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Archive for April, 2012

Weekend recap and 5-5-5

April 30th, 2012 at 08:57 pm

I had a great weekend! Kicked it off on Friday by meeting Ray and her daughter for lunch. What a hoot! Every bit as great as I thought it would be. Friday night we took MIL out to dinner for her birthday. The food was good, not great, but not cooking was nice. On Saturday we puttered around the house, then watched a move called Lincoln Lawyer. Definitely my type of movie, plus it starred Matthew McConneghy. Can't spell his name but boy is he handsome! DD had a soccer game on Sunday so we enjoyed a beautiful day outside. Can't ask for any better...

Is anyone else stunned that May 1st is tomorrow? The year is 1/3 over yet I remember New Year's like it was yesterday. Anyway, I'm joining the 5-5-5 challenge. None of these are earth-shattering but for me, they present a legitimate challenge.

1). Walk to and from the train station (.8 miles). This is the toughest. Requires me to be ready 15 minutes earlier in the morning (I'm not a morning person). I also can't be in a rush to get home (we're usually running to/from games and practices, or getting dinner ready), and the weather has to be decent (I'm not walking in the rain). Plus I'm really lazy, so this puts me to the test.

2). Walk the dog around the "long loop" (1.2 miles) instead of the "short loop" (.7 miles). This is a no-brainer when I walk with hubby but if it's just me and the dog, the short loop it is. (It's the whole lazy thing again - I'd rather mush with him on the couch).

3). Work out at the gym. I haven't been to the gym since work got crazy in December, which is a huge waste of money. And it's open from 4:30 am to 11:00pm, so I have a hard time saying with a straight face that I have no time to go.

4). Do 25 situps. I haven't done situps in about 25 years, so this should be interesting.

5). Drink 5 8-oz glasses of water. I'm not a huge drinker and water is my least favorite beverage. I know it's great for me, it's just such a chore to drink that much of it. But I know I should, so now is as good a time as any to start.

My plan is to try to get these done as early in the month as possible so I can start making them a habit, or forget about them and not feel guilty. First report tomorrow!

Random musings

April 27th, 2012 at 01:53 am

It's shaping up to be a good weekend.

If all goes well I'll be meeting one of my oldest SA friends tomorrow, ThriftyRay (well, not age-wise, just in terms of how long I've "known" her. Don't want to get in trouble). She's in town and will be blocks away from where I work. Can't wait! Then tomorrow night is a dinner out for MIL's birthday. We haven't gotten her a gift yet; I'll leave that to hubby tomorrow. We have nothing planned for Saturday (ahhhh) and DD's soccer game on Sunday, so a relaxing weekend all around.

I'm excited to start CeeJay's 5-5-5 fitness challenge for May. I have to think of what 5 things I'll do, but I need to do something. I've been feeling very blah from my utter lack of activity.

Work is picking up again after a very brief lull. It seems like this will be status quo through the rest of the year, so I'm backing away from a few voluntary activities (eg PTO). On the one hand I hate to do it, but on the other hand, my sanity is important and I can't do it all. As my kids like to remind me, "there's a 'no' in optional".

Deadbeat brother is calling again. I told my sister that I feel like one of those cartoon characters with the big sucker lollipop where their head should be. I have a hard time telling him that I'm not in a position to help him out when my life is infinitely better than his. At the same time, he's in this spot because of the choices he's made, and I hate to be an enabler. It's complicated, but I need to not be a sap.

And on a totally unrelated note, I got my kids to eat broccoli tonight for the first time dipping it in, go figure, BBQ sauce. Their cousin does it so they figured they'd try it. We try so hard to get them to avoid peer pressure but tonight I was totally saying, "DC eats it that way, why don't you?". A little mixed message there...

15-minute snippets

April 24th, 2012 at 01:16 pm

I had a great Monday. DS's track practice was cancelled due to the weather, and DD's basketball practice was cancelled due to many of the girls being on spring break. I picked them up from school at 3:15, walked the dog and was in comfy clothes for the night by 4:00. Hubby was travelling, so we had scrambled eggs for dinner. I LOVE breakfast for dinner! Spent the rest of the evening doing some work and vegging with the pup in front of the TV.

I'm making up for it today, though. I was overwhelmed when I woke up at the sheer number of things I had to get done, but then realized that none of them will take more than 15 minutes. So I'm breaking my day down into 15-minute chunks and it seems much less intimidating. I already put the garbage down, cleaned out the car and threw in a load of laundry. Taking a break now to surf, then will move laundry and straighten up. One room at a time, 15 minutes max per room. If I finish a 15-minute chunk early, I get to relax Smile

At least one or two chunks are going to be devoted to paperwork. I need to register the kids for religious ed next year, pay some bills and balance the checkbook. I also need to pick up some discounted gift cards today. Time to get going...

The next generation of frugalists

April 22nd, 2012 at 03:48 pm

Is there any better feeling as a parent then seeing your child "get" a lesson that you've been trying to teach them?

DS is 11 and into XBOX. He often asks me for money, or uses his own, to buy Microsoft points, which he can then use to buy new games or add-ons for the XBOX. He told me over the weekend that by using Bing to do searches (like a Google or a Yahoo), he can get points. One point per search, max 10 per day per email address. You can then trade in 500 Bing points for 400 Microsoft points. So by using my email, hubby's email, and a family email, he can get 30 points/day, and in 50 days (just over 7 weeks) he'll have enough for 1200 MS points, which is enough for most of the games he wants.

He was SO excited to tell me about this deal, which saves us both money because we don't have to pay for points anymore. And I was so proud of him for figuring it all out and being patient enough to wait the seven weeks for the game. (The next day, Bing increased it to 20 points per day, so he was beside himself - only 3.5 weeks now). My little saver...

I'm heading down to dad's today. Unfortunately, the weather, which has been fantastic all year, is not going to be great. Heavy rains are expected. (And 12-18" of snow in the middle of PA, what's up with that?).

Waiting for my NYS tax refund to come in so I can pay our accountant bill. I have a few other bills to wrap up by month end. Hard to believe that 2012 is 1/3 over already.

Productive Day

April 14th, 2012 at 12:36 am

Today was a "check off the list" kind of day. I ran a bunch of errands, including cashing in change at the bank ($23.74) and mailing a cd I sold at half .com ($5.79). That's a total of $29.53 that will go toward the heloc. I also found a $25 Itunes gift card in one of my drawers, so I loaded that onto my account. And I was able to balance the checkbooks. My mortgage hit, so that's now just over $125k.

Hubby's birthday is tomorrow. I need to run out in the morning to get his gift. Maybe dinner out tomorrow night, or his mom's, not sure. Then on Sunday I have a bridal shower to go to, so I need to pick up the gift for that as well. All budgeted, which helps.

Back to reality

April 8th, 2012 at 01:57 am

Well not quite yet, with Easter tomorrow and a work from home day on Monday, but I am back from vacation.

We had a great time. Just me, hubby, and the kids. Very relaxing, ridiculously good weather, the water (pool and Gulf) was so warm. I read all three Hunger Games books, and we caught the movie at the local theater. (The theater was so charming - really small, served dinner and drinks - I've never seen anything like it. I wish we had these up north). Other than missing the pup, everything was perfect.

Going to MIL's tomorrow, so no work to do there. We got the kids some chocolate for Easter. Thankfully they're old enough to understand that we got back to late to do the whole bunny / basket thing.

I plan on getting back to the finances later tonight or tomorrow. I need to balance the checkbook, pay some early-month bills, and see where we stand after vacation.

I'll say this about any kind of splurge, be it vacation, or eating out, or whatever - if you're going to do it, the key is to enjoy it fully and not feel guilty about it, because that takes away all of the fun. I'm not sure yet what the final cost will be, but we planned the trip and had the money put away, so we were able to enjoy it. I think it's really important to budget some "fun" money and then be happy about spending it, no matter what the scale. It makes all the difference...