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Soggy Weekend Doings

February 8th, 2014 at 03:55 pm

We are getting a super good, soaking, rain storm this weekend. It is so wonderful to hear the rain on the roof and watch the creek by the house fill up.

I did venture out this morning to take DS to a birthday party for one of his preschool buddies. On the way there we drove past two separate accidents. Solo spin-outs.. people going too fast with standing water on the highway.

DS enjoyed the party and we gifted a small toy truck that I had bought on sale months ago and tucked away. It was nice to not have to go shopping and the toy cost $4.

DH offered to go to the grocery store today. Big Grin
He likes to spend the time hanging out with DS. I was thrilled with having the option to take a break from going out. I did write up a big list for him. DD left with them to visit a friend, so I have the house to myself. Watching some 'Downton Abbey' without interruption.

Rainy Day - Hooray! Hooray!

February 2nd, 2014 at 10:57 am

Woke up to rain this morning - YAY!
I was so excited. Which I know sounds silly, but it has been so sunny and dry here. Plus, on a rainy day it gives me reason to cozy inside all day - sunny days I feel guilty when I stay inside all day.

DH cooked up a delicious breakfast of eggs with cheese, brown sugar sausage links and biscuits. He had to run to the store for the sausage and biscuits. I also had him get a gallon of milk and fresh French bread to go with dinner tonight, but nothing else. We need to wait for the cc to end its billing cycle on Tuesday before any more shopping. If we can push our grocery run to next weekend it will have been three weeks since I made a big store trip.

I am going to work on our taxes today using FreeTaxUSA website. I have used this site for many years. It will cost me about $10 to file both federal and state.

This is another reason I love my Quicken. It makes tax time easy-peasy. Of course I double check my receipts and statements, but in case I forgot something my Quicken reminds me.

The other items on my To Do list today are:
laundry - including bedding
roll change
read
nap??
cook dinner

We will watch the Superbowl later today.
Hope it'll be a good game and if not, hope we enjoy some of the commercials.

Warm, Dry Weather. Cash Mondays.

January 21st, 2014 at 04:23 pm

It is a lovely 70F day again. The news folks are starting to refer to the month as JUNEuary. To be honest, there are days in June that are not this nice. We need rain badly - it is so dry! I just hand-watered the back yard lawn because it needed *something*.

DS has a slight cold and just was complaining that his right ear was hurting. I gave him some Advil and a pudding cup. Hopefully we can get him to feel better soon!

Last Monday and yesterday I made the "standard" $80 for the care of the old cat.
$160 Two weeks.
-$20 DD needed PE sweats. She kept the change for school lunch.
-$20 Cash for my wallet.
------
$120 deposited to checking

Total YTD side work: $180

Really Need Rain Here...

January 8th, 2014 at 07:27 am

We are so dry here in California this winter. It is so bad - we had one day of rain in December and the news keeps showing how the reservoirs are at their lowest point in like ever?!

Not much snow pack up in the mountains either. Frown

So, while nearly the entire country is in full-blown, hard hitting winter we keep seeing the sun. We have been below freezing overnight, but into the 60s during the day - drastic temp changes.

This is the type of weather/time of year that makes for nice beach days. Sunday morning we drove out for some play time with friends. You might remember that we bought a county park pass in September, so there wasn't any fee. It is 28 miles from our house and a very enjoyable drive. I figure it costs us under $10 for gas. We pack food from home so we aren't too tempted to go to one of the several seafood restaurants along the coast.

This is the sandcastle the kids were working on.. they tore it down before they finished it. Smile





Here is Cleo!




Hope all our SA friends are keeping warm and safe out there in the *Artic Vortex*.
If you head this way bring some of your snow with you! Wink

Goals

January 4th, 2014 at 11:46 pm

I was not good about posting progress on my goals throughout the year or updating my sidebar much. I find that sometimes I add money or make a transfer and *want* to post about it, but when I finally get time to make a post I either forget or it seems like it happened SO long ago.

At any rate as of 12/31/13..

$5K EF
[$4,820]

$2K New Auto Savings
[$1,000]

Reduce CC Balances
[$13,000]
Diverted more cash to savings than to cc payments. Silver lining - almost all of this debt is at 0%.

Lose 20 lbs
[lost/kept off 5lbs]


I want to do a better job of tracking my snowflakes, cc rewards, side money etc this year.

Feeling optimistic about 2014!
Smile

Happy New Year from California!

January 1st, 2014 at 08:26 am

Happy 2014 everyone!
May this year be filled with health, wealth and love.

I am kicking off the new year with a cup of coffee and the Rose Parade (those floats are always so amazing!).

Vacation, then Christmas, now nearly New Year.. Oh My!

December 28th, 2013 at 09:59 pm

Our trip was great!
Really my only complaint was that it was 75F-80F (terrible, hu?) and made the Disney parks a bit more crowded than we were used to. (We always plan to go at "non-peak" times to save money and avoid the crowds. We usually wait 15 minutes or less on the really popular rides and less than 5 minutes for everything else.)
I shouldn't complain, even waiting twice as long as we're used to is better than a lot of people deal with.

It was so enjoyable to watch DS's enjoyment.
This is him on the Toy Story ride which he kept referring to as the "yellow glasses ride".


I used a hotel we hadn't stayed in before. While the hotel was nice and the beds very comfy it was too much of a walk to get into the parks. We walked back and forth twice each day in order to take an afternoon nap, so it was a lot of walking.

Yes, there is a circulating bus/shuttle, but I didn't want to pay the extra money, plus you have to wait for it to pick up and drop off. I prefer to walk, although this time it meant some seriously sore feet by day end.

We did pretty well with food spending. Snacks in the car and hotel room. Eating out *only* twice daily was easy to manage.
We ate at the Rainforest Cafe for $12. I had $100 gift card (credit card reward) that almost covered the "splurg-y" meal.
A character breakfast included with our package at n/c was a great treat.
I had my special treat in Disney - a Monte Cristo - that was filling enough for two meals.
We also ate at the Mexican restaurant in Frontier Land which I have found to be nearly the same cost as Mexican food anywhere else. You can also get free soda refills there. That meant my DH bought a soda with six trips for refills. Big Grin

We rented a car. A 2013 Ford Focus.
It was good for us. I had calculated that we would be about even driving our own gas guzzling car vs. renting a fuel saving car. Additionally, no wear and tear on our aging vehicle (we drove 1370 miles).
With the costs tabulated we saved a little money by renting the car! Smile

Here it is in Las Vegas at the Excalibur - where we stayed.



We splurged on the Tournament of Kings dinner show. It's where you eat with your hands while watching knights battle. I had seen a similar show while in high school so knew what to expect (good for a three-year-old!).
My family really enjoyed the show. As predicted DS was glued to the action. Big Grin

DH and I hit the blackjack tables both nights, but alas, didn't win big. We have found that we can play blackjack for hours on very little money all while drinking *free* beer. Smile

Vacation Spending:
$1414 Disney package (4 nights/(4) 4-day hopper tickets/pkg extras)
$310 Food
$200 Cash for gambling/souvenirs/misc.
$181 Rental car
$159 Dinner show
$146 Gas
$ 94 Vegas hotel (2 nights @ $29+taxes/resort fees)

DH's boss gave us DH's $500 Christmas bonus early so we could apply it to the trip if we wanted.
(I used the Sapphire for almost everything and will use the bonus money toward the bill next month.)

Both DH and I used paid vacation time, so no lost income.
We saved a few bucks in daycare costs.
My dad stayed at our house so we didn't pay anything for house/pet care. As a big plus, my dad totally spruced up the front and backyard - mowed, raked, swept.. That was nice!

This trip was our Christmas gift to each other. Tiring, but good family time and some funny memories made. I'll tell you it was nice - no shopping, no wrapping, no extra crap!

------



Christmas was comfortable and low-key.
Santa brought a $25 dump truck set for DS.
Santa used Amazon credit (from selling back the EMT textbooks) for DH and DD's gifts. They cost $0.
Stocking stuffers included personal care products and trip souvenirs.

I got coffee and chocolate from almost everyone. Smile
My boss gave me a nice, crisp $100.

Only my parents were here with us (Yay! no drama!).
I made a nice ham dinner, roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, rolls, pie.

This year I feel like I figured out the best way to warm a ham without drying it out!
I used a roasting bag and set the oven for 275F.
About 10 minutes/lb.
Nice and warm throughout - no dry slices!

I bought a 10lb ham for the extra leftovers. I froze the ham bone for later use and a dinner's worth of slices for a future meal.

------

Kids are visiting the in-laws until tomorrow. DH and I have been basking in the quiet laziness the last 48 hours.

Next week will be pretty easy. Work one and a half days, then another paid day off. Big Grin
Then.. WOW.. 2014!

Cost of the Plumber. Dry Fall Weather.

November 24th, 2013 at 11:10 pm

I realized I never finished recounting our plumbing tale.

The plumber came on Tuesday evening. (During our only rainstorm we've had in two months.)
He had to get on the roof to rotor through the vent. He didn't find any major clogs - guess the Drano had done all the work by that point. He did clear out a few small roots and discussed with DH some sort of relief pipe that would prevent backups into the house. We paid $150.

So, yes, we ended up getting a bit of rain last week. It was very nice. We really need more - so dry here!

The majority of days in the past 6-9 weeks have been sunny and mild.
It is hard to think of December when it feels like spring.
Cold overnight and in the mornings so the furnace has been running.

We've had a few nights with a fire in the fireplace. Burning chunks of the old shed from the backyard makes the house cozy with free heat. Big Grin

I took this picture two weeks ago of the trees by my parking lot at work. Gorgeous fall colors.
However, after the rain we had big wind for two days. These trees are totally naked now.

Christmas Cards Look Cute

November 20th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Okay, first I got to look through our pictures again when I picked them up yesterday afternoon. And, actually, I didn't look *that* bad in the family shots. Embarrassment (Thank you for the supportive comments there.)
I feel better about them. Not so good that I will be getting a print for the wall, but I do have a small print and did use one of them on our card.

I whipped our cards up online using Costco again this year. The hardest part is choosing which template I like best. I end up making two or three cards and then choose between them.
I think this is the sixth year I have made the cards there.

Made them early this year so that I could take advantage of their $5 off coupon that ended today. This really works well - I can address them next Sunday while I watch football and mail them out Monday 12/2.

$9.99 for 50 cards and envelopes.



Family Photo Flop

November 17th, 2013 at 02:23 pm

Yesterday morning we went to JCPenny photo to redeem the Groupon I purchased weeks back.

My plan was a nice family shot to use on our Christmas cards and to frame for our home.
Maybe even as gifts for MIL and my mom.

Unfortunately, I looked *scary* in every group shot.
Like scary, grinning-too-wide, deer-in-the-headlights type look. Ugh!

I can kinda laugh it off now, but yesterday I was in a disappointed funk the whole day. Frown

The downside is:
1. I will have to herd my less than willing family back in for another try in a few months.
(Not even going to go through the hassle of it again so soon!)
2. No family pic for Christmas cards.

Silver lining is:
1. SUPER cute pictures of DD and DS together. Also really nice individual ones.
That made the money spent on the deal more than worth it. Smile
2. The only money spent was $25 for the Groupon.


I know people who spend a small fortune on having professional portraits done.
A girlfriend and her family recently had photos done. It was a 2.5 hour sitting with like 600 pictures. They got some really nice shots, but I didn't even ask how much it was. I'd guess $200 - $400?? Maybe more??

I am sure we (me) would get better results by going to a private photographer who would devote that much personalized time, but at what cost? In theory we could get photos done *all the time* if I only pay $25 each visit.

Just still a little down that the picture didn't turn out like I hoped.
Oh well, it'll just be the kids on the card AGAIN this year.
*sigh*