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Went to the Beach this Morning

October 26th, 2013 at 03:40 pm



We have been enjoying a mild October so far.
It has been cold at night - mid 30s to low 40s, but the days have been sunny and warm. It is 75F right now.

This might be the last mild weekend for awhile so the kids and I headed out to the beach. Once again I was feeling pretty lucky we live so close to the Pacific Ocean. It takes us about 35 minutes to drive out and the road is a nice trip. Pastoral - cows, sheep, horses.

On our last trip we purchased a twelve month county park pass, so the only cost today was a bit of fuel for the Pathfinder.


Cleo at the beach this morning.
She is a big girl now! Smile

DD Has Her Own Checking Acct

October 12th, 2013 at 10:37 am

Our 12 year-old DD has her own free checking and linked savings account now. She feels very grown up and is taking it very seriously. She is a mature, responsible girl and I figure it is never too early to understand banking. It also makes sense for her to have an account to deposit into and "manage" now that she is getting at least one check every month from the survey company.

She is making both DH and I very proud because she has been saving half of any money she gets for many months now.
Her savings account has a larger balance than her checking account. Smile

I was 16 when I opened my first checking account.
How old were you?

Resolution of the Childcare Situation

September 26th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Currently we are situation "A".
Daycare costs are calculated at the new rate and average number of hours/month.
School costs are fixed per month regardless of attendance.
I work four full days and one half day per week.

A) School part-time/Daycare part-time
$986/month
School 3 days/week = $590
Daycare (GrandmaB) = $396

B) School mostly/Daycare 4.5/hrs/week
$966/month
School 4 days/week
+ flat rate aftercare = $885
Daycare 1/2 day/week = $81

C) School Full Time
$990/month
School 5 days/week + flat rate aftercare = $990


I have asked the preschool to put us on the waiting list to increase DS to five days or at least add the fourth full day I work. This may not happen for weeks or months. This preschool is *amazing* and 100% full with a waiting list.

The school is hands-down the best place for our son to go. He asks to go every day now and financially the numbers speak for themselves - why did I/am I having such a hard time with this?
After more thinking it is because of emotional attachmant and that I very much dislike change.

In my earlier post I wasn't very clear - not even for myself. I was actually struggling to find a reason to *stay* with our current daycare lady (GrandmaB) even given her rate increase. Though it is not logical in the financial sense. I have very personal feeling toward this woman, whom I've known for over 10 years and who has cared for both of my children. She loves them like her own and gets them little gifts for birthdays, Christmas and back-to-school.

Yes, my feelings got a little hurt when she announced her rate increase. I feel that her reason comes more from seeing us "have the money" to pay preschool tuition than anything else. I might be wrong there, but can't help feeling that.

Her home and care is safe and reliable, but it is not enriching, stimulating or exciting. If you picture a small living room and a dining room with some toys and a grandma in a rocking chair you've got the whole picture. And there isn't anything wrong with that, except we can have more for him for essentially the same cost.

I could have enrolled DS full time in preschool when I was planning months ago, but I didn't for these reasons.
1. GrandmaB is flexible. If I work 20 or 30 minutes later it is no problem.
2. I didn't want to "take" DS away from GrandmaB. I didn't want to hurt her feelings by not "needing" her.
3. Wasn't sure how well DS would take to such a big change. (In retrospect this is more *I* didn't want a big change. My baby isn't a baby anymore.)
4. The cost of using GB part time was less by close to $60/month.

Unfortunately, the school is not so flexible with late pick-up. That is the only drawback there. I have already discussed what is going on and the plan with my boss. He is fine with me not being available to work late. It really doesn't happen very often and I can still stay up to 15 minutes after "closing time" if need be. He said he thinks school is the best place for DS too and that is most important.
So there it is, the only real negative factor isn't really a factor at all.

When we end up making the change I will give GrandmaB as much notice as possible and write her a very nice letter of recommendation. There may still be days when we will use her in a drop-in way or maybe in the summer. If not, I will make a point to drop by to see her and still send her cards and pictures of the kids.

Daycare Rate Increase. Thoughts?

September 21st, 2013 at 06:20 pm

Friday evening when I picked up DS our daycare lady told me she is thinking/needing to raise our rate to $4.50/hour. I was totally unprepared when she said it and at first I was thinking that was a big increase (it is *just* $0.50/hour more). I reacted with a bit of shock and resistance. I told her I needed to make some calculations because I can pay a flat rate per month for aftercare at his preschool and that may end up costing less than using her all week.

At that point I'm sure I hurt her feelings a little. She got a little defensive in her body posture and said "do what you need to". *sigh*

Now, of course our son and his safety, comfort and care is a top priority. 50-cents more per hour doesn't seem like a lot. I don't want to be "so cheap" (you all know what I mean by that).

This rate increase would mean us paying on average $40/month more while DS is in preschool. $100/month more in the summer. That is significant.. Right?

I am having a hard time with her reason for increasing her rate which is - She is losing money because DS is in preschool now.
The increased cost would be tough enough to swallow, but I would be more agreeable if her reason was operating costs, or cost of living adjustment, or something along those lines. I mean, come on, when I work less I don't ask for a raise in my hourly pay to try to make up the difference. I feel like that is what she is saying. If she doesn't like losing income then she should take in another child. She only cares for one other little girl four days a week. And it's not as if she didn't know our DS would be coming less. I told her about preschool when he was two and a more serious discussion when all the paperwork was filled out six months ago.

Running the numbers last night it is an even cost if we pay her to watch DS two full days and three after-school days per week or if she watches him two full days per week and he stays at preschool the other three days.

On one hand I want to make a point and if she is going to charge more then I am going to use her less. On the other I don't want to hurt her feelings. She is sensitive and I don't want her to feel as though we don't value her care of our baby boy.

On Monday we will have to have a more thorough discussion since this topic was left hanging right before the weekend. Maybe she might re-think the increase given what I said about having him stay at preschool.

I have been thinking of offering to pay $40/month more while he is in school, but only if she agrees to keep the rate the same. That way in summer I'll be saving us the increase.

Any thoughts?

Working More Hours

September 2nd, 2013 at 02:30 pm

Happy Labor Day!
I hope everyone gets to enjoy a restful day off. We are in relaxation mode here at our house. Smile

Tomorrow I start working Tuesdays all day. For years I have had the morning off. Recently I started thinking I should offer to work all day. I already pay gas money to commute and I could add 3.5 hours to my week by making this change. I figured that after tax and additional childcare costs I will still bring home over $2k/year more. That is hard to say "No" to.

Last week went better than I had expected in regards to my new morning routine of getting the kids off to their schools. What it boils down to is leaving the house 30 minutes earlier. I hope we can keep it up all school year long.

Wednesday Doings

August 21st, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Today was DD's first day of middle school. The lazy summer mornings are gone now Frown Darn it!
Next week I add dropping DS off at preschool to the morning routine. I know it will be worth it. He is ready for more stimulation and he is very excited to start "school". Smile

In the extra income side of things: I received my quarterly check for recording some of my works' inventory usage to a research company. It pays $20/month. So my check was $60. Smile

Unfortunately, I saw an unauthorized charge on my AmEx card this evening. $85.xx. I submitted a dispute form online and fingers crossed it gets cleared up quickly. And no more funky charges!! Argh!

Back 2 School Stuff

August 16th, 2013 at 02:03 pm

DD had her orientation at middle school this morning. Unfortunately, she didn't get the zero period PE, so we will need to come up with a game plan for the morning drop off. I am probably going to drop off on the next street down and DD can walk over to the school.

We bought new shoes today. A pair for me and a pair for DD. (We now wear the same size.. sheesh!)
The really awesome part was the salesman told me to pull up an online coupon on my phone while I was checking out. He scanned the bar code on my phone and we saved 20%!

That was $26 I saved by having a "smart" phone. I need to remember to check for or ask about online coupons since it seems like this is becoming a more common thing.
What about if you don't have a smart phone? It's not fair, but I guess you miss out. Frown



Later today, or tomorrow, I will take DD for more B2S shopping. We have a new shopping center that *just* opened near us. There is a Target and a TJMaxx. She has a $25 gift card to both stores - gifts from her birthday last month. DH and I agreed to give her an additional $150 in cash. She will make the choices on what she needs (Paper, pens, socks, jeans, tops, jacket etc.) and will have to budget accordingly. She has already decided she is happy to reuse the same backpack she has had for three years in order to spend on something else.

Have You Felt Like You Are Swimming in Molasses?

June 7th, 2013 at 02:58 pm

HA! I sure do right now - Ugh!

Financially there have been some setbacks. Now that we are halfway through the year it feels like some goals are so far out of reach it'll take years, not months.

I don't like feeling frustrated, and there are so many things I want and need to do that the best way to describe my position is that I am stuck in the middle of a pool of thick, sticky stuff.

Just gotta keep dogpaddling, right?

------
I've been so busy the past two plus weeks. I really, truly thought the end of May would be more relaxed than the start, but that ended up all wrong.

For starters work has been busy. Most days we've needed to stay late to finish everything up.

Memorial weekend was going to be quiet. We had turned down offers from friends for camping, daytrips and BBQ. The plan was just to stay home = no spending. Well, Thursday night our friends A & S called insisting that we join them camping. They were not taking "NO" for an answer. They argued that they had already bought enough food, paid for the site and would pay our fuel costs. How could we pass up a "free" trip??

DH and I discussed it and finally caved to our friends' request to go. I am happy we did too. The camping was fun. The weather was nice. And we went to a place we had never been to before - Big Trees State Park - home of Giant Sequoias.


The trip home Monday was where we ran into a problem. We stopped for lunch and afterwards when I started the truck it would drive a few feet and then die.
Hard to start.. Drive for several feet.. Die.
We were in a parking lot thankfully, but 90 miles from home.

Long story short, we had to tow the truck to a nearby shop. Good news it was in the same town as A & S live. The shop of course was closed. We had to leave it. Couldn't rent a car because all those places were closed for the holiday. Our friends graciously lent us their car to drive home in.

Tuesday DH drove their car back and picked up our repaired truck. It was a sensor that went out. Simple fix thankfully, but oh what a huge headache!
So, although we didn't spend much on the weekend (less than $100 on fuel and some food) we did spend money with the extra driving and the repair, which cost $192.

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Thursday, May 30, DD had her 6th grade promotion. Big Grin
I can't believe she is old enough to be going to middle school/junior high!

You might recall DD had us running all around town looking for a dress. Eventually we found something she liked. It looked so cute on her and is something she will be able to wear again. I thought we did well spending just $21 on it.

Her graduation gift from DH and I was a cell phone.
She was thrilled - she has been wanting a phone and has been working hard at saving her money (I told her she had to buy her own).

I bought this used phone several months back and just activated it to my Ting account. This will increase usage to the next tier. I figure our cell bill will be about $27/month now.

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I have been going to my hour-long Pilates classes each Thursday night. This was a Groupon deal. I have one more class. I really like the workout - let me tell you it is a total body workout. I am usually sore for three days afterwards.

The instructor offered me an additional five-pack of classes at a 20% discount. I'd like to do it, but just cannot spend that extra money when we have so many other financial obligations. Someday maybe....

The silver lining? I am going to try to apply some of the moves I've learned in the class and do a little, mini 10-15 minute routine at home. I just need to get into a routine of making myself DO it. Smile

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The garden was seriously damaged by our hens. GRRR!
The hens ate all the leaves on our sugar snap peas - leaving pitiful, scrawny, 7" 'twigs' that dried up and died. They ate the tops of my carrots and all my baby spinach. In DH's box they worked over his corn stalks.

The dog dug up my lemon cucumber.
I planted another - it died - don't know why??
This morning I planted two new plants in new locations - Fingers crossed!! (I really like lemon cucumbers)

My tomato and squash plants are going gangbusters - they look awesome. Yay!! Big Grin

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DS and I visited his preschool and turned in his enrollment paperwork. Ah, preschool... that deserves its own post.

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Been doing a bunch of reading too. That has been keeping me up late. I am just about to start the fourth and last 'Twilight' book. Then I am going to watch the movies. Curious to see what the hype was all about. Smile

Let Us Eat Cake!

May 4th, 2013 at 04:49 pm

DD needed to bake a cake last night to take to her 4H cooking meeting today (they did cake decorating this morning).

I *KNOW* we have two cake pans. I couldn't find them last night to save me. I think they are still packed away. (We have a kitchen with ZERO storage, so when we moved in we did not unpack all our stuff.)

I had to run to the store at 8:30pm and buy two cake pans ($14). That was after working all day, then coming home and working on the house to get it ready for my in-laws who came this morning for a weekend visit. I was wiped out last night.

Upside? We have two nice cake pans now and we know where they are. Smile