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Home > Archive: March, 2011

Archive for March, 2011

More Weekend Happenings

March 27th, 2011 at 02:56 pm

I took the truck in for its smog test yesterday afternoon. I ended up taking it to the lesser expensive place 20 miles away. It cost $53 there vs. $70 at a place here in our town. The inspection took all of 5-8 minutes. And it is pretty much just a visual inspection. Thanks State of California!

I bought a few gallons of diesel, just a few at $4.49/gal!! Yeah that's right, no typo. Our truck won't be getting much use for awhile.

I paid $3.82/gal for gas at Costco on Thursday. $71 to fill up the Pathfinder for the week. We're now over our fuel budget for the month. Lovely. Rolleyes

Last night I booked our 'tent' in Yosemite for May. $120. Was looking at the website and planning a few trails we'll go hiking on. I wonder how much snow might still be there when we go.

I went to the grocery store this morning. DH made me a list. On top of that there were several items I saw that I couldn't pass up. One was 12pk Pepsi products buy 2 get 3 free, that will last us months as we rarely drink soda, also my fav rice was on sale ending today among other food stuff. Anyhow I spent $202 at the store.
Budget for this week is shot. Embarrassment
I am justifying this weeks' spending to myself because next week we'll need very little, maybe nothing.

I cleaned the chicken coop out when I got home. Taking advantage of a dry day. No rain (yet) today, but grey clouds and a chilly breeze.

Working on laundry and next up while I'm on the computer is April's budget.

Later DD, DH and I plan on making the little chocolate cakes with hot chocolate sauce in the middle tonight for dessert. It's a recipe DD made at school. I hope it turns out well because I love them whenever we have them at restaurants. I'll post the recipe if they turn out well.

Weekend Update

March 26th, 2011 at 11:52 am

Still raining here in NorCal. I think this is like the 22nd day of rain for this month.

I need to get the truck in for its smog check. I have been putting it off all week. I just don't want to take the time to do it I guess. I'd rather be here catching up on everyone's posts. The registration renewal is due the 31st, so I've got to get on it. The cheapest place is 20 miles away, or I could do it in town and spend a little more to save the time of driving. The whole thing is ridiculous because the truck is a diesel and they can only do a visual inspection. It doesn't get hooked up to a computer for emission tests, or so I've been told.


Last week we went over the weekly 'stuff' budget by $120. I know I had said before that I thought $175/wk might be a bit ambitious and a bit tight. However, even though we keep going over we have the money to pay for the overages. And having that as a target amount really does help me and DH prioritize spending. (I have walked out of Costco or the grocery store with only the things I went in for!)


Anybody see the Mega Millions jackpot was at $312 million last night? I haven't bought any tickets. If it's still big on Tuesday I'll buy a $5 quick pick ticket. How would it feel to win a piece of that?


I've been looking at kitchen remodel ideas and I was just watching a kitchen renovation in Sacramento on HGTV. Realistically I see us getting a new kitchen in two years or more. I like to look, plan and dream now.. All of that is free.

Sunday. Spring Pictures.

March 20th, 2011 at 01:36 pm

For Sunday dinner I have a crockpot full of carrots, potatoes and corned beef cooking right now. I will add cabbage later this afternoon. It smells heavenly, I can hardly wait.

Last night the rain was pounding and the wind was whipping. Didn't get to see the SuperMoon. Frown (Well we saw it on the news.) DH is a volunteer fireman and last night they were called out for a tree down, then a mud slide onto the hwy, then flooding at some cottages along the river. He was gone from 1:30am to 5:00am. Then he had to go work the Home Show at 9:30am. I packed him a ton of food to take with him so he doesn't have to buy anything to eat or drink there at the show. You all know how expensive the food concessions are. Yikes!


Friday was the beginning of the new week, budget wise. Last week we were over by $74. Even though we've been over every week, it has still really helped us spend less.


Our truck's yearly car registration is due the end of this month. $290. Blah! And in California they've started a smog check program for diesels. SO, we get to have that done this year. $50-$60 I figure for that. I will be seeing this week.


My trees in the backyard are blooming. In between cloud bursts this morning I took this to share.

This tree has really taken a beating this weekend in the wind and rain. I need to look up what type of tree it is. A type of Magnolia maybe??

This is our Oklahoma Peach. It just started getting its buds and blooms this week. DH really pruned it back last year. I was afraid he had killed it, but it looks like it survived.

Home Show

March 20th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

The Spring Home Show is going on this weekend in our county. The company my DH works for has a booth there that he's working all weekend. Yesterday I went to the grocery store and then DD, DS and I traveled up to the home show. DH had a free pass for me and the kids were free. I did have to pay for parking. I paid $7 for the premium up-close parking. It has been cold, rainy and windy this weekend and I wasn't going to walk half a mile or more with the baby in those conditions. I figured I was only spending $7 for the whole outing so no biggie.

We met up with DH and then we walked around and looked at all the vendors. Oh my gosh, the landscaper displays were awesome. I wished I had my camera so I could have shared with you. Several had set up beautiful little stream/waterfall setups. I'd love that in my front yard! I can only guess at the price..Add it to my never ending home wish list. My DH is also in a business group and one of the other members in his group works at a kitchen design center. We stopped at her booth and set up a free consult and estimate. (You know how I was just saying our kitchen was BLAH.) We might as well figure out how much it will cost so we can start saving up. Huh

House for Sale

March 19th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I am always looking at any homes for sale around us. Just gauging how our property measures up. I also like to see if I can get any new ideas for upgrading our house. In our neighborhood all the houses were built the same and all about the same time. 1955-56.

This house sold in December 2010 for $195k, REO. It's been "flipped" obviously. Asking price now $278k.

I know we all like to look at pictures.



These houses have tiny bathrooms

This is close to how we'd like to remodel our kitchen. Our kitchen is original 1955. Blah. Someday I might post a picture. You will all laugh!

Right now the average selling price in our zip code is $243/sqft. Looking at the graphs it about 2002 price level. Peak was the mid 2006 at $489/sqft.

Crazy Cali Weather

March 19th, 2011 at 11:45 am

We're having some crazy weather here in NorCal!

Lots of rain, and 'other' stuff. Yesterday I looked out the windows at work and the rain was hitting the ground so hard it was splashing back up. Then the wind was whipping around. Then it hailed around 3:30pm. Then more rain. And the biggest event was a TORNADO! Yeah, a TORNADO in Santa Rosa. Middle of town. It was right on the street I drive to/from baby brother's (DS) daycare! A landscaping business was hit and one of their buildings was torn apart. The news showed chunks of building flew into neighboring yards and the street. Thankfully no one was injured!

And me without my ruby slippers..
"Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" Big Grin

Today, so far, it's just raining with a bit of wind. The weather people are projecting our rain totals at 2"+ by the end of the weekend. On top of the pouring rain we had Tuesday. Close to 1" then? Thankfully no worry of flooding near us at all. Whew.

March weather is always a bit crazy. Rain. Sun. Rain.

Wish I could record the sound of the rain pounding my roof right now for you all.

And I've got to go to the store when DS wakes up...

Federal Return. Gym Time.

March 17th, 2011 at 04:51 pm

We got our federal return on Monday. Big Grin
2k to mom, 1k to EF, $500 to MIL, $200 to checking account.

I am updating the sidebar and I am making a 5k goal for our EF by the end of the year.


I have been meeting my workout goals for the month so far. Big Grin

I went last night to a Zumba class. It is free at our gym so I thought "Why not, I should try it out." But by the time I got home from work (6:10pm) I was ready to just stay home. DH kinda pushed me out the door to go try it. I'm glad he did. It was fun and an hour went by in a flash. And boy it kinda kicked my butt, hehe. I used to dance in high school, but last night I was feeling old and slow. Wink Not picking up the steps as fast as I'd like. The instructor is an older lady, which I thought set a great example, and she kept the class very upbeat and relaxed. It was a good mix of ages and body types too. I told DH I am going to try to make it a regular thing.

Gym four times a week???? If I don't lose weight from that...

DH and I are going tonight in about 40 minutes. I'll do about 30 minutes of something and then I've got to take DD to a class skating fundraiser thingy.

Never a dull moment here.

More Enchiladas -Yum

March 17th, 2011 at 04:32 pm

I made more enchiladas on Sunday and we've got one left in the fridge. I added up all the cost for 16 enchiladas to $23.60.
$6.99 for 2lbs. shredded jack cheese (I didn't use all of it!)
$1.29 for tomato sauce
$1.49 for can diced chilies
$5.99 for rotisserie chicken
$3.92 for two packs (16) hand made tortillas

I had all the spices, some cheddar, onion and garlic already.
I did use up the last of my chili powder so I will need more of that on the next shopping trip.

This is one of two baking dishes. Each held eight.


March 15th, 2011 at 11:41 am

I was online checking email, paying bills and transfering money when I saw this artical from Wallet Pop. I thought you all might find it interesting.

Saving money - Brewing coffee vs. Buying coffee

Text is http://www.walletpop.com/2011/01/25/savings-experiment-the-perks-of-brewing-versus-buying-coffee?icid=maing%7Cmain5%7Cdl8%7Csec1_lnk3%7C50064 and Link is

Walked with my friend again this morning.
I did spend $4 on coffee at Starbucks. Embarrassment

Where's my money?

March 10th, 2011 at 04:51 pm

I've been waiting for our federal refund. We already received our California refund, so I didn't think the federal would be taking so long. I just logged onto the IRS website and it said my check would be mailed tomorrow. Okay, not much more time to wait. Smile

Today is the last day of week #2 of the new, tight, weekly budget. I had to pick up two items at Costco, which turned into three items Wink. They had a two pound pack of chicken breast lunch meat for $5.89 that I couldn't pass up. I spent $42 total. As long as we don't spend anymore today, we will finish the week only $22 over budget. I am very pleased with that. Big Grin

Bought gas at Costco today too. $3.81/gal. Total to fill up - $67. Ugh...

Girlfriend Time

March 8th, 2011 at 11:53 am

Last night I met one of my girlfriends for dinner and a beer at a local brewery. It was fun and the food and beer were very tasty. And my friend treated! I thought that was so nice and told her how much I appreciated that. Yay, no money spent there.

I didn't make it to the gym this morning. But, I did get exercise in; I went for a two mile walk with another friend. She just had her second baby, a boy, a month ago. This is the first time I've seen her since December, so it was very good to visit and reconnect. We walked with the strollers to Starbucks and got coffee. I had a free coffee coupon, so no money spent there either. Yay again!

So far we're under budget for the week. Big Grin
Two and a half more days to go....

Rainy Day. Warranty. Ice Cream.

March 6th, 2011 at 05:20 pm

With rainy days comes lots of movie watching at our house. Last night we watched "The Bucket List" again for like the fourth time. Always a good one. This morning we rented "A-Team" thru our cable for DH. It was fast paced and fun. Now "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is on TV.

I did manage a few chores. I cleaned out the fridge. Totally wiped it out and washed all the drawers and shelves. WooHoo for me! Big Grin
I also cleaned out my purse and balanced the checkbook while sitting and watching TV.

I was also going thru some mail and one was from Sears. Offering extended warranties on our washer and dryer. $151/one year. $272/two years. $385/three years. Those are all the special discounted prices too. The regular three year price was $720. I am going to pass. Thanks.

We ran over to the bank to deposit our paychecks and it's next to the Cold Stone ice cream place. We had just seen their ad on TV - buy a medium and get a child's size free. We go to Cold Stone like twice a year maybe, because they're so pricey. Their special flavor for March is 'Pistachio Pudding' so I had that and DD got hers for free. Mine was good, thick, almost like a marshmallow cream.

Still need to go to the gym....


March 6th, 2011 at 01:18 pm

DH is planning a father/daughter trip with DD in May. It is a four day/three night road trip. They will be riding on the motorcycle. Which, with gas prices climbing, that will be a big money saver. DS and I will be meeting them in Yosemite for the last day and night. I've been looking at the little cabins inside the park and it looks like it'll be about $115! I don't want to get a camping spot in case it rains or is cold because we'll be there with the baby. I am looking forward to seeing Yosemite again; it's been about 10 years since my last visit.

Travel is on my mind right now. I love seeing new places. While my mom was visiting yesterday we were talking about the cruise she and my aunt (her sister) have planned for this summer. A Mediterranean cruise. 12 days, with two nights in Barcelona beforehand and two nights in Venice afterwards. It sounds wonderful and I hope my mom has a fabulous time. Smile

My boss is planning to go to Palm Springs for a long weekend the end of this month.

In the Costco coupon book we got a few days ago there was a travel offer for Los Cabos (10 minutes to Cabo San Lucas). Four nights at the Sheraton for $295/pp. (Breakfast included, $150 food/beverage credit and $50 spa credit.) Not including airfare. If you had some frequent flyer miles to use that could be sweet....We don't though.. *sigh* Tropical vacations always look so good while it's cool and raining here at home - like today.

The other thing I saw on Costco travel is their Disney packages. When you book thru Costco you get a Character dining included! For those of you who don't or haven't done Disney, Character dining is a meal where they have a bunch of the characters come around to your table. It's neat because you can get a bunch of pictures of you and the characters without having to chase them around the parks. Usually these meals cost up to $39/adult and $20/child. So getting one for free is a very nice perk. I'm ready to go to Disneyland again Big Grin

I just want a vacation.

Last Week

March 6th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Our goal of spending $175/week didn't work out this past week. Frown We were over by $130. It's okay, we're just going to keep trying to hit that mark each week. It may be a bit ambitious, but I feel that the amount is doable. I went a little crazy at the grocery store; it's hard to walk away from a good deal. Embarrassment

Bought gas on Friday. (Gas has it's own budget, so it's not deducted from the $175 thankfully, or we'd have no money to eat with!)
It was $3.68/gallon at Costco. Total to fill up - $64.
The price of diesel has really shot up. In 24 hours the stations in our town had raised the price by 0.20/gallon! We don't drive our big truck regularly, but the company DH works for has all diesel trucks and these prices really hurt business like them.


My mom came for a visit yesterday. We meet with my co-worker and had mochas, these amazing éclairs and a nice visit. Yummy, Yummy. I spent $7. Then we dropped DD at a birthday party for one of her friends. Gift was $7. Mom treated me to a pedicure. (Thank you mama!) We picked up DD from the party and had take-and-bake pizzas and chocolate chip cookies for dinner, cost $20.


My DH is almost back to normal. Thank goodness! I was worried that he might need further treatment. This type of thing is why having savings/EF is so critical. It is also a reminder why I need to get life insurance squared away on us. I know - bad we don't have it yet.

State Refund

March 3rd, 2011 at 04:28 pm

We received our California state refund today.
Yippee, I'm rich!!! Big Grin

Just kidding.

Tomorrow is payday for me and DH, so our checking account will be quite fat for the next few days. Until all the payments and transfers post.

Just 4 Fun

March 2nd, 2011 at 03:38 pm

Would you take one million dollars right now OR wait and get ten million in ten years?
This is tax free money and would also go to your estate should you pass.


DD had her dentist appointment. Routine cleaning/polish and x-rays. No cavities! Big Grin Yay! She will need a little cosmetic work to her front teeth. I made her an appointment for later this month. Don't know how much that will be yet. Her routine visit was $25.

Very slow week at work..Monday my coworker left early, yesterday I stayed home and today she left early again. So far we've got one appointment on the books for this afternoon. Thus the time I have to blog..hehe.. Smile

DH says he's feeling a bit better today. Very tired. His meds say they might cause drowsiness. Plus infections are energy draining anyway.

A note about my enchilada sauce: I looked at a bunch of recipes online and pretty much figured out that you can add whatever sounds good to you. I saw one that had taco sauce, one with salsa, one used tomato paste and crushed, fire roasted tomatoes and I also saw seasoning the sauce with just a packet of taco seasoning. Just in case any of those variations jump out at you and you want to experiment further.

I would wait and take the ten million. It would be hard to wait, but well worth it. At first I felt like I would rather take the money now, but *sigh* it's better to wait. Knowing myself I'd have to be sure I didn't rack up a bunch of debt knowing I'd be getting that money down the road.

Doctor Visit & Soap.com

March 1st, 2011 at 06:52 pm

I ended up having the day off from work because it was so slow - no appointments this afternoon. It worked out fine because DH ended up going to the doctor. Had a pain in his leg last night. By this morning he had a hot, red, painful lump on his inside thigh about two inches by two inches. Doc said it the start of an infection and started him on antibiotics. He has catastrophe medical coverage, so visits like this are out of pocket. The office visit was $96 (discounted for self pay at time of visit) and the meds he bought at Costco for $6.70. I'm glad he went today and didn’t wait until it got worse!

Needed some shampoo for me and lotion for baby DS. Well Diapers.com has a "sister" site called Soap.com and they've been sending me offers like, "Try us and get $10 off your first order". I figured today would be a good day to use this offer.

I ended up with $26.19 worth of product for $5.19!!!

How'd that happen? Well I bought Aveno Oatmeal Bath packets for $6.65, Aveno Eczema Cream for $11.95 and Head and Shoulders Extra Strength for $7.59. They had an e-coupon for $1 off one of those items, I forget which, then I had my $10 off code. $15.19 would've been great. But when I tried to checkout I kept getting an error message. I called customer service and he fixed it right away and gave me another $10 credit to the order! I was totally jazzed! DH said I should call every time with a problem. Wink

Dinner time - Meatloaf and mashed spuds tonight.

A Fire & Fabulous Enchiladas on a Chilly Weekend

March 1st, 2011 at 01:17 pm

We had our cold front move thru here in northern California on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday morning was chilly, but warmed quickly with all the beautiful sunshine. The weather people were forecasting snow flurries for our area. It would have been very odd because we're close to sea level and it only gets cold enough when it's clear. We ended up getting down to about 28F, but no snow here, although there were flurries in San Francisco! With the cold we had a crackling fire each night in our living room and I couldn't help but snap a pic of it. We had our lights off and just snuggled in watching TV by the firelight. The fire brought our living room temp to 83F. Oohh yeah!

Sunday I made enchiladas. Normally DH is the enchilada maker in the house, but the past few times I had been a bit disappointed. Shh..Don't tell him. It really hasn't been his fault. He has always used canned sauce and the past few times we'd tried some different brands and none were very good. I figured I could do much better.
Here is what I came up with:

- 1 29oz can tomato sauce, plus 1/4 can of water
- 1 7oz can diced green chilies
- 3 Tblsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- about 1/2tsp Cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 a large purple onion diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic minced

In a large sauce pot I melted a pat of butter and softened the onion and sautéed the garlic (about 90 seconds). Then added all the above. Heated to a boil and then turned to low and simmered while I preheated the oven and DH shredded the chicken. (I bought an already cooked whole rotisserie chicken from the store. $5.99) I mixed about 1 1/2 cups of sauce with my shredded chicken. OMGosh it was KILLER good! I used these nice soft corn and flour blend, handmade tortillas. 8ct/$2.19. So I didn't have to pre-warm them in order to make them flexible; just used 'em right out of the package. Stuffed them with the chicken, a small handful of shredded jack cheese and in some of them I added a bit of canned corn too. Covered them with the sauce, then jack cheese then cheddar cheese. Baked at 375F for about 30 minutes then broiled on low for about 5 minutes to toast the cheese top.

Served with sour cream and some beans. I could only eat two! I made 14, so they've been dinner twice and lunch once and I've got four in the fridge right now...

hhmm..I think it's my lunch time! Big Grin