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Archive for October, 2006

Freezing!

October 31st, 2006 at 11:25 pm

Actually, well below freezing. I do not like trick or treating at the best of times and it seems that without fail it is always miserably, bitterly cold outside every Halloween. We went up one side of our street, down the other, came inside to warm up for a half hour and then went the other way and repeated. We went to maybe a total of fifteen houses. Almost no one goes trick or treating in our neighborhood, most folks go to town to trick or treat at the mall or the giant strip mall, where it is a good deal safter and you can start earlier. But that means that those kids who do go around the neighborhood get handfuls of candy at each house. So the kids ended up with approximately 40 pieces of candy and several toys. They had fun even if I didn't. But I was so glad when they wanted to give it up. And I am so glad it is over for another year.

I didn't spend any money today but I daresay I will be in the future. I turned on my furnace. I just could not get the chill off the whole house with the woodstove. The outer walls were cold to the touch. It was 20 this morning, I didn't look at what the temp dropped to tonight, but it was colder than this morning.

I watched the DVD Pride and Prejudice today. Twice. I was utterly delighted with the entire movie. I've never actually read any of Jane Austen's books but now I am going to have to. The story was absolute magic, lots of conflict and good twists and turns, lots of turmoil and sadness and joy. I didn't really think I would like it all that much, its been sitting on my TV for months on loan from a friend of DH's. Now I could kick myself for not watching it sooner. Keira Knightly impresses me more and more each time I see her in something and of course, Donald Sutherland will always be enjoyed.

Sorry, didn't mean to turn this into a movie review. Not really much going on on the financial front, but felt the need to fill blank space with type tonight. Well, and complain about the cold.

Sometimes We Win

October 30th, 2006 at 09:37 pm

After I got the kids on the bus this morning, I wanted in the absolute worst way to drive the five minutes down the highway to this really terrific diner in Maple Falls. I had such a hankering for their home fries and pancakes this morning. And they make everything from scratch there, so I don't even have to worry about nasties in the food, except maybe nitrates in sausage or bacon.

But pancakes there are definitely not made with whole wheat flour and I don't know what kind of oil they use to cook the home fries and as I am trying to avoid transfats, well that wouldn't do at all.

But how hard could it be to make home fries? I mean, all it is is diced potatoes, bell pepper and onion. So I made them myself in olive oil, along with some nice nitrate/nitrite free, sulphate/sulfite free, sugar free all natural sausage and throughly enjoyed my homemade "diner" style breakfast. Didn't even miss the pancake that I had wanted earlier. Also saved myself about $10 including tip. They aren't horribly expensive there and I would have had a full breakfast if I had gone, rather than two items and the portions would have been a lot larger, too.

It was nice to not spend the money and stick to my new dietary habits.

I did, however spend some money tonight. We went to the chiropractor and then to Kmart to buy gloves and hats for the kids and gloves for me. The kids have scarves, but gloves and hats always seem to get lost or outgrown really fast. My gloves get lost because I let the kids wear them when they lose theirs.

I'm going to get some chenille yarn next payday and knit myself a hat and scarf to match my new jacket I bought a few weeks back. I'm not a great knitter but I can do hats and scarves that look good. I just can't do anything else. I'm starting to think the jacket may not be warm enough after all. It was 25 degrees this morning waiting for the school bus. But its hard to find anything really, really warm that isn't made of wool or lined with down. I'm not a masochist, I like to breathe and I can't do that with wool or down, so no go.

Oh, when we were at Kmart I looked at all the Christmas stuff. I love penguins, in fact I've collected penguins for 16 years and they had some really cute ones. But there is something that really, really annoys me to no end about Christmas and penguins. Penguins do not exist at the North Pole. They are native to Antarctica, as in the South Pole. And penguins and polar bears do not exist together as polar bears are native to the upper wilds of Canada and Alaska. And yet every year, there they are, cavorting together. Sigh. Just a really big pet peeve. Silly, I know, but it bugs me.

Nothing really jumped out at me to add to my collection of lights for our huge light display. Nothing I've seen at WalMart yet has impressed me either. Or Costco. I know its still early yet. I will be putting aside an extra hundred dollars to pay for the bump in our electric bill that we get after the holiday, due to all the lights. But it is a big deal for us and we wouldn't give it up, the kids just adore it and so does the neighborhood. I wish I'd bought the rope light nativity they had 3 years ago.

Oh, I should probably budget another $100 to buy cable to run through all the standees and hook around the trees so people can't steal from us this year. They didn't get much last year because DH surprised them in the act, but I'm not going to lose something we've paid hard-earned money for again. We also bought motion detectors last year so we will have to get those installed around the most expensive things.

Okay, this is more of a ramble than anything to do with finances so I think I'll wrap it up. Oh, I was able to cash out at TinklyCash this morning. $5 on its way to paypal. Oh, also wrote a check for $10 to fund Matt's hot lunch account at school. Which reminds me, I need to order checks.

Freak Snow

October 29th, 2006 at 05:11 pm

I absolutely cannot believe it but it snowed today! It never snows before the middle of November here and usually not until after Thanksgiving. I am just grateful it did not stick down in the valley, where I live. The foothills are dusted pretty heavily from the halfway point on up.

It was very surreal driving today because there was a windstorm on top of the snow and there were tons of big yellow leaves falling between snowflakes along the highway. The trees have only lost about half of their leaves, it was all just very strange.

I wouldn't have gone out in it but the kidlets spent the night with Mom to give me a break. I got the tummy bug and really needed the rest. Feel mostly better today but like someone parked a well-packed rock into my stomach and my ribs feel bruised. Not fun.

Of course, the first half of the drive to town was abysmal but when I crossed the river and went up the hill it was like driving into another world as the sun was out and everything abrubtly stopped. There's this one road that DH and I refer to as the Bermuda Triangle Road because the weather changes on a dime there and of course, that was right where the change was.

Didn't buy anything today. I made turkey legs for dinner and took all the meat off the bones and threw the bones in the crockpot with water, onions, parsely, carrots, and celery to make broth. Tomorrow I will use it to make Turkey noodle soup with whole wheat spaghetti noodles. I could really use some good bone-warming soup as it is really cold despite a roaring fire.

I tried to cash out at TinklyCash today but the redemption button won't show up, despite the fact that I have $5 in my account. I will give it until tomorrow and then email them.

And Yet Another Savings Update

October 27th, 2006 at 11:30 pm

My $25 ING signup bonus was deposited in my ING account today and I got a refund check from the orthodontist of $286.80. I put $120 of that into savings bringing me to a grand total of $1444.01 in savings.

I finished the kid's costumes today, used my Costco cash card at their gas station to get gas @ $2.399 per gallon, put in $30 worth and change.

Tobias threw up at school and Mom came out to get him since I was in town and didn't have my cell phone on. He's running a fever of 102. He was fine this morning, I swear. They didn't have to wait long for me to show up, fortunately. She took him home with her so he didn't have to sit through Rose's soccer practice. Then we went in to Mom's with a bunch of dirty laundry. She's going to wash and dry everything for me since I got so far behind what with the rain and the broken dryer.

That was two trips to town today, yuck, 5 gallons of gas, but that's life sometimes. Anyhow tomorrow brings the last soccer games of the season and T is too sick to play. He's sad, but he really doesn't want to play with how yucky he feels. His friend had this about ten days ago, standard incubation period. I so hope I don't get this. Or Rose.

T's not too bad when he is sick, he just wants to cuddle. Rose, who is probably the sweetest, best behaved child 90% of the time, turns into a whining, horrible monster when she's sick and I so don't have the energy to deal. T woke me up three times last night, and oh, that really should have been a clue, I suppose. Sleep addled me is not a fun place to visit.

Money Deposited

October 26th, 2006 at 12:25 pm

I finally made it to town and deposited money to savings and today was also the auto deposit so:

$10.00 auto deposit
$10.00 cash
$ 2.50 rolled coin
$ 5.00 surveyspot check
$36.50 refund for x-ray

Total depsoit: $64.00
New balance in savings: $1299.01

I have blown past my goal of saving $250 by the end of November by $49.01 already. I wonder if its possible for me to double my goal and save a total of $500 by the end of November instead? I'd have to come up with $200.99. I'll have $105 more just through normal savings next month. No wait, there are 5 Thursdays next month so that's five auto deposits, which is $50 plus the $65 we used to pay for cable, which is $115, so I'd only have to scrape up $85.99.

Of course, this is beyond the $1000 I will save next month because DH is working an extra week. I'm still waiting on a check from ACOP for $15 and I think I've got another one coming from another survey company, still. Hmm. I can definitely count on the ACOP, it should show up any day now, so that's just $70.99 to come up with. That is totally doable.

So come the end of November I should have a total $2500 in savings! Woohoo! With our tax refund and DH's bonus plus what I am regularly able to save $7800 by the end of April. With our trade-in we should easily be able to purchase a good used car with that. Especially if the one we want is still sitting on the lot by then. It'll have been there for at least 8 months at that point. I'm sure they'll want to move it.

Although, if we can save that much in one year, maybe we ought to try to hold out another year and double that amount and get a two year old car instead of a five year old one. I don't know. Still, the older car would mean I could start putting my savings skills to work again sooner and start paying down debt with a vengeance. I'll have to really think about that. Our car is 14 years old and still runs okay most of the time. The SUV is 10 years old and would be the trade-in for obvious gas guzzling reasons.

Too much to decide on today, but for now I think I'll stick with the first goal of buying a five year old car and we can decide for sure in April when we have the money in the bank.

Cash in the Mail

October 25th, 2006 at 11:56 pm

Or rather a check in the mail. A nice old "You paid us too much money so we're sending it back," check. $36.50 for overpayment on a bill for an x-ray I had done back in February when the doc thought I had a greenstick fracture in one of the little bones in my foot after dropping a ten pound chunk of wood on it end down. It'll go into savings assuming I ever make it to town this week.

Funny how long it took them to refund the overpayment. I sure seem to remember how impatient they were when the insurance wasn't paying them fast enough. Isn't that always the way? I paid my portion before insurance did within 30 days just to shut them up, that's probably why it was too much.

Oh, well. Recieved a Swiffer duster in the mail today, this one from WalMart. It's the second one I've gotten. I also got the Gain Mango Tango laundry soap.

Not much else today. Soccer practice was cold! It's by the river, so automatically cold, and then the windchill, and the almost icy rain, yuck. Got called early though, it was too cold and getting too dark too soon and we were out of there by 6:10. I was really glad.

I'll Believe It When I See It

October 24th, 2006 at 09:03 pm

My neighbor came over to talk to me which usually means that he wants something from me. Fortunately it was to tell me that he plans to pay me back the $11 he owes me from back in July, I think it was, on Friday. Could have been June. I wasn't about to open my mouth and mention that it was actually $11.55 that he owed, for fear of never actually seeing the $11. Not that I think I will actually see it...and gave up on it long ago. But if it does come it will be a nice little boost to savings.

Oh, yeah, and he did want something. Just wanted me to keep an eye out for people that didn't belong coming onto his lot. Well, that's a lot easier now that he's down to just him and the one roomate, eleven dogs, and porch full of puppies. Still 4 broken down vehicles and one RV on the lot, though, drives me crazy, as it's only a 3/8 acre lot, and they park on the little front lawn instead of in the bigger back yard or two car garage or the driveway, well one car is in the driveway. It just looks tacky. I mean beyond the cow crossing sign tacky and the old farm equipment lawn ornament tacky. Sigh. It's such a pretty house, too.

Oh, well, I will keep my nose in my own business and not begrudge the weird taste in decorating the front yard. To each their own. Just get rid of the cars already.

Spent a little

October 24th, 2006 at 03:29 pm

Ran down to the convenience store today to buy a gallon of milk @ $2.49 and a newspaper @ 50 cents. I wanted to get a 99 cent big grab bag of Cheetos, but that is a big "NO" and still related to my sugar binge on Saturday. I didn't really want them want them, wasn't really hungry, I just kind of was having my head turned by them.

I decided not to go to town today. I didn't sleep too well last night. Well, I slept well between 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. and then again between 6:30 and 7:40, but you can see why its not really well with that kind of pattern. I went to bed at eleven, too so I don't know why the tossing and turning.

I might go tomorrow, but the kids have 1:00 early release so I would have to leave as soon as they got on the bus to get everything done and be back on time. I need to do the bank run and I need to pick up three t-shirts and a witch hat. Rose is converting her Princess Gueniverre costume into a witch costume for Halloween. I may also get a piece of fabric that has glittery spiderwebs on it to use as a shawl for her. I need to get on the ball and finish Tobias' ghost costume, also, but have everything for that. Just need to do it.

It is cold here today. It is very windy but I can't hang clothes outside due to intermittent sprinkles. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny again, and hopefully the wind will stay! Lately its been dead still on sunny days.

I have a nice fire going and am finally feeling it at my end of the house after several hours. I wish the wood stove was in the middle of the house and not at the far end from where I like to spend all my time and not to mention, sleep.

FIL says he has two more pickup loads of wood to bring out so it is possible I won't have to buy any. I'll have to see what it is and whether it is really as dry as he claims it is. It often isn't. May still buy wood anyway and let it sit in the shed for next winter. We'll see.

401K and Savings Update

October 23rd, 2006 at 08:16 pm

We received our 401K statement today for period 07-01-06 to 09-30-06.

Beginning balance--$36,377.74
Employee contribution--$499.18
Employer contribution--$395.89
Market Gain--$1,291.57
Other transactions--$138.95
Fees--(-)$41.42
Ending Balance $38,661.91

Changes from beginning of year: +$5,710.12

It has recovered nicely from the second quarter dive.

I opened my ING account today and sent $250.00 off to that, to qualify for the $25 bonus (thanks, Baselle for the referral link). Once everything is up and running I will most likely also open an Emigrant account. This was a very big step for me and I want to settle with it first, though.

Didn't make it to town today with enough time to deposit money as we had to go to the chiropractor and then drop DH off at the airport.

I will deposit it soon though, $10 cash, $5 surveyspot check, and the roll of nickels and roll of pennies I rolled today, $2.50, total deposit of $17.50.

Sugar Hangover

October 22nd, 2006 at 07:01 pm

I woke up with a major sugar hangover today and that was enough to convince me to stick to our new eating habits like glue from now on. Yuck.

Yesterday was soccer day plus it was the celebration for FIL's 60th birthday. I skipped going to Tobias' soccer game so I could cook and assemble the requested from scratch lasagna and from scratch birthday cake with from scratch frosting.

Got everything done and over to IL's house and made it to Rose's game. Her team won. First by forfeit, since only seven girls showed up on the other team and you have to have nine to play. Well, we decided to give them two members from our team so the girls could at least play a game. One of them was one of our best players, too. And they played hard for the other team, but we still ended up winning. 5 to 3. And this is the best team in the league. They trounced us last time we played. If we win next weeks game, we'll have one half of ten games played. Pretty good, considering last season they lost every game they played and were 2nd division instead of 1st like now. Skills are coming along.

Afterwards we went to the IL's for the celebration and stupidly, I ate cake. It was good, of course, my cooking is always excellent, but it was so not worth this horrible sugar hangover today.

Today has gone pretty well, but it would have gone better if I hadn't been dragging myself around recovering from a carb coma. We finally removed the old kitchen range hood and installed the new one. This is eight years I've been waiting for it, nagging for it, and finally today for no apparent reason, DH decided to put it up.

FIL came out with a load of wood, also so we unloaded the truck and got that all set up. I am thinking of getting 6 cords of mill ends delivered. They are kiln-dried and it would cost $250 for spruce or $350 for a mix of hemlock and fir.

DH got called to work an extra week, so his next hitch will be a 3 and 1. With the extra pay I will put $1000 into savings and purchase the wood, and put some aside for Christmas shopping. It will be a lean Christmas this year as we are saving up for that car. It's still sitting on the lot, so hopefully no one will have an interest in it until we can buy it.

I got a check in the mail from surveyspot for $5, so will deposit that tomorrow. Oh, and DH filled the car up yesterday for $40 or so. That's it for today.

Savings and Shopping and Payday

October 20th, 2006 at 08:07 pm

Okay, let's get the savings update out of the way. Yesterday was the auto-transfer of $10 to savings. The CU also put in their teeny tiny amount of dividends for the interest of $0.43. Total in this savings account is now $1116.43. That 43 cents is probably going to drive me crazy for a bit until I can add 57 cents to make it even again. I hate odd money amounts, I will always even it up when I can.

I received a check from NFO surveys of $10 yesterday and along with $25.50 in rolled coin, deposited it today into CU#2. Bringing the total in that account to $118.58. Oh, I don't think I mentioned that I had gotten a $70 medical refund last week to start this account.

So total savings right now is $1235.01. I also have an additional $10 that I will deposit on Monday. With that deposit I will only need $5 more to hit my goal of adding $250 to savings by the end of November. I'll meet that next Thursday with the auto deposit! I'll have saved $250 in one month instead of two.

Now I just need to get on the ball and open an ING account. Anyone have a referral they can send me? Baselle, do you have any? That would be appropriate since it was reading her blog that got me started on the whole ING thing.

Anyway, since it was payday I paid the last two bills that needed paying for this pay cycle, more to MBNA MC and my life insurance.

Then I went shopping. I spent $12.08 at the organic food store for 2 packages of organic 100% whole wheat tortillas, 6 pluots, and a jar of Spectrum mayonaise with omega-3 and flax seed oil.

Then I went to the farm stand and paid $5.97 for one large white onion, 6 ears of corn, 6 bananas, a big bunch of red flame grapes and two yellow summer squash.

From there I went to WalMart and spent $14.46 for a white twin sheet, package of 40 bandages with a free Neosporin sample, and a bottle of Ultrafine Mist Vick's nasal spray. Had to go to the pharmacy and pay $7.33 for a 48 pack of Sudafed and while there got a free sample of Pepcid AC.

Then I went over to Costco and bought 2 chuck roasts and a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 18 packs of brown Omega-3 organic eggs, and a container of Electrasol dishwashing tablets. I also added $80 to my cash card while I was at the check out for their gas station (which I didn't fill up today). Total was $139.08. We will fill up tomorrow after the soccer game. I really don't like to do it there so if DH is home, I'll wait until he can unless I am running on fumes.

Then it was to the Franz bakery outlet store where I got $9 worth of 100% whole wheat flour bread and from the free rack a package of eight 100% whole wheat hamburger buns. Of course, there's no way to coupon with this sort of shopping, but that's the trade off for healthier eating. I did get a milk coupon from Organic Valley though, so I am happy about that and will use it the next time I get milk.

I have started reading the Schwarzbein Principle which I think will go hand in hand with my husband's Ultra Metabolism book, only geared more for women. It's interesting so far.

I'm not sure if I ever said, I finished the book on CD "Start Late, Finish Rich," by David Bach. Really interesting, has some good ideas, but the more of his stuff I read the less I feel like we started late. We have a good chunk in the 401K and have a lot of equity in our house, almost 2/3 of its value is paid for. I have put "The Automatic Millionaire: Real Estate" on hold. I've read or listened to everything else the library has by this author and have really enjoyed it. He gives a lot of solid information in a simple, understandable way. I highly recommend his books.

Food today:

Breakfast:
Cascadia Farms Organic O's cereal
organic milk
organic omega-3 eggs
organic apple

Lunch:
carrots
pineapple
wild salmon patty (made with scallions, organic omega-3 egg, garlic, and real parmesan)
salad with grapeseed oil
water

Dinner:
chuck roast
corn
potatoes
banana
green beans
organic milk

And that's all she wrote.