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Archive for November, 2012

Prayers for DS...

November 28th, 2012 at 06:45 pm

My son called yesterday to ask about a couple of medical type issues he has been having. One is a phantom smell that has been recurring...the other sounds like a bladder or UTI issue. I suggested he make a dr appointment. Today they did a CT scan and found something necessitating an MRI. And just like that, my priorities shift from the mundane, to my son. Im sure it is something simple that can be easily fixed..but it is always scary when more tests are ordered. They said the next test will occur within the next week...and time seems to stand still while we wait.

When I arrived home from work tonight, DD3 was here with GS (8) and GD (4- who is asleep). DD2 is at work and needed a sitter for the evening. I love seeing my grandkids..I am just so pooped from a very busy day. DD3 and GS are playing monopoly.

Today's food plan was a repeat of yesterday. Coffee, half a bagel, sandwich, chicken and quinoa. I did stop by the store on the way home to pick up milk, oj, etc. I made enough of the chicken and quinoa to have leftovers again tomorrow night.

Breakfast tomorrow is a department meeting, so it will be paid for by work. So far, the week is off to an enexpensive start. My plan is to keep using up the bagels, sandwich stuff and chicken to keep the week frugal food-wise.



Jury Duty

November 27th, 2012 at 07:02 pm

About 7-8 months ago, I received a request for information regarding Federal jury duty. I have been called for county jury duty before, but never Federal. Last week I received a summons for the US District court-

I am surprised at how many people say they 'always' get out of jury duty at all costs.

I see this is an obligation. I know, if I were ever in a situation needing a fair and impartial jury, I would want to have a jury of peers..not just those who couldnt get out of it.

Fortunately, my job pays me when I am serving as a juror...but even if I didnt, I would still try my best to serve.

I have showed up each time I am called, however, the one time I was selected for the jury, the accused pled to avoid the trial. I think it would be interesting to sit on a jury.

My jury duty date is about two weeks away. I wonder how it will turn out...

No spender and budget

November 27th, 2012 at 05:59 pm

Today was a no spend day. Coffee/creamer and half a bagel for breakfast- BLT from Subway (pd for by job) for lunch and leftover chicken and quinoa for dinner.

I was working on the budget today and got a little bummed. We were about $400 behind for the month and I couldnt figure out why, then I remembered that the hubs paycheck last week had an error on it and was short a day. The shortage will be added to this week's check...which puts us right back on track.

I double checked the December budget and set up the payments and transfers and all looks good. The hub is working a 4/2 rotation this time, which means an extra week of pay. Extra pay this winter will go towards eliminating debt and snowballing the payments to continue eliminating debt all year.

My job is giving each employee a $50 gift card for the end of the year. I selected one to a superstore so I can have lots of options. This is a treat we have received for years, and one that is always appreciated!

The last of the grandkid gifts arrived today. CHECKMARK. Now I just have to finish with the adults. I had planned to finish this past weekend, but then got sick. So, I hope to finish this coming weekend!

I mentioned in a recent post that I bought special bedding just for me for my Christmas gift. WOW. I am in love with this bedding! I have slept so comfortably all week!! I love love love having feminine, soft, warm cozy bedding to sleep in. yay me!



back to work and no spender!

November 26th, 2012 at 08:29 pm

Today was my first day back to work. It was a no spender too. I took sandwich fixings to work, along with coffee creamer. One of my perks at work is free coffee- something I always enjoy in the morning. I was playing catch up all morning..so a couple cups of free coffee, followed by a sandwich was all I had time for today. What a busy day!

I came home and made chicken breast and quinoa for dinner. Very tasty. - the recipe I use for chicken is super easy. Lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, montreal steak seasoning and some fresh rosemary. Toss chicken in this mix and then cook at 400 for 20 mins. Super fast and easy. spoon some of the sauce over quinoa and YUMMY. Dinner is served. (green beans or salad make it a full meal!

I still havent had time to start on the 2013 budget. But I am really looking forward to working on it and challenging everything. I am looking forward to seeing the before and after budget.

Tomorrow I have coffee and bagels planned for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and bbq chicken for dinner. Should be another no spender!

Got MY Christmas present today!

November 24th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Our friends that we occasionally vacation with texted me today to invite me to lunch. I hadnt been out of the house since Tuesday, so it sounded great to me. We went to a little bbq place in a nearby historic town. It was such a fun outing. It was great to visit and enjoy the bbq meal. My appetite isnt fully back, but it still was tasty.

I stopped by Target afterwards. I didnt have bows for the christmas presents yet and needed a couple of other things. Last summer, I decided that I wanted to get a pretty, feminine set of sheets and a bedspread for my bed for Christmas- my plan, to change out the bedding while the hub is gone to something I love- just for me. Smile When I picked out the set then, it was going to cost around $250...really over extravagant in my eyes...so I wanted to really think about it. I have been back 2-3 times since last summer, rethinking it through..Was it something I really wanted?? Yes. Even after several months, this was still my only gift wish. Today while I was there I thought about a plan B. They had a white set of flannel sheets for $24 (for a king-sized bed!!) and there was this beautiful white super-uber soft shabby-chic blanket with pink flowers for $69. Hmmm...$93 vs $250..So, I bought them. My bed is remade and waiting, I cant tell you how comfy the combo of the flannel sheets and that blanket are. And WHITE? I have a logger/mechanic husband, so white is not an option normally. But this is just for me during those weeks when he is in Alaska. I LOVE my new bedding!! Merry Christmas to me!!

I got a little farther on the house today and got more wrapping done, including bows and ribbons. I asked DD3 if she would be able to take the donations to Goodwill next week and to make a dump run, since I ran out of room in our trash and recycle bin- she said of course. Once she does that, the house will be done and I will be in maintain mode. What a great feeling!!

Tomorrow is my last day off. I plan to finish the housework, set the tree up, do some grocery shopping and prep for the week ahead. Tomorrow will be a busy day~!

Taming the animal hair..I need a better vacuum

November 23rd, 2012 at 09:25 pm

Organizing:
I am on day 3 of 5 of my time off. My plan was to use this time to clean and organize the house...kindof a November spring cleaning. Tuesday night I started organizing cupboards, which means pulling stuff out- which means the house looks worse than before starting. I was pleased with progress, but had a major ways to go... and then at 1am- I woke up with a 101 fever. Wednesday, I had agreed to babysit our lil foster guy (Z). Thankfully DD3 came and helped because the darn fever hovered at 101-102 all day. (Did I mention the messy house Id created??) Z is an amazingly good lil boy and he just played and enjoyed his time here- but he also added to the mess.

THanksgiving, the fever broke about 3 in the afternoon. I was wiped out, but got a little done. Today, I have been back at it. Most of the hiding spaces in the house are cleaned and organized. I completely filled the big recycle bin with papers, etc. The trash bin is full and I have more to refill after the trash guy comes on Monday. I have two big boxes of giveaway stuff for Goodwill, with more to come when I finish my closet.

Whew. This was a big job without that drasted fever. Thankfully, I have two full days left to finish up. I have to say, it feels so good to know you have deep cleaned and organized everything!

I have a dog and a cat..and I suspect they are the source of my asthma attacks and maybe even these fevers I keep getting- so I borrowed DD1's vacuum, which is a much better one than I own..and I am AMAZED at how much hair it picked up. I am now shopping for a similar vacuum. Emptying the container triggered my asthma...so that is why I am thinking the two are related. We have allowed them to sleep in the bedroom- but I am going to keep them out for a week or so and see how the asthma does.

I do believe I will post a few after photo's on Sunday.

Budget:
For some reason, the hubs paycheck was short a day this week. They will make it up on next weeks check- which works out ok, since this paycheck was primarily rolling to the end of the month anyway. He has been working a little overtime so I am eager to see how much next week's check is. This is also a 3 paycheck month for me...so next Friday will be fun as we will be able to put a large chunk on debt and another in savings.

DD1 did awesome with the Thanksgiving dinner. (I didnt get to go, but she sent me a plate). She fed a nice big feast for 14 adults and 6 kids..using lots of coupons and sales. She spent about $75 on everything and did a great job on her first Thanksgiving hosting.

I want to start working on the 2013 budget as soon as I am done with the house overhaul. I have been making a list of expenses to challenge. TV, insurance, cell phone plans. I havent done this since the hub went back to work in Alaska. We are able to pay all bills, save, set aside for vacation..but I feel like Ive been complacent and can do better next year.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays. (I have so much to be thankful for!)




Bit by the organizing bug..but where to start and what to do?

November 20th, 2012 at 05:58 pm

Ok. I have read many of the blogs here about tackling organizing everything from a drawer to a house. I really am motivated..but I will be brutally honest and admit that my parents didnt check that box on my skill set when they created me. I am one of the most organized-challenged people I know. It doesnt come natural, I have to think and rethink how to do it...I have tried many times. Usually I move things from one location to a 'better' location and then forget where half of the new locations are. I am a 'perfectionist" to a fault and often stop mid jobs when I feel I cant do it perfectly.

In a nutshell, I suck at this.

But with my five days off, I am determined to tackle this. I bought several various sized see through tubs today. With all the Amazon shopping Ive done lately, I also have several large cardboard boxes. And I have a label maker and some big labels.

The cardboard boxes are for throw away trash and throw away recycle and give away. I know from watching hoarding shows that more needs to go in those three boxes than anywhere else...but OYE...is that tough for me. I have SO MUCH stuff from my parents. It is really hard to make those decisions. Knowing this, I am prepared for some of the tubs to be filled and placed up in the rafters in the garage for 'someday'. But I am going to try to limit those.

I have been at it for a couple of hours in the kitchen now. I have exactly 3 things in the give away box- an old pair of my moms eyeglasses, an old wallet, and a plastic flower vase. Of course a BIG clue here is that there were eyeglasses and a wallet in my kitchen drawers... :/

On a positive note, I have had to empty the throw away recycle box twice.

I took a break to have leftovers for dinner and regenerate my brain to push through the frustration of trying to turn on whatever part of the brain works during organization tasks. I CAN DO THIS.

I am not so sure you will see before and after pictures...but we will see. Wish me luck!!

Ready for Thanksgiving!

November 19th, 2012 at 06:50 pm

I stopped at the store on the way home to pick up the items I need to make my dishes for Thanksgiving. I will be taking this sweet potato dish:

Text is http://allrecipes.com/recipe/yummy-sweet-potato-casserole/ and Link is
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/yummy-sweet-potato-casserole/

Plus, I am making one of Nanas traditions, that we call beefy bread dip. It includes creme cheese, sour cream, buddig beef, green onion, and garlic salt mixed up and baked inside a sourdough bread bowl. We use oven toasted sourdough bread for dipping. This has been a family favorite since I can remember and is only made on special occasions. We always think of Nana when we have it.

Tomorrow is my last day of work this week. In order to take another long weekend, I worked straight thru the day today- lunch at the desk..and I will do the same tomorrow including getting there early. I have a feeling the rest of the year will be at this pace.

I do sneak in a few breaks to get online shopping done. I am on track to complete all shopping/wrapping by the end of this coming weekend- which is a good feeling, especially having so many grandbabies to buy for!

Funny thing- the store I stopped at to pick the things up tonight is NOTORIOUS for their Black Friday sock sale. 50% off of very overpriced socks. You would be AMAZED at how many people rush to partake of this 'deal'. They had about a 100 foot row of tables stacked under and over, front and back full of socks in preparation for Friday. I chuckled to myself as I walked by. The craziness.

I love that I dont need a single thing on Friday. I will enjoy a peaceful day at home.

The birthday party

November 18th, 2012 at 06:47 pm

Today was my youngest granddaughters 4th birthday party. She is so stinkin cute. Long blond hair, huge bright blue eyes- and the sweetest little personality all rolled into a ball of energy. (Biased...not too much!) I bought her a little lap harp and a minnie mouse doll with dress up clothes. (she adores minnie mouse). I love buying gifts like the lap harp that encourage creativitiy and interest in arts and music. I budget for all birthdays for the year and then split that amount by 12 and deposit each month. The two gifts came in under budget- I watched for sales and actually bought the gifts on sale a couple of months ago.

I am seriously considering dropping our Directv at the first of the year. I enjoy it, but the hub and DD3 wont be home much this winter and it really doesnt seem worth the cost. Especially with the online options out there. This would save over $100 a month- so I may try it and see how it works for us.

I am going to look for other ways to cut back too. The first of the year is always a good time to challenge all expenses and see if there are ways to cut back.

I only work two days this next week. I have plenty of coffee creamer left at work. Lunch will be mini bagels with herb turkey lunch meat, lettuce and cranberry sauce. Dinners will be chicken. DD2 needs a sitter for Z, so I will have him on Wednesday.

This was a fun weekend. I am so glad I have a short work week ahead.

A great Saturday-

November 17th, 2012 at 06:50 pm

For some reason, I keep getting logged out of the site. I had a nice long post this morning, but when I went to post it- it was lost. I hate when that happens!

Yesterday I enjoyed a day of free meals. On payday’s our IT department picks up breakfast burritos. Usually they are $3-4 a piece, but a co-worker paid for them. Then at lunch, I went with another co-worker and a couple of mutual friends. We had chipped in to get my co-worker a gift card to go to lunch together last month (for his birthday)…and yesterday was our lunch date. The restaurant that we went to is one of my kids’ favorites and they have a special during the Holidays- but a gift card for $25 and get a $5 bonus. So I picked up one for each of the kids for Christmas.

I have about 90% of my present wrapping done- I have a tall kitchen table and am using that as my wrapping station this year. Usually, I spread out everything on the floor and sit and wrap..but using the table is SO much easier, especially on my back! Im not sure why it takes so long for lightbulb moments like this to go off for me…but am sure glad when they do!

I got a nice surprise today. DD2 dropped by with a mocha and a puzzle. She had my lil foster grandbaby (Z) too. They spent the entire day with me!! Z is now 22 months..and he followed me around while I did the housework. He loves it when I put makeup on…because we always dry brush his cheeks too and it makes him giggle. He is such a sweetheart. DD2 and I got pretty far on the puzzle- DD3 even came by for a couple hours. So fun. By this afternoon, Z had started running a fever, so he sat on my lap and we rocked. They left a little while ago- it was such a fun day. Here is a little 'incognito' pic of lil Z...isnt he adorable?



Yesterday was my payday. Because I am exempt, my checks are always the same- which makes budgeting easier. This check covered the freedom account (car insurance, car repair, pet, clothes, house repairs and miscellaneous) - $279; the birthday account $65; the Christmas deposit $150; the trash bill $60 for two months; $150 towards cc debt; and the rest rolls for to the end of the month. Next week, the hub starts getting a paycheck again after his three week break. We are still on track to have $3000 for savings by the end of the month.

Tomorrow is DD2’s daughters 4th birthday party. (Gift is bought and wrapped!) I will get to see all three daughters and their kiddos. My son and his family cant make it up- but I am looking forward to time with the rest of the family. The party is at a community center that has a big room with two jump houses in it. The kids have LOTS of room to run and play. (And my house wont get destroyed!!)

This next week I only work two days, and then have 5 off. This is the last of my long weekends until late January. I hope to finish ALL of my Christmas prep during the 5 days- especially since I only have 2 more days off the rest of the year and work is about to ramp up even more with some changes coming down the pike.

Free doesnt always mean good...

November 15th, 2012 at 06:57 pm

Last night we had a board meeting at work. Why this matters on my blog is that the leftover food is free for the taking the next day and November always means a turkey dinner! I partook (is that a word?) of the leftovers at lunch and it was honestly the worst turkey meal Ive ever had. Free, but bad. Oh well, at least it didnt cost anything.

Today would have been a no spender, except a co-worker mentioned that our local kids club was calling previous donors to ask for help with the holiday meal they will be serving next week. I happily chipped in $ to help.

I realized today that I havent heard anything from my friend who has the MLM business since I told her I wasnt interested in selling or buying. I am relieved not to be constantly solicited, but I am wondering if that extended to our friendship. We always get together sometime during CHristmas, so I will send her an invite to see.

The hub called tonight to let me know he is back on the Slope safely and headed back to work. Its really quiet at the house tonight. Will be for several weeks. But lots to do for the Holidays to fil the time.

OT...baby z

November 14th, 2012 at 09:01 pm

My blog tonight will be ot-

First, the hub is back in Alaska. Today was my first day back at work and honestly, that first day back is often a doozy and today was a definate doozy. Busy and crazy.

DD2 asked to go to lunch and I assumed correctly that something was up.

Almost 18 months ago, DD2 took a little 5 month old boy in as a foster mom. He was so neglected those first few months..it was so sad. It took him two weeks to get used to someone holding him- he had lived in his carseat with very minimal human interaction.

No relatives stepped in then, or since. However, his maternal grandmother has now decided to try to get custody. I totally understand the "blood is thicker than"...mentality. But this little guy has NEVER met her. He is almost two and knows no other family.

I am so proud of my daughter for taking him in and raising him like one of her own. He is a brother to my grandkids, a son to my daughter and a grandson in my eyes. It will be hard to understand how after two plus years, this little guy is removed to a family he has never met. It makes me question the system.

Grandma lives in Florida. (When Z was born she lived here..but stated she did not have the time or money to take him). She moved to Montana, then on to Florida. She has been back here four times in 18 months and never asked to see him. Sadly, his 20 year old mom is back on drugs. Dad has never asked to see him. His other grandparents said they were too old to start over.

So far, all we have heard from the court is a blood relative will take priority over his foster family. At this point- DD2 would like to start adoption. I am fully supportive of that. To try to think of what this will do to Z is heartbreaking. He is so attached at this point.

I can understand moving a child during the first year..but after two years...

Sorry to vent ot, it is just tough to think Z might have to be moved from all he has ever known. I dont get how this is the best interest of the child. Frown




Two more grandkids Christmas gifts DONE!

November 12th, 2012 at 01:00 pm

Our friends went home this morning. Frown We have one more day and then head home ourselves. 5 days sounds like so much time, but it has gone by FAST.

The hub went to visit his dad today, so I am home alone. The puzzle is done, I started my knitting project, I am a little farther in the book. I also spent some time yesterday on Amazon Christmas shopping. I finished with two more grandbabies...so I only have two to go. (They are 5 and 3..so I know they will be happy with anything) Its just a matter of picking gifts out. The way it is going, I will not have to shop in stores at all this year!

I have to chuckle..the hub has gotten bored a couple of times while we have been here. While I feel that I dont have enough time to get all the fun projects I want to work on, done. However, he HAS been off three weeks and I can understand. This rotation, there is a big question mark as to when he will be coming home. He wants to work longer shifts through the winter..so we shall see. Anyway, I plan to fully enjoy this last full day of RnR. I may even sneek in a nap this afternoon! Smile



DD1 is picking up some great deals for Thanksgiving dinner

November 11th, 2012 at 01:29 pm

This morning we sat in the hot tub. It was 18 degrees outside- but oh, so warm in the water. I had to laugh, the back of my hair that had gotten wet turned into icecicles while we were in there!

Dd1 messaged me that she used her couponing skills this morning to pick up several things for Thanksgiving dinner- some of them FREE. She really is a coupon queen in my eyes. I have no doubt she will pull off a fantastic meal for a very good price. I really appreciate that she took this on. I cant wait to see what she does!

My son and Dil took their kids to Disneyland this weekend. They have been posting pics all weekend. I love Facebook for this reason. I am sitting here on vacation by the fire, enjoying watching the kids adventure almost instantaneously. My granddaughter (5) got to have a princess makeover yesterday. She looked so adorable. This is the little one with JRA- which makes seeing her smile and have fun even more precious.

I havent started the knitting project yet...have only made a small dent in the book. We are about halfway done with the puzzle. We have A TON of food still. I love this pace for a winter vacation. Today- lots of football and tonight the hub and I are making pork chops for dinner. Life is good. So blessed!