the year at $25k and now have it down to $8700!! I moved savings to pay it down so quick, but comparing .75% to 7.99% was a no brainer. I am confident that, barring no unexpected expenses or paycuts, we will reach our goal of paying that off this year. And that, is one giant step closer to my now 4.5 year goal of retirement..as my kids would say, "BAM"...lol no idea what that means.

Loyalty pays!

February 19th, 2016 at 03:05 am

Today I received a thank you from my credit union for being a loyal member. They paid out their first every loyalty reward to members! And even better, they put it in a special new account that pays 2%apy! My thank you - $129!!! wow, just for doing my banking there. Of course, I am just gonna "let er ride" and enjoy that nice rate on my free money! Hopefully, this will be an annual thing- definitely something to look forward to- I wonder how many other credit unions pay out loyalty rewards??

In other financial news, its two steps forward, three steps back -again. I calculated taxes and we are having to pay both federal and state for a grand total of almost $3k! OUCH. The sale of the city house really impacted our deductions this year. So, I upped our quarterly tax payments so hopefully next year, we at least break even. :/

My back is slowly feeling better, but the pinched nerve is still there. When I sit a certain way at work, or bend my neck wrong, my arm and thumb go numb and then have the 'pins and needles' feeling. bleh.
At least I am not in 24/7 pain anymore. I can handle bursts- its the constant that wears thin. Dr. said if it wasn't better in another week, we would talk about an MRI. Thankfully, I upped my flex pay for medical this year anticipating extra dental expenses, so I have a cushion for tests.

DD1 noticed that there are a couple of great musicals this year in Portland. In August, Lion King will be there..and I would LOVE to see it- so we are looking into it. If there is a way, we will most likely go!
Last year we saw Wicked and it was such a great experience!




Goodbye to grandpa

February 10th, 2016 at 04:48 am

I mentioned in my last post that DD1 was at the hospital with grandpa who has Alzheimer's after he fell and fractured his pelvis Friday afternoon. Sadly, grandpa never regained consciousness and passed away yesterday. Poor DD1- she quit her job last Friday to be his full time caregiver and is heartbroken with his sudden passing. Frown He adored her and felt safest when she was there to take care of him. Of course, because of his advanced Alzeimers and the fractured hip, everyone, including DD1 know he is at peace. It just happened so fast. New Years Eve DD1 and I were playing Sequence and grandpa came out and sat at the table, so we gave him cards and let him "play"...he could recall many of the cards and even laughed when we cracked jokes with him. I know he was understanding us- even if just a little. Rest in peace dear grandpa- you brought so much joy to everyone and will be dearly missed.

I am still struggling with the pinched nerve, so I haven't felt up to doing much budgeting or pretty much anything else. I will sure be glad when things heal and I am back in the saddle again.




Hi Gramma Ray, I remember you!

February 7th, 2016 at 05:36 pm

Words that melted my heart yesterday!

Backing up just a hair...DD1 caregives for her hubs step-grandfather. He has alzheimers. He fell Friday and fractured his pelvis. He does not do well with change in his environment and was very confused when he was admitted to the hospital- so DD1 spent the night with him to provide whatever familiarity and comfort that she could. (Have I mentioned how VERY PROUD I am of this girl?) Her only request, a coffee Saturday morning...

I was keeping her company at the hospital when DD2 showed up with lil Z. He looked at me and said, HI GRAMMA RAY, I REMEMBER YOU! Do you still have your doggie? Awwwww... a few minutes later he said- Gramma Ray, why do you keep hugging me and giving me kisses?? lol. He wanted to just sit on my lap and listen to stories about when he was "little"...cause, in his words, he is a BIG BOY now...age 5. And handsome, I might add. Then he said, I just want to stay here forever...but we reminded him that he would miss his mommy and gramma. He said I have 3 mommies...and pointed to DD2 and me and said his mommas name. AWww....

Sadly, his visit was brief since we were at the hospital and grampa was not doing so good. But I cant describe what that lil visit from Z did to this gramma's heart.

My back and arm are a little better this morning, which I am so happy about. I actually feel like getting up and doing things today- and after a week of being in pain, my house needs attention and I have a couple of projects from work that I need to spent tima on. And I need to pick up some groceries to ensure I take lunches and make dinners all week! And, and, and... how far behind you can get in a week!

Lil Z - Pinched nerve and a 2016 Goal Update

February 6th, 2016 at 04:52 am

Ouch- I somehow pinched a nerve in my back last weekend. I think it was the combo of sleeping in a new bed (at the vacation rental) and on a different pillow. I broke down today and went to the Dr. This isn't the first time I have had a pinched nerve- so I am familiar with how to nurse it, and just as I suspected, the Dr agreed with my current strategy of ice, heat, meds and practicing the physical therapy exercises...and said if it still hurts in two weeks to let him know and he will order an MRI.

Nerve pain just sucks. It makes places hurt that really aren't hurting and causes muscle spasms that can drop you to your knees..this one is in my upper back/shoulder and its causing my whole arm and wrist to ache....two more weeks. (yippee)

It is annual bonus time at my job. We have the opportunity to leave the bonus in an account that pays 2%- which I would love to do. But because we owe on the remodel and I am paying 7% on that loan, I will apply the bonus towards that debt. (A 2016 goal is to pay that debt down or completely off, depending on the hubs work schedule) Right now, it looks like we will be able to pay the full $24.5k off this year.(yay)- It is already under $20k. And THAT gets us a giant step closer to our 5 year goal!

This is also pay raise time. I received a 4.5% raise. I had already upped my 401k 3% this year. We are checking to see if the hub can up his- he may have missed the deadline. If he is not able to, I will up my Roth contribution another 2%.

Some of you may remember little Z from my older blogs- our little foster boy that lived with my daughter from 4 months until he was 3. Well, he is in town this week and has spent the week with DD2. I get to see him tomorrow!!! This is the 3rd time DD2 has seen him since he left 2 years ago. It will be great to see him, he has grown so much!!





Happy February from our winter get away!

February 1st, 2016 at 04:42 pm

I am currently on day 4 of a 5 day vacation to the winter resort that we try to visit each year with our friends. We are renting a cute house, and when we split the cost, it is about $100 per night per couple. Not bad for a wonderful winter get away.

We have ate most meals here at the house, which saves money and allows more time to visit and enjoy the hot tub!

The guys really wanted to see a couple of movies so those are our splurge. We saw The Revenent on Saturday. None of us had ever seen an imax movie, so we decided to try it. Disappointing. I couldn't really tell a difference for the $17.10 per ticket (ouch)

Today, we are going to see 13 Hours. We will see regular movie and go to the 3pm matinee.

My next time off from work isn't until our camping trip in May, so I am really trying to make this trip DOWN TIME.

The hub heads back to Alaska in 2 days. I haven't been as diligent with my goals while hes been home, so I am eager to get back into full swing this week.

Next weekend, I plan to revisit all of our bills and see if there are any I can shave and save. I try to do this once a year. Usually I find at least one or two things that help.

Well, back at relaxing. Happy February everyone!

2016 Goals

January 3rd, 2016 at 09:40 pm

So far, 2016 is off to a great start. I set some new goals for the year. Financial, physical, and household.

Financial is to pay off the remodel loan of $24k by year end. This is a stretch goal if the hub works 4/2 rotatations- but he has heard he may work 3/3s. If so, I will need to adjust this goal to pay $15k by year end. In order to accomplish either, we will have to buckle down on spending choices.

My physical goal is a 3 pronged goal. the first prong is to utilize the gym at work at least 3 days per week. This is a new perk that has just been built and features all the equipment I need. The second is to eat healthier- and I have identified a meal plan that will help me accomplish this- I am on week 3, and doing fine! The third is to knock out my remaining 15 - 5 mile bike rides by May 1 in order to earn my free bike!! End goal is to be 3 sizes smaller by year end. Big Grin

Household goal is to go through all the stuff this year. My parents stuff, my stuff, storage stuff...and reduce stuff by at least 50%. There is a Goodwill just down the road from my job. Weekly or biweekly donations until I am at goal should help get there. I may try selling some of it- but if selling it holds me back from achieving the goal, it will be donated.

We have several mini trips planned this year. The first is in a couple of weeks. Our annual trip to a resort not too far from here with our dear friends. We are going for 4 nights.

Right now, the rest of the trips are camping. We didn't get to use our 5th wheel for camping last year as much as we wanted...although it was well used as a substitute home for us while the remodel was being finished. This year we plan to take it on the road much more!

I increased my 401k by 3% and will increase the hubs 3-5% depending on his rotation schedule.

Looking forward to seeing goals come to fruition this year!


Merry Christmas Friends

December 26th, 2015 at 05:10 am

For all who celebrate, Merry Christmas to you! I hope your day was filled with joy-

For all who do not celebrate, happy Holidays!

I am enjoying a peaceful night of quiet and reflection- thinking about what went well in 2015, and what I want to accomplish in 2016.

2015 was actually a very good year for us. The family is healthy and happy- we made some great new memories, and achieved many of the goals set.

My boss asked me last week if I plan to retire eventually. He was just genuinely curious and I didn't feel at all that there was an ulterior motive behind the question. I explained that we are on a (now) 4 year plan. Everything will be paid off, except the mortgage, in 4 years and we will have a nice savings built. The hub will work for several more years- as he is younger than me- but in 2020, the option to retire is there for me if thats the route I want to take. I was reluctant to say out loud that retiring is the plan in 2020, but left it that my option to do so is there. I will be 59 by then.

DD3 turned 24 yesterday. Hard to believe. Time is sure flying anymore.

I love the week between Christmas and New Years. For me, it is about setting new goals and planning for everything we want to do for the next 12 months. There is something about the new year that motivates me. How about you?




Active Shooter - Department of Homeland Security

December 3rd, 2015 at 02:29 am

This post is informational and intended for everyone.

If you aren't aware, the Department of Homeland Security has information and resources posted to help us self-educate in regards to an active shooter situation. I highly recommend people taking advantage of this information and preparing themselves, loved ones, etc. should you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Here is the link:
http://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness

It is heartbreaking and maddening that all of these situations keep happening. But they do. The best defense is being prepared. Know what to watch for and what to do during and after to stay as safe as possible.

Frown

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.


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