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Archive for June, 2013

Payday Post and Mother Musings

June 29th, 2013 at 04:04 pm

Yesterday was payday. I had a couple of things left on the June Budget spreadsheet, and then set up and started recording things for the July Budget spreadsheet. I figured out which bills would be coming out of which paycheck. As long as nothing comes up we should be able to handle everything and have some money left over for savings. Of course that is the small check that stretches over two weeks, so I won't know how much I will have to save until the July 26th paycheck. I am hoping for at least $200.

Anyway, the bills I paid out were:

$1000.00 to Mom (July)
__300.00 to Mom for July utilities
__100.00 to EF
__140.00 Cash for week (includes allowances)
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___39.53 Life Insurance DH
___32.70 Life Insurance Me
___66.62 Car Insurance
___45.67 Old House Insurance
___41.16 Old House Security System
__168.00 Storage
__700.00 Mortgage (plus extra)
__270.49 to AMEX (in full)
__100.00 to Appliance Fun
----------
$3094.17 Total Paid Out

Our regular mortgage payment is less than $400, so we added a little over $300 extra to the mortgage principle for the July payment. The August payment should put us well under $11K. I am hoping to have it under $10K by September, but I'm not sure if we will. We'll have to see.

I had a bit of a kerfuffle with my mother yesterday. Not an argument per se, just her trying to force her will on stuff. She wants to be the one who sets the selling price on our house and she wants to be there to read the paperwork when it sells, etc. I told her no and she didn't react well. She thinks we should try to sell the house by owner instead of through a realtor and I said no again. FSBO's take forever to sell.

She was there for all of that stuff when we bought this house, but we were young, DH was in Alaska when the house sold so I had to have temporary power of attorney for him on that sale, it was our first house, and we needed her experience. But now we've been through it and we are older and we know what we are doing. She's very opinionated and wants her nose in every aspect of our business. I have asked her in to certain areas (like medical), but she isn't always so good about waiting to be asked. And I don't want her nose in our financials.

I think she's got it in her head that we are rich. I'm not sure where she gets that from. Yes, DH makes a very good income, but that's only in the last five years or so. And we have spent most of the last five years aggressively paying down the medical debt we incurred when I was so ill and having multiple surgeries so it's not like we felt that money. I never let her know the extent of it, just the amount she loaned us and we are paying her back.

It has only been this year that we have been able to pull ahead and start saving money or take a real vacation again. We might be rich some day, it's possible, but that's only if the economy doesn't tank over the next twenty years and we start getting serious interest on savings accounts again. But we have college to try to pay for with two kids and retirement to save for and we are behind from getting out of debt. Not to mention we'll be buying a new house when this one sells.

She has no idea of our income because we won't tell her. Mom lives on her social security, the $1000 a month we pay her, and we give her money to pay for all of the electric, gas, water/sewer bills, and pay the garbage directly. I know she's saving at least $1000 a month from it and living on the rest. Her only expenses are gas, property tax with a senior exemption to lower it, vehicle taxes, prescriptions, and food. The house has been paid for for a long time and is worth at least $300,000 and that's estimating on the low side, so she can sell it in the future and get a smaller house and live off the rest of it if needed.

She's so worried about the future that she won't spend today. We'll be paying her back until she's 80 unless we up the payments, which she doesn't want, and of course, we've told her numerous times that we will make sure she is taken care of if she lives longer than that.

I don't know, but I'm not going to let her force her insecurities on us, by trying to control what we do with selling the house. I am grateful for everything my mother has done for us, don't get me wrong. And I love her very much. After DH, she is my probably my best friend. We get along very well most of the time. Just once in a while she gets very pushy. I've learned through experience that this is the time where I have to push back.

Emergency Fund Update

June 28th, 2013 at 08:39 pm

Today was payday. I had $55.77 left in checking so I transferred the to the EF. I also took out the monthly $100 that I usually take out of the first check of the new pay cycle. This just happens to be in June instead of July, so June got two $100 payments. I will still make one in July towards the end of the month though, when the next pay cycle starts.

That brings the new balance in the Emergency Fund to $5227.39. My goal for June was $5100, so I blew by that. I think I am going to stretch and try to come up with $5500 by the end of July. That is $272.61 to come up with. $140 will be from my regular transfers, so I will still need to eek out $132.61 to meet that goal, well, minus a few dollars of interest. It is doable, especially if I keep transferring the amounts left at the end of each pay week to savings.

I really want to stretch for that, because I want to hit $7000 by the end of the year. It may or may not be possible, but I want to shoot for it regardless.

Slow Week

June 27th, 2013 at 02:53 pm

Today is the day of the auto deposit to savings, bringing the Emergency Fund to $5071.62.

I haven't spent any money in the past two days. We haven't gone anywhere, which makes it a lot easier to accomplish that.

I've been following my meal plans, so no eating out recently.

I'm still working on cleaning. It's taking a lot longer than I planned because I am organizing as well as just cleaning.

The rabbits are doing well. They love it when it is nice out and they can come outside in the rabbit tractors. The kits are growing well and will be 7 weeks old on Sunday. A couple of them were close to weighing 3 pounds last Sunday, so will probably top it when I weigh them again this Sunday.

Swagbucks is chugging along well, though I wish they'd fix the SBTV glitches. I've hit goal every day this week except the day it was 140. I will definitely get all five GC's this month as I am only a few points away from it right now.

Otherwise it's been pretty boring here at Casa de Robin.

Stuff and Other Stuff

June 26th, 2013 at 02:19 am

I received another $5 gift card from Swagbucks. I transferred it to my Amazon account. My GC balance there is now $145. I'm saving it for Christmas. I have hit my daily goals for the last several days, except for Tuesday. 140 is too high to waste the time on it. I'll probably hit today's though as I have a lot of online reading to do this afternoon and can have SBTV running the whole time.

I added $5.95 to the coin jar. Two more nickels and I'll have enough for a roll.

I've got $20 in cash and $55.77 in the checkbook to get me through until payday Friday. I need to buy milk and I want to buy strawberries if the specific farm stand I like the berries from is open. I hope that it is.

Our big screen television quit working. I can't figure out why. It turns on, there is just no image. DH will have to look at it when he comes home next week. I'm not terribly upset by it. Well, I mean, it's only four years old, I think, it should still be running, so from a consumer stand point I'm irked, but I'm not in any hurry to go out and buy a new one. We don't have television service, the kids just played games on it or sometimes watched DVDs.

I let the kids take the television out of my bedroom. We never use it. It had a thick layer of dust on the top and the screen that had to be wiped off and the remote batteries were dead. It's about ten years old and while it has a flat screen it still has the ginormous backside the old tech had. It's just 20 inches.

It is possible the big screen can be fixed, but I don't see much point in buying a new one. DH and I watch stuff on our laptops, generally. I have to admit it is nice for the big sci-fi shows, but I can't even remember the last time I used it. Maybe after we move we might replace it. I just don't want to move a big TV ourselves. It is a pain. Better to have it delivered to our next abode if we even bother with it at all. Those TV's are such energy hogs.

I have an appointment with the sleep doctor in 9 hours. As you can tell from the time stamp he's not done me much good. Our insurance is switching to Premera next month. Hopefully they will accept that. They stopped accepting Aetna, (and rightly so, since Aetna are cheapskates, whose first response is to deny everything at least once) so the last couple visits have been out of pocket.

I'm going to try one more mask and if that doesn't work, I'm done. I just can't use the machine if I'm taking the mask off in my sleep because it doesn't fit right or is uncomfortable.

Well, I suppose I should try yet again to get some sleep. I'm quitting caffeine right now (again) so I won't have that as a crutch tomorrow.

Meal Planning for the Week

June 25th, 2013 at 06:36 pm

Basing a lot of my meals this week on using up meat in the freezer to make room for upcoming harvests and the possibility of getting a half a beef in December (the latest the ranch has them available until Spring). I want to make a goal of not buying any meat at the grocery store at least until August. I don't see any reason we need to do that, based on supplies on hand.

Wednesday:
Cheatloaf
Green beans
Nectarines

Thursday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Coleslaw

Friday:
Tacos
Strawberries

Saturday:
Roasted chicken
Baked potatoes
Broccoli
Nectarines

Sunday:
Crockpot roast beef
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Strawberries
Green beans

Monday:
Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Watermelon
Cole slaw

Tuesday:
Leftover mish-mash and if no leftovers (ha!), then toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup

I think after this week I will be ready to start incorporating rabbit into our meals. I figured it would take me a couple of weeks to get over growing and slaughtering our own mean and I'm feeling about there now. Apparently this is a very common phenomenon in people who have never really farmed or raised livestock for food before.

The Actual Future Musings

June 22nd, 2013 at 03:22 pm

Last night (or early this a.m.) when I copy/pasted my entry, apparently I missed the second half of my post, where I was trying to figure out how much I thought I could get the Emergency Fund to by the end of the year.

In August there will be an extra payday for us. I should be able to save $1000 to the Emergency Fund from that. I have also been able to save at least $200 a month, so that should be another $1200. That should put me at $7300. In November there will be another extra paycheck, and I'd like to save $1000 from it, which should put me at $8300. So I think I will make my push goal be $8500 by the end of the year, which is, coincidentally, about one month's take home pay.

Most of the remainder of the money from those two extra payday's will go into the holiday shut down fund. Every Christmas things tend to shut down on the slope for two weeks at the least and up to four weeks at the most. So I will set aside at the least $3600 for that. That should leave me with about $1400 between the two.

I think I will try to just put it all into temporary savings. I'm not sure for what. Probably some of it for rabbit expenses. Or possibly moving expenses depending on how things go with selling our house. I guess we'll see when I get closer to that time. I may just want to shovel it all into the Emergency Fund regardless. Or maybe save it for next year's medical deductible.

Payday Post and Future Musings

June 22nd, 2013 at 03:11 am

So out of this paycheck I spent:

$225.00 on monthly family chiropractor plan
$650.00 to BoA VISA
$442.00 on groceries
$144.00 on water/sewer old house
----------
1463.00 total spent

Not all of this was from this paycheck actually. I had $400 left from the last one.

I also put $70 into the Emergency Fund bringing me to officially over $5000 at $5061.62. So I've hit my June savings goal. I wonder if I can get it to $5100 by the end of the month? Quite possibly if I don't buy anymore groceries.

Found a penny and put it in the coin jar. Nothing else to report.

Getting Organized Again

June 20th, 2013 at 08:30 pm

Now that it is summer vacation and I am not homeschooling anymore, I am working on getting my home organized. I did the long hallway today, which had become a catch all for way too much junk. My husband has a habit of emptying his pockets into the rail. I find all sorts of things in it. Junk mail, credit card receipts, pens and pencils, tiny toys like my son's hex bug. I found a quarter and a dime so those went into the coin jar.

I had gotten so far behind on laundry that I had six baskets of clean laundry in the hallway, so those all got sorted and put away. Then all the random shoes got sent back to their home on the shoe rack by the back door. It's never a whole set of shoes it's always a single shoe from four or five sets. I don't even know.

Also got all the cloth grocery bags picked up and stuck inside the big one, ready to go out to the van the next time we leave the house. I've mentioned it before, but we are in a city that has made it illegal for stores to use plastic bags and it costs 5 cents a bag for paper ones. We have a ton of cloth bags instead. I would use them anyway and did before the law went into effect, but I have way more than I did back then.

I figure if I work on one room a day we can get things back on track in not too long a time frame. Tomorrow's goal is to get the kitchen straightened up. I'd like to use more than 1/2 my kitchen table and the counters need a deep clean. I also need to reorganize my canned goods, because my daughter has put things in willy-nilly just to get them put away and I like to have my cupboards a certain way so I'll go through and fix them after stuff is clean.

Saturday will be for the short hallway that leads from my son's room into the living room and ends at the computer table and the bathroom. Sunday will be for the living room. Monday I'll tackle my bedroom, while the kids start on theirs. That may take more than one day as I want to weed through all the outgrown clothing, throw out what is not donateable, and get the stuff that is ready to take to Goodwill. And honestly I'm sure nothing short of a bulldozer will get to the bottom of my daughter's bedroom floor. My son's room is not too bad. He's a much tidier person in his bedroom than my daughter.

I find being disorganized often leads to spending money, either because I can't find something or I don't realize I already have what I just bought. Tired of that so the organization is a must. Plus I have lost a library book somewhere in the house and need to find it. Well, I'm not sure I lost it. I think I turned it in, but the library can't find it so they gave me a month to look for it without a fine. I don't even have a clue where it might be. There's just not that many places I would leave a book.

I am just really ready to have a clean home again. Tired of the clutter.

Bits and Pieces

June 20th, 2013 at 02:18 pm

Today is the day of the auto transfer to savings, so the new amount in the Emergency Fund is $4991.62.

I added $2.40 to the coin jar.

I cashed out for yet another $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. I've hit the daily goal three times this week.

I did a jobs and the economy survey for ACOP.

I haven't had any no spend days this week, but the amounts I have spent have been trivial.

I've been watching a lot of Netflix while I've been cleaning. Finished Heroes, which I've been working on for a year. Started Alias which I have never watched.

I still haven't put together my payday post from last Friday so I'm just going to do a brief run down here. I've rounded because I don't want to open my spread sheets.

$2000.00 went to BoA Visa and vacation is paid off.
$1000.00 went to the EF
__187.00 went to medical
__160.00 went to groceries
___30.00 went to allowances
___69.00 went to prescriptions
------------
$3446.00 Total out

A Joyful Afternoon

June 19th, 2013 at 08:38 pm

I'm beat. Who knew raising rabbits was going to be so much work? But it is so worth it. Today that work paid off in spades. We were able to put some of the rabbits out in the new rabbit tractors we built. Every day that the weather permits and we are home, they will get to go out on the grass and play.



They had such a good time today. The kits were racing back and forth, leap frogging over each other and doing binkies, which is the ultimate sign of a happy rabbit. Even Mama Piper was doing binkies. It is quite a sight to see an eleven pound rabbit leap straight up and then change direction in mid-air. She even did some running herself.

It was so much fun to watch them. We watched them off and on for two hours while we cleaned some of the cages. We will clean more of them tomorrow. It is wonderful to see the rabbits so happy. They were thrilled with being on the shed floor to run around, but nowhere near as thrilled as they were to be on fresh grass and clover and with raspberry and lemon balm leaves to eat.

Every day we will move the tractors forward a space and they will eat the lawn (free of pesticides or chemical fertilizers) down. We shouldn't have to mow at all this summer. Not only will this cut their feed bill down, but it will naturally fertilize the grass.

The total cost for the supplies to make the two tractors came in at around $100. Considering that a pen half the size of one of these costs $75, we did good.

We rearranged the rabbit shed yet again and we now have what I think is the most efficient use of space. It was a lot of work, but is now much easier to move around in. DH still needs to build a new hutch frame and I need to buy 3 more cages. We will also need to build some more rabbit tractors, but for now they can take turns. I would like to put Serenity and Sweetie Belle in a tractor with Lola, but I'm not sure they'd get along. Phoebe and Lola did not when we had them on the shed floor at the same time. Does can be very territorial if they are not from the same litter and even sometimes when they are.

I know I still need to do an accounting of last week's bills, but I'm so tired I'm going to put it off for yet another day.

My Meal Planning for the Next 7 Days

June 17th, 2013 at 09:04 pm

An earlier post reminded me to do this. I am taking major advantage of the local strawberry season and the cheap watermelons coming up from California. Wednesday's chicken will also go into Thursday's casserole and I will make Saturday's soup from the chicken carcass. I really hope I like the casserole. It is a new recipe. If I like it, it will be good for making rabbit leftovers into something else, too.

Tuesday:
Meatloaf
Green beans
Canned corn
Strawberries

Wednesday:
Whole chicken roasted with oregano and basil
Roasted potatoes and carrots
Roasted broccoli and cauliflower
Watermelon

Thursday:
Italian Chicken Casserole
Cole slaw
Strawberries

Friday:
Beef stir-fry with yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, and onions
Watermelon

Saturday:
Homemade chicken noodle soup
Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches on homemade bread
Strawberries

Sunday:
Beef chuck pot roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Stir-fried green beans
Homemade blueberry cornbread muffins with homemade apricot jam

Monday:
Bacon cheeseburgers on homemade buns
Homemade French fries
Cole slaw
Strawberries

Processing Day

June 17th, 2013 at 12:47 am

We processed five rabbits today, so we now have a little over 18 pounds of meat and 1 pound of livers. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I will still miss them. They had good lives though and deaths as humane as we can make them. They should provide at least 54 meals for us or 13.5 servings per person. Considering what we spent on feed and hay to raise them to 17.5 weeks old, we are paying about $1.25 a pound for the healthiest, and pretty much the leanest, meat out there. In the future we will try to butcher at 14 weeks.

We froze the furs and when we do the next batch of kits when they grow up then we will tan them. I found a pretty simple way to do so using alum, salt, and water. It'll be about a two week process. I am thinking about making a bedspread with the furs. We want to use every part that we possibly can. The feet can be preserved, too, and sold in batches, and the heads go to the raptor rescue program for their hawks, owls, and eagles.

We kept one doe of that litter. I am not sure if we will use her as a breeder or grow her up and sell her as a breeder. She has good ears and a good body type. She seems to be far calmer now that she is not sharing a cage any longer. Her name is Lola.

I think it'll be a couple of weeks before we can eat one. We need to get a little bit further away from the process, but at least we know we can do it now and that we are one step closer to being sustainable.

I had made up a big payday post on Friday and even though I copy/saved the computer didn't so I lost it. Hopefully I'll get that reconstructed tomorrow and sent in for accountability.

I did get another $5 gift card from SB for Amazon and sent for another one. I am doing pretty good this month, though I've been too tired to get more than 40 to 50 points a day for the last couple of days. Tomorrow I have a lot of reading online to do so will probably hit goal as I will have SBTV running off to the side while I do.

DS needs to finish his compare and contrast literature essay and then he is done with home school for the summer. DD gets out of high school on the 19th at 10 or 11, I'm not sure. It will be nice to be free. We can get some real work done on the garden, turn the compost over, and do a bleach and rinse of all the rabbit cages while they are in the rabbit tractors (portable pens) on the lawn. We also need to get the grapes tied up. They are overtaking the rabbit shed door.

And housecleaning. It needs it.

Emergency Fund Update--Almost at $5000

June 14th, 2013 at 01:16 pm

Today is payday and I was able to add $1000 to the Emergency Fund. This is coming out of the overtime DH worked. I also had $40 left from my $100 cash from last week so I added that to the coin jar money in my EF envelope. That made it total $69.50 so I will deposit that today, too. And yesterday was the weekly $10 auto deposit to savings that I've had for the past decade or so.

$3902.12 Previous EF Balance
+1000.00 Deposit
------------
$4902.12 New EF Balance
+__69.50 Coin Jar Money
------------
$4971.62 New EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Auto deposit
-------------
$4981.62 New EF Balance

That leaves me with $18.38 to come up with for the rest of the month to hit my goal of $5000 for June. Since there are two more auto deposits of $10 each this month, there will be no problem with hitting that. I'm excited. $5000 is such a nice number.

Another Night with Insomnia

June 13th, 2013 at 05:33 am

I'm starting to think that insomnia is just part and parcel with being in your 40's. I wish it would stop. The C-pap machine has done nothing to improve my sleep. In fact, I think it makes it worse because it is so uncomfortable to wear I then can't fall asleep. I have such a mild form of apnea I don't think it much matters whether I use the machine or not. Sleep doctor has said as much, though he wants me to keep trying.

I think several months of trying is pretty much enough. I don't think it's going to get better. I've been through 3 different masks. I just can't sleep with stuff on my face or strapped around my head. Not for more than an hour or so and then I move and I wake up because it pulls at my hair or my skin or something.

We are almost done with homeschooling. I am so ready to be done. I just want an irresponsible summer. Well, you know, as irresponsible as you can be with children and livestock and a garden. LOL But it would be nice not to have to actually think for a while.

One of my major stressors removed itself last night. Turns out SIL was blowing things way out of proportion and MIL does not actually think DH should come to Wisconsin. And doesn't expect him to. So that releases us from having to suddenly come up with $2000. So I can go back to my original plans for upcoming monies and we don't have to worry about being so freaking tight with it for the next few months. And I won't feel pressured to take on more debt due to family obligations. And I can fund all the funds that I had planned to fund and keep all the funds that are in the funds in the funds. Yeah, that was probably not the best sentence, but I think you all can follow it.

Once homeschool is done on Friday I am going to work on getting us back to eating paleo-ish. Or at least very controlled carb-like. I have been so overwhelmed these last several weeks and I am feeling the bad diet choices in every cell in my body. It's very yucky feeling. I want to go back to feeling the way I did before. I actually even brought Cheetos in to the house this week. The food of death, destruction, and decay, not to mention massive allergies. This is how I get. I don't make good food choices when I am tired and stressed and overwhelmed.

And Kiki, I'm sorry if you thought I was snapping at you in my venting post comments. I didn't mean it that way. It was more of a why didn't I think of that I'm an idiot thought process going on in my head. Actually, everyone, I am slightly off my balance right now, so if I appear to grump at you at all, try not to take it to heart. I'm more grumping at life in general so it just comes out that way. I promise I will be one of the shiny happy people next week. Assuming I sleep sometime soon.

DH is Home

June 12th, 2013 at 06:03 pm

My husband made it home safely last night, but his luggage did not. Frown This is the first time he's even checked a bag in ages. He usually just travels with his carry on. Anyway the airport (the local one) said they would deliver his bag in the morning and he would get a $25 off his next flight coupon, or he could come get it himself and get a $50 off his next flight coupon. He opted for the second choice, since the airport is five miles away and it doesn't (yet) take $50 worth of gas to go there.

He also got a $20 off your next flight coupon for some other reason. I didn't ask. But anyway they can be used together, so he'll get $70 off his next purchased ticket, which is great. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

He went to the dentist this morning and there was a balance on my daughter's account, so he paid it with the credit card. *sighs* He is not supposed to do that. They hadn't even billed us for it yet. Well, the bill arrived this afternoon. But I like to pay medical/dental/vision out of checking because it makes it easier to track it for the HSA. And I like to plan for it.

If he hadn't paid it, it would have come out of Friday's paycheck. Anyway, I told him not to do that again, please. I don't like it when my budgeting gets messed up, especially with HSA stuff, and unnecessary charges get made to the credit card. And of course he got the mail so I have no idea where the heck the bill is so I can write down on it the information for the HSA. Love him to pieces, but he messes with my system something fierce sometimes.

I don't even know if he got a payment receipt and even if he did, the likelihood that I will ever see it is pretty small, since I'm sure it's been misplaced by now. Rolleyes So I may not even be able to use this for the HSA at all. Urgh. I know he was just trying to be helpful. *shakes head* I'm trying not to be a complete control freak over this, but I'm afraid I'm not doing very well at it!

So Tired of Illness in this House

June 11th, 2013 at 03:29 pm

I still feel like I am recovering from the stomach virus I had last week. I don't feel sick anymore, just exhausted and bruised and not quite myself yet. And DD got sick again. I think I may have to take her to a gastroenterologist this summer.

The school counselor called today and left a message on my voice mail. Of course I didn't get it until it was too late to call back (I tried), but I have a feeling it is about DD's absences and that she may have lost her semester. To be honest, right now I could not care less. I can't send her to school vomiting or with the other end of that equation, it's against school rules. And I also can't send her to school with a fever over 100.

If she loses her semester she won't graduate with her class, but oh, well. She would have been graduating at 17 anyway. We've talked about this possibly happening since she got so badly ill first semester and then again this one, so it's not like she doesn't know it could happen.

DH gets home tonight so he can call the counselor back tomorrow and we can see what is going on, since she called him as well, but he was busy at the airport in Anchorage trying to get his bag checked since he's bringing home a PVC cutter and that can't go in carry on. He only had an hour between the puddle jumper landing and when he had to get on the big plane in which to do it.

I honestly think my daughter should just homeschool next year, but she doesn't want to be away from her friends. Well, she's away from them anyway with the amount of illness she's had this year. If she does have to repeat (due to absences, not grades, mind you), she does have friends in the class of 2015, too. She doesn't learn well in the school environment. There are too many kids goofing off and talking during class and she finds it hard to concentrate around them.

We'll see what it comes down to. It could just be the counselor expressing worry, but since she's never done that before with DD's absences in the past, I think I'm right in assuming this is where things are going. DD is not a good enough student to pull off being sick and getting all her work done at top grades like I did in high school when I had a bad health year and was hospitalized.

Whatever will be, will be. It's not like we can fix it now, anyway. Unless they have summer school.

Meal Planning for the Week

June 10th, 2013 at 08:17 am

I'm cooking this week with an eye towards increasing freezer space. I will be roasting a chicken to use for lunches this week along with the leftover ham I cooked overnight. Ultimately I'll need to have enough space in the freezer for 6 whole rabbits that will likely dress out at 4 pounds each or about the size of a large whole chicken.

I also will make chicken stock with the remains of the chicken so I can freeze it in pints. One of my favorite ways to cook rabbit is in the crockpot with a pint of chicken broth made from our free range, organic chicken bones. I am almost out. I just have 2 pints left.

Anyway, here are the dinner meals planned for the week.

Monday:
Ham and potato soup
Green beans
Bananas

Tuesday:
Tacos (both crisp and soft tortilla shells)
Watermelon

Wednesday:
Salmon
Asparagus
Cantaloupe

Thursday:
Homemade pizza (onions, ham, pepper strips, pepperoni)
Cole slaw

Friday:
Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Cole slaw
Strawberries

Saturday:
Beef and broccoli stir-fry
Pineapple

Sunday:
Crockpot beef chuck roast
Blueberry corn bread muffins
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli/cauliflower

Slow Weekend

June 9th, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Not too much going on here today. It was a no spend day. I added $1.72 to the coin jar. I got a $5 giftcard from Swagbucks for Amazon, bringing my account to $135 in gift cards. This will be helpful at Christmas. I was also able to cash out today for another one. SB has been going pretty well this week. I hit the daily goal 4 out of 7 days. I would have hit it yesterday, too, but my daughter came in to have a serious discussion at 11:30 p.m. and I missed it by 6 points because I thought she needed my full attention. Oh, well. Some things are just way more important in life than an extra few points.

I haven't made it over to the food co-op yet. I think I probably could avoid it altogether, but just really want to buy some fresh wild salmon, so will be going tomorrow. I'll buy tortillas, freshly ground peanut butter, raw honey, and ice cream cones while there, since they have the type DS can have with his allergies. And maybe some Sundrops, too. Those are like M&M's only without artificial food colors, fake vanilla, and HFCS. I'll also see if they have Lima bean seeds. Lima beans are the only dried bean I can stand so I thought I'd grow and can some this year if I can find the seeds. I am hoping to spend no more than $100 there.

I also want to buy a watermelon and more strawberries from the farm stand. Although I should probably hold off on the strawberries since I managed to consume 2 pounds on my own since Friday. Okay, I had them with all three meals each day, but even I know that is an awful lot before they are fully in season.

I have a seven pound bone-in picnic ham in the crockpot to cook overnight, as I don't have any lunch meat for DD to take to school. She will be happy to cut a hunk off that come morning to take with her and DS and I will have breakfast and lunch taken care of (ham and eggs and hot ham and provolone cheese sandwiches).

I weighed the rabbit kits today. They are four weeks old. The biggest two are 1 pound 8 ounces each. The biggest last week was 14 3/8 ounces, so they have grown a lot. All kits are over a pound now with the smallest being 1 pound 1.5 ounces. Total litter weight is 8 pounds 2 ounces. Last week it was 5 pounds 4 ounces, so they have gained just 2 ounces shy of 3 pounds this week.

They are all very, very friendly so I think handling them daily since they came out of the nesting box was the right move. I am not seeing much skittishness at all. I am hoping one of the fast gainers is a female. Since I decided not to keep any of the 16 week olds for breeding because of skittishness, I'd like to keep one from this litter. Also, if I decide to sell any, extreme friendliness is a much wanted quality.

But right now I'm not sure I want to sell any, since our rabbitry is still small and it'll be a while before we can cover our meat needs and have surplus to sell. I'd like to get to the point where we have enough in the freezer to have rabbit once a week and be able to sell live, too.

Once we actually get to that point I will probably start raising coturnix quail as well for both eggs and meat. For the time being our egg needs are nicely met by the chickens, but once we move we won't have them unless we want to start from chicks again and I'm not sure I do. Plus coturnix hit maturity at 7 weeks old and they are so much easier to dress (maybe 2 to 3 minutes per quail), they are much more efficient at converting feed to meat than chickens, and have a much smaller footprint.

The quail are something we are looking at for next summer, since we'd have to buy an incubator. We can convert the outdoor rabbit hutches to quail cages, though, although we'd still need to buy or make breeding cages. Hatch rates on quail are about 50 to 70 percent and most of them will not sit on their own eggs, hence the incubator. Either that are we get a broody banty or silky chicken. When eating the eggs, it's about 4 to 5 eggs to equal the equivalent of a chicken egg, but they lay every day which chickens do maybe every 36 to 48 hours. We'd need about 15 females to meet the family's egg needs and then several breeding pairs for hatching eggs that would then be raised to maturity for butchering.

Also both quail and rabbits fall under the pet category for petsitters, so they are great livestock to have if you want to be able to go on vacation once in a while. Petsitters/house sitters are easier to find than farmsitters and don't require a ton of care, though they do need some stuff done daily.

Some day I'd really like to be sustainable enough with the rabbits and birds that we could also trade for organic grass-fed beef, milk, and cheese, organic pork, free range chicken, and the more difficult fruits and vegetables to grow.

Payday Post

June 8th, 2013 at 06:17 pm

I transferred the $44.99 left in checking to the Emergency Fund, which now totals $3902.12.

Payments made:

$1000.00 to Mom
$1000.00 to BoA VISA
__757.82 to Car loan (extra to principal)
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___44.87 Phone Old House
___23.39 Electric Old House
------------
$2916.08

I also took out $100 cash for the week, $30 for the kids' allowances, and spent $145.07 on groceries.

I still need to make a trip to the food co-op and then I should have at least $200 left for the Wisconsin Fund.

I have made it 3 weeks on one tank of gas and still have a third of a tank, so I think I'll make it until next payday before having to fill up. I am glad of it since gas has hit $4 a gallon. Of course, the reason I still have so much gas is that my daughter missed nine days of school with the evil stomach flu (she threw up so hard one day she broke all the blood vessels in her face, giving her skin a freckled appearance) and that the chiropractor took a two week vacation. The only places I drove during that time are to the grocery store and the feed store and physical therapy (one of which I cancelled when I had the evil stomach flu).

I am steadfastly ignoring the laundry and the garden today. I woke up feeling exhausted, so other than taking care of the animals, I have done nothing. The kids had plenty of leftovers to eat so are fending for themselves while I just lay in bed. I thought I was over the evil stomach flu, but I think I may be going in for round 2. Ugh.

Emergency Fund Update

June 6th, 2013 at 09:34 pm

Today was the day of the weekly auto deposit of $10 to the Emergency Fund. The new balance of the EF is $3857.13.

Random Bits

June 6th, 2013 at 04:27 pm

Tomorrow is payday and I have $5 left in my wallet and $44.99 left in checking. The $5 will go into my EF envelope for later deposit and the $44.99 will be transferred directly to the Emergency Fund. I am trying to make it a habit to do this with all funds left at the end of each payday week. With that as a goal I have been finding that my urge to spend right up through the week has lessened. I really want to hit $5000 this month for the EF so I am trying hard

I have been doing pretty well with Swagbucks. The last 3 days I hit the daily goal, though I don't think I will today, being is it is at 100 and I'm at 13. I cashed out for one $5 Amazon gift card.

I relocated a $40 gift card for Safeway. DH's work gives one at Thanksgiving and one at Christmas. We used one in California, but had misplaced the other one. The nearest Safeway is 35 minutes away and majorly overpriced, but I am getting so fed up with the Haggen chain since they were bought out that I might actually venture up there.

Haggen used to be my favorite store, but it's really gone downhill since the remodel. Except the prices have gone uphill. And don't get me started on the stench coming from the fish counter. It was so bad on the Memorial Day weekend I decided I am never buying fish from them again.

We have six enormous lemon balm plants growing in the backyard (and some elsewhere) and rabbits can eat that so I am going to harvest some today to give to them. They can have up to two cups of fresh vegetation a day besides their pellets and hay. So far I have given them carrots and their tops, Swiss chard, raspberry leaves, radish tops and blackberry leaves. Lemon balm should be easier to pick then the other leaves (no thorns!) and of course are cheaper than carrots or chard. I am growing chard to give them, but its not got enough on it to harvest yet.

I think I'm having a relapse of the stomach virus I had last week. Either that or I ate something I am allergic to without knowing it. All I want to do is sleep. I am so tired. Definitely going to bed early tonight.

Today's Spending

June 4th, 2013 at 06:02 pm

I ordered an electric razor off Amazon today. I haven't had one in over 3 years. I usually steal DH's, but he takes it to work with him, which means I don't have one while he is gone and I really hate using disposable ones. It doesn't bother me much during the fall, winter, and spring to have hairy legs, but now it's finally shorts weather, so I gave in and made the purchase. It was a $65 razor and with shipping it came to $82. Mostly because they didn't have a standard shipping option, only a two day shipping option. Oh, well, that was the one I wanted, one that was both rechargeable and usable with a power cord.

I also picked up a prescription today. It was $2.43. I am hoping to make it through the rest of the week with no spending. Well, I say week. I actually mean until payday on Friday when I will pay the bills and go grocery shopping. I shouldn't need anything between now and then. Still resisting the urge to pick up takeaway. The urge is always there, but I am getting back into the habit of cooking so it is getting easier to resist.

That Works Out Well

June 4th, 2013 at 08:34 am

Yesterday when I went to the chiropractor who was finally back from his long vacation, I looked at my card and I don't have to pay the next month of the chirocare family plan until June 28th. He added 13 days to my card to replace the 13 days he was gone. Normally it's due around the fifteenth. Which means I don't have to pay it out of this month's cycle at all. It can wait until the next cycle starts up. And because the 28th is a Friday and they are closed on Friday's we won't have to start the next plan until July 1st. It will still come out of the 28th's paycheck, though.

Meanwhile, that gives me $225 to work with that I wouldn't have had this month. It'll go into the Wisconsin Fund. It comes out of the 6/14 paycheck.

I think I forgot to say what my last coin jar update was. It was $5.65. The way I organize my coin jar is that all loose coins go in the jar, but all bills go into an envelope that I keep in the dresser drawer beneath the coin jar. On occasion I'll get 50 cent piece or a dollar coin and they'll go into the envelope, too. Right now there is a 50 cent piece in with my ones. Anytime I get enough change together to roll coins, then the rolled coin roll goes into the envelope, too. Whenever the amount in the envelope hits $30 or more I make a deposit.

I hit my daily goal yesterday on Swagbucks. I am not sure how since it was 100. I guess I was on the computer a lot yesterday so had the SBTV running in the background. I didn't search much, but I did get the first LA collectors bill. I also cashed in for a $5 gift card from Amazon. I don't know if I'll hit my goal today or not. It's 80, but I don't know if I'll have as much time to spend on the computer today.

I have five things coming out of Friday's paycheck, $1000 to Mom, the car payment, the electric bill for the old house, the phone for the old house, and $1000 to the BoA VISA. Then for 6/14 paycheck I have $2000 to BoA VISA and vacation will be paid off, the internet bill, and $1000 to the EF. There might be a few middling expenses charged to the Visa as DH will be coming home right before I pay that, but there is plenty there to pay it in full. It'll be nice to get back to doing that each month again. I think we only had it paid off for 2 months before going on vacation. It might have only been for one.

The 6/21 paycheck will be the small one with just two day's wages on it. That will be split between groceries, miscellaneous, the sleep doctor, and a good portion of it to the Wisconsin Fund. It looks like FIL and MIL will be staying at their condo from their travel club when they go, so DH might be able to crash there with them. If he didn't have to pay for a hotel that would make things a lot easier.

I had thought it was in Milwaukee, but it sounds like the hospital FIL will be going to is in Madison. I'm not sure if they've got a date yet, but the further out in summer or fall they get it, the easier it will be on our financials to find the money for this. I know you have to schedule quite a ways in advance for these things.

I think June is just going to be a very smoothly functioning money month, so long as I don't throw caution to the wind and decide to eat out a bunch. It is not on the agenda for this week, that is for sure. I have too much lovely food to cook that I am looking forward to making this week. And since I finally got a full night's sleep last night, I'm not going to be too tired to cook it.

Meal Planning for the Week

June 3rd, 2013 at 08:59 am

I am very much utilizing the fact that strawberries are in season this week. Technically they are not in season yet here, that'll be another two to three weeks, so I'm a little outside of my local foodshed. But California is at least on my west coast foodshed and I'll do an awful lot for fresh strawberries. Except, apparently, get them planted yet again this year.

Honestly I haven't been very good about getting my veggies and fruits in the local foodshed the past few months. I think I just had some major weariness trying after winter ended. It is nice to try to be more sustainable and ethical in my food choices, but sometimes you really just want the darn pineapple from Hawaii.

I am, at least, keeping my meats inside my local foodshed, which is the most important part of it to me. I haven't had meat from more than 30 miles away in over a year, I know exactly where it has been raised, how it has been treated, and by what farmer. That makes me happy. If my organic carrots come from Cali than so be it.

Anyway...

Monday:
Roast chicken
Roast potatoes and carrots
Baked asparagus
Strawberries

Tuesday:
Chicken enchiladas
Salad
Bananas

Wednesday:
Baked salmon
Green beans
Oranges
Fried potatoes (from leftover roasted)

Thursday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cole slaw
Strawberries

Friday:
Meatball sandwiches
Cole slaw
Pineapple

Saturday:
Homemade pizza (ham, onions, bell peppers)
Green beans
Bananas

Sunday:
Barbecued chicken
Broccoli/cauliflower/corn/asparagus baked in foil packets

Under $12K

June 3rd, 2013 at 05:53 am

And my mortgage hit this morning, too. $11,910.21 remaining. I love the countdown, and every $1K down means something to me, but I have to say the one I am really looking forward to is 4 digits instead of 5. Under $10K will make my year. Whereas this just makes my week. LOL

Weekend Spending

June 2nd, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I spent $55 on Saturday to buy 40 pounds of rabbit pellets, a 90 pound bale of local hay, 2 more water bottles and two more clamp feeders. I didn't spend anything today.

The kits are growing well. Today I weighed the lot individually and they vary from a little over ten ounces to almost fifteen ounces. The entire weight of the litter is 5.24 pounds. They are 3 weeks old today and the adorableness factor has hit an all time high.



The weather is finally drying out the ground so hopefully gardening will commence tomorrow. It has been so frustrating trying to do anything in the wet. Hopefully we will have a long and beautiful Indian Summer to make up for the long and wet spring. We did last year and this year feels just like last.

I suppose if all I can do is grow peas, green beans, lima beans, lettuce, swiss chard, kale and kohlrabi, I'll be okay. I'll be happier with more, though. At least the fruit is pretty foolproof. Apples, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and Italian prunes are all on track.

I will probably buy strawberries from the place in Skagit County that were spray free again. I won't make jam this year, because I still have enough jam to feed a small army, so they will be for fresh eating, and for freezing both whole, and in cut up and sugared form. I'd like 30 pounds for freezing total. That should get us through the year.

We did well with blueberries and raspberries last year. We are just finishing up what we froze on the blueberries and we will probably have enough froze raspberries to last another month when they'll be ripe. I thought we were out but I found some buried in the bottom of the freezer with no frostbite.

I was very tempted to get takeaway today, but didn't. I have to keep it firmly in mind that in order for DH to afford to go to Wisconsin if needed, we can't be wasting money on restaurant food.

Insomnia Made Me Play With the Numbers

June 1st, 2013 at 06:33 am

I spent a lot of time playing with the numbers last night and I figured out that if I start with the $205 Iíve already set aside, take the $900 that is in the funds (not counting the college fund), and then donít fund the other four non-essential funds for July and August, which will equal $800, Iíll have $1905 with which to send DH to Wisconsin. The other $95 I can scrape up from somewhere.

We might actually be able to do it somewhat differently, too. I think I can take $700 from the 6/21 paycheck, $100 from the 6/7 paycheck, and $200 from the 6/14 paycheck, along with the July and August $800 from not funding funds, and not even touch what is currently in the funds at all. Plus the $205 we already have. That gives us $2005.

I might even be able to fund one of the funds each month if I am extra careful with the grocery budget. We have a lot of meat in the freezer so eliminating the June trip to the ranch to buy meat wouldnít hurt anything. Plus we are going to have rabbit meat then so that will give us even more leeway. If I only use the grocery money for flour, tortillas, produce, milk and fish, we should be able to get away with using only half of the grocery budget for June.

The big thing will be not eating out much. DH is only going to be home for six days this month so that will help. And then once DS is done with homeschooling, I wonít feel so stressed and exhausted, so Iíll cook more and that will help, too. Part of my exhaustion is that I havenít been eating as well as I used to and I need to get that back. Dinners have been okay, but there has been a lot of snacking on junk that needs to stop or at least be replaced with something better.

It is possible that DH wonít have to be there for as many days as I am thinking. It is even possible he wonít have to go at all, since neither of his parents have approached him about going at all. Just his sister said that their mom would like it. Of course, DH would probably still want to go regardless. We can squeak it out so if itís something he wants to do, weíll certainly try.

On an unrelated note to self: Put the tabs on the license plate. They expire June 6th and they donít belong in the glove box!

And whoa, is the posting box different? And the font? Not so sure it's an improvement. It looks faded and more greyscale than black and white. Of course I'm sensitive to changes like that because of my vision problems, (I still haven't forgiven LJ for it's last mess) and this coloring is definitely irritating my eyes. Maybe I'm hallucinating from lack of sleep. Rolleyes Oh, do we have spellcheck now, too? The word for the eye rolling symbol is underlined. Well, that I do like.

Capitol One 360 Interest

June 1st, 2013 at 12:31 am

Just checked my C1360 account and the interest hit. $2.35. I added it to the Emergency Fund. The new total is $3847.13.