Home > Archive: July, 2013

Archive for July, 2013

Smoky days!

July 31st, 2013 at 03:57 am

Wow. Our state is on fire. The air quality has hit hazardous on DEQs website. I have never been in conditions like this. It looks like a really heavy orange-ish fog, but when you step outside, it is like being surrounded by campfire smoke. I pray for the firefighters who are fighting more than 100 that have destroyed over 30,000 acres.

Today was a no-spend day. Leftovers all the way. Tonight I am putting my next crockpot fixins together and will toss them in tomorrow morning. Im going to try lemon rosemary chicken. I normally bake it, but I thought I would try making it in the crockpot.

The plan I spent the last month working on was reviewed and approved today. YAY. It is nice when you work so hard on a project and it receives praise. Totally made my day!

My son's little ones are coming for a visit next week. They have to share their time with three different grammas, but I will get to see them at least two nights. So excited!

Lots to be happy about and look forward to! Now if some rain would just come along and knock out all the fires and a good wind would blow the smoke away!

My little white lie

July 28th, 2013 at 09:47 pm

With all that's been going on, I totally forgot that I did this.

I needed to buy coffee a few weeks ago. The cost of our normal brand was almost double what the cost of a competitor was. But the hub prefers the stuff we normally buy (or so he thinks). So, I bought the less expensive brand and when I got home, I poured it into the empty container from the normal stuff...and guess what. I completely forgot it wasn't what the container said, and he didn't notice.

Hmmm...this makes me wonder. What else are we stuck on? Definitely something to ponder.

I got my errands all done this morning. (Grocery shopping and gas)

I put a beef roast and green chilis into the crockpot. This will make great shredded beef for tacos, burritos, french dip or bbq beef sandwiches.

Chicken breast was on sale, so I picked up some rosemary to make lemon rosemary chicken later in the week.

I got the makings for caprice on toasted sourdough- one of my FAVs.

I think meals are all set for the week!

I filled my tank on the way home- work clothes are all clean and ready. The only things on the to list- vacuum, wash sheets and read. My kinda Sunday afternoon for sure.

A busy Saturday

July 27th, 2013 at 11:22 pm

I am being treated to a special breakfast this morning. My 9 yo grandson is making pancakes all by himself. Usually he makes them with some help, but today he asked to do it solo. So, I am sitting back and observing. He clearly has been paying attention. I am so proud of him!

DD2 is working all weekend so she needed sitters for the kids. I volunteered for today- Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow.

2 hrs later:
I have some chicken breast in the slow cooker. I have several loads of laundry washed, line dried and put away- just 1 more to go. GS has played with the dogs, rode his bike, played a video game. Its getting really hot outside again today and its really smoky because of all the fires. Neither conducive to my asthma. So, once my quilt is dried, we are going to load up and head into town. I need to refill the water bottles- which I will do at DD1s and let GS play with his cousins for a bit. Then, GS need a new pair of tennis shoes, so I will take care of that. Id love to stop by the library, but GS says he hates to read...but I am tempted to see if I can change his mind. So many adventures to take inside those books!

GSs mom gets off at 6, so I will drop him off and head home for some peace and quiet, that yummy chicken, and one of my books.

A few hours later:
Well, plans changed slightly. When I stopped by DD1's the cousins wanted to come back home with us, so the three of the kids have been here all afternoon playing, arguing, eating, arguing and eating. Smile

But I think they are having fun. Hopefully a parent will be picking them all up in a couple more hours and there will be quiet time for gramma. Im bushed.

All laundry is done and put away. The chicken is cooking away. And I have a nice bottle of something fruity and semi-potent chilling in the fridge.

Life is good.

Breathing Space

July 26th, 2013 at 08:59 pm

Breathing space. Today I am enjoying a little bit of this, sometimes taken for granted, gift. When you are in the throes of things like tough personal issues, an overwhleming work load, family concerns, you forget how nice it is to have a clear mind and time to think. Today is a breathing space kinda day...finally.

My paycheck hit the account, but no bills are due until next Wednesday, so it will just hang in the account until then.

August and September are busy birthday months. 8 birthdays and an anniversary. However, I budget for birthdays all year and deposit each month to cover them, so the money is there for gift cards, gifts or cash. This weekend, I plan to get some of the shopping in..hopefully find a deal or two...or 8. Big Grin

This weekend I hope to clean the little house, get some grocery shopping in, read, and spend time with the kids/grandkids.

Life is back to being good. Smile

My raise kicks in tomorrow! And some perspective.

July 26th, 2013 at 03:31 am

My raise hits my paycheck tomorrow for the first time. This is also a week that the hub does not get paid. Fortunately, my check will cover all the bills through the end of the month.

Today was a no spend day. I had leftovers for lunch and dinner. I cant believe there are people who don't enjoy leftovers. Cheap, easy and lots of times better than the original meal! Such is the case with the slow cooker teriyaki chicken with jasmine rice that I made yesterday. The rice really soaked up the flavors and tasted so good tonight!

In lieu of everything this past month or so, we put the big house repairs on hold. I am perfectly comfortable in the little house- DD3 and her friend are perfectly content in the big house as is...and this will give us time to decide what is most important. Honestly, the little house and the RV may end up being 'home'. However, this is a decision that I want to take time to make. There is no rush since everything is working for now. Each day I am finding my footing.

At work, I have been tackling a huge project. I am responsible for writing and maintaining the plan if a disaster hits- aka Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity. There is so much involved in a plan like that. After over a month of complete focus, I completed it today. THANK GOODNESS. So much work, time and brain drain into something you HOPE you never have to use. But if a Tsunami, Pandemic, Explosion, Terrorist attack, or major power failure, etc. occurs, we have a plan.

My next project is moving, documenting, storing or destroying several hundred boxes of old records. DO I know how to party or what?

Actually, I love my job. Never a dull moment if you like this kinda stuff. Which oddly, I do.

My DIL's dad was in a pretty bad accident yesterday. Totally not his fault. A lady and her son were waiting to turn left when a young man (18) rear ended them and knocked their car into the intersection directly in the path of DILs father, who was driving a big rig. The little boy, age 5, didn't make it. Frown and the mom is critical. I feel so bad for everyone involved. All of their lives changed forever in an instant. I know DILs dad will never be the same. He is such a caring person, this will forever haunt him. But I cant imagine the impact on the kid that hit the car...and worse, the pain the mom will endure. Something like this always pulls your perspective back to whats important.

New 5th wheel

July 25th, 2013 at 04:22 am

Took the hub to the airport today. Before I left home, I put three frozen boneless chicken breasts in the crock pot. Sprinkled each with a little garlic salt, seasoned salt and some teriyaki sauce. When I got home tonight, I made some jasmine rice in the rice cooker. Viola! Dinner was made in just 15 minutes! I love my crockpot and rice cooker for this very reason. I have plenty of leftovers for two more meals.

We bartered our old travel trailer for 4 loads of wood- which means about $7-8000 to us. The trailer was tired. We have had it almost 15 years. It had taken us on many adventures, been a home for DD1 and her family for a year, housed the hub for almost a year, and provided shelter for the guy who bought it whenever he needed a place to stay. It was time for us to retire it. We haven't camped in it for almost 2 years.

So...we replaced it with a new 5th wheel. My hope is that the new purchase will provide a hobby that we both enjoy while we fix what's broken. This is a purchase that we will use through retirement- hopefully. We both have missed the ability to hook up and go..and are excited to have the option again. We pick it up when the hub comes home next. It will also give us a small, but much needed tax deduction.

We shopped around, and ended up travelling several hours to buy it..and saved over $7000 off of the local dealers lowest price. It was not cheap, but I felt we got a good deal.

Today was the day!

July 25th, 2013 at 03:08 am


As promised, have a seat and enjoy a slice of cake and some champagne! My 401k hit my first milestone today! Woot!

It took 6 years to get here...hopefully the next milestone will arrive a little quicker!

The hub heads back to Alaska tomorrow. I feel like we made progress on working through the issues.

Not quite yet....

July 23rd, 2013 at 04:48 am


slow growth is still growth. Big Grin

Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

DD3 sent me the happiest picture today. She is in Alaska on a mini vacation and they went fishing. Here she is with her catch:

The smile says it all!

Christmas Shopping in July!

July 22nd, 2013 at 12:21 am

I bought two Christmas gifts today. I was at the office supply store and they had fancy earbuds with mics.. on clearance (who couldn't use a new pair of earbuds!) One pair- normally $30 on clearance for $2.97. Another pair, normally $40 on clearance for $3.97. YES!!! They are pink, so any of the girls would like them.

I went to the library yesterday. Im such a library fan. Unfortunately, there is talk of budget cuts closing our local system. I sure hope it doesn't happen. Yesterday, the branch I visited was very busy. Young, old, teens, - all ages, enjoying this public service.

I found 7 books and 2 books on CD to check out.

A frugal cookbook
three books on frugality
one on organizing
and two novels

R heads back to Alaska on Wednesday, which will mean plenty of time for reading.

My 401k is still $293 away from the milestone.. my fingers are crossed that the rollover happens this week!

Waiting for the next milestone!

July 17th, 2013 at 03:01 am

I feel like I am watching a pot, waiting for it to boil. My 401k has beenthisclose for a few months hovering just under 100K. Today, $98500. CMON!!!

I want to celebrate the benchmark already! When it happens we will celebrate with cyber cake and champagne!

But alas...I am waiting...waiting...eagerly waiting.

My new title and raise have taken effect...or is it affect...I never know.

Anyways, its official and I am so proud to have achieved a position I never thought Id achieve. I am now a VP. Smile

We removed the old carpet from the country house and oh my goodness, the odor went with the carpet. THANK GOODNESS. With each small change I am more optimistic about the house.

R has been home for a week. We have had some really tough conversations...REALLY TOUGH. For now, we will work on making it work.

The goal of being debt free except for the mortgage is on track for the end of the year. If nothing else, this year has been a successful one for debt repayment.

Once debt is paid..the goal will become retirement saving and house payoff.

All else is good.

I got a new title...and a raise!

July 10th, 2013 at 03:31 am

I learned this afternoon that I am getting a raise and that my title is changing! I am still responsible for the same things, but because the company has grown so much this year, the new title is more in-line with industry standards. This means that at the beginning of the year, when they redo the pay-scale, my pay will adjust to the higher title/scale. NICE!

Today was another HOT one. It was 103 when I got off work, which makes this little house so uncomfortable. I may get a second air conditioner to help. I actually dread coming home knowing the house will be hot until after 8pm each night. With DD3 and her friend renting the rooms, the electricity bill should be covered even with a second unit..or I may see about getting a bigger one and seeing if that does it. Im just ready to do whatever it takes at this point.

I am excited to pay off, what was, one of our largest cc debts next month. It started at $24k at the beginning of the year and is now down to $6k. After this bill is paid off, we have one final cc bill to pay that is at 0% interest through next April. We owe $8500 on it. I will probably just make minimum payments on it until next April and then pay it in a lump sum.

I owe just over $7k on my car, which will be the next focus and should be PIF by end of year.

And then, we are down to only house payments. AMAZING. This has definitely been a year of debt repayment. (among other things)

The repairs on the big house are on hold until. Right now, getting rid of all debt is more important and will allow decisions to be made without the extra worry.

Big smile tonight. I needed this boost to my confidence. Its been a tough month.

Perfect Pancakes, even from a mix...

July 8th, 2013 at 03:04 am

My 9 year old grandson spent the night last night. It was nice to spend one on one time with him and to have the outside space for him to run and play. Staying here is a much better solution than an apartment would have been.

We got up this morning and GS made us pancakes- not quite from scratch like we have in the past, but from a mix that I had on hand. Of course, he is an old pro at adding the 'secret' ingredients, since we have made pancakes and waffles together since he was first old enough to stand on a chair in my kitchen. Even mixes need the secret ingredients to make the pancakes/waffles taste right. (Vanilla and cinnamon, but don't tell!) Thankfully, he determines just the right amount of each- and every batch is his best ever. Big Grin

He even got creative and surprised me with this one:

Then, we went outside before it got too hot and he played while I read. His mom picked him up about noon.

I am trying to read more with my free time. I use the library regularly again and also have several books on my kindle that I haven't read. So far, sticking with free reading options is working out. I love Amazons option of sampling books before you buy them. If one grabs my attention, I put it on reserve at the library.

I splurged tonight and took DD3 and her roommate out to dinner. (The girls are renting rooms in the big house). It was too darn hot in either house to want to cook, and Mexican sounded good to all of us. Dinner plus tip for 3 - $45.

This was a good weekend. I actually was able to relax and enjoy myself. Its been a while.

Frugal day with frugal routines

July 7th, 2013 at 04:45 am

Today was a hot one, for sure. But it was also productive and fulfilling.

This morning I put ribs in the crockpot and let them slow cook all day- they turned out so tender and yummy! And I made enough so that I now have leftovers for several days!

I sat outside this morning reading my kindle, did all my laundry and line dried everything- including sheets!, DD2 stopped by with the kiddos and GS (9) stayed and is spending the night, cleaned the little house, took GS to the country store for a treat this afternoon (I still remember days with my grandma and how much the treats meant!!), sat outside with DD3 and GS at dusk and enjoyed the breeze- finally relief from the day's heat..and now GS and I are watching a movie together before bed.

R has continued to let his direct deposit go into my account, so I have paid all bills, set aside money for his gas and expenses when he is home, and put everything else towards debt. We are now down to just over $6000 on the debt that started at $24k at the beginning of the year. At this rate, that bill will be PIF in August.

I have one unsecured debt, that is zero interest through next April, that will be paid by then of $8000.

Then, the debts are down to my car and the houses.


Zillow continues to show the values of the houses increasing nicely. (between both, about $15k in the past 4 months) And my 401k is bouncing back from last months dip- still waiting for it to surpass $100k.

Today was the first day I felt almost normal and content in almost a month. It was nice to have my mind on fun stuff and not in constant stress mode.

DD3 and a friend of hers have asked to rent two of the bedrooms in the big house for a couple of months. They will also use the kitchen, bathroom and laundry- in return, they will pay $300 per month. Since the house project is on hold, I was ok with the idea, so long as they keep it tidy. It is nice to have company out here, and they have agreed to take care of the dogs. We will take it month to month and see how it goes.

R comes home next week. Clearly there is lots to think about and discuss when he gets here...but for now I plan on enjoying the time to myself.

What's for dinner

July 5th, 2013 at 01:27 am

One of my all-time favorites:

Caprese on toasted sourdough:

Add a little butter, margarine or olive oil to the bread and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Toast the bread (tonight I used the electric skillet)

flip toasted side up and add fresh mozzarella cheese- melt.

Pull bread from heat source, cut into desirable pieces and add fresh basil and tomato.

If desired, add a splash of olive oil.



Happy 4th!

July 5th, 2013 at 12:19 am

Happy 4Th everyone!

DD3 arrived home from Alaska yesterday. She went from 38 degrees there, to 100+ here. Needless to say, she was not thrilled with the heat. Thankfully, today it only got to about 90. The little house has actually stayed cool today.

There wasn't much food in the house, so this morning we went out to breakfast. She wanted crepes and biscuits and gravy..I wanted biscuits and gravy and ham. So we ordered a crepe/ham meal and biscuits and gravy on the side- which was much less expensive than two meals and got us both what we wanted! We both just had water to drink. Meal and tip $14

Then, I stopped by DD1s with all my empty water jugs and filled them up. Since the time I saw a frog hanging out on the inside of the holding tank, I don't trust the well water for consumption, so this is my solution- which doesn't cost DD1 a noticeable difference and provides me free water that I trust.

DD3 and a friend of hers want to move into the big house for a couple of months. There are two bedrooms that would work. The bathroom is ready and the kitchen, while old, works. So, they are going to move into the house and pay the electricity bill (which includes the little house) as their rent. It also will give me company out here, and the girls will take care of the dogs. The amount they will pay is way less expensive than rent anywhere- so it is a win win for everyone for now. Especially since the home remodel is on permanent hold.

DD3 and I stopped by the store and bought some groceries- mainly fresh fruits and veggies. I finally remembered to use my reusable bags. $48 for some ribs, milk, bread, cheese veggies, and fruits. The store had my fav bbq sauce on sale for .99 per bottle, so I bought 3! Our pantry and fridge are stocked for the weekend!

One skillet meal tonight

July 2nd, 2013 at 04:21 am

I used my electric skillet for the first time tonight to cook dinner. I made red potatoes, corn on the cob and reheated the last of the leftover pork ribs. It was really tasty! Everything cooked in the one skillet so cleanup was a breeze and it didn't heat the house too much.

skillet- 325
appx 5 red potatoes cut into bite size pieces, olive oil and dry onion soup mix sprinkled on top, mix well.
about 10 minutes later, lay corn on top of potatoes cook for about 20 minutes, mixing potatoes occasionally. Adjust heat if needed.
Put leftover pork ribs and sauce in open foil 'dish' in the skillet and let heat for about 10 more mins..until meat is warmed. Easy as can be!

I have leftover red potatoes for other meals. Smile

DD1 and her family are home and she called to go to lunch today. What a nice visit we had! I have missed her. They went to Yellowstone and it sounds like they had a wonderful time.

DD3 gets home on Wednesday morning. I am excited to see her!

The dr. called today and the results were no better with test #2 than they were with test #1, so I have a consultation tomorrow morning for the next procedure. Im ready to have a few stress free days. I had to push myself today to focus at work-

One bite at a time.