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Archive for October, 2006

Freezing!

November 1st, 2006 at 07:25 am

Actually, well below freezing. I do not like trick or treating at the best of times and it seems that without fail it is always miserably, bitterly cold outside every Halloween. We went up one side of our street, down the other, came inside to warm up for a half hour and then went the other way and repeated. We went to maybe a total of fifteen houses. Almost no one goes trick or treating in our neighborhood, most folks go to town to trick or treat at the mall or the giant strip mall, where it is a good deal safter and you can start earlier. But that means that those kids who do go around the neighborhood get handfuls of candy at each house. So the kids ended up with approximately 40 pieces of candy and several toys. They had fun even if I didn't. But I was so glad when they wanted to give it up. And I am so glad it is over for another year.

I didn't spend any money today but I daresay I will be in the future. I turned on my furnace. I just could not get the chill off the whole house with the woodstove. The outer walls were cold to the touch. It was 20 this morning, I didn't look at what the temp dropped to tonight, but it was colder than this morning.

I watched the DVD Pride and Prejudice today. Twice. I was utterly delighted with the entire movie. I've never actually read any of Jane Austen's books but now I am going to have to. The story was absolute magic, lots of conflict and good twists and turns, lots of turmoil and sadness and joy. I didn't really think I would like it all that much, its been sitting on my TV for months on loan from a friend of DH's. Now I could kick myself for not watching it sooner. Keira Knightly impresses me more and more each time I see her in something and of course, Donald Sutherland will always be enjoyed.

Sorry, didn't mean to turn this into a movie review. Not really much going on on the financial front, but felt the need to fill blank space with type tonight. Well, and complain about the cold.

Sometimes We Win

October 31st, 2006 at 05:37 am

After I got the kids on the bus this morning, I wanted in the absolute worst way to drive the five minutes down the highway to this really terrific diner in Maple Falls. I had such a hankering for their home fries and pancakes this morning. And they make everything from scratch there, so I don't even have to worry about nasties in the food, except maybe nitrates in sausage or bacon.

But pancakes there are definitely not made with whole wheat flour and I don't know what kind of oil they use to cook the home fries and as I am trying to avoid transfats, well that wouldn't do at all.

But how hard could it be to make home fries? I mean, all it is is diced potatoes, bell pepper and onion. So I made them myself in olive oil, along with some nice nitrate/nitrite free, sulphate/sulfite free, sugar free all natural sausage and throughly enjoyed my homemade "diner" style breakfast. Didn't even miss the pancake that I had wanted earlier. Also saved myself about $10 including tip. They aren't horribly expensive there and I would have had a full breakfast if I had gone, rather than two items and the portions would have been a lot larger, too.

It was nice to not spend the money and stick to my new dietary habits.

I did, however spend some money tonight. We went to the chiropractor and then to Kmart to buy gloves and hats for the kids and gloves for me. The kids have scarves, but gloves and hats always seem to get lost or outgrown really fast. My gloves get lost because I let the kids wear them when they lose theirs.

I'm going to get some chenille yarn next payday and knit myself a hat and scarf to match my new jacket I bought a few weeks back. I'm not a great knitter but I can do hats and scarves that look good. I just can't do anything else. I'm starting to think the jacket may not be warm enough after all. It was 25 degrees this morning waiting for the school bus. But its hard to find anything really, really warm that isn't made of wool or lined with down. I'm not a masochist, I like to breathe and I can't do that with wool or down, so no go.

Oh, when we were at Kmart I looked at all the Christmas stuff. I love penguins, in fact I've collected penguins for 16 years and they had some really cute ones. But there is something that really, really annoys me to no end about Christmas and penguins. Penguins do not exist at the North Pole. They are native to Antarctica, as in the South Pole. And penguins and polar bears do not exist together as polar bears are native to the upper wilds of Canada and Alaska. And yet every year, there they are, cavorting together. Sigh. Just a really big pet peeve. Silly, I know, but it bugs me.

Nothing really jumped out at me to add to my collection of lights for our huge light display. Nothing I've seen at WalMart yet has impressed me either. Or Costco. I know its still early yet. I will be putting aside an extra hundred dollars to pay for the bump in our electric bill that we get after the holiday, due to all the lights. But it is a big deal for us and we wouldn't give it up, the kids just adore it and so does the neighborhood. I wish I'd bought the rope light nativity they had 3 years ago.

Oh, I should probably budget another $100 to buy cable to run through all the standees and hook around the trees so people can't steal from us this year. They didn't get much last year because DH surprised them in the act, but I'm not going to lose something we've paid hard-earned money for again. We also bought motion detectors last year so we will have to get those installed around the most expensive things.

Okay, this is more of a ramble than anything to do with finances so I think I'll wrap it up. Oh, I was able to cash out at TinklyCash this morning. $5 on its way to paypal. Oh, also wrote a check for $10 to fund Matt's hot lunch account at school. Which reminds me, I need to order checks.

Freak Snow

October 30th, 2006 at 01:11 am

I absolutely cannot believe it but it snowed today! It never snows before the middle of November here and usually not until after Thanksgiving. I am just grateful it did not stick down in the valley, where I live. The foothills are dusted pretty heavily from the halfway point on up.

It was very surreal driving today because there was a windstorm on top of the snow and there were tons of big yellow leaves falling between snowflakes along the highway. The trees have only lost about half of their leaves, it was all just very strange.

I wouldn't have gone out in it but the kidlets spent the night with Mom to give me a break. I got the tummy bug and really needed the rest. Feel mostly better today but like someone parked a well-packed rock into my stomach and my ribs feel bruised. Not fun.

Of course, the first half of the drive to town was abysmal but when I crossed the river and went up the hill it was like driving into another world as the sun was out and everything abrubtly stopped. There's this one road that DH and I refer to as the Bermuda Triangle Road because the weather changes on a dime there and of course, that was right where the change was.

Didn't buy anything today. I made turkey legs for dinner and took all the meat off the bones and threw the bones in the crockpot with water, onions, parsely, carrots, and celery to make broth. Tomorrow I will use it to make Turkey noodle soup with whole wheat spaghetti noodles. I could really use some good bone-warming soup as it is really cold despite a roaring fire.

I tried to cash out at TinklyCash today but the redemption button won't show up, despite the fact that I have $5 in my account. I will give it until tomorrow and then email them.

And Yet Another Savings Update

October 28th, 2006 at 06:30 am

My $25 ING signup bonus was deposited in my ING account today and I got a refund check from the orthodontist of $286.80. I put $120 of that into savings bringing me to a grand total of $1444.01 in savings.

I finished the kid's costumes today, used my Costco cash card at their gas station to get gas @ $2.399 per gallon, put in $30 worth and change.

Tobias threw up at school and Mom came out to get him since I was in town and didn't have my cell phone on. He's running a fever of 102. He was fine this morning, I swear. They didn't have to wait long for me to show up, fortunately. She took him home with her so he didn't have to sit through Rose's soccer practice. Then we went in to Mom's with a bunch of dirty laundry. She's going to wash and dry everything for me since I got so far behind what with the rain and the broken dryer.

That was two trips to town today, yuck, 5 gallons of gas, but that's life sometimes. Anyhow tomorrow brings the last soccer games of the season and T is too sick to play. He's sad, but he really doesn't want to play with how yucky he feels. His friend had this about ten days ago, standard incubation period. I so hope I don't get this. Or Rose.

T's not too bad when he is sick, he just wants to cuddle. Rose, who is probably the sweetest, best behaved child 90% of the time, turns into a whining, horrible monster when she's sick and I so don't have the energy to deal. T woke me up three times last night, and oh, that really should have been a clue, I suppose. Sleep addled me is not a fun place to visit.

Money Deposited

October 26th, 2006 at 07:25 pm

I finally made it to town and deposited money to savings and today was also the auto deposit so:

$10.00 auto deposit
$10.00 cash
$ 2.50 rolled coin
$ 5.00 surveyspot check
$36.50 refund for x-ray

Total depsoit: $64.00
New balance in savings: $1299.01

I have blown past my goal of saving $250 by the end of November by $49.01 already. I wonder if its possible for me to double my goal and save a total of $500 by the end of November instead? I'd have to come up with $200.99. I'll have $105 more just through normal savings next month. No wait, there are 5 Thursdays next month so that's five auto deposits, which is $50 plus the $65 we used to pay for cable, which is $115, so I'd only have to scrape up $85.99.

Of course, this is beyond the $1000 I will save next month because DH is working an extra week. I'm still waiting on a check from ACOP for $15 and I think I've got another one coming from another survey company, still. Hmm. I can definitely count on the ACOP, it should show up any day now, so that's just $70.99 to come up with. That is totally doable.

So come the end of November I should have a total $2500 in savings! Woohoo! With our tax refund and DH's bonus plus what I am regularly able to save $7800 by the end of April. With our trade-in we should easily be able to purchase a good used car with that. Especially if the one we want is still sitting on the lot by then. It'll have been there for at least 8 months at that point. I'm sure they'll want to move it.

Although, if we can save that much in one year, maybe we ought to try to hold out another year and double that amount and get a two year old car instead of a five year old one. I don't know. Still, the older car would mean I could start putting my savings skills to work again sooner and start paying down debt with a vengeance. I'll have to really think about that. Our car is 14 years old and still runs okay most of the time. The SUV is 10 years old and would be the trade-in for obvious gas guzzling reasons.

Too much to decide on today, but for now I think I'll stick with the first goal of buying a five year old car and we can decide for sure in April when we have the money in the bank.

Cash in the Mail

October 26th, 2006 at 06:56 am

Or rather a check in the mail. A nice old "You paid us too much money so we're sending it back," check. $36.50 for overpayment on a bill for an x-ray I had done back in February when the doc thought I had a greenstick fracture in one of the little bones in my foot after dropping a ten pound chunk of wood on it end down. It'll go into savings assuming I ever make it to town this week.

Funny how long it took them to refund the overpayment. I sure seem to remember how impatient they were when the insurance wasn't paying them fast enough. Isn't that always the way? I paid my portion before insurance did within 30 days just to shut them up, that's probably why it was too much.

Oh, well. Recieved a Swiffer duster in the mail today, this one from WalMart. It's the second one I've gotten. I also got the Gain Mango Tango laundry soap.

Not much else today. Soccer practice was cold! It's by the river, so automatically cold, and then the windchill, and the almost icy rain, yuck. Got called early though, it was too cold and getting too dark too soon and we were out of there by 6:10. I was really glad.

I'll Believe It When I See It

October 25th, 2006 at 04:03 am

My neighbor came over to talk to me which usually means that he wants something from me. Fortunately it was to tell me that he plans to pay me back the $11 he owes me from back in July, I think it was, on Friday. Could have been June. I wasn't about to open my mouth and mention that it was actually $11.55 that he owed, for fear of never actually seeing the $11. Not that I think I will actually see it...and gave up on it long ago. But if it does come it will be a nice little boost to savings.

Oh, yeah, and he did want something. Just wanted me to keep an eye out for people that didn't belong coming onto his lot. Well, that's a lot easier now that he's down to just him and the one roomate, eleven dogs, and porch full of puppies. Still 4 broken down vehicles and one RV on the lot, though, drives me crazy, as it's only a 3/8 acre lot, and they park on the little front lawn instead of in the bigger back yard or two car garage or the driveway, well one car is in the driveway. It just looks tacky. I mean beyond the cow crossing sign tacky and the old farm equipment lawn ornament tacky. Sigh. It's such a pretty house, too.

Oh, well, I will keep my nose in my own business and not begrudge the weird taste in decorating the front yard. To each their own. Just get rid of the cars already.

Spent a little

October 24th, 2006 at 10:29 pm

Ran down to the convenience store today to buy a gallon of milk @ $2.49 and a newspaper @ 50 cents. I wanted to get a 99 cent big grab bag of Cheetos, but that is a big "NO" and still related to my sugar binge on Saturday. I didn't really want them want them, wasn't really hungry, I just kind of was having my head turned by them.

I decided not to go to town today. I didn't sleep too well last night. Well, I slept well between 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. and then again between 6:30 and 7:40, but you can see why its not really well with that kind of pattern. I went to bed at eleven, too so I don't know why the tossing and turning.

I might go tomorrow, but the kids have 1:00 early release so I would have to leave as soon as they got on the bus to get everything done and be back on time. I need to do the bank run and I need to pick up three t-shirts and a witch hat. Rose is converting her Princess Gueniverre costume into a witch costume for Halloween. I may also get a piece of fabric that has glittery spiderwebs on it to use as a shawl for her. I need to get on the ball and finish Tobias' ghost costume, also, but have everything for that. Just need to do it.

It is cold here today. It is very windy but I can't hang clothes outside due to intermittent sprinkles. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny again, and hopefully the wind will stay! Lately its been dead still on sunny days.

I have a nice fire going and am finally feeling it at my end of the house after several hours. I wish the wood stove was in the middle of the house and not at the far end from where I like to spend all my time and not to mention, sleep.

FIL says he has two more pickup loads of wood to bring out so it is possible I won't have to buy any. I'll have to see what it is and whether it is really as dry as he claims it is. It often isn't. May still buy wood anyway and let it sit in the shed for next winter. We'll see.

401K and Savings Update

October 24th, 2006 at 03:16 am

We received our 401K statement today for period 07-01-06 to 09-30-06.

Beginning balance--$36,377.74
Employee contribution--$499.18
Employer contribution--$395.89
Market Gain--$1,291.57
Other transactions--$138.95
Fees--(-)$41.42
Ending Balance $38,661.91

Changes from beginning of year: +$5,710.12

It has recovered nicely from the second quarter dive.

I opened my ING account today and sent $250.00 off to that, to qualify for the $25 bonus (thanks, Baselle for the referral link). Once everything is up and running I will most likely also open an Emigrant account. This was a very big step for me and I want to settle with it first, though.

Didn't make it to town today with enough time to deposit money as we had to go to the chiropractor and then drop DH off at the airport.

I will deposit it soon though, $10 cash, $5 surveyspot check, and the roll of nickels and roll of pennies I rolled today, $2.50, total deposit of $17.50.

Sugar Hangover

October 23rd, 2006 at 02:01 am

I woke up with a major sugar hangover today and that was enough to convince me to stick to our new eating habits like glue from now on. Yuck.

Yesterday was soccer day plus it was the celebration for FIL's 60th birthday. I skipped going to Tobias' soccer game so I could cook and assemble the requested from scratch lasagna and from scratch birthday cake with from scratch frosting.

Got everything done and over to IL's house and made it to Rose's game. Her team won. First by forfeit, since only seven girls showed up on the other team and you have to have nine to play. Well, we decided to give them two members from our team so the girls could at least play a game. One of them was one of our best players, too. And they played hard for the other team, but we still ended up winning. 5 to 3. And this is the best team in the league. They trounced us last time we played. If we win next weeks game, we'll have one half of ten games played. Pretty good, considering last season they lost every game they played and were 2nd division instead of 1st like now. Skills are coming along.

Afterwards we went to the IL's for the celebration and stupidly, I ate cake. It was good, of course, my cooking is always excellent, but it was so not worth this horrible sugar hangover today.

Today has gone pretty well, but it would have gone better if I hadn't been dragging myself around recovering from a carb coma. We finally removed the old kitchen range hood and installed the new one. This is eight years I've been waiting for it, nagging for it, and finally today for no apparent reason, DH decided to put it up.

FIL came out with a load of wood, also so we unloaded the truck and got that all set up. I am thinking of getting 6 cords of mill ends delivered. They are kiln-dried and it would cost $250 for spruce or $350 for a mix of hemlock and fir.

DH got called to work an extra week, so his next hitch will be a 3 and 1. With the extra pay I will put $1000 into savings and purchase the wood, and put some aside for Christmas shopping. It will be a lean Christmas this year as we are saving up for that car. It's still sitting on the lot, so hopefully no one will have an interest in it until we can buy it.

I got a check in the mail from surveyspot for $5, so will deposit that tomorrow. Oh, and DH filled the car up yesterday for $40 or so. That's it for today.

Savings and Shopping and Payday

October 21st, 2006 at 03:07 am

Okay, let's get the savings update out of the way. Yesterday was the auto-transfer of $10 to savings. The CU also put in their teeny tiny amount of dividends for the interest of $0.43. Total in this savings account is now $1116.43. That 43 cents is probably going to drive me crazy for a bit until I can add 57 cents to make it even again. I hate odd money amounts, I will always even it up when I can.

I received a check from NFO surveys of $10 yesterday and along with $25.50 in rolled coin, deposited it today into CU#2. Bringing the total in that account to $118.58. Oh, I don't think I mentioned that I had gotten a $70 medical refund last week to start this account.

So total savings right now is $1235.01. I also have an additional $10 that I will deposit on Monday. With that deposit I will only need $5 more to hit my goal of adding $250 to savings by the end of November. I'll meet that next Thursday with the auto deposit! I'll have saved $250 in one month instead of two.

Now I just need to get on the ball and open an ING account. Anyone have a referral they can send me? Baselle, do you have any? That would be appropriate since it was reading her blog that got me started on the whole ING thing.

Anyway, since it was payday I paid the last two bills that needed paying for this pay cycle, more to MBNA MC and my life insurance.

Then I went shopping. I spent $12.08 at the organic food store for 2 packages of organic 100% whole wheat tortillas, 6 pluots, and a jar of Spectrum mayonaise with omega-3 and flax seed oil.

Then I went to the farm stand and paid $5.97 for one large white onion, 6 ears of corn, 6 bananas, a big bunch of red flame grapes and two yellow summer squash.

From there I went to WalMart and spent $14.46 for a white twin sheet, package of 40 bandages with a free Neosporin sample, and a bottle of Ultrafine Mist Vick's nasal spray. Had to go to the pharmacy and pay $7.33 for a 48 pack of Sudafed and while there got a free sample of Pepcid AC.

Then I went over to Costco and bought 2 chuck roasts and a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 18 packs of brown Omega-3 organic eggs, and a container of Electrasol dishwashing tablets. I also added $80 to my cash card while I was at the check out for their gas station (which I didn't fill up today). Total was $139.08. We will fill up tomorrow after the soccer game. I really don't like to do it there so if DH is home, I'll wait until he can unless I am running on fumes.

Then it was to the Franz bakery outlet store where I got $9 worth of 100% whole wheat flour bread and from the free rack a package of eight 100% whole wheat hamburger buns. Of course, there's no way to coupon with this sort of shopping, but that's the trade off for healthier eating. I did get a milk coupon from Organic Valley though, so I am happy about that and will use it the next time I get milk.

I have started reading the Schwarzbein Principle which I think will go hand in hand with my husband's Ultra Metabolism book, only geared more for women. It's interesting so far.

I'm not sure if I ever said, I finished the book on CD "Start Late, Finish Rich," by David Bach. Really interesting, has some good ideas, but the more of his stuff I read the less I feel like we started late. We have a good chunk in the 401K and have a lot of equity in our house, almost 2/3 of its value is paid for. I have put "The Automatic Millionaire: Real Estate" on hold. I've read or listened to everything else the library has by this author and have really enjoyed it. He gives a lot of solid information in a simple, understandable way. I highly recommend his books.

Food today:

Breakfast:
Cascadia Farms Organic O's cereal
organic milk
organic omega-3 eggs
organic apple

Lunch:
carrots
pineapple
wild salmon patty (made with scallions, organic omega-3 egg, garlic, and real parmesan)
salad with grapeseed oil
water

Dinner:
chuck roast
corn
potatoes
banana
green beans
organic milk

And that's all she wrote.

Trip to the Orthodontist

October 19th, 2006 at 12:52 am

Rose had to go to the orthodontist today. They took out her U wire and replaced it with a W wire. This one is pushing a bit more than the last one did and is really bugging her. Not as much as the first appliance that took up the entire roof of her mouth, though.

That's two visits this month, so there should be a nice sized rebate coming from the doc's soon once they run through the insurance. For those new to my blog, we paid the entire amount in advance last year and then 6 months later our health insurance upgraded and gave us both orthodontics and vision that we didn't have previously. So the doc runs it through the insurance and then we get cut a check.

Didn't do much else. Oh, spent $9.98 for 2 gallons of organic milk.

As for the new eating update:

Breakfast:
Omega 3 organic eggs
100% whole wheat toast
organic banana
2 stalks of celery
organic milk

Lunch:
100% whole wheat bread sandwich with organic peanut butter and organic jelly
organic milk

Dinner:
Tacos made with either organic 100% whole wheat soft tortillas or organic corn taco shells
organic lettuce
organic cheese
hamburger
taco seasoning without trans-fats or hydrogentated fats
nectarines
organic milk

I have $2 to add to the $30 I will be depositing in savings tomorrow. With the auto deposit, that's a total of $42 going in tomorrow.

Oh, I almost forgot, I wrote a check to the chiropractic yesterday for $175. This covers three visits per week for the 4 of us, though we seldom go more than twice a week. That still works out to 9 visits a month X 4 people, so 36 visits, averages to $4.86 per person per visit. Not too bad. If we went through insurance we'd have to pay $15 co-pay for each of us, plus 20%. DH and I both have mild scoliosis and have both visited a chiro since we were young teens. Our kids have always gone. No one wants to end up with the hump DH's grandma had or the one his mother is starting to develop.

I guess that is all for today.

Grocery Shopping the Organic Way

October 17th, 2006 at 02:49 am

This is my 4th entry today, just as a head's up to those of you that read my blog, you may want to expand the all entries feature.

Yesterday we went into town and dropped the kids off at my parent's house so we could go to the local organic food store, Terra Organica, and read labels and buy some pantry basics and fresh produce. We ended up spending about $100.

We bought lots of broccoli and cauliflower, enough to fill 3 gallon size ziploc baggies and barely be able to close. We bought a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread, a package of multi-grain pancake and waffle mix, 2 pounds of 100% whole wheat flour, 2 quarts of pure maple syrup, 1 pound of brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cornmeal, 8 honeycrisp apples, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and pineapple. We bought dolphin safe wild tuna, organic lunch meats that had no nitrates or nitrites, sulphates or sulfites, smoked turkey, roasted turkey and non-cured ham. 2 gallons of non-fat milk, a jar of honey and roasted cashews. 1 bag of potato chips (potatoes, peanut oil, salt was the only ingredients) for the kids' lunches. Soy nuts. 1 pound of shrimp. One whole salmon that they filleted for us and cut into family size servings. Bananas. Multi-grain crackers. Cheddar cheese. Apple juice and grape juice, both 100% juice.

I think we did fairly well. We ended up with 2 big boxes of food. Nothing we bought had trans-fats, saturated fat, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or white sugar. Everything was organic and non-GMO, no antibiotics, no hormones. No sulphates or sulfites, no nitrates or nitrites, no additives, and no perservatives. So $50 was food budget and the rest was pantry restocking budget.

As a few people would like to know how we are all doing with this new method of eating, well DH has lost 15 pounds in a week. Rose has to wear a belt to keep her jeans up and I've lost about 5 pounds myself. Tobias does not need to lose weight but his attitude is worlds better.

Today's food:

Breakfast:
Multi-grain pancakes with pure maple syrup (just a little, that stuff is sweet) for everyone but me, I had 100% whole grain toast
eggs
banana
milk

Lunch:
T had lunch at school and R had a packed lunch
DH and I had:
bowl of fruit (honeydew, canteloupe, grapes, pineapple)
15 shrimp in garlic olive oil
1 slice of 100% whole grain bread
milk

Dinner:
broccoli and cauliflower (yes, my kids love this)
beef chuck roast
potatoes
grapes
milk

Food is tasting better and better by itself as the frankenfood build-up washes out of our systems. My skin is completely clear again. Rose's skin, which was just beginning to show signs of adolescent acne, is comepletely clear again. We all feel better. I haven't had an ache or pain today at all, which is saying something. I sure hope this is the boost my immune system needs and for Rose as well. Who knows? Maybe I will be able to start saving the money for medical that I usually put away each month for something else.

Paying the Bills

October 17th, 2006 at 02:24 am

Out of Friday's paycheck:

Bank of America Visa--$800
MBNA MasterCard--$145
ADT Security--$34
Life Insurance on DH--$29.29
Cash for Gas--$50
Phone Bill--$41.64
Cell Phone--$71.15
2 month Garbage Bill--$44.70
Homeowner's Insurance--$100

I am saving what is leftover until this Friday's paycheck to pay the remainder of the bills then.

When I get a chance to get to the CU again, I now have the original $16 in rolled coin, an additional $10 in rolled coin, and the $4 to pay back an impulse purchase. So a total of $30 to savings.

Vacation is Set

October 17th, 2006 at 02:16 am

We have our dates for taking our vacation to Victoria set. We will be going up on July 20th and staying for one week. My parents will come up and spend Friday and Saturday nights with us and then we will have 5 days as just the four of us.

My parents are in a travel club and they are using their points to pay for the condo rental for the whole week, so there is no expense for that. The condo has a full kitchen, including cookware and dishes so we can cook our own food.

Things to do now:

1. Check on the border website to see what foods we can bring into B.C. and make a master list of what we will need to buy and what we will be bringing.

2. Find out the address of the food store in Victoria that sells no GMO foods and only organic foods that we used last time we went, so we can find it again.

3. Start putting money in my 3rd CU account, the one I used to use to save for the freezer, to pay for food and then when enough has been saved for food, start putting in money for the ferry fees, and entry fees and souvenirs to the places we will visit.

4. Decide what places we are going to visit.

5. Decide what restaurants we will eat at, check their menues, and prices. We have agreed to only one meal out per day (and possibly quite less) and one of those will be at The Spaghetti Factory. Probably should schedule a nap for that day as the pasta will probably put us all into carb comas.

That's all I can think of for now.

My House Mortgage

October 17th, 2006 at 01:58 am

I ran the numbers on my house mortgage today. Right now the balance is at $35,960, which means if I were to make no extra payments, just regular payments, I would have just under 11 years and 7 months worth of payments to make.

Of course, I always pay an extra $24.14 each month for a grand total of $400 each month. So I know it will be less. I wish I could find an amortization calculator that would show the difference of making that extra principal payment each month. I'd like to know just how much sooner it will be paid off.

The Ugliest Afghan (blanket) in the Universe

October 15th, 2006 at 01:04 am

Rose's team won their game today! First time since the jamboree where they won 2 games. And not only did they win, they slaughtered the other team 7 to 2. It would have been 8 to 2 but the ref called offsides. Kind of surprising as he didn't call it for the whole first half of the game despite both teams frequently doing it.

Tobias' team did okay. They managed to make 2 goals. I don't really keep track on the micro-fields as they always get trounced. It was really cold today. The temp was 45 but the wind was blowing so I'm sure the wind-chill brought it down.

Thankfully we had T's blanket, the ugliest afghan in the universe. DH's aunt made it a couple years ago. It is dark brown and light blue and white and looks more like a table runner than a blanket. A very thick, long table runner. A very thick, long, ugly table runner. But it makes a great lap quilt type thingy and its long enough to cover three people sitting in camp chairs, if they don't mind being seen with such an ugly thing on them. And no one cares if it gets dirty, its so ugly. Did I mention it was really ugly?

Don't know where DH's aunt's taste went when she made that. The other two we have that she made are beautiful and look like real blankets, nice colors, nice patterns. Oh, well, it has a purpose that makes it useful. And T is actually quite proud of how ugly it is. Boys.

We did not buy anything at the concession today. Not one thing. We all remembered water bottles and we all ate a good breakfast beforehand. First game was at 9:15 and second game was at 10:20 and we were home by 12:30 for lunch. We made tacos. Discovered that the Schilling taco mix didn't have trans fats or partially hydrogenated anything in it and the Mission taco shells didn't either, so yay. Had stuff on hand. I do have a recipe for making taco spice mix for future, but it was nice to not have to do it today.

Dinner will also be out of the pantry, oven baked chicken, canned corn, broccoli/cauliflower, potatoes and gravy, and fruit. Appropriate portion sizes, everything made from scratch, gravy made with 100% whole wheat flour (no white flour allowed anymore). Oh, and milk.

We are doing a fairly good job avoiding white flour, sugar, trans fats, and unnatural foods so far. I really can see that this will actually be cheaper in the long run. My caffeine headache was bad last night but is almost gone today. I feel lighter. Don't know if I am as this is not the point of eating this way, we're trying to fix our overall health.

I am sick and tired of Rose catching everything under the sun and bringing it home to share with me. She never got sick like this when we were homeschooling. She'd get maybe two colds a year. School is a giant germ factory. But it is where she wants to be. I did notice that Rose's face is less puffy today. Don't know if she lost a little weight or if she was swollen and getting the allergens out of her system made her stop retaining water. Come to think of it, my face is less puffy, too. Hmm...Well, whatever, I feel better within my body, so that's a good thing.

I haven't done the bills yet, but will tonight and do a separate post regarding those.

Caffeine Withdrawal

October 14th, 2006 at 06:59 am

I'm going through major caffeine withdrawal right now, so hopefully my post will be coherant. Also going through sugar withdrawal, flour withdrawal, and high fructose corn syrup withdrawal. Life is fun.

I do think the new family diet is going to be a good thing, though, both to the budget and to how we all feel.

I was going to log the food on the blog, but I don't think I will, its not terribly interesting, though very yummy. Who knew real food could taste so good?

Today was payday. Only paid one bill so far today, $800 to Bank of America Visa. Will write the rest of the bills tomorrow.

Groceries and Savings

October 13th, 2006 at 04:12 am

Deposited $10 automatically into savings today, bringing the total to $1106. $19 more and I am halfway to my two month goal of adding $250 by the end of November. Forgot again to bring the rolled coin with to deposit, but we didn't end up going to that side of town today anyway.

We went grocery shopping (DH came home from Alaska yesterday) today. First we went to the farm stand and for $17.55 we bought:

8 kohlrabi
10 nectarines
4 Italian plums
1 head of iceberg lettuce
6 ears of corn
1 package of fajita seasoning dry rub mix (no fillers, just spices)
16 ounce bag of sunflower seeds, shelled (no artificial ingredients, just seeds, canola oil and salt)
1 white onion
1 head of garlic
1 gallon of 2% milk

Then we went to Haggen and bought:

1 gallon organic non-fat milk @ $5.69
1 2.28 lb butternut squash @ $2.03
1 1.85 lb acorn squash @ $1.65
1.7 lb baby red potatoes @ $1.68
5.2 lb value pack beef chuck potroast @ $10.69
1 package of bendy straws @ $0.99
magazine @ $3.50

For a total of $26.61 spent there. The $3.50 magazine was an unnecessary expense, so I will be adding $3.50 to my savings next time I do go to the bank, well actuallly round it up to $4 as I don't like an uneven total, I like whole numbers. The bendy straws are for the sake of everyone's sanity around here. We'll just leave it at that.

We are switching our family diet over to whole foods and made from scratch foods completely now. DH is finally on board this train and I think it is best for us all. It'll improve our health and lower our food bill. I think I can keep us to $50 a week for groceries doing this. Possibly less on the 2 weeks out of every 4 that DH is living at work.

With this new method of eating, I'm going to just throw the daily menu into the blog.

Breakfast:
100% whole wheat toast made with honey
soft-boiled Omega-3 organic egg
milk

Lunch:
freshly juiced apple juice
cucumber slices
chicken on salad
plain yogurt with blueberries stirred in

Dinner:
beef potroast
corn on the cob
potatoes with gravy
broccoli
cauliflower
nectarine
milk

It seems a lot written out, but everything is also portion controlled. Rose in particular can overeat to excess even with her high activity level, so I figure if I'm dishing up everyone's plate ahead of time, she can't complain too much if the portions all look the same. DH will just add in more food for himself later on if he needs it.

I think this will save on our food bill quite a bit. We've been spending about $300 a month and eating way too much junk, so I hope it works like I think it will. I just have to plan ahead more, as it requires a lot more cooking and prep work than boxed pizzas and taquitos. I am pretty sure I can do it, I just hope DH continues to back me up on it.

Payday and Savings Update

October 6th, 2006 at 10:58 pm

As planned, I deposited the $65 that used to pay the cable bill into savings. I forgot the $16 in rolled coin at home so I decided to just deposit $16 anyway into that account, and then decided to add an extra $5 in as well, for a total deposit of $86, bringing the total in savings to $1096.

Bills paid today:
House mortgage: $374.86 plus an additional $24.14 to principal, total payment of $400
Property taxes: $364.69
School fees: $40 to the lunch program for both kids (really need to cut this out when I am well again) and $6.90 to the book program for Tobias
Water Delivery: $66.57 for 2 months water delivery (this is a necessary expense for us as our local water district has e.coli in the water too many times a year for us to feel safe drinking it)
Basketball fee: $25
Groceries: $46.96
Gas money: $80
Misc.: $24 (will be used at soccer game tomorrow and for a meal for 3 of us)

I have $375 left which will go towards the medical mortgage next payday, along with the $625 from that week's pay

DH will be working 3 weeks instead of 2 in December and will be home for Christmas, leaving back for work on the 26th. So that will be an extra $1950 or so that can go straight to savings. And there should be an extra thousand to $1950 in November when DH will get an extra pay period (he gets 2 extra checks a year depending on how the calandar falls. Combine that with the five extra days he is working for his alternate next year and our tax return and we should just be able to swing a new (to us) car.

I have my eye on a vehicle that has been sitting on the lot for a bit. If it is still there when we are ready to buy and if it is mechanically sound, we should be able to drive a good bargain for it. I know it may be gone by then but its already sat on the lot for 3 months and if its still there come April, I think they'll be dying to get rid of it. I'll definitely run the VIN first though. If not, well, we've waited this long, we can wait longer if need be.

A Code in the Node

October 6th, 2006 at 12:16 am

Or to those of you who aren't sick...a cold in the nose, well in the whole sinusy section of the face. Rose has successfully passed it onto me, oh, joy. I am actually functioning pretty well, though as I went back to sleep after the kidlets got on the school bus, and didn't wake up again until 12:39. My taste buds are off, so food doesn't taste that good, I hate that.

I had enough points to cash out at NFO MySurvey today, so will be receiving a $10 check from them within 3 to 6 weeks.

Today was the auto deposit of $10 into savings, bringing the total of that savings account up to $1010. I rolled coin today and will be depositing that money tomorrow, $16, bringing savings to $1026, and then also depositing the $65 that used to go for cable, bringing the total to $1091.

I am awaiting account verification from paypal off a new account and as soon as that is received and activated, I will have $70 more to add into savings. This account is going to be used for selling on ebay and half once we are set up.

I have started reading Tax Loopholes for Ebay Sellers. I haven't gotten very far yet, but from reading the index I think it will cover all the information I need to know for how to set up an ebay business and how to handle taxes. It isn't about avoiding taxes, really, just how not to pay more than you have to and how to pay them and that kind of info. I think it will offer a lot of insight into this next phase of our adventure to make more money so we can use it to get out of debt and start saving more money. Plus declutter.

I bought this book about six months ago, just before I joined this site. I think I would buy it now anyway, because I will be referring to it often. It looks to be an excellent resource. Most of the time I check stuff out now, but I think buying the stuff you will really use can be an acceptable purchase when trying to avoid unnecssary ones.

Today I paid the water/sewer bill for 4 months (new system switch over, I just wanted to be ahead) of $256 and the power bill of $93. I also had lunch out (unnecessary expense, but I felt unable to cook and I really didn't want to) which came to $12.25 plus a $3.00 tip. I know that's over 20% but this is the usual girl, she never screws up anything, she's working her way through college, and as a former restaurant employee I believe in tipping well for good service. Not that I'm justifying, just explaining.

Dinner was much cheaper, just a can of chicken and stars ($1.09 at Kmart, cheapest I've found it here) and a glass of Pepsi (about .30). The caffeine helps with the sinus headache. I probably should have done this for lunch, too since I really am trying to cut way back on eating out. Maybe I'll have to do what Amber does and every time I eat out, put an equal amount of money into savings. That would pinch but might help me to alter my behavior.

Tonight I wrote out a check for basketball. It is only $25 this year instead of $30 as the sponsors are kicking in more. That was nice. Now I just have to remember to mail it tomorrow.

I got two samples in the mail today. Degree clear from Degree itself, and Olay Definity from WalMart. The Olay sample was really tiny, just like the one from Target. I've come to expect much more from the WalMart samples so I was really disappointed in the size. On the bright side, between the two of them there should just be enough to use on my whole face.

No Spend Day

October 4th, 2006 at 03:02 am

Today was a no spend day by virtue of the fact that I stayed home all day. I finished reading Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. It was good as far as it went, but I much prefer Smart Couples Finish Rich over it, even if you aren't part of a couple at the moment or ever plan to be. I just found it a better read all the way around.

I took some surveys today, redeemed $5 from Your2Cents, which says 6 to 8 weeks for the check to arrive but in practice is closer to 3 to 5 weeks.

I spent most of the day reading and finishing Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. It was interesting, I suppose, but kind of self-righteous. Not as self-righteous as Not Buying It and I certainly believe that this author actually went through hardship while working undercover below the poverty level, she sure whined. A lot. Though again, not as much as the author of Not Buying It. I think all in all it was worth reading and at least it was a fairly fast read, or maybe it just felt that way because I had checked out the large print edition so I could read in the tub without my glasses. It ended kind of abruptly though.

Tomorrow I can take the follow-up survey on the product I tested and ship it back to them in its SASE for the lovely $15 check they promised.

I'm also taking Rose to the orthodontist in the morning, so I should be receiving a refund check from them this month. That's because we paid for all the orthodontic work upfront and then six months later our insurance upgraded and covered orthodontists, so he just bills them and refunds me the amount. I'm all for that. Though I wish he would have refunded me the full amount, billed the insurance and then us for the difference, but oh, well. It takes longer this way but we'll get a fair amount of it back.

I need to make several phone calls tomorrow to cancel things and to get the form to sign Rose up for basketball, which I can pick up when I drop her off at school after the orthodontist appointment. Can't believe it is almost that time of year already. Seems like soccer just started. That'll be $30 unless it has gone up.

Oh, forgot to mention, Tobias lost that tooth on Sunday. Poor, overworked tooth fairy. Still have some wigglies in both kids' mouths but nothing close to coming out. I think that's it.

In My Mailbox

October 3rd, 2006 at 06:59 am

Today I received the Titanium Quattro razor and a sample of Advil PM from WalMart.

I spent $15 as a co-pay for Rose's doctor's visit and $10 for an antibiotic.

Not much else today.

The Tooth Fairy Goes Broke

October 1st, 2006 at 08:30 am

Rose has lost two teeth this week, her first molars and Tobias has a very loose top front tooth. And Rose has another one that is quite loose. I don't know about these children, conspiring to part me from all my lose $1 bills. They get $2 per tooth because they so far do not get an allowance, so this is the only time they really get money outside birthdays and Christmas. I'm not sure if I'll continue the $2 per tooth once the allowance starts. Probably pretty much locked into it now.

Oh, forgot to mention in my previous posts this week, I received a 3 pack of different Jergen's lotions, more Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner, and the Shick Intuition razor. I haven't tried it yet, I can't shave my legs for 4 more days due to product testing, but it sure seems awkward in the hand. I hope it works better than it feels. If it doesn't, I don't mind pitching it as it was free, after all.

I had to fire up the wood stove last night/tonight. It got so cold. I don't think it can be colder than 45 but that is cold enough to make the walls feel cold. It was nice to make the house all toasty and warm, but if I have to start heating the house already, I don't see how what I have on hand in wood will last past January.

I'll have to get on the horn to FIL and ask him to bring out the wood he's been saving for me since the sumac blew down. He's got a truckload or so and I know my mother has a small truckload. We should be able to squeak by on that without buying any this year. I've got to get a new permit for taking deadfall from the river banks so we can get started on next year's supply for free. And hope so more trees blow down at FIL's place. He has plenty.