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Farm Sales and Other Income/Gift Cards

February 9th, 2015 at 07:17 pm

I sold 2 dozen duck eggs today for $10, bringing my egg sales for the month to $15. I received my two Pinecone checks in the mail today, for a total of $20. I have received all five of my $5 Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks and have cashed out for a $25 gift card. I think I'll be able to get another one before the month is up if I keep qualifying for surveys.

This Saturday we'll be going down to the farm store to buy beef for canning and we will be selling the lady who runs the counter some of our rabbit meat. She pays $15 a pound. I'm not sure how much the package weighs. We use their scale when we get there. But the last sale was $67.50 for 4.5 pounds, so should be around that much.

I need to order some more rabbit cages. I want to stop using the 24 x 24 inch cages and just use the 36 x 36 inch cages. The smaller ones are standard for bucks of this size, but when I moved the two bucks that were in them to the larger cages a couple weeks ago, they acted like they were in heaven. I'd rather they have a bit more space if it means that much to them. I like to keep them all happy.

Things and Other Things

December 10th, 2014 at 05:03 pm

Yesterday I got my $78 check in the mail from Pinecone. We also got the $50 Safeway gift card for Christmas from DH's work. DH came home last night. He will be here for 22 days. It is nice having him home again.

***

Change of plans on the Christmas bonus. I was hoping to put half of it into the 401K, but apparently the only choices there actually are is to contribute the percentage you normally contribute from each paycheck, or put all of it in. I didn't want to jack up the percentage because it would then interfere with the next paycheck, too.

Since we don't know how much the van is going to cost to fix, I guess it is just as well. I will try to put half of it into the Emergency Fund instead. As long as there is enough to start DH's bachelor's program, I don't forsee that being too much of a problem.

***

This morning DH had the car towed to the dealership and they are dealing with both the fact that it won't start and the fact that it is leaking water into the seat belt well every time it rains, resulting in a soaked driver's side seat belt. There might be a leak in the moon roof, but they were able to rule out a defective door seal.

We will know more tomorrow, but it is $99 to diagnose what is wrong with the starter (or whatever) and $99 to diagnose the leak, so we are already $200 into this before anything is actually fixed. Oh, and it cost $70 to tow it the 3 miles to the dealership, but I think we will get that reimbursed from our insurance. I believe we have towing on it. We used to. Might have stopped that when we got AAA, though. I didn't want to do another AAA call, because that is for emergencies (even if they do take forever) and we only get so many service calls per year.

***

I have made the decision not to keep one of Sienna's kits. One of the does has a white spot on her face (as does one of the bucks, and Sienna had a white spot on her shoulder) and this is a genetic flaw. The other one doesn't but with 2 kits showing up with it, I don't want to take that chance as it is a disqualification for show. We wouldn't be able to sell any of her kits as show quality. The other doe kit is very jumpy, too. We didn't start working with them young enough for them not to be skittish, because of course we never expected to lose Sienna.

Cinnabun has had a personality change anyway, since we moved her into Sienna's cage. She is now being pretty sweet, so between her and Firefly, I have enough female reds. I had briefly considered keeping a red buck kit, but again, that white spot could turn up and also if I raise another red buck kit, I don't want him to be related to Wildfire. I want more diversity than that.

I miss Sienna, but keeping one of her kits won't bring her back and won't strengthen my lines, so I am trying to be practical.

***

I have someone who has expressed interest in buying duck eggs for hatching. Hopefully she will get back to me soon because it will take a few days to collect them. Hatching eggs cannot be washed or refrigerated and have to be treated differently than normally collected eggs. And they can only be kept for 7 days before going into the incubator. After that viability plummets.

***

Not much else going on. The kids will go on a field trip on Friday. They will pack a lunch, but will also need money for dinner. DH and I will go coat shopping while they are gone, so there are a few expenses coming up.

We will have to wait until the current spate of aggressive wind storms are over before butchering rabbits. Bad weather freaks them out and we try to keep the experience as calm as possible for them so they are not stressed. We have 18 to do over the next 3 weeks and then we will be done butchering again until June. It'll be nice to put that chore away for several months. It'll also be nice to have another 45 pounds of meat in the freezer.

Gift Card in the Mail

November 17th, 2014 at 02:43 pm

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.

Swagbucks, Quail, and Rabbits

October 1st, 2013 at 08:19 pm

Most of the time I only manage to get $25 in gift cards to Amazon from my Swagbucks stuff, but I had a little more time to waste in September since DS is actually doing most of his homeschooling without my input. So I managed to get $50 in gift cards this month.

And I hit the daily goal every day, so will get a bonus for that on top of the daily goal bonus here in a day or two. Probably my biggest change is doing their surveys. I didn't even start trying to do surveys until August. I tend to qualify for 3 to 4 of the big ones each week and at least one of the smaller ones.

I had originally planned on using my Amazon gift cards for Christmas, but I have been saving cash for that as well and have a good balance. So I am thinking of using my gift cards to buy quail supplies instead. I can get a good book on raising them and an incubator with quail egg inserts from Amazon.

I can make the brooder out of a cattle watering tub and a plywood board we already have with a spot cut out for the heat lamp to go through. They would live in the garage. We have the feeders from raising chicks and all I'd need is to get some marbles to put in the chick waterers we have. The marbles prevent the baby quail from climbing in and drowning.

The quail stay in the brooder until they are five weeks old. We'd have to build a pen for them to finish growing out in. We will be raising coturnix and they start laying eggs at 7 weeks old and are fully mature at 8 weeks old. We will then choose three males and 9 females. We will set them up in the outdoor rabbit hutches as breeding quartets for eggs. The rest we will butcher for meat. Incubation of eggs only takes 17 days. I'd like to eventually have 6 males with 18 females for breeding and eggs, but space constraints make that impossible before we move.

I canned my first batch of rabbit meat. I've never canned meat before. I ended up with six quart jars of meat. I didn't can the ribcage sections. Instead I used them to make stock and canned it, too. You can read about that on the farm blog if you like: http://whendidthisbecomeafarm.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/first... It is nice to have some canned meat. I am always afraid the freezer will go out in a power failure. They rarely happen here, but they used to happen all the time at the old house.

Speaking of the old house, we are meeting with a realtor there tomorrow. Can't believe we finally get to move forward on getting it on the market.

Random Things

July 5th, 2013 at 05:27 pm

It took longer than usual for the mortgage to hit this time because I mailed it. Only a couple of days, though. I had too much going on at the time to swing by there and wanted to make sure it arrived on time. So the new mortgage total is $11,264.80. $10K is getting closer and closer. Only $54.59 went to interest. I can't wait until it drops below $50 a month.

I sent for and received another Swagbucks cashout of a $5 Amazon gift card. I now have $150 in Amazon gift cards earmarked for Christmas. I also have $200 cash saved for Christmas, so a total of $350 so far. Not too shabby.

We built more rabbit tractors and now have enough for every rabbit to be outside on nice days unless they are more than three weeks pregnant or nursing young kits, in which case they will not leave the rabbit shed, until the kits are 4 weeks old.

Phoebe's litter is still doing great. They are five days old, fur is coming in, and they are nursing well. We can't tell which bunny was born on the wire, they all look healthy and strong.

We spent $169 on fireworks. This is the last year that it is legal to let them off within the city limits, although we did sign a petition to reverse the city council's arbitrary decision that they made with no input from the people of the city. We probably didn't need to spend any of it, considering what our neighbors let off, including multiple aerial fireworks that were already illegal as of this year in the city limits. After watching what they set off we moved to the end of the driveway and watched the fireworks over the bay from the city. Then we let off our fountains and went to bed. This is the first year I didn't hear fireworks after midnight.

We hope to have a house outside the city limits next year. The county is far less intrusive into your life than the city. But who knows if that will ever happen, since they are still not done fixing up our house. Middle of June, my eye. At this rate it won't be done until summer of next year. I just hope they get the new gutters on before the rainy season starts this fall.

Today is payday. I will do a payday post later when I have everything figured out.

Trying to Beat the Heat

July 3rd, 2013 at 09:37 am

I received a $5 gift card from Swagbucks for Amazon yesterday and will have enough points by the end of the day to send for another one. I have a book on hold at the library so we will be going downtown today. I want to get a few toys to put in the rabbit tractors and look for some more glass water bottles. They really prefer them to the plastic ones.

It's been blazing hot the last few days and most of my attention has gone to making sure that the animals, particularly the rabbits, stayed cool enough. I am happy to report that all nine of the newborn kits have survived the heat wave and it's starting to cool down.

We've been eating a lot of cold meats and vegetables and fruits here lately. Cooking isn't something anyone wants to do because it heats the house up. I've been soaking my head with cool water and that helps quite a bit since I have so much hair. We don't have air-conditioning in this house. I've been using fans and icepacks and one day I even grabbed a bra straight from the washing machine (I wash on cold) and that kept me cool for a couple hours until it dried. That was on the day it was 90.

I'll be using the crockpot a lot this week to help keep the house cool. I'm keeping the blinds and curtains shut during the day, and having them wide open in the evening with fans in them, to cool off the house. Fans go all night and I wake up with a cool house that stays that way for a while. I'm putting ice in all of my drinks (which is usually just water), and making cold meat salads for lunches.

What do you all do to beat the heat? Especially if you don't have air conditioning.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bits and Pieces

April 30th, 2013 at 06:48 pm

I haven't been very together this week. Queen's death, while expected, still threw me for a loop. I've got my equillibrium back today, so I thought I better get my head out of the clouds and pay some attention to the finances. Although they were basically on auto pilot this week anyway. Nothing much happens during the last week of the month. I took care of property tax ($424.58, half year) and the water bill ($144, two months) on Friday which were the only things due. I also had physical therapy on Friday ($90).

Yesterday I cashed out at Swagbucks for a $5 gift cared to Amazon. I haven't really been paying much attention to SB this month, so only got $10 in GC's. Today they seem to be giving double points for everything so I've got SBTV running in the backrgound. I have just been more busy this month than usual and not wanting to waste so much of my free time on it.

I got 11 cents and a sheet of address labels from some charity I have not donated to in over ten years. I have written them and asked them to stop sending me appeals so they don't waste their money on me, but they don't listen. I have no compunction against using what they send. I donated well to them for five years, but my charitable contributions are focused elsewhere now, locally. Anyway, that is my fifth or sixth dime this month.

I added $12.26 to the coin jar today. I had a lot of ones in my purse.

I stopped by the feed store and bought a 40 pound bag of rabbit pellets. It is $14.99 plus tax, so $16.29 altogether.

I paid the AMEX off ($271.92) for the month. I need to make a large payment to BoA VISA, but I need to balance the checkbook first. With the large amount of overtime money in the bank account, I haven't been balancing daily like normal, so I'm a week behind. I'm nowhere near overspending or anything, just need to know exactly where I am at so I can figure out how big the payment can be.

My electric bill has been moved from the 7nth to the 13th. They have changed how they bill, so last month's was a little higher to compensate for the extra week. Now it's back to normal and I do like that it is away from the first week of the month. I really don't like anything being due then, because that is when all the autopays come out and I don't want to think about having to write out a check. Their website sucks, they use impossible to decipher captchas, and the amount is variable from month to month so I don't autopay or pay that one online.

I have made it through my second day of no eating out and sticking to the meal plan. I've been wasting more money than I want to think about on takeaway and last minute grocery runs for deli food because I have been under the weather and haven't felt like cooking. I aim to get that back under control. I am sure I will stop feeling better eating homecooked food again, too.

I guess that about catches me up. At least I can't think of anything else for now.

Extra Income Sources

March 3rd, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I cashed out at ACOP today for $17.10. They will be sending me a check in 2 to 4 weeks (usually takes 10 days in reality). That will go into the Emergency Fund when it arrives.

I should be getting a safe driver's refund check in a week or two from Allstate. It's usually between $20 and $30. That will go in to the Emergency Fund as well.

I also cashed out for a 5 gift card for Amazon through Swagbucks today. Hey, those of you who do Swagbucks, where do you find the daily goal you are talking about? I've looked around a bit, but I can't seem to locate it.

I need to try to get my act together on doing surveys again. ACOP sent me two good ones last week and I totally spaced on them.

Swagger

February 12th, 2013 at 11:44 pm

I hit another 450 points today at Swagbucks, thanks in large part to a 50 point birthday award, so unexpected. So I cashed out for another $5 Amazon GC. Love it. This is really going to take a dent out of Christmas 2013 if I keep this up.

I added $2.83 to the coin jar.

The tax refund is supposed to be in the account tomorrow. Here's hoping it comes when they said it would, because if it is, in a little over 9 hours, we will be free of all credit card debt forever.

Swagbucks and Surveys

February 11th, 2013 at 08:48 am

I received the $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks I sent for at the start of the month. I now have $90 of GC's built up in my account.

I will need another 90 points at ACOP to cash out for a $10 check. I almost made it the other day, but the survey got really weird. It was normal at first, asking things like whether or not I was going to buy a car in the next five years and what brand of peanut butter I use. I figured it was one of those surveys they do to figure out what survey offers to send you.

But then it asked if I was planning on buying any guns in the near future, which okay, maybe for a sporting goods store. They've had surveys for REI and WalMart in the past, but never really on gun buying habits (of which I have none).

It was the following question that made me back the heck out of that survey and close it down. It was a detailed list of government officials and sources of news media and whether or not I trusted them. Now I'm not much of a conspiracy theortist or paranoid or anything like that, but in light of recent events, there was no way I was answering those questions. I mean, what type of gun do you want to buy followed by do you trust the president on down through the mayor? Waaaaay too Big Brother for me.

So I'll just have to wait a bit longer for a more apple pie type survey to finish off my points level.

It's Windy

February 5th, 2013 at 04:55 pm

It is very windy today, and was blowing like crazy last night. Even though the temp is 50 degrees F today, it feels cold because the wind rips right through you. You can get an idea from this photo how stuff is blowing around in the new grassy area we've opened up to the chickens.



The turtle sandbox that used to be the duck pond was flat last night and now it's on its side. There will be a fair amount of cleanup when the wind stops. Not many of the chickens are willing to be out today, but I can't blame them. I saw a gust of wind pick up poor Ecru. She does not like it when she's not in charge of her own flying, as you can imagine.

We'd gotten in the habit of collecting eggs a few times a day when it was really cold and they might freeze. Still doing it even with the warmer weather. This photo is from the afternoon haul.



The colors are a little off, but in real life they are medium brown, pale green, pale pink, pale blue, and pale brown. The green one is from one of the Auracanas and the blue one is from the Auracana/Bantam cross. It's fun to have a rainbow of colors. We do get some darker brown ones and some white ones as well as a darker pink with reddish speckles from time to time.

I had physical therapy today so I took a dozen eggs to my therapist and an 18 pack to the receptionist at the same office. The eggs really build up when DH is not here. He eats 3 to 5 eggs a day when he is home. Physical therapy was $90.

I stopped at the grocery store and bought milk and stamps, but she forgot to give me the stamps and I was distracted by the kids so I didn't think about it, so now I have to go back tomorrow and go to customer service and get the stamps. Pain in the neck. I don't need them until Friday fortunately. There are only a couple of bills I still mail because they don't have an option of paying online or their websites are so screwy I don't want to deal with them and I'll be sending those bills in then.

Not much else going on here. Just waiting for Friday to come so I can do more financial stuff. Oh, and I sent for another $5 Amazon gift card since I hit 450 at Swagbucks, thanks in part to a 40 point search. That's my new highest. The previous was 29.



Trying to Keep My Head in the Game

January 22nd, 2013 at 03:54 pm

Today has just been one of those days where I have been thinking expensive thoughts. This morning as I took my daughter to school I thought about going over to McDonalds because they have the 2 egg Mcmuffin special right now. I am not sure why I thought this. I have not eaten food from McDonalds in almost a year. But it seemed enticing this morning and the egg Mcmuffin is one of the few breakfast items there made with actual eggs and not liquid egg product. I did not do it though.

Instead I came home and DS and I made sustainably grown bacon and scrambled eggs fresh from our own chickens and toast from homemade bread. And it was the best breakfast. In no way would that breakfast sandwich have compared to it.

At lunch time I again thought about going and grabbing some burgers. But we had leftover bacon from breakfast so instead I made some toasted cheese and bacon sandwiches and some fries. And again, it was simple, but so delicious.

Then after school as I was picking up my daughter I was very tempted to call for a pizza. But then I thought that it would be a simple enough thing to start dough for dinner in the bread machine when I got home and make pizza for dinner instead of my planned dinner of pancakes and eggs.

I do not usually have such persisting thoughts about eating out all day long. If I had spent the money at each meal, I would probably have spent around $60 today. And it would not have been worth it. Besides, if I had spent it today we would not have the eating out money for our planned lunch out on Saturday at an Italian place. And I have been promising DS we would go there while his father was home (he comes home tonight).

So I guess I kept my head in the game, but my thoughts sure wanted me to go off track today.

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This morning after breakfast DS and I went for a walk because we are trying to get into walking shape for Disneyland. It was really foggy and really cold out. I told him in the future we would have to wait until after lunch when maybe it wouldn't be so cold. Or else we would have to take turns on the treadmill. The highest it got up to was 35 degrees F and even with my parka, gloves, and scarf it was not comfortable. And I don't want to catch pneumonia just in time for Disneyland.

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I received another $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks today. My balance at Amazon is now $80.

Yegads, the Withdrawal!

January 15th, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I don't think I realized how many times a day I check in here before I suddenly couldn't. Five minutes here, five minutes there, a good hour in the afternoon or evening. So happy the site is up and running again.

I have made good use of my time researching meat rabbits and meat chickens, pens, hutches, and tractors (not the diesel kind, the movable pens with built in coops) and getting an idea of what the expense will be and the minimum size property we'll want to purchase when we are ready to move. I know we are probably two years out from raising either right now, but the more I know, the more feasible it'll be to actually do it.

There has been nothing financial to worry about this week. I'm just waiting for Friday to make another payment to BoA and another payment to the dentist for my crown.

Homeschooling is going well this week despite DS being sick with the flu. He's been hovering around 100 degrees with his fever and generally miserable. I am understanding the math faster than he is, which never happens. We're doing a reduced schedule for him at the moment, as he isn't up for a full class load, but he wants to not fall behind on the harder things to catch up on, namely math and science. We are a couple weeks ahead on history and a few days ahead on literature so as long as we get chair time in by the end of the month we're fine.

Queen got a bath today. She's been hanging low to the ground when she walks and that's usually a sign of a partly blocked vent (and it was) which can lead to getting egg bound which can lead to death. Always so much fun to break it up, but she perked up after she was dry again.

The two leghorns went over the fence to the nice neighbor lady's house, who sometimes invites them over when she's working in her garden, but she was away all day today and so her dogs were in the fenced back yard instead of the house. Oh, my gosh, I have never seen the leghorns fly before, but Ecru got going so fast she was over the neighbor's fence and across the yard and over the fence into the chicken pen in one go like a little white bullet. That's about 40 feet.

Everything I've read says they can't fly more than 15 feet, but that girl zipped like a bat out of hades, so I guess they can if their lives are in danger. I have never seen a chicken with her wings pumping so fast before, not even the time Curious got her tail feathers clipped by the same dog. Ecru was hilarious, but only because she didn't get hurt. A chicken with a dog bite is no laughing matter.

Eggshell only made it over the neighbor's fence and into our yard in one go, but she was right off the ground again and airborn a few seconds later. They do learn eventually to check for dogs first. It just takes some of them longer than the others. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere for people getting into and out of debt, but I'm too tired to figure it out.

I did get a $5 gift card from Swagbucks for Amazon yesterday, and I got another survey from ACOP, so that'll be $3 eventually.

Putting Off the Grocery Shop

January 11th, 2013 at 09:18 pm

I had planned to go today, but I decided to take another look through my freezers first. I am glad I did. I had thought I was out of hamburger, but I found six packages of it on the wrong shelf behind some frozen veggies.

I had thought I needed chicken, but I found 2 whole chickens. Unfortunately the chickens are frozen together so thawing in the micro is not really an option. The package is too big. I'll have to thaw it in the fridge roast it, and then divide it into portions for the freezer. I also found 2 pork chops, 1 pound of ground pork, 1 pound of ground lamb, 6 steaks and five packs of bacon.

After that I cleaned out the fridge and found a head of purple cabbage and kohlrabi in the back. These are both good keepers and were perfectly good. I have a cucumber that I will need to eat tomorrow. If I put it off much longer it'll be chicken feed, not people food. And of course I have broccoli. I am halfway through my lettuce, celery, and carrots, and I have plenty of potatoes and onions, so really, there's nothing I need to buy except dairy and fruit.

So how do I make use of that great coupon of $10 off a $50 purchase good through Monday? Well, $22 of it will be milk. And I will buy some flour and some tuna and some oranges. That should put me to the $50 point and then I won't need to set foot in the grocery store for another week, although I still need to go to Kmart for the toiletries.

I am going to make homemade sausage with the ground pork and ground lamb for breakfasts next week and make a couple of meatloaves for lunches. And the steaks will definitely make it into a couple of dinners.

I sent $100 (my January allowance) to my friend who is in desperate need right now. That'll leave me with about $100 for the week in checking after I do the shopping. I should be just fine with that. No more bills are due before next payday.

I sent for another $5 gift card from Swagbucks for Amazon. The last one hasn't come yet, should show up this weekend.

I added $5.64 to the coin jar.

Rejiggering the January Budget

January 4th, 2013 at 01:58 pm

I've been dinking around with my spreadsheet and assigned dates to my categories, so I know what to pay when and what to fund when this month. It's more complicated than usual this month with the high amount of debt payoff that will be happening. I decided to leave plenty of cushion in each payday to account for any changes in taxes and I still will be able to pay off the BoA this month, even if we were to charge $1000 on it this month so my worries were unfounded.

Extra money will be dumped into savings at the end of the month and I'll allocate from that. Even with my worst estimates, I'm looking at a surplus for January due to the extra week of pay, so I'm not as panicky as I was. That money will mostly go for Disneyland and to replace the money that I borrowed from the MacBook Fund. A couple hundred dollars will carry over for the 2 day paycheck week.

Otherwise I think we are good. We should be able to absorb the tax changes in future months okay. It's going to affect savings of one sort or another, but it won't affect anything else. I'll know by how much once we get the paycheck on 1/11 and the one on 1/18.

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I recieved a $5 giftcard from Swagbucks for Amazon last night and I cashed out for another one today.

Vacation Planning

December 31st, 2012 at 05:34 pm

For Thanksgiving DH's work gave us a $40 gift card and for Christmas they gave us another $40 gift card to Safeway. Safeway is quite a ways away from us and requires an hour round trip and 3 gallons of gas. Well, I pulled one out today and gave it a good look.

It's also good for Von's. We don't have one of those at all near us, but there is one near the condo in Anaheim. In fact that is the very store we planned on going grocery shopping at. So we for sure have $80 on gift cards we can use and possibly $9 left from one we didn't use up last year, assuming it didn't expire or something. Cutting our grocery expense by almost $100 for something that was going to be a hassle just to use is great.

We got an offer from Disney Visa today, too. If we open their credit card and spend $500 in the first 3 months we get a $200 Disney gift card to use. So I am thinking about doing that and using it to pay for our Parkhopper tickets, easily hitting the $500 three times over. And if we use it at the park a lot of stuff will be 10% off. Then we can just pay it off when the bill comes. Having an extra $200 to spend at Disneyland would be nice.

If they'd accept the gift card in the restaurants that would be great. We want to do Ariel's Grotto because you can reserve for the time they are doing the Colors show and it's supposed to be great seats. But Ariel's Grotto is like $45 per person, which multiplied by 7 people is going to be expensive. It could bring the price down from $315 to $115.

We have decided to skip Blue Bayou altogether this year. It is too pricey now and since we can get the Monte Cristo sandwich at Cafe Orleans for $7 less and no split plate fees (because half of one of those is enough for one person) we'll do it. You can see the restaurant from the Pirates ride anyway. The only way we might do Blue Bayou is if we just went for dessert, which is still $8 per item. But I think we can give SIL and her daughters the idea of it just from the ride and we'd rather spend for Ariel's Grotto, which will also have princesses roaming about, then just a nice riverside dinner.

Odds and Ends

December 30th, 2012 at 01:36 am

I finished knitting DS's scarf. Yellow is his favorite color and it is a hard one to find at a store. It was hard enough finding bright yellow yarn. This one is a single thickness.



This is one I made previously and I did fringe on that one. DS didn't want fringe on his as he thought it was too girly. It's a deep rust or copper color and a double thickness as well.



Now I'm working on one for DD, but the pattern on the yarn wrapper does not actually match the yarn, which is supposed to be purple for so many rows and then black for one row and then purple again. It says fourteen per row but it really needs twenty and it does make a difference so I am going to have to unravel it and start over. This annoys me, but oh, well. Life goes on.

On Christmas DH's FIL forgot to put the turkey neck into the roaster (or maybe didn't because it was still frozen). Last night I put it in the crockpot with some water and DS and I split it for lunch. I can't believe the amount of meat on a turkey neck, I always forget. And it is so tender and flavorful. Anyway, to the juices left in the crockpot I added all of the turkey carcass bones that I'd frozen along with all of the peels I've been saving for the last few months (onions, carrots, garlic) and some celery leaves, salt and pepper and filled it to the top with water, so it is cooking down for a total of 20 hours.

Tomorrow I will make soup with half the stock and freeze the rest. I wish I had some fresh parsley for it, but I'll add some parsley flakes to the finished stock. I am defiitely planting parsley next year. Right now I'm looking at potatoes, celery, carrots, and an onion for it. I don't think we'll be adding noodles this time, just lots of potatoes. I might even thicken it to make stew. This will be the last of the turkey, so we will have used every part. The chickens got the organs. I am very happy to have had a zero waste turkey this year, considering how much it cost.

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We made a simple ice cream recipe in my new hard ice cream maker. It's definitely harder than soft serve, but still not as hard as hard ice cream from the store, but that might have been because we didn't do a custard base, we just did a simple one of 1 pint cream, 1 pint half and half, 1 cup of sugar and 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract. It will freeze all the way up overnight though and I'll see how the end result is. I haven't tasted it, but everyone else did and pronounced it good but light on the vanilla.

Their website has all kind of recipes for it, regular ice cream, sorbets, sherbets, and sauces. I'll experiment with recipes until I find ones that freeze harder. There was a note with the recipe for Champagne sorbet that said that the alcohol will make it thaw quicker, so I am wondering if maybe that was part of the issue, since pure vanilla extract is basically vodka and a vanilla bean.

I probably won't eat too much of it since I'm trying to stay away from sugar more and not become diabetec, but there was one sorbet that used strawberries and 2 tbsp honey that might not be too bad. I won't even have to wait until summer since I have strawberries from the last season in the freezer. (I usually won't buy fruit out of season because of the cost).

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Got a bill from the podiatrist, $114, for DS's toenail thing. That's for two visits and he spent a half hour with us both times. Since my podiatrist is way out of network the insurance didn't cover it. Still, he's the best and my family has an established relationship with him. Plus $57 per visit? I mean, who still does that? No one. Most doctor's charge $90 or more around here. Anyway, I mailed that off.

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DH took the kids to Kmart today. DS got two more pairs of sweatpants and one more pair of PJ's. DD got one more pair of PJ's. They should both be set now for the rest of the winter. Stuff was marked down even more than the other day. DH ended up spending $48.87. I forgot to give him the saving's card again. Oh, well. I need to start keeping it in the checkbook, I think.

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DH also picked up a prescription for himself, $2.50 and toiletries and cleaning and laundry supplies for $61.34. The latter stuff is all unscented, coloring free, natural stuff because of DS's chemical sensitivites and allergies so a bit more expensive, but we shouldn't have to buy it again for quite some time.

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DD has volunteered to cut DS's and DH's hair tomorrow. We have a clipper so it's not like you can go wrong much with that and she's getting to be as good at it as I am. I just don't want to do it right now with a swollen knee.

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I still haven't watched the Doctor Who Christmas special. I guess I am not quite the fangirl I once was in the Eccleston and Tennant years. I still hope to watch it tomorrow, though. I haven't watched anything since before Christmas. Who has time for TV right now?

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I received a $5 Amazon giftcard from Swagbucks and cashed out for another one yesterday. I think that about covers it.

Odds and Ends

December 23rd, 2012 at 07:20 am

I received another $5 gift card to Amazon from Swagbucks today. I should be getting another one in a day or so. Right now my gift card balance is at $60 and I've earned $70 worth for the year. Not bad when I've only been doing this for a few months. I might get another one before the year is up if I really push the SBTV for the next couple days whenever I am online. Assuming it works properly.

I forgot that we would be getting reimbursed from MIL for the gifts we bought for her to give to our kids and us. She can't get out of the house like she used to and internet shopping isn't really her thing. Anyway, she gave us a check for $313. That was on top of the $100 she gave to DH, so hopefully the credit union will be open on Monday. I know that one of our CU's is open until noon on Monday, but it's not the one we do the major banking at, it's the one we do the easily accessible portion of our EF at (the Safety Net).

If our main CU is open then I will deposit that money and be sending another payment to the credit card. So far this month I have sent $2500 to the BoA Visa. We will send the $313 to the BoA Visa and if DH is ammenable the $100 as well. Then I think we will have enough at the end of the month to send an additional $1000. I'm still debating about using the $1000 in the freezer fund to send to it. I can replenish that $1000 when our income tax return comes.

It is hard for me to spend saved money, but we really don't need the new freezer yet. And we do need to get out of debt. I set aside $2500 for first of month bills, but with AMEX now paid off the monthly $500 for that can go to the credit card as well. Any of the money I set aside for early January that doesn't go to bills or groceries will go to that Visa as well. If I do all of that then we should be able to have that card paid off by the end of January. I want it gone.

I don't think I'll need to do much in the way of grocery shopping between now and our next paycheck on January 11, other than picking up some milk, fish, and a few vegetables. Although if I have the chance to pick up some canned pineapple, oranges, and toilet paper from Costco, I'd like to swing that. I wouldn't go there until the 27th or 28th. No way am I going out on Boxing Day. It's almost as bad as going out on Black Friday. Dangerous. We have plenty of meat in the freezer so I shouldn't need to buy any protein.

I am anxious to push through to the next month. I also want to see what the higher income tax is really going to do to us. I'm thinking we'll lose about $200 a month out of our net take home pay. It would be nice if they renewed that lower tax rate, but I'm certainly not holding my breath that the..."gentlemen" in DC are going to get anything done. Except allowing the Fed to print more money backed by nothing but air.

Honestly, all that stuff going on in DC is making it more important to us than ever to pay off our consumer debt. It'll make their fingers in our wallets a little easier to cope with. Plus I've had a weird sort of paranoia about having debt on credit cards for the last year. Like there was something about the middle of 2014 that was going to happen that would make it very bad for us to be holding a lot of credit card debt. It's just a feeling in my gut and I'm pretty sure it's an irrational one, but it's there and it's driving me to finish getting this gone.

Found Money

December 12th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Today I found what I thought was a shiny new quarter. Well, it is a twenty-five cent piece, but it's certainly not American. It's not even Canadian (which happens at least once a month, being in a border county). In fact I have a coin jar just for Canadian coins that I'll save until the next time we go to Victoria or Vancouver. It is from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and is a very pretty coin. It has a sailboat on one side and an emblem of some sort on the other.

As for the regular coin jar, I've added $10.59 to it this week so far. Mostly in ones. I probably have enough in there to make a deposit worthwhile.

I screwed up on my food diary thing for ACOP. I entered in the first three days just fine, but then we all got sick and I forgot to enter in the fourth and final day and by the time I remembered to do it, the thing was closed. There went $8. And it probably means I won't get a good survey or product study from them for a while. It's not like I blew it off, but oh, well. What can you do?

I did get enough Swagbucks to order another $5 gift card from Amazon. Mostly because I kept the SBTV going on the side of my screen while I caught up with a week's worth of blogs, both here and in a few other places.

DS was feeling well enough today to do some schooling. We got math, science, history and vocabulary done. He had a dentist appointment today, no cavities. He has the best teeth of all of us. We think he is a throwback because his teeth are perfectly straight and don't seem to ever stain at all. His teeth are unlike anyone else in the family as far back as I have been alive to see. Lucky kiddo. And it's nice not to be worrying about starting orthodontia on him.

DD is doing better today. She didn't go to school, but she thinks she can go tomorrow. I am giving her a note so that she can use the elevator. She's still dizzy and having some minor balance issues so I don't want her climbing the stairs to the third floor. Also, I told her to call if she needs to come home. Her concussion is very mild in comparison to the one DS had in June, (I think they're starting a club or something!) but still, a concussion is a concussion. No PE for the rest of the week either.

I still need to do a payday report post. I should probably do that before the new payday on Friday. I'm not sure if I'll find the time though. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and will try to do a full day of schooling and maybe, hopefully, make up some of the missed lessons. We're 2 behind on Math, 2 behind on science, 1 behind on art, 2 behind on language skills and 3 behind on literature. Maybe if we just add one missed class a day tomorrow and Friday we can get the rest caught up on Saturday.

I also need to finish putting together my blog post for week 2 of the on paper food stamps challenge. And I have some thoughts about how the NJ mayor did and my own thoughts regarding nutrition and caloric requirements while living on a food stamp grocery budget that I need to finish writing up as well. I'm already seeing a couple of things that I wish I'd chosen differently on, but will take that into account when I do the 10 day menu for $40.

I haven't worked on my novel all week. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do that this weekend.

Coin Jar and GC Updates

November 26th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I recieved my $5 gift card to Amazon from Swagbucks and just racked up enough points to order another one. Right now my account sits at $50 worth of GC's. Searching went well today with a 100 point search. I thought it would take me a couple more days at least, but nope.

I also deposited $3.09 to the coin jar. I need to make it over to the EF CU to deposit that money. I just don't seem to have as much free time to do it these days.

Odds and Ends

November 22nd, 2012 at 12:24 am

Not much of anything, but a little bit of everything. I added $1 to the coin jar. It was in what DH gave back to me before he headed to Alaska.

I balanced the checkbook to the penny again. I love it when it comes out perfectly. I have $419 left in checking until the 30th and no bills due until after that. I shouldn't have to buy anything between now and then except milk and oranges and if I do, I have $105 in cash. I am hoping to send the full $419 to the credit card. Any cash left from the $105 will hit the emergency fund.

I had to send DH to the grocery store with a list before he left Monday because I am extremely contagious. Let's just say he spent quite a bit more than I would have. Total was $115.92 We're over the allotted grocery budget for the month, but we aren't going to eat out between now and then anyway because I am trying to expose as few people as possible to this thing that never ends, so I just took it out of that money.

I received a check from ACOP for $14.05 for surveys and sent for another $5 gift card through Swagbucks.

I set up the budget spreadsheet for December and I updated the November one with all of the medical spending.

I ordered a box of checks. It was $16.86. They are getting more expensive but I am using them less and less. I still don't want a debit card. I feel like writing the check out makes me more mindful of what I'm spending. It's too easy just to swipe a card and forget about it.

My kids have decided they want to spend the entire weekend in their pajamas. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I may join them in that.

Mom is cooking dinner tomorrow. She's the only one not infected and she wants to stay that way. Eldest sister is coming over. I'm still not used to her wanting to be a part of our lives. It is weird. I never thought I'd see the day where I was actually looking forward to having her around again. I am hesitant to think I can rely on her to help out with Mom, but maybe she will.

The day won't be too hard on Mom. I had brought up just skipping it until I'm better (ha!) if she didn't feel like she could handle it, but she wanted to. Since we are only making Cornish game hens instead of a turkey and baking the potatoes and dressing at the same time she says it's easy. Mom has a double oven, which is helpful. Minimal fuss, minimal muss.

We will also have fresh broccoli from the garden. I still can't beleive that I am harvesting anything in late November! What a weird fall we are having.

Let's see, what else? Oh, the birds. Kyri has finished molting I think. Queen and Patricia are in full blown molt so not laying at all, and the pullets continue to lay pretty well, as does Lady who is still bunking with the chickens. There's been no luck on trying to find some ducks her age to keep her company. I think she's happy enough thinking she's a chicken.

There are now four chickens who are laying regularly in the little box on the back porch. Apparently it's the in thing to do. New to the box is a leghorn since those are the only white egg layers we have. Everyone else lays brown, pink, or blueish green eggs. Daily egg count is an average of six eggs. I am glad we haven't needed to put a light in with them at night. We might in December and January just for a heat source if the weather turns and it starts freezing, but it has been so mild so far we may luck out.

And...I think that about covers it. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to all of my American friends and happy Thursday to everyone else.

Gift Cards Galore Today

November 13th, 2012 at 01:12 pm

I received the two five dollar Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks today and immediately dumped them into my account. I how have $45 in gift cards to be applied when I'm ready to make a purchase there. This bring the total of gift cards I've earned from swagbucks to $55.

Today in the mail DH also recieved a $40 gift card to Safeway as his Thanksgiving perk from his job. The only Safeway near us is a 40 minute drive away. We did make it out there last year, but we still have $9 left on last year's GC. I had a hard time spending there because everything was so high priced in comparison to where I normally shop, and the organic section was very small.

I'm not even sure if we will be doing Thanksgiving this year since DH will not be home and I don't want to go to the bother of cooking it and having tons of leftovers without him around to help eat them. Maybe I can get a prime rib roast or something. We love prime rib but I've never made one because of the cost. I think $49 would come close to covering one. Or I could just get a turkey and a ham for Christmas.

I still have a duck in the freezer that would make a nice Thanksgiving dinner without leaving a ton of leftovers. Cornish game hens might be a nice way to go as well.

I suppose we could do it early and invite my mom and eldest sister. Then there would be a couple people who would take some leftovers away. I don't know. I still have some time to figure it out. Mostly I just want to treat it like an ordinary day as far as food goes. Just not in the spirit of it this year. Nor do I want to do the bulk of the work on my own. So kind of blah about it. We'll see.


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