Along with the usual lose weight, spend less, I have decided to commit to weekly meal plans. My DH still does all the grocery shopping and cooking, but after almost 34 years the meal planning has become very tedious for him.
I downloaded a really cute meal planning sheet from Pinterest:
I did exactly what the link shows at Kinko's/Fed Ex last Saturday. It has been a total relief for DH and asked the other day where the planner was?? He also noted last night this is the first time we have stuck to a menu plan 4 days straight since he cannot remember when.
Without further adieu here is the list:
Sun Dec 28-Beef Stroganoff (not a drop left)
Mon Dec 29-Chicken fajitas (even my 6-y-o granddaughter loved these)
Tue Dec 30-Broccoli Beef stir fry (the rest of the hunk of beef pulled from freezer)
Wed Dec 31-Fish and Chips (granddaughter's choice)
Thu Jan 1 - Fried Chicken, black eyed peas and collards
Fri Jan 2 - Homemade pizza
Sat Jan 3 - venison and leftovers (I only like venison burgers so unless it is burgers, I'm eating leftovers or salad or something else)
Sun Jan 4 - Smoked Turkey, etc (my employer gives away turkeys every Thanksgiving, I took 5 because too many are always delivered)
Mon Jan 5 - Enchilada casserole made with guess what? Turkey!
Tue Jan 6 - Stir fry made with guess what? Turkey!
Wed Jan 7 - Steak Salad
Thur Jan 8 - Turkey Soup and homemade deli sandwiches
Fri Jan 9 - Homemade pizza
Sat Jan 10 - Leftovers
Got up this morning early and picked through the bag of black eyed peas and found 4 rocks! That is why I always pick through dried beans. They are doing their boil/quick soak before putting in the crockpot.
My focus is simple for 2015, plan meals and save 20% of our gross income for retirement. I received a $600 Visa card for a Christmas bonus and I plan to use that for new clothes. I also have some of my target gift card from last year! I think there is about $54 left on that. I am the boss and dress in casual business attire. I need to have comfortable cute stuff. I just ordered $136 from Ann Taylor Loft at 60% off. My day finds me doing everything from giving a tour and chatting with potential resident/families to being on the floor figuring computer issues, to taking out garbage and sticking it in the commpactor, to meeting with employees.....
I need to order some more support stockings. I ordered one pair from Amazon in a cute chevron print. They did help my ankle swelling greatly. My doctor had advised me to get some at my yearly exam. I think that will be it for a while. Support stockings are expensive. I need 4 more pairs.
Time go pay bills and call Vanguard for some information on setting up Roth IRAs for DH and me.
Along with the usual lose weight, spend less, I have decided to commit to weekly meal plans. My DH still does all the grocery shopping and cooking, but after almost 34 years the meal planning has become very tedious for him.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
2015 is bringing big challenges AND big blessings. I have been promoted and am running a 100 apartment assisted living facility. I love my job and consider myself very blessed when just a few years ago I thought I would never be able to work again.
My youngest daughter and her family are living with us for what is planned to be 2 years. My Marine son-in-law is losing his vision due to a rare disease called Stargardt's disease. Luckily having passed the 8 year mark he is eligible for military retirement. My oldest granddaughter is now 6 and my younger one born 8/12/14. They moved up late in September from the San Diego area.
My husband and I realize at 56, almost 57 in my case, we will not retire before age 70. We also realize this may be the only home we ever live in and thus are planning for that.
My current goal is to get my 401K signed up for before January 1st. We are using YNAB for budgeting and DH is actually using his phone app to put in grocery receipts. Hurray!
Need to get back here regularly. In Maui for oldest daughter's wedding. Beautiful Hawaii, our first trip and a good incentive to live frugally to vacation. My 34 year old eldest daughter and fiancĂ© have paid for the wedding, but we paid for pregnant youngest, Marine SIL, granddaughter, MIL and SIL. Our middle daughter paid for her trip and somehow got the condo right across from us.
Life is very busy, so busy I am not doing well handling our finances. When I get home I am going to get it together! In the meantime....
I had lunch last Sunday with a friend visiting from high school and another friend who lives locally but I never see unless the out of town friend comes to visit her parents and then we all get together.
Anyway on Sunday I told local friend about YNAB. Thursday we all met for dinner and she is so excited. She said it was just what she needed as she is planning to move to New York City in October.
OMG she went home, looked it up on the net, watched a webinar, paid for it and set it up along with her budget for the whole year!!
I have yet to start using mine!
I forgot the dog at the groomer yesterday for the second time.
After my job I do not have a lot of energy left.
Joined WW with youngest daughter who is already a member, but had not gone to a meeting since December. I get the lowest number of points, 26 because I am short I guess. Today is day 3 and leader who gave us a mini session when we joined, said tracking is key, just like money!
I still have not mailed the package to Afghanistan that I posted in Jan. I am ashamed of myself and vow to get a note written and it sent off Monday.
I also vow to get YNAB all set up and start using it!
I will report back on my progress...or lack thereof.
YNAB 4 is downloaded and ready to go. DH left this morning to drive cross country to drop off my 1999 Camry to our daughter. We were able to get him a flight home for about $250.00, which means I have to drive to SF to pick him up in a few weeks.
My daughter and granddaughter will be flying home Wednesday, so I go down this week too (DSIL is deploying to Afghanistan soon)! Luckily the drive down 101 to San Francisco is beautiful, from the Redwoods through the wine country. Nothing like coming around the corner and seeing the city on a clear day....hopefully it will be a clear day!
DH got a small dividend check and bought lifetime warranty nonstick pots and pans from Costco. I told him that was the last thing he got to buy this year!
I have the best, most understanding boss (who is actually our business partner too in another business) so there is no problem with me working on the weekends to make up for the time I am taking off.
So this weekend I need to finish our budget for January, talk DH through entering his expenses into his droid phone, and clean the house!
There is a party tonight at the hairdresser from work's house, so I need to make something. I have a well stocked pantry and freezer so I can come up with a dish I am almost certain.
I have errands to do, returning a couple of Matilda Jane items (boy did my order get screwed up for granddaughter) and get a package off to Afghanistan. Monday is an appointment at the DMV (oh goody) to renew my driver's license and get my new disabled plates for my "new" 2006 Camry. Yes I am working, but have trouble walking and shopping (thus DH doing most of it). I only use the disabled parking when I am having a "bad" day. Otherwise, I figure there is someone worse off than me that needs it.
Time for breakfast and watching the rest of this episode of Princess and then time to attack the house.
Happy New Year everyone and here's to reaching at least some of our goals if not all of them!
Today is my 55th birthday...(aaahhhh). I have been very sick for the past 9 days, but have still managed to work most days at least part of the day.
The last two years have been pretty much a free for all financially (as have the last two months). So I was hoping to talk to DH about finances, planning and him helping me out in the budget department in 2013.
We have been married over 34 years and I have done EVERYTHING pertaining to our finances. I love reading about saving money articles, grew up with very frugal parents, but I have not been that great at translating that into wealth. We have done okay muddling through, just think if we had a plan and stayed on the same page??
I take as much of the blame since I have a strong fabric addiction and have a hard time not buying for our sweet granddaughter.
But this morning, after DH made me breakfast, I paused the DVR'd Project Runway and told DH I wanted to talk to him about something. This always immediately makes him put up walls, but I asked him if he would be willing to help me with the planning and execution of a money plan.
I had gotten an Email from YNAB with their updates and now that I have a mini Ipad I think that I will be better about entering transactions. However, with DH doing 95% of food and household shopping, it was imperative he be on board.
Well guess what? He is!! I am so happy. It will mean upgrading to Version 4 and getting the apps for our mini Ipads, but I couldn't be happier or more relieved. We are going to make a reasonable budget and I took half the blame for our current overspending (last months and this month's AMEX bills have totaled over $9,000). No more impulsive fabric buying for me!
My daughter and granddaughter are back on the East Coast with my son-in-law for his deployment, so I am having a stress free Christmas. Along with being sick, nothing is really expected of me! I am watching Lifetime movies, drinking tea and juice and fooling around on my laptop!
Merry Everything! Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season.
I am in Temecula again. My daughter suffered a miscarriage and DSIL is deploying again so I am here helping with granddaughter and packing. My husband and oldest daughter were here for Thanksgiving. My 83 year old mother was having some medical issues so I chose to stay home with her.
Dh and I chose to give our usual Toys for Tots donation to a single mom at my work. I tried to do it anonymously but she figured me out. She told me she literally had no idea how she was going to get her boys gifts. My husband won a $150gift certificate to Target at a local college basketball 50/50 thing. I was planning $300 to coworker so I added $150 to the anonymous card. I then wrote a check to Toys for Tots for $100 at Target. So that leaves Feed the Children, local soup kitchen and local animal shelter to round our Christmas giving.
I cannot believe how much my granddaughter learned in her 3 months at St. Jeane's. Even her coloring is better. She is staying in the lines well.
Okay this was supposed to be quick since typing on my mini. IPad . Supposed to be Dh's gift but I ordered wifi only so Herold me to keep it for myself.
Decided on 30 year refi at 3,30 which is in the works. With daughter and granddaughter moving up with us again for deployment our costs will go up for food and utilities, but probably no more than monthly preschool was costing. We may enroll her locally once DSIL deploys since they will go to North Carolina to visit before actual deployment.
My job duties have expanded to human resources manager. Boss' back is getting worse so I am handling a lot of day to day management of the assisted living facility. I am very blessed even with our present family sadness.
Once Christmas is over I plan to sit down with DH and come up with our financial plan. Actually before so we are ready for the new year. Need to transfer his traditional IRA to a Roth before we jump over the cliff!
My work 401k is through an ins company and I do not plan on participating. Our will and trust is ready to sign as soon as I get home. At almost 55 we are finally getting it done. We need to up Dh's contribution as my salary covers our Roth contributions, granddaughter's private school tuition and the rest on paying down the mortgage.
My fibromyalgia is a bit worse with winter but DH is picking up the slack at home and we have a housekeeper come once a month to heavy clean. It is worth the $100 each month. DH told mehewould rather have the added income though we both tend to be nostalgic about how great it was when I stayed home for the two years.
Lots of entries to read, granddaughter thinks mini IPad is hers. Excuse typos....this keyboard is small!
Messes up us being able to read blog entries, very frustrating!
Another quick post to add:
We ate out on DH's birthday at the local Mexican restaurant. It was terrible, mine was anyway, that was Thursday September 6th.
On Friday our friends were coming over to begin our Friday Night dinners again and to celebrate the birthday/anniversary. DH barbecued steaks, scallops and shrimp, made garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus and yellow squash from the garden. Friends brought a German chocolate cake and ice cream.
The four of us agreed this was our last blowout as we all need to lose a few pounds!
I also notified DH that we are participating in a food challenge. No eating out all all the rest of the month. So last night were leftovers (our actual anniversary). I am not sure what DH has planned for tonight.
He has been cleaning since I am suffering from a migraine and backache after eating the choco cake and working in the yard all day yesterday.
DH cleaned out the freezers this morning and something tells me the lobster mac and cheese from Costco is going to be on the menu soon. DH shopped yesterday at Costco getting our usual veges, bread and milk. Our pantry and freezer are very full so we are ready!
Okay so I am a bit impulsive. I have owned 6 cars in my life:
1. New- 1977 Datsun B210, bought at age 19, full price off the lot. I still remember I paid with tax and license $4211 and change. That little car was great, held 2 car seats and was sold to my dad when I bought car #2. He drove it until he couldn't drive anymore and the floor was rusted with a hole where you could see the road!!
2. New-1986 Toyota Tercel 4-wheel drive wagon, can't remember what I paid for it...1 year later found out I was pregnant unexpectedly. Sold to my in-laws when the 3 girls were too squished which led to my first used car purchase...
3. Used-Bonneville bought in 1992. Drove especially well highway 299 when my father was transferred to Redding for open heart surgery. Made several trips back and forth, 3 days home, 4 days in Redding as my father had a very difficult recovery and was in the hospital for over a month. We actually purchased the car in Redding and anyone who knows highway 299 in California, it is an extremely windy road over the mountains to the coast. MD threw up in the car all over the drivers seat on the drive home (true story). Haha. Purchased because I did not want to be a "soccer mom" driving around in a van. Less than 18 months later, the girls were fighting constantly in the back seat. Also the back window leaked, filling the trunk with water. Living in Humboldt and having a garage I could not park in was a very bad combination. This led to a purchase that I at first regretted and resisted, but turned out to be a great car.
4. New 1994 Plymouth Voyager, traded in Bonneville. Cannot remember the price, but payments were $300 a month for 5 years. DH really pushed me into buying the car and I was very resentful. As it turned out this car lasted us for over 180,000 miles on the original transmission. We gave the van to my husband's brother about a year ago. We kept it even though I had bought 5th car as a "dog ride". We would take the dogs and whoever to the beach and not worry about keeping it clean. This car turned out to the the one I drove all over being guess what...."a soccer mom". Daughter #3 played competitive soccer and every other sport all through school, high school and on traveling teams. Actually DH did most of the driving, missing only one tournament. DH also drove girls to other sports events since YD ended up going to private school and parents were required to bus kids.
5. Used-1999 Toyota Camry, 77,000 miles, paid $8000 to a customer of DH's at our car wash. Purchased in 2004 and kept in the garage for a while while still driving van. It was just so well taken care of and I was afraid Van would die, but it didn't, so I had two cars.
6. On Labor Day while looking for son-in-law a beater, came across a 2006 Toyota Camry with less than 27,000 miles on it at the Toyota dealership in Temecula. It was reduced for the Labor Day sale from $15,995 to $14,995. I offered $13,000. Manager comes out with invoice and pointed out the price was only $700 over invoice at that point. Okay I said, then how about $500 over invoice. He went back to his office, came out and said okay. So I wrote a check and paid for it.
I was not really looking for a car, but I felt like it was one of those deals we would be kicking ourselves about. I paid about $2000 under KBB.
So i handed 1999 Camry keys over to the kids and told them they had custody for 6 months. After that, my middle daughter gets it.
I hate to even go into the story of why I did this, because I'm sure I will get lots of negative feedback. But we all have different values and what the heck, I can take it.
You see my son-in-law originally had orders to move to Hawaii. The kids traded in both their cars and bought a new Juke because of the price of gas in Hawaii and they would only need one car living on base. So in paying for my granddaughter's preschool, they were going to have to buy a second car. Their cash budget was pretty low and so when we went out looking it was hard to find a decent car in their price range.
My plan is to keep the car for at least 10 years. It drives very comfortably, much more so than the 1999 model. I knew I was going to be zipping down to see the kids every few months and was concerned about how long the 1999 would last, so this was just too good a deal to pass up.
Hey at least I paid cash!
In this heat of Southern California (inland), a crockpot is essential. Thank goodness the kids packed it and brought it with them. Found it above the frig. The other day I put in a family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a package of taco seasoning mix and the rest of the Kirland brand organic salsa I found in the frig. I cooked them all day, then shredded them and made chicken quesadillas. SIL and granddaughter both liked them. We had fresh baby carrots and strawberries. I froze the rest in little packages.
Then yesterday I soaked boneless, skinless thighs in plain old teryaki sauce and dumped that into the crockpot on high for the afternoon. DSIL again liked it, but alas, granddaughter thought "too spicy". Haha. Served with fresh steamed broccoli and more strawberries.
It is weird to be in charge of food in a kitchen with a pantry and freezer that are not your own! Like tonight, I have hotdogs and buns left, but stupidly only bought one can of chili for chili dogs on Friday, so I will do plain hot dogs with sweet potato fries for tonight, then leftover teryaki chicken with brown rice and asparagus.......then I will head home!
There I will have my very full freezer and pantry for my meal planning. We have not eaten out one time since my daughter left for South Carolina on August 22nd!
I stopped at the Goodwill on Friday and found 2 summery tops and several books. I finished a Mary Higgins Clark one first and now am reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. Need to reserve this month's book club book.....Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon Days. The last Garrison Keillor book I read was Pontoon and I absolutely howled with laughter over that one.
Speaking of howling with laughter...the kids have Netflix and I was watching Lost. I decided I need something fun, so I watched a few episodes of The Office that I had not seen before. Omgosh, I had to be quiet because Ally was napping, but it was the one where Dwight faked a fire.....when the blond throws her cat up at Oscar and it falls through the ceiling....Baaahaaaa......
I became disabled basically August 1, 2010. Basically for 2 years I hated looking at our finances. I rarely posted here, I rarely read anything financial.
Now a month after starting my new job and 2 weeks after arriving here in Temecula, I am finding myself interested again. It doesn't take a psychologist to figure out the two are connected.
I was frugal and I thought about money, but I dreaded paying the bills, planning etc. I did start using coupons and after one particularly bad mexican restaurant meal with friends, I started Friday Night Dinners....
I was home and my friend, after staying home with her kids for 18 years, was working full-time. Our husbands are total bff's and have man-dates at least once a week. One Friday they asked us to go out to dinner with them (my friend has always hated cooking even when she was a stay-at-home wife). So out we went to the local Mexican place. The food was awful, barely warm and for the 4 of us it was $50.00.
I told them from now on I would make dinners on Friday nights....so I started. I would take the opportunity to try something new and sometimes other people would come. When their youngest daughter started basketball season we didn't get to do it as often. However, they never plan meals so occasionally DH and I will call if we have a lot of food and ask them up. They always come.....one time bringing the husband's sister and her DH. We had cooked a turkey that day. In return they have brought stuff to us from Costco and not let us pay and have helped do household stuff too.
We are lucky to have such good friends who live only 2 blocks away.
Well here I am in Temecula, California where the kids have moved. YD flew back to South Carolina for 3 weddings she booked before her husband's transfer to Camp Pendleton. My granddaughter turned 4 on August 18th. I arrived August 16th.
Financial things have been happening. I have a job! Yes I still have pain from fibromyalgia, but it is much improved after upping my amitriptyline from 10 mg a night to 30 mg.....100 mg is the usual for depression so I am well under that, but it seems to be helping the pain (but then the temps starting staying above 50 degrees at night around the same time, which also helps). Hopefully it will still help during our cold rainy season......
Anyhoo, I have been transcribing a couple of medical reports a month for my old ortho surgeon boss. I volunteered to do the billing and sending of reports since I had heard his wife (who I worked with for several years at his office) needed back surgery. I called her and she said goody come in and I will show you how we do it. I walked out with a pretty much full-time job with benefits becoming her executive assistant. She runs an assisted living facility in the town I live in. DH and I are now covered again by health insurance, having been uninsured for 11 months. It is extremely flexible (I am in Southern California for 3 weeks) and it is very fulfilling at the same time. Perfect job.
If my pain comes back in the winter bad, I will just cut back my hours. I don't have any set responsibilities, it is just keeping boss lady on track and helping out with administrative duties where needed.
Also our home in KF, Oregon where OD went to collge (second degree in diagnostic ultrasound) is closing today. Not sure what our loss is yet, but we are happy to be done with it. It was never supposed to be a rental (market fell right after DD graduated), we did not want to become landlords. We were very lucky in that in the past 5 years since, we have only had about 4 months that we did not have renters. We were extremely lucky to have fabulous renters, 3 different ones who took really good care of the house.
So the plan is to refinance at a 15 year rate and put that money back into our home, which is where we got the money in the first place. Looking back, it was stupid, but at the time it seemed smart. Who knew the housing marked would collapse? When we built the house, it seemed like a great idea!! Haha on us.
The rate at our credit union for a 15 year mortgage is 2.875% with no points. I told DH to get his butt in there and check it out since we should have our money anytime.
In other financial news, my small comp claim settlement will be received any day now too, so things are feeling pretty positive with us.
California has set up the exchange with Obama care, but it is still really expensive. For DH and I it would have been $900 a month, so having insurance covered for both of us is such a relief. Yes I am working for it, but in a flexible fulfilling job. I really couldn't ask for more.
In spending news, we are paying for granddaughter's first year of preschool. She is going to the St.Jeanne le something school here in Temecula 3 mornings a week. With daughter gone and SIL on duty, I will be going to mass and orientation with granddaughter on Sunday, meeting the teachers, etc. The kids already toured the school and granddaughter loved it. In fact when my daughter drove me over to look at it, granddaughter cried because she wanted to stay. Thus we tried to teach her the concept of the "school year".
I have been using the David Allen Getting Things Done method at work and have been very, very successful with it, so much so a coworker started writing things down instead of keeping everything in her head.
Now if I could only be so organized and on top of things at home!!
Now that I have a laptop I hope to keep up better here. I bought daughter's 3 month old laptop because she could not calibrate it to edit her pictures. Yea!! Now I can surf, post and pin while sitting with DH at night watching our TV shows!!
Where is the time flying?
The past year has had it's ups and downs. The up is somehow we are surviving financially without my income. My disability ran out around December 1, 2011 and I could not bring myself to sign the unemployment form that said I could accept full-time work.
The other weird thing is that after my last post, my husband's "flu" turned into a 4 day stay in the hospital with pneumonia! And now that I am in South Carolina with my daughter, Marine SIL and granddaughter, my poor husband has come down with a very bad cold that has him very congested.
I noticed someone today saying they just made their monthly goal of updating at least once a month. That will be my new goal.
I am totally embarrassed to say I have NOT been paying attention to our money. I did put in my 2012 Roth IRA contribution in, but I stopped paying attention around the time I stopped following everyone's blogs closely! Hmmm.....think there is a connection?
My son-in-law has received orders to San Diego which means I will get to see my granddaughter more often for shorter periods.
I was called by my daughter for the help when Ally's day-care was less than desirable. She is so busy with weddings and photo shoots until she moves, so grandma to the rescue.
I packed up in 24 hours and drove cross country arriving on April 18th. It took me 5 days. I had a lot of time to pray and reflect on my life and things I need to work on (that includes money management!).
I also learned a lot of things about myself, the first that I can do it! I am 54 and drove cross country with my little dog. The first night was in Tehatchapi,CA. Then just over the New Mexico border. Then Oklahoma City, then Dalton, Ga, then onto Beaufort, hitting Metro Atlanta at rush hour. The traffic still moved much better than Bay Area rush hour!
I had a unique encounter with an artist who did beautiful African type art with recycled materials. We ended up chatting so long, he gave me the framed Ghana symbol for craftiness and intelligence. It was a special moment. My very shy daughter realized my ability to talk to anyone about anything can actually be an asset!
I am assuming the 5 Fitness challenge is 5 things...I already walk every day per my rheumatologist's orders. This morning I managed to get out of the house by 7:15 a.m. with everyone still asleep, even my dog who usually goes with me. It has been heating up with humidity going up too, so I need to get up and get out early or it is going to be too hot! So that means I need to come up with 4 more things. Mmmmm.
2. Chasing after granddaughter and walking with her while she rides her bike with training wheels.
3. Continue to eat as low carb as possible, which is difficult here. I am shocked at the prices of fresh produce!
5. Oh I know, go back to the core strengthening program...I had been planning to do that when I got home, but can at least stretch when getting home from walking each morning.
Until next time....PS It will not be another year!
Last week we drove down for a Giants game. I was completely miserable as it was a 7:00 pm game and it was windy and cold! I seriously did not know if I was going to last through the game, but DH bought me a warm Giants blanket. We met our older daughters there (who live in Reno), but my middle daughter leaves in 2 days to start a new job/life in Charleston, SC, 1.5 hours from where my youngest daughter lives with her Marine husband and my sweet granddaughter.
It was a pricey trip, we stayed at a funky hotel that was about 1.5 miles from the park and about 2 blocks from a very nice breakfast place called Rocco's. They had the best coffee!
We said goodbye to the girls and headed north, while they headed East. Dh stopped at a little quilt store in Laytonville, which is about 1.5 hours from home. I fell in love with the little store and ended up buying more fabric.
I have made several this year already and have 4 more about ready to quilt. I took a machine quilting class the day before leaving for SF and am ready to try it out on an actual quilt after using 18 inch block "sandwiches" to practice in the class.
DH made a lovely brunch for Mother's Day and one of the easiest recipes was from Relish Magazine:
He also made Alton Brown's version of Eggs Benedict and made a very successful Hollandaise. I made Alton's scones, but threw in a handful of blueberries instead of dried cranberries. It was one of the yummiest brunches we have had. He also made 2 quiches and a SIL brought fruit.
Financially I am matching my medical EOB's to bills and getting them paid, and am sending in the registration for our new security system to the local sheriff's office. Then we have a niece and a nephew graduating from high school this year and I am getting checks written for that.
Last Saturday was a Cookies for Kids with Cancer National Bake sale day and Friday I helped bake and package a ton of cookies. They ended up making $2800.00 in our small town, which was really good.
I was going to help with the sale, but my DH has come down with some very weird flu and has been sick all week. I finally took him to the ER yesterday, where they took x-rays and did blood work, which were all normal. He got a shot of morphine and some fluids along with some prescriptioms for nausea and headaches. He is not much better, but believe it or not the doctor actually called about an hour ago. He is on again tonight's shift and said to bring him back if I felt like I needed to. I thought it was really nice of the doctor to call.
So I am doing pretty well with the food challenge my sister started. Of course DH not eating much for a week has helped! I did buy popsicles today and some already made jello, but otherwise I have been sticking to perishables only.
Here are another couple of quilts I have done or am working on:
For a new mom in my pain group.
For a great-niece who is turning 9, this will be my first machine quilted with a pattern I traced on it using a homemade light box.
This is our new patio that we have waited 10 years for.
Here is the before shot:
I worked in the yard today as it was sunny, but windy. I love being home!
I have just been overwhelmed with life. My pain got worse and worse until I finally asked my doctor to refer me to a rheumatologist in the practice. She thinks I have an autoimmune disorder, so I was put on new drugs and have more tests coming up.
On the other hand, I LOVE being home, taking care of the house and cooking. The only thing I have not liked is shopping since that always causes me a lot of pain or I should say did.
My new doctor put me on a prednisone taper that made me feel much better and it has continued along with the new drugs she put me on.
My sister challenged me to buy no food except perishables for an entire month. That month is going to be May. I have inventoried my pantry and freezer and am just about ready. I do need to do a little bit of shopping. I am almost out of brown rice and whole wheat flour.
So I am back to keep myself on track. I am embarrassed to say I have not been tracking spending and barely pay attention to money, which is ridiculous since I am probably not going back to work any time soon.
I have missed what is going on with everyone too!
I thought staying at home would be a cake walk. Haha. Since taking on the grocery shopping, cooking and management of the home along with my diagnosis, I am swamped.
Since DH works so hard, I feel this need to work just as hard on the home front, which I really cannot do and he does not expect me too either. Dumb work ethic!!
Due to dividends and my continued disability checks, we are doing fine despite my lack of attention to our finances. This must change as my disability checks will be ending.
I am telling you, shopping and cooking alone takes up a tremendous amount of time.
All homemakers, male or female, don't sell yourself short ever. It is a full-time job!!
I have upped my goal to 11 in 2011 quilting/sewing projects. I have finished #2:
I am waiting for the backing fabric (red with white polka dot minkey)for #3:
And have started #4:
Our tax appointment is next week so I have to get on that.
Happily the weather has been beautiful in Northern Coastal California as opposed to the midwest, but again today I heard on the radio that our gas prices are the highest in the continental US!
I am suffering from a stomach bug this weekend, but I have managed to work on the Busy Book for Ally. I have 3 days left to finish since we are traveling to San Francisco Wednesday for their flight to Savannah on Thursday. Actually I am not sure if I am going yet. Anyway here are some updated pictures:
This is to learn to braid.
This is to count.
Matching colors on the right, hanging clothes on the left?
My daughter did Toodee and Foofah's faces (Yo Gabba Gabba), but I forgot to take pictures of those. More velcro type stick-on face parts. Just something to keep her busy.
This was in Reno with the gingerbread house she and YD decorated.
I love looking at blogs of women who actually accomplish things…. here is my new favorite:
In thinking about Ally and YD on a long plane ride, I thought her Airpline Art Binder would be perfect to send with Ally to keep her occupied (which is nearly impossible these days, she is so busy, busy, busy).
I knew I had some stiff interfacing because 31+ years ago I had the same sort of idea, but an entire book, the directions I found at some Humboldt County fabric store. I had even started the little activity book, but never finished it for my firstborn.
I started digging this morning and found this:
All the fabric is horribly ugly so I am going to recut everything out with cute fabric from my stash, but I have one week! This is a test.....can I do it?
On the money front using coupons and careful planning, I bought a crapload of food last night from Safeway. I used to totally avoid Safeway except for some random ingredient we forgot at Winco, but with the new programs they have, and my careful coupon search, I was able to get some great buys.
My favorite was I had a rain check for Precious string cheese for $2.49 for 16. I had a $1.00 coupon from Sunday's paper, making it $1.49. Our favorite salad croutons were 10/10 at Safeway and they had a $.55 coupon for real California cheese. I picked up 3 grated bags for $1.76 a piece (my personal price until 1/11/11), making them $1.21 for 8 oz.
In Sunday's paper were coupons for Athenos Greek yogurt, which was on sale for 99 cents, I bought 2 and got $1.00 off making them 49 cents. I have never tried it, but like greek yogurt, so what the heck. Activa 4 pack was $1.88 and I had a 50 cent off coupon... anyway you get the picture. It was really fun!
Now I know some women and Jeffrey can do much better, but I am very satisfied.
So off to work on Ally's Busy Book, since they are going with the neighbors to the Discovery Museum's weekly play group in Eureka, and it will give me pretty much all day since they go out to lunch, and then it is nap time. I hope I get lots done!
Happy New Years to Everyone!!
In no particular order:
1. Read 26 books. Finished my first this morning, DH woke me up at 4:00 a.m. going to work early. Finished at 6:30 a.m.
2. Take this time off to organize my home and life like I have always wished that I could (this would be a long list on its own).
3. Squeeze every penny until it screams since who knows when and if I will ever work again.
4. Be nicer to DH and myself, one word....menopause.
5. Quit procrastinating (lifelong problem).
6. Make at least 5 quilts, one for each of my girls and myself. Bonus: Make my two sisters a quilt.
7. Exercise and diet (of course). Lose 15 pounds by July 3rd since I do not want to be the fat sister in photographs.
8. Plan more, do less (a variation of work smarter, not harder).
9. Do another activity as much as possible while watching TV (knitting, sewing, exercising, catching up on blogs/web sites, planning). What can I say, we watch at least 2 hours a night. We love TV.
10. Call my mother more often. In fact I am calling her now.
I have very vague financial goals this year since I am not working and do not know what to expect. My main goal is to live within DH's income only as this may be a permanent way of life for us. I have worked full-time for almost our entire marriage(part-time after each pregnancy for an average of 6 months), so this is a huge change for us. We do have a large e-fund so I know we will be okay a long while, but I also need to continue to save for retirement on top of that.
My daughter and granddaughter have flights home to South Carolina scheduled on January 13th, so the next 10 days are devoted to spending as much time as possible with them, so I won't really get to work on things until they are gone.
Scottrade and transferred the rest of my Roth-IRA money into it yesterday. Now I have to decide what to do with it.
Today is my birthday and we are trying to get from the northern coast of California to Reno. DH thinks it is better to drive in snow than just ice. Hopefully we will travel home this weekend. The thought of getting to see my granddaughter and daughters is making me very excited and less frightened of the storm. Part of me thinks we are just stupid and should stay home.
DH just put new tires on the truck to the tune of almost $1000.00. Aaahhh!!
Long drive so I think I will work on goals during the drive, if I can stay awake. I have a tendency to fall asleep almost immediately on long trips and then feel drowsy most of the time. I must have been one of those babies that would fall asleep in the car if I was fussy!
I forgot to sign the cashier's check that mom gave me and the bank called (US Bank) and had to send it back. Thank goodness for living in a small town. Our renters also forgot to make a deposit or something, so their check also was returned (did not receive phone call, just the check back from Chase), but renters called to let us know).
You may already know this, but they don't send the actual checks back anymore, but a "legal copy".
At 81, mom's recovery is slower than I expected (what was I thinking?). My two older sisters came to help out and did a major decluttering of mom's home.
Inspired, I went through a pile of paperwork on my desk and I found two car registrations that are due on 12/31/2010. The State of California does not like it when you are late paying, and tack on nice little late payments. Thank goodness I found these. I will pay on line today.
My new hobby is paying off with some shopping this weekend. Two new babies in the neighborhood, along with a gift for granddaughter's BFF (next door), a couple of outfits for granddaughter and new socks (I have a sock thing) and new walking shoes for me at Kohl's. DH found a $10.00 off any $20.00 purchase at his business along with the one we tore off our newspaper, gave us 2!! I also had a 30% off coupon received in the mail. For all this I paid less than $40.00. The Nike's alone were normally $59.99!
After that I went to Walgreen's to use that $5.00 in jingle bucks received at the last visit, along with $3.30 in manufacturer's coupons. I checked the ads carefully and then was ready!
After that.... CVS.I had $18.97 in Care bucks along with $2.00 in manufacturer's coupons to use there.
I obviously have got to quit buying cereal!
Opened boxes. Yes that is writing you see on my cabinet. We measured the kids growing up and kids visiting when they were younger (actually we still do this) with the name and date. I have to save that door when we replace our cabinets.
Normally shopping at Safeway makes me cringe, but with their new program and a little planning, I was pleasantly surprised by my last visit there. Again I had $3.30 in manufacturer's coupons to use along with some on-line ones from the Safeway web site. Some highlights of that visit were 2 lb Tillamook cheddar (our favorite) for only $3.99, 1 doz eggs for $1.08 and Barilla pasta for 92 cents a pound. I also picked up some Starbucks decaf Cafe Verona that was on sale for $7.99 and I had a $1.00 off coupon and I can take the empty package in for a free cup! I may use that today while running errands.
Today is the last day to shop for Toys for Tots sponsored by the Marine Corp. I already bought some things, but am going to pick up more. Also the Wags checker and I got to talking (what can I say, I am a talker), and she said something about being "brain dead". When I asked why, she said she worked two jobs to support her 5 kids with deadbeat dads (yes dads). I asked if she had presents for all of them yet, she said no, but was working on it. I tried to slip her an extra $20.00, but she said thank you, but she could not take it. I insisted, but she again said no. I feel such a burden for that mother. I really want to go get a $100.00 gift certificate for the local mall and drop it off anonymously to the Wags store. But I don't want to get her in trouble and I don't know her name. I am thinking I might call the store and ask who was working on Saturday at the front checkout......
Lastly, we are hoping to travel to Reno where our older daughters live. Yongest daughter and granddaughter drove over last week before the big storm hit California. I get a little weepy thinking of not spending Christmas with our girls for the first time ever. We are hoping to try to go over on Christmas Eve, there appears to be a break in the weather. Instead I may be spending the time looking at pictures like this:
This was taken sometime within the last 10 days when Ally had managed to not take a nap all day, but fell asleep while watching her beloved Yo Gabba Gabba or was it Wow Wow Wubsy??
My 81-year-old mother had a ventral hernia repair on Wednesday. She should be discharged today (had some postop confusion).
So last Sunday she calls me, telling me she wants to give two of my siblings and I $13,000. I e-mailed my accountant to make sure that was okay (not sure if you could only give one $13,000 away a year, should have just checked with MonkeyMama).
So Tuesday she brings over the check. After getting her settled Wednesday morning at the hospital, I took the check in and deposited it. I have decided to fund my Roth-IRA with the money for this year and next which will take up most of it being over 50 and all.
Yesterday the bank calls and is sending the check back because I forgot to sign it and they forgot to check before completing the transaction(cashier's check). Also our property manager called and said our renter's check is going to bounce as they forgot to deposit money. Is is because it is December and we are all overwhelmed or what?
In other news, I went to Walgreen's yesterday while mom napped at the hospital. Here is what I bought:
I paid a total of $16.24 along with $5.00 back in Wags bucks. I used $12.50 in Wags bucks along with a few coupons to get the total price down.
I have over $16.00 in CVS rewards to use by 12/28/10.
In food news, I tried a new recipe for buttermilk biscuits. They turned out so yummy:
Perfect with the strawberry jam I made earlier this year. This is the recipe:
This is a rose in my front yard taken Tuesday, still blooming even though it is almost time for pruning:
And lastly obligatory cute picture of granddaughter who climbed into her toy box to play:
They are going home in a month so I am spending as much time as possible with her.
My new hobby kept me hopping yesterday. After reading several couponing blogs and sort of dipping my foot in, I made an all out effort yesterday to get going on this.
I was a little more organized, but still have a ways to go.
My first stop was Bed, Bath and Beyond where I purchased "Your Baby Can Read" with a 20% off coupon for my granddaughter. It will be interesting to see if it really works. In the meantime at 2-1/2 she likes videos and books so this goes right along with her current favorite activities.
Then onto Walgreen's where a very helpful checker (who also takes advantage of Walgreen's rewards, reassured me that I was not an "irritating" customer as I warned her I would be. She also gave me the site she follows: www.krazycouponlady.com which morphs into http://discountqueens.blogspot.com/.
My personal favorites are http://www.frugallivingnw.com/ and http://nwcouponlady.blogspot.com/ probably because I live in Northern California.
Since my SIL needs shaving supplies in Afghanistan, I picked up the Nivea deal and some Gillette fusion blades (geez I am glad my husband does not shave). I had no idea how expensive razor blades are.
I did a total of 4 transactions at Walgreen's buying an assortment of stuff, piggybacking the Register Rewards each time. Total spent $44.85, savings $19.43. Plus I have another $12.25 in Wags bucks for my next visit.
Next was CVS where I had a $5.00/$25.00 to start with. I should have "mapped" it out a little better to maximize my use of Extracare bucks, but with my DH along and not adding purchases as I went along and not sure if they take off manufacturer's coupons before totalling, I did just 2 transactions. My first was for Starbucks Via. I had a $1.00 off coupon and a CVS $1.00 in Extracare bucks. Remembering you can only use 1 coupon per item and not being sure if Extracare bucks is considered a coupon, I threw a 99 cent bottle of Milk of Magnesia onto the checkout counter making my first transaction $3.05. My second transaction was for $34.67 with $17.00 in Extracare bucks back.
I got Listerine packs for free along with a tube of Colgate and bottle of Herbal Essence shampoo for free. I also found an incredible buy on one of the end clearance aisles: Secret Clinical Antiperspirant for 99 cents! This is what YD uses and I know I paid about $8.00 for it in the past. My receipt is showing I save $8.80 on each package. I also found Sure men's deodorant for 99 cents. DH consented to one. I got two other deodorants for DH for free from last week's ad. I have a couple on hand, so I think he is well fixed for about a year!
Um yeah, forgot to pull that 75 cent coupon off the Truvia. I had a $1.00 off though already.
After avoiding the checkout line at both drugstores, by the time we got to Safeway, DH was bragging to the checker about "my wife's new job". Notable purchases at Safeway were $5.00 off $15.00 worth of frozen foods (what can I say we love our ice cream) and Almond Accents which were on sale for $2/3.00. I had a Catalina for $1.50 off 3 and 3-50 cent off coupons making them 50 cents a bag. I also had a $2.00 off a meat purchase when buying Coors Light. DH found a package of stew meat marked 50% off to 2.57, making it 57 cents!
Okay it was fun, but by the time dinner was over and dishes were done, my fibromyalgia was so flared up that I had to take 1/2 pain pill and lay on a heating pad for an hour reading my latest Jodi Piccoult novel, checked out from the library, natch!
Since we only have Rite-Aid in my little town and shopping all at once is difficult physically, I need to plan my outings a little better. I do not know if DH was a help or a hinderance. I warned him to not talk to me or tell me to hurry up as this takes time. He was pretty good about it and he did carry the bags out to the car and into the house. I don't know how women drag kids along while coupon shopping. My hats off to them!
Hey guys who are selling stuff. Why not go ahead and give us a link. It might be something we are looking for and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
I accidentally bought the movie Matrix in blue ray when I was at Target the other day. We don't have a blue ray player and the purchase is not eminent, so I took it back today.
I had to run to town to my new hand therapist's office to pick up my elbow and wrist braces that were approved by my comp carrier.
Since my new hobby is coupons (or I am trying it anyway), I was ready with coupons for Target. My purchases were so low, I actually thought the checker had made a mistake. She told me right away she was new, when I mentioned I had coupons, and I told her no problem, I was very patient.
So I bought 3 Hasbro games, two 8 oz pkg of shredded Kraft cheese and a chunk of cream cheese.
Coupons were $5.00 off 3 Hasbro toys, $1.00 off 2 pkg of shredded cheese, and off one of the packages of cheese, another $1.00 a cheese and cream cheese. I also had a $3.00 off coupon for general merchandise given to me by Target several months ago. My checker, at the time she was doing my transaction, was having a conversation with the people next in line behind me. Of course she totally messed up my transaction and then told me I had to go over and stand in line at the returns. I was really unhappy and expressed my irritation (nicely since it was not their fault) to the employee in the return area. She gave me three $3.00 off coupons and this was my last one.
So my total came to $12.56, which was less than the 3 games alone would have cost me. So I am thinking if I take a little time befor shopping to glance at any coupons that I may use and print them, it is worth my time (especially since I do not have a job right now).
I turned my application in at the therapist office today too.
My husband is trying a new apple pie recipe:
He ruined the first caramel sauce, but his second attempt was yummy, very unusual.
I am making the pumpkin using our usual recipe from Bon Appetit several years ago in a Thanksgiving issue. We usually substitute yams, but this year we have fresh pumpkin from going to the local pumpkin patch with my granddaughter's play group.
I am hoping to get the leaf in the table tonight and get the china out and ready to set the table when breakfast is over in the morning.
Oh and I finally have a price book going. I actually paid $9.00 for a really cool version. (I am not that great at Excel). I really think this will pay for itself quickly.
It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a price book when you are trying to save money, but I knew I would never do it without some guidance. Then I stumbled on that link and I am using it already.
I have been pushing myself a bit too hard lately and am paying for it. Need to cut back after tomorrow.
I visited a new hand therapist yesterday (as part of my ongoing comp injury/claim). Since I am a talker as is apparently the office manager, (who was filling in for sick receptionist), we got to talking and I mentioned I used to do medical billing. Are you looking for a job?? I said, "Well I do not want to work full-time". Her eyes lit up even more and she went on to tell me her part-timer was leaving to go back to school and here take this application and fill it out and bring it back to your next visit.
So I will pursue this. I really liked my hand therapist, who completely understood my workaholic ways, always wanting to be accomplishing something. After going back and forth about it I finally said, "Are you a Capricorn too". She laughed and said Yes! So she did understand me!
Therapist gave me some exercises for my cubital bunnel syndrome and trigger fingers, and has ordered up a couple of night braces for me. She thinks she can fix me up so I can go back to my workaholic ways with some modifications! So hopefully I will be able to garden next spring and will be able to get back to knitting and quilting and cleaning and organizing and all the other things I enjoy!!
On the frugal living front, I encountered a woman at Rite-Aid, who had a binder propped up in the seat area of the cart. I thought she was an employee going through and changing prices, but upon closer inspection I realized she was shopping. Being the naturally curious person I am, I asked what her binder was, getting closer to it.... she said it was her coupons. Her mother's women's group just had a speaker about using coupons and how to organize them. I have seen this method talked about on line, but never actually saw one. It was really cool, using baseball card sheet holders with tabbed categories making a very organized holder.
She told me it was very time-consuming and she was not quite sure yet if it was worth it. She did say if you could view it as a hobby, it would be easier. I can't even seem to get my desk organized, much less a coupon binder, but it is something to keep in the back of my mind when my organizing gene finally kicks in! I keep a handful of coupons in my wallet, and I do try to use them.
We still have $1300.00 left for the month for all expenses. So I think it has been a darn pretty good month so far.
Lastly, here is my dog Landon, suffering in his police uniform for Halloween. We and the poor boy are fighting fleas right now. We are vacuuming about 3 times a day, picking fleas off him 3 times a day, sprayed the floors, washed his bedding and got him groomed and dipped a few days ago. Now it is a matter of getting it under control. I will never skip Advantage again! ( I skipped it for several months actually).
I cannot believe I did not post a picture of my granddaughter in her Halloween costume. This is me with her. She pressed her little face against me spontaneously. It was so sweet. She is used to getting her picture taken since her mom is a photographer.
I have been sick for about 10 days now. This is the third day I have been out of bed for more than 1 hour. Now it appears that K&A, who are on their way home from Washington, are sick.
I had two checks that needed to be dealt with an DH and I drank the last of the OJ this morning. Tissues are getting low too.
So I made lists, checked them, printed out coupons and off I went.
Stopped at our bank. Deposited my disability check and cashed another check from a friend who owed me money for a little work.
Then onto pick up DH. He had just let an employee go off on a break, so I ran across the street to Walgreens, picking up a few items:
Then onto Costco for OJ and Honeycrisp apples (the best in my humble opinion, well worth the extra cost:
Oh and Nutella! My first time buying it. Winco was giving out samples the last time I was there and it was so yummy. I am not sure how I will use it, maybe just eat it by the spoonful?
We went ahead and picked up DH's request for Christmas, the cast iron dutch oven. Impulse purchased "cookware" for granddaughter. It was a huge mistake not teaching our daughters to cook. We will not make the same mistake with granddaughter!
Then onto Target for a bunch of good buys. My impulse purchase was the movie Matrix. DH's Christmas gift he will get to open. He loves that movie. My gift to myself was Susan Boyle's Christmas album.
My last stop was at Rite-Aid to pick up more pumpkin and some Fiber1 cereal. They were out of both. A truck is supposed to come in tonight, so I will check back tomorrow. Rite-Aid is very close to my home in my little rural Northern California town.... maybe I will call first.
Anyway since I am 99% sure that I am not going back to work, my goal is to squeeze every penny until it screams. I know I bought a lot of "prepared" food at Target, but with my fibromyalgia, I need some shortcuts. There will be days that I will be lucky to get any food on the table or leave it for DH and it will be okay once in a while.
I did come home from shopping and put a stew in the oven. We watched Chopped last night on Foodnetwork and one of the mystery ingredients was baby turnips. EEK we have turnips in our raised bed garden we planted on 09/06/10. They are probably perfect little baby turnips. We never did thin them because things got crazy and then my diagnosis..... anyway I went out and sure enough, cute little turnips:
So here is our dinner, in our new dutch oven:
My favorite stew. It has a bit of bacon, apple juice, tomato paste and some fresh herbs from our garden (with the cute little turnips), carrots, mushrooms and red potatoes. Oh and a few bouillion cubes since I have no canned beef broth.
On the fibro front, my core exercises, the mega doses of vitamins (have not been on the treadmill since I have been sick) and not picking up my granddaughter and laying around have resulted in a fairly pain-free week. My back is bothering me now though from the shopping and cooking.
I will get up and put the groceries away and clean up the kitchen. The kids will be home tonight.
I have had my ups and downs over the last week. My new osteopathic doctor (who diagnosed me) agreed to disability for 3 months. So my income will be going up since I have only been on 3 hours a day worker's comp disability. I am saving every penny of the additional income towards 2011 Roth IRA.
I signed up for Safeway's new program. I have been pretty lax about finances this last month, after meeting our savings goal for the year. I am trying to get back on track.
However, I have been teaching YD to sew and we are opening an Etsy store with all that beautiful fabric. I keep saying we cannot buy anymore fabric until we actually sell something. If we don't sell anything, I have lots of little girls I can give cute peasant dresses to. YD made a new style yesterday that granddaughter wore yesterday. We don't have a picture of it yet, but it was similar style with a tie in the back.
Here is a sample:
My pain comes and goes. I am going to start pain tracking to see if I can relate food or activities that make it better or worse.
I have also started on homeopathic treatment of rhus (which is poison ivy, weird I know).
My pain pill has kicked in, so off to stretch and walk on the treadmill (I hate to admit it, but I think exercise is helpinig!)
Oh and one more thing, I made pumpkin scones last weekend that were yummy. Here is the link if anyone wants to try them:
Happy weekend everyone!
Happy Halloween! I love the trick or treaters coming to the door.
I have had my ups and downs over the past 10 days. I started my day out by sleeping until 8:45, which is unheard of (up today at 5:00 a.m.). I went almost a full 60 minutes on the treadmill (watching Suze Orman and then Till Debt Do Us Part that were DVR'd).
Then YD, granddaughter and I went to Eureka to let GD trick or treat. We met her BFF and mom there and walked another who knows how far. I was a bit concerned about all the walking and I did get stiff later in the day, but my back was surprisingly pain-free. Either it was the exercise or all the new vitamins and supplements I am taking.
Came home to a completely clean living area with a fire in the fireplace. (DH did it after getting home from his early Saturday morning run to work).
Friday evening I took advantage of Safeway's sales and had an employee tell me all about the new Just for U program. Finally after 30 years, our grocery stores are finally in a bit of a war. Employee specifically said that with the new program, prices would be lower than Winco or Costco. Okay I will give it a whirl.
Here is what I bought:
The commercial peanut butter is for cookies, you know the kind with the chocolate kisses in the middle. It was $1.29 a jar. The apple juice was 97 cents! The brownie mixes were 88 cents. I spent just over $34.00. I know not impressive for some of you coupon queen types, but I was pretty excited.
I finally finished the baby quilt for YD's friend who is due any day:
Can you see that little arm and leg?
YD has become a bit obscessed making Yo Gabba Gabba shirts and has opened an Etsy store.
Finally here is the latest picture of my winter garden box:
It has been almost 2 months since planting. Time to start harvesting!
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