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Day 8 of YOUF

December 12th, 2018 at 10:51 pm

I spent most of the day in the kitchen. I roasted the last of the tomatoes from our greenhouse with chopped garlic and olive oil. Then I whirred in the vita-mix. I roasted the 4 pumpkins from our garden. I made pumpkin chocolate chip bread and I made spinach calzone.

The spinach was starting to wilt and I didn't want it to go bad. Same with the pumpkins. There were 3 that were starting to rot out in the garden. I split them open and left them for the chickens.


Day #7 YOUF

December 11th, 2018 at 10:33 pm

My 4 year old granddaughter has pink eye. Let's hope my itchy eyes are not that. My eyes have been itchy lately from the fires in NoCa, but they are out and they were feeling much better. I am on the coast, a good 3-1/2 to 4 hours from Paradise, but we were still effected.

I ran to town today to show my new friend (who stayed with me after the four car pile-up 9/30/18 until my husband got there, and then pretty much stayed with us anyway until the tow truck came) the pillow I made from her grandfather's shirt. She asked me to make them for her and her cousins. She loved it after we unbuttoned the top button and the pillow form is white so it looked like the white undershirt he wore under his button down shirts. She asked if I could have at least one made by Saturday and since they take about 20 minutes to iron, cut and sew, I really think I can get them all done for her. I plan to make it a priority tomorrow.

I was not feeling well today so I cancelled PT. After meeting with friend at her work (and meeting her new "friend"), I stopped at my daughter's house to see if she wanted any of the good bread that was super cheap at the Franz outlet store. (Thanks for the reminder Trying to get Ahead). They did have $1 lunch rolls which I planned to pick up for leftover pork with barbecue sauce sandwiches we had planned for dinner. I did find the cinnamon swirl bread for $3 and a gingerbread bread for the same. They had loaves of good bread for $1.25. Apparently they had overbooked because the dates were like 12/21, which is good.

I then went by Target to pick up some Puffs tissues, some Zicam, and picked up Lip Smackers for my 10 year old granddaughters and a set of 3 shades of pink nail polish for the 4 year old. She loves for me to do her nails and then she does mine, which are interesting! Luckily nail polish on the skin around your nails comes off quite easily when picked (after washing your hands with soap and water).

When I got home, DH had beat me home. He came home from work early and finished making Lila the rescue chihuahua a big batch of dog food. I believe there was about 20 quarts. I mix it with a bit of kibble so this should last, along with what we already have in the freezer, for about 6 months. I ended up cleaning and rearranging the 3 freezers (one large, two refrigerator freezers) to accommodate the dog food and bread. We cannot buy another frozen thin until we get rid of some stuff. We have already spilled over into daughter's large freezer so we have to stick to this.

Okay bedtime. Tomorrow is another day.

Day#6 of YOUF

December 10th, 2018 at 09:40 pm

I know I wrote a post yesterday and I could swear I hit save and publish. Oh well!

Yesterday I spent 53.78 at Grocery Outlet. I tend to stop in once a week to see what they have. I bought some frozen vegetables and filled up DH's diesel truck to the tune of $85.00.

Today I finally registered my new to me vehicle. I was in a car accident with a totaled Toyota Camry. I think this is probably my last car. I got it with about 76,000 miles on it and these cars (2004 M55 AMG Mercedes) apparently go up over 300,000 miles. Anyway we are treating it like it is the last.

We tend to pass cars around in our family. This car came from my newest son-in-law. It was his father's car. I could never have afforded to buy this car new. It has so many bells and whistles, it is confusing.

So my registration cost was $304.00. Luckily since it was a gift, we did not have to pay sales, which normally in California you have to pay sales tax on a vehicle if you buy it from a private party. The license plate needs a special wrench thing to get it off. We went to the import mechanic shop and they took the license plate off for us, then we drove to the DV.

Even though I had an appointment, we were still at the DMV office for well over an hour. The line is ridiculously long. I would never stand in that line if I had a choice to make an appointment instead.

We then went to pick up our own special wrench at the local building supply store (locally owned, we have no Home Depot or Lowe's), then onward to visit with DH's very close friend who has cancer and not doing well.

After that short visit, I dropped DH at our business and ran to my daughter's to drop off their laundry (that I do for them). My 4 year old granddaughter was home with my son-in-law. I brought over some Christmas craft things I bought last year from Michael's for 75% off. Pyp was really excited to put together the sweet shop.

Older granddaughter and my daughter got home and it was time for me to get home to dinner with DH. We ate carne asada for dinner that we had frozen cooked in the freezer.

Day #4 of YOUF

December 8th, 2018 at 07:56 am

Having lived in our house for 30+ years, it takes a minute to remember we have something. We have Christmas lights up (DH actually put them up on the first weekend in December), and yesterday afternoon DH found a timer thing and set up the lights on it. It worked! So they will come on at dusk automatically and turn off 6 hours later which will be approximately 5-11 pm each evening.

My Year of Ultimate Frugality was decided on suddenly so I didn't have time to make rules, just not to buy ANYTHING that we did not NEED! We have a tendency to overspend on food and for me, fabric. So I will be working on my rules and list them in the left hand margin.

My reason for this YOUF is we have to pay our house off before DH can retire. I have done really well this year paying extra on our mortgage and have paid over $20,000 extra on the principal this year.

DH started jerky this morning in our dehydrator. Jerky is incredibly expensive, but I hate the added costs when he has run out and needs to make more.

Day #3 of YOUF

December 7th, 2018 at 09:10 pm

Oh let's see. What did I do today? I took my dog for a walk and realized if I wanted to make it to pick up my mom on time to drive her to town for a doctor's appointment, I'd better get ready. I have a tendency to underestimate how long it is going to take to get ready. Then I packed up the dog and off I went to get mom.

We finished with her appointment about 12:30 and I was so hungry. I wanted to stop and get something to eat, but I knew I had hummus and crackers that would be fast to grab as soon as I got home.

I made it home without stopping and spending money. I was not home 5 minutes when my husband drove up. I was shoveling hummus and crackers in my mouth and had made some salad to go along with it. I had taken hamburger out of the freezer that morning to make tacos for dinner.

We ended up going outside and working, it was such a beautiful winter day. I cleaned out the dead leaves in the strawberry bed and DH worked in the greenhouse, cutting and cleaning up the tomato plants. There is a ton of green tomatoes and a bunch of red ones too. I am going to roast the ripe tomatoes in the oven with garlic and whirl it in the blender for marinara sauce.

Otherwise I was lucky to get dinner made and the kitchen cleaned afterwards.

Day #2 of my YOUF

December 6th, 2018 at 09:17 pm

Day #2 was not exciting.

I had my second physical therapy appointment after a car accident I was involved in 9/30/18. It was a 4 car pileup. I was car #3 with the car that plowed into the other three car #1. The woman I was behind, who was stopped legally to make a left hand turn, was the only one who was not hurt. She pulled her truck into her home driveway and immediately ran over to make sure I was okay. I handed her my dog so I could call my husband. My poor little chihuahua climbed onto my lap and was shaking right after impact.

We became friends and she asked (after seeing my quilts on facebook) if I could make her and her cousins pillows out of her grandfather's shirt. Both her grandfather and grandmother passed away this year. She was really wonderful to me after the accident and stayed with me both before and after my husband arrived. The car behind me and the driver of the truck that caused the accident both went to the ER in ambulances, so I was really lucky. I did injure my left eye, which hit my steering wheel, and of course my neck and back are tweaked. My husband did take me to the ER and I was checked out, with nothing critical found. I declined an MRI of my eye as the pain had gone away and my vision seemed fine.

One week later I started having floaters in my vision, which were incredibly annoying. I finally got in with my own doctor who had been on vacation and she referred me for PT and to an eye doctor, who is also my mother's eye doctor. The medical assistant who called to schedule me asked if I had been having any flashes of light. Ummmmm......yes actually I had. They got me in that day and sure enough, I had evidence of tearing of my eye away from the socket. I was admonished to "take it easy", no jarring movements. Both the floaters and the lights have improved greatly over the past month, and I will check in with the eye doctor tomorrow when I take my mother in for a visit.

Nothing frugal really happened today except I ate leftover turkey pot pie for dinner, the last piece actually. My husband went to Costco the day after Thanksgiving and found turkeys for $15 off. He bought 4 turkeys around 20 pounds each for $5 a piece. He deboned and stuffed one on Sunday and baked it. We did not have that many leftovers from Thanksgiving as I sent a lot home with the young family next door who came for dinner. I also made two small casseroles of turkey enchiladas. I made enough pot pie filling for two pies and froze one along with a pie crust a la The Pioneer Woman's recipe on [url]www.food network.com.[url]

Here is my sample pillow I am dropping off tomorrow at new friend's work tomorrow:

It's been 2 years.....

December 6th, 2018 at 08:40 am

Since I blogged. I am home and loving it, but I really thought I would be further along in some of my goals. Buy why would I be? You actually have to WORK AT THEM.

I am making a commitment to myself. This is hard because I never keep commitments to myself, but I am an all or nothing kind of person.

So I am all in. I am going to blog every day, even if it is 2 lines. I have 3 areas that I am going to keep my commitment to myself this year.

1. Year of Ultimate Frugality. I came upon this idea from a you tuber person, Coffee with Kate. She lives in the same state I am in so I relate to her. She brought up this idea of a Year of Frugality and I decided I am going to do it. This involves a year of buying NOTHING that is not needed or essential. For instance, I saw someone post or something about Evergreen Glade to help the house smell Christmasy, I initially thought oooh I have to get that since we have a fake tree. Is this needed? NO! so I'm not buying it. The Christmas presents that were purchased before November 1st are the only gifts my family is getting. (This is the date I started).

I have unsubscribed from all my online shopping portals. I will find ways to do things cheaper. For instance I make french toast casserole a lot and especially on Christmas. My 10 year old granddaughter asked if I was going to "make it like last year". Last year I made it with cinnamon bread. Cinnamon bread is $5.99 a loaf at Costco! I am going to make some cinnamon bread or cinnamon rolls and use that which will be cheaper than $5.99!

Since food is an area that can vary widely from family to family, and my husband loves to cook, my goal is as little food waste as possible. For instance we bought a bag of avocados at Costco, but there was no lettuce (the whole romaine scare thing), so I should have put them back, but I didn't so now I have 5 ripe avocados. We are making guacamole and freezing it! We made ham and beans from the Thanksgiving ham. We cooked the turkey carcass, my husband picked it clean and we made homemade dog food with it. I had a few apples from our tree getting soft. I chopped them up and gave them to our 4 chickens. They gobbled them up! I knew they would because they were actually jumping up and pecking them before they were ready to pick (some of the branches are hanging quite low).

I'm finding it easier to just not buy anything than have a "budget category" for something. I don't have a lot of will power when it comes to certain items, so it is much easier to just not buy anything than buy a little (fabric I am talking to you).

2. Weight loss. I am a WW member. I have been gaining and losing the same 5 pounds over and over. I have about 10 pounds to lose. I am giving myself until the end of March to do it. Then I will cancel my membership or go into maintenance. I really like my group and it so much more than just weight loss. I have done it before (gotten down to goal weight), but at that time in 2014 I still had 4 pounds to go! Then they changed the weight chart. That weight would be my goal weight now (highest amount I should weigh for my short height). So I am keeping that commitment to myself!

3. Decluttering. I had to get out of bed the other night to charge my fit bit or go to the bathroom or something. I swung out of bed and literally almost fell, catching my right leg in a box that had a bunch of crap including a plastic dishpan in it. In doing that, I pulled everything off my tiny end table which included 4 stacked books, hand lotion, my lamp, my iPad, some earrings and other smaller crap. It hurt like hell and since I already suffer from chronic pain, the last thing I need is more pain! I woke up the next morning and realize that my bedroom only has a narrow walkway around the bed. It is insane how much crap we have. Usable crap true, but do we need it? See #1. No we probably don't need a lot of it.

So that is the third area I am working on during my Year of Ultimate Frugality. I will donate to our local animal rescue thrift store that is only a mile from me. They accept donations Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. They know me well enough that they take all my stuff because I throw yucky stuff in the garbage! I started with throwing away 13 pairs of shoes, 11 of them were mine, one was a pair of old sandals that were my daughters and a pair of worn out little Mary Janes that were my 10 year old granddaughter.

I am not sure what switch was turned in my brain, but the more stuff I don't buy, the easier it is.

I'm hoping the more I throw stuff away the easier it will get. The more I eat healthy, the easier it will be (actually I feel like I already eat pretty healthy, I just eat too much).

Okay Let's Try This Again!

September 6th, 2016 at 09:32 am

Today's is DH's 58th birthday and our 38th anniversary is in 2 days. Since January 2015 many changes have happened in my life. #1. I quit my job. Yes I am hoping this time that I don't have to go back to work. We are not prepared but I could not take the physical and mental stress anymore of being in charge of over 50 employees and almost 100 elderly residents.

I was very good at my job, but I had nothing left at the end of the day to enjoy my life. It was incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly demanding. I used up all my stores in my body and mind giving 150%. So I am starting week 9 of retirement.

Also my youngest daughter, her legally blind, former Marine husband and my two granddaughters moved back to Southern California where my SIL will be back on base as a civilian because of a job dropped in his lap. He had a good finance job up here in Northern California, but they really wanted to be back in the Temecula/Murietta area so off they went.

I have so many goals/responsibilities for being home. I realize I may have to go back to work at some point, so I am not wasting any time in doing what I should have done in 2010-2012 when I started my last position. My yard is looking great and slowly but surely I am reclaiming the house.

But today it's making a one layer German Chocolate Cake and potato salad, along with that Texas caviar? It is black beans, tomatoes, onion, roasted corn (leftover from last night), avocado and maybe some garbanzo beans, mild salsa with lots of cilantro. DH will be barbecuing steaks for his birthday dinner.

Just to refresh, DH has done virtually 100% of grocery shopping and cooking over the past 36 or so years.

I went down to SoCa for my granddaughter's birthdays (August 12, 18, turning 2 and 8) and will be returning next week for a trip to Disneyland with my daughters and granddaughters, and I think one SIL.

I need to read blogs and wrap my mind around the things I need to do to be able do stay home. It is definitely fall here in Humboldt and my 60 year old Japanese Maple is turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange and brown. Fall is my favorite time of year!

Have a great day!

Happy 2015

January 1st, 2015 at 08:26 am

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.

Sick on Thanksgiving.....Ugh!

November 27th, 2014 at 11:12 am

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!

Another year, another granddaughter and a wedding in Maui!

March 19th, 2014 at 11:01 am

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 fiancé 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....

Procrastination, pain and living....

February 2nd, 2013 at 08:53 am

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.


January 5th, 2013 at 08:41 am

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!

My Birthday Wish Came True!

December 22nd, 2012 at 03:20 pm

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.

An update

December 1st, 2012 at 10:58 am

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!

Any way to block that Chinese spammer??

September 9th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Messes up us being able to read blog entries, very frustrating!

Food Challenge September 2012

September 9th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

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!

Home again, home again, jiggity jig....

September 9th, 2012 at 11:53 am

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!

Food Challenge September 2012

September 2nd, 2012 at 02:45 pm

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......

When I should have been watching the pennies, I ignored finances...

August 28th, 2012 at 11:45 am

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.

So much for the goal of once a month check-in

August 23rd, 2012 at 09:13 am

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!!

OMG Almost Another Year Gone???.....

April 25th, 2012 at 09:02 am

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!

San Francisco trip and DH is sick

May 18th, 2011 at 08:57 pm

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!

Forgive me friends for I have strayed.....

April 28th, 2011 at 04:27 pm

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!

If anyone is interested

February 9th, 2011 at 03:13 pm

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!

Quick update on procrastination

January 8th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

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?

Matching shapes.

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.

Okay bedtime.

Ode to Procrastination!

January 5th, 2011 at 08:25 am

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:

and this

and 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!

Okay I have procrastinated long enough...2011 goals

January 3rd, 2011 at 02:15 pm

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.

Finally set up my bank transfer at

December 22nd, 2010 at 09:55 am

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!

A Lot on my Mind...

December 20th, 2010 at 08:41 am

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!

Unopened boxes.

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??

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