Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Holidays & Family

I read something this morning about consumers feeling gloomy at the start of the holiday season.
Hmmm. My outlook on it-we're going to get through it, and live to enjoy it. There's so much that reaffirms my belief that we'll focus on family time, not on material objects. My children will always want this toy, or that trip, and R and I will always want to go to that restaurant or go to that special place. But really, do we need it? I'm focusing on what we have, not on what we want. I'm fed up with thinking about making lists-the top one being what toys to buy for our children. The second being what I or R "really, really want" to ensure our real happiness. My children don't have a clue about how toys are marketed towards them. R and I also are thinking more and more about how we live our lives, how money doesn't equate happiness, and really, all we want is to be safe and secure. So, I'm going to focus more of our resources on establishing our long term, financial security, and not on the short term aspects of having a wonderful holiday season. We'll trim a lot of the expenses, but use the money elsewhere, where its needed. When it comes down to it, we have control over the $$, our boys don't. And really, by looking at scrapbook pages of different women this weekend, you couldn't tell who spent a fortune, and those who kept their wallets shut. All that you saw were smiling faces, isn't that what its supposed to be about?

On a totally different topic.....

I've thought long and hard about going back to work. I'm doing it to get us out from under a rock and a hard place, I feel restless at home, and I'm not feeling up to par. Why I feel better when I have a gazillion things to do, than when I'm just lounging around (even then, as a SAHM, its never real lounging), I don't know. My kids are happier going to school, being with friends, than sometimes staying at home all day with me. I feel like I can focus better on the time I do have w/ my kids when I'm doing something for myself. Plus, I feel that in our personal situation, I have a place that I trust to share the load of childcare. Maybe I'd feel different if I had family closer by, but since R and me live so far away from family, even getting emotional support-I always have reminders that we're on our own-it really helps to have a place, even if it is a child care facility and preschool, that we can connect with. It really hits home when the preschool teachers talk w/ me about going back to work-especially since they've faced the same thing at one point or another. So, to ease the financial burden, and to promote our self sufficiency as a family, I'm going back to work part time. How it will be, I don't know. But as everything else has happened in the past few months, life is too short to wonder what-if all the time. I've never been one to shy away from just diving into the great unknown-so why should this time be any different?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Jewish New Year

I've always been a secular, spiritual person, but this year something is different. I called a local temple, and services are for members only. Another one-well, I called too late, and R isn't getting home until after 8:30. I really want to do somrething-I feel crappy, and not sure if its a physcial thing, or emotional, but I'm tired. I'm debating heavily to go out and get the makings of a nice Jewish dinner (chicken soup, something vegetarian, or something, anything not pork or shellfish. Yeah, I looked it up since I don't want to do the wrong thing. At least apples and honey for dessert. I wonder how the boys are going to respond-Its definitely more for me than them, but yet we want to start teaching them about holidays in general, and this is one of them. So we'll see. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to go online after sundown (something about it being considered work?), but we'll see how far I can take this. Maybe this is a good idea after all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

weekend update

This weekend has been the best one in a long, long time! Yesterday was my scrap day, so I attempted to let R sleep in while I tended to the boys. No such luck, they wanted both of us, and R was just happy I was up and taking the lead. We ate breakfast together, and my friend picked me up at 9:15. I told R that whatever hedid, I was cool with, even though I secretly was concerned that he'd blow the bank. I gave him the last of my cash ($12), and hoped that we'd have some left over for today. Before heading to the scrap fest, I picked up some extra prints at Walgreens (awesome sale-only 10 cents a print through Oct 4th!), and we headed to the scrapbook store.

We got to the store, and I was glad to see I wasn't the only one carting around a ton of scrapbooking supllies. I figured the owner would have a ton of extra stuff for sale, and I was right. Oodles of pages, embellishments, and stickers greeted me. I was tempted to bring money for stuff, I only brought enough for a snack or extra drink (in case I ran out of what I brought), but decided I'd use what I have first, and if I wanted to buy something, it was only after I used up my own stuff.
The morning went great-I learned that for every page we completed, we got a raffle ticket, and every hour 3 winners were chosen. I completed 5 pages by noon, and was suprised when I won several raffle prizes (free scrapbooking items!). We had lunch at noon, and it was nice to take a break, and rest my hands and eyes.

Later on in the afternoon, R stopped by with the boys. They had hit up a local carnival (which was free!) and R still had $10 in his pocket. He told me he packed a lunch for the boys, and they all ate at the fair. The boys were well behaved, and while they initially asked for rides ($2-4 each, yikes!), once he told them they were there just to walk around, they didn't continually beg for them. He also took them to Costco for samples, and to use the remainder of the coupons in the store's latest book. I nursed the baby (who had done awsome all day), and said hi to the boys. They didn't fuss when I left, and I felt really good about staying at the store to cotinue my project.

I took two breaks, one for a trip to Foster Freeze with the other participants (got a yummy ice cream for $1.62), and a trip to WalMart for extra supplies (I browsed, but didn't buy). Dinner was served there, and I was suprised at how nice everything was set up. Eventually, I ran out of glue, and was tempted to spend some money on the glue there (even though it wasn't one that I was used to using). However, my friend loaned me an extra one of hers, s I didn't have to outlay any money.
At the end of the night, we had a grand prize drawing. I barely paid attention to all the stuff that was in it, since I didn't want to focus/pin my hopes on winning it. To my utter delight, I won!!! I went through the tote bag of stuff, and saw so many items that I had wanted to buy already, but was determined not to purchase. There were pads of paper, embellishments, stickers, ribbons, die cuts, paper frames, a cutting tool, and lots of cute stuff. The stickers were still on the items, and after totaling everything, The retail value of everything in the bag was $125! Along w/ the $8 of raffle prizes I won, I made out like a bandit!

I came home at midnight, R was awake. I told him how I appreciated him watching the boys, and told him how I hoped I could go again. He said the boys were awesome, he appreciated all that I do everyday, and that whenever they have the scrapfests (every other month), I could go! Yay!

This morning I got up w/ the boys, to once again let R sleep in (which didn't happen, once again). We had a nice breakfast at home, and I took G and E for a nice long walk w/ G's tricycle around the neighborhood. R is having M hel him w/ the bike, and later on we may go out. Not sure yet if we'll take the boys to get shoes, or just hang out somewhere cool (its supposed to be 100 degrees today), but we'll play it by ear. After yesterday, I think we all just want to have a mellow, relaxing Sunday. The last thing to do is make dinner, and considering we've been eating at home, we'll be just fine eating at home tonight.

Friday, September 26, 2008


i want a new camera. i love taking pictures of the boys, and having a camera that's tempermental is driving me nuts. i missed a great photo opportunity of m running through the sprinklers, wearing his superhero cape (yep, the same one that was his halloween costume last year) because my camera refused to work. while the thought of owning a cricut is desirable, without my camera working, there's no pictures to scrapbook, and no main reason for getting the cricut; although there are many uses for it, my primary one right now is scrapbooking. thankfully, w/ all my survey sites-the ones that do giftcards and no cash-i'm putting towards an amazon g.c., hoping i'll have enough to put towards a decent camera. i am cashing out more points than i originally planned, but with everything shutting down unexpectedly, i'm trying to keep an open mind and using stuff before it expires.

mystery shopping

I've done it before, but never like this. I'm now enrolled with quite a few companies-some do a lot of business in the surrounding cities, others do a few. today, i had a full day. I went shopping at a retail store (love to window shop), went to a bank (I needed to find out some stuff anyways) and had a paid lunch. Was it worth it? Considering it was stuff I would have done anyways, I believe so. While its challenging to do w/ the boys, the reality is, is that it wasn't much harder than it already is to take the boys anywhere. Make sure everyone's happy, have snacks available, and I can go about what needs to get done. Sounds like every other day. As for the reports-easy to do, and since I know how to use a scanner, digital camera, and computer, its a cinch! For the $32, it was worth the hour's total of work.

As for the afternoon, the boys and I are headed to the dollar store. I want to see if I can find any journaling blocks for tomorrow's scapbooking event. Tonight, I'm going to make sure I have enough pics to keep me busy (I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem), but figure I have a g.c. to Walgreens that I can use to buy additional prints (coupled w/ the print special and coupon out for the weekend, I can get my money's worth). I was pleased w/ the quality, and I can pick them up later tonight while out on a walk w/ the boys, or on the way out tomorrow morning. Either way, I want to be prepared :-)

Happy Friday everyone, its been a long week!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

bring on the scrapping

r said i can go! 9:30am-midnight on saturday!!! how long will i go? heck, even if i make it until 3 pm, that's way more scrapbooking time i've ever had in one shot! not to mention lunch and dinner are included in the $25 fee-way cheap in my eyes. i know r may be stretched to his max that day, so you better believe the brownies and dinner for the boys will be prepped, and whatever daddy says, will go for that day. all i gotta say is, i love my hubby!!!


of a good day
1. recieving the PG&E bill, and having it be under $220!!!
2. finding a new scrapbook store in an adjoining town, and being affordable
3. lunch w/ a cute one (yes, that's mr. e)
4. redeeming survey points, and being half way to my goal of getting my cricut for free!
5. lots of free photos from snapfish, courtesy of mysurvey :-)
6. finding out that the state budget got signed, so here's to hoping i can find a state job sooner than later
7. r saying that overtime may soon be an option-i'm not holding my breath, but man, would that be nice after such a long dry spell.

this afternoon should be mellow. i need to talk to r about whether i can go to an all day scrapfest on saturday, he already said we could manage-since we get paid next week. its either that or bunco on friday night, not sure how much he can handle-don't want to burn him out.
i'm off to drop off paperwork w/ d school district this afternoon, hoping i find out when i can start to sub. r is coming home to pick up the boys, and watch e, so i don't have to scramble for a sitter (when i don't have one in kingsburg, or anyone else nearby).

sleepless nights

I can't sleep. I wonder if its putting the kids to bed, drinking something too late, or something else messing with my internal clock. Part of me wonders if its money worries keeping me up at night. Then again, it could be E teething and up more often the past few nights, just wanting to cuddle. Sigh.
Yesterday was a long day. It was R's day off. He came w/ us to the park for playgoup-we had errands to run in F town that afternoon, and by the time playgroup was over, there was only an hour between that and his first stop. Instead of wasting a trip back and forth, he brought his work, and did that while I socialized and the kids ran around. It was nice, the boys really ran off a lot of energy, and best of all-it was free. I saw where they're putting two additional play areas on site, and I can't wait to check them out next time.

We ran our first errand-the car repair shop. R suspected my brakes needed to be looked at, and I was reluctant-only because I know where that leads-$$. Turns out, my front brakes are starting to go-mind you, we've already done over 25,000 miles, so it was bound to happen sooner or later-I rather it have been later. It is what itis, and $190 later I have new front brakes. Sigh.

We also hit up the bike shop, and got tubes for the bike. The hope is now either DH or I can run to the grocery store or library by ourselves by bike, instead of using the car. Considering how I walked w/ the boys yesterday from our home to the post office and back (round trip 1.5 miles), and it was a nice long afternoon (and the boys went to bed w/o a fight), we may do that more often.

On a related subject, I talked w/ a mom at playgroup today, and we got on the subject of going back to work. She was stressed out about her financial situation-from what I gathered, it seems that she's dealing w/ a lot of stuff, just like me and some other moms I know-our husband's jobs, credit cards, debt, how expenses add up. I encouraged her to check out Dave Ramsey/Suze Orman, as well as some other ideas. I really empathized with her-more so than I think other moms, maybe because of the boat we're in right now. Then again, its just my temperment/personality-I was never one just to throw stuff in my grocery cart, or say, "Hey, lets go to LegoLand" on the fly; instead wondering what kind of fun stuff we could do to make our dollars stretch that much more. Food for thought, especially on a night (or morning) like today.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

little reminders

Little reminders keep life in perspective for me. Last night I yelled. Yelled over toys in the living room. I was trying to make dinner, and toys were strewn all over the place, and I yelled. I finally said I was going to pick up the toys and keep them in my room, and not get them back for a long time. I also took away tv shows for the night and this morning. I was tired, hungry, and just feeling broken down about money.

This morning, while catching up on email, I saw pictures of the devestation of Hurrican Ike. What a complete nightmare. Here I am wallowing in self pity about toys and kids and money, while people have much bigger things to worry about. I keep trudging through, what else is there to do. This brings me to my next point.

Lately I've been wondering if I've done everything I wanted to do in my 20s-since my 30s begin next year. I'm not where I thought I would be (broke) but I do have my degree and my family. I've learned a lot about myself this past year-way more than I thought I could or would. I learned about jealousy, regret, patience, love, death, kindness, and so much more. I struggle to live in the moment, instead of worrying about what needs to get done, my long to-do list, all the stuff that comes with being a wife and mother. However, that's typically not my nature-or at least it wasn't while I was single and carefree. I yearn to be carefree, I want that back.

Here's to hoping with the lifestyle choices I'm making for us, it'll get us to a point of being more relaxed, carefree, or at least more balanced.

Monday, September 22, 2008

what can i control?

Sometimes I feel completely in control, sometimes completely overwhelmed of our situation. There are times where I'd love to go out and eat, sometimes go browsing at the stores, or even do a fun activity. However, the changes I've made I think have made a difference, even if its slight. We're eating the stuff in the pantry (less waste), gas lasts a little bit longer (not by much, but a little), and the stress level of everyone isn't so high (good weather and outdoor play has something to do with that).
Today was a good example. We went to playgroup in V town, followed by two mystery shops, and then home. The repair man for the pool called, and said he could fix the pool pump today. Instead of hanging out in V town for the afternoon (since R's working until 8pm), we came home. Home for lunch, playing, and just mellow time. I do need to sort through the junk mail that's piled up (got back into FlyLady) and figure out dinner. While its not the most interesting stuff in the world, its not a stressful way to spend the second half of the day. I just hope it flies by, since it'll be a long night until R gets home.

what a night

I spoke too soon in my last post-we did some major relaxing, but not without some drama too. While having a bath last night, G slipped in the tub. no major crying, but he had a small cut right near his eye. Since we weren't sure if he hurt his eye-we decided to take him to the ER in the next town. DH and I both concurred that if we had Urgent Care here, we would have done that, but we didn't feel comfortable waiting until morning to go to the pediatrician, or just doing nothing at all. We drove together, and I hung out w/ the oldest and youngest, while R went w/ G. 3 hours later, we were home. Just a slight bruise, and a $50 ER copay (That will come in the mail next week). We were tempted to hit the fast food on the way home, since the boys had already eaten, but R and I hadn't (we were planning to eat after the boys had showered, but G fell). I decided that we could just go home, and whip something up. As it turns out, DH fell asleep while putting the boys to bed, and I munched on some food that we brought back from our trip. So, temptation was avoided, even through the mix of an unexpected expense. Maybe we're getting the hang of this budgeting stuff after all.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Journey w/ kids

We just got back from our trip, and I could't be more proud of my family. We made it hrough our trip, safe and sound. We packed too many snacks, and brought half of them home. The upside-we didn't eat out at all this trip! I was amazed, we even skipped out on having brunch out this morning. We weren't let down at all-we ate good food-just packed it ourselves, or bought food at the grocery store and cooked it somewhere else. The boys entertained themselves most the time, given they were in the car A LOT this trip-w/ toys, books, snacks, and plenty of breaks. My main success- we survived w/o a DVD player. My SIL asked me if I was going to buy one since we do so many trips, but really-we had more interesting conversations, the boys discovered the world around them, and I think its a complete waste of money. Now my own reward for completing this trip was to treat ourselves to brunch this week. We made it through, w/ flying colors. However, I'm resolved to make it through the next 12 days eating at home. We can do it-the end is in sight, and I'm determined not to give up.
The day is half over, and we're going to relax the rest of the day. Thanks to some great planning on our parts, we don't have to worry about dinner tonight or tomorrow (planned easy meals forthe next couple of days, so we could recuperate in peace :) ) Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

musings about babies and our family

R went for the consult for his v today. I happened to be after the boys preschool, so we all went along for the ride (down to one car, we're spending a lot more time together). I took the boys out for a ride during his appt, and the boys were well behaved, making it a breeze. When R came to the car, he said we need to talk-again? We've talked, over and over, but it does seem that although we know we're done, doing the v makes it final. No form of birth control is completely 100%, so we always have to consider that something could happen if he doesn't get the v. While I'm not crazy about having another child-its more the inital months that are challenging, I'd never regret adding to our family. Who knows if I'd go back to work-at this point, I figure I'll go back to social work eventually, until then, I'll find something to do. So are we ready for it, ready to close this chapter?

Meanwhile, last night my sister became engaged to her boyfriend. I'm excited about this young man becoming part of our family, and personally can't wait for them to start their own family. R tells me that having nieces or nephews is a great way to enjoy babies, w/ the added perk of handing them back once they begin to cry. He also said that by the time my sister starts her own family, our boys will be older and we'll enjoy the freedom of having older kids, vs the necessary hands on time that comes with having young kids (especially three kids 4 years old and younger). The first thing that came to my mind-as soon as my sister has her own, I'm going to want one too. Not for wrong reasons, but because our boys will be older, and easier, and maybe, just maybe we'd be ready for one more then...Sigh....another reason to reconsider R getting the v done.

There's more to write about, our trip this weekend, the emotional part of watching our dollars, and continuing to eating at home (we're still doing it!). I'll see if I get to it tonight, but it may have to wait until tomorrow. The evergrowing mountain of laundry awaits!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bring on the pumpkins!

I'm super excited. I needed this-especially after the boys didn't take a nap today. Anyways, as my new role of Director of one of my playgroups, I reserved our trip to a pumpkin patch for our group. I chose the one that my boys have been going to with their preschool, and am looking forward to going with our friends. What's even better about this one-the cost ($10 total-me and baby E are free!), its close to home, and there's a nice place to have a picnic lunch :) Yay!!! The thought did cross my mind that perhaps the boys preschool will choose the same day/time, but last year it worked out really well, so I can just hope for the same outcome. If not, I'm sure my boys will wander back and forth between all their friends, and if anything, it'll give us time to connect w/ a wide range of parents.

We're also getting set up for all of our playgroups holiday activities. I'm already thinking of how to stretch our dollars, w/ potluck lunches, art and craft activities, and of course, our annual photo of the boys in their costumes (and Baby E's first one too!) I love this time of year, now if only it was 10 degrees cooler, I could have my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

post school ramblings

I keep telling myself, one foot in front of the other, and progress shall be made. Today was one of those days where I needed a good reminder of that. I don't know if I got it.

I went to a playdate, and had a nice time w/ baby E. I got reminded of how I struggled through school to get my degree, and sometimes I wonder if it was worth it-I'm still at home, even though I had grand plans to work. At the same time, I know I'm done, I achieved that goal, and I'm working towards my next goal-even though I don't know exactly what that is yet. Part of me wonders how life would have been had I waited until my boys were older to go back to school myself-but yet I feel deep down that no matter what, there's always something I would have missed-whether it was a playgroup then, or a field trip later on. Sacrifices would be made either way-less money to spend on fun stuff, still worried about college for the boys, and retirement for R and I. Either way some events and milestones would be missed/delayed, but yet my boys amd R know that I love them, and that I did what I did for myself and for the good of our family. So I tell myself, no more mommy guilt.

Fast forward a few hours later. Kids screaming, yelling. Dinner hasn't been made. I miss the working world. I wish I could just say, hey lets go out and grab a pizza. Instead, I defrost some chicken, and make a better than expected dinner. Its been a long day, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We'll go to the park, feed the ducks. Maybe take a few pictures too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

family shopping

i bet i'm not the only one-when you shop w/ spouses, kids, etc., you spend more, right? r has been wanting to get crystal light for what seems like forever, and i purposely leave it at the store every time. why? because the cans of the stuff i bought months ago are still sitting here. today he asks again. i hate saying no-for so many reasons, the primary one it makes me feel like it puts us in a child-parent behavior between us, and it sucks. so i relent. he promises to bring it to work, and use it there. at this point, i don't care, as long as he's not buying soda at work on top of using the crystal light there. one vice is okay, but adding two or more when we have stuff to use up first, that is just a pet peeve of mine. the rest of our grocery shopping trip went well, we stayed under budget. $85 for the week, and most items will get us through two weeks, if not longer. we're still on track for eating at home, and i have stuff to prep for this week to make life easier when we'll be out later at playgroups and mom group activities. the rest of the weekend should be a breeze, we're home for the rest of the day. some housework, some lounging, some playing w/ the boys. makes for a quiet day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


i splurged today-sort of. i found and picked up a classic schwinn bicycle on freecycle. in awesome condition. perfect for me and hubby. all it will cost us is a new chain. that can wait until payday-or until i see if any of the places that i have g/c's for have it in stock. either way-yay! its been years since i've had a bike, since i moved out on my own.

i did my mystery shopping w/ baby e while the boys did naps at home w/ hubby. it was better off this way, considering they were already exhausted after playing all morning outside at home. it worked out too, since i had to pick up the bicycle and it would have been too close to the boys car seats to have a comfortable ride around town.

tonight i'm hoping for a quiet night, boys go down early, hubby and i enjoy our tri-tips and baked potatos, along with a nice glass of wine.
tomorrow we'll do our shopping for the week, i don't think we'll need too much, but have g/c's that we can use towards that. i was able to pick up a few more mystery shops this week, plan to do more once i get used to the other companies. i'm excited about the prospects.
enjoy the weekend everyone!

Friday, September 12, 2008


i'm on a roll, signing up for legit mystery shopping companies. some seem really easy, others not so much. r's supportive-he knows i'm itching to help out, even though raising the boys is a full time gig, what's one more plate in the air?
oh, i got my credential to work in t county yesterday. next week i'll bring my applications to the school district and go from there. hopefully i'll be squared away by the beginning of oct. we'll see what happens.

Happy Friday!

yesterday was such a long day, i fell asleep while putting the boys to bed. poor hubby, he fell asleep on the couch. he made me laugh though-he said the next moms night out i could go to (even though, its never like i need permission, its just about rearranging his schedule if he's supposed to work late). he was so glad i was supportive of him, and not chewing his head off about the money situation. i told him there were much bigger things to worry about, and we'll get through this. i won't say that i'll be a piece of cake, but we'll get through it.

on another topic, last night i told r how i've been going down memory lane, with heading up the new playgroups, and sorting through baby clothes. also seeing babies at playgroups, knowing others are expecting, or still considering adding to their family, it makes me feel like i want part of that special club-whatever club that is. at the same time, i really enjoyed escaping the other night to a mom's house for wine and snacks, and girl talk and movies. we talked about having big families, starting school, us moving forward as moms, joining ptas, life w/ lots of older children. it made me excited about what's yet to come. even going out by myself-well, we're finally at that place w/ three kids where i can go out like i did when we just had two at home. i thought for sure i'd never get there again since having three was so hard. however, we did it-it was all about teamwork and priorities and knowing theres always a certain level of chaos at home. we had a good laugh about it at the moms night in, something about once we let go of our control freak tendencies (to a point) it made for a happier momma, not to mention, a much happier household.

so happy friday everyone. we're off to run errands today, go to the library, off to enjoy a cup of coffee, maybe to the park. someone online told me about torani syrups for a great price, so i'm going to check out a couple places to compare then put an order in. hope you're having a great day too :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

informed consumer

i was determined not to get screwed over w/ this mess from the pool. i wasn't comfortable authorizing a repair w/o doing my research, and didn't want to have r take over for me. it was mind boggling confusing, i had to make several phone calls (i still don't know how big my pool is-that's another story) and i resorted to turning on tv so the boys would play while i took care of business. nonetheless, i handled it.

i resisted temptation again w/ eating out between playgroups today. i was starving by the time i got home, but i made it. the boys behaved when we went to the clinic to get my tb test read, and i resisted temptation to get us a special treat. we went home instead, and had a nice break.

tonight is the last bit of tempation. we have to go to f-town to pay for the roof repair. the man decided that he didn't like the lowest estimate we found, so he averaged the bid he wanted and the lowest bid, and decided if we paid him cash, he'd sign a release of liability for us. r thinks its the best way of ending this problem. i got the money order today, and my stomach was in knots since its close to every penny we have in savings. we have to do this. if we don't, who knows how much it could cost us later on. i wonder if we'll make it home for dinner, since we're cutting it close. part of me doesn't want to go out afterwards, we've been on a roll for almost two weeks. at the same time, i know this has been stressful, and we deserve a break. i think i'm going to hunt for a coupon or see if i have any g.c.s hidden for an emergency. anything to help ease the financial stress.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the need to follow up

this is bugging me, and i don't want it to ruin my morning. so here's my vent today. why can't businesses get it right the first time? ugh......
sears-called them about our food loss claim-they never recieved it. i gave them the email address the last person gave me, it was wrong. to top it off, the person i spoke to said she wasn't sure if it was a valid claim, since it wasn't clear from the work order that it was an appliance malfunction. i was beyond pissed while she double checked. turns out we are still covered, but only because the tech that came out noted that there was food loss because of the initial problem. whatever, just send me my money. it'll take 7-10 days to get a check.
home warrenty-screwed up already. gave my pool man a hard time when he went to file the work order. they called me, left some bizarre message on my answering machine, so i called them yesterday afternoon. turns out the person i spoke to was lazy-there were 3-4 pool companies in the area that could do the work, but since they put down on the work order that i was puhing for a quick repair, i was going to pay out of pocket, above the $300 they would cover for a pool pump repair. (menawhile, my pool man called to let me know that $300 wouldn't buy a decent pool pump, so this shall be interesting.) i got the work order changed, had a company in f town sent the info-of course it was almost 5pm when this happened, so a whole day is lost, while my pool goes to crap. i called first thing this morning, no answer. was i going to miss out today because we're headed to the zoo? hell no, i was going to call them to schedule an appt. thankfully they called while i was making lunches. they can't come out tomorrow, and even then they need to see what's wrong before they'll order a pump-being cheap a-holes, i have a sneaking suspicion that they're going to try and repair it-but my pool man already encouraged me to push for a new one-since it is the original one, and its broken, and fixing it is equivilant to band-aiding the original problem. ugh. i have the specs for an energy efficient one that the pool man was going to get, so tomorrow when the company comes out and determines the pump needs to get replaced (if not, i'm going to have a fit), i'm going to request this specific one. no cheap $300 pump based on the home warrenty-this is crap. ugh....anyways, now that i got this off my chest, i'm going to load up the kids and go to the zoo. i need to get out, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

case of the blahs

so we've had dinner at home for the past 10 days, and i'm done. done done done. how many meals can one person make, and not feel like they're repeating them? i know i'm not alone, seems like others are approaching the same rut. at the same time, i know we're saving money (and stress) by eating at home.
speaking of stress, we're planning a trip to napa for a memorial service, taking us away from home from the 19-21st. we're taking r's mom to the service, so we'll save money on the hotel room by staying at her place and driving us there the morning of the service. i told r i would like to limit how much eating out we do-by eating dinner at his mom's, and making sure we're fed the morning of the service. his mom, while a great cook, doesn't always have stuff on hand-at least stuff that goes beyond feeding herself. i told r i don't mind bringing stuff w/ us, or even hitting the grocery store-i just don't want to get walloped by $30 per meal for three meals for each day. that'll add up fast. he's in agreement there. i'm not going to stress out about the travel, the kids, the whole thing is going to be stressful enough for r and his family. we'll get throught it. i know it.

extended warrenties

whoever said warrenties aren't good, well, in my case i'll differ. my pool service man just told me that our main pool pump is broken. $450 to repair, not including labor. there's no fixing it, only replacement, since its so old. i know we have a home warrenty that is set to expire at the end of the month. the warrenty covers the house, pool, and a/c/heater. put a call in, no one is authorized in my area to do the repair,so i get to use my own pool man to fix it. my out of pocket expense? the $50 deductible! while i'm not thrilled about the expense, i rather pay $50 than upwards of $450. guess i'll be renewing the warrenty this year, to the tune of $708. considering it paid for the water heater repair and the pool repair (which would have cost more than $708 between the two jobs alone, and i only paid my $50 deductible per repair), its money well spent. oh the joys of homeownership!

Monday, September 8, 2008

made it through temptation after temptation!

i am so proud of myself, i resisted quite a few temptations today. brought breakfast w/ me for the drive to t-town. stopped by both school districts in t town before playgroup and got the necessary forms. i learned i needed to get an updated tb test. i also found out the health center in town does tb testing for $10-wahoo! no need to drive around to get something simple done. did the cereal deal at target-4 boxes of healthy cereal (apprx 3.25 each w/o a sale) for a total of $1! also got cans of kidney beans marked down to .48 from .99 each (the cheapest i've seen at costco is .62 cents). that'll help when i'm making chilis and soups this fall/winter. i may go back and buy the rest-why? because i still have money on my gift cards! after i walked out of target, i spent only $5 on 18.95 worth of stuff! yay!!! came home and made snacks for us. sliced up the eggplant (oops, forgot to run by the stand), and had enough for two small trays. perfect for the toaster convection oven, and it won't heat up the house. hubby is working late, so it doesn't matter how long it takes to make the dishes, as long as the boys get fed at a decent hour. i'm already ahead, and will cook some other side dishes this evening to prep for the week ahead. less i have to do later on. when hubby gts home, its bed time for the boys, and relaxation time for me. yay!

making progress

we made it a week of eating at home. now we're onto week #2. we ended up grocery shopping at costco yesterday, in part because we had been home bound all day, and i was crawling the walls, since the kids were so antsy. we stayed on track, only bought our needs for the week, and $30 later, we were out. we hit up the fruit stand on the way home, and bought plump, ripe peaches. the fruit and veggies were cheaper than i've seen anywhere else, and the quality is amazing.
today is going to be a busy day. we have playgroup in v-town, two mystery shops to do nearby, and stops at the local school districts down south to pick up employment packages. i want to be get myself on their lists, just in case i decide to go through w/ this opportunity. we may hit up my gg shops too, i have gift cards, which $$ have been rolling the free rebate items for months. there's not too much on te list, but somethings i know are rock bottom prices and we'll need once i start baking for the holidays. since i'm not one for paying full price, or shopping last minute, i know i'll get what we need ahead of time. its just a matter of how much we can get done in one day. dh is working late tonight, but i'm making baked eggplant and buttered noodles. i planned on making enough for lunch for tomorrow, but i don't think i have enough eggplant. i may need to stop bythe veggie stand, but considering its right down the street, and its so good, i don't mind swinging by there w/ the kids. i'm sure it'll turn out yummy! have a happy monday everyone!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

yard sales

what a wonderful (and hot) day for a yard sale! i cleared out a ton of junk, and brought home $60! wahoo! the rest is getting listed on ebay over the next couple of days, as well as listed on craigslist. i'm not worried about the profits-whatever it sells for, it sells for. at this point, i like seeing the free space, and have ideas over what i want to do w/ it. i don't know what i want to do w/ the profits from the yard sale or the ebay sales; for the time being, i'll add it to our dwindling savings account.
as far as the rest of the morning, i was tempted to go looking at the other 40+ home yard sales in the neighborhood this morning, but avoided temptation. my friends scored lots of gently used name brand clothes for their children, only $1 per item! where else could you find a whole wardrobe for under $20? there were also deals on children's toys, but i decided that the boys have enough, so didn't bother to look around. instead, i stayed put, and sold a few more items of mine that probably would have gone unsold had i wandered around.
tonight we're hanging out at home, have carne asada for dinner, but too tired too cook. we may just nibble on what's in the pantry, and use the meat tomorrow. our main goal is to not go out-so whatever else happens, that's fine by me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

one of those days

driving around, taking care of errands, always something to do, somewhere to go. i went w/ r to get estimates for the awing that needs repair. met the owner-he's a piece of work :( oh well, hubby is upset enough over the whole mess, so i'm trying not to rub it in. it still bugs me though. its even more reason for us to watch what we spend. sigh. today is just a day of frustrations. i keep telling myself it could be worse, it'll get better. anytime i want to sulk, i just think about r's uncle's wife, who's now a widow raising two children. yeah, life could be much worse.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

the waiting game

today i submitted my complete packet to t county to obtain my substitute teaching credential. i have now invested $150 in testing, fingerprinting, and other fees to get this far. i also inquired about childcare for e at the preschool. there is a spot available next month if i want it. the one upside to this gig is that i can work when i want, and not worry about missing a day-its a day to day type of job. that's a nice perk-considering i still want to do mommy stuff w/ the boys, and w/ mr. e. in a way, i can use this to my benefit and just work when there's not something going on. i also like the fact that this is a proactive step to helping my family overcome our recent financial pitfalls. so why am i so reluctant to do it now? sigh....maybe i'll feel better once i hear the pay from the different school districts. that's something i'll be working on tomorrow, if i get the chance. if not then, then that's on the top of my to-do list for tuesday when the boys are at preschool.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

online shopping

wow-the deals for holiday shopping have started! not to say the sales ended, but people always talk about buying for the holidays, starting the first week in september. already i've started to scope out the message boards, with the hopes of finding a camera to replace my junky one (that continues to work on and off, no matter what i do). if i discover the boys need anything, i'm sure i'll find it. today i got a hot tip on hard cover children books for $5; if this was something my boys were into, and/or our bookcase wasn't already stacked, i'd consider it. it doesn't hurt to look, though. as long as my wallet stays put away ;)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

paid to shop

yep, did that today. target had a smoking deal on kellogs snack bars, cookies, and pop tarts. between the manufacturer coupons, the target coupons, and the kellogs rebate, i spent $20 (w/ a gift card), and got back $15 in gift cards, plus $10 for the rebate-yep, I made $5, and walked out w/ 6 huge things of poptarts (normally $3 each), 4 boxes of fudge striped cookies($3 each full priced), and 2 packages of kellogs snack bars (normally $3 each). oh, and i found a stash of $1 off per one item of kellogs snack bars, so going back tomorrow to get them (and using the gift cards i got today to buy them, and will still get $5 gift cards in return for purchasing those items, so when all is said and done, the snacks are free!). just when our snack supply was getting low, it gets refilled, for free!

Monday, September 1, 2008

labor day wrapup

what a way to end the summer, with a cool morning, and not a cloud in the sky! we enjoyed this morning at home, lounging w/ coffee and reading the newspaper. the boys behaved, with a promised trip to zoo within their reach. the boys had a great time at the zoo, it was so easy, even w/ three children, plenty of snacks, enough one on one time w/ each parent, lots of hugs, cuddles, lounging on the grass eating grapes, it was a good morning.

came home, put dinner in the crock pot. spent the rest of the afternoon w/ the boys playing outside, hubby doing paperwork. e loved watching the boys play-i have a feeling he's going to love all these beat up toys as much as his brothers have. it amazes me how creative our boys are, only a few toys out, and 2 hours sped by-not a complaint/whine was heard!

went for a short drive to check out the damage that we have to pay for-we're going to line up our own estimates for this week-i suspect it'll be cheaper, but what's fair is fair, its not worth raking hubby over the coals for this, he's been through enough.

ate dinner, and everyone went off to bed early. its a long week ahead. paying bills for the month, prepping for a yard sale at the end of this week, trying to keep my spirits up for hubby, we'll just take it one day at a time.