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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.
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.
I have been getting some Christmas shopping done today thanks to Amazon.
I bought each of my kids family one of these:
And one of these:
And for my lil granddaughter who turns 4 next month, one of these for her birthday:
Hopefully each will encourage play and creativity!
The hub arrived home safely last night. Tonight he bbq'd steak, which I dont get while he is gone. It was so tasty! It is 8pm and the poor guy is already in bed. By tomorrow he should be rested and back to normal.
I had such a great weekend. Went to Sacramento with my daughters and their kids to see my son and his family. We went to a fun pizza parlor, the zoo, fairytale town. I absolutely loved it. Here are som pics of the weekend:
Getting around the zoo
Giraffes: (thats DD3 holding the little one)
Coming down the slide... Watch Gramma!
Dinner after a fun day...
thats my DS and youngest GS
We slept on air mattresses at my sons, so the weekend was relatively frugal. The kids enjoyed playing together and I LOVED having all my chicks under one roof for a couple of days. Im a happy gramma!!
I appreciate all the responses to my earlier post. I was expecting some tough love and appreciate the advice. I unpublished the post and will save the responses to try to retrain my brain going forward with requests from the kiddos.
I thought I would share the craft I worked on today. I made a little valentine gift for my co-workers. There are 10 of them, so I needed to keep it inexpensive. The little vase was $.97, the flower .50 and the filler for the vase was just pennies per. I had the doilies and the candy will just be a few cents each, so about $1.50 total per person..I thought they turned out cute!
Enjoyed the sunset tonight in the hot tub.
This was an awesome day.
We ate out one time, went to McMinnamen's and enjoyed burgers and iced tea. $39 And stopped at the grocery outlet to pick up white cheddar popcorn and peanut m&ms for the evening. $6. So, under $50 for the food for today.
Tomorrow we will be heading down the coast. We need to find a place to stay tomorrow night...then home on Tuesday.
What a wonderful time we are having!
I thought I would share this past weekends camping fun with everyone. It was such a nice weekend. We spent three days on the river...$16 dollars a nite + cheap but wonderful camp food = good, inexpensive yet unforgetable memories. Such fun. We plan to do this many more times. This campground is about an hour from our home.
We camped here...it was gorgeous!
This is a trail we took to do some site seeing nearby...
My grandaughter caught her first fish...
My grandson and I collected bags of pinecones and tossed them into the river. We counted One...two...free...and threw them in. I estimate 30 pinecones had a new water home that day. He needed a nap later...
Later, the babies went home with mom and dad...and we enjoyed quiet time. The hub fished, and I watched the sunset with a glass of wine...
I mentioned in my last post that I went to the doctor today, but what I failed to add is that my doctor is awesome. I told her I was having trouble sleeping because of my asthma/wheezing at night. She said I needed to go on a steroid inhaler. Then, she bagged up a three month supply of "samples" for me. She is always very generous this way. When I was staying home taking care of my parents, she used to give me "samples" for everything...to the point I did not have to ever buy my medicine.
I just used the inhaler and for the first time in a long time, I do not wheeze when I exhale. OMG.
I know that if I sleep better, I will have an easier time getting healthier. I appreciate so much that trying this inhaler is free for the next three months. I hope it is a free solution to this on-going pain in the neck problem.
Here is the view from our room at the Westin. We spent the first three days cooling off in this pool after hot days of shopping!
This is a lovely statue on the Malecon, which is located downtown along the beach. This is one of many.
The Last Supper in sand. Amazing. The statues are each much larger than normal. WOW
This is our pool at the villa. The pool was so nice an refreshing during the day and evenings. Simply amazing.
Tomorrow is our last full day here. This week has flew by. Next week I will be in southern California with my long time BFF (since we were 12)...and doing Disney on my Bday...but tonight is all about Puerto Vallarta and this amazing villa!!!!
I got a doozy of a phone call this weekend..from a friend of a friend.
She recently remarried after several years as a single mom. While she was a single mom, she had managed to rent a small home for her and her daughter- who recently graduated from high school.. and mom had earned her MASTERS degree in social services.
When she called me, she was quite upset and wanted some answers.
Her new husband (bless his frugal heart) did not want to start their new marriage out full of debt...which she had accumulated plenty of during her graduate years as a single mom...to the tune of $30k in just credit card debt.
So, he took his savings and paid that credit card debt in full...
soon as he did, SHE received a notice from her CC company (BofA) to call right away. Seems BofA wanted to know HOW IN THE WORLD she was able to pay off her debt so quickly....
So she explained her recent MBA graduation and subsequent job...and her new marriage...and how they had come to the decision to pay off the debt...
BofA's response...after putting her on hold to talk to "the supervisor" the rep came back with "well, we have no choice but to CLOSE your credit account with us"..
Poor girl was all upset at this...wanted me to explain WHY they would do this...she had been a LOYAL customer all during her single years when she didnt have squat...and now that she was married and had a good income they do this to her.....and WHAT SHE COULD DO ABOUT IT.
So I told her my thoughts...but before I share them here, I thought I would see what everyone else would have said...
What would you have said to her???
I will post my response to her tomorrow night...
In no way am I complaining about my job...I am just speculating on a day in the life...
The assistant the day before a big meeting:
Create an Agenda so that those who will be facilitating the meeting will know the order to discuss important stuff with staff...
Forsee topics that need to be discussed that may have been overlooked and add them to the agenda...
Anticipate the value of a supporting powerpoint presentation and create it so that those who will be facilitating the meeting can provide a cool visual...be sure to compile supporting information and values..find great pictures to add a punch to the presentation...add humor, staff will be trying to wake up and will appreciate a chuckle or two...
Make a list of food to serve to staff...they will be hungry since they are coming in an hour early to work tomorrow...send support assistant to the store to buy food...
Make sure the room is set up properly and that all conferencing equipment is set up and ready to go...
Remember things that the boss wanted to insure were discussed and add those to the Agenda...prioritize and organize discussions...rewrite agenda anticipating bosses priorities...add a few notes of things for the presenters to say...
Email staff and remind them about meeting.
Show boss the finished powerpoint presentations when he gets out of his meeting (yes, it is an hour past your normal time to go home, but his meeting went unexpectedly over)..
Take last minute edits to the presentation home to work on and get to boss before bedtime...yes, working on the finished product is slower at home, but the fam is waiting for dinner...
Finish presentation by bedtime and email to boss...uh oh, it takes WAY longer than could ever have been expected to transmit..stay up until the message has been fully transmitted.get to bed over an hour later than expected...set alarm clock and wake up many time during the night worrying that you have not set the alarm properly...or that you have forgotten something...
On the way to work the next morning, determine that assistant may not have bought enough food and stop at 6:30am (thank goodness for 24 hr stores) and buy a few more containers of goodies...
Get to work and start coffee...then make another pot... set out food, print agendas and make sure all presenters are versed in what needs to be discussed...
Answer staff questions...and make sure boss remembers to discuss key items...
print copies of all last minute information to be distributed to staff...
set up phone for conference calls...make sure all have dialed in successfully...
remind boss that his team is there to greet staff...locate his staff and remind them to greet staff...
wipe sweat from brow and colapse into chair while the meeting runs flawlessly...boy can the boss run a meeting!!!
...congratulate boss on such a great meeting...start clean up...and make a mental note that the extra food was a good idea - since there are very few leftovers...be grateful these meetings are only once per quarter...
When the day is over...head home and colapse again...ready for a good nights rest...
Oh they both fought it...sleep is the perceived ultimate enemy when you are 4 and when you are 7 months...You might miss out on something afterall. GD rubbed her little red eyes, but darned gramma kept humming away and rocking in the chair...and finally, sleep won out...right there on grammas chest...so we napped for almost an hour...then mommy came and took GD home...and GS (age 4) crawled into the empty lap, REFUSING to consider a nap...but darn-it...gramma just kept rocking and humming...and for the next 2 1/2 hours, GS napped away.
An afternoon in the rocker with sleeping babies..absolutely priceless. Everything else can wait...for today, I was needed elsewhere...
So much for jumping into the housework this morning while GS was sleeping...at about 6:45am, I hear this little voice "Hi Gramma, the suns out!"...drasted sun!!! (But I forgive it...as it looks like a gorgeous day for hanging the laundry!!)
So, we got up to make waffles and low and behold the milk monsters (aka the hub and DD3) had tanked the milk and we have none...Luckily, I froze the extra waffles from last time GS and I made them--so we popped a couple in the toaster and, while it was not his preference, he was satisfied with the results.
Now we are watching Sponge Bob while gramma wakes up and has some coffee.
My youngest GD (7 months) is coming for a visit today too. Her mom has a nail appt and asked if I could watch her...a real treat since I do not see her as often as the other two grandbabies. She is a very unique baby. Does not smile on demand like most little ones ...she holds her smiles for those truly deserving moments...the rest of the time she is carefully studying and considering. I have never seen a baby quite like her...and she is so beautiful.
Thankfully, DD3 is here and has offered to help with the kids today so mom can catch up on the housework..Im not sure how it happens, but it sure seems like no matter how hard I try, the house takes a nosedive each week and I spend way too much time getting back to livable on the weekends. I truly envy those of you who are organized and can do it all (probably with less effort and time than us unorganized folks).
I am very pleasantly pleased with our budget and savings/spending plan. It seems to be working!!
I did something completely out of character today...I slept until 10:30am. wow. What a wonderful feeling to wake up when your body says OK, youve had enough sleep...and then have that wonderful feeling that you really have had enough sleep!!
Yesterday, I hit the dollar tree and found a ton of stuff for the hubs b-day this summer. We are having a luau and they had a huge supply of things that I can use to decorate, all the plates and glasses, etc. I was really happy with everything. I spent $42 --and would have spent at least 2-3 times that if I hadnt found these things at a dollar store!
Last night the hub and I got to go to another company sponsored event. While our tickets were paid for, it ended up being a $206 night. The event was a fund raiser for the kids club here. Included was a silent auction...and the hub was the winning bidder on what turned out to be a wonderful basket of goodies. Two childrens fishing poles, a big bundle of camping and fishing supplies, flashlights, glow sticks, bait, tackle, two kids chairs, a gift cert for $20 for whatever we didnt get in the stash (although I doubt there was anything we didnt get) and 2 night stay in a Yurt at one of the county campgounds...I know the grandbabies will LOVE using this stuff...and I see memory making in the future!! Best of all, the money went to a great cause.
Today was GS's 4th birthday. We woke up to snow everywhere...um, this is April??? but it melted off by noon.
We went to a fun center and then to a pizza parlor..A wonderful afternoon with all the family.
Tonight I am getting everything ready to go back to work tomorrow. What a fantasic weekend this was!!!
Tomorrow is Nana's 71st birthday. I have already made plans to take her to a nice little Italian rest. for Chicken Picatta (our fav). This will be her first bday without my dad since she was 18...boy- I am sure it will be a tough one for her.
I will be doing whatever I can to make this a special day...this weekend is also GS's 4th (on Sunday) and a fun job sponsored night our for the hub and I Sat night...
DD3 (16) had decided she does not like me anymore because I enforce the rules and boudaries...boy, I had almost forgot how much fun the last few years in high school could be...ugh. I suspect DD3 is trying some things that I dont want her trying...it is a tough job to raise a teen in these days...much more of a challenge than even 6 years ago when I was trying to get her brother and sis graduated. and I am now much older... (ugh again)
Work...well, I love my job, I am getting a new, really cute, newly built office in the next two months...and I have a great boss. I think considering all things, work is my sanity right now.
This has been a killer week. Because of evening meetings, I put 13 hour days in both yesterday and today...no OT because I am salary- but it washes on days that I have to leave early and get paid for a full day anyway. I am pooped.
I sent our taxes in yesterday. We paid (a lot) but it is because of the kids business (long story) and eventually I will be paid back...but it still hurt to write checks for over $7k (wrong or right, I took it from my IRA---but the kids know this + penalties has to be paid back down the road)...ugh. There's just something about mailing in a check at tax time that makes you question all the frivulous spending our govt does. I dont mind paying for things like schools, libraries, etc...but it irritates me big time for all those expenses that make no sense...(like $1200 rebates to stimulate the economy??? huh???)
My newly revised budget is working!! I have refueled the yearly escrow and emergency fund accounts and have started saving for DC. We even have a small long term saving account started!!
My mom has had two of her tests done so we should know some of the results early next week.
I hope life is good in your lives!
Thank you friends for all of your support regarding my mom. We are taking things one day at a time and I will post as we learn the results...
Now about my mind lately...I truly feel like the "before" picture lately...or the poster child for what you dont want to do.
I finally took care of the Netflix issue..NO, I did not mail the movie back because it somehow got misplaced after I delegated the mailing to DD1...so, after procrastinating 5 months and then just paying for the darn movie, I figure I spent $60 dollars..the ironic part...I NEVER WATCHED THE MOVIE. ugh.
Oh well, I can check that off the list now.
Today, I took my books back to the library...unfortunately, there were a few I could not renew online as they had been reserved by others...I should have returned them before vacation, but got busy and completely forgot...so over $10 in late fees today...and again, ironically...for BOOKS I DIDNT FINISH READING! ugh again...
again...at least I am not on the most wanted list at the library anymore.
I think the biggest irony is that I often counsel others on budgets and finance...and have helped several friends and family get on track....and then I do really dumb stuff like this.
Aich...I need to walk my own talk...I need to practice what I preach...I need to do as I say instead of as I do....
50 lashes with a wet dollar bill--and a commitment to do better now that I have a fairly clean slate.
My mom is facing diagnosis on 4 serious health issues this week. I won't go into details but three of them are very serious. (breast and skin cancer, and another blockage to her heart) She learned about 2 of them the day we left on vacation(the doc called as we were walking out the door to the airport...and scheduled the second exams to confirm his suspicions) Symptoms started on the other two while we were gone. All I can do is be there for her and try to keep her spirits up. We should know by next week just what she is up against. Today was a bad day for her..she is missing my dad and is very scared.
I feel like I just climbed back on a very dark rollercoaster without a seatbelt. I can only imagine how she is feeling.
I am at a loss of what to do except be there when she wants to talk and try to keep her from worrying. (um, yeah)
Can't think of anything financial that is even registering tonight...
I recently left the country life for the big city to attend a wedding. I stayed with a dear friend who I've been buddies with since we were 12.
I moved to the country, she stayed in the city---and I can't help but compare lives when we get together. Not to determine who is better off, but just to compare the CHOICES in our lives.
I have to say, CHOICES have the potential for more spending.
For instance, I live about 25 minutes from town...something that discourages last minute meals out--My friend lives in town and there are restaurants on every corner to temp and entice. Where we have a dozen choices...she has hundreds...
CLOTHES--I definately think Princess Perky is on to something when she blogs that they have fewer clothes so that the propensity is not there to have laundry overload on the weekends... Our stores definately get the leftovers from the big cities...we do not have the amazing variety-- but with variety, again, comes the urge to own.
My friend's homeowners assn bans things like washing your car in your driveway, garage sales, and hanging your laundry on an outside line...My husband uses one of our two acres as a log deck and wood processing business. :O
Our entertainment...well, we have two theaters, a miniature golf course, a couple of wonderful live theater venues and an expo for home shows and rodeo's...and then we have lakes, rivers, mountains and an endless supply of wildflowers...My goodness, my friend has dozens of theaters, Disneyland, Knotts, museums, zoos, almost every inch of land is put to some kind of use...and on and on...
We both have nice wineries...the difference is that the city wineries are at the end of a long traffic jam and are very popular and crowded--here, unless it is a special occasion, there are usually just a handful of folks to converse with and you take a two lane country road to get to them.
And talk about fast food and coffee shops...whoa boy...I am certain that my friend could try a new place everyday for a full year and not have the same thing twice!!
Please don't think I am saying one is better than the other...I am not. I am only observing that living in the country means fewer choices- which leads to less temptation--I applaud those of you who blog about frugality from big cities...you are clearly more disciplined than I could be with all those wonderful, expensive CHOICES.
I had a wonderful time on vacation!! All of our flights were on time- our hotel that we stayed in the first and last nights whie we were in vegas, while very inexpensive ($39.99 per night) was nice (I've stayed in nicer, but also paid a lot more than that.)
Going to Vegas first and then driving to SO calif saved us money and allowed everyone to go where they wanted/needed to go (each of us had different So. CA destinations)
The wedding was beautiful. The bride has been deaf her whole life and has dreamed of her wedding for years...she wrote her vows when she was 16 (she is now 23). She wanted to give her husband something special, so she learned how to play a song on the piano and played it during the ceremony. It mattered not that it was off key in spots and that she lost her place in others...it was the most lovely song Ive ever heard--as it came from her heart.
DD1 took the pics and got some beautiful shots..
My friend and I went wine tasting, to the ocean, shopping, got in lots of girl talk, and I came home with a few bucks still in the wallet...so all in all, a great time!
I have enjoyed the time away- but there really is no place like home!! Today I babysat GS and GD and Im worn out! Tonight and tomorrow I can rest some- tomorrow night I get to go out to dinner and to CATS (a gift from my boss)...and Monday is back to work!
Vacations are way too few and far between arent they?? My next is a 4 day weekend in June....(Im already eager for it!!)
I am leaving on vacation for tomorrow afternoon and will be gone until the night of the 10th. I will be missing all of my blogging buds and will keep good thoughts for each of you!!
I was having a little bit of BA's blahs today. Many reasons, none of them good.
How many of you have some sort of life list?? Things NOT money related that you want to accomplish...
I would be very interested in hearing others life goals.
I think I spend so much time working and caring for others that I lose site of what I want...as in "do I even have any idea of what I want looks or feels like??"
Sometimes I feel like I get lost in the needs of everything around me and I honestly have no idea what I would ask for if I had a magic wand...is that something to worry about??? or am I just so darn satisfied that there is nothing I want??
I dunno...I just think everyone should have some sort of wish list....but I do not. Perhaps its time to start one...
Oh, vacation...take me away!
hugs to you all!~!!
I had an amazing experience tonight and I am so eager to share it with all of you.
I attended a Goodwill Awards Banquet. (My job buys two tables to the event and gives our staff an opportunity to go and support- the rest of the seats are donated back so others can attend at no charge.)
If you are not familiar, Goodwill assists and employs people who have disabilities (mental and physical) who may not have a chance at a productive life otherwise.
These were such delightful people, so sincerely grateful. The event is very heartwarming. Those who win awards often don't understand the boundaries of social acceptability...they simply understand that they are excited and want to express their excitement through emotions and gestures. Unspoiled by jealousy and envy- I learned so much observing those unabashed emotions of joy.
As one winner walked nervously up to accept her award...an earlier winner "Mr. Spirit" loudly proclaimed "I REALLY like her"...and she broke into a huge smile and immediately forgot the nervous jitters, accepting her award and clapping because everyone else was.
Winners who proudly held up their trophies and awards with beaming ear to ear smiles...Most Friendly, Ms. Safety, Mr, Spirit, King of Service, Queen of Personal Growth. Very inexpensive rewards brought lifetime memories and glee.
So, how did the sparkly dress teach me about money?
I was walking to the restroom and just ahead of me was a young lady who clearly was enjoying her evening. Her hair was carefully combed, hairpins holding her bangs back. She was wearing heels, and it was obvious that, if this wasn't her first time in heels, it was very close to it. (very wobbly)...and she had on this very sparkly dress...and you could tell, she felt absolutely beautiful..confident..clearly this was her night. She was smiling and saying hello to everyone-
So I reciprocated her kindness and told her that she looked so pretty in her sparkly dress...and she looked at me said....
"Thank you, I got it out of the free bin"
the free bin...Goodwill....a young girl with challenges I will never fully understand...Beaming, feeling like a princess on her big night...with her sparkly dress from the free bin.
Lesson learned, Thank you God for that one.
Ok- do you see this smile?
I put on a pair of pants that fit a little snug before (18s) and they are super big on me now!!!!! They are about 3-4 inches too big around the waist!!!!
I am fitting very comfortably in my newly washed/dried size 16 jeans...and they actually are feeling loose after I wear them for a day....so size 14 is coming soon!!! (perhaps two weeks away?)
My goal is to be a size 12 by my birthday (which isnt until June)
My mom asked for the scale so that they could monitor my dad to see if he is retaining water (congestive heart failure)...and so she has had it for about 2 weeks...and I have decided I dont care about the weight...but rather the size I am in.
I will be happy in 12's...I do not desire to be skinny, just healthy....and more confident in myself.
I am comfortable with this eating plan and will have no problem sticking to it from now on. I feel better, have more energy and am pleased with the results...I will actually look in a mirror when I walk by now!!! (and am getting more pleased with what I see!!)
Perhaps it is time to sell some of my 'before' clothes on e-bay...oh, drats...I am the one who wears my clothes out before buying new...oh well, at least I can retire them with pleasure!!!
What a great mail day! I received ZERO BILLS...and a Shick Quatro razor (excellent stocking stuffer!) and a vanilla biscotti Folgers coffee sample.
I ordered/received the kitchen accessories for nana's Christmas gift. She loves southwest stuff and I found a really pretty Kokopelli cutting board, towel and pot holder. I also had foung a beautiful opal/diamond bracelet a few months ago -originally $80, clearanced for $15- so nana is all done.
I am not going to make my goal fot 2/1 bags to dump/goodwill thanks to the tailbone...but I am keeping the goal on the radar for next week.
Every once in a while, mother nature just tosses us a freebie to enjoy. A beautiful sunset, thunderstorm, a cool breeze on a hot day...
This morning, this is what I enjoyed as I was drinking coffee and looking out my window...it was a first:
This lil guy just slowly walked around my yard and then ventured off down the road...What a great start to the day!
Two in a row. I just love it!
Grilled a london broil and a pack of chicken for meals this week. Should last at least 3-4 more meals.
Mail included free Dove Shampoo samples. I was looking at the stash when I put them away and I have enough samples for at least one week.
DD3 is going to the fair today and tomorrow. She is at that age where she and her friends just want to walk around, ride a few rides and enjoy each other...(maybe boy hunt) I am glad to see her having a good time.
The kids and I met this morning about winter business finances. I will continue to get 1/2 pay through winter...and so I will be able to use the puppy and wood money without having to get a pt job. This is a good thing, since DD3 is going to be involved in several school activities and I am committed to seeing her get to do them.
I am just going to budget carefully.
DH sold a cord of wood this morning, so we need to get that processed and ready to go.
I watched 'In Her Shoes' last night...just as all of you predicted, it was really cute. Enjoyed it even with the blasted headache.
That's it for now.
I was looking through a pile of mail for our car insurance bill and found, what looked like junk mail...but it was our two Great Fun gas cards $10 each.
I have tucked them away to use on our vacation to the coast at the end of the month.
Just one more savings made from all of your advice!!
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