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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:
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/4574037098060326/

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.

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....

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!

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:
http://www.relish.com/recipes/asparagus-and-parmesan-tart/

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!

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.

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!

It's all about Mom

December 11th, 2010 at 07:43 am

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:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Buttermilk-Biscuits-I/Detail.aspx

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.

Ebay, Cragislist, Half.com, etc.....

November 24th, 2010 at 03:39 pm

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!!

November 6th-Saturday

November 6th, 2010 at 08:31 am

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:
http://www.food.com/recipe/Starbucks-Pumpkin-Scones-214051

Happy weekend everyone!

Yesterday was a good day! Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2010 at 06:33 am

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!

Fibromyalgia....who, me?

October 21st, 2010 at 10:19 am

Diagnosed on Tuesday while seeing a doctor that my comp doctor sent me to, who was supposed to fix what the specialist out of the area thought I had. Instead she gives me this diagnosis!

I promptly went to the library and checked out every single book on the subject. Having been in the medical field for over 30 years, I know this started out as an "all in your head" type of thing that many doctors did not believe in, so I was not thrilled for this reason to be given this diagnosis.

However, research has come a long way. Apparently exercise is not going to be optional anymore for me. AND I had better start taking my vitamins along with a B-complex. AND diet, forget anymore yummy fall desserts made with apples and pumpkins... sugar is bad. Milk and gluten are iffy.

I am like the worst person in the world to be given this diagnosis as I am totally not into holistic medicine. Apparently I have to start being into it as this seems to be the only treatment, other than a few drugs.

So this should be fun! At least I live in Northern California where alternative medicine is abundant. Hey maybe I can get my 215 card!

On the frugal front, I am trying really hard because I really don't see myself going back to work now. DH and daughter are both being supportive and daughter has been helping out much more (anything other than what she was doing is much more!)

Luckily before being diagnosed I put up 12 jars of apple butter and 7 quarts of apple filling and froze some more chopped apples (for those yummy fall desserts). I also made an apple pie that morning. The pie is gone so I will not be making another one until I see if this giving up sugar thing helps. The apples were "free" and after buying a new water bath canner and the jars, I still think it was a good investment.


I plan to get better and use the canner in the coming years.

Oh and my left leg is shorter than my right, so I had to get one of those gel insert thingees to put in my left shoe.

I am trying to be positive (since that is another treatment), but having always been a very busy person, it is going to definitely be a challenge to "take care of myself" as I am always taking care of everyone else.

I bought some new fabric that I love! I am also supposed to do something every day I enjoy... quilting!


Of course this little face along with my neighbor's little girl is enough to make me happy.

Okay....time to get up. It took forever to catch up on everyone's blogs! Reading them does remind me of things I need to do and I do appreciate everyone's blogs. Yes I read every entry! That is why I blog so little. I get too caught up in everyone else!

Today

October 13th, 2010 at 08:48 am

Watching the miners be rescued. What a site! What human spirit, very inspiring....

Watching Team Umazoomi with granddaughter, little female is braiding ribbons, red, yellow, blue, red, yellow, blue...what comes next? Um.... green?? Oh no red!! I obviously am too dumb for these preschool shows!!

Yesterday was a monumentous day for us. I deposited a dividend check that put us over our savings goal for the year. That is with me not working and 2 months early to boot.

Ummmm, what we were spending my salary on? I think I can safely say (well until my COBRA runs out) that I am not returning to work.

Did I really spend that??

October 6th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

$5.99 for Mission low carb flour tortillas?? for 10 of them?? How in the he** did I do that. That is what happens when you live in a small town, your daughter photographed the checker's daughter's wedding and you have known her for 20 years and you are talking the whole time. So I give her the money for the tortillas and quart of half and half yakking the entire time. I did not even notice until this morning when I started to write down yesterday's spending (doing this since went from cash to debit card, see last entry). Okay next time I will go to slightly out of the way Winco in Eureka instead of stopping at easy Safeway in my town.

DH is shorthanded at our business right now. I worked as cashier yesterday for 3 hours and was beat!! It makes me even more determined to keep the house and yard clean, and make delicious frugal meals, stretching every penny he earns.

My menu for the week has already changed since there is still leftover chili and I found some ham that was supposed to be eaten by 09/30, but not opened yet. So I need to find some good thing to make with deli ham. DH suggested we have baked potato with assorted toppings, which is what I will do tonight, but that will not use all the ham. We also have pancetta that needs to be eaten, but that is easy.... pasta dish.

I know, brussel sprouts with ham. That would be delish!

Okay time for lunch and in to get my flu shot.

Monday Madness

October 4th, 2010 at 02:43 pm

Middle daughter arrived last night with her large dog. She is snoring beside me on the floor along with my little jack russell.

The venison arrived home all nicely packaged and frozen on Friday. DH's hunting partner paid for it and paid for DH's license. I asked him over dinner Saturday evening how much the license was. That is when he told me he did not pay for it. He asked why I wanted to know and I told him I was trying to figure out how much the venison cost us. He said, "Oh don't do that". Ha ha. This year maybe not so much. DH was in charge of the food this year, so he did spend more than in the past years.

I opened a new checking account at the credit union that refinanced our house. It pays 2.51% up to $25,000.00. I have to use our debit card 10 times a month and pay our bills online. I already set up the bill pay for next month (already paid from other bank). I just started cash only so I am going to have to get DH and I used to using the debit card again. At Costco, we will have to swipe both our membership card and the debit card. When I realized how often DH has to fill up (about every 6 days) along with my fill-up once a month or so, we should have no trouble with the debit card use.

Still for 2.51%, I think it is well worth it.

My little seedlings are doing well:



My disability check arrived today. I think I can count on it for 2 more months, when I have my next doctor's appointment. I had a consult along with nerve conductions and EMGs (NCS were awful) and I have no nerve damage, just muscular problems, myofascial syndrome. I am starting yoga on Thursday, and doctor is asking for deep tissue massage from the comp carrier. I have way more pain that I would have thought after being off work for 2 months. I think I am trying to do too much around the house making up for it (I have worked my entire marriage, while raising 3 daughters), and I feel guilty not being able to contribute financially.

DH suggested yesterday that I "take a week off". I called him this morning after again waking up and not being able to get comfortable and told him I was going to do it.

I am going to cake decorating, but am going to just observe if I feel it is too labor intensive. Last week it was really hard to make the flowers and I could not squeeze the frosting out in a continuous line. My family still thought the cake was cute.

No way are they good enough to sell, but thanks!!

YD emptied the dishwasher and grated cheese for me today. I walked on my treadmill and my granddaughter in her stroller. I only lifted my granddaughter once today when she accidentally turned on the vacuum cleaner. It freaked her out and she came running into the kitchen so I picked her up and tried not to laugh too loud. Ha Ha. She is too cute:


SIL skyped this morning from Afghanistan. Luckily granddaughter woke up and saw him before he had to hang up.

I made apple butter over the weekend from free apples. However, I did invest in a water bath canner, some jars and accessories for $42.00 or so from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I had a 20% off purchase and a $10.00 off $40.00 purchase and the clerk let me use them both for $16.00 off.

I also had $10.00 in Kohl's cash and a $10.00 off that came with our newspaper that I was also able to use together. I bought a back massager and 3 shirts for DH and one for myself for again, $42.16.

Lastly, I have my menus planned for the next 3 weeks.
Here is this week:
Monday-Tacos
Tuesday-Chicken breast stir-fry
Wednesday-Spaghetti and meatballs (ground venison).
Thursday-leftovers.
Friday-Homemade pizza.
Saturday-Lentil/sausage soup and some kind of yummy bread and yummy dessert.
Sunday-Pot roast, carrots and potatoes.

DH got a buck!

September 21st, 2010 at 03:37 pm

A deer buck that is. However, it is not really free food when you consider the gas, the food, the tags, etc. But at least we will get some of that back in good free meat. However, I only like it ground up for barbecued hamburgers, etc. DH loves it all. I could probably stand making some into "buck" stroganoff or stew or something, but DH just likes to flour and fry it.... yuck!

Went to mom's today (she is still visiting my siblings) and picked about 2 cups of thornless blackberries and 3 zucchini, small, medium and large. Since it had been raining lately on the North Coast, I did not go over to her house/garden for several days.

I am enjoying my new hobby of cake decorating. I am trying to get all supplies from Michael's for 50% off, so far I have. Unfortunately I ran out of Crisco and powdered sugar from Winco and had to run to Safeway. Aaach! It was expensive at Safeway. Must remember to stock up next time I am in town at Winco. I have to admit some of my flowers don't look a thing like they should, but my family thinks everything so far is cute!


I am starting Financial Peace University tomorrow at a local church. I have been using the envelope system, but totally not being disciplined about it. Since I already purchased the stuff at the site on special, apparently I don't have to pay for the local classes, according to the leader anyway.

YD was watching Till Debt Do Us Part today with me and said she was interested and would watch the others recorded on the DVR. She and DSIL tried to listen to Financial Peace CD's before SIL went to Afghanistan while driving home from San Diego. DSIL called me laughing saying he couldn't stand it, he sounded too much live a televangelist. I think I have conviced YD to try again without DH (he has arrived safely in Afghanistan, and he called right after the news about the downed Black Hawk helicopter today).

Disability check arrived yesterday. I have an appointment out of town on Friday for carpal tunnel testing. Not sure how long disability will last, I am sure the comp carrier is working towards closing my claim, which I realize is going to happen. Just every day that goes by I feel more and more that I cannot go back to transcribing. In fact, I had better stop typing now!

Ally comes running when she hears the coffee grinder and says, "making coffee?". She also loves to hear the kitchenaid whipping.

Anniversary Day

September 8th, 2010 at 09:42 am

32 years. Eeek! It hit me 2 days ago on DH's birthday that I had known him for 40 years. Boy that really makes me feel old, but then I met him at orientation day of Junior High.

After a few beautiful Indian Summer Days here in Humboldt, the rain has arrived, but hopefully not for long. DH is leaving work early and we have a free day planned. Not sure what we will be doing. Originally I wanted to drive down to Ferndale and have lunch, but now that it is raining, I dunno what to do.

After my financial tantrum in April, not only am I paying all the bills, but I have taken over pretty much all household spending, cooking, cleaning, etc due to my unexpected "retirement".

It is definitely my job to stretch every dollar. Last night we had leftover steak sandwiches (leftover from DH's birthday dinner). We bought individual rolls at Safeway (3/1.00), sliced steak thin, used grilled onion and red bell pepper from Sunday's carne asada leftovers and a slice of cheddar on the other side of the bread, stuck under the broiler until cheese melts. Yum!

I think we are eating out today, either lunch or dinner, not sure which, will depend on our mood. I paid cash for oil changes for both trucks, one yesterday and one today. I dropped Landon off at the doggy beauty parlor after the oil change. I took him for a walk and after the overnight rain, he was pretty dirty. I had to take off my fleece jacket and lay on DH's truck seat (since it was so clean)! Luckily he stayed put the entire ride to the beauty shop.

I used a coupon!

August 31st, 2010 at 04:12 pm

Granddaughter was out of milk and she needs the Lactaid type. I actually remember I had cut a $1.00 coupon out of a magazine for Lactaid. I usually get Darigold because it is cheaper than Lactaid, but with the $1.00 coupon, Lactaid was cheaper than the non-name brand (in this case Lucerne since I went to Safeway).



So I bought that along with a $1.00 bag of spinach and $1.00 chopped up mushrooms for tonight's pork stir-fry dinner. Pork was given to us by the neighbors when they moved so San Diego.

I have about $20.00 left in cash for the week, but I only took out $100.00 instead of $200.00. I am still tweaking how much to take out since I am still using AMEX to buy gas at Costco (cheapest place to buy it).

Inspired by Jefferey....

August 26th, 2010 at 08:19 am

I am going to try couponing, but slowly. My local paper has Smartsource only. Most grocery stores do not have coupons having around (like I have seen when back East visiting my daughter), and no one ever doubles.

But what the heck. I go into CVS on Monday to try to take advantage of their ad for P&G products, get $10.00 back when spending $25.00. Well it so happened we were on our last toilet paper AND paper towel roll. I was just sick and I love Puffs! I am all set.

So I snatch up the Charmin and Bounty, go find the Puffs 3-pack I saw pictured in the ad. Darn Diet Pepsi is already gone (4/$10).

Long line at checkout. I leave, and guess what, no $10.00 off next purchase. My receipt says $22.98 met for extra bucks. Oh well, I have to get home. I will stop and get Pepsi and fulfill the rest for the $10.00 rebate later in the week.

Yesterday, back in town for glaucoma testing. Go to same CVS. Aaahh Diet Pepsi is in. Pick up 4 of them for DH (I occasionally drink Diet Coke, Pepsi yuck!), go find the single puffs boxes, pick up 3. Go to check out, the man in front of me is buying tennis balls that ring up the wrong price. Off the check and he go to check the price. I wait patiently (now that I don't have a job, it is way easier to stand in line without getting irritated).

My turn, the puffs do not ring up 99 cents. He checks the ad. I have the big boxes, it is for smaller boxes. How many places in the store does CVS have tissues? Apparently more than I thought. I go off to aisle 25 to find the right box (not by the pharmacy where I found the ones I had).

Back in line, everything rings up. I spend my last $23.00 cash for the week for groceries because of the diet pepsi and the Fiber 1 cereal I purchased. Long line in back of me. I was not going to separate out and pay with my separate envelopes of cash!

Which makes me think I should just lump my grocery/household spending into one cash category, then I would not have that delimma.

Onto Costco to fill up the truck (daughter and SIL are using my Camry while SIL is home on predeployment leave, since their cars are both in SC, where they actually live). Regular gas is $3.119999 a gallon at Costco (cheapest place to buy gas here). Why are gas prices in Humboldt County usually highest in the nation?

My advice for the Day

August 23rd, 2010 at 06:00 pm

If you have lots to do and are very motivated, do not drink a glass of wine with hummus and crackers at 5:00 p.m.

Suddenly all I feel like doing is drinking another glass of wine and doing nothing......

She is 2 today!

August 18th, 2010 at 01:28 pm

Two years ago I became a grandmother. One of the best days of my life!





I think I am being pretty restrained, here are her gifts. I finished the sweater last weekend in Tahoe.



She is spending the day in Disneyland with her daddy (who is deploying to Afghanistan soon) and my daughter, her mommy. Hopefully she is better today after being seen in the ER with an allergic reaction apparently to Japanese food. My daughter said 15 minutes after they gave her Benadryl and something else (probably a steroid), who face swelling went down considerably. She was having croupy sounding breathing too. Very scary. They missed their breakfast with Minnie and Mickey.

Also Campfrugal asked for the recipe and here it is:

PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. peanutbutter (smooth)
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Hershey Kisses

Mix all ingredients together except for Kisses. Drop by spoonful, shape into ball, roll in sugar.
Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. Remove from oven. Press Kiss on cookie and let cool.

I generally double the recipe and use dark chocolate kisses. I don't roll in sugar, and I usually put back into the oven to let the kisses melt a little bit. I also use butter instead of shortening.

Happy August 18th!

I vant to be alone....

July 23rd, 2010 at 05:54 pm

Everyone is gone.... I have the whole weekend to myself....what to do? what to do?

First, DH left to take his mom to Sacramento for her cousin's 50th wedding anniversary. What a good son he is. Unfortunately he will be staying in a hotel for 2 nights with corresponding eating out. Before he left, he signed papers for our refi. Yesterday he finished trimming out our new windows so the refi could go through before our 30 day lock was up.

I just figured out it will take us 2 years to recoup the money in reduced payments, but has anyone figured out how fast you recoup the money if you keep making the same payment, but you are saving because of lower interest? Now that would be an interesting comparison. Anyhoo, bottom line is we can live fairly comfortably if I have to stop working for some reason, say like my neck and hand/wrist pain get worse....

YD and GD have driven to San Diego (2 day trip with a toddler, thank the person who invented portable DVD players) to visit Marine SIL. SIL just called me to say GD was so excited to see him she actually started crying. What will it be like when he returns from Afghanistan after 7 months? It has only been 6 weeks since she last saw him. Makes me sad for her and all the other military kids.

In my frugalness I had given up one of my small indulgences, liquid hand soap from Bath and Body works. Yes I always bought it on sale, but still 3 for $10.00 is still expensive.

I went into Bed, Bath and Beyond to get a wedding gift for one of my friend's daughter (with my $10.00 off a $40.00 purchase naturally) and while waiting for my gift to be wrapped for free, I found some very nice smelling large liquid hand soaps for 5 for $5.00!! They had a very nice lavendar, which is my favorite, a grapefruit and fresh cotton. Those were the ones I bought anyway. They also had some other ones, like crisp apple and coconut lime. I am on my second jug from a double pack of SoftSoap from Costco that I purchsed with a coupon, so these will be a nice break from that. What can I say, it's the little things in life!

Which leads to my next issue, stopping at the library since I was in town signing the papers for the refi (well the title company anyway, I am not on the mortgage). I found a new book by Tracy Chevalier I have not read, Remarkable Creatures. I loved Girl with the Pearl Earring and Burning Bright. I picked up 3 more books from authors I am not familar with, but the descriptions sounded good.

So my plans for the weekend are working in my yard, organizing photos, organizing recipes, cleaning, laundry, and maybe knitting if my hands/wrists can handle it. I have a sweater about half done for GD that I need to finish before she outgrows it! I could also organize my fabric if I feel like it. Do you see a theme here? GD will be 2 next month and I have not organized any of the tons of photos we have of her. I really should make that my priority.

But for now, it's dinner, maybe some Starbucks Mocha frappucinno ice cream and the first 2 episodes of Pillars of the Earth (free on Direct TV, the real series starts either tonight or Sunday and I already have the DVR set, but I cannot wait until then, unless a Lifetime movie sounds better when I get back there and see what we have recorded!).

I did make those turkey meatballs earlier this week and threw them into Classico sauce with an added can of tomatoes and some added garlic and spices.

I used steak rub and fennel seed crushed with more chopped garlic and baked them. My two younger picky daughters liked them. MD did not like the gnocchi I cooked to serve with them from TJs. YD did though. GD liked the gnocchi, but made a really funny face when she put a piece of the meatball in her mouth with the sauce. What todder does not like spaghetti with sauce??

Okay time to get up and make dinner... but first I had better go water the front flowers.

This and That

July 19th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Man oh man, I really need to get wireless set up so I can stay up on everyone's blogs better. There is nothing worse than being away and catching up and missing stuff!

We submitted tax returns for the corporations we are partners in or own shares in or whatever the correct term is. The house was appraised and now I am waiting to hear if they need anything else from us. When DH took the papers into the credit union, the representative seemed surprised at the huge amount of papers. DH told her he would bring the pint of blood from our firstborn tomorrow! Ha Ha.

I figured up today that I have saved 85% of my salary since starting my new job in late April. My goal of having liquid savings to $50,000 by the end of the year seems almost doable. We are at just over $36,000 now.

Went to K-Mart yesterday to get a sandbox for our granddaughter and ended up finding a 24 box of crayons for 25 cents. I bought 4 boxes. They will be nice to have on hand since DGD loves to color.



We also bought 4-50 pound bags of sand. Then we stopped at Safeway for lunch fixins and I found Best Foods Mayonaise Light for $1.99, which is cheap! They also had Breyers and Starbucks ice cream products, buy 4 for $1.99 each. I think we have enough ice cream for the rest of the summer!

Today ran to Winco and bought fruit, veges, milk for granddaughter(nonlactaid stuff) and then DH ran to Costco for our milk, eggs, half and half, tomatoes, lunchmeat and butter. He also bought himself 4 pairs of black Kirkland brand jeans he wears to work.

Dinner tonight was a standing pork roast(purchased at Costco around the holidays)and mashed cauliflower/potatoes and grilled corn on the cob. A customer had taken DH and his employees a fabulous chocolate cake yesterday, so the leftover was tonight's dessert. MD and BF arrived right as dinner was ready for a visit from Reno. Tomorrow is lentil soup since it is middle daughter's boyfriend's favorite.

In organizing my pantry today, I discovered a whole lot of pasta and jarred Classico and Trader Joe sauces. Maybe I should change lentil soup to meatballs and spaghetti. I still have some ground turkey chubs I bought cheap a few months ago. I used them to make meatballs a while ago and you could not even tell they were turkey. I think it was the parmigian cheese that was in them....

Bedtime, what I am doing up anyway this late?

Lots going on

July 5th, 2010 at 07:52 am

Since last post, flew up and spent 18 days in the Seattle area (Kent and Tacoma actually) where I saw 2 days without ran (this was in late June). My SIL, daughter and granddaughter flew up to see their BFF's and I could not stand that my granddaughter was on the West coast, so I flew up and stayed with my sister mostly and my brother a few nights too. DH came up and drove us all home 2 weeks ago (except SIL who had flow back to SC to prepare for training in San Diego pending Afghanistan deployment). YD then drove my car to San Diego to spend a week with her husband, leaving our sweet granddaughter with us for a week.


Here she is sleeping with her babies,a moose, a bear and yes a pig!
It was a hectic, fun memorable week. Thank goodness life is settling down a bit..... not....

We are refinancing our house, 4.5% for 30 years, no points through a credit union we belong to. The appraisal is Wednesday.

Yesterday was YD and SIL's 4th anniversary. Enjoyed going through some old pictures yesterday and listening to granddaughter "talk" to her daddy.


Rescued a little dog (5 pounds or so little fluffy white thing)yesterday and luckily found its home. It was found wandering in our neighborhood.

Had a sleep study late in May and now have a CPAP that I have gotten used to and thank goodness I am waking up without headaches.

Made a quilt for my elderly neighbor who has moved to Minnesota, along with my sister's grandkids each a quilt. Need to make 1 more for YD's BFF who is due on November.



This was for 3 year old boy, the main print is trains.


Love, love, love the Kitty Cucumber main fabric.

And lastly DH is still paying the bills, doing well, but spent way too much time preparing a wonderful 4th of July dinner for us, my mother, my sister (who was passing through Humboldt from the Bay Area on her way home to Salem) our neighbor (whose husband is a CHP and had to work) along with her 16-month-old (Ally's new best friend) and it is time for me to start doing more in that area like I did during the challenge with the same sister in February.

A Quick Update

May 20th, 2010 at 01:30 pm

Since turning the finances over to DH about 5 weeks ago, actually I think it was 5 weeks ago today. Has it really been that short of time?

It is the weirdest thing. I just have stopped worrying. I am able to focus on doing other things. I am getting more projects done. I am happier.

But I may have to contribute some of the contentment to working from home again. I went to see my occupational health doctor yesterday and she told me that I looked so much better. I guess the stress of my old job was showing greatly.

Anyway turning the finances over to DH, starting a new job working from home (but actually doing the same work) has all contributed to a more relaxed happy me.

From a financial standpoint, I think DH is more aware of costs and will definitely help contribute to the household bottom line.

The stock market tumble today is nerve wracking. I still feel things are going to get worse. Hey it's probably a good day to call Scottrade and convert my SEP-IRA to a Roth!

The house is rented and good books from the library

April 24th, 2010 at 09:09 pm

I tend to lose my library card a lot. It is $3.00 for a new 1, but I figure it is cheaper than buying books. I was very excited that Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and The New Earth were both available today. I have been wanting to read The New Earth, but was too cheap to buy it when it first came out. Then the other day I saw a mini-series or movie or something advertised on TV "Pillars of the Earth", and realized it has been so long since I read it, I wanted to read it again.

Our house in Oregon was rented this week to 2 dental hygienist students with a cocker spaniel. We asked for a $500.00 deposit for the dog. I think most responsible pet owners are not going to trash a house, anyway I hope not! My daughter had a small dog in the house when she lived therem and I have a small dog and they have not done any damage.

Very happy though to rent the house. It took about 3 weeks.

My first 4 days of my new job were stressful learning the new computer platform, but by the 3rd day, Friday, I was feeling a bit more comfortable.

DH is still dealing with the money and went to the bank today to deposit the rental money. We used our Costco rebate today. Starbucks coffee was $4.50 off a bag. They had the same sale in December and we went through 5 bags since then (had purchased 4 in December and had to buy an additional 1 a few weeks ago, so I bought 5 bags today. Iams Dog food was $10.00 off. Then we bought our usual milk, half and half, eggs, milk and Tillamook Cheddar cheese; then splurged on some pesto and a block of good parmigiano reggiano cheese. Okay we got some skinny cows, some frozen pizzas that were reduced (we have had them before and they are yummy)and toilet paper.

We bought asparagus, red bell peppers, boboli pizza bread and flour tortillas.

Tonight we had baked chicken and I wanted to try a recipe for barbecued chicken pizza. Unfortunately I did not look at the price of the boboli, something I do not remember purchasing for over 20 years. I was shocked they were $6.39 for 2!

Tomorrow we are making burittos from chuck roast from our grass fed beef that is in the freezer. I am sending them home with MD's boyfriend who is here working, along with some meat from the freezer and pantry items. He is in the electrical union and has been working sporadically, and my MD's income has been cut too and I know they are having a difficult time.

Thank you whoever invented Skype, we spent over half an hour before dinner watching our dear sweet granddaughter play with our SIL. She has changed so much in the 10 weeks since I saw her. I can hardly wait for them to get here, as much as I wish my DSIL was not deploying.



I am very thankful I can work from home again, or from their home for that matter when I need to.

I have lots to do tomorrow, so I am going to be early and get started reading my first Ken Follett book.

One Job ends, another begins....

April 20th, 2010 at 09:28 pm

Today was my last day at the hospital and tomorrow I start with the company my job was outsourced to. I am so happy to be working from home again.

I think resigning from CFO was one of the smartest things I could do. I got over my anger, especially since the game they went to Friday night, the Sharks won in a very exciting game in overtime...

So I think we have it worked out that DH is going to pay the bills and keep track and I will continue to do the upkeep in Quicken. Today I went on-line with him and went over bill paying and then went on AMEX and paid our American Express.

We had a moment of panic when DH thought the balance in the checkbook was really a check amount and we did not have enough in the account to cover the checks he wrote for taxes, but after getting ready to run to the banks to transfer cash he took another look and realized the $1200 was the balance left in the account after subtracting the checks he wrote.

My goal really was for us to start sitting down together and managing the money and I think in the long run that is what is going to happen. I am going to have more time to concentrate on frugal living and doing some things I enjoy more than tracking every dime.

DH drove my car down to the Bay Area for the game so in reality I don't know that he spent more than $250.00. I didn't realize we were going to get a dividend check either that arrived this week that covered our taxes and the new windows for the house.

But you know what, I would have spent the entire time he was gone managing, analyzing and juggling the money. Maybe I just need a break from it.

So it's bedtime and when I get up I don't have to go anywhere to work except the front bedroom of our house! Perfect timing too, a storm has once again hit Northern Coastal California.

I have resigned as CFO

April 15th, 2010 at 05:09 pm

of our little household. I am sick of trying to be frugal and stay on track, only to have DH decide he is going to go on a little trip to watch the Sharks play tomorrow night. I know, not a big deal right?
Well it is when you have $3000.00 to taxes, $2000.00 to new windows that DH ordered without any planning, (other than me mentioning accountant said to get any windows, etc replaced this year), and a large AMEX bill due to some work travel, all due.

I scrape, I sacrifice, I pinch pennies until they bleed and he pretty much does what he wants. This was the final straw.

I got both checkbooks, wrote in the balances, printed out activity from both checking accounts and the savings accounts for the past month. I printed out all the web sites along with log-in names and passwords, made a list of monthly bills and when I paid them, took the tax stuff, current bills, put everything in a big folder and said, "here".

So now I can stop worrying, planning, juggling, etc and do what I want to do (which is gardening, quilting, and frugal living). Now if we have no money when we retire, it will not be my fault!

PS I should say this was one day after I decided to accept a job with the company my job was outsourced to. Since we are paid by production, I have no idea how much money I will be making really, especially since I am only working 4 hours a day.

Another epiphany....

April 3rd, 2010 at 05:12 am

Every year I start out gung ho on tracking every penny and usually by March/April it becomes overwhelming.

My epiphany is I spend too much time on the internet reading, tracking my spending, planning and not enough actually doing!

Case in point: DH drove up to Oregon to do some maintenance on our rental home. He called and said let's grab a rice/bean/cheese burrito when I get home (Lent). Well I had spent a few hours yesterday entering receipts into quicken and YNAB (don't ask). I started thinking I don't want to spent $15.00 on a couple of so-so burittos at the local Mexican food place. What is wrong with me? My BFF is half mexican and gave me her grandmother's rice recipe and we have canned beans. I checked the frig, yep have tortillas. Wow I even have sour cream and TJ's chips, plus we always have Tillamook cheddar cheese.

I had all the ingredients for the rice including an open container of chicken broth in the frig. So by the time DH drove up an hour or so later I was finishing up the ingredients and was heating the tortillas.

I did so well in February with food when I was in a challenge with my sister, so I need to have that mind set all the time!

My job ended Friday the 26th of March and I received my last check yesterday. I am working on contract until the outsourcing company takes over the hospital transcription department. I have been offered a job Tues-Sat 8-12 with the company. I am happy to have a job, but do not feel the great relief I thought I would feel after finally talking to the HR department. I am apprehensive as I hate change!

I am going to start using envelopes to budget instead of tracking every penny. That way if I have leftover money in an envelope I know we did well. If I run out or look like I am running out, I know I need to be careful. Till Debt Do Us Part is sinking in.....

I did splurge on Easter books for:


But then she is my only grandchild and lives so far away. Easter really snuck up on me this year so I ordered from Amazon yesterday and paid extra for the books to be delivered today.

I would love to go back to the East Coast for a visit before they come at the end of June, but at this point with starting a new job I just don't know when I can fit it in. I know it is only 2.5 more months, but it has been 2.5 months since I saw her last (and could hold her and kiss her and read to her) and I am having painful withdrawals! Luckily we both have webcams so I do get to see her and talk to her, but she seems more interested in my dog than me!

Happy Easter Everyone!


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