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Archive for January, 2013

Perceptions, Reality, and What Would You Do?

January 31st, 2013 at 11:00 am

I have a dilemma, and I need some advice on a situation.

I found myself in the uncomfortable situation as being a sort of "quasi Committee Chair" for our Cub Scout Pack. I have three Scouts and my husband is leader for the 2nd Grader Den. I am the secretary/quasi leader for the 5th grader who is moving on to Boy Scouts later in February.

The guy who is stepping up to be the new Cubmaster or Committee Chair is a high-maintenance sort of guy, and I wake up to daily emails from him that do pertaining to Scouting, but some of it is just odd. I realize that he probably thinks that we are friends, given we spent a day with his family at their beach house and had a great time. Other than that, we don't socialize outside of school. He is abrasive and has alienated those in charge who are moving on. They don't want to deal with him, and consequently everyone choses to deal with ME and I'm in the middle. My role for the new regime is "Treasurer" (I have plenty of other volunteer work to keep me busy outside of Scouts).

On Friday night when others were assembling the Pinewood Derby Track he sent me an email (via text) that said "I think I am getting the cold shoulder." OK?

The most recent email last night had to do with the new policy regarding gays in Scouting.

I assume he perceived me to share the doctrinal view of homosexuality. I love my faith for lots of things, and do not agree with everything. I don't personally chose to use birth control and have a largish family (it would be large if all of my pregnancies ended in healthy, live children). It is none of my business what people chose to do to limit the size of their families. We are pretty devout in our faith life and my children know a lot of their religion inside and out. But guess what, my girls wear bikinis and one even has multiple piercings, and she's waiting until 16 so she can have her cartilage pierced. Because we limit our social obligations during the times of Advent and Lent to focus on our family, we are perceived as "the way right". And guess what, we are Pro-Lifers with the exception of rape/incest/life of the mother. However, I wouldn't even dare to pass judgment on someone who has an abortion. Ultimately it isn't up to me.

I pointed out to this person that I like an inclusive view of Scouts, and DH and I signed the petition to let the gay Eagle Scout be an Eagle Scout. What does it really have to do with life? We can't even say that Scouting is Christian when there are Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish awards of faith. I am dealing with some who wants to blend the issues.

We're butting heads on things like money now. The budget for our annual banquet is $2,300 for 100 people. Last year there were 130 and they did the whole thing for $1,700. This guy is a foodie who wants to do it organically. which I don't think we can afford. $5.50 for one chicken breast?

The worst thing is we are having three long-time individuals "graduate" and in the past the budget has covered their appreciation gifts/plaque. This guy is saying this year we're taking up a collection because it isn't coming out of the budget.

I'm thinking about fighting for the budget to cover these items as it always has in the past. Or do I just resign and let him deal with it all.

I'm already in hot water because our banquet is in the school hall (basement) of our 100 year old school, and I moved it to the basement of our new church so the mother with ataxia and a walker can come without a problem. Oy, do you fight or resign?

January Wrap-Up

January 30th, 2013 at 01:02 pm

Recap for January; all in all I'm pretty proud.

1) Paid January and February mortgage payments, including an additional $933 additional bringing us to an even $258,000 owed.
2) I made January and February payments for braces ($426, $406 regular plus $20 additional) and for tuition ($350, $300 regular plus additional $50)
3) Made a $1,500 contribution to my IRA
4) Upped 401K for DH to 11%, adding $640 roughly to the vanguard money
5) Used credit card not at all
6) Skipped ads and coupons and shopped at Aldi's keeping grocery spending down
7) Four Rxs (new and transferred) added $100 gift cards to the grocery spending
8) Finished the taxes, getting back $4,526 for Federal and $967 from state (It helps to have a large family, actually my children were referred to as a "tribe" at the ortho appointment, someone didn't believe I had that many of them).
9) I paid cash for the hotel for our weekend away in March
10) I did a great job finding bargains on clothing items purchased
11) Extraneous spending including new sporting equipment for the kids (helmet for skier, and new soccer ball and shin guards for the boys).
12) Finished Scholarship paperwork for oldest daughter
13) Making decent progress on paperwork for younger daughter's scholarship

Whew, feels like I've accomplished a lot, since losing the last two weeks to illness. I have two home today. Oh, well.

I should disclose that this isn't going to be our average months. We had some generous Christmas gifts (monetary ones) thrown our way to help up make major progress.

I also opened the Chase account and will get $100 back after I spend $500, and I will make $75 after I transfer $10K from the $20K EF to the Sharebuilder account.

I am ready for February.

I am richer than Zimbabwe

January 30th, 2013 at 06:49 am

According to someone high up in the government of Zimbabwe, the country only has a balance of $217 in their savings account.

I've got more than that in my checking account right now, and payday/rent collection is in two days.

I'm sleep deprived, but have turned the corner in the "poor me" department. Finding out that an acquaintance's child has been diagnosed with leukemia can be a definite wake-up call to be thankful for what you have.

I am off to the doctor again with yet another child who most likely has strep.

The humorous moment yesterday that made me laugh hysterically when sick daughter retold it: She was in the School Office talking to the secretary about her sore throat when the principal walked in and said to her "Well, N, if your skirt were longer it would keep you warmer, and you wouldn't be sick." HA! My daughter has three more months left at that school in that uniform skirt and there isn't anything left to let out. Let's hope the weather warms up and this won't be the cause of her illness. Smile

Thankfully it is most likely another case of strep

January 29th, 2013 at 08:12 pm

I am adding gratitude to my list of "ism" lately: my whines and sighs and groans as yet another child is down.

Younger daughter came home with a sore throat, the exact same kind that oldest son experienced prior to be diagnosed with strep. I just got my older daughter on the mend after an allergic reaction to trace elements of tree nuts.

I can't complain though because a 4th grader at our parish was just diagnosed with leukemia. No details were released, just an 8PM rosary tonight, which I didn't go to. It certainly was a slap in the face to me when I complain about my lot with these germ puffs.

So here I sit in my pajamas, thankful for the health of my children. And my husband. And that my mother's case of the shingles isn't too bad.

Money is just a tool that makes the economy go around. Health and happiness can't be bought. I'm going to say a rosary and count my blessings.

Thanks for listening.

Yay for small successes ...

January 28th, 2013 at 06:56 pm

I had to go back to bed this morning and clocked a four hour nap before waking up at noon. DD was feeling better, ate and kept the food down, caught up on some tv, then did her homework. I managed to get to the grocery store spending $40 on an odd assortment of groceries and items (from the top of my head). I also got the 5th grader caught up on the work he missed last week. And two loads of laundry and one dishwasher load. I straightened and it looks less like a hobo or gypsy camp around here. I also breaded some chicken tenderloins, made a side of pasta noodles, and found a box for cinnamon bread in the cabinet leftover from the holidays, so I made that. Feeling much more productive.

And then I sat down and entered all the information into Turbo Tax. Our federal refund is $4,400 ($300 less than last year) and our state return is $974 ($50 less than last year). Sigh of relief ... I can now get going on the scholarship and financial aid paperwork.

So I am feeling again like a productive member of society. I'm hoping that everyone is back in school tomorrow ... might I dare to wish.


January 28th, 2013 at 05:47 am

First for the money stuff: am going to file taxes and take care of financial aid and scholarship paperwork for daughters early this week. Have an offer from Sharebuilder for $75 additional funds deposited if I transfer in $10K. We have $20K EF sitting there in the money market, so might take advantage of that twice (one for me, one for DH). Also was approved for the Chase Card that pays $100 if you spend $500 in three months (that is my grocery/household budget for the month, so will be easily able to knock that out of the park).

Now for the whine:

Was a hectic, but enjoyable weekend, despite feeling really bad. We had the Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts on Saturday. Yesterday we had Open House for Catholic Schools Week, and I set up for the Father Daughter Dance and then helped daughter get ready for it. On top of this, I had one child miss 2.5 days of a 4 day school week, so we had lots of make up work to do. Life with sick kids makes it hard to get anything done (as most parents here know). So I'm behind on laundry, grocery shopping, and general cleaning. I am proficient in making beds in the family room, finding missing remotes, making gross medication taste better, and I am a good Lego builder.

I've had a long string of sick ones here: first DH with his peritonsillar abscess, then son with first Step test negative, a week of non eating, and finally a positive strep test. I've also had a daughter with a bad knee from stretching while doing the splits (this really only required an Ace bandage and advil, but still had to deal with it). Also had the random sick feeling child home for one day here of there.

Last night, DH and daughter came home early from the dance. Daughter felt sick and went right to bed, only to wake up three hours later to several rounds of vomit. And she spent the rest of the night in my bed saying she didn't feel well, etc. She's obviously home today and I've been up since about 2:30. DH was a bit foul as things at work are getting really bad.

*whine* I don't wanna do this any more *whine*

Now me ... defintiely not ideal

January 26th, 2013 at 08:15 am

OK, I think the germ puff that tested + for Strep yesterday has passed it on to me? Feels like razor blades reside in the back of my throat?

And this is not the weekend to be sick:
Today - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby
Tomorrow - Open House for Catholic Schools Week AND the Father Daughter Dance for the 9th grader

The sickling who has Strep, tested - on Monday (apparently testing too early). He's not eaten solid food since Sunday and has lost 5 pounds according to the scale at the Dr.s yesterday (from a previous visit in Oct was the starting point I used). I spent $15 at the grocery store yesterday on things he thought he'd like to eat, of those only one can of spaghettios has he attempted. We had a ton of $1 fruit smoothies from Burger King, so he's eaten at least one a day, and I got him a shake from McD's yesterday.

This means that I haven't tracked the spending too closely because I have tons of receipts piling up. Not too interested right now.

8th Grader for her science fair project advanced to the next round of Regionals. I'm pretty confident that she'll go to state which is May 3-4 and we've got the 2nd grader's Communion at 5:00 Mass on Saturday. It will all work out ...

Oh well, thanks for listening ...

Ugh ... when will it end ... and joining the soccer cult?

January 25th, 2013 at 10:31 am

Oldest son tested negative for Strep on Monday. He was home on Tuesday, did school on Wednesday, came home sick yesterday. He went today still complaining of a sore throat. The pediatrician wanted to see him again before the weekend. Friday's test for Strep: Positive.

Another round of antibiotics in my house.

And, oh joy, my boys are all invited to join the soccer club. And I am requested to forward headshots of them for their player cards?! This is like a testosterone version of "Dance Moms" with Miss Abbey and her dance pyramid.


Kids and Money

January 24th, 2013 at 05:25 pm

My kids have been talking about money lately.
1) Younger daughter drilled a newbie Irish dancer and was paid $20/hour. She gave me half for her savings account.
2) Older daughter had her braces adjusted today and will have another adjustment in 3 weeks. She's on pace for being out of them in the allotted 15 months, as she's 4.5 months in. The agency she has been scouted by (a large one with a Chicago office) lists their average hourly pay rate at $325. She said that would be a nice way to defray college costs.

Life. Money. Soccer.

January 24th, 2013 at 06:29 am

Money-wise, it's all looking good. One week to pay day/rent collect. Enough remaining in the gas and groceries categories to get us through.

This week was Open Evals for the soccer club in our area (read this as "elite" players). Due to our economic situation, my boys are park district players (read this as "affordable"). Last Summer/Fall, my husband (for his Fraternal Organization) partnered up with this Club in order to run a Soccer Challenge. My 10-year old ended up beating out the Club players and took first in state. The President of the club was in contact with DH about having my son come and try out. DH was smart enough to mention that "our schedule and budget would dictate if this is a possibility, but thank you." So, we've had the "please don't let money be an issue to dissuade you from pursuing this" conversation.

Evaulations for two of three boys have been completed, and I'm already sensing that I won't be fitting in with this group of Soccer Moms. I successfully managed to avoid being a Dance Mom in all of my years with Irish Dance.

Still waiting to hear what sort of discounted fees they'll charge.

Funny note to end on, my mom was at the resale shop associated with our local hospital and she came across a sweatshirt from this soccer club; she picked it up to buy it, until she realized that there was a last name on the back ...

The Germ Dance Continues

January 22nd, 2013 at 05:51 am

DH had his go with the abscess on the tonsils last week, with follow up yesterday. He was told he has an increased likelihood of this happening again, and if it does: tonsils out. He said he laughed at that prospect; he is 44.

Had the 5th grader to the pediatrician yesterday and he's got acute pharyngitis. No Rx required, but he can't swallow and is sort of high-strung, so I'm hoping he makes a speedy recovery.

DH just took the kids to school and the 2nd grader started sobbing, didn't want to go, and starting coughing with the croupy-like bark. Uhhh ... at least this was after yesterday's open evaluations for our community's soccer league.

Money-wise, we're looking OK. Our weekend entertainment spending didn't exceed $25 - $15 for pizza on Friday when there was a sleepover, $6 at Family Video to rent a game for the XBOX and a movie, and $4 to get into the basketball game at the grade school.

I found out from the 8th grader who was tubing yesterday that to rent a helmet was $10. Makes me glad we bought hers for $19 + tax at Walmart. Odds are she'll use it again since she declares she now loves winter sports.

I did the right thing regarding a situation with the Cub Scout's Blue & Gold Dinner. It is held in the basement of our antiquated school which isn't handicapped accessible (read: lots of stairs). I sent out the Evite and was shocked that one response was from a mother with ataxia who can't do stairs. We've got a nice room in the church basement, but we've got an elevator there. Type A planner going out isn't happy, new leader coming in is fine. I don't know how this can even be an issue ...

Sunday's unplanned expenses

January 21st, 2013 at 04:57 am

$19.99 for a Walmart purchase. A sports helmet for the 8th grader who is off on her Ski Trip today. Today: the day that will be the coldest in two years with Arctic breezes making their way south to the Midwest. We checked at Play It Again Sports and they had nothing. At least it was new and pretty and pink and she'll be safe AND warm.

$10 for two of the boys to go to see "Lincoln". A friend's husband is out of town and she was looking for something to do with her three boys, and our local theatre was playing it. The 5th grader is learning about the Civil War and we have a local place that we visited that was a stop on the Underground Railroad. So off he and his brother went. One of mine fell asleep, but the 5th grader had a good time with the 8th grade brother and mother/my friend. It was PG-13, but because of the historical significance I thought it was a wise parenting decision.

Todays's anticipated spending: minimal.

Benefits of a budget and Money Moons aligning

January 20th, 2013 at 07:56 am

The budget is pretty much fixed and accurate these days. I was able to defray the spending for groceries by using $75 in gift cards from three Rxs new to Jewel. (I've been average $110 a week for everything, with the last two only being $95).

8th Grade Daughter has quite a few functions coming up: Father Daughter Dance, Valentines Day Dance, Confirmation, May Crowning and Graduation. She is a sweet girl who said she'd be happy to wear her sister's hand-me-downs for some events, but wanted two new dresses (Father Daughter Dance and Graduation). We were shopping at delias yesterday looking to see if the dress she wanted was finally on sale and I had a $10 off of $30 purchase. It was on sale, and because she is so small there were tons of size 0s on clearance. She bought a beautiful black and sparkly dress for the Father Daughter Dance, a periwinkle colored dress with scalloped skirt for the school Dance, and a beautiful pink/gray lace dress for graduation. Here is the best part: after the reductions and the coupon, I paid $59.50! I about did the dance of joy right there. Had the money in the checking account (no plastic no more).

And it gets even better that older daughter wants to wear one for the turnabout dance. Smile

Payday. tired, bored

January 18th, 2013 at 09:48 am

It's "money in, money out" day here, and the benefits of a well-laid plan are you know exactly what goes where and when. The budget is pretty much set in stone for the next three months and I'm working on the "extraneous funds account" now.

Our spending for the last period (1/4-1/17) looked like this:
$60 basketball class for Y, $50 refunded
$150 balance for DH's gym/work out/training (Jan-Mar, already paid $100 in December)
$50 for 8th grader's ski trip
$30 for 8th grader's test fee for high school
$60 for ticket to 9th graders Father Daughter Dance

This go around it appears it will be
$28 for ticket to 8th Graders Father Daughter Dance
$35 for annual dues for DH's fraternal organization
$56 for 8th grader's dance class

Small extraneous expenses from Living Expenses Account will be oil change ($18 after coupon), new soccer ball because Club Evals are next week for the boys.

I spent $72 on groceries today to round out yesterday's $68 trip (covered by gift cards). Put $50 in gas.

So in the money category, I'm bored. In real life, I'm tired. Yesterday wiped me out, especially after the urgent care doctor said it was highly unlikely that DH had an abscess on the tonsils, and he'd have to do blood work and a CT because it was suspicious. Glad it turned out to be totally negligible in the scheme of worrisome medical conditions, but today I'm feeling an emotional toll taken. The only upside to the whole event is DH and I were able to spend quality time together, albeit in medical establishments. Reminds me how lucky I am to share my life with a man who shares the same vision for our future. The singles in my life are all looking for love and not finding it, or settling for OK situations.

Deciding how to spend out extra money $725 this period, the braces and tuition payments are current and I might throw some extra onto the next mortgage 2/1 and maybe make additional payments on both braces ($203 monthly with a balance of $2,820, and balance of tuition for elementary school kids is $556 which we pay $150 a month.) An additional $433.57 will bring us to an even $257,000 owed on the mortgage.

Oh, well. All for now.

Peritonsillar Abscess:(

January 17th, 2013 at 05:33 pm

That's what DH has. He's had a sore throat off and on, but no temperature. After several days of misery and nights of interrupted sleep, we went to the "Take Five Clinic" at Walgreens. After 1.5 hours there, we were sent to the Urgent Care associated with the local hospital. This was because the peritonsillar abscess needed to be further evaluated. After 3.5 hours at the urgent care and a CT scan and bloodwork, it was confirmed that it was indeed a peritonsillar abscess (to the surprise of the old doctor who said it most likely wasn't because of no fever, and of course started the rule out talk). So from there, DH went to the ENT and was placed on heavy duty steroids for the next 5 days and an antibiotic for 10.

We have a very quiet house right now with DH recuperating. Thank goodness my girls are old enough to deal with dinner and homework of the younger ones. This yielded me another $25 gift card for groceries.

Spent at grocery store: $67 (covered in totality by gift cards). I also made $25 walking my mom's dogs.

Mid-month check-up; the money snapshot

January 16th, 2013 at 08:10 am

Hard to believe that January is half-over already. Friday is pay day and rent pick up, so with two NSDs (today and tomorrow) I'm confident about my report:

1) Biggest accomplishment was sending $500 additional principle to the mortgage.

2) Second biggest accomplishment was accumulating $500 for the car repair that didn't need to happen

3) The utilities category was a bit low because of the way the payment due dates fell, moved over $50 to the utilities category for next go-around

4) Did a decent job on groceries and gas categories ($195.54 on "living" - groceries, household, pet, and $135.09 on gas). Shopped at Aldi's and refrained from coupon/ad scanning.

5) I paid for the small extraneous expenses from the living expenses account: $15 for science class, $14 for field trip, $11 for haircut, $5 for art supplies). The Miscellaneous expenses were for the Pinewood Derby cars for Cub Scouts and the 8th graders science fair project board.

6) No credit card usage of any kind. Smile

7) Transferred two Rxs for daughter and got $50 gift cards which I managed not to spend and will carry over for the next period 1/18-1/31 of the budget.

8) I made $15 being a dog walker, and will make another $30 tomorrow. The $ tomorrow will go to "feed the pig" - we have a ceramic piggy bank on the counter that people are "feeding" for our monthly family outing. (This is something new for 2013)

9) Organizationally speaking: gave one bag of hand-me-downs to my friend, returned stash of surplus T-shirts to church for VBS.

10) Also in an effort to economize and simplify our lives: daughters have dropped to one 1.5 hours of dance a week (saving $100 a month) and when we found out that soccer evals are next week, 2nd grader decided not to play basketball with the YMCA (since this was first go-around he was placed with 2nd grade girls and 1st grade boys, so no socialization with friends) which garnered me a $55 refund going back to the big extraneous fund. Definitely realizing in this large family we can't do it all, but everyone can do something.

11) Also this is the first pay period where we are at 11% in the 401K. Barely feeling the tightening of the budget due to better planning and full-funded budget categories.

So I consider it a success.

Saved the budget by

January 13th, 2013 at 08:09 pm

picking up two RXs for daughter and getting 2 -$25 gift cards to Jewel. That will definitely breathe a bit of life into the almost dead grocery budget. This week we're eating from the freezer: meat loaf, chili, and some chicken veggie stirfry. We do go through a lot of milk/bread/eggs at my house.

I skipped the ads and coupons again this week. My mom is saving her coupons for me. I'm already starting my grocery shopping list for Sam's Club for next Friday. I'll have to work that in for at least a biweekly trip; my picky eater likes Fiber One bars and Danimals, at least I'm assured that he's getting calcium and fiber.

Spent money on miscellaneous craft items for the science fair board. Unused stuff goes back tomorrow so I'll have an accurate amount spent - I think about $8 after using a $9 store credit. DH and sons spent $5 on something for the Pinewood Derby coming up in two weeks.


January 12th, 2013 at 11:53 am

I'm catching the cold from the residual germs living here. I didn't sleep well, have the sinus head-ache and my dog won't stop barking. My Irish dancing girls are having a treble jig dance off in their bedroom and I'm too lazy to move to tell them to stop. I'll just sit here and wait for my aspirin to work and be thankful that the boys are gone for the afternoon.

I'm imposing a 9:00 PM bedtime the remainder of the weekend. My less-than-well-rested children have succumbed to bad behavior and I had my second consecutive day with a tantrum. Ugh, I don't think I could take it if it was a regular occurrence in my house.

I walked my mom's dogs yesterday and she upped the pay from $10 to $15. Smile I also got a free breakfast with the new committee chair for cub scouts. I really want to simply be the Treasurer, but I'm in some sort of pseudo-management position. Anyhow, it was long and unproductive breakfast with a man who I will have to be dealing with for the next three years. Someone who feels the need to be helpful all the time and fix problems with my family that don't need to be fixed (i.e., offering his wife's seamstress skills to alter my daughter's homecoming dress after I told my daughter to only buy a dress that fits her; AND trying to get my 2nd grade son on a basketball team at the YMCA when really I want is a refund of the fee). And I should add that both of these "attempts to fix" came from simply overhearing private conversations I had with my DH when we were sort of passing in the night updating one another on "stuff" at either soccer games or scouting events.

My resolution at the top of my list was to not complain or say anything bad about anyone in a gossipy way. I found myself at a loss for words and went dumbingly silent on three occasions in the past two days. Still not sure what the proper protocol is for not engaging in nasty talk. Not that I was that nasty and most of what I do say I'd be willing to share in person with an individual. But, still ...

So yesterday I made $15 and got a free breakfast.

Today is pretty much a NSD and I have $45 left til Friday for groceries. Thankfully we're still pretty full in the cabinets. I'll be passing on the Sunday paper coupons and ads again this weekend, as I'm still buying only what we need.

I think the aspirin is starting to work, maybe. I think I'll go take a nap.

And NGG, if you read this, I hope that things are going well with you! Smile

:( Another one bites the dust

January 10th, 2013 at 04:42 pm

For the past several years, my household hasn't exactly been on the cutting edge of technology of any sort I have a tracfone, as do my daughters. No cellular phone plans for us. We were using two refurbished computers that my stepdad bought from his school's computer lab a few years back. One of them died two months ago. It died with the only version of my 8th graders's science fair research paper on it. I retyped it onto the second computer (only marginally newer). It, too, died today. Thankfully I forwarded all the files as attachments to DH at work so he could fix some margin problems on the supplemental excel sheets. So, at least we have access to the second version.

I sadly lost my excel document that tracked all my spending. Frown

The good news is that for Christmas my mom and stepdad got us a family gift of a new computer. Smile

Now I can clear off the work station and make it nice and pretty and neat and clean and organized with only one computer and less wires. Smile

Car Update and Being OK with who you are

January 10th, 2013 at 06:41 am

First, the car engine light issue appears to have taken care of itself. I was the last one who put gas in DH's car (filling it up on 12/21) and I believe that LuckyRobin (?) was correct in suggesting that might have been the problem (not putting the cover on all the way). DH put gas into his car on Tuesday night and as soon as he did, the light went off. He told this to retired-mechanic FIL who asked about the gas tank cover and said that is probably what it was. Of course, I'll leave my $503 put on the outside chance it is a problem of a more serious nature.

I have a 2nd grade son making his First Holy Communion in May. He's a sentimental sort of guy and he brought me the flyer about the "traditional rosary making night for the moms". He's the fifth child to make this sacrament and I've never made the rosaries with the mothers. I'm not a jewelry making sort of person and while it is a wonderful idea for some, it isn't for me. I am an avid cross-stitcher and over the years I've stitched wonderful things for my children for this event: I've done a cross of flowers and a Celtic cross (which are my favorites). I told my little pal that we'll go to the Catholic store after his First Reconciliation and I'll let him pick out a rosary as a gift (we'll go for ice cream, too).
I used to worry how I would be perceived for not participating in things like this. The version of who I am right now is so totally free of that other version of me. I am glad I've gotten to this point.

Money-wise, on target for spending allotment. Heading to Aldi's today for some needed items to get through til next Thursday.

Life and Money

January 9th, 2013 at 06:01 am

Life. Kids are back to school (tired and cranky) and DH is surviving the worst part of the year at his job (stressed and cranky). "Rebeckah of Sunnybrook Farm" and "Pollyanna" would have major work here to get the grumpers feeling happy. I suppose we'll gun for a movie night and early bedtime here and hopefully it will be smooth sailing into the weekend?

There is some Cub Scout business that needs to be dealt with and I'll have to contact the Committee Chair. She is somewhat difficult to deal with, though I've known her a long time and she gives me less grief than others. I've realized that her replacement is also difficult, and I'll be dealing with him for the next three years. Frown

Money. It is leaking out in dribs and drabs, $30 for DH and son to go the Bulls game tonight (gas contribution and dinner), $5 for high school daughter's art pad (which I could probably buy at Michaels cheaper with a 40% off coupon?), and $14 for a field trip for the 5th grader. DH has a cold and we have no cold medicine for adults.

Positive money note: I did check the payment history for the mortgage and the regular principle and additional principle payments were creditied. Smile Not sure what I'll do with the additional funds this paycheck on 1/18 - will be another $500. Maybe to my IRA? It's been a bit neglected lately. Oh well, we'll see ...

Home with the sickling

January 8th, 2013 at 08:40 am

I dropped the kids off at school, did a quick run to CVS for milk and cereal (spending was necessary and yielded $4 ECB) and to drop off a braces payment to the orthodontist, and was back in time for 8:15 Mass. The teacher came to tell me my 2nd grader didn't look well, had been crying, and it might be best if he sat with me and grandma (I meet my mom there). Daily mass is shorter than the weekend, so 35 minutes later, he still looked pale and I decided to bring him home.

So, I am thankful that two weeks ago I used a sale/coupon to stock up on Triaminic and that I did the CVS run in the morning. I am thankful that I've got a freezer full of food, so I can thaw out some sloppy joe mix and open a bag of chips and cook some veggies for dinner.

Now it is time to chill with the sickling.

On a good note, the engine light went off in DH's minivan, so I'm hoping that we can make it til next payday (the 18th) before any big repairs are in order. This makes me even more hopeful that it is only the sensor and not the entire computer.

Immune? Success?

January 7th, 2013 at 07:26 am

I've sort of done the fade with the best friend. She was way too exhausting and I wasn't good with boundaries. It has been nice to have some space. I've also made an effort to get some new friends, and I'm feeling minimally successful in replacing some of the more difficult people I've been friends with.

Best friend called this morning. I haven't talked to her since Christmas Day. She started in on her lack of money and her trying to save money to pay the lawyer to proceed with bankruptcy and that she has a $100 bill under her mattress that she's thinking about breaking because she wants a new Christmas tree to replace her fiber optic one that died after six years. It was odd. I listened a bit and had no emotional response. I used to get a pit in my stomach thinking about her future and what might happen. This time, nada, nothing. Rather than tell her what I thought she should do, I realized that I thought to myself that I was thankful that I have an EF and a budget, and I had no other response to her complaints and whining other than "Oh". No encouraging, admonishing, advising. I consider it a success. I was immune to her drama. I learned: I am ultimately only fiscally responsible for the family that my husband and I have created. This is not to say that I wouldn't help someone truly in need, because of course, I would. I have realized that you can't help those who won't help themselves.

On the money front, it will be a NSD. Christmas is being packed away and I'm weeding through MORE stuff, another bag for Goodwill and another bag of hand-me-downs for our friend.

Immune? Success?

January 7th, 2013 at 07:26 am

I've sort of done the fade with the best friend. She was way too exhausting and I wasn't good with boundaries. It has been nice to have some space. I've also made an effort to get some new friends, and I'm feeling minimally successful in replacing some of the more difficult people I've been friends with.

Best friend called this morning. I haven't talked to her since Christmas Day. She started in on her lack of money and her trying to save money to pay the lawyer to proceed with bankruptcy and that she has a $100 bill under her mattress that she's thinking about breaking because she wants a new Christmas tree to replace her fiber optic one that died after six years. It was odd. I listened a bit and had no emotional response. I used to get a pit in my stomach thinking about her future and what might happen. This time, nada, nothing. Rather than tell her what I thought she should do, I realized that I thought to myself that I was thankful that I have an EF and a budget, and I had no other response to her complaints and whining other than "Oh". No encouraging, admonishing, advising. I consider it a success. I was immune to her drama. I learned: I am ultimately only fiscally responsible for the family that my husband and I have created. This is not to say that I wouldn't help someone truly in need, because of course, I would. I have realized that you can't help those who won't help themselves.

On the money front, it will be a NSD. Christmas is being packed away and I'm weeding through MORE stuff, another bag for Goodwill and another bag of hand-me-downs for our friend.

Car repair, breaking the habit

January 6th, 2013 at 02:26 pm

Costly car repair is looming. DH initially thought it was the starter on his minivan. A call to repair shop estimated it was a $500 repair. The engine light came on and our mechanic ran the diagnostics. It appears that the whole computer unit needs to be replaced or it is a sensor of some type. And it has to be done at a dealer. Estimate of our mechanic $700 to $800. Possibly more, maybe less if it is the sensor. I have in hand for this repair $503, of which I was frittering away for a new carpet purchase for the four bedrooms.

Usually on Sundays I get my mom's ads and coupons. I skipped today, because I'm really attempting to keep our living expenses (gas/groceries/miscellaneous) under $300 for 1/4 to 1/17. Our freezer and fridge are pretty well stocked. It was odd to not get the ads or coupons, but that would completely derail the course I am on. My mom is saving the coupons for me for the next two weeks. I should admit that I have a difficult time realizing that "things will be on sale again" and this isn't my last chance ever to purchase "x" at "cost".

Kids are back in school tomorrow. I imagine that I'll spend the day packing away the Christmas decorations and bringing some semblance back to the household.

Additional principle to mortgage! Other Miscellany

January 4th, 2013 at 06:25 am

The goal for January's first paycheck (today) was to send $500 additional principle off to the mortgage company. And away those funds went. Smile I can't wait until Monday when the payment is applied and I can see the updated amortization chart.

This was also the first pay period with the increase of 401K to 11% (up from 4%).

DH's minivan has the engine light on. He has a precursory visit to our mechanic at 5:00 today to have the code read. Yesterday he thought it was the starter, so the quote they gave me was $500. Ouch. Retired Mechanic FIL said it was most likely a sensor, which I'm hoping is less than $500 to repair. Short-term cash in hand for auto repair: $404.30 (sadly, of which, I was hoping to apply toward new carpeting).

Kids are back to school on Monday and we're back to a busy weekend with a basketball game and first Destination Imagination science program for the 2nd grader.

My goal for the "Living Expenses" for 1/4 though 1/17 is $350. I certainly get carried away with some sales put forth in the grocery ads (spend $75 to get $10) is good, but my money will still go further at Aldi's. And my goal in keeping the expenses down was to use the grocery fund to only buy staples and supplemental items to fill missing menu items. Reeled in my spending and have a practical list now (milk/sugar/dog food/stew meat/lunch meat). I don't really to need add more chicken breasts when I've got a big batch to work with, and I don't need more ground beef when I have four mini meatloaves and two batches of chili frozen. I have to remind myself that these will be on sale again.

We're off to the Hobby Store for the boys to get track extensions for their slot car set and also toe Target to get some Skylander characters. Oh, the joys of boys with money and gift cards.

Spending Recap and Payday tomorrow

January 3rd, 2013 at 08:46 am

Spending recap for 12/21 to 1/3 is as follows:

Groceries/Household $256
Gas $78
Pets $13
Rx $7
Dining $24
Hot lunches for Jan $42.50
Celebration $21
Christmas $274
Entertainment $30
Miscellaneous $32
Clothing $66

I hosted Christmas and a birthday and had my ILs here for five days. We obviously drove far less with the kids out of school. Christmas was everything: Meal/wrapping paper/cash gift for brother/gift certificate for MIL to orchid place/donation to church/and an unnecessary, but totally wanted purchase of three Lenox ornaments on 75% reduction at Macy's on 12/27.

I am looking into Netflix because we spent $13 at Family Video. We also had a family outing to the roller rink and I had a great time (haven't been on skates in 23+ years and my girls didn't know I could skate at all!).

Payday is tomorrow.

I discontinued the prepaid manna/Scripps card through the school. This will allow me better opportunity to take advantage of the sales and varying grocery stores. That $256 spent last pay period did leave me with mostly full cabinets and a freezer, so I am hoping to keep my grocery at $75 this week and $125 next week. Gas will also increase now that we resume regular life on Monday with driving frenzies.

Goal and reducing expenses

January 2nd, 2013 at 01:05 pm

I did the *dreaded* weigh-in after the holidays and was surprised to see that I was *only* 138. Smile Goal weight is 122-125. Also would love to participate in a 5K in May with a respectable time of 30 minutes. The men in my life (DH and stepdad) are in the 28 range, so maybe I'd be able to at least keep up with them for part of the race?

We've decided that the girls will only go to class once a week for Irish Dance. With homework and other interests, that will work better and will us $100 a month.

Keeping those thoughts about goals churling around in my head!