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Archive for January, 2007

Sunday This & That

January 28th, 2007 at 06:14 pm

My oldest daughter and I are losing weight together. Since early Jan., we've lost 5 and 8 lbs, respectively. And if that isn't enough, the amount I'm spending at the grocery store is reducing as well! Yay! I spent under $200 on Saturday, for the food and supplies for the next two weeks and a bit of pantry stocking.

Another thing I've been trying to do lately is try out a new recipe every week or two. My cooking definitely falls into some serious ruts. Tonight my family tried one called Bruschetta Chicken. They all found it tasty, though I'll cook it a little longer to crisp the top a bit more. It was also not too bad health- and dollar-wise.

I worked on the bulk mailing from work earlier today (my weekends are exciting, you can see.) I'll have a check cut at the district office and drop it all off at the PO, after my preschool hours tomorrow. I also work for a bit tomorrow night - and my younger girls can come to help me, and play with the kids that will be coming, if they want.

That is all, for now...take care!

More cleaning....

January 26th, 2007 at 03:54 pm

...and it's financially related!

I've been moving through cupboards, drawers, my desk, etc. With my daughter sleeping and resting so much during her illness, I've had a bit of time on my hands. Can you tell?!

When pressed for time, as in most of the time, I want things neat, but end up putting things 'temporarily' into places. So far, I've cleared out the useless (to me) for donation. I consolidated items together - I don't have to purchase Christmas and regular stationery for quite a while, and the number of packages of pensin my desk was unreal! I organized what was staying in a more manageable way, so I know what I have or may need. I know - what a concept! Actually I don't mind organizing, but run out of hours in the day to get to it. Here's to trying to do better!

I picked up some brochures from work that need to be prepped and sorted for mailing on Monday. I'll work on it over the weekend (may even have a little help too.) A bit on the check at least...and I'm hoping to put a full week in next week.

Other than grocery shopping and going to the bread outlet store, we're laying low this weekend. Want to make sure everyone gets over everything, and are all healthy for school and work.

Enjoy the weekend and take care!

Things are looking up...

January 25th, 2007 at 10:23 am

The fever has broken! My youngest is eating a bit of yogurt, after several days of not eating. Tomorrow is a day off from school, so she and I have both had an extra week off. Monday starts a new week!

As she rested (a lot,) I was able to get done with a few things around here. On the financial front, I ordered the first free credit report for the year for both my husband and I. While I'm curious as to our actual credit rating, I opted to not pay to see it, as there didn't seem to be a real need at the moment, except for the curiosity. Plus there are two more times later in the year when I could check.

I re-checked our ongoing meds on the insurance's website. There is an Rx cost calculator that let's you compare costs in filling it locally (1 month) or by mailorder (3 months.) I always assume the mailorder way will be cheaper, but not always, so now I check periodically. One of my daughter's new prescriptions ended up being cheaper to fill locally. Every bit helps.

I also gathered more online info for taxtime - still impatiently waiting for some 1099s! Maybe they will be in today's mail.

On the nonfinancial front - I cleared out my upstairs hallway. It's sort of an odd hallway in that it is larger than normal, almost room size. It also ends up being the equivalent of a very large junk drawer at our house. I like to keep the first floor neat and presentable to guests, so the upstairs hallway is our catchall for anything that doesn't fit that criteria. We've been getting by with pathways to the bedrooms upstairs, but enough already! So my youngest was strong enough this morning to defend the attics from kitty invasions (she guarded the doorway.) I first dragged in the Christmas decoration boxes, then the leftover items from Halloween that didn't get into the attic. Then I found the pile of 'keepables' from my second daughter's room clearing out last fall. I boxed up her American Girl doll, but will need to 'consult' with her on the rest, as my attic only holds so much. Wow, my hallway is really quite large again!! May it stay so...

Enjoy your day...take care!

This and that

January 24th, 2007 at 08:57 am

My youngest is still home sick - it's the sickest she has ever been, but she seems to be on the mend finally this morning. There is no school on Friday, and I can't imagine she'll have enough strength for school tomorrow. I'm glad we're not often sick!

I've been chipping away at many of the jobs on my to-do list. Even those ones that are never gotten to, and get transferred to my newest list (several times over!) While it's nice to be further along on my list, I am quite ready to go back to work, that's for sure!

My husband's w-2 was available online yesterday, so I did a quick calculating of our taxes (still waiting on some 1099s, so can't do fully yet.) No surprises - pretty much like last year. Our medical expenses were quite high last year (for us,) but I'm still working on whether they were high enough for us to benefit from itemizing.

Today is usually a day I visit my mom, though I'll have to go later in the day or in the week, with my daughter home. Last week my mom was put into a wheelchair, as she was having trouble walking with her walker (like she didn't know how to walk anymore.) I know some of the progression of Alzheimer's, but I don't know if this is one of them. I think I only absorb what I'm able to handle at a given moment, and so may have missed it. She was given communion lasy week, and had the wafer in her mouth, but didn't know what to do with it. There has been a lot to adjust to lately.

Take care!

Hit with the plague, I think...

January 22nd, 2007 at 07:03 am

My youngest is home with a fever. Where did our immunity go this winter?! This makes for a day off for me, but I'm thankful for my job's flexibility to do this.

She is mostly sleeping, so I will hit more of my to-do list, that never-ending list. The pile (of desk papers) got filed over the weekend, as well as the old stuff from the files pulled. I still need to shred them. I received a number of w-2s and 1099s, but still not all. Should be able to get the taxes done by early Feb nontheless.

I pulled out a package of the cutup ham from the freezer, and will make up scalloped potatoes and ham in the crockpot for dinner tonight.

Keeping busy...

January 20th, 2007 at 08:21 am

We found out yesterday that my husband's company had been sold (officially - we knew it was going to happen, but didn't know exactly when.) Within minutes of the purchase, layoffs were made at each branch across the country, though thankfully not my husband. He did lose two vacation days though, which is far easier to lump compared to losing a job.

I have such a mixture of emotions - feeling bad for his coworkers, thankful for husband still having a job, and the pressing need to really batton down our finance hatches. At least, we're at a place where we could get through a layoff, if need be, along with the opportunity to be even better prepared. Staying positive...

We're in the second week of our groceries, and holding steady. I'm feeling like making a nice pot of chili for tonight. A pan of brownies would be nice too.

Busy Saturday already - oldest daughter off to the pool job, youngest off on a day's adventure with her girl scout troop, second daughter just arrived back from a friend's youth lock-in, third woke up from sleeping in (needed - she was one of the sickies this week.) Husband is off to police station to do a bit of work on their card access system. As for me, that pile to file IS going to get done - enough with the procrastination! (In reality, it'll probably take all of 20 minutes, if that even.) Usually once I get going, I keep going, so I have my to-do list handy...take that, inertia!!

Enjoy your weekend...take care!

Can you believe?!

January 18th, 2007 at 01:20 pm

My third daughter is home sick today. I think illness has taken up residence with us! The nerve of it, too - I've been a fiend with the Lysol.

I just received a call for a bulk mailing of preschool brochures to go out at the end of next week - a bit more money on the paycheck. Plus my supervisor said she mentioned my name to our Community Ed. program for bulk mailing the school's Sr. class party mailer. More potential income...yay!

Yesterday, a coworker gave me a bag of clothes cleaned out of her middleschooler's closet. My two middle girls had the clothes divided in literally seconds. It's funny - my third daughter was needing some pants too, and there were two pairs that fit perfect. Someone is looking out for us, that's for sure.

Dinner will be tacos, laundry is done, house straightened...boring, but nice.

Temps are pretty cold with the windchill, but better than yesterday (and tomorrow, by the sounds of it.) This is more like MN. And the price at the gas pump is surprisingly not too bad - I think I must have missed some news piece about why, but I'll relish it while it lasts!

Enjoy your day and take care!

The illness that won't end...

January 17th, 2007 at 06:12 am

My oldest stayed home not feeling well, but the rest of us are back to work and school. My lunch and water are packed for work. I work through lunchtime today, then I'll visit my mom at the nursing home before heading home. I've heard some local nursing homes are restricting visitors, but at my mom's place, visitors are requested to wash hands and make use of the numerous bottles of hand sanitizer. Winter is a hard time of year at the nursing home, that's for sure.

I got as far as I could with tax gathering yesterday. Now, to wait patiently for statements to arrive...I can try! I still need to file the pile (of papers,) but I left that fun for this afternoon.

As it is Wednesday, tonight's dinner is in the crockpot - spaghetti. Then I send the girls off to church activities for the evening, and help as needed with homework for the younger two.

Enjoy your day and take care!

A long weekend...

January 16th, 2007 at 01:05 pm

My husband is recovering from a yucky stomach illness (won't go into detail.) He's still home today from work, as is my youngest from school, who woke up with stomach pains (so far, she's not going the route of my husband.) Preschool was off today, so I cleaned and disinfected around the two, and did the requisite laundry. I also put a pot roast in the crockpot for dinner, though there may two less for dinner.

I spent a little time checking out some accounts online. I spent a lot of time sorting through the receipts and tax stuff, cleaning out the old papers, and making room for the new and upcoming.

I also mounted two bulletin boards above my two youngests' beds (no tape on those newly painted walls!) And I re-hung the fireplace grate from my parents' house in the archway between the dining and living room. We painted the dr and lr in September, and are obviously not rushing in putting things up on the wall - ha! (I know it's a funny sentimental thing - but it's pretty and ornate, and I couldn't stand the thought of it being demolished with the house, or worse, finding it at our local JunkMarket.)

Went grocery shopping for the two weeks on Saturday. Whew! We're ready for steady sailing (barring any more stomach issues!)

Take care!

On today's menu...

January 10th, 2007 at 02:20 pm

In response to my last entry...I've been using a crockpot for all 22 years that I've been married, and collecting and creating recipes that long too. Some of our favorite recipes come from the "Fix-it and Forget-it" slow cooker series. I also check out the library for slow cooker cookbooks and magazines. And of course, trade recipes among friends!

Crockpot minestrone is one of my family's favorite soups.

Crockpot Minestrone

3 c. water
1 1/2 lbs. beef stew meat
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tsp. salt
1 - 10 oz. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 c. cabbage, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 16 oz. can garbanzo beans
1 tsp. dried oregano

Place all ingredients into a large crockpot, stirring to mix. Cover and cook on low 10 to 16 hours (or high 5 to 8 hours.) Enjoy!

Note - substitute and modify as you wish... I do! Today, I didn't have any cabbage, used a lot less salt and a bit less onion than the recipe says, made do with garlic powder, substituted last summer's surplus tomatoes that were in my freezer for the canned, and I always rinse the beans (less salt.) Also, I add pepper - lots - to my bowl.

Enjoy and take care!

Crockpot Wednesdays

January 10th, 2007 at 06:18 am

Wednesday tends to be our busiest day during the week, so I always try to put something in the crockpot that is a full meal. On the menu today...crockpot minestrone. So after work, school and girls scouts for one daughter, we can have a quick dinner before children's choir and confirmation. We get to homework here and there as needed. Whew! Wednesday is a long day, but at least we have something to eat, and we can eat together. (And then we go to bed!)

Enjoy your day and take care!

Monday

January 8th, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Back to work today - it was good to see the kids, and get back on schedule. It took 20 minutes to get 16 preschoolers in snow gear, but very worth it, as the day is sunny and warm. A perfect winter day!

Started in on the paper pile on my desk this weekend. This is a work in progress...then I'll tally up my deductions for itemizing.

Soon I'll put a ham in the oven - not my favorite, but we got it free. I also enjoy having the leftovers, which I'll cut up and package for future use in soups, scrambled eggs, and other dinner recipes. We're not big ham eaters, so a ham lasts us quite a while.

Take care!

Plans for the weekend

January 5th, 2007 at 01:13 pm

Got back from the staff luncheon. Very fun and relaxing, plus I have some extra salad that we can eat tonight and tomorrow.

This weekend looks pretty quiet, schedule-wise. I'm planning to really go over our financial stuff - the yearly checkover. (Oh, and I'll actually file the papers on my desk, and gather the tax items from my to-do list of a couple days ago. Gosh, never enough hours in the day...)

I need to look at our 401K, as we're ready to increase our contribution rate. We're contributing a little bit above the company match, but I've noticed some people feel that it may be better to invest elsewhere once the match is met. Hmm, I need to take some time to research this.

I would also like to check into a computerized way to look at my expenditures. I use the paper and pencil way, which works for me, but is slow and laborious. I need something that is cheap or free, but extremely simple to use, as I have limited time and ability on the computer.

I better get to it...take care!

A little bit of saving, earning and spending

January 4th, 2007 at 01:18 pm

Everyone went off to school yesterday and today.

Yesterday, I had a friend over, rather than meet at a coffee shop. I had a very nice visit with her, as well as saved the money I would have spent at the shop. I also had a staff meeting and training, so earned a little too. We ate a second crockpot meal, as dinner had to be sandwiched between a medical appt after school, and Girl Scouts for my youngest immediately after an early dinner. Not my favorite kind of busy, but the crockpot allowed us to just sit and eat and talk for a half hour - nice!

Today, I will be heading out for our staff holiday potluck lunch. Our classes were held right up to the weekend of Christmas, so we decided after the holidays would be a more enjoyable time for our get-together. I'm bringing a spinach salad - only need to pick up the greens this morning on my way, as I have all the rest of the ingredients.

This weekend, I plan to return a new backpack we had picked up for my youngest daughter. The zippers split open the first day she used it. It seems there is no rhyme or reason on how well backpacks hold up! If the zippers aren't heavy duty, they split open...sometimes. If they are heavy duty, the fabric surrounding it splits...sometimes. If the zipper area holds up, the bottom blows out. Aaarg! You would think after all these years, I would be an expert at picking the sturdy ones. I think it comes down to luck - ok, I'm done!

Take care and have a great day!

And we're off...

January 3rd, 2007 at 07:16 am

My husband went back to work yesterday, after having some vacation time following Christmas. The girls headed back to school today, except my youngest. She wasn't feeling well, so I'm keeping her home another day. I have a staff meeting tomorrow, but won't start back in class until Monday. A few days to get some stuff done around here, almost alone...

For today - Laundry (continually everpresent!) Get bills paid out. File the teetering pile of papers on my desk, which will then allow me to start to pull together items for tax time. With our incredible medical bills over the past year, I'm sure I'll be able to itemize our deductions. Once I fill out the forms, I'm having my brother look over everything, as the last time we itemized was at least fouteen years ago. I usually don't mind doing our taxes, but I'm definitely not in that frame of mind this year. Oh well, I'll be glad when they are done (how's that for positive!)

I also need to get over to the nursing home to sign the papers for a new medicine for my mom that I gave a verbal ok for on the weekend. She continues to decline, and it's taking more meds to keep her less agitated. Alzheimer's is really a hideous disease.

I need to throw something in the crockpot - maybe minestrone or spaghetti - as it is Wed, with church activities back on the calendar. I just need to get back into our schedule again, and not with my feet dragging!

Take care!

'tis Time to Be Back

January 2nd, 2007 at 07:23 pm

Has it been forever, or what?!

I have been reading everyone's blogs all along, though, just not blogging myself. I think the reason for it was a combination of lack of time to collect my thoughts in a coherent, readable manner, plus a lack of something new to say (I was boring myself!) I'm not sure I won't start repeating myself again as I blog, but I do know I miss it. Reading about everyone's financial feats is great, but participating in the blogs is even better!

So on to something financial... We are on surer ground than we were a year ago. The credit card has not been used in a very long time, and though there is still a balance, it's heading in the right direction. The cushion remains in the checking account, and there is an EF (ready to be bulked up a bit more this year.) Christmas was cash and kept to a reasonable amount. I have some goals and directions in my head, and will soon get them recorded here.

So, as many here have already stated... 2007 has the making of something wonderful! Happy New Year to us all!!