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Archive for December, 2015

Earthquake

December 30th, 2015 at 05:48 pm

Well, we are no worse the wear for our earthquake last night. For those who don't live in the PNW there was a 4.8 earthquake about 11 miles from Victoria. Vancouver Island is not that far from us as the crow (or seagull) flies. My bed rolled forward about a foot, then went backward the same way.

Normally I would have been asleep so close to midnight, but my daughter had a sleep study and it didn't start until 1 a.m. because her sleep pattern is that screwed up.

None of my canning jars fell off the open shelves, but they did move. Fortunately it was sideways. Number one priority is to get some guards in place. If I had lost any jars, it would have been a big mess of glass and food all over the carpet.

In the rabbit shed some of the cages had shifted and the water bottles on the shelves out there had also shifted. Again it was sideways so it wasn't a big deal.

The hay bucket had fallen over and so had the bucket of oats, but I didn't notice anything else amiss. It does get me thinking about a few more things I need to get in order though. We did have flashlights and water and plenty of food, but I still haven't bought a propane space heater or a small generator for my c-pap machine. We didn't lose power, but it is always a possibility. There is a solar rechargeable generator that I have been looking at. I guess it is time to start saving up for that.

It was a lot different than the baby earthquakes I've been through before which just sort of vibrated or lightly swayed things. But it still wasn't much more than just a big surprise. We have never had a bad one here in my lifetime, except the one that accompanied Mt. St. Helen erupting when I was a kid and I both felt and heard it, and it cracked a pane in my bedroom window even though we are quite a ways away.

Most people seem to have just slept through this one.

Meal Planning for the Week

December 30th, 2015 at 02:35 pm

Wednesday:
Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Green Beans
Apples/apple sauce

Thursday:
Baked chicken
Baked potatoes
Oranges
Salad

Friday:
Garlic Ginger Rabbit Stir-fry

Saturday:
Homemade pizza
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Crockpot roast beef with carrots, potatoes, and parsnips,
Cole slaw
Oranges

Monday:
Meatball subs
Cole slaw
Apples

Tuesday:
Tacos
Canned nectarines

Farm Sales and Pinecone Check to the EF

December 28th, 2015 at 08:58 pm

I finally made it to the credit union today to deposit my Pinecone check, the $75 from selling a rabbit, and the rolled coin in my coin jar. I've had them for a week, but with the holidays, just hadn't had the chance to deposit them. I added it to the Emergency Fund.

$15.255.53 Starting Balance
+__,109.50 Deposit Added
------------
$15,365.03 New Balance

$634.97 to go to hit my first mini-goal for 2016 and $4,634.97 to go to hit my new big goal.

Emergency Fund Update

December 27th, 2015 at 10:41 pm

$15,245.53 Starting Balances
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
---------------------
$15.255.53 New Balance

Farm Down Payment Fund Update

December 18th, 2015 at 11:37 am

$36,000.00 Starting Balance
+_1,000.00 Deposit Added
__________________
$37,000.00 New Balance

$43,000 to go to hit my goal of $80K.

Emergency Fund Update

December 18th, 2015 at 11:35 am

$15171.18 Starting Balance
+___10.00 Weekly Deposit
+___21.35 Extra Funds
+___43.00 Egg Sales and Coin Jar
---------------------
$15245.53 New Balance

Meal Planning for the Week

December 16th, 2015 at 03:01 pm

Wednesday:
Pancakes and Ham (leftover picnic ham)
Canned Nectarines

Thursday:
Macaroni Rabbit Bake
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Grapes

Friday:
BBQ Rabbit Wings
Fried Potatoes
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Apples

Saturday:
Homemade Pizza--Italian sausage, pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, ham (leftover picnic ham)
Oranges

Sunday:
Steak
Baked potatoes
Green Beans
Drop biscuits with dandelion jelly

Monday:
Fried Chicken
Baked potatoes
Green Beans
Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

Tuesday:
Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Meatballs (lamb, beef, rabbit, Italian sausage)
Garlic Bread
Salad

My Dr. Scholl's Socks are Bad

December 16th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

I am really, really unimpressed with the new Dr. Scholl's socks that I bought. I bought two 3-packs at $14 each and each pair I have worn has been down my heel and halfway down my foot in the amount of time it takes to walk from the house to the car. They simply will not stay up.

It ticks me off. I expected the Dr. Scholl's name to live up to its reputation. After all, they make excellent shoes and inserts. But apparently they haven't a clue how to make good socks. Unfortunately you can't tell until you actually wear them. There doesn't seem to be enough elastic in the cuff.

It isn't just them either. The last set I got from Reebok and the last sets I got from Hanes and Fruit of the Loom like to slip down, too. I never used to have this problem. Are they just making crappy socks these days no matter the brand name?

I really don't like throwing money away like that. The only socks I haven't had major problems with this year or last are the big fuzzy slipper socks from Costco, but they are hard to get into a shoe. This is why I'm trying to learn to knit socks properly.

Anyone know if Kmart's Joe Boxer brand of socks stays up where it belongs? Or of any decent brand that does? I don't mind paying a little more if they actually work. They just can't be wool as I'm allergic.

Christmas Bonus Came

December 15th, 2015 at 07:18 pm

DH's Christmas Bonus arrived in the mail and as you can see from the previous 3 posts I disbursed it amongst the Down Payment Fund, the College Fund, and the Emergency Fund.

This is the first deposit I have made to the Emergency Fund since...well, I can't remember. Since I hit $15K back in May or something. I had stopped adding to it to get other funds up and growing. I had intended to restart it in January, but figured I might as well get a bit of a jump on it. Hopefully I can get it to $20K by the end of 2016, but that's just a pie in the sky goal. It will much more likely be around $3K saved to get to $18K. But who knows? I like to aim high.

I was able to top off the College Fund so there is now enough for the first semester of my daughter's vet tech course, which she wants to start in January. Since she will have 18 months to complete the semester, I am not worried at the moment about adding any more to that fund, other than $100 a month going foward.

I also added $2000 to the Farm Down Payment Fund. I had also planned to set aside an additional $1000 to medical savings, but the bonus was $1000 less than it has been for the past few years, so that was just a tentative plan. We have always managed the medical, so I'm not that fussed by it, but I would have liked to have it set aside. Oh, well. We will be okay without it. If something huge comes up once the ridiculous deductible starts over, well, that is what the Emergency Fund is there for, loathe as I would be to touch it.

I need to buy a new microwave. The one I have has been limping along on its last legs for a while now and likes to shut down if you use the microwave for more than 10 minutes in a row. It comes back on again about 10 minutes later, but I don't imagine that can possibly be a good thing. I need to remember to measure the space it is in and make sure any new one I buy isn't too tall.

I have been knitting like crazy for the past few weeks. I have completed a scarf for my daughter, a scarf and a hat for my son, and a scarf for me. I have managed to knit two socks, the first of which is not wearable and the second of which looks lumpy, but is wearable, comfortable, and warm.

I have never knit socks before, so I consider the first one to be a learning sock. I unraveled it when done because I had dropped too many stitches. My biggest trouble is making the toe. I can do the cuff and the heel and the foot of the sock just fine, but I keep screwing up the toe when I try to attach it to the foot. I had to redo it twice for it to even look somewhat right. I am tempted to just get a sock loom and see if that helps.

I will try to knit the matching sock at least before going the sock loom route. I am sure it just takes practice. I really want to move on to mittens or gloves, though. Mittens should be straight-forward. Gloves will be more difficult, but I still think they will be easier than socks.

I do want to get good at socks though, because I want to make some booties for my niece. She's due in May so I do have some breathing room to practice. And booties don't take long, but if you can't master sock toes, than you can't master bootie toes either. I guess I can always knit a blanket instead if I can't figure it out.

Emergency Fund Update

December 15th, 2015 at 06:19 pm

$15,000.00 Starting Balance
+__,171.78 Deposit Added
---------------
$15,171.78 New Balance

My next goal for the end of 2016 is $20,000, but I will be happy to get to $18,000.

Farm Down Payment Fund Update

December 15th, 2015 at 06:04 pm

$34,000.00 Starting Balance
+_2,000.00 Deposit Added
---------------
$36,000.00 New Balance

$44,000 to go to hit my goal of $80K.

College Fund Udpate

December 15th, 2015 at 06:02 pm

$629.75 Starting Balance
+870.25 Deposit Added
---------------
1500.00 New Balance

Goal for first semester is met.

Farm Hunting Update

December 14th, 2015 at 07:34 pm

My son and I went to view two of the farms yesterday. And the one house and all its outbuildings that I thought would be perfect were perfect, except there was a ton of water pooled under the house that you could see through the door to the crawlspace and the well pump house was also flooded. And those things would take a pretty penny to fix and at the current price of the home absolutely was not worth it. Also it had owls in the barn, which might be fine if you are raising large livestock, but not when you are raising rabbit kits.

The second house was...adequate. It was spacious and had land and a couple of outbuildings, one of which had a canning kitchen. But the barn had a badly cracked cement floor. There had been severe upheaving, so that parts of the floor were 8 to 12 inches higher than other parts. With my history of tripping over everything, that was not acceptable, and again would require quite a bit of work to fix. And I don't want adequate. I want it to be pretty and not need rewiring.

So neither house is a go. And maybe I should just take that as a sign to wait and not to jump the gun. Although I did see another house that I would really like to check out. It has 12 acres and is still within our price range. But...I think we will still hold off for now. It is probably wisest to wait until after the new contracts are signed at DH's work in March, anyway.

It's Hard to Wait and I'm Not Sure I Want To

December 12th, 2015 at 04:02 pm

There are 3 very nice farms for sale right now. One is utterly perfect and two are quite doable. We have enough money for a 10% down payment on two of them and will have enough for a 10% down payment on the perfect one by the end of this year. And I'm swayed quite hard in that direction.

We would be able to afford the payments, all of our expenses, and still save a little each month. It would mean being a lot stricter with the budget. We've got a lot of play right now so that could be accomplished and we'd still have some breathing room.

We'd also be in our home for the first time since 2009. There is stress in living so long with my mother, even though I love her dearly and we get along quite well. I yearn to be able to have my own kitchen and do things my way and not have to schedule around her timetable, which is erratic at best and annoying at worst when you are trying to feed a family.

If we do this now, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about doing a 30 year mortgage. We would have to. I don't particularly like that idea, though, because we have only ever had a 15 year mortgage, and a 30 year mortgage would mean we could be 75 and 76 years old when it was paid off. Oh, I'd throw more money at it as we had it, but that would probably have us finishing at 65 to 70 years old.

The thing is, the practical thing anyway, is that if we buckle down and save super hard this coming year and throw everything at our down payment fund, we could have enough for a 20% down payment by December 2016. Which means we would lower our monthly payments significantly and have a 15 year mortgage. And it would be paid off by the time we were 61 and 62 years old, with no extra payments being made. With extra thrown at it, we might pay it off by the time we are 56 and 57.

The numbers make sense to wait out another year and save like the dickens. My head says that is the smartest thing we could possibly do. My soul says it is not quite sure it can cope with another year of living only in 1000 square feet with 2 teenagers and my husband. And only one bathroom.

We simply have no space. None. The house is very large, but this is the only space she allows us to use, plus we can cook in the kitchen (but must keep all our dishes and cooking stuff in our 1000 square feet). That frustrates me, too, because she has a huge kitchen with lots of cupboard space, two large living rooms, 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms for just herself. And two of those bedrooms are almost empty.

I am torn. I know what makes better sense. I really do. But it has been seven years. Seven very long years. And we wouldn't be struggling if we did it now. I feel like we are struggling though with the emotional part and being packed in like sardines. I want space. I want room to move. I want freedom.

I guess the thing I need to decide is what do I want most? Financial security is so freaking important to me. It is only one more year. Yet when I think about that year it is like a massive weight pressing down on my shoulders. One of these homes could be our escape hatch.

And 2 of them have open houses tomorrow. I will take my son and go look. Maybe in person they won't be as good as they are on paper.

Cheap Gas

December 12th, 2015 at 03:02 pm

I had 5 points from my shopping at Safeway in the last 30 days, which meant I got 50 cents off per gallon. If I keep careful track each month, I can gas up right before points expire, which generally coincides with when I need to fill the tank. It's a lot less these days now that we are homeschooling again (did I tell you guys that?) and I am not driving to and from the high school twice a day five times per week.

So I ended up paying $21.60 for 14.037 gallons of gas. That is $1.54 per gallon! It was priced at $2.03 per gallon if you used cash or $2.13 per gallon if you did not. I had cash. I cannot remember the last time I paid such a low amount of money for a tank of gas.

College Fund Update

December 12th, 2015 at 11:49 am

$380.06 Starting Balance
+_10.00 Weekly Deposit
-----------------
$390.06 Subtotal
+___.19 Interest from CU #2
-----------------
$390.25 Subtotal
+_39.50 Egg Money and Coin Jar
-----------------
$429.75 Subtotal
$200.00 Glasses Reimbursement
----------------
$629.75 New Balance

$870.25 to go to pay for the first semester. $5370.25 to go to pay for the full vet tech A.S.

Meal Planning for the Week

December 3rd, 2015 at 04:31 pm

I've switched to a Wednesday through Tuesday system, since I go shopping Wednesday mornings, generally. But I forgot to post it yesterday.

Wednesday:
Chicken Fajitas
Fresh pineapple
Pumpkin bread

Thursday:
Club Sandwiches
Salad
Cameo apples

Friday:
Bacon Cheeseburgers
Fries
Fresh Pineapple
Cole slaw
Pumpkin Bread

Saturday:
Teriyaki Beef Flank Steak
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans
Oranges

Sunday:
Slow-cooked turkey necks
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Roasted zucchini and yellow squash
Ambrosia apples

Monday:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Grapes
Pumpkin bread

Tuesday:
Tropical Rabbit Stir-fry
Canned pineapple

College Fund Update

December 3rd, 2015 at 04:15 pm

$340.78 Starting Balance
+_29.28 C1-360 Interest
------------------
$370.06 Subtotal
+_10.00 Weekly Deposit
-----------------
$380.06 New Balance

$5619.94 to go.