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Money Money Money (and Medical)

March 13th, 2021 at 01:46 am

Our income tax refund of $809 was deposited into our account on Wednesday and I just checked and our stimulus payment is pending for next Wednesday.  We got the full amount for us and our dependents of $5600.  That's $6409 to work with.  This is what I am planning.

$641.00 10% donation to the local Christian Homeless Shelter

1350.00 Handicapped Ramp Fund

1000.00 Vacation Fund

_500.00 Meat Fund

_500.00 Miscellaneous Fun

2000.00 Emergency Fund


$5991.00 Total

That will leave us with $418.00.  I am not sure DH will get all of his hours in this week.  They are having a cyber security issue that isn't allowing anyone to work online.  He is doing what he can and saving it to his hard drive, but there is a lot of sending around of drawings for checks that can't happen if you can't send them around or can't even send them in to the office to be printed out because of this.  So I will be holding on to that money in case the paycheck is short.

This will finish off the Handicapped Ramp Fund so we will be able to order one for the front door.  Our share is $1750.  This one is twice as much as almost triple the amount of the back door because it will go down the frong of the house from the steps, then there will be a platform for a turnaround and it will go all the way back the length of the first ramp to the ground and end in front of the steps.  It's a lot of money, but these ramps don't have to be maintained like wood ramps do.  It mostly just needs to be swept periodically and pressure washed a couple times a year since it is aluminum.  Wooden ones will rot out on the pilings after five to ten years, so those would have to be replaced frequently) and would require staining or repainting every few years.

It will nice to have a good bump in the Emergency Fund and to pay for a little vacation for DH and me to get away to the cottage by the sea we've gone to twice now.  He will be taking several days off in April.  Part of them will be spent getting the garden up and going and then we will go away for a few days.

MIL is talking about taking us on a family vacation by the water as well.  It probably wouldn't be until September or October, after the summer is done, but still nice enough out to cook on the BBQ and walk on the beach.  And soak in the outdoor hot tub.

DD wants a web cam.  She is the only one who doesn't have one, so we are going to pick her up a cheap one.  She starts online therapy next week, so this way she can do it in her own room instead of mine and with my laptop.  Her brother was just diagnosed with ADHD and we think she has it, too.  But it is a process.  First counseling, then a psychologist, and then the psychiatrist who can prescribe meds.

I also think I might have it.  Girls and women present differently than boys and men do, but as I was filling out all the forms during DS's drug trial I felt like I had a lot of the same issues.  Each week we had to fill out a sheet based on symptoms during a four week trial of adderall.  Except it was a blind study so two weeks were placebo, one week was 5 mg and one week was 10 mg.  He had to fill out his own forms based on his opinion and I had to do one based on mine.  Every time I filled it out, I was thinking I really have a lot of this stuff, too.  I always thought it was the fibro fog and the last brain injury, but now I have to wonder.

So once we DD gets through all this, I am going to talk to my doctor about it.  I've been thinking I might be needing anti-depressants again for a while.  I haven't needed them for about 15 years and never needed them for more than a year at time, but I kind of feel maybe I do.  Or maybe it is just fibro.  But I'd like to see about it, you know?  Because it is not normal to want to stay in bed and sleep all the time, even with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.





I Needed That!

May 25th, 2020 at 11:34 pm

What a nice little vacation DH and I had. It was wonderful to get away from the kids and to get away from my mom and have no cares in the world for a few days. The sea air was fantastic, 2 out of 3 sunsets were gorgeous and 1 was spectacular. I loved just being able to sit on the deck and stare out at the sea while DH cooked on the BBQ. DH made all of the meals, so I didn't even have to do that much. I really felt relaxed and unwound for the first time since mid-September.

It was also great to sit in the hot tub and just watch the ducks and seagulls and the dog that went for a swim every afternoon at the same time. I love seeing the tide go in and out as well and seeing all the shells left behind on the beach. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can see the seals, too.

It was good to have some alone time and DH and I had a serious talk about weight loss needing to happen and that I wasn't buying anymore junk food, I wanted it out of the house. He has agreed and is doing well since we got back. As am I. It is nice to have the whole family on board for a change. It was always so hard on me when I tried by myself. DS has been doing great since the start of the year. He lost 30 pounds. DD has lost some, too, but that is more due to the liver tumor and not wanting to eat much.

Speaking of the liver tumor, it has grown from 2.7 cm in October to 4.1 cm. We are waiting to hear back from the hepatology doctor about what steps to take next. I think she has to have some kind of nuclear medicine test, at least that was what the hospital recommended after her recent CT scan.

We've been working hard in the garden since we got back, but today is a day off because we worked for 7 hours straight yesterday and are sunburned and sore. We got a lot done, though. There is still so much to do, though. But I am good with a day off for everyone. It also rained all morning and early afternoon so not too much could be done, anyway.

I have pictures I would like to share, but am having trouble getting it to work.

So Much Garden Work this Week and Getting Ready to Go

May 18th, 2020 at 10:26 pm

It's been a tiring last several days but we got the ground garden weeded, rototilled, put up the bean supports, formed it into trench rows, and planted four rows of green beans and a block of corn that was 8 across down the length of the ground garden. I got my zucchini planted, my bee balm and larkspur transplanted, four of my six tomato plants in garbage bins, the remaining two potted up into 2 gallon pots, my ten pepper plants planted, and my pickling cucumbers in.

We also put down a thick layer of new hay for mulch, wet it down and trampled it, all around the beans and corn. It was first cutting hay and there are no grass seeds in it, so we shouldn't have to struggle with that.

I've shown DS exactly how to water, some plants don't like water on their leaves like tomatoes and peppers so need to be done at the base, some seeds like carrots have to be misted, some it doesn't matter on, so he has the list and knows exactly what to do while we are gone.

I can't wait to be at the seaside. I need this so much. Looking forward to sitting in the hot tub tonight and watching the sun sink into the bay. I don't know if we will swim in the water or not as the shore is very rocky and I don't want to tear up my feet. There is a dock but it is not a very stable one, it is on floats and anchors so it is hard to walk on, let alone jump into the water or get out of it, especially with no ladder. You can see exactly how it is made when the tide is out. I wish it was on pilings, but oh well.

I just wanted to check in before I went. I've been so quiet, but only because I was working so hard in the garden. My nephew has our number as do the kids, so if there is an emergency with my mother or my daughter while we are gone he will call. I am sure DS would call, too, but if he has to stay with Mom or DD, then nephew might be the one to call.

I need to go pack and figure out what food we are taking, besides the rib-eye steaks for the BBQ. Those are coming for sure, maybe some pork ribs as well.

Life is Getting Complicated

March 12th, 2020 at 05:04 am

Well, today the hospital, which is part of the network of all of our specialty doctors, sent out warning emails and so did our primary doctor's network. They are working to identify those who may have been exposed to the woman at the hospital who has Covid-19. No saying yet if my daughter and husband were, but they were there during that time period. They were in the ER and I don't know if this woman was, but I'm not sure where else she would be unless she came in via a different area or was already in the hospital.

There are so many different areas of our ER department. Illness goes one way, stitches and broken bodies go another way, psychotics and drug reactions go another. Illness is subdivided so they aren't putting people who are vomiting near people who have respiratory symptoms, that sort of thing.

King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties are all on soft quarantine and gatherings of 250 people or more have been banned for the state. King County bought a hotel as a recovery center for those who don't need to be in the hospital anymore but can't go into general population. The city it was in threw a NIMBY fit, but was overruled by a judge. And likely would have been overruled by the governor or the President if not. Small people in power don't seem to get that they will not have the authority they once did in a state of emergency. They haven't called out the national guard yet, but if soft quarantines go hard, that is very likely the next step. Other sites are being readied as well.

We still only have one confirmed case as of today in my county, but that is how it starts and I have no illusions that we won't. We are a county with an international, if small, airport. We are a county with a sea port and an oil refinery that ships everywhere. We are a county on the border of Canada. It is coming.

Universities here are switching to online only classes. Many public schools are being shut down for two weeks, some for six. Other schools are shutting down all after school activities. They are starting a vaccine study in Seattle. Our county is not closing schools, although the native school is shutting down for a day to sanitize the school. The reason the school district is giving is it would be an undue burden on parents who would have to find alternative care. They may change their tune in a week or two, though.

I'm not sure about our vacation next week. We won't be leaving the cottage and will be cooking all our meals so as to limit exposure. We may just buy some trip insurance, it's only $45, but DH sent an email to the lady who owns the place we will be staying to see what happens with a refund if full quarantine occurs. Still waiting to hear back.

We might just be able to bump the dates a month or two or something. I am sure movement between counties will be shut down if we get hard quarantines. I don't want to get stuck in the wrong county and not able to get home if stuff gets weird. But if this is all overblown, I'd still like to go. Only I'm not sure that is smart.

Life is getting complicated.

Slowly Getting Better, Some Budget, Some Medical, Some Planning, Some Rambling

January 7th, 2020 at 09:56 am

I am still exhausted, but DS and I had enough stamina to get dishes done today. We got 4 loads done. Everyone was sick for the past week, even DH, though no one as bad as me. I took it in fits and starts, though. It is the first productive thing I have done, besides make dinner, in a while. Tomorrow I will try to tackle laundry. There are at least 3 loads of towels to fold (DH did manage that much) and I need to put away the pile of clean clothes on my bed. I am done with the prednisone but I never got the energy rush of the previous times. That's a bummer because I have been only getting a few hours of sleep due to it. It would have been better to be productive, but Oh well. I just have 4 days left on the antibiotics. I hope that kicks it.

DD has been off wheat for 6 days now and continues to improve. DS's acne is clearing up. Neither one is having stomach issues at all and DD has not felt the constant nausea she's had for the past couple years, either. Can it really be so simple that this was what made her digest so slowly and painfully and bloat to a rock hard stomach? She doesn't have celiac at all, they tested for it, but obviously she does have an issue with wheat, otherwise stopping it would not have been so positive for her. If this is all it takes to stay out of the ER and stop spending so much of our medical budget on it, that's a miracle in itself.

Speaking of medical, it's weird to start having to spend for it again. We maxed out in July, I think it was, and everything had been free since. I know a few months of DD's physical therapy, which she starts on Wednesday will eat up a large portion of the deductible. Our HSA card is not working as they said it would. They said we could start using it on January 1st, up to the full amount of the yearly draw, but when DH tried to use it for 2 prescriptions, less than $25 total, but it didn't go through. He's going to try to get that sorted out tomorrow. We may just end up submitting everything each month, which will be a pain, but whatever.

Once I see what the exact new amount is of the Friday's paycheck on Thursday (things will change a bit due to the HSA withdrawals), I can complete my 2020 budget template and my January budget. They are pretty much the same, I will just be adjusting a bit. I think it is around $113, but it will also affect that amount of tax taken out, so I've got it roughly, just not perfectly. I prepared that part before Christmas, I think.

Tomorrow I will catch up the Medical Fund savings account by entering it all into the spreadsheet. I've let is slide, just making sure there was a hefty balance on the things we did buy, mostly OTC meds. Nowhere near the balance of nearly $2000 (haven't transferred the other $2000 in there, still in the online account), but now I have to reconcile the account. Which is fine.

DH and I really need to get on the ball to figure out our 25th Wedding Anniversary getaway. I was too tired to look at places, but it's mid-March, so maybe tomorrow. He has done some preliminary looking. All I really know is I want to be near a view of the water.

I also want DH to take me out to dinner for my 50th birthday mid-February. It will be a week after my mother's shoulder surgery so the kids will stay home to take care of her. I want a good ribeye or prime rib, a sweet potato, and either mixed veggies or their salad. Not their broccoli, they don't cook it long enough, and no bread. I don't want to have to cook myself so we will just go to Outback one county over.

I need to try to get myself to the library tomorrow. I haven't had a book since before Christmas, not that I could focus for long, but it has still been driving me crazy. I was so out of focus, I could not even concentrate on a movie plot. Watched a lot of mindless stuff, like Say Yes to the Dress, I Didn't Know I was Pregnant, and Paternity Court on Youtube. Yesterday, I was finally able to switch to documentaries and a movie (action adventure, so straight-forward plot).

Money from MIL and Christmas Bonus

December 19th, 2019 at 08:45 am

MIL gave us a check for $6000 and the Christmas bonus was deposited for $911.26. The bonus was $1300 before taxes. I really wish they did not tax bonuses at 25%. I mean, maybe if your bonus is in the 5 digits, or even mid to high 4 digits, but when it isn't even the amount of a paycheck? The government is irritating at times. I know we'll get a better tax refund due to them taking so much, but I'd really rather have it now and not when we get that back. I complain about this every year.

So plans for the money are to have DH get his crown, around $1000, and my chipped tooth repaired, around $300. Then we'll put $2000 into the Medical Fund. It is at a little over $1800 so this will give us enough money to cover the deductible and the out of pocket max between this and the FSA. We'll put $2000 into the Emergency Fund, save some of the money for our romantic getaway in March for our 25th wedding anniversary, and order a few things I have been putting off.

Then since we won't have to be paying anything into the Medical Fund for next year after this coming payday, we will take the money that we were paying into that to pay on debt. DH and I have an agreement that we won't use money from his mom to pay the debt to my mom. That's not what it is for and it is not why she gave it to us. She wants us to use it for medical, for vacation, and to beef our EF back up.

I'm not sure where we are going yet for our trip, maybe the same place as in September, but it won't be far from home. I think we will just buy some really good food to take with us and a good skillet (can't trust what is in the rentals to not be warped). I am thinking some ribeye steaks, some crab or shrimp or lobster, potatoes, and good vegetables for dinners, bacon, toast, and eggs for breakfasts, and sandwich fixings or burgers for lunches. We both like my cooking better than restaurants and DH helps with the chopping and peeling for dinner and makes breakfast so it doesn't all fall on me.

I am very relieved to get this money, though. It takes a lot of the stress for next year away in one fell swoop.

Retirement has popped up a lot over the last couple of days, but after the vote last night, I am waiting to see what the stock market does when I get up in the morning before I update it. I just hope it doesn't put us back under $25K, though it was almost to $26K today before the vote.

Vacation was Fantastic

October 2nd, 2019 at 01:16 am

Well, mostly fantastic. The place was beautiful and the evenings were so quiet and peaceful and restful. Unfortunately there was no sleeping in as the neighbors started mowing their lawn at 9:15. Who mows their lawn at 9:15 on a Wednesday morning? Then the other neighbors started doing construction with a bulldozer around noon, but that ended at 5:30. We left the cottage to pick up dinner at 4:00 though so we missed at least an hour of it.

We spent a couple hours on the deck when we got there Tuesday afternoon. They had this lovely little seating area with a couch and two chairs with pillows around a coffee-sized picnic table that was under a covered area. The tide was in so you couldn't see the beach at all until around 1/2 an hour before dusk and then there were a couple of feet of it. But the water looked amazing.

After dinner (which was Subway, but there were limited options) on the deck we sat in the hot tub and watched the sun go down over the sea. It was one of the most relaxing things I've done in a long while.

We didn't do much on Wednesday, but we managed to get all six episodes of Good Omens watched Tuesday night and on Wednesday. But it wasn't a vacation to do much anyway, just one to refresh with. We had brought food for breakfasts and the tide was out in the morning. The beach went out quite a ways at that point.

We went and grabbed a pizza at a place called Figaro's, which wasn't anything to write home about, was a decent middle of the road pizza. They had a great salad, though. You could get up to four toppings on your salad, anything you could put on a pizza so I chose bacon, cheese, green peppers, and red onions and the greens were mixed so a lot of variety in flavor. It took me two days to eat it.

Oh, for the other meal I made T-bones. They were so big we didn't have anything else with them. After dinner we went out and sat in the hot tub again, watched the sun go most of the way down, got dressed and then sat on the deck and watched it go the rest of the way down and then watched the lights across the inlet twinkle and the clouds reflected on the water. After it was too cold to stay outside we went inside and I taught DH how to play Parcheesi.

The cottage was tiny, it had one bedroom, one bath, a kitchen, and a living room. The living room had a pull out bed. It also had a sectional couch, an ottoman, and a table, so you can imagine how little room there was. DH and I were almost tripping over each other and they say it can sleep 6 with the sectional. I don't know how you'd breathe with that many people in the house. If they were all little kids maybe and you spent all your time outside.

It was well-decorated with some old-fashioned paintings and knickknacks, but there were too many of them. Too much surface space was taken up with stuff and since it was, there was nowhere to move the stuff on the bedside tables. One table was completely taken up with a big CD player and lamp and the other had a clock and lamp with barely enough room for my C-pap machine. DH had to put some of the stuff on the floor to use his machine. It didn't really need two bedside lamps or any really, since you could reach the light switch from the bed.

I did have to unplug the Glade plug-in as soon as I figured out what was making the smell. I had thought it was cleaner at first, but when it didn't dissipate I went on the hunt. She left us flowers and cinnamon rolls on the kitchen counter.

The last morning we walked on the beach, but I kind of regretted that due to the amount of mud that left on my shoes. Thick black mud and the deep squelching kind. I still haven't gotten it all off yet and I've cleaned them twice. We saw a lot of shells washed up and even a couple dead crabs. There weren't a lot of birds, just one or two most of the time. We did see the fish leaping to eat bugs at dusk, which was cool.

The most important thing was that it relieved so much stress, it was relaxing, and my mind set improved dramatically. We are talking about going back for a couple of days in March for our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

But I am nitpicking, because the overall experience was just what I wanted. I don't think a whole week there would be a good idea for one or two nights it was great.

On the way home we stopped at Red Lobster and got the Ultimate Feast. I ate the shrimp and lobster and brought the crab home for dinner. I also had baked potato soup for my side because they make a fantastic one. I was disappointed in the broccoli, because they seasoned it with red pepper and it was too much. We had a $6 toll for the Tacoma Narrows bridge on the way home, but not on the way there.

All in all, we spent under $500 for the entire vacation. There was a $150 damage deposit but that was refunded the day after we got home. I was very pleased with the whole experience. I will try to insert a few photos.

Taxes, Work, Goals, and Dreams

February 19th, 2019 at 12:05 am

DH got the taxes done and submitted and we will be getting back a little over $1300. I don't know the exact amount since Dh did the final bit. We did do deductions because it meant a slightly higher return, but this will probably be the last year we have such major medical expenses as to put us high enough to do that with the new taxing structure. If DH gets the raise to stay here, we will be upping our 401K percentage to 7% so that our higher tax bracket will not mess things up for next year. I don't want to end up paying ever. I'd rather just a small refund.

I do have my total out of pocket medical expenses for last year and it is $28,248.75. I believe that is more than in 2017. If things go the way they are looking our medical spending should be greatly reduced this year. Our charitable giving (tithing) was only $5800, but we didn't start doing that until about mid-year, when DH got hired on permanently instead of through the temp company.

So DH's work is just waiting on a signature or two to get him that raise if they want to keep him here. If they do get it, it will be a raise in net income of $15,700 a year. It is not as much as up there is offering, but after air fare and having to pay Cobra for two months, the difference would only be $3000 to $4000, because a lot more would be lost to taxes from being in a higher tax bracket. That is an awfully big change in our lives for only $3 to $4K. Without the raise it is worth it. With it? Not so much. The second year it would be $6K extra because it would be without the Cobra.

Current job has better insurance and better 401K matching, which makes the trade off for up there less appealing. I am hoping they come through for him. They need to do it soon though as DH would need to make the decision and let them know up there if he's not coming so they can get someone else in place.

Current job implied they are planning to move him up into a better position when someone retires in December, also. So...there is potential for advancement, which there never was up there. And with that movement would come another raise, it is assumed, since there would be more responsibilities and a change in title.

With the raise it would take us 13 months to pay off the loan and we could still get our gym membership back. Then it would take us 8 months after that to get our 3 months expenses emergency fund. After that I want to take a small break and go on a vacation with my husband, no kids. We would take one month's worth of what we would have been putting into the EF and go on a short cruise, 3 to 4 days, booking last minute for a deal. We can plan our time for when work is at a lull. We don't care to where as long as it is on the west coast out of Seattle. We likely won't even leave the ship. It has been 8 years since we have been on a vacation and we've never been on a cruise.

Then we would start saving towards the 6 months emergency fund and a down payment on a house at the same time, with an uptick in our 401K percentage.

But until there is signed paperwork in his hands, there is no decision to be made and all of the above is simple dreaming. Except the taxes part.

I Want a Vacation

August 16th, 2018 at 09:27 pm

I figured it out earlier this week and it has been 8 years since we have taken a vacation. The last few years would have been impossible with debt and the farm animals, but now all we have are the rabbits, so the possibility exists that DH and I could sneak away for a few days at some point while DS takes care of the rabbits. I just want to go check into some air-conditioned hotel with an indoor swimming pool and get out of the heat and the horrific air quality from all the fires.

But I really can't justify it at the moment, because of debt. I am really hoping this will be paid off by next summer and then maybe we can go. Also, with DD's health still being so poor, I'd be afraid to leave her. It's just been so exhausting dealing with it and never getting the chance to recharge.

I don't know, maybe DH and I can just do a day trip with a picnic lunch. We could drive up to Birch Bay and go swimming. I just want one day with no responsibilities and no kids. But with the air being so bad, spending a day outside probably isn't the best option anyway. My asthma is already being aggravated.

How do you refresh and relax when you can't get away? I can't really afford a massage or a day spa or anything like that right now. Maybe a movie, but there's nothing worth paying that kind of money for right now. *sighs*

Well, back to canning. I'm doing my first tomatoes today. No vacations for me.

Funds Update

March 29th, 2014 at 06:36 am

$500.00 Property Tax Fund
__38.00 HoA Dues Fund
_300.00 Vacation Fund
_300.00 Appliance Fund (New Fund, not counting freezer)
2267.00 January 2015 Money Fund
1130.00 College Fund
_300.00 Aquaponics Fund
__72.00 Water/Sewer Holding Fund
_100.00 Laptop Holding Fund
_300.00 Christmas Fund
4007.00 Total in Temporary Funds

Payday Report

March 29th, 2014 at 06:23 am

$323.41 AMEX
_500.00 Mortgage
_100.00 Emergency Fund
__19.00 HoA Dues Fund
__75.65 Internet
__72.00 Water/Sewer Holding Tank
_225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Plan
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_113.22 Propane Fund
_100.00 Laptop Holding Tank
_100.00 College Fund
_100.00 Vacation Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Aquaponics Fund
_100.00 January Money Fund
_334.60 Dentist
_104.02 Medical
_168.00 Storage
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__69.89 Car Insurance
__47.17 House Insurance
__41.16 Security System (Old House)
$2356.89 Total Money Out

I will be having a car payment coming out of this paycheck, but it isn't due until the 19th so the money is being set aside. I will list it when I pay it.

Funds Update

March 11th, 2014 at 11:02 pm

$1030.00 College Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund
__300.00 Propane Fund
__200.00 Vacation Fund
__200.00 Appliance Fund
__167.00 January 2015 Money Fund
__600.00 Moving Fund
__200.00 Aquaponics Fund
+_200.00 Christmas Fund
$3316.00 Total Funds Money

Trip Report

March 3rd, 2014 at 05:34 am

So DH and I drove down to the Willamette Valley on Friday as part of an early anniversary getaway and to pick up our new purebred pedigreed breeding stock of New Zealand Red rabbits. We drove back on Saturday. It was nice to get away, the weather was beautiful on Friday, but we hit a snowstorm on the last leg of the trek home on Saturday. We had a great time, though, and even though he won't be home for our actual anniversary (our 19th) on the 18th, we still feel like we got to celebrate. We had a nice steak dinner out.

Meet our new buck Wildfire:

And our new does Sienna and Cinnabun:

They are very sweet, gentle-tempered rabbits. No biters or scratchers in this lot.

Costs for the trip (I'm rounding):

$90.00 for the rabbits
$80.00 for the hotel fee
$82.00 for 2 tanks of gas
150.00 for six meals out
402.00 total spent this weekend

DH Tempted Me

November 22nd, 2013 at 02:07 am

DH and I made an agreement when we did this last big Disney trip and paid for his sister and nieces to go, that we wouldn't take another big vacation until 2018 when both kids will have graduated from high school and we are free to go, just the two of us. The plan for 2018 is to go to Hawaii. Meanwhile, we work on all of our other goals.

Well, DH has a friend from work who lives in Hawaii who has invited us to come in May. He has a house on the beach and says all we'd need to bring was about $1000 for incidentals and he would take care of everything else. Wow, nice friend. And we'd be able to fly there free with DH's miles.

But I still can't see doing it right now. We'd have to leave the kids with my mother, who isn't in the best of health right now and we've got all the rabbits and chickens to take care of. Not to mention that May is the time here to start gardening in earnest. Plus DS is being homeschooled.

Yes, it is a tremendous opportunity, but it doesn't fit into any of our plans. DH kind of figured as much, but he still couldn't resist telling me about it. It was nice to dream of getting away for a minute or two, but I've got bigger dreams right now and that is what I want to be focused on, with no more distractions.

Hawaii can wait. It isn't going anywhere. And maybe his friend will still be there then.

Funds Update

November 17th, 2013 at 10:31 pm

I am putting a copy of my Funds totals here in case something goes wrong transferring stuff between laptops. This is the first time in my life I've ever had so much money saved up. Almost $14K and it will be over that by month's end.

After our next mortgage payment on Friday we will have more money in the Emergency Fund than we owe on the mortgage. That feels incredible.

$2024.84 January Money Fund
$7687.86 Emergency Fund
___76.00 Dues Fund
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Propane Fund
__300.00 Vacation Fund (Hawaii 2018)
__600.00 Appliance Fund
__300.00 Moving Fund
__900.00 College Fund
_1200.00 Laptop Fund (using to pay off same as cash)
__700.00 Christmas Fund
13988.70 Total in Savings

Payday Round Up, EF Update, Funds Update

August 28th, 2013 at 07:15 am

I've been paying things in dribs and drabs this week, but thought I should do a full accounting.

$700.00 Mortgage
__90.00 Physical Therapy
_100.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_144.00 Water/sewer Old House
__49.91 Propane
__28.52 Medical
_175.00 Medical
_853.09 AMEX
__40.00 Allowances
_200.00 Cash (groceries, OTC meds)
2680.52 Total Out

I added $100 to the Emergency Fund so it is now at $6044.92, so I have met my goal of $6000 in the EF by the end of August.

New Fund Totals:

$565.61 January Money Fund
$505.21 Appliance Fund
1800.00 Laptop Fund
$600.00 College Fund
$500.00 Hawaii 2018 Fund
$400.00 Property Tax Fund
$500.00 Christmas Fund
$100.00 Moving Fund
$000.00 Propane Fund

I had the money set aside for half the water/sewer bill and the propane bill, but I paid them directly out of this paycheck. Then I transferred what I had set aside to the January Money Fund. That was $121.91.

And I think that covers it.

Mortgage Math and Travel Club

July 14th, 2013 at 12:38 am

Assuming our house does not sell, if I continue to make payments of $700 a month, our mortgage will be under $8000 by the December 1st payment. And it will be completely paid off by the November 1st payment of 2014. Of course I am really hoping it sells when we put it on the market, but it is nice to know just exactly how close it is to being paid off.

If I could somehow figure out how to squeeze out $300 more to make a $1000 payment each month it would be at $6500 by the December 1st payment and paid off in full by the July 1st payment of 2014.

Our required payment is only $384.76 so I have always tried to pay extra on it, even if it was only to round the payment up to $400 when we were dirt poor and up to our eyeballs in medical debt. It has only been in the last year that I have been trying to pay $700 a month. I did have a couple of years at $500 a month.

I talked to Mom earlier this week about her travel club. She had wanted to sell it to us at half price, which would be $10,000. DH and I decided we just don't want to take that on, so told her she should try to sell it to someone else. There won't be much more travelling with all four of us, since DD will be in college in another year, which opens up our options a lot more.

When you have a boy and a girl they get to a certain age where they can't share a bed anymore, which makes standard hotel stays pretty bad, especially when there isn't enough room to fit in a roll away bed. And pull out couches are very uncomfortable. We would often have to rent two hotel rooms. So we would make use of Mom's travel club (paying the dues for her on years we used it) so that we could get a condo with two bedrooms, the second of which had twin beds. But you had to book a year in advance practically for anything big and at least six months for anything with beach access. It was useless for quick getaways.

But soon it will be just the 3 of us and two beds in a standard hotel will work fine. Plus there are options we didn't have before, like Airbnb, where you can rent out a home or a small apartment without it being ridiculously expensive. Dues for the travel club were $672 a year. I'd rather save that money on our own and not saddle ourselves with a commitment.

Fund Updates

July 7th, 2013 at 07:56 am

Funding Update on the Funds

$127.00 Dues Fund
$300.00 Property Tax Fund
$200.00 Propane Fund
$400.00 Hawaii 2018 Fund
$405.21 Appliance Fund
$400.00 College Fund
$400.00 DH's Laptop Fund
1000.00 Daughter's Laptop Fund
$300.00 Christmas Fund (Plus $155 Amazon GC's)

Payday Post

July 7th, 2013 at 07:50 am

Friday was payday and here is an accounting of the bills that went out and the funds that got funded. Oh, but first, we splurged and got burgers, milkshakes, fries, (the kids and DH) and fish and chips (me) from Boomers, an old-fashioned drive-up restaurant with carhops and everything. We won't be eating out again this week, though. it cost $40.98. They have really good fish and chips. Well, the cod is really good. The halibut is only good. Best burgers though, anywhere, ever.

Okay, so the money out:

$1700.00 BoA VISA (mostly work travel expenses)
___36.26 Electric Old House
___44.87 Phone Old House
___70.56 Internet
___19.00 Garbage (Holding Tank)
___19.00 HoA Dues (Holding Tank)
___72.00 Water/sewer Old House (Holding Tank)
__757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
__100.00 Property Tax (Holding Tank)
__100.00 Hawaii 2018
__100.00 Propane Old House
__100.00 College Fund
__100.00 Christmas Fund
__100.00 Laptop Fund
___40.00 Allowances (plus bonuses)
__100.00 Cash for week
$3459.51 Total Money Out

Vacation Musings, Computer Issues, and Broken Camera

March 25th, 2013 at 04:12 pm

With the final numbers in, we spent $7,521.76 on our vacation to Disneyland, about $2000 more than I had bargained for. This trip was for seven people (we paid the way for my SIL and 2 nieces). It was a once in a lifetime trip, one they would never have taken on their own due to divorce and the subsequent poverty it brought into their lives, and I think it was well worth the expense to give them this opportunity.

That being said, we may end up carrying a small balance into May. I will be trying my best to pay it off before the due date on April 21st, though. I have paid $5030 of it so far. DH is going to use his miles to get a few free tickets for work, and he has one free hotel stay for frequent visits, so the money that would go toward that will be used to pay off the vacation balance.

I may dip into the EF to pay it off sooner, though. I am used to living with a $1000 EF, so if I use $2000 of it to pay on this, it'll bring it to $1000 again, then I can start rebuilding it. We won't be doing a big vacation again until 2018 or 2019, so and I will be saving up for it starting in June.


DH's DVD player in his laptop went out so he will now be using the old portable DVD player up at work. I have to start saving up for a new laptop for him. His has other problems as well and it has really been limping along.

My own laptop will have to be taken in as soon as spring break hits. The built in mouse has quit working and I have to use a plug-in mouse with it. My laptop is still under contract so that won't cost anything, but I can't afford to be without it during regular school hours since I use it in homeschooling my son.

If I take it in the Friday before spring break, I should have it back by the Monday after spring break. It usually takes 10 days to fix something since they send it to Seattle. I just hope they can fix it. I know they will replace it if they can't, but it is such a major hassle to transfer everything off one computer and on to the next one. And this one isn't even a year old so I really hate the idea of them not being able to fix it for such a small thing.


I have been thinking that if we get enough money when we sell the house we will pay off the van. I send in close to $800 a month on van payments (extra to principal), and it would be really nice to knock that payment off. That would mean no debt (besides what I still owe Mom, but that's not on a credit report) going into buying a new house and getting a mortgage. It would also give us more wiggle room to save money and pay for college.

Mom has said we can stay here as long as we like, so we may take an extra year to add money to the downpayment so we won't owe so much when we buy a new house.


My camera quit working sometime between when I packed it for Disneyland and we arrived in California. I'm not sure how it got damaged since it was in my carry-on. MIL gave each of us $100 before we went on vacation and I didn't spend mine, so I may go to a couple of the pawn shops and see about buying a good camera for very little money.

I use my camera almost daily and I don't like not having one. I don't have to have a top of the line one, but I'd like something more than my cruddy dumb phone camera, and I'm not about to upgrade to a smart phone just for the camera. I've owned my digital camera for ten years or so, and I really hate that it broke. It is possible they could fix it, but I doubt they could do it for less than what getting a new one costs. That is something that really bothers me about technology these days. Oh, well. What can you do?

I'm Glad I Saved Up

March 21st, 2013 at 12:31 am

I can't tell you how glad I am to have saved up as much money for this vacation as I did. Disneyland is great, but it is even more expensive here than I remembered. I have used up all of the money we set aside for it and close to all of the money that was left of the tax refund. I have not had to dip into any other money so far, but we have 2 more days at the park and then one day of air travel to get through.

If I have to dip into the EF a bit, I will, but I'm hoping that won't be necessary. Disneyland is not an emergency, but carrying a balance on a card again is also not something I want to do. So we'll see. It'll be a few years before we go on vacation again, but I am already planning to set aside so much money a month for it. I think it pays off to do so, just wish I'd started a bit sooner, is all.

We Made It

March 17th, 2013 at 05:50 am

We are safe in California and tomorrow:

I'm a trifle irritated with BoA at the moment. They put a fraud alert on our main VISA card. Disney accidentally processed our ticket purchase twice so we called BoA because it was showing up as pending twice. And with something that costs $2030 we wanted to make sure that the extra charge got off, so DH called them. So on the Disney end it was cleared up within 12 hours, but BoA decided it was going to lock us out of viewing our account online.

Even after I answered every single security question (and there were a lot of them) they still won't let us access that account online. We can, at least, still use the card, but I want to be able to get to it online, because I want to double check it got taken off. Then on Tuesday when the money arrives from ING to my regular CU account I wanted to pay off the tickets. *grumble growls*

They won't talk to me over the phone even though I am a joint account holder, not just an authorized user, because DH is the one that talked to them originally. It is stupid. Oh, I'm sure it is all for our "benefit" but it annoys me nonetheless. We did not ask them for a fraud alert and to lock us out of our internet access, we asked them to clear up a simple problem and instead they made it ten times more complicated.

I'm not sure why I expected them to be able to do it right though. It is the Evil Empire, after all. I swear if Alaska Airlines partnered with any other bank I would drop them in a heartbeat.

Last Night was a Long Night

March 8th, 2013 at 10:01 am

And tonight is setting out to be an insomniac night. Anyway, I had my sleep study done, and it was a doozy of a night. They might call it a sleep study, but it was more a study on how many wires they could hook you up to and then put you in the most uncomfortable, unsupportive bed on the planet, make you sleep on your back and then wake you up every so many hours. It was exhausting.

I do have problems with breathing though. I don't know exactly what but I had 30 incidents during the first two hour test, so then they tested me on the CPAP machine. I did okay until about 5 a.m. when I got stuffed up. Then I used some nasal spray and was fine to put it back on.

Anyway, I go in on the 13th to meet with the doctor about the results and get a mask fitting done. Then on Thursday the 14th, I will get my permanent crown since they screwed this one up and it was an ugly yellow color instead of tooth color. So they will redo it, which means I get to have it 2 days before we go to Disneyland. Ugh. I did have my cleaning done today though. I get them every four months because of some serious troubles I had with my teeth. We are looking at about one more year of that before the healing has been enough for me to go back to the twice a year the insurance actually pays for.

I made a payment on the crown anyway today of $336. I will pay the final payment of $328.57 the first week of April. I may very well be spending my Emegency Fund back down to pay for all of this and all of the sleep stuff if I don't want to carry a balance on the credit card. *sighs*

And our insurance rates just went up. Our portion is now $753.95. It has gone up $107.29, but since it is pretax, it will only affect the take home pay by $65 a month. Only, I say. Since it's now a change of $665 a month between this and taxes, it's getting tighter. Same ridiculous $2500 dedictible per family, $1250 per individual. I will be meeting mine pretty darn soon, I imagine.

I will remind myself in the future that if we go to Disneyland again, we need to get it away from the first of the year when medical is so high because of the deductible. It would be much better to go in September or October. But at this rate we won't be going on vacation again for a good five years or so, so this one better stay in our memories for a long while. Not unless DH gets offered a way better job with better pay and better benefits somewhere else on the slope. *sighs* Not likely right now.

After this trip the belts get tighter and we will push out some of the meager luxury items once again. We barely had them, so we shouldn't miss them too much. And once we get our rabbits going, and our chicken fryers, our food costs should go way down in the protein department. And our massive garden this year should bring down produce costs as well as providing plenty for canning. One way or another we'll find ways to save money and not go back into debt.

Second Crown

February 21st, 2013 at 09:46 pm

I went in to the dentist today to have my second crown started. This was on the other side of my mouth, but also the six year old molar. This tooth had a gigantic silver amalgam filling in it which is now gone. I am glad. I never liked having metal in my mouth and this was an old, old filling from before they talked about getting mercury poisoning from them. It feels like he gave me enough anesthetic to put down a small horse, but he still had to stop in the middle and give me another one. It is supposed to wear off somewhere around 7 or 8 p.m.

Anyway, the temporary crown is on now and I go back for the permanent one on March 7nth. Hopefully I am making sense here, as I am on a pretty powerful pain med, so if this rambles more than usual, that is why.

While I was there I finished paying off the first crown, $233.90 and I have the paper with what will likely be our portion for this one, $665.35. Not as much as the first one as we had less dental benefits left for 2012 as I had a porcelain filling to replace a cracked silver one and a sealent earlier that year. This probably uses all my dental benefits for the year (except for cleanings), but the dentist says everything is in great shape now and I shouldn't need anymore work done.

I talked to them about maybe getting the gap between my front teeth fixed. I never used to have one, but over the past five years it has gradually gotten bigger. They may be able to just fix it cosmetically with veneers or I may have to go to an orthodontist and get an appliance or something like Invisalign. I don't want to do actual metal braces. I know how much they hurt my daughter. I have a low pain threshhold in my mouth even though I have a very high one everywhere else. But the gap does bug me. I had perfectly straight teeth up until it started moving.

I'll need to have DH check and see if our insurance covers orthodontia. Otherwise I will have to save up for it. I know veneers can cost about $900 per tooth if we go that route.


I cashed out at Swagbucks again yesterday for a $5 Amazon gift card.


I added the AMEX cash back and my coin jar savings and the weekly $10 autotransfer I've had set up for years to the Emergency Fund, a total of $136, making the total in it now $2981.35. That leaves me with $18.65 to come up with to meet my February goal of $3000 in the EF. Next Thursday will be another $10 autotransfer, so that will leave me with $8.65 to scrounge up. I am so close.


DH and I are still working on our meal plan for Disneyland. I think we are going to pack along a cheap crockpot. That way we can put a roast or a chicken in when we leave in the morning and have it ready for us when we come back at dinner time. Despite the condos having full kitchens they don't have crockpots, which I really think they should. It makes a lot of sense to have one in a place that caters to Disneyland goers. I will also pick up some of those crockpot bags to make it easy to clean. Usually I consider those a waste of money, but in this situation I'll splurge for them.

Major Shopping

February 17th, 2013 at 04:43 am

Today we did some major shopping. Mostly it was too replace things that are past re-mending (i.e. things that have already been mended once, often more than once).

We ended up spending $325.05 and supposedly saved $63.55 due to clearance and sale prices. DH got 3 pairs of jeans. He told quite a hilarious story of ripping out his jeans right before getting to the airport and having to mend them with duct tape because there were no sewing kits available. At least you can pass through airport x-ray machines with a duct-taped crotch. Good to know.

DS got a pair of Wellies, 2 sizes up, yikes, a pair of flip flops for vacation and summer and a new pair of tennis shoes. He also got several pairs of underwear. He's growing like a weed. He'll probably be as tall as me by the end of this year.

I got three shirts, slightly nicer than t-shirts, but not super dressy. I was happy to find one in kelly green. It is a hard color to find so when I saw it I jumped on it. There is a rather violent perdominance of neon colors in the stores right now. Painfully neon bright.

DD got a pair of flip flops, 2 pairs of sweats and a t-shirt.

Then for the household I got 6 new washcloths. I used to have 20 white ones, but my mother keeps stealing them. Just because she got the twenty pack of white ones from Wal-Mart once upon a time, she thinks all of the white ones are hers. Well, 4 turquiose, one hot pink and one bright yellow, should stop confusing her on that score.

I also bought a new sheet set for the king bed. The turquoise sheet finally gave up the ghost after a couple of sewing repairs. I plan to make linen napkins out of the side that isn't all ripped up. The replacements are a sort of bluish green sea foam color. Sheets are expensive. I got the moderately priced ones, but I still thought they were expensive for not all that much fabric.

The kids got headphones and batteries and DH got some body wash. We should not need to make any such purchases again for quite some time.

I added $3 to the coin jar today and sent $854 to the Vacation Fund. The puts it at $1119.65.

Budget, Vacation, and Books

February 4th, 2013 at 11:35 pm

I spent a couple of hours yesterday going over the budget and assigning items to the next three paydays. It is nice seeing a surplus after all bills are paid. It is nice knowing all bills will be easily met. It is nice knowing the money for vacation is right there.

I do not think I will buy parkhopper tickets until March. I am keeping an eye on ticket prices. Right now they have a sale on tickets from now until March 11, but they have to be used during that time period. I am hoping when March hits they will have another sale. The difference in price is about $200. We can buy them as close to the 15th of March as we want and just pick them up at the ticket booth when we get there. If not, oh, well. I figure we're still off season on March 16, but maybe not. All I can do is wait and keep checking. They didn't even have this special the last time I checked.

DH told me that Big Thunder Mountain will be closed while we are there for a major overhaul. I am bummed because it is one of my favorite rides. And the River Boat won't be running either. That's pretty much all of Frontier Land down. The pirate ship should be going though and the pirate island (used to be Tom Sawyer's Island) should be open.

The new Matterhorn cars look like they are better padded than the old ones. I hope they smoothed out the track so it's not so jerky. I will give it one try, but I will be very careful to protect my knee on it. That's the ride I bonked my knee on so badly the last time we went there and eventually it resulted in surgery. So the bobsleds get exactly one chance to prove they are worth it.

I ate something with BHT in it last night. I committed the ultimate crime for someone with allergies and did not read the label, because the last time I ate this item it did not have BHT in it. Well, six months can make a difference and I have spent the majority of today with my insides trying to become my outsides. Not fun. I hate puking. I also got hives. Benadryl would help if I could keep it down. I suppose this is what I get for giving in to a major salt craving.

I finally finished the book I was reading. It was good. It was called Last of the Breed and it's by Louis L'amour. I never, ever thought I would be reading a Louis L'amour novel because cowboy is not a genre I have much interest in. But this book was reviewed on a survival website I like to read for fun and for research for the novel I'm writing.

It was about an American pilot (with a Native American and Scotch bloodline) getting shot down over Soviet Russia and how he survived a year in Siberia. It was fascinating reading. I mean, I won't be purposely seeking out any more of his books, because again, I don't care much for the cowboy genre, but I can see why he sells so many books.

It was certainly a far cry from the two previous books I read, Changelings by Anne McCaffrey (1st of the second trilogy of the Petaybee series) and Catch Me by Lisa Gardner. Anne's books are always good. Petaybee is an arctic planet, so it has a lot of survival elements in it, too.

As for Catch Me, it was a fast read and a real page turner. I liked it, even if I found it predictable at times. Although the switching back and forth between first person and third person about drove me crazy. The premise was about a young woman who had two best friends. The first was killed on a certain date, and then one year later the second was killed in the same way on that same date, so the last woman spends the year learning how to defend herself and a couple weeks before the anniversary date of the deaths asks a cop to investigate her murder after she dies because she is sure she is next on the list.

It would make a great movie. There is some swearing in it, a light smattering of the F word, but nowhere near the distracting level of say a Tess Gerritsen novel.

Stuff and Other Stuff

January 29th, 2013 at 03:49 am

I've been doing some thinking about the next couple of months. In February we will buy our Disneyland Parkhopper tickets, which will set us back $2030 for 7 tickets (unless they go on sale), but we should be able to buy them outright in February. I will charge them for the benefits of charging, but then I will pay it off as soon as it posts to the account.

We already have enough saved up to cover prepaying the limo rental both ways, so that will get taken care of in the next few days. We chose to do a limo because it was actually cheaper for 7 people and all their stuff than two taxis or vanpools.

And then in March I will take $2500 for the trip itself. I think that should easily cover groceries, a few meals out and souvenirs. It's probably more than we need, but I'd rather have too much than too little and come home with money. SIL is paying for her own food for her and the girls. We are picking up everything else, but flights and the condo are long since taken care of.

Also in March we should have our taxes back. The Chase card will be at $4900 by then and our taxes will more than pay for that. (We will get a lot back because we fully used the HSA again this year and will get all of that back). We will also be getting DD's MacBook. If there is any money left it will go to the EF. Last year (and circumstances haven't changed) we got around $8750 back. $6150 is from the HSA alone. That should put the EF around $4000 to $5000.

After that I need to decide what I'm going to do. Our only two debts will be the mortgage and the van payment. The mortgage has a higher percentage rate than the van, but the house will be up for sale by then. I'm not sure if there is any point in paying down the mortgage, yet if it doesn't sell right away then there is.

I figured that we could have the mortgage paid off by September/October if we start paying $2500 a month in April. I keep going back and forth on this. Part of me says forget prepaying it, put that money in the EF and college fund instead. Or put it toward the van. It's like being on a merry-go-round. I just keep going around in circles trying to figure out the smartest thing to do.

My mother keeps butting into the house stuff. She's trying to be the one who will set the price. She's acting like she's the one who gets to okay any offers and it is driving me right up the wall. I want her out of it, but she has a way of squirming into our business and getting people to talk to her who legally should not be talking to her about any of it.

I don't particularly want her knowing A. What the amount of the mortgage is left on the house, and B. What the price is that we actually get for it. It's none of her business. She does like sticking her nose in. She wants to set the price far higher than what I think anyone will pay for it. I've seen how long houses sit on the market in that area if they are over-priced.

I love my mother very much, she has a lot of great qualities and I never have doubted that she loves me, but she is a difficult personality. She is very pushy and stubborn and manipulative when she chooses to be. I just can't figure out what she thinks she'll get out of any of this.

I will be glad when we are not living under the same roof again, even though I know I will worry about her. I am ready to worry about her from a slightly more removed area. Even if I know she will likely end up moving in with us several years in the future, it will be different. It will be her living in our home and not vice versa.

Right now she is very weird about money. She's been like this the last year. We pay for the gas, the electric, the water/sewer, the internet, and the garbage for the entire household, yet she worries about how high the utilities are. She often eats with us and spends very little on groceries herself, but worries constantly about the cost of food. She barely ever drives anywhere, but worries constantly about the cost of gasoline.

She gets $1000 from us every month as we pay back our loan, and $757 from social security. Her house is paid for, her SUV and pickup are paid for. She pays for some chicken feed, satellite TV, $100 in groceries each month, car and house insurance, and property taxes ($2500 a year) and that's about it. Her income is more than enough to cover it. She's always been a champion budgeter. Even after we move out and she takes back over the utilities (they'll drop), she'll still have more than enough to meet her needs.

I don't know why she's being so weird about money. I've even told her we will take care of her after our loan to her is paid off. She will not be on the street, she will always have enough to eat. I do have to wonder if maybe I'm seeing the beginning stages of dementia or if the two mini-strokes did more damage to her brain than they thought. It's something I'll have to keep an eye on.

Sometimes Life is Weird

January 9th, 2013 at 07:42 am

In relation to talking about how hard it is for people to find a job in a previous husband's work is hiring. They had hired a guy for this one position and he was to start working on Friday. He never showed up. He never even called to say what happened. DH found out through the grapevine that he'd accepted another job with another company.

I find it totally unacceptable that a person would accept a job and then not call to say they were taking another job instead. It is highly unprofessional and this industry remembers things, so he could easily have shot himself in the foot. Also, it's like a slap in the face to all of the people who are out there desperately looking for work to be so arrogant as to not even bother to call. On the bright side, financially anyway, it looks like DH may get more extra weeks if they don't find someone.


Disneyland parkhopper tickets went up by a huge amount. It was $235 per person for a five day parkhopper and now it is $290. That's a difference of about $400 for the 7 of us. I'll be watching in case there are sales. They do sometimes have them. We won't be buying until the end of February.

With that jump in prices we will definitely be eating most of our meals in the condo. I figure we can get by with about $300 in groceries for 8 days for the four of us. I have no idea what organics and all natural foods will cost in Anaheim so I'm budgeting high. I am not risking DS's allergies by buying chemically laden foods.

DH and I are working on meal plans. I will be having some kind of meat (sausage, bacon, ham) and vegetables (probably cukes or cabbage) for breakfast and everyone else will do pancakes and eggs or french toast and bacon, ham, or sausage. We'll have sandwich and salad fixings for lunches. I'm thinking a beef roast and either chicken or turkey for meats unless they have actual deli meats without additives and corn syrup solids.

We get one free breakfast at the park for our magic morning. We want to eat BBQ one day at the ranch if it is open, we want to get Monte Cristo sandwiches once (possibly twice), and there's a great Italian place at CA that serves wonderful lasagna. I want skewers from the Bengal Barbecue, DH and I are thinking about just doing Blue Bayou for the two of us on our anniversary because of the expense. And we are thinking maybe either Mickey Mouse waffles or pancakes one day. We have requests for getting ice cream at the Carnation Cafe at least once, churros at least once, and one of the big turkey legs (split amongst two) and corn on the cob. I haven't set a budget yet for that, but I will be looking up prices at mouseplanet to see what I'm looking at.

We did find out we could reserve seating for the Colors show with the $15.99 dinner instead of with the $45 dinner and DH is supposed to find out about reserve seating for Fantasmic and the fireworks show as I am well past my days of sitting on the concrete for 2 hours to get a good seat. Plus with my knee I'd never get up again.

Boy, big vacations are expensive. But it is worth it to give this experience to our kids, our nieces and DH's sister.

Vacation Planning

January 1st, 2013 at 01:34 am

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.

Bits and Pieces

December 29th, 2012 at 05:44 am

We have actually managed pretty well with the portable heaters. I mean it wasn't comfortably warm or anything, but it wasn't freezing either. Just more sort of adequate. Fortunately the new control board for the furnace came in a lot earlier than they claimed it could get here and the guy came out and installed it around 2. It is nice to actually be warm again. I think that's something we can really take for granted sometimes until it's no longer there.


Some expenses that have gone out this week:

$50.47 for 3 prescriptions
$90.00 for physical therapy

Also $76.95 to AMEX which had a couple of autopays go through before I could cancel one and switch the other to the BoA card. The holidays made me absent-minded. Or maybe I'm just naturally absent-minded. It has a zero balance again and I don't plan to use it for gas until the BoA is paid off.

And $30 to DD for last week's and this week's allowance. Also 4 cents to DS who has finally paid off his advance and will resume getting his full allowance next week. As of next week the kids have to start banking half of their allowances for Disneyland.


Finally got through the preface of the book I got for Christmas. The review at Amazon said it was written from a Christian perspective, but I think it's coming off more like he's a religious whackadoodle. If it doesn't tone it down some I may not make it through the rest of the book. So far the writer does not come off as the sort of Christian that I strive to be, certainly. More the type that I tend to look at and think please get out of my religion, the type that makes that verse about not judging others very difficult to apply. At this point I am glad I did not purchase it myself. I hope it gets better. I hate to think it was a total waste of my SIL's money.


I do plan to get back to the food stamp challenge menus soon, but I totally torqued my knee on Christmas day and so it's making it hard for me to concentrate for the amount of time it takes to devote to one of those. It is getting better but is still swollen and sore. Hopefully it will continue to improve.


DH and I have been planning out more of our Disneyland trip. We have a hotel narrowed down for our overnight in Seattle. It has a hot breakfast included (not continental). That was the last thing that needed to be booked.


The chickens are doing really well. Finally put a light in a week or two ago. Today we got 10 eggs out of 12 chickens. Not bad. I miss Lady, though. She is doing well at the new farm, but I still miss her. She was my favorite duck and such a sweetheart.

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