Home > Archive: September, 2012

Archive for September, 2012


September 30th, 2012 at 04:19 am

It is our last night on the girls trip. Today we went to one of the fancy huge malls here. Wow, talk about sensory overload. I spent $4.95 on a little gift for a friend whose birthday is later this month..but otherwise, just looked. I also did some people-watching. Wow. Several stores already had their Christmas decor up.

I have to chuckle...and I really dont mean to offend anyone, but I took the girls for a pedicure today. It was way less than we are charged at home because of the competetion for clients, My friend and daughters sat together on one side of the salon, I sat opposite of them and got to watch their faces as they were pampered. It was such fun....but the young lady next to me was quite entertaining. SHe was getting a mani, pedi in one of the massage chairs. It must have been set on high, because ...well, the silicone was working overtime to keep up with her...oh my. sorry, very off topic...but it was quite funny,

Anyways. We came back to my friends and had leftovers and sat in her jaccuzi. We have had an amazing time here. It is tradition for us to go to the Cheesecake Factory on the girls trip, so we will be having lunch at one tomorrow before we hit the airport. We get home tomorrow night at 7:30.

Then, back to work Monday and the hub leaves for AK on Wed.

A great girls trip this year. I went a little over budget, but will make that up out of my Oct allowance. Well worth it.


September 29th, 2012 at 03:23 pm

The girls and I are in So Ca on our girls trip. We are really having a nice time. The rental car that we got is much nicer than I expected..a sporty black car that is taking us everywhere we wanted to go.

Yesterday, my friend had to work. So the girls and I were on our own. DD1 wanted to go back to the house where my parents lived when she was little. This is the same house that I lived in from 11 through high school. We got to the house and she was so shocked at how small it had gotten over the years. Smile In 1983, DD1 was just a year old and my dad had laid some cement to extend the parking area. He had DD1 put her foot and handprints in it and dated it and put her name. She was in awe when she saw it. There was my dads writing and her tiny prints. I asked the owners if they would be ok with us getting pictures and they said sure. I will post a pic when I get home.

Then we went to the park where we both played as kids. Of course they have updated the equipment since then so it looked different, but it was still pretty neat.

Finally, I did something I havent ever done. I drove past the intersection where my brother died. It was almost overwhelming. (Still is as I type this) It has been 24 years, but was very raw yesterday. He was on his new motorcycle (had it 3 months) and came out from under the underpass and hit the car ahead of him. It was 6 at night and I suspect the sun was at the perfect angle so that he couldnt see clearly...of course, that is what my mind was able to wrap around ..Although it was sad, I am glad we did this.

Then we headed to the Pacific Coast Highway and had lunch at a little Irish place called O'Malleys. Lunch was wonderful. They had a wood fire in the fireplace and DD1, DD3 and I just enjoyed each other. Lunch was $28.

I have to say, it was surreal to drive all the freeways that I drove as a teen...the buildings have changed (aged or been remodled), but it was still "home" to me.

Then we headed back to my friends house.

This morning we girls are going for pedicures (they are really inexpensive here) and then I am not sure what we are doing.

So far, this years girls trip has been one of my favorites.

The ups and downs of travel

September 26th, 2012 at 11:49 pm

DD1, DD3 and I are flying down to So Cali for our girls trip tomorrow. Our airport is tiny and only serves a few airlines. One of those is a no frills type (although arent they all becoming no frills lately).

The basic fare is relatively inexpensive..and then there are options- want to choose your seat? Sit by a window or on an aisle? Check or carry on a bag? (and it needs to be under 40lbs if you do or you pay even more) Get 'preferred' boarding? Have a soda?...everything is extra.

But, the base fare was good. So..the girls and I will pack really lite and take one larger suitcase that will be under 40lbs. (We can take one personal item (bag) if it fits easily under the seat) we are each taking a small bag too.

When I went to check in online, we did end up with seats in the same row. Otherwise, it would have cost to rearrange.

So all in all, we are pulling this inexpensive leg of our journey off without issue so far. (whew) I booked the flight as a package with a rental car so that we can get around. The only thing I dont like about it is the whole making sure the tank is topped off when you return the car...but I am sure we will figure it out.

It will be interesting when we get to LA...we land at about 5pm...and will get to experience rush hour traffic to my friends home about 45 miles away. Here in Oregon, that would be about a 35-40 min drive...she said to plan for an hour and a half..or more.

Friday, Sat and most of Sunday will be relaxing and visiting and just having girl time.

The hub took advantage of his time this weekend to head over to the coast with his dad to go quadding. He cashed in cans, cashed in his coin jar, sold a little more wood, and traded in some scrap metal to pay for his trip.

Well...time to get packin....funs awaitin!

Great weekend at the coast!

September 24th, 2012 at 02:08 am

We had such a great time at the coast. My grandson had never been 'crabbing' before and that single activity kept him entertained most of the weekend. He has a new hobby! I have my dads crab pots- but they were not the right kind for where we were at. So the hub and GS bought one along with a fishing license for the hub and some chicken legs for bait. They hub paid for this out of his wood money. Although the crabs were all too small to keep, it was a great source of fun and bonding for both of them.

The hub was very kind this weekend about expenses and actually paid for pretty much everything but the hotel and one meal out of his wood business account. Big Grin Our hotel was $204- such a beautiful room and view. For calling to reserve a room last minute, I lucked out. The girl I spoke to was very nice and assured me I would like the room. We were on the end with a nice long balcony...GS got to swim in the heated pool, play on the beach, run with the waves, made some new friends while crabbing and relax in a big comfy bed while resting a little in the afternoon. HE LOVED IT.

The weather was gorgeous and we had a great time with our friends. We saw pelicans dive bombing into the bay to catch fish and several seals. The meal out was lunch yesterday $28. Oh, we also stopped at the store to pick up corn on the cob, bread, and some snacks which came to $22. Breakfast was provided this morning at the was one of the nicer free breakfasts Ive seen and the food was pretty good! GS, who normally doesnt eat much cleaned his plate and went back for seconds. He slept most of the way home.

This week is a short work week for me. I work Mon- Wed and then leave for our girls trip on Thursday. I also start school again this week and am going to take a stab at algebra II...which is my worst subject.
I didnt realize I would miss a class the first week of school for the girls trip. Hopefully I can make up what I miss. I didnt opt for an online class this time since I know I will need to be taught how this Algebra stuff works. (Ive steered clear of math since high school, which is a VERY long time

I cant believe how fast this weekend went..and am so glad the work week is a short one. After this, I dont have time off until Veterans weekend when we go to the mountain resort rental with our friends.

Heading to the beach tomorrow!

September 22nd, 2012 at 01:49 am

DD2 asked if we could take GS (8) for the weekend since his little sister got to go camping with her grandparents. Blended families are so tough on the kids...poor GS didnt understand why he got left, the hub and GS are at the movie tonight seeing Iceage and tomorrow we are going to get up early and go to the coast. I was able to get a hotel for tomorrow night in one of the rooms facing the ocean. ($200). We have $600 in the vacation fund, which will more than cover the tab for the weekend. (We should only spend about $250 total if the hub pays for the gas with the wood $$) Our good friends are staying at the RV park right next to the hotel- so we will fix our meals with them while we are there, so meals shouldnt be too much. I will also take my dads crab pots...which I am sure will keep GS entertained for most of the day. Aside from the hotel, the gasoline will be our biggest expense...and I am going to ask the hub if he wont pay for that out of his wood $$.

I LOVE going to the ocean and havent been (except for briefly in Alaska) in this will be a very fun weekend.

Meals today were not healthy. Frown I had a free doughnut at work (um, a chocolate bar and coffee was so tasty..but so not worth the guilt later)..and at lunch I needed gas ($65)- which is a 30 min process on I just got two bean burritos from Taco Bell ($1.98)after I filled up on my way back to work.

Tonight I had a PBJ on toast here at home.

I plan on doing lots of beach walking this weekend- and will take lots of fruits for snacks. Then, next week get right back on track with my healthier choices.

My thumb looks and feels so much better now that the glass shard is out.

Looking so forward to tomorrow. After a long week, it will be fun to spend time with the hub, GS and our friends at the beach. Life is good!

Discouraging repeat procedure and done with planning!

September 20th, 2012 at 11:39 pm

This week has been our planning session at work. It is always fun and exciting to explore the possibilities and determine goals for the next year. We met at our offsite facility and breakfast and lunch were provided each meal planning has been easy this week!

My love of planning flows into my personal life too. I enjoy creating spreadsheets and checklists. Each year I get a little better at it and also get more disciplined at sticking to the plan.

I remember the early days of budgeting when money was so tight there wasnt enough to fully go around for expenses, let alone have extra to allocate for wants. All too often, money for bills would 'accidentally' be spent on wants, because it was too depressing to stick to a rigid budget. But once I figured out the formula for writing a do-able budget,AND we brought the out-going to less than the in-coming, I have done a better job of sticking to it.

One thing I learned is to allow for some wiggle room on the bills that vary month to month and to try to budget some guilt free spending money too.

I cant remember if I blogged about getting a sliver of glass in my thumb a few weeks ago. I thought I got it all out and then handled raw chicken to prepare for dinner. The next morning I woke to a very red thumb with a red line starting up my arm...uh oh. I started antibiotics for my cough that day and the thumb got better..but continued to be very sore. Well, last night the darn splinter of glass FINALLY worked to the surface and I got it out. OMG is that a relief.

My sweet little 5 year old granddaughter was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis 3 years ago. At that time she got a steroid injection in her knee and thankfully, the arthritis went away. We thought she was home free when it didnt return. Sadly, it came back. A few weeks ago her knee swelled and got warm..and it hurt in the mornings and off and on during the day..a tell tale sign that it was back. Today she received another treatment (they have to put her under for the injection). This makes a gramma's heart ache:

The arthritis had also spread to her ankle and is affecting her enamel on her teeth.. Frown It is discouraging that this came back as the recurrence ups her chances of it being a life long problem. Good news is tonight she is pain free again and doing well. I sure wish I could take this from her and her mom and dad. It is so hard to see your kids and grandkids hurting both physically and emotionally. Frown

Last night, the hub suggested taking his dad and aunt to dinner. We went to olive garden and the bill came to $90. The hub payed out of his wood money. Tonight, he is delivering six more cords of he will replish what he spent. He is using his wood money to fix up an old truck he bought (his new hobby).

The hubs check hit pending today. It is $106 more than that will go towards his Visa bill.

We are done with the planning session at work, so I go back to preparing and planning my own breakfast and lunch. It was fun while it lasted. Big Grin

So glad Friday is tomorrow and another weekend is upon us. No big plans this weekend.

Donated blood

September 18th, 2012 at 01:59 am

I donated blood today for the first time. I assumed wrongly that because I am on a few differnt medications that I couldnt donate. I am so glad that assumption is behind me! Smile

Today was a no spend day. Our meals are planned for most of the week. Actually, this week is our planning week at work- so breakfast and lunch will be provided Tue-Thur and dinner is provided tomorrow night. Makes for a cheap week when so many meals are provided!

I will need to get gas this week...which will run around $65- this line item still has over $100, so its covered when I fill up.

I am using an online tracker for my meals and I am pleased with the results so far. I dont seem to have a problem staying at or under 1200 calories each day...but I do have a problem getting enough protein. I am trying to follow the 40-30-30 plan which is carbs, protein and fats. I picked up some Zone bars at Costco this past weekend. They were on sale, $14 for 24. I plan to only use them when I am in a bind (nothing on hand and hungry) or when I am really craving chocolate.

I went over the budget with the hub tonight. I keep my budget on a spreadsheet and keep it updated several times each week -and the budget is roughly calculated through next March...roughly because the hubs paychecks fluxuate so much. I estimate low on income and high on the bills that vary (electricity, etc.) He would like to pay more on the country house each month...but it makes so much more sense to eliminate the credit card debt first. I think he understood and seemed happy with how the budget looks.

Unplanned pizza expense and flipped the mattress

September 16th, 2012 at 02:54 am

I had quite a list of honey-do's for the hub this trip home. One was to flip the mattress, which we did tonight. I am hoping this will help with my neck. (He also popped my back, which clearly needed it as many times as it popped)We havent flipped it in a LONG time and it was showing. I am not sure how often we should do I will google it and see for future reference.

DD2 and DD3 showed up just before dinner time. (They do this once in a The hub and I had laid out steaks this morning to bbq...but there wasnt enough for 4 adults and 3 kids, so I put them in the fridge and ordered pizza. An unexpected expense and not a very diet friendly one- but it was quick and easy and everyone enjoyed it. We had the pizza delivered so before it arrived, I snacked on fresh watermelon. When the pizza finally arrived ($48) I just has two of the thinnest slices. Not a deal breaker, since I had only ate fruit and yogurt today. (Just because we were so busy)

So, $48 of unplanned spending will be split between the food budget and the entertainment budget.

I relaxed this afternoon looking at ipad budget aps. I didnt find one that I really liked yet, but havent given up. I would like to move my spreadsheet at work to something cloud based so I can access at home too. I have kept this budget for so long, I can do it in my head, but it would be nice to update my log at my convenience.

The hub went to bed at 730 tonight. It takes a few days for us to get on the same schedule.

I went to the store earlier today and got the Allegra (generic brand) that DD2 had recommended. I also picked up light bulbs, fruit, yogurt, spent $46. That comes off the food budget and I added it to the running total on the fridge.

Tomorrow the hub will bbq those steaks and the chicken breasts I layed out. THe chicken will be for dinner and a couple of lunches this next week.

Budgets and high calorie adult beverage lesson..

September 15th, 2012 at 06:16 pm

The hub is out at the other house processing wood with his dad today, so I am home alone..Actually was, then DD2 showed up with the three little ones. While we visited I brought up her budget and she exlplained that her goal is to pay as much as she can each paycheck and set $40 aside for allowance. Ummm. I told her that was an aggressive goal, but it had a few potential pitfalls.

I explained why she should consider paying those debts, but also put money into an emergency fund..and why. (She is notorious for paying more than she can afford to on debt and then come to mom when there is no money for food for the kids or gas money.) I showed her how I have our budget set up...with income, bills, weekly expenses like food and gas, and the escrow account (aka Freedom acct) for things like Dr bills, birthdays, car repairs, etc.

She paid close attention, but I am not sure it sunk I will bring it up again...and again, until it has. She recently started working more hours and will have more incoming than outgoing, so I am trying to get her to use this as an opportunity to move ahead a little.

We spent $33 last night on food for the dinner and had grilled chicken, jazmine rice, corn on the cob and grilled pineapple, zucchini and onion. It was so good. I was careful with portions and came in under on all the food goals for the day...RIGHT UP UNTIL...I added the three hurricane drinks I had. HOLY CANOLY...I had no idea those three nice cold drinks would bypass my goal limits by almost double in the calorie and carbs...I dont tally sugars, but I am sure that would have been off the chart too. Before the dinner we also stopped by the liquor store (In Oregon, that is the only place you can buy it)...we bought to stock op (an embarrassing $69)...but we have plenty on hand for the future gatherings and we wont have to buy again for months.

They sure dont look that sabatoging to a goal:

Now that I know what those yummy drinks do to my goals, I will probably stick with a glass or two of red wine in the future.

Luckily, I am using Lucky Robins mantra of "progress, nor perfection"...and so I am just hopping back on track today and framing last night as a once in a while treat that was ok.

Bills and Meals

September 14th, 2012 at 06:06 pm

The hub arrived safely. I am taking a break at work and am happy that today has slowed down a little!

I made sure all the bills got paid this morning and moved the money around for all the different buckets (categories of savings/expense accounts). This morning I talk to the hub about the food and entertainment budgets. We have $250 in the food budget for the rest of the month through Oct 5th when the budget is replenished. I really want to try to stick to this so that we arent behind when he goes back. (Which is almost always the case). I am posting a running total on the fridge to keep us on track.

Tonight we invited a friend over for dinner. Her hub is off hunting so it will just be us and her. The hub is going to bbq. The hub will be shopping for the dinner after lunch today, so this will be a good test to see if he is paying attention to staying inside the budget.

We are also going to lunch today with our least, we still consider him such. He and our daughter were never married, but they have a daughter together (our youngest granddaughter- 3 1/2) and this wonderful guy is also co-raising our grandson (8) like he is his..(grandsons bio father is NOT in the picture- never has been, his choice-our relief). Even though DD2 and SIL are not still together, he is family to us. DD2 is semi-ok with this..and it gets a little easier for her all the time. Anyway, we are having lunch today because he bet me that the 49ers would beat Greenbay last weekend, which they did. So I will pick up the tab. This money will come out of the entertainment budget.

Today is on track to be a very relaxing day...even at work. The floodgates seem to be closed for now and I am getting some catchup done on projects...(not to mention a break to type this)

My test this next three weeks, aside from staying on budget, is to eat healthy while someone else is doing the cooking...I CAN DO THIS. Big Grin

My work paid off at work today!!!!

September 14th, 2012 at 12:55 am

Today was the granddaddy of crazy days.

It was not a no spender. Frown A few nights ago I missed a dinner meeting that I had signed up for. I was beyond tired that night and I had to pay $25 today for the no-show fee. I anticipated this when I was deciding not to go...and the sleep sounded so much better than the $25 and not getting home til after 9pm.

Otherwise, I did not spend money today.

My workday started early when I got to work and I never stopped until I left at 5. The good news is one of the the losses I am working on resulted in the person being arrested for assaulting a police officer. Our diligence on this one saved the co. I work for about $20k. It is not every day I can say YAY.

The hub is on his way home - right now he is midway between Anchorage and Seattle. DD3 was supposed to clean the house today for some of the financial help we have given her...but I got home and nothings been done. Frown So, as tired as I am, I will see how much I can get done.

The hubs paycheck is $140 more than usual, so I applied that toward his Visa card.

I am almost to the end of my first work week of eating healthier. Because of how busy it has been, I have stayed well within my eating goals. Not so good on the walking goal, however. Baby steps.

I am so happy that tomorrow is Friday. The weekend ahead is much needed!!

Two weeks to the girls trip!

September 13th, 2012 at 01:23 am

Another no spend day! Yes!

Because of the meal planning and focusing on not spending, I have most of my monthly allowance still in my purse...which is so nice! In two weeks I am flying to Southern California to visit my friend that I have been friends with almost 40 years. Wow, it sounds so crazy to think that its been that long...when we get together we still giggle like teenagers.

My daughters and I started a tradition years ago of planning a girls trip each year. My mom would join us and we would drive up to Portland in October or November and spend the weekend kicking off our Christmas shopping, hitting the Saturday market, having some fun meals..and just being together. We save all year for the trip and we have such a wonderful time.

This is one of my favorite pics from our trips. My mom, at the Saturday market trying on this hat (she was always so cold)...My daughter blew this up and framed it that year and gave it to my dad for Christmas...when he opened it, he laughed so hard I thought he would p-in his Oh good memories...

This year, we switched it up and are taking this trip south. (DD2 isnt going because of her financial situation- which makes me sad)..

None of us are really eager to shop, so we will just spend the weekend visiting. Because we will stay with my friend, we dont have to pay for a hotel- and my friends house is really nice, big and has a gorgeous built in pool/hot tub. Sounds like paradise to me!

Soo...having most of my allowance left is a nice treat for the trip.

The hub gets home tomorrow night. Poor guy...its snowing where he is at and it is supposed to be 101 here tomorrow. Talk about climate shock.

Today was another crazy day at work. A new fraud case popped up and I spent the day investigating and putting the file together on it. I really enjoy that part of my job- and I love staying so busy that the clock hits quittin time before I realize the day is gone.

I didnt get out for a walk, but my meals consisted of lite yogurt, string cheese, carrots, a sandwich, leftover chicken and lots of water. I did have a Pepperidge Farm CARMEL APPLE cookie...a nice treat at the end of a very busy day...I enjoyed every crumb..and then added it to my online food log...happy to see that even after the splurge I was still within all the daily limits I have set.

I love Thursday's because that is the day the hubs paycheck hits pending on the account, so I can see what we are getting and tweak the budget accordingly. This week, he has some OT, so I am excited to see what it is tomorrow morning. My focus on the extra right now is towards debt- so that is where the extra will go.