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Archive for March, 2015

Emergency Fund Update

March 27th, 2015 at 06:55 pm

$14,245.60 Beginning EF Total
___,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
___,_59.73 (Coin jar money, egg money, and rebate)
________________
$14,315.33 New EF Total

$684.67 to go to hit my big goal of $15K.

How Do I Freeze My Credit?

March 23rd, 2015 at 10:23 pm

Our insurance company was hacked. I knew it was just a matter of time before putting all medical information online would lead to compromise, but it's not like I can control it. Still, it's going to be quite some time before we need to get any new credit for anything. I don't foresee needing it until we are ready to buy a house, so I was thinking freezing our credit would be the best thing to do. I just don't know how to go about it.

They have given us two free years of credit monitoring, so we will at least be able to keep an eye on things. It just makes me sick, though. We have been so very careful with our information, but these companies can't seem to be careful with it themselves. They leave themselves vulnerable to attack and then throw money at the clean-up instead of shoring themselves up from the start.

I really do not have the energy to deal with identity theft right now. I have seen what some of you have gone through and I really don't want to have to go through it myself. Especially after we have worked so hard these last ten years to have pristine credit. I hate thieves and I hate hackers, even more than I hate my insurance company.

Snowflakes

March 23rd, 2015 at 04:19 pm

I received $30 worth of Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks today and sent for a $10 check from Pinecone. I was sorely tempted to do two $5 checks instead, but didn't have the time to mess with it. I wish they'd go back to the $3 cash out. The increments of $5 annoys me when the surveys are only worth $3.

I am saving up my gift cards to buy something for the farm. So far I have $80. I haven't decided which I am going to get first, a Brinsea incubator or a barrel feather plucker, but those are the two things on the horizon. They are both hefty purchases. I can rent a plucker for now, but eventually we want our own so we can process on our own schedule and not when we can get the machine.

Yeah, I Guess I'm Just Complaining Here

March 20th, 2015 at 07:32 pm

I have got to start opening my mail earlier in the day. Yesterday I received 3 checks for the dentist from the insurance company. The insurance company pretends that it can't send the check directly to the dentist because he is not in network, which apparently means that the postal service won't take a check there or some such nonsense. And they write the checks so they have to be signed by both the dentist and whichever one of us is on it as well, which is fun when it is DH and he is in Alaska, and now that DD is 18 hers have to be signed by her.

They try to make it difficult so we will use one of their dentists. They have 3 dentists in our area all who work at a stupid strip mall dentistry. Um, no thanks. I will stick with my dentist and not play multiple dentists every time they change the list. So anyway, three checks came, one for me, one for DH, and one for DD. But I didn't open the mail until after the dentist's office had closed and by some universal law no dentist is ever open on Fridays, so that can't be taken care of until Monday.

And then I didn't open today's mail until 7 which is when the drive-thru at our credit union closes, but if I had, I would have been able to deposit the safe driver's rebate check I just got from the car insurance company into the Emergency Fund. Oh, I know it can wait until Monday, I just like to get those things in and earning interest as soon as possible. And I like seeing my EF amount go up. It's sort of like seeing credit card debt go down or a mortgage go down, but since I don't have that anymore, I just have the EF to watch go up. Not that I'm complaining about that, mind you, just, oh, I don't even know. There really isn't a point to this entry other than I need to open the mail earlier in the day when I can still do something about it.

I swear I am an organized person most of the time. I think. Right now I'm so out of it I could be deluding myself. It has been a very tiring day. And I'm cranky. And I'm tired of sick children. And I could really use a maid and a cook and a farm hand this week. I think I'm coming down with something. I guess six weeks is all I get to be free of illness this year. *sighs* Sorry to be such a grump.

EF Update

March 19th, 2015 at 09:57 pm

$14,235.60 Beginning EF Total
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
-------------------
$14,245.60 New EF Total

$754.40 to go to hit my goal of $15K.

An Important Day

March 18th, 2015 at 11:28 am

Twenty years ago today I married the love of my life and my best friend. Today we celebrate two decades. I have always believed we would make it. So has DH. We are as much in love today as we ever were and our marriage is strong. Now onwards towards 50 years!

It's Officially Ours

March 16th, 2015 at 05:13 pm

The title to the van came today, so it is officially ours. We will go to talk to our insurance agent tomorrow and show him the title so we can adjust our vehicle insurance. It's taken a load off not to have that debt there anymore. You'd think I'd be floating with all the changes that have happened this month.

We are busy building raised beds for the garden. And this time I really do mean we. I am getting more comfortable using power tools, figuring out the leverage I need for the drill, when to stop so the screws don't go through the wood too far. I am also figuring out the measuring by watching how DH does it. I've never really paid attention before on how he does it so you can keep your line straight down 8 feet of board.

I want to know how to operate things in case I am ever on my own when repairs need to be made and they can't wait while DH is away. And since women generally live longer than men, one day I may not have him to do it for me, so it is best to be prepared, even if that is likely decades away at this point. Plus I like building things. Shop class was one of my favorite classes in middle school.

We did figure that if I am going to be able to use a PVC cutter, though, it needs to be electric or a ratchet style. My grip is not strong enough to do a regular one. This is due to when I tore ligaments and tendons in my hand when I was in my early 20's. The grip will always be weaker than if I had not sustained the injury. I have to use ratchet style pruners for the same reason.

So far we've built 3 raised beds, all 8 feet long by 2 feet high by 2 feet wide. They are all filled up to the 1 foot high mark with rabbit manure and spent animal bedding. I also did one somewhat like a hugelkultur bed, with some old tree branches in the bottom. It's deep enough that it won't interfere with planting. As the wood rots it raises the temperature of the soil in that bed. It's an experiment. We'll see if it works.

DH went to get soil so we will hopefully finish those beds up tonight. I need to get my strawberry plants in the ground. They have been sitting in a box since the came on Friday. I did water them, but the longer they are out of the ground the worse it is for them.

DH and I built a light stand for seedlings last week and I finally got some of my seeds planted today. I planted tomatoes, ten each of the following varieties:
--Opalka
--Constoluto Genevese
--Lillian's Yellow Heirloom
--Abraham Lincoln

They are all organic seeds, all open-pollinated heirlooms. I planted twice as much as I need so that hopefully I will have five of each one. I can sell any extras in a plant sale.

I also planted two types of lettuce: Flashy Trout's Back Romaine and Hyper Red Ruffled Waved Looseleaf Lettuce. Both are heirloom, organic, and open-pollinated.

I still need to do some chard and some kale starts. And I want to get some radish and bunching green onion seeds into the gutter garden as well. I am excited to be so far ahead of the game this year. Last year was very last minute scrambling to do anything with the garden. This year I'll be ready when the last frost date passes to get growing.

Me, Too

March 15th, 2015 at 02:49 pm

Creditcardfree's post reminded me that I have got to get in to see the eye doctor. Fortunately the insurance covers the exam fully. It has been too long since I've been in and my distance prescription has definitely changed. I am also getting headaches after reading for more than an hour.

Our insurance will only cover up to $100 on frames and $100 on lenses every 2 years. Unless you go to really cheap frames (as in low quality that fall apart a few months later, not as in inexpensive) that doesn't cover the cost of frames. Low end quality frames are $150. And the type of lenses I need (tri-focals) are, of course, much more expensive than regular lenses, but even with a single focal lens they still cost more than $100. I think it usually ends up being around $350 to $400 with insurance just cover about half.

I do have an old set of frames that I may just use again to cut costs. They are in great shape and I still like them. I can't use my current ones, because it takes 10 days to get them back and I can't go that long without glasses.

Most of the time I don't like most of the frames available anyway and end up buying something that looks similar to what I already have. Unless I see something spectacular that really knocks it out of the park, I don't see a need to really get new ones.

I also need to get a hair cut. My hair is getting really long again and annoying me with the tangles. I'd like to go get about 8 inches chopped off. We are in for a hot summer here according to predictions so having my hair short sounds like a good idea. I am thinking nape of the neck and just a simple, easy style that falls into place with a brush and no product. I hate having to fuss with my hair.

Monthly Deposit to Emergency Fund

March 13th, 2015 at 10:06 pm

$14,135.60 Beginning EF Total
+__,100.00 Amount Added
----------------------
$14,235.60 New EF Total

$764.40 to go to hit my goal of $15K.

Another EF Update

March 12th, 2015 at 09:14 pm

$14,135.60 Beginning EF Balance
+__,_10.00 Today's Weekly Deposit
-----------------------
$14,145.60 New EF Balance

$854.40 to go to hit $15K.

Emergency Fund Update

March 11th, 2015 at 01:00 pm

$14,081.60 Beginning EF Balance
+__,_10.00 Last Week's Weekly Deposit
+__,_44.00 Coin Jar Savings
--------------------
$14,135.60 New EF Balance

I forgot to add last week's deposit to my total last week. I also deposited my rolled coin and ones today.

$864.40 to go to hit my Big Goal for the year of $15K.

Paid Off the Van

March 9th, 2015 at 05:51 pm

I went down to the credit union and made sure there wasn't a hold on the money deposited to my account from the house sale. I transferred enough money from the savings to the checking account and then went onto the website I pay the van loan on and paid it off. Yay! No more consumer debt!

Now all I have to do is wait for the title of the van to come and then I can go down and change our insurance. We won't have to carry as much now that it is owned by us. Of course we still have to carry liability, uninsured motorists, and medical and I wouldn't want to go with out that, but we don't have to carry comprehensive anymore.

If we get into an accident that is our fault and totals our vehicle we have enough in savings that we could go and buy a used car outright or fix most of the damage. But that is highly unlikely given DH hasn't been in an accident since 1995 and I haven't been in one since 1988. We are very cautious drivers. If we get hit it will likely be the other person's fault.

I do still need to pay the guy who remodeled the house, but I am not sure what is going on there. They have declared bankruptcy and it sounds like they want me to hold onto the money until after everything has run its course. I have only gotten this second hand from Mom, though, so tonight I will find out for sure. If that is the case then I will send the money to my online account which earns more interest. I really don't like the idea of holding onto it, as I'd rather have it taken care of.

I have a question about the house sale, maybe MonkeyMama might know. Do we need to do anything to declare it? Does it go on income tax for next year? Is there some sort of form we have to fill out and send in? The title company was kind of vague about it and while I did ask them, all I got out of them is that it has to be reported but not how. We are nowhere near the capital gains threshold.

Menu Planning for the Week

March 8th, 2015 at 05:55 pm

Monday:
Baked cod in foil packets with asparagus and zucchini
Homemade French fries

Tuesday:
Pork chops (brined and pan-fried then oven-finished)
Fried potatoes
Broccoli

Wednesday:
Beef stew with potatoes and carrots
Cole slaw

Thursday:
Fried rabbit
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green beans

Friday:
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, rabbit sausage, onions, and bell peppers
Cole slaw

Saturday:
Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Meatballs (Beef, lamb, pork, and rabbit)
Green beans

Sunday:
Meatball sandwiches
Cole slaw
Oranges

Woo Hoo! Now I Believe It!!!!!

March 7th, 2015 at 12:29 pm

The house is sold. It has been recorded and the money is sitting in our bank account. It is weird to see that much money in the account. It is very nice to have the weight of that house lifted from our shoulders.

It happened so late in the day that I was only able to cancel our homeowner's insurance and our phone. DH was able to cancel the security monitoring. We did get the good news that our contract was up. For some reason I thought it was 2 years, but I guess it was only 18 months, which we hit.

I will still have to call the electric and the water/sewer on Monday. I forgot to ask DH if he'd done the propane or not. He might have run out of time during business hours. We have almost a $50 credit with them and I want to get that back.

I called and left a message with the new house owners yesterday that the phone company says I have to give the phone modem back. Even though they are going to be using the same phone company. That seems really stupid to me. If we don't get it back it will cost $80. I wish I had known this as we kept the phone on to keep the security on until the house was no longer in our names.

I did not get a chance to see if the money in the bank has a hold on it or not before they closed. I will go down to the credit union on Monday and ask. For now it is sitting in the savings account there collecting .5% until I know I can move it or start using it to pay off the van and to pay the guy who remodeled the house. The next van statement hasn't come yet, anyway. It usually comes on the 9th and then I'll have the exact payoff number.

I will be so glad to have the van paid off and not have that monthly obligation any longer. Plus it means our car insurance will drop. To be out of consumer debt completely will be wonderful. Then we can start saving really, really hard.

Oh, I have a question. My son barely ever uses his phone. He texts maybe a few times a week. Is there a Tracfone or the like that is super cheap and does just texting? Or anything else like that? There is no point in having him on the expensive family plan at this point.

Bits and Pieces

March 5th, 2015 at 03:12 pm

I went in this morning and signed the last paper for the house. They said that the sale should be recorded and official some time tomorrow. I hope the money shows up in my account on Friday and not on Monday. I then will have to check with the credit union to make sure that I can use the money right away or see if there is a hold on it. I know with checks like that there can sometimes be a hold, but the title company wasn't sure about whether there would be a hold on a direct deposit or not. I wouldn't think so, but I will ask just to be on the safe side before paying off the van.

We did not have a payday last week, but I still made some payments from money saved over for this week's bills. These were all autopays.

$250.00 AMEX
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__44.66 Life Insurance Me
__74.41 Car Insurance
__48.75 Homeowner's Insurance
_186.00 Storage
__16.17 Power Old House
--------------
$665.29 Total Money Out

I won round 1 of my transformer 6 month dietbet. Don't know what my winnings are yet. I also signed up for another 4 week dietbet with the same group I did the first one for. It has way more support being a smaller group. The transformer has over 1800 people in it, so it feels extremely anonymous when it comes to support. So that was $20.

I have to make a list of people to call tomorrow once the sale has been recorded. So far I'm thinking:

Power company
Phone company
Security company
Propane co-op (DH will have to do this one, it's in his name)
Home Owner's insurance company (should get a partial refund)

There was no cable or internet hooked up out there so that's not an issue. The water/sewer has been taken care of by the title company since it is owned by the homeowner's association out there. It was mixed in with the sale and is current and up to date.

I will probably go to Comcast in person tomorrow. It is faster than trying to get through their customer service line. I will be over there anyway as my daughter has a doctor's appointment in the afternoon. I will also drop by the insurance office in person since it is by the high school.

The rabbit kits are doing well. The runt died. Not sure if I said that, but it did. I knew it would. It was just too tiny. But everyone else is doing great. Here is a video of the babies and some photos:

http://youtu.be/gDTZI_s-AWc








House Update

March 4th, 2015 at 07:37 pm

So the buyers went in to sign today and it turns out there was one paper that the bank did not have there when Chris and I signed before he left for Alaska. So for a couple of hours I had thought it would be done today, but then this paper cropped up so it won't be. They emailed it to DH and he signed it in front of the notary up there, and I have to go down and sign it in the morning, since I didn't even find this out until an hour ago and the place was closed.

But hopefully after signing that paper tomorrow it means they actually will close this week and I'll have the money in the bank soon. Because honestly, until that money is actually in my bank account, I still don't believe anything is a done deal. We gave the keys to the realtor today, though. So I'm finding it just a little harder to remain cynical on this deal than previously. I still feel like Murphy is going to come out of left field and smack me upside the head, you know?

Yet, at the same time I want to be hopeful. Because when this goes through we can stop holding our breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop. We can finally move out of the holding pattern we've been in for the past few years.

Other Income - Swagbucks Changed

March 2nd, 2015 at 01:24 am

Sorry to be posting so much at once. These were meant to be done over a couple of days, but life got hectic. Anyhow, I got $75 in Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks this month. Since I already had enough points to cash out for a $5 gift card for Amazon I went to do that tonight and realized that it is no longer 450 points for a $5 gift card, it is the full 500. I am pretty sure it was still 450 last month. Anyone know for sure when that changed?

That is going to be a real bummer. I don't know if it is enough to have me cash out for paypal cash or not. I still buy plenty on Amazon. I just am really going to miss that discount. I know it only added up to 250 SB's a month, but that's half a gift card's worth right there. I decided to wait until I hit 2500 to cash out. There is no reason for me to cash out right away anymore.

While I did do a survey in February for Pinecone, I will have to wait for another one before I can cash out there. Stupid $5 cash out change. Why can't these guys just leave well enough alone? If it ain't broke, don't break it.

Emergency Fund Update

March 2nd, 2015 at 01:05 am

$14,075.00 Beginning EF Balance
+__,__6.60 C1-360 Interest Added
-----------------------
$14,081.60 New EF Balance

$918.40 to go to my next goal.

New Babies and February Farm Income

March 2nd, 2015 at 12:56 am

It was a long weekend here on the farmlet, but all of the does kindled their litters and with the exception of a tiny runt, nothing was wrong with any of them. They all look healthy and strong, even the runt who was wiggly and vocal. I have never had a kit this small before and I hope it will make it. It is teeny. It is as wide as my index finger and as long as my pinky. In comparison, a normal sized new born kit is about two fingers wide and as long as my middle finger.

You can see for yourself how small it is. He is towards the middle of the photo surrounded by his bigger siblings.



This is Firefly's first litter and she had seven. If the littlest one survives it will probably have to be grown out two to three weeks longer than the rest.

The other two litters are doing well. Persephone had six, four of which are bigger than the other two, but even those smaller ones are still way bigger than the runt.



Luna Blue's litter was also six. Hers are all really big, but since Leo is the father that is to be expected. You can definitely see the difference in size in this photo.



So with 19 kits, 3 of which will have to grow out longer, I am glad I held off breeding on Wednesday. I think I will wait until the 11th and then breed 3 does again.

I sold 2 dozen eggs on Friday, making farm sales for February $105 and $132.50 for 2015. I will take a dozen to my physical therapist tomorrow. We are starting to get a surplus built up again and by tomorrow I should have 3 dozen. I plan to make a pound cake this week and 2 batches of peanut butter cookies. I may make some egg bread, too. We'll see.

I have lost 21 pounds so far since December 31st. I have 2 days let in the first round of my six month diet bet. Unless something goes drastically wrong, I should win it.

Menu Planning for the Week

March 1st, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Monday:
Wild caught salmon
Broccoli
Fried potatoes

Tuesday:
Teriyaki Flank Steak
Baked potatoes
Leftover broccoli

Wednesday:
Chicken Fajitas
Spanish Rice

Thursday:
Fried rabbit
Baked potatoes
Green beans

Friday:
Homemade pizza with rabbit sausage, onions, and bell peppers
Cole slaw

Saturday:
Beef stir-fry (broccoli, cauliflower, onions, carrots, celery, water chestnuts)
Pineapple

Sunday:
Rabbit Stew
Homemade drop biscuits with choice of homemade jams
Cole slaw