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Update III: May Spending

June 17th, 2015 at 07:06 am

I have been waiting to post because I have pictures to share and the site has been having issues.
Finally, here it is. Smile


We celebrated DS' 5th birthday with a party at a local park. This park has pony rides, train rides and a bouncy house on the weekends. It was a big hit. We invited 24 kids and had 17 attend. Smile

It was race car themed.
I saw this cute idea to put yellow lines on black tablecloths so they looked like a road. Dollar store plastic tablecloths and a roll of yellow tape = easy.

I set out snack food so everyone could just graze as they wanted since the kids were on the move all over the park.
Including a make-your-own trail mix set-up that I named "Nuts and Bolts".
Carrots & celery sticks with hummus I called "Dipsticks". Big Grin

I baked the cupcakes and my sister decorated them into this cute pull-apart cake.
(The road is shaped into a 5.)



Total spent for the picnic area rental, activity passes, food and decor came to $278.
We had a lot of leftover food. In fact we are still munching on trail mix goodies.

-----

My birthday was celebrated with a semi-surprise trip to Vegas.



**Bellagio fountain

I say semi because my parents knew my BFF had invited us to join her and her hubby for a weekend trip, but we had declined due to cost. So my parents surprised me by paying for our hotel and tickets to the Cirque show "O" I've been wanting to see for years.
I made the reservations and we paid for transportation and food.

Our airfare was $69/pp/each way with Southwest.
(My mom just told me about $39 fare to Vegas in August!)

We had two vouchers for BOGO 1/2 priced to the hotel's buffet. To save money we'd have a large breakfast and that would keep us going until dinner.

We bought passes for the bus that runs up and down the strip (The Deuce) for $16.
DH picked up a new ball cap at the M&M store that ended up being 50% off, so we paid $12.
We bought my sister a souvenir ($9) because she was watching our house and kids.
We each had $50 to gamble with.
Airport parking was $42.
Our total spent was $562.



**Mirage volcano & Venetian canals

Save $100 with Ting! Great Grad (or Dad) Gift!

May 31st, 2015 at 01:49 pm

I have been using Ting mobile service for almost three years now. Can't say enough about how much I've loved the *big* money savings from Ting. Or the excellent Ting customer service!

For our DD's 8th grade graduation gift we are upgrading her phone to a Samsung SG3. It is a refurbished one we purchased from the Ting store.

Her current phone was a refurb from the Ting store and it has served her well these last two years.
I really like that we can buy used and save some big money - since most teens are going to abuse their phone right away anyway - *almost* new is good enough. Smile

So, if you are looking for a sensible grad gift, or maybe Father's Day gift, check out Ting right now and save $100 smack-a-roos! Big Grin

Details directly from Ting:

From now until 11:59pm ET on June 8, the Ting Refer a Friend program is offering you $100 to try Ting mobile phone service. If you sign up and activate a phone, I'll also receive a $50 credit.
Once you join Ting, you'll be able to refer your friends too.

[url]https://zlibcgmej.ting.com[/url]

That's my unique referral URL and the key to this offer. Click it or copy & paste.
You must use this to receive $100 off select phones in the Ting shop or a $100 service credit if you bring your own phone to Ting.

Speaking of which, the phone you already own will probably work with Ting. Go to the Ting compatibility checker to find out for sure.



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DS is FIVE! (and Five Years Blogging Here)

May 5th, 2015 at 11:26 am

Today our DS turns five years old! Wow, has the time flown!

We are going to have a party this weekend in one of the city parks. We haven't had a big party for any of his birthdays, so he is very excited. Smile

DH is doing well. I'll update more later.

I missed my blogoversary which was a week ago - Five years certainly goes by fast.
I have been too busy at work and at home to make time for any well thought posts. (Right now I'm at work on hold waiting to place an order for medications.)

Thank you to all my SA friends here for reading and supporting me. It is a pleasure to visit here and share about our lives - financial & otherwise.
Smile

Catching Up - Been Busy with Bedroom Makeover!!

February 12th, 2015 at 02:18 pm

The past few weeks have been so busy for me. Any time I had for the computer was spent updating Quicken, paying bills, shopping for said bedroom or checking email. I did stop in here at SA to read blogs, but I was too tired or pressed for time to post anything.

The project has been clearing out DS's bedroom.
It started with needing to get him a new bed.
He has been sleeping in his crib - converted to toddler daybed, and he is getting too big for that. So I spent a chunk of time shopping for bedroom furniture. After some debate we decided to go the bunk bed route to give us an extra bed for guests. (Visitors currently have the choice of couch or cot.)

I had been searching Craigslist every few days since before Christmas. Saw a few serviceable beds and a whole lot of beds I didn't want. Some beds I saw in stores were so flimsy I was afraid to climb up on them. And some beds I liked were nearly $1800!
Anyway, it was a process. I ended up buying a sturdy bed from a local chain store that cost more than a flimsy bed, but half the price of the Pottery Barn bed that it looks exactly like.
I asked for an early President's Day weekend discount. That saved me the sales tax.
And asked for a discount on the matching chest dresser, which they gave me $50 off. That made me happy I was pushy and asked for a discount.

BUT, before I could have this lovely new big-boy bunk bed delivered I wanted to clean up DS's room.
That morphed into painting a wall yellow (his choice), touching up paint on the other walls, FINALLY painting the room doors, FINALLY painting and installing baseboard and door trim.
I've been doing a lot of painting... darn yellow wall took three coats before it looked right!

But the mess and aching back have been worth it - I am so pleased that one room in my house is 100% trimmed out and clean! Big Grin

The baseboards especially are my favorite. DH's too. We are actually chomping at the bit to do the hallway which has un-painted, un-calked baseboard right now.

I have been using gift cards from the Southwest bonus to purchase the new bedding for the room. That has meant more of my time spent shopping online for just the right things. Smile

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.. the bunk bed is being assembled by the deliveryman right now as I type this!!

New Insurance & My Trip to the ER

January 7th, 2015 at 07:33 am

Last month I changed the coverage the kids and I had to DH's plan through work. This amounted to a $23/month savings. And, one deductible to meet as a family, rather than two when we had two separate plans. The other change was moving from PPO coverage to HMO coverage. We have used doctors from both "sides" over the years, so I am comfortable with the care we will get.

Yesterday afternoon DS fell on the playground and split his chin open. About an inch long cut. Frown
I thought I might be able to use some surgical glue at work to close it. But, there was too much tension and it looked like it would just pull apart. Unfortunately, pediatrics doesn't suture and all facial lacerations get sent to the ER.

90 minutes, five sutures and $250 later and DS nearly good as new. Smile

How's your 2015 starting out?

Halloween 2014

November 1st, 2014 at 02:16 pm



DH and I carved our pumpkins with stencils. DD free-handed her *LOVE* carving.

Spending for Halloween was low this year.

DS was a pirate. We bought a foam hat at a craft store that my sister's hubby glued into a classic three pointed hat. Then I cut the bottoms of an old pair of his sweat pants and he wore a striped shirt of mine. Total costume cost under $4!

DD dressed as a band member of Five Seconds of Summer (new teen boy band). We bought a tshirt from Amazon that she can wear anytime. Total costume cost under $20.


$23 - Costumes
$12 - Pumpkins
$ 8 - Candy
$ 8 - Decor Items
$ 2 - 24ct Glow Bracelets

Rain. HELOC News. Spending.

September 26th, 2014 at 09:46 pm

We had a little rain early Thursday morning and again this evening. The weather has been very mild for weeks and the rain didn't change that - still mild. Plus the rain makes everything smell so nice and fresh and we can certainly use the moisture.


Our loan officer from the CU left me a voicemail that she was completing the documents today. DH and I will sign early next week and the money will be available by next Friday.
DH has contacted several roofing contractors. Some have come to the house already, but we don't have any written estmates yet. We want to get moving on the roof ASAP.


Re: Spending.

DH's side work profits were used to get the truck's water pump replaced (finally), two new tires and a few other odds & ends replaced (wipers, filters, etc.)
$1451 in auto parts and repair

It is the start of a new 4H year.
Yearly membership dues and two pre-purchase tickets for the large fundraising dinner came to $71.

DD is in the Honor band at school this year. Band camp weekend for $135.

I bought a Groupon for the Pilates studio I used last year for $89/eight classes.

I went kayaking last weekend with a girlfriend. $55 for the all day, 11 mile trip down the river. It was beautiful and relaxing, but....

My back was so tight after kayaking that the following day I had a spasm and threw my lower back "out". Had to see a chiropractor yesterday to pop everything back in place. (Primarily the left side of my pelvis.) I haven't used a chiropractor in over 13 years, but I really needed help.
$45 and worth every penny!

Everything (including $900 to debt payoff!) was paid using side money. WooHoo! Keep it coming! Big Grin

DD's Honey Harvest

September 6th, 2014 at 04:34 pm

As I've previously posted we have a bee hive in our backyard. This is a 4H project that our DD participates in.

This year her hive produced enough excess honey she could harvest it.

The whole process is so fascinating. It is amazing to learn how bees "operate", the proper way to work with bees and the steps to harvest honey.

After you pull out frames of capped honey from the hive boxes you cut the wax caps off with a Hot Knife (electric knife that gets hot and cuts/melts the wax). Then you load the extractor.

This is the Extractor in our kitchen (you can see some of the wax caps on the top of the strainer).




The local beekeeping club allows 4H members to borrow the club owned electric extractor at no charge.
It works by flinging the honey out with centrifugal force.

Frames loaded inside the extractor.



Frames spinning.



Honey!
DD filled jars after letting the honey drain from the extractor into the bucket for about 30 hours.



Almost two gallons of honey collected.



Most of these jars will be given as gifts.
A few might be sold - DD's project leader has customers willing to buy local honey for $20/pint.

DD's Birthday

July 26th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

DD turned 13 this past week.
She is waiting until school starts to have a party with friends. It will be a BBQ at one of the nearby parks.

DH, DS and I took her to fondue dinner on her "real birthday" and spent $120. We also gave her a birthday card with a $15 gc enclosed for music downloads. DS made her a bead necklace at preschool that he gave her - it was so sweet. Smile

I can't believe our girl is a teenager now.

Post Fourth of July Post

July 6th, 2014 at 09:53 am

We had a busy week here. DH and I decided we would host a BBQ for a few families. I think it has been three years since we invited more than just our family over for a meal - ha!

DD was away all week at 4H camp (which was the BEST ever! Big Grin)
DH and I had to pick up her chores as well as work on getting the house and yard ship-shape. I also had to pick her up from camp Friday midday. So we worked on party preparation a little bit every day of the week. I squeezed shopping for food and supplies on Tuesday afternoon - my half day of work.
We made it a potluck, so that saved some money. I didn't feel embarrassed about asking and everyone was happy to bring something.

Party supplies were:
$ 2 - red plastic tablecloth
$ 3 - blue star paper dinner plates
$ 2 - blue napkins
$ 3 - plastic cups
$ 3 - plastic shot cups
$ 1 - glow-n-the-dark bracelets
$16 - kiddy pool
$ 3 - sidewalk chalk
The last two items are for DS to use all summer. If we are gentle the pool should make it for next summer too.
Total: $33

As far as food goes I wanted to make kabobs. We have never made them before even though I have wanted to many times. I bought 36 boneless/skinless chicken thighs at $2.50/lb. I used fresh zucchini out of our garden on the skewers also.

Food spending:
$23 - chicken thighs
$14 - Kabob produce (bell peppers, onions & pineapple)
$38 - (2) six packs of beer, (2) bottles champagne, (2) bottles sparkling juice
$ 3 - bamboo skewers
$16 - Avocados for guacamole
$ 2 - Tortilla chips
$16 - Huge watermelon
$ 3 - Whole Pineapple
$ 8 - Strawberries & Raspberries
$ 6 - Ice
$ 3 - lime jello
Almost all the fruit/veggies were organic.
Total: $132

The kabobs were a hit. Smile
I even had a few extras that I threw in the freezer - maybe dinner next weekend?

DH crafted a watermelon "basket" filled with the fruit. I should have taken a picture (I think he did) it looked great.

His guacamole was a huge hit as usual.

I had the idea to make jello shots. I saw this really cute idea to make red, white & blue layered jello cups. Well that gave me the idea to make jello shots. And then the idea to make Margarita jello shots.
(Let me say I have only had jello shots once before and I have never made them.)
They turned out really good! I will make them again as they were such a fun little adult item to have. Smile

DH and DD hit the fireworks stand and bought $25 in fireworks.

We all watched our city's fireworks from our house. It is nice to not have to drive anywhere.

It was a really enjoyable party. I would like to do it more often than once every few years. It's one of those things where you keep asking "Why am I doing all this?" and then you have such a good time you feel like "I am so glad we did this!" Smile