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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Good things to come... I hope.

This will be a short post. Hopefully there is SOMEONE still following me, although I'm not counting on it. I would be interested to know how many people actually read this post, so please comment below!

We're two-thirds of the way through the year and what a year it has been. I haven't been sticking to my resolutions hardly at all and our money situation tanked a couple of months ago. We did get some good news last month though: unknown to anyone, my dad had life insurance and quite a bit. If ever to have a plan as to what to do if you got a windfall of money, now is the time. Thankfully, we agreed on a plan very quickly.

We've paid off the credit cards, one car, financed a better one for me for not much more money, paid off medical debt, lawsuits, past-due property taxes (long story), and several other things. We've only had the money for 3 weeks now but have been paying things off so quickly that the bank account has dropped significantly. It's an uneasy feeling to see it drop that much that fast but I know that it's for good reasons.

The even better thing is we are able to pay off A LOT of stuff AND have 4-6 months worth of expenses in savings! This was a situation that we had a goal of but never though would happen this quickly. So in the next few days I will be updating all of the progress bars.

So I have a question: do you have a plan for a windfall?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The half-way mark!

This year has sucked. Totally. Since my last post, almost 2 months ago, my grandfather has also passed away. He became very ill suddenly and had passed within the week. We will miss him but at least he is not suffering anymore. He had been on dialysis for 13 years, had several tumors on his bladder, heart problems, and several other ailments the last 10 years.

I'm doing horribly at my New Year's resolutions. So an update:

  1. Storage space: Since my dad's passing we've had to keep it because I acquired so much stuff. 
  2. Working out: I haven't worked out except for twice this year. Next week (or maybe this week) I'm going to start going to Zumba!
  3. Alarm: Still not getting this but I'm not hitting snooze for an hour either. 
  4. Sleeping late on the weekends: I'm doing really well here. Aside from being sick I haven't slept in past 9am at least one day each weekend.
  5. Encouragement: JD is doing okay here. This weekend he's going to do something with a friend. Sword fighting!
  6. Buffer: We were well on our way but then stuff happened and JD didn't get a bonus this month and last month's bonus was not what is usually is. We're back to the starting point again. 
  7. Credit Cards: We're using them and then paying them down normally within 30-60 days; I'm okay with that.
  8. YNAB: I haven't gotten into YNAB in several month. I know, bad me. 
  9. Learn something new: I've learned how to build a website based on!
  10. Plant a garden: We've done a lot of yard work the last 2 months and it's looking pretty good. We have 3 raised beds in our backyard and have a total of 47 food-items either in the ground or going in. We're so excited. We already have some tomatoes forming!
  11. Monthly house project: Due to the lack of funds we haven't really been doing this. I will be having a garage sale the first weekend in June and I will count that. 

I'll update my bars later this week.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

No creative juices

I have been in such a funk lately. I have not had any desire to write, blog or even read. The past couple of weeks have been boring to say the least. As of a couple of days ago, I have decided that I'm going to do anything I can to get out of my current job. My mom sold real estate for almost 15 years and I was always right alongside her and loved every minute of it. Ultimately that is what I want to do.

I would also like to really get my consulting business going. JD and I both do marketing and web consulting but not independently. I want to do it independently but JD doesn't really except for maybe a couple of side jobs every once in a while.

I think at some point I'm just going to have to quit my job because until then, I have the security and comfort of knowing that it's not a big deal if I don't get something else going.

Have you just jumped into something without a solid plan before? Did it work out? Why or why not?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Google Reader, continued.

Two weeks and 3 days ago, I posted about being really behind on my daily blog-reading. The 289 that day seems like a far off wish as of today. Today I'm at 653. With everything that's happened the last couple of weeks I have not been keeping up with my normal routine. 

How am I tackling it? Instead of reading in order I'm reading by blog. And yes, I will read ever post that have missed. The blogs that I follow are there for a reason. They are supportive, informative, and/or funny. I need them. They give me mental and sometimes emotional fuel to keep going. 

Check out my blog list at the bottom of the page. Who knows, you might find just what you've been looking for...

Finer Things Friday: Memories

"Don't cry because it's over, be happy because it happened."

This is my new motto, for now at least. I found this last night and it fits my current situation perfectly. I am sad over the loss of my father, my mom, my grammy and my poppy; all of whom I have lost in the last 6 years. 

My grandmother was first, then my grandfather (both my mom's parents, but they were divorced). I spent most of my childhood at my grammy's house because both of my parents worked 40-60 hour weeks. I was very close to her and I have many, many wonderful memories. When she made me practice piano I would adjust the timer so I had less time, thinking that she wouldn't realize it; she never said anything. Now that I am a parent I laugh at and appreciate her humor in the situation. 

My poppy came and went during my childhood. He was a loner and traveled a lot. He never had much money, if any at all and at 2 points during my childhood came to live with us for about 2 years each time. He finally settled down in Idaho several years ago (we live in Oklahoma) and only called every month or so. Finally his landlord called my mom and told her that he was doing very badly so we convinced him to come "visit" and the plan was to just move him here. His landlord agreed to ship us his stuff after he got here. She was very nice. 

So what is my finer thing today? That I have a lot of wonderful memories of my parents and grandparents. That my children are old enough to have at least some memories of my parents but young enough to not remember how much it hurt when they were gone. That I have a wonderful, supportive family including all of JD's family. 

I made a vow on the day of my dad's funeral which was also my mom's birthday, to keep in touch with all of the family friends. I don't want the loss of my parents to be the reason that I don't see or talk with any of them for the next 5 years. There are friends of my dad's the he has known since elementary school. They all live here and they are all very supportive but until 3 weeks ago, I couldn't have remembered what name went with  what face if my life depended on it. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I have no idea what to title this post.

In July 2007 my dad had a massive seizure and it was discovered that there was a brain tumor the size of a softball. The benign tumor was successfully removed within the week. He had another seizure in July 2008, a possible side effect of the tumor and removal.

My mom passed away in December 2008 of breast cancer metastasizes. She had battled cancer for 12 years and the last few years were very hard on her physically. She had fallen and was taken to the ER. She had not broken any bones and didn't seem to have anything seriously wrong but she could not sit up, much less stand even with assistance; it was excruciating pain to her.

She spent the next month-and-a-half in the rehabilitation ward at the hospital working towards being able to go home. She would have several good days and then several bad days. The good days were not consistent enough to be able to release her so she was sent to a wonderful hospice facility. Numerous times they wanted to send her home as a inpatient hospice facility generally cares for patients that can not be cared for at home. Her caseworker asked for several extensions for her stay and we will be forever grateful to the staff at the hospice facility.

When my mom passed away, it was something that we were all expecting. We knew several weeks beforehand that it would be soon and we were able to be with her during her last moments. I had a lot of peace in my soul when it came.

Tuesday my dad passed away suddenly. The past year-and-a-half he has had several mental obstacles such as paranoia and olfactory hallucenations. On January 28, he attempted suicide but only because he had recently been hearing voices. He was seeing a new psychiatrist that had put him on different medication. Since the medication was new, he was taking the lowest dose. No one was contacted when he was taken to the hospital and the next day his apartment manager called to discuss the events of the previous night. That day was the first day of the "Winter Storm of 2010" for Oklahoma; no one was getting out unless they had to and my aunt was in California. Note: My aunt and grandmother have been handling my parents' affairs for about the last 3 years.

After the attempted suicide his doctor upped the medication and my dad seemed to be doing very well. He had moved into a new apartment on Halloween 2009 and had a hard time focusing on getting everything unpacked and put up/away the way he wanted it. He finally had accomplished this just last week.

Even though we live in the same city (well, metro area really) my kids, his only grandkids, had not seen him in almost 2 months. He was very involved at his church and attended at least 3-4 times per week. My kids go to their dad's 2 evenings, but not overnights, a week and every other weekend. KG also has dance once a week. So between both schedules trying to get together proved a little difficult. Any time we finally agreed on something, he would normally cancel because he had worn himself out that day.

It appears that he had a seizure on Tuesday afternoon while getting ready to go to a doctor's appointment at 4pm. My grandmother and my aunt normally talk to him numerous times throughout the day but my grandmother had been unable to reach him Tuesday afternoon. She tried again after he had enough time to get home from his appointment but was still unsuccessful; she figured that he had gone to his favorite restaurant for dinner.

By 7:30pm she had still not been able to reach him and decided that she would go to the apartment to see if he and/or the car was there. His car (it's really her car) was there so she let herself in to the apartment. The music was playing and the lights were all on so she went upstairs. She found him collapsed in the bathroom. It appeared that he was brushing his teeth when it happened. Everything after that was a whirlwind.

His service is tomorrow morning and I should really be getting to bed. I have not made my peace with this and will likely not until at least when we get the Medical Examiner's report which could take 3-4 months. I had just talked to him on Monday night about letting one of the kids stay the night with him. He was so excited to have everything ready for them to come over. I didn't tell him no but we tabled the discussion for later.

It is all still very surreal for me and I have just been going through the motions. It really hits me at night when it is quiet and my mind goes to racing. I know that some day I will make my peace but right now it all just seems so unfinished.

RIP Momma
March 13, 1947 - December 2, 2009

RIP Daddy
August 16, 1951 - March 9, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Google Reader

For anyone that has experience with Google Reader, good for you. For those of you that haven't, well, I think it's great and you should enjoy it too. :)

I haven't been keeping up on my reading daily like I usually do. Today, when I sat down to do a little catching up I knew that there would be a lot and I wouldn't get through all of it at once but oh my freaking lord! There were 289 unread posts for me to read.

Holy freaking shnizzle Batman! I'm going to be here for days....

Monday, March 8, 2010

OAMC Big Day Report

There’s always a first for everything!

I decided, last minute, to go ahead with the Once a Month Mom Cook-off! JD had to work which meant that I had all 3 kids to myself in the midst of trying to do all this cooking by myself. The smart person would have cut everything in half, but evidently I am not one of those people. The big event took place February 27 & 28, 2010.

I started out with grocery shopping on Saturday afternoon; The first trip home to unload was at around 3:30 p.m. This was the trip to Sam’s to buy in bulk. At that trip I was stopped on my way out and asked to answer a survey and in return I would receive a gift card. The gift card was only for $5 but I could use it at Sam’s or at Wal-Mart and since I was headed to Wal-Mart next I was plenty happy with that! Five dollars isn’t much, but it’s still money.

It only took me about an hour at Sam’s, not including the survey, but it took me almost 2 hours at Wal-Mart. I hate shopping on Saturdays, especially in the afternoon when everyone else is there too.

The damage? $661.86! That seems like a lot but for us, that’s pretty good for getting us through almost the whole month. I had plans of making 2 additional menu items but those plans have yet to come to fruition. I also bought other food that we will need this month outside of OAMC, as well as personal care and household items. I did buy a food processor for $35 but I’m not thrilled with it so I’ll be saving up my money for a better one down the road.

So for 53 “meals” (I counted the stuffed pancake cupcakes as 8 breakfasts because it made 32 of them; and I counted the granola as 6 breakfasts) I spent $313.96 with tax. I know some spent less, even up to half, but I am really excited about this! That comes out to $5.92 per meal and approximately $1.47 per serving. WOW! This was totally worth it for us. You can see how much I spent on what here. If there is no price listed that means I already had it.

On the other hand, I wish that I had checked the food stock instead of asking my husband to do it because I still bought stuff that we already had. Oh well, it just means that I won’t have to buy the stuff next month… See there’s always a silver lining.

I put everything that didn't have to be refrigerated or frozen on the kitchen table (which is where everything is still sitting).

At 11 p.m. I began. It was very late but I’m a night owl. I cooked 12 lbs of ground meat (I used 2 lbs of ground turkey that I already had). I’m really anal about things so I busted out the kitchen scale to measure out exactly the amount of meat I needed and cooked each recipe’s requirement out separately then bagged and labeled it to use the next day. I cut up all the onions and half of the carrots. I then cleaned up after myself and went to bed around 2:30 a.m. after starting 7 lbs of chicken in the Crock-Pot. My Crock-Pot has a timer and I put it on low for 8 hours but just in case, I put the digital thermometer in too.
Sunday morning, I got up about 9 a.m., showered, and got started about 9:45 a.m. JD had to go to the office and left around 11 a.m. I peeled, chopped, sautéed, cooked, cut, minced, smashed, browned, baked, and shredded until I could no longer stand, at 1:30 p.m. :D

Actually, I had to stop to feed the kids and myself some lunch. We ordered Domino’s pizza, which was FANTASTIC! *If you haven’t had their pizza since they stepped-up their game, you need to go to the phone right now and order some, NOW!* I have Celiac and am not supposed to be eating things that have gluten in them but my condition is very, very mild and I was dying to eat and it smelled soooo good; not to mention that I knew the kids would never eat it all…

After lunch, it was nap time for the kids. This was a huge relief for me because I was dying for a little peace and quiet. Thankfully JD had made a playlist for me that I had going all day which kept me a little saner than I would have been without it.

The rest of the afternoon flew by. Because I only had 1 Crock-Pot I just served the Hamburger Soup that I was making in it for dinner. I closed up shop about 10 p.m. and was exhausted. I threw out a lot of stuff from the deep freeze that was several years old so that I could get the new food in there. JD did help me clean up and then gave me a neck, back and foot massage afterwards.

All in all, I’m fairly satisfied with what I did and I’m looking forward to March 21 when I do it all over, but with a partner this time!

I couldn’t find any 8x8 aluminum pans so I bought caterer’s half-steam sizes, which are 10 x 12 or something.
In Crystal’s Lazy Granola I added ½ cup sunflower seeds and about 2 cups raisins.
I have not yet made the Banana Buttermilk Pancakes.
I did make the filling for the Beef Empanadas they have not been filled yet. I’m going to make a gluten-free version for the crust.
The Easy Taco Bake only made enough for 3 of my pans.
I haven’t made any pizza crust because I will make gluten-free crust when I need to. I added 2 or 3 cups of the chopped broccoli to the chicken mix for the pizza.
I burned the milk for the Tuna Noodle Casserole (alone with the kids; ‘nuf said) so that didn’t happen. JD was relieved as he H.A.T.E.S. fish.

I can’t wait for March’s big day!

More pictures from my big day:

Before the food... 
After the food!

My freezer was already really full and I hadn't even put anything in it yet! Where was it all supposed to go? 

That was a lot of onions. I hate onions. Yuck.

That was a lot of broccoli, too. I like how the food processor chopped it up though: little teensie-tiny bits almost like a seasoning.

The food processor mashed the carrots more than it sliced. I figured it probably didn't matter too much since they were just going into the soups.

Hamburger soup! Yummy!

The granola smelled so wonderful. It made a lot of granola. I'm glad that

I couldn't wait to eat some on my yogurt!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I've been a bad hostess

I've been a bad hostess the last week: no posts, updates, contact, nothing. Sorry. I was sick most of last week and the couple of days that I was not I spent playing catch-up at work. I did do my OAMC Day, alone, and I'll update tomorrow. I know that I will have missed my opportunity to participate in the contest but, oh well.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I can't find our camera so until I do "Food Waste Friday" will be without photos. This week we threw out:

1. 3 containers of Pumpkin Spice Spread that were left over from a wedding I helped to cater at Thanksgiving.
2. 2 bricks of cream cheese - again, leftover from the wedding.
3. 1/2 quart of heavy cream - wedding.
4. 1/2 quart of half-and-half. - wedding.
5. Chicken Milano without the pasta.
6. 1/4 gallon of orange juice that had been shoved to the back of the fridge.
7. Leftover salad with chicken - from eating out last week.
8. Some shredded cheese.
9. Part of a 2-liter of Diet Coke (a friend came over and that's all he drinks but we don't drink it)
10. A bottle of organic milk that was bad when I opened it.
11. A container of organic yogurt that was bad when I opened it. (The milk and the yogurt came from 2 different places)
12. Some lunch meat.
13. A whole sliced ham given to me by my company for Christmas.

This week we didn't throw away any produce, which is unusual for us. This seems like a lot of food, and it is, but  the wedding stuff just was not going to be used and I couldn't find anyone in the last 3 months to give it to; no one seemed to want pumpkin cream cheese or cream cheese.

I'm really irked about the bad milk and yogurt though. I put them back in the fridge to take them back to the stores and get a refund or get them replaced, but DH didn't know that and threw them out. The dates were still good on both of them and had been purchased recently so I don't know why they were bad.

I wish DH hadn't thrown out the Diet Coke. It was only a week old and our friend would have drank it when he came over again next week.

The ham. Well, there's really no excuse for that. We were going to cook it but I didn't realize that DH had gotten it out of the deep freeze and put it in the produce drawer to thaw (it sure would be nice to have a larger fridge with see-through shelves). After it had been there for over a week I found it and by that point it was too late, not to mention it had leaked quite a bit. Too bad. That was free food. On the other hand, I really don't like pork; it's probably the Jew in my trying desperately to come out.

DH was just trying to get the fridge and freezer cleaned out to get ready for my Once A Month Mom Cook Off. I know I said on Monday that I was going to be participating but my partner is not going to be able to do it. Her son is in soccer and they just got their schedules on Wednesday. There is a game, in the middle of the day (well, 10a-12p) and her husband is the coach.

I may go it alone but I still haven't gone to the store. Also, I would be trapped in the house alone with all three kids for most of the weekend as DH has a lot of work to do at the office this weekend (he normally doesn't go in on the weekends but the company has a product release today so there's a lot to be done).

I'll make my decision to either go to the store tonight and attempt it by myself or to skip this month and do it next month.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Basic Budgeting

In honor of the Ninja's post today I thought I'd give you an idea of how our budgeting breaks down:


Car 1
Car 2
Student Loans
School Balance
Cell Phone
Car Insurance Car 1
Expensive Vacuum
Credit Card 2
Credit Card 3
Credit Card 4
Dance Lessons
PikePass (Toll)
School Breakfasts



Priority Jars


Household / Personal Care

Kaelyn's Breakfast

Secondary Jars

Husband Personal

Wife Personal

Medical Debt




Indulgence Jars

Real Estate License


Child Support


Possible H's Bonus
Daycare Reimbursement




Total Remaining:

Worst Case
Best Case Minimum
With Secondary Jars
Indulgence Jars
Into Savings

These figures are obviously rough estimates. Each month some of them will vary slightly depending on how many weeks actually fall in the month. So, for example, if there are 5 full weeks we will pay more in daycare; there are 2 months where I will pay an additional $50 for maid service. Also, our toll fees don't get charged some months depending on how often we have to use the turnpike. Other bills, such as utilities may vary slightly although we're on an average billing plan that is working out very well.

As you can see, I have a "Worst Case" scenario that is, well, gloomy. H hasn't gone without a bonus in over 2 years but we knew that eventually that bubble would bust and this month is just that. We didn't prepare for this because even though we have previously had intentions of doing so, we've squandered away the money on insignificant things. Currently though, we do have some money in savings to cover it; the money was originally to go to the IRS but must-pay-to-survive bills will come first and I don't have a big problem with setting up a payment plan with the IRS, just so long as we're paying.

The daycare reimbursement is never a guarantee because sometimes they drag their heels or as we experienced in October, November and December, they screwed up our account.

Of the jars, the "Priority Jars" are already figured into the budget; the "Secondary Jars" are just that. If there is enough to give us each our personal money that comes first but if we're really strapped we will give those up as well. Everything else goes in order as listed until the money runs out.

The "Indulgence Jars" are savings jars. These are more long-term to use as available. After everything whatever is left goes to the savings account. Some would say that the savings account should come first but we have so little leftover, if any, I feel like other things have to come first.

February was our first month attempting this concept and we didn't put the cash in the jars, we just tried to manage it out of the account. What was the result? We're way over budget in some categories but I'll review all that next week when I have a final accounting for the month of February.

Do you have a budget? Is savings a priority or a secondary for you? Do you use a cash-based system?