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Archive for August, 2010

Kindergarten: Day 2

August 31st, 2010 at 05:44 am

DS woke up ready and happy for more school. The novelty of the new year has worn off with children #1-3, #4 maybe is still a bit thrilled. Anyhow, off they went, and I've got more time on my hands. I should add that our school offers kindergarten AM from 7:50 to 10:30, so bus arrives here at 11:00.

Yesterday in my spare time I managed to take a nap, contact the Illinois Dept of Revenue about the tax information they needed, make a batch of taco filling AND sloppy joes, do one load of laundry (wash/dry/fold/put away), do a minisort of the latest coupons, fill out paperwork for youngest child's speech eval today, and get through some more BTS paperwork. Fruitful!

I am finding that a bit of organization goes a long way. With a dinner that is quasi-prepared by the time the kids get in, I am better able to focus on them. Yesterday I was able to do 15 min a piece reading with the youngest ones. I was able to quiz second daughter on types of nouns, and I was able to help oldest daughter out with some Spanish stuff (cracks me up totally that my daughter with a totally Irish name - think names like Shiobhan Malloy or Mairead O'Malley - picked the Spanish name Juanita for her stint in Espanol). I also find that food choice is key at breakfast for the picky ones (fruit and/or yogurt and/or toast and peanutbutter is fine).

I am also finding that I have accepted without reluctance that there is *no* money to spend until Friday, except for my last $15 (of which $8 is really from last week - I have to figure what to do with it - maybe vacation fund or something). I am also discovering I'm a real homebody and I don't feel the need to "leave just to go out". My list of things to do around here looks like:
(1) Finish xSIL's wedding sampler (names/date)
(2) Finish son's First Communion sampler
(3) Start scrapbooking the most recent events first
(4) Work on bookcases in spare room
(5) Find plate hangers (which we bought ages ago) and have DH hang rooster plates in kitchen
(6) Tackle linen closet (my children do not share my love of flannel sheets and therefore I may donate all set of twin flannels!)

Etc, etc, etc. Day #2 of my time is starting now.

Well, self ... what are we gonna do?

August 30th, 2010 at 05:38 am

I am posing this question to myself, as my house is blissfully quiet after DH whisked all the kiddos off to school. Today was the official start day for the Kindergartener, though he did a "practice" day on Friday with a one-hour orientation.

DH forgot to put out a cereal bowl for the smallest one who usually sleeps late and doesn't make an appearance until about 8:30 or 9:00. He was cheerful, dressed himself, and was the biggest waver in the minivan.

I've increase the amount of volunteering I'm doing at the school starting next month.

I think I'm going back to bed for a bit.

P.S. I wanted to share the most free fun we've had in awhile. We had a dear friend over for dinner last night, and he is rather a science geek. He went online to heavens-above.com, and located the time that the ISS (Space Station) was going to be over our exact coordinates, also found when an Iridium flare was going to be. On short notice we all crammed into our minivan and drove over to a dark golf course and we knew exactly were to look and we saw the ISS pass, and then did catch the Iridium flare. My kids were still talking about it this AM.

The personal satisfaction of cash

August 28th, 2010 at 08:22 am

Yesterday I paid $42 for dog grooming in cash.

Today I sent DH to the boys' soccer team pictures with cash in the envelope for the smallest order. (After all of these years, I have learned I don't need to get the hugest package. A simple team picture - though over-priced - will go well with the action shots we take ourselves at the games.

Today we are attending our parish's block party. I am paying for our tickets in cash. I have allotted singles for each child to spend.

I have $25 cash for two pizzas for tomorrow's dinner from Pizza Hut when we have a friend over.

I have a $1.00 Rebate Cash toward my purchase of Sunday's paper at Walgreens.

I used vendor coupons for free Bakery cookies from Jewel, and free Italian bread from Dominicks. I'm keeping grocery spending down to a minimum, and am pleased that I have a bigger grocery stash than I originally thought.

I let the school know that I will be able to pay for the fees (milk and year book and party) on 9/17 because we have an Outdoor Education fee of $150 for our second oldest daughter to go to three-day sleep away camp.

I am also pleased that a bill that I thought I had to pay isn't really due until next payday (the 17th rather than 3rd). I will put that money toward our reserve account.

I'm getting a hang of the new Virtual Wallet at PNC bank; the accounts are "Spend" "Reserve" and "Growth". DH's direct deposit hasn't gone into effect yet, so I'm transferring money into it. But the joy of cash spending, is there isn't much to account for. When it is gone, it is gone.

I am finding I am not as bad a planner as I originally thought. A plan really does help.

Round 2 of Family Drama has left me ...

August 26th, 2010 at 04:35 pm

tired. Ugh, I managed to get through a major conflict taking the moral high road. An idiot will remain an idiot, I must remind myself. And people's true colors are shown when it comes to their lust for money. Greed can make people say some mean things.

That is it.

Cash Only: Week One Wrap Up

August 26th, 2010 at 05:47 am

We survived the cash only living Week One. And we did it with about $8 to spare (from the $250). I did take care of some unexpected things. We had enough money to eat well, drive our cars without worrying about running out of gas, entertain ourselves and haave a bit of fun, and take care of some needed kid items (soccer cleats, flash drive, assignment notebooks and a dictionary, etc).

DH commented this AM that he just realized how much money he spent weekly on Slim Jims and gum at the gas station and his $1.88 coffees at the work cafeteria. His car really only requires about $28.50 a week in gas and he had enough money left over to golf tomorrow morning (only $10.50 before 5:30 AM at the golf course behind our house). Yay for his observations!

I had two NSDs (yesterday and today). I didn't have to monitor the checking account balance online each and every day wondering if some forgotten check came through, because what was in the envelope was what we had. And I kept reminding myself when that was gone, it was gone. Nothing to borrow it from, etc. With the kids returning to school this week, I've had a bit more free time than usual to match up coupons to sale ads and feel that I'll be able to cap grocery spending tomorrow to a minimum.

Week 2 begins tomorrow. Smile

Managing the cash

August 25th, 2010 at 05:38 am

I am quite happy that today is a NSD, meaning that I'm able to conserve the little bit of cash that I have remaining. Friday is replenish day, and I've already got my grocery list/menu plan for the upcoming week (plus I've accounted for our weekend $ -parish block party and having friends over for dinner on Sun).

My mom took me and the little guy for breakfast yesterday at Caribou Coffee. Not only did we get a free breakfast, but I found a dime too! (Who ever thought that I'd actually be tracking the money that I found on the ground - inspired my baselle). My mom also bought me a cross stitch pattern that I've liked for awhile - we found it at the resale store brand new for $2 (with the original $8 price on it). Nice thing about this is it is uses standard floss colors, as opposed to hand-dyed floss which can run up to $2.00 per color. I have to finish up two other projects (nearing completion) prior to starting this.

Back to school week is going well, though my oldest daughter tiredly explained this morning that she thinks she should go to bed earlier (stayed up too late last nite watching AGT). I went to the school Mass yesterday morning, ran out and about with my mom, came home mowed the lawn, returned to school for a 2:30 meeting with my 3rd grader's teacher, then it was soccer practice.

Today I'm leaving the house only for Curriculum Night.
Hope all have a good day!

Further Adventures of the Cash Queen

August 24th, 2010 at 09:20 am

I'm well into the first week of Cash Only. I have found it helpful to put all the numbers down on paper in a spreadsheet fashion. I'm finding my way through spending that isn't necessarily in one category. I did have to realize that I'm can't be too crazy if I spend the *hoped for* surplus. Example: my second oldest daughter needed a Bible for the next three years of her education. Cost: $20. The school recommended assignment notebooks were $3.50 x 3. The roller rink where the BTS party was didn't honor coupons, so I had to cough up an additional $4. These things I cannot worry about.

I am finding that overall, the picture isn't looking quite bad. All of our bills are paid (including the increased tuition and the goal of double the minimum payment to credit cards). I've accounted for groceries/gas/miscellaneous in the weekly spending amounts. We have a range of $280 to $360 left every two week for the extraneous things (classes for kids/minor car or home repair/gifts/etc) My goal is to use that money wisely and subsidize our savings.

The kids are all BTS with the exception of the youngest who starts kindergarten on Monday. I'm working on the list of thing to get done around the house for the several weeks. Quiet time to myself ... something I haven't had in almost 13 years, I'm hoping to make the most out of it!

Cash Queen: Further Observations about living on Cash

August 23rd, 2010 at 07:39 am

I am not really liking it (said petulently) If you could see me now my bottom lip is slightly protuding in a pout. The ease of the plastic has been replaced my the stifling constraint of wondering if one has enough cash for purchases. Ehh ...

My money situation became slightly muddled in that my mother gave me $30 cash (to pay be back for a $22 comforter for my son's birthday gift and $7 toward a sham to match). I used $20 of that to purchase an $18 lamp for my daughters' bedroom re-do. Target had great bedding items on clearance and the girls are having their room repainted. They purchased really colorful (striped and polka-dots) comforters/shams for $20.38 pretax at Target. I did cover the $5 tax on their bedding. All in all that purchase of $64.25 got the two bedding sets (they gave me $40) and a really cool floor lamp. As far as I'm concerned the big ticket items for their reno are done. That didn't throw me, the following did.

I alluded to family hooplah and drama last week. It was over gossip and half-truths and for whatever reason, it isn't really getting to me. I am finding personal satisfaction in standing my ground and staying out of situations I didn't really create. ANYHOW, that said, DH has resigned from the second job of managing my father's apartment buildings. He has returned keys to all the apartments (via my brother) and I have directed the two calls we've had this past week from the tenants back to my father.

The benefit to this resignation is that we (my kids and I) have had him all weekend with no phone calls, no stress, no working around showings or fixings of leaky toilets. We had a relaxed and generally happier DH/father. We played Wii, we went to the park and played tennis for two hours yesterday, we went to Mass in one car and then travelled as a family to Target and Home Depot for last minute school items that we didn't pick up. I had to break my $50 because I was $3 short at Home Depot. The flash drive wasn't on sale for $9.99 as the day prior, rather it was $12.99 - using all of the money I brought with me. I now have $46 left of my $50. I will also have to spend about $8 for the skate party today for the kids, but I did find coupons for free admission for birthday child (my oldest son is 8 today), and get one free for my two girls.

Friday is the day that I return to the bank to replenish my cash stash. I am so proactive that I have my withdrawal slip ready and waiting!

All in all, the Living on Cash is going well. I am not happy that I needed to break into my $50 bill, but under normal weeks I won't have to buy soccer cleats, flash drives, plus shaving items for my daughters who are heading into teen-age hood. And not to mention the handy dandy scrublet bearing Loreal 360 on the Go (though it rang up as $6.99 but the shelf price was $4.99) and I had 2-$1.00 off coupons.

In my next post, I'll share the random thoughts of Cash King on this experiment.

Cash Queen: Random Observation

August 21st, 2010 at 02:30 pm

from Day Two. Living with cash only is inconvient. Living with cash only requires discipline. Living with cash only requires informed choices.

There is no such thing as a splurge on your first week of cash only. Coupons will quickly become your best friend.

Despite my small frustrations regarding living on the cash in my envelope, I did survive and I didn't give in to the temptation to reach for my debit card.


Cash Queen: Introduction (First few hours)

August 20th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Ok, so I decided to dive into the cash only pool.

I went to the bank to withdraw my $250. Ten - $20s and One - $50. I'd like to not spend the $50 - I'm using a bit of psychology here with myself.

I told DH that this went into enforcement today. He laughed and said, "I've been disarmed" - referring to his penchant for $1.88 debits for coffee and $1.89 Slim Jims at the gas station when he does his gas fill-ups. I have $40 for him - gas money for the week (through Sat, 8-28) and his "goodies". I did offer to purchase him a canister of Slim Jims at Aldi's - or whatever their version is, I know I've seen them there.

While at the bank, I withdrew our monthly tuition payment of $420 - drove it over to the business office and paid.

I put gas into my car - $35 worth. I had to go into the station to pay first. I had to get a receipt.

Soccer-playing Son #2 needed cleats for his soccer game tomorrow. New ones (not the best brand) were on sale for $16 at Target and they were sold out. We went to the used sports place and found almost-perfect Nike brand for $10.81.

The change from transactions is going into the "fun fund" jar. It presently has $3.00 in it (change from my purse) and today I found a nickle at the park.

Rather than run through the drive-thru for $1 frostys, we came home and opened a $1.35 2L of Pepsi from our stasth which I was saving for entertaining, but it *is* 90+ degrees in the sun and we were at the park and my boys are a grimy mess, so it is time to enjoy a cold Pepsi!

Stay tuned.

Gonna jump into the cash only pool

August 20th, 2010 at 06:15 am

starting today. I'll be taking out $250 cash from the bank (ten $20s put into the evelopes for: gas, groceries, entertainment/misc AND one $50 that I will spend only as last resort). We will need gas and groceries (I will obviously need to do a better comprehensive inventory and meal plan while shopping). I've accounted for entertainment (the kids' BTS skating party) and a decent miscellaneous category.

I guess you'll be seeing daily posts from me pertaining to the spending log. Wish me luck!

Who lives on cash?

August 19th, 2010 at 08:02 am

I'm just wondering here who does the cash envelope system?

I'm lacking the discipline to adhere to the budget categories while using the debit card. I find that I "borrow" from other places, which sort of defeats the purpose.

I saw a segment on Suze where a blogger did this for three months and saved an average of something like $700 monthly, though she returned to her old ways of debit and credit after that period.

It just got me thinking, and wondering if anyone here has employed this method.

Anyone here tried it?

New favorite quote

August 19th, 2010 at 06:13 am

I have a church-compiled cookbook for the 1940s from a small Iowa farming town.

While looking through it last night, I came across the following annonymous quote:

"Just about the time you think you can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends."

Glad to report that while I've managed to put together a list of expenses and estimates for those lilne items anticipated for the rest of the year, including Christmas, I'm happy to report that if I am realistic about our spending (allowing more per week so I'm not stressing), we will be OK. This includes Christmas and the holiday season. I don't believe I will achieve my goal of becoming a full mortgage payment ahead per month (more than). I usually pay it two weeks prior to the due date.

Drama-free Mama

August 18th, 2010 at 05:44 am

Yesterday was fraught with anxiety here at my house. No sense going into the details of the dumbness of the situation, but I have come to realize that I am driving the boat of my life, navigating the waters. It is quite easy to get into that place where all I am doing is bouncing off of rocks. I will say that this involves my husband and my father (whom I struggle to have a normal relationship with). The dynamics are muddied with loyalty, blood is thicker than water, money is power, etc.

I found that while I sort of did a mini-vent with my previous post, IRL I acted quite differently. I did listen to DH vent, I had to say that my relatives are nuts, does this really surprise you, let's us move on.

The monetary ramificiations of this are DH will most likely not be working the second job for my father for some time. He has returned all keys to all buildings - rather I will be returning these to my brother's mailbox later today.

DH automatically jumped to the "I will have to find a second job because you really count on that money" branch in this tree of life.

I was able to remind him that the money that he makes goes directly to the car portion of our savings account. Granted it won't grow as fast, but it will grow.

The positive money things that have happened lately are (which will help us weather the loss of income), I haven't used any of the "car" money for things - and these are things that I might have felt justified borrowing funds, but I didn't have to:

(1) Same disowning father paid for the dance dresses for my daughters.
(2) Our school gave us an additional $2,000 tuition grant
(3) The hospital bill that I owe on was reduced to $250 (of which I'm making $25 monthly payments)
(4) My grandma just sent a $500 check as a gift
(5) The pediatrician gave us free samples for several month's for my daughter's asthma meds
(6) The tenant appears to be paying 1/2 the rent every two weeks in a timely fashion - she probably realizes if she doesn't she is out

The non-monetary benefits of this are DH will be around a lot more. I will forward all issues pertaining to apartment building management to my father's telephone number. This too shall pass.

I'm thinking that today I will be passing on my trip to use coupons on items that I *really* don't need and had better think in terms of an *as-needed* basis.

I really want to teach my children that while life throws you curves, you can manage without the drama, hence the post title of "Drama-fee Mama" - which is my goal for the day.


August 17th, 2010 at 04:20 pm

Family drama has me feeling a bit blah. I hate being sucked into things when I've made a concscious effort to stay out of other people's dysfunctional relationships and then my silence becomes the accusable offense of "breech of loyalty and trust."

Monetary relevance? None. I did though resort to emotional eating: a lone Kit Kat on the top shelf of the fridge. Not good for my diet, I know.

Leave me alone.

Growth (Savings) Account at PNC Bank is paying

August 17th, 2010 at 06:56 am

1.10% on balances under $24,999.

I opened an account online yesterday and hope to transfer the entirety of our EF fund ($11K) to it by week's end. We don't make much interest, but more is better than less.

The concept of the "virtual wallet" is a three part system: (1) your checking account and debit card ("Spend") to take care of your daily expenses and track your budget category balances, (2) your checking account 2 is the "Reserve" account which is for short-term savings goals and acts as an overdraft account, and (3) the savings account is the "Growth" account for long-term stability.

There are random opportunities for savings - "Punch the Pig" where you can transfer $1 from spending to savings every time you designate (every day, every time the pig appears randomly, every time you pay a bill online). I like the concept that it all very visual. I'm not a high-tech person, but if I was I could view this from my mobile phone, etc.

A goal for this is to start getting a better hand on the piddly little debit card usages which really add up and make it annoying. The spending plan needs a shake-up, and maybe this is it.

PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet

August 16th, 2010 at 03:12 pm

Any users of it? If so, I'm wondering what your has your experience with it been?

We were happy with our checking at National City, which was purchased by PNC Bank. Haven't noticed any real difference in service (we like all of our tellers who know us by name) and one of the branches in our area has Sunday hours.

I'm thinking about joining up - the features look interesting like monitoring your spending categories and random savings ("punch the pig"). There is also a deal of additional $75 for direct deposit and ten debit card purchases, plus $25 more if you use five online billpays.

What do you think?

The huge cost of the last hurrah ...

August 15th, 2010 at 09:08 am

Meaning the last weekend before the last week of summer vacation.

Our spending looks something like this:

Fri: $10 for admission to pool for BTS 7th Grade & Family aka Meet and Greet of the New Families

Sat: $32 dinner at Steak N Shake after dance competition in Milwaukee (kids eat free, used $1 off coupons x3 for DH and my meals and bogo on the shakes) Food $26.59 (not bad for seven) and $5 tip

Sun: $60 cash to Chicago White Sox game - my brother has seasons tickets and DH and the boys went. I sent them with two small well-stocked coolers (nachos and chips, soda, peanuts, cookies, candy bars) for the tail-gaiting portion and I bought all the boys/DH White Sox shirts and caps (at Marshalls on discount and we had two brand new caps from a few years back when my daughters danced and we walked the bases) Don't know how much of that will come home - I'm banking on nothing remaining.

$15 to see Eclipse for the girls + bffs and myself.

I have to laugh how fast we blew through the money - we usually swim for free at the Y on Fridays and watch DVDs from the library for our entertainment. On Saturdays we usually go to the kids' soccer games, etc. I think if we entertained ourselves like this all the time, we wouldn't enjoy it as much when we do these things!

Hope everyone enjoys their day!

"I don't know how you do it."

August 13th, 2010 at 06:34 am

I posted several days ago about doing comparisons and feeling inadequate. OK, so my disorganization cost me $42 in money, two trips to Kohl's (45 min) in time, and some frustration (looking for shoes that were never to be found).

7:45 this AM I get a call from one of the mothers of a fellow soccer team child on the team the DH is assistant coaching. She wanted to know what time the game is tomorrow. I'm not really sure exactly because we're not going to be there. I said, "Wait one minute, I can find the schedule." There is was, right under the pile of bills to be paid.

I tell her the time and place and team color. She said to me, "I don't know how you do it ... keeping tack of all that kind of stuff. I can barely manage and I only have three ..."

Makes me want to fall on the floor laughing. That is in this instance the moons aligned and I was able to have the information at hand. I *am* doing better keeping track of things, and I've managed yet another bag of trash, another bag of donations, and antoher bag of kids clothes to give to our friends.

I'm thinking that gracious living might start with a peaceful attitude and a light heart.

Goals for the day:
(1) Go through the DVD's - purge 30% and better organize the remaining ones. Why is it when I want to watch a Harry Potter movie all we can find are the outgrown Doras?
(2) Around the block in the Sketcher shape-ups (Inspired by whitestripe's comment on the fallen off the wagon post)

And my girls got their new Irish dance dresses yesterday. Beautiful ... beautiful ... beautiful ... and both declare that they are so much more comfortable than the old small/tight ones they've been wearing. Off to Milwaukee for a competition tomorrow. At least it isn't in the ice arena!

Sigh of relief ...

August 12th, 2010 at 02:53 pm

My oldest daughter has asthma and saw the doctor today for her annual visit. I asked about a generic equivalent for her Flovent, and the doctor gave us six months of samples. $130.50 a month x 6 is a lot of money saved. She also gave us two albuteral inhalers which run us $40 each.

We were notified that we received an additional $2,000 grant for tuition, bringing the tuition we will pay from $6,202 to $4,200. Do-able.

My father offered to pay for my daughters' Irish dance dresses. He apparently paid for my brother's new furnace and a/c and hot water heater to a tune of $3,500. I offered to pay him back ($2,356 on the low end or $2,856 on the high end) once I resell the old dress (3) and get the remaining $406 of our state tax refund. He told me to put that money in the bank for future reference. I guess I haven't really paid much attention to the equitable nature that he (my father) possesses.

It *is* nice not to wonder about all of the money that seems to leave my checkbook at an alarmingly past speed.

$.70 remain and if you can't change us, you might as well join us ...

August 12th, 2010 at 07:43 am

I was feeling rather unorganized and haphazzard yesterday (see my previous post).

I did replace the missing shoes for my second daughter. I had a $50 gift card I was "saving". We ended up getting her school shoes for $17.99 (down from $34) and Nike gym shoes $29.99 (down from $40). With tax it came to $49.30 and I have $.70 remaining on my gift card. I asked for cash back since was under a $1, the cashier said it wasn't possible.

DH and I went out to dinner last night, using a $20 mystery shopper gift card. We ate at a local Irish pub and the food was good and it was a fun date night which cost us $12 OOP ($7 food balance and $5 tip). My oldest daughter was swimming with friends, so we had my mother come over to watch the kids.

AGT was on ('that' show that I shouldn't let my kids watch) - results were being announced. We got in at about 8:30 and found dear 'ole mom piled on the sectional with the kids, passing around a bag of rice cakes discussing if an acapella group was going to advance to the next round or a solo-ist was going.
So my mother decided to join in the family fun while she was here ...

Not much today, gunning for a NSD-er

The life I wish for is

August 11th, 2010 at 09:01 am

over at the Small Notebook blog by Rachel someone. I'm enthralled at the blog - I'm amazed that her life seems so gracious and simple and quiet and unchaotic and ... I am jealous.

Yesterday was so hot that we stayed in and watched TV for most of it -- I didn't buy my son soccer cleats for his practice and of course he was the only kid without them (though it didn't seem to bother him a bit and he is the best player out there). I sent him with a pink water bottle that the little girls on the team laughed at. Didn't bother him a bit. I did manage to get the third grader to the soccer field in time for his practice (which is good since DH is asst coach). I didn't grocery shop -- so my kids had cereal for dinner -- in front of the TV watching AGT's Youtube version. My mother said to me "I can't believe you let your kids watch that" (she apparently turned it on during a 'disturbed' illusionist's trick which left me amazed. Then I stayed up until 12:30 (way past my bedtime) reliving my days of youth while wathcing "Purple Rain" on MTV. I slept in and my kids had to have yogurt and graham crackers for breakfast. My grandmother (who left) said to my mother "She'll find her groove when the kids go back to school." Apparently my family isn't appreciating my lack of a scheduled existence anymore.

So in my dreamed-for life, I have cupboards chock-full of healthy snacks that my kids like, a homecooked delicious meal on the table when we come home happily from our various activities, my children go to sleep in their beds instead of falling asleep strewn all over the floor in the family room or my bed, I don't have overdue library books on the floor of my dirty minivan, I look good in all my clothes - even the casual ones (presently I'm in DH's old T-shirt and my own favorite work out shorts that sadly have a small hole in them).

All of this stems from the lost shoes ... my second oldest daughter needed an exchange in size on her BTS shoes. I took care of this three weeks ago and the shoes are gone. I've searched high and low and every where inbetween. All I can conclude is that the shoes went out with the recycleables (that trip yielded us seven pairs of school shoes and gym shoes and lots of boxes to be taken out to the garage) which are obviously long-gone.

I now need to rebuy my daughter shoes since last years are trashed and too small. I am sad that I need to use some of my saved $50 JCP gift card. The only good thing about this is that it is reduced-tax spending week.


The blond strikes again

August 9th, 2010 at 05:48 am

referring to myself, of course.

Last year while doing our state income taxes, I neglected to include the statement from our kids' school showing that we paid over $2,500 in tuition and they held up around $300 of our return.

This year I was very careful to include all documentation for this deduction. However, I neglected to include our parcel number for our real estate property tax deducation.

We received $436 of our return; they are kindly holding $406 until I provide them with the proper documentation.

Don't I ever learn? At least the money will be coming, but it would be nice to have had it all at the same time.

Dare I hold out hope for getting it 100% right for next year? I'm not so sure ...

Anyone in need of

August 7th, 2010 at 03:34 pm

diaper coupons? I am coming across more and more of these. I know lots of moms here are cloth-diapering moms, but if you use disposibles (or disposable - not sure of spelling), I've got some coupons.

If you're interested send me your email. I'll delete it after contacting you.


August 7th, 2010 at 07:18 am

My grandma (90 years old) is heading home today after a three week visit. This is what we've done: took G-ma to a potluck dinner at Church, went to Cantigny in Winfield, IL and walked around the gardens and took the mansion tour, we went out to eat several times, walked around our local downtown, been to the library, went to the mall, worked a-gazillion jigsaw puzzles, watch the movies "What About Bob" and "The Secret Life of Bees". My grandma also got to see the dance studio where the girls dance and saw my soccer star son at practice. My mom and stepdad took my g-ma to Iowa to visit a cousin/neice, etc. I think she had a good time, and the thing that I'm realizing is that quality family time doesn't necessarily equate to spending a lot of money. We did lots of reminiscing and talking about the past, looking at old pictures, etc.

DH took the girls plus two friends each to a preview of the Jonas Brothers concert on Thursday evening. Both girls brought their best friends and their sisters, so DH had the range of girls: going into 3rd grade up to high school. We spent $4.51 at Hobby Lobby and the girls decorated the minivan's windows with "isms" like I *heart* Joe, Nick, Kevin; Burning Up for the Jonas Brothers, Honk if you love JB. The tickets and the parking were free. My children spent $22 on snacks at the venue ($8 for dippin dots, and $5 for a pretzel, and some waters). Afterwards, DH took the girls to Wendy's and spent $25 on items from the $1 menu. And as they were at Wendy's at 12:30, Alyson Stoner (she played Sarah Baker in the Cheaper by the Dozen movies and is a voice in Disney's cartoon "Phineas and Ferb") and the Camp Rock 2 dancers were at the Speedway next door. Apparently, Alsyon was very nice to our group of girls, had pictures taken, autographed T-shirts, and said that daughter #2 was so sweet and polite. The oldest girl in the group (the HS) posted pictures on Facebook and this has been the hit of the summer in their social circle. DH laughed when he asked the highschool if she had a good time, with a sigh she said it was *amazing* - she was able to touch all 3 brothers. So funny to hear these stories!

I've noticed that I since I'm attempting to mature and break some bad habits (gossip), I'm not really that emotionally vested in my brother's drama (parting ways with the GF). She called to talk about something other than the break-up and then when the conversation headed for that, rather than say anything to her about what I really think, I stuck to the "Life is too short to be in a place that you don't want to be." Didn't speak to her motives or what my brother might have done or not done. I don't think his relationship with her will leave us with any lifelong friendships (unlike the XSIL who we're still close with after six years). She said she'd like to get together (part of her 'say the right thing' package) in the future. I don't really see that happening ...

On the money front, things are stable. The tenant paid the $725 for 1/2 months rent and in two weeks she will pay the additional $275 to pay $1,000. All of the bills are paid for August. I must not get overzealous and think I'll pay all of the bills for September in August - I must fight that unrealistic straight-jacket thinking. I've already spent $45 on BTS for four kids and don't have much more to get. I have to pay $100 at the end of the month for license plate stickers and we have a weekend away in September which I'll need $130 for hotel and plan what we're doing (Dutch Village in Holland and visit to Lake Michigan) and plan accordingly.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

(Unserious) Hope for the day

August 3rd, 2010 at 08:28 am

That my newly-dumped brother doesn't co-sign on a lease for his gold-digging ex-girlfriend.

It is bad enough that he is giving the ex-girlfriend's daughter his 1992 Lexus.

And my mother hopes that he changes his will so ex-girlfriend doesn't get his house in the event of his untimely death.

I am:

Happy for my marriage and the health of my family. Nothing is perfect, but I don't really want anything more than I have right now.

We return to the regularly scheduled program ...

Love for the right reasons ...

August 2nd, 2010 at 01:27 pm

My brother's girlfriend broke up with him last Wednesday. This was the day after she learned that she passed our state's licensing exam for ther doctorate studies. She has a job lined up with a starting salary of $80K. She has never contributed to their financial life/household in the 3.5 years that they've been together. I certainly hope that next time he finds someone who loves him for the right reasons.

Today I am thankful that DH and I were happy even when we were both newly married poor college students with no more than three part-time jobs and $350 in savings.