Fish and Chips
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Teriyaki and Barbecue chicken wings
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, ham, bell peppers, and onions
Archive for November, 2014
I just cashed out at Pinecone for the first time. I've just been generally lazy about it so have never redeemed points with them. I have done 26 surveys since I started so thus had 7800 points. I will have $78 coming to me shortly. Not bad. It's not as good as GTM was in its heyday, where I cleared $50 every six weeks or so, but it is the best I've found since GTM changed a few years ago.
With the holiday, I forgot to post the weekly $10 auto deposit.
$9480.39 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Amount Added
$9490.39 Ending EF Balance
Yesterday I spent $166.22 to buy my son dress shoes and socks for his concert. I was very irritated that the teacher was insisting on dress shoes when I think that black tennis shoes would have been perfectly fine and definitely indistinguishable from the audience. But not having the proper attire counts against their grades. Ugh.
Unfortunately when your kid has a size 15 foot, you pretty much have to take what they have and you have to go somewhere expensive to even find a shoe size over 13. We went to a men's suit store. It was either that or Red Wings, which is more expensive. They are nice shoes and hopefully he can wear them for a while before outgrowing them. He is only 14 and since his father has a size 16 foot I can't be sure his feet won't still grow. I am sure when he does outgrow them they will be nice enough to recoop the cost a bit on e-bay, since he will only wear them to concerts.
I was also irritated that she required dark socks as well. All of my son's socks are white. The shoe and sock requirement did not come out until Monday. At the beginning of the school year all that it said was required was black pants and a dress shirt for boys and a skirt and blouse or a dress for girls. They have choir robes they wear over that anyway, so not sure why the shirt even matters, but whatever. We had plenty of time for and bought in early October.
If I had known about the shoes we could have bought online and saved some money, but there wasn't time. It was just really irritating to have an unexpected expense. Fortunately my daughter has both black flats and black boots so her footwear was covered.
The concert was okay, but it was very disorganized. The auditorium is too small for the sound system, or else the guy on the sound board just thinks that louder is better. The choirs were very good, except the poor girl who choked during her solo, as were the orchestras.
The jazz band was flat on one song and another song was the worst arrangement of Eleanor Rigby I have ever heard. Their 2nd song was really good, though, and the saxophone and trombone solos were wonderful. The percussion band was so overwhelmed by the loudness of the drums you couldn't hear the xylophones or the triangle at all. The drums seriously did not need a microphone. And the band instructor didn't know how to speak into a microphone, but had plenty to say. I've nicknamed him Mr. Mumbles.
Man, I'm grumpy. I'm still not over my illness. I think being out last night disrupted my routine and screwed with my circadian rhythm because I kept waking up all night last night. Which does not help anything ever.
I sold 2 dozen duck eggs today and so put $10 into the feed money jar. I've also given away 5 dozen eggs this week. 2 to my physical therapist, 2 to the chiropractor and one to my in-laws. Now I am down to just 18 duck eggs and 3.5 dozen chicken eggs. We will be making a couple pound cakes so that will use up a lot.
I found out from DH that he is going to be called back in early, on December 31st. So we have gone from 5 weeks with no pay to just 22 days with no pay. Way, way better, we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all, and I don't think we will need to touch the Christmas bonus either to cover the time off. That takes so much pressure off me right now. And it means I will definitely hit my $10K by the end of the year in the EF! We also don't have to be quite so tight with Christmas, thank goodness.
Tomorrow should be a much better day than today. A nice low-key Thanksgiving with the organic turkey we raised and butchered ourselves, potatoes we raised ourselves, green beans we raised ourselves, and homemade stuffing from homemade bread and homemade pie. It's a very self-sufficient meal and that feels really neat.
Baked potato soup
Pull apart cheesy bread
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Chocolate cream pie
Now that I know that the 4 to 5 weeks without pay is taken care of, I need to turn my thoughts to Christmas and figuring out what I'm going to do about it. I've already told the kids we have a lower limit this year on how much we are spending. Usually we spend about $150 per kid, but this year it is $100. I'm pretty sure it'll just be videogames, that's usually all they want, though I may get the daughter some jewelry or something off etsy.
I know that I want a new breadmaker and a new purse, but the purse may wait until my birthday in February. If I can repair my old purse one more time, I think I can make it that long. I want season 7 of The Big Bang Theory, but I'm pretty sure my in-laws will get me that. Otherwise there is nothing else I really want or need, except a couple of metal dropping pans for two of the rabbit cages and that isn't really a Christmas present sort of thing.
I don't now what my husband wants. He usually takes care of himself, though.
MIL collects carousel horses and FIL collects nutcrackers so I usually try to find them some unique ones on etsy. Last year I found a stamped tin carousel music box and a steampunk nutcracker that were so cool.
I don't know if DH has talked to his sister about not exchanging gifts this year or not, but eldest niece there has aged out anyway. We stop giving gifts after high school. So that leaves youngest niece and SIL if we do need to give gifts. J is pretty easy to shop for. SIL we usually just give a gift card, but it's not going to be near as high as the last 2 years this year. We usually give her $200 on a Target since she is below the poverty level, and that way she can buy stuff for household use for a while. She's good at making it last a few months. But we can't afford to help her out like that this year.
We don't exchange gifts on my side of the family. My sisters and I quit years ago, and my mother quit for anyone not a grandkid or great grandkid about 4 years ago. So my side is easy.
I am trying to distract myself today. We lost Sienna last night, our nicest red doe rabbit. She broke her back. That is very easy for a rabbit to do if they get too hyper and jump around a lot. She was pretty hyper having her cage to herself again after weaning the kits. It was so sad and like a punch in the gut to go out there and see her like that. I will really miss her.
DH finally got the last signature on the over time signed off, so he will get 6 days extra. That should net $3688.
$3688 OT Amount
+2447 Amount Saved
+_500 Amount I should be able to save this pay cycle
Monthly expenses come to $6958.75, so I will have a shortage of $323.75. I think I might be able to squeak out more than the $500 listed above. I might be able to squeak out $750, bringing the shortfall to $73.75, but even if I can't, that money can come from the Christmas bonus which should be around $3900 if it is what it has been for the past 2 years.
That means at least $2000 can go to the 401K then. $1000 can go for starting DH's bachelors program, we'll take $150 to have a special dinner out for all four of us at a steak house, make up any shortfall for Dec/Jan loss of paycheck, and then the rest can go into the Emergency Fund, getting me my $10K by the end of the year.
We won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all assuming the bonus comes through. And if it doesn't, then we'll only need to touch it by a small amount and it will still be over $9K, unless I can find some way of scraping up the extra. And sometimes I can. Maybe I will have enough when I cash out at Pinecone.
I feel like I can relax now. Not too much, I still have to stay on top of things, but I'm not all wound up in knots worrying about losing a good chunk of the EF now. We definitely won't be eating out any time soon and I'll have to pay even closer attention to the food budget and eating out of our food storage, but now that I know we can do it without likely touching the EF, it is my goal.
I took 3 surveys from Pinecone this morning. I am not sure if they just really like me right now or if it is a holiday thing where they are trying to get stuff done before Thanksgiving when people will be too busy to take surveys.
I haven't cashed in at all since I started doing Pinecone. I just figured I'd have them send me a check when it got big enough to be worth bothering with. After I get the notification that these 3 are in my account I will cash out. Not sure how much I have, but I've been doing surveys at least once a week for the last several months. I just don't feel like looking it up. I'll find that out when I go to cash out.
I am making rabbit stock today from all 8 of the ribcages from the rabbits we butchered last week. I should end up with about 3 cups of rabbit meat to use in meals this week (probably enchiladas) once I pick off the bones and 6 to 8 quarts of stock to can. The chickens and ducks will get the used up vegetables.
I may make up soup base instead of just stock. To do that I half fill the jars with diced carrots, celery, potatoes, and rabbit meat and fill the rest of with the stock. Then when I want soup I just bring it to a boil and add noodles to cook. I'm not sure if I have enough extra energy to do that, though. I am feeling better, but am still sick, though it is becoming more of a functional sick.
I need to remember to take the turkey out of the freezer tomorrow for Thanksgiving. And to weigh it so we know how heavy it is for cooking time. We didn't weigh it when we butchered it and DH forgot to weigh it when he bagged it up for the freezer. I think it is about ten pounds, but we need to know for sure.
I also need to bake a couple of loaves of bread for making stuffing on Tuesday. I need to pick through the potatoes and make sure there are enough that haven't sprouted for that day, too. I need to make sure I have the right poultry seasoning on hand, one that actually has sage in it. We have plenty of butter on hand.
I need to find what I did with my recipe for making chocolate pudding so I can make a chocolate cream pie. I need to buy heavy cream to make whipping cream. I already have the safe brand of graham crackers for making the crust. I will probably make the pie on Wednesday and do the cream last minute on Thursday.
Our menu is pretty simple for the day. Roast turkey rubbed with butter and poultry seasoning, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, simple bread stuffing, and pie. Since it is just me, the kids, and my mother, that is all we want. We don't like cranberry sauce or yams. My son is the only one who likes pumpkin pie, but he is fine to wait until Christmas for that.
This will be the first time in 4 years (I think) that DH has not been home for Thanksgiving. I know for the past 3 years we have gone to his parents house. I didn't want to go this year without him. Anyway, I always end up doing most of the cooking when I go, so this year I am staying home and my mom will help with the cooking. Since I still don't feel great, I don't want to put myself through the drama that my SIL and her eldest daughter always bring to gatherings on that side of the family. When DH is not with me, I just don't have the patience for that. He keeps me centered.
We have decided to finally start contributing to the 401K at the new company. We weren't when we were paying off the credit cards or paying off the mortgage, but we have decided that it was time now to start. DH is going to find out when enrollment is and then as soon as we can, we will start with it. His company does no matching at all. We are going to start with 1% and see how it affects our bottom line. If it is bearable, we will up it to 2%. We will have to see how much our medical is going to go up this year. 1% may be all we can afford.
If he ends up getting enough overtime that we don't have to use the Christmas bonus to get through the time off, and assuming it is the same amount as last year, I'd like to put half of it into the 401K. That we can do regardless of an enrollment period. The rest of it would be split between starting DH on his Bachelor's program and the Emergency Fund. But who knows on the overtime. DH is still trying to chase down the final signature. His company can be very disorganized at times.
I got some swag from my credit union. A wall calendar, a purse calendar, and a very, very nice pen. I do like free stuff that I can actually use.
I just got the mail and there was a letter in it from the Imaging Center. I was sure it was another bill, but couldn't figure out from what, since I've already paid for both my MRI and my daughter's CAT scan from her skull fracture. Turns out it was a refund check. When I got my MRI, I had to pay $125 up front, even though we don't have a co-pay. Well, my insurance covered more than they thought it would, so the $125 led to an overpayment.
The amount of the check is $35.73. I also had enough quarters in my coin jar for a roll, so rolled those, and I have 2 ones in there, so I am going to go make a deposit into the Emergency Fund with this money.
$9432.66 Beginning Balance
___12.00 Coin Jar
$9480.39 Ending Balance
That leaves me with just $519.61 to go to hit my $10K goal.
There is a possibility that DH may be able to get an extra week of work in December. It has been signed off on by all but one person. If he does get that week, we will only have 4 weeks without a paycheck instead of 5. And it might just be enough that between one extra paycheck, what I've saved, and the Christmas bonus (assuming it is what it has been the last 2 years), we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all.
And in a best case scenario, I might even have enough left over to boost the EF all the way to $10K by the end of the year. That would be wonderful, but I am not counting my chickens before they hatch, or in my case not counting my rabbit kits before they reach butcher size.
$9422.66 Beginning Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9432.66 Ending Balance
Has anyone else noticed that the majority of the articles being posted on the home page are not about finances at all anymore? And that a huge majority of them are just downright...vapid? There used to be some really good articles, stuff that you could actually learn from about saving money or investing or using what you have, etc. I mean, one of the articles is about how sexist the new Barbie book is. Yes, it is, and that's important, but what does it have to do with personal finance?
Or the article about the new word of the year added to the Oxford Dictionary. I don't know. What is being put up is getting ridiculous. Content for content's sake is...well, almost as bad as rolling ads that chase you around the page. I expect better.
Every once in a while a charity that I no longer contribute to sends me letters begging for a contribution. I have written to them to ask them to stop sending me these as we do not have the ability to contribute anymore and it is just a waste of their postage. But they continue to send requests and sometimes these things have gifts in them. Usually they are address labels, sometimes note cards, pens, and even Christmas cards. This time it had a dime and a penny taped into it. So my coin jar is up 11 cents.
I really don't understand these places. If they need money so badly why do they waste it sending out goodies and coins. Why don't they just use the money to support their needs? Oh, well, it obviously comes from a fund-raising budget. But I won't feel guilty about these gifts because I have asked them to stop and they've ignored it.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Barbecue chicken wings
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Well, DH's company did actually send a gift card for Thanksgiving this year. It's a $50 value good at Safeway. The closest Safeway is 20 miles away. If they send us one for Christmas, too, than we will have a total of $200 in gift cards for Safeway. We will make one trip there to use them in December during the 5 weeks off with no pay.
$1947.00 Beginning Balance
$2447.00 Ending Balance
$9322.66 Beginning EF Balance
+_100.00 Monthly Deposit
$9422.66 Ending EF Balance
$9312.66 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9322.66 Ending EF Balance
Well, I know for sure that I am going to be able to squeeze $500 out of this coming Friday's paycheck to go towards the five weeks when DH won't be working. I might be able to squeeze as much as $750 out, but I'm not sure. Prescriptions are due to be renewed Friday, and I don't remember how much that is going to be now that DD is on the new meds.
We are still waiting to hear if he got the okay to work a few extra days before the shut down. They were supposed to tell him within 2 days of his getting home and he still hasn't heard anything. This employer is so unorganized. He's calling them today to see what is going on.
So far they have not sent out the grocery store gift card that they usually send out before Thanksgiving. On a normal year it would be here by now, but since this is not a normal year, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't send them out at all. I am not counting on it coming. In fact, it would shock me if they send them out with the way they've been behaving towards their employees this year.
I am very glad we have our turkeys taken care of for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that we have lots of food in the freezer and on the shelves. We will get through this. It'll be hard, and we may have to touch the Emergency Fund, but we will manage. I just wish we didn't have to.
I won't have to contribute to the Property Tax Fund during the month of December since I already put an extra payment in in October for December. Same with the Dues Fund. I have $500 in the Propane Fund plus a $50 credit with the company so I won't have to put $100 into the dues fund next time. We just turned the propane on this week at the old house and it has a full tank. We won't be driving much for half of December as there is no school so gas costs will be lower.
Next year I will try to plan a little better. We've just never had this many weeks to cover before. But I will start saving $200 a month towards next year's shut down in January and put aside one of the two extra paychecks DH gets during the year that doesn't go towards the regular budget. It'll be tight, especially if medical goes up AGAIN and I see no reason it won't, but we'll deal. We have to. It's not like there are a lot of other choices right now.
$9238.16 Beginning EF Balance
$9312.66 Ending EF Balance
Barbecue chicken wings
Beef stir-fry with broccoli, cauliflower, onion, and carrots
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, ham, onions, and bell peppers
Bacon rabbit cheeseburgers
Homemade French fries
Yesterday was payday.
$1800.00 BoA VISA
__800.00 Van Loan plus extra
__400.00 to Mom for utilities
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Propane Fund
__110.84 120 pounds of Organic Turkey Feed
__112.34 (2 bales hay, 150# of oats and duck/chicken feed
Last night frost threatened so I went ahead and harvested my sweet meat squash. I ended up with 4 good squash and the ducks ended up with some that had too much insect damage to store. Right now they are curing at room temperature for 2 weeks and then they will be moved to an unheated room. Sweet meat is storable for 6 to 8 months, with best flavor developing after it has been stored for 2 months, so we will be trying our first one around January. If it turns out we don't like them, which I doubt, we can feed them to the birds.
We should have enough turkey feed for 2 months now, as we are butchering half our turkeys (and one drake) later today. And we should have enough duck/chicken feed for about six weeks. The rabbits will go through the hay in a month and the oats in 2 weeks. Maybe a little longer as we are butchering 8 grow outs tomorrow. But then again, the 18 kits growing out will be eating more as they get bigger, so we'll see.
I've decided for sure not to breed rabbits again until February. I don't want to deal with births when it is very cold out or trying to keep very young kits alive in cold weather. And the rabbits eat a lot more feed in the cold months to stay warm, so it makes more sense to hold off during those time periods, especially since we can breed enough during February through August to meet our meat needs. That also puts our last butcher dates in late November/early December before we get tons of snow or it is always frozen out and hard to work outside. Unless we have some very slow growers, we shouldn't have to butcher after that until May when the weather is much nicer for it.
$9228.16 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9238.16 Ending EF Balance
I am thinking about buying a new bread machine and was wondering if any of you have experience with the recent models and could recommend one? I'd prefer one that makes a square or rectangular loaf, not a round one. It also needs to have a manual setting for making pizza dough or rolls.
I've been thinking about this for a while now. The bread machine I am currently using is my mothers and it doesn't have the ability to bake the bread because the heating element has never worked since she loaned it to me. I have always just mixed the dough in it and then transferred it to loaf pans for the second rise.
Now that it is cold the dough does not rise very quickly and can sometimes take all day. A fully functioning bread machine keeps a warm enough environment for the bread to rise like it should. Plus I would be able to just bake the loaf of bread in it.
One of the things about not having my own full kitchen is that when I want to use Mom's oven it can be quite an ordeal. She has a double oven, but you can't bake in the small top one or the bread will hit the ceiling and rolls will bake too fast. You also can't roast a whole chicken in the top oven. Stuff has to be pretty flat to cook in it. The large oven, however, is where she insists on storing all of her pots and pans. So then I have to take everything out of the oven and put it on the counters to use it.
We are talking about ten pieces of cookware and I can't stack them inside each other in case they scratch the coating, so they have to be spread out. And then she complains because the counters are covered with her pots and pans. She has plenty of low shelf space, but for some reason doesn't want to use them for pots and pans.
Quite frankly it is why I use the cooktop, crockpot, and microwave so much...because she moans about everything in the kitchen being out of place. Lately I can't even use the counters to put the pots and pans on, because her last 3 canner loads of beans are spread all over it. She won't put them away. We've offered to help, but she'll get to it when she gets to it. It's been 3 weeks.
So I've kind of given up making my own bread but I really want to get back to it. Bread machines don't cost that much and if I can make bread in my area I won't have to deal with the fuss she makes about using the main kitchen. And I can make it at any time of day I want. I'll be able to put the stuff in at night and program it to be ready in the morning.
I've been thinking about this for a long time now and I think I am ready to make the plunge.
Because we have not had a freeze yet, the garden has continued unabated. Yesterday I harvested 5 broccoli plants and 3 cauliflower plants. I had thought there were only 2 that were ready, but I found a 3rd that was so was very happy with that. The ducks, chickens, and turkeys were thrilled to get the spent plants. I've got 2 more broccoli and 2 more cauliflower that I am letting size up and then those will be done.
I will be drying parsley later in the week. There are no freezes predicted for the next 10 days, so I am just letting things continue to grow instead of pulling it all out.
I want the leeks to get a little more size before yanking them and using them to make rabbit and chicken stocks. They are useable now, but the bigger they get the more flavorful they will be.
The kale is still going strong. Sometimes kale makes it through the winter here, so I am going to let it try. I am leaving the sweet meat squash as long as I can, though the leaves are dying down so it is just what is left in the vines that is nourishing them. They are almost at 110 days now which is what they should be at for picking.
I haven't had much of a chance to do anything with the straw bale garden yet, except keep picking green beans. There are a couple of peppers that may be ripe and some kohlrabi. I think the zucchini is done. The tomatoes and cucumbers have been done for a while, though the plants are still alive. I will try to get out there and go through that garden in the next couple of days if there is a break in the weather.
Here's a vid of the hay bale garden, though:
You can really see how it is falling apart and definitely will not hold up for a second season. But it definitely served its purpose. It cut our grocery expenses and helped us put jars of veggies on the shelves and bags of veggies in the freezer, while providing a couple of months of fresh eating.
I finished paying the bills for this payday. I took the checkbook down to $3.81, but I have $90 in cash to pay for any incidentals that come up between now and Friday. Plus there is a cushion in the checking account that I don't count into things.
$1000.00 Loan to Mom
___45.30 Life Insurance DH
___44.66 Life Insurance Me
___74.41 Car Insurance
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___48.75 Old House Insurance
___41.15 Old House Alarm Service
___31.99 Old House Electricity
__100.00 Cash for Week
__100.00 December Money Fund
___21.66 Medical Me
___12.10 Medical DD
__600.00 (Will go towards car payment, temp savings)
Our garden is still trucking along. We haven't had a frost yet and I've got two big heads of cauliflower to use and a couple broccoli. We still have green beans, too.
I have easy meals planned for Saturday, since we will be butchering turkeys that day, and Sunday, since we will be butchering rabbits that day. No one really wants to cook on those days, so something simple and easy to prepare is a must or we will end up going out to eat.
Beef pot roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli/cauliflower from the garden
Green beans from the garden
Bacon rabbit cheese burgers
Homemade French fries
Rabbit/Duck Egg meatloaf
Green beans from the garden
Pancakes and ham
There was a showing on our house last week where the lookers absolutely fell in love with the place. They have not made an offer yet, but they are trying to get financing. I really hope this is the one. The last one was so disappointing. The biggest problem is people can't get a federal loan for poor people. It doesn't qualify, so people have to go with the traditional financing options which are much pickier.
I would love to get this house sold and not have to heat it all winter on our dime to keep the pipes from freezing. Even just keeping the thermostat on 55 burns through a lot of propane. We haven't had a frost yet so I haven't turned on the furnace yet, but I know the day is coming soon. I currently have $400 in the Propane Fund and will be adding another $100 next week. I also have just under $50 in credit on the account.
When DH comes home I will send him out to turn the furnace on and to make sure all the vents under the house are closed to keep cold air from easily getting underneath it. And possibly to see if it needs a final landscaping for the fall and whether we need to pick up pinecones. The trees release sometime in the fall and it can be quite messy on the driveway.
Anyway, prayers would be appreciated that these sellers are the one and that they can get their financing in order and make a good offer.
The interest of $5.56 for the month hit my C1-360 account so I added that to the Emergency Fund.
$9222.60 Beginning EF Balance
+___5.56 Interest Added
$9228.16 Ending EF Balance