Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back To Normal?

Eh.... probably not! I keep thinking that  everything is going to settle down. I keep being wrong. I spent a good portion of the week on the road for work (remembered my suitcase this time!!!!) Had a health screening at work, and discovered what I already knew.... I need to lose weight and eat healthier and do some exercise. Seeing my actual bloodwork numbers though made me wake up in ways that my too tight jeans just haven't. I'm rethinking a lot of my choices at the moment.

While I was on the road this week, Princess Penelope developed a Migraine. A lovely 48 hour excruciating headache. Fortunately she was staying with my VBFF who is like her second Mom, so she was well cared for until I got back. This morning had us at the doctor's office to do something about these headaches (they've kind of been blown off or blamed on sinuses in the past). Four hours later, I think we're on the right course now.

The doctor gave me a signed State form allowing Princess to keep the medicine on her at all times. I dropped the rx at the drugstore and ran to the school to turn in the forms. The school nurse informed me that she can't have the rx with her, it has to be turned in to her in its original bottle. Which means in order to have some at home and some at school, the pharmacy has to give me each rx with two bottles. I run back to the pharmacy and the rx is ready, but since I need the extra "original" bottles, I have to wait another 15 minutes. I take the meds back to the school to give to the school nurse, only to be told that the forms aren't valid because they were written with the namebrand name and the pharmacy filled with generic. So, back to the doctor's office to have him fill the forms out with the generic names of the rxs. Then back to the school to turn the meds and forms in. That whole episode took me about 3 1/2 hours of running around and waiting... and cost me about half a tank of gas and a missed full day of work. Ugh.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I MUST go grocery shopping!

I couldn't tell you why, but I am just not feeling the grocery vibe lately. Probably because I've had zero time to plan out anything. But its definitely time to get back on track. So, I guess I will go and peruse the publix ad, then get to work on that HUGE stack of coupon inserts that I have yet to clip! How's that for a fun Saturday night?!?!?!?!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Took longer than I thought...

This week seemed endless.... I can't believe how much I have crammed into it! Had the big work conference, regular office days, worked the side gig, traveled some and in the midst of it all.... a root canal. Completely and 100% wiped out my cafeteria plan for the year in one swoop. Yeah, I'm hoping we don't get sick.

That toothache that was nagging me a week or so ago? Came back with a vengeance Tuesday. Wednesday I was just praying for the conference to end. Soon as it was over I called the dentist and begged to be seen. They worked me in.....thankfully.But all that time in the chair means my jaw still hurts. Today, I had real food for the first time since Wednesday morning. Sleep has been virtually nonexistent. I haven't figured out the budget and now I have to rework it completely to make sure I have money to cover any medical or dental care (copays, deductibles, etc) we may need over the nine months.

I think I'm going to take a nap now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Missed Me?

I have been totally out of pocket for the last few days and I sincerely apologize. Its been a horrendously busy time! I've gotten really kicked off with my side gig and that seems to be going great, but it has taken up quite a bit of my so-called free time. Added to that, we've had our huge industry state conference this week for my real job  --- I haven't walked in the door at night yet this week until at least 8 o'clock (last night was 9:30).

Can you say TIRED? I am absolutely positively worn out. Tomorrow, I should be home by 7, with several hours of work to do when I get home and Thursday it will probably be at least 9 before I get to change into my comfies!

I haven't checked my facebook, only glanced through my email and haven't earned the first swagbuck in DAYS! But I should be better settled into a regular routine within the next few days. I hope, at least!

Friday, March 18, 2011

There ought to be a law....

I really think there ought to be a law that if you cut your grass on Sunday it should not grow so much that it needs it again the following Friday!

Last Sunday, I cut the grass for the first time this spring. I have a big yard, that is on a big slope. It takes quite a while to get it all cut. Of course it rained not long after and rained all day Monday too. In the Spring, rain is like speed for grass. I got back in town yesterday and then this morning walked out on the deck with my cup of coffee. While I was gone, I swear that grass shot up 8 inches! So, I had to cut it again when I got home from work today.

Every year I toy with the idea of paying someone to do it for me, but then I realize that I'd rather get keep that $200 each month, so I still do it myself and will probablly continue to do it myself. I have a great mower that I LOVE and it was quite an investment. I paid about $350 for it in 2006. Considering that grass needs to be cut here well into October, and the quotes for having someone else cut my yard were about $100 every two weeks.... I think I'll continue to cut it myself! But you might here me complain about it some more!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Time to figure it all out....

Obviously with my grand screw-up of Tuesday I've got to figure out how far I've pushed our budget out of bounds. I know I've blown out the clothing budget since I had to get work clothes and such for two full days. I know I've blown out the "Misc" budget. I think I'm still under budget for groceries. The gas bill is teetering dangerouly close to the brink because of skyrocketing gas prices.  And, we're only halfway through the month. 

So tomorrow, when I get back in town, its time to do some serious number crunching!!!!!

Sure wish my tax refund would hurry up and get here!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Costly Mistake

As I've mentioned before I have to travel a bit for work. I generally go out of town 4-5 times per month. That's not quite as bad as it seems because most of my trips are day trips, there and back in the same day. Today, however, I left to head down to Mobile. I packed my suitcase up, dropped Thing 2 at the vet for boarding -- Princess Penelope and Thing 1 are staying with a friend of mine while I'm gone. (This friend has a 3 pound chihuahua so Thing 2 visiting over there is not really an option.) I got to my office and realized I had left my GPS at home, so I made a mental note to swing back by on my way out of town and grab that.

My rental car was delivered at 10, and I hit the road around 11, ran by the house and grabbed the GPS and hit the road. I left out one very important step. I didn't get my suitcase out of my car. And I didn't realize it until I pulled up to my hotel ---- four hours from home! I'm in this town until Thursday and I had no clothes, no makeup, no toiletries. Fortunately my hotel was able to give me (gratis) toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. But I had the issue of needing CLOTHES for the next two days that are work suitable.

So I hopped in the car and headed to Target. The Target close to my house always has a HUGE clearance section with lots of stuff marked 75% off. Not the case at this one. I walked out of there having spent $141 on stuff that I have at home, or rather in my car!!!!!!!! Just on stuff to get me through work the next couple of days!

So after my Target spree, I met my Aunt and Cousin for dinner (which was a budgeted expense) and that was wonderful! I did manage to swing by Kohl's after dinner and managed to pick up two items that I bought at Target for $45 combined, for $13 combined! Will be making another trip to Target tomorrow to take those items back.

I hope I've learned my lesson, because this was simply painful. So much for thinking I was going to possibly break even this month! ugh.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I got nothing...

Today has been a MONDAY ---- all day long. So, I could completely bore you to tears with tales of woe including irritations at work, things that didn't go as planned, my water bill that didn't arrive by the due date and my toothache right before I leave town....  but I won't. Today, it just hasn't been my day. So, I'm going to brush my teeth, wash my face and curl up with a book before I go to sleep. Y'all have a good one!

Here's hoping for a happier Tuesday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Color Blind

I've spend the weekend spring cleaning. The house is just about company ready. Yea! Part of the spring cleaning was the hall bathroom. I'm talking scrubbing with a toothbrush type cleaning. I also decided to replace the shower curtain liner, the hooks and the shower curtain. I had purchased the curtain and the hooks about a year ago when I noticed signs of wear on the one we had in there. Yes, I procrastinated but finally got it hung up today in anticipation of next weekend's get together.

The curtain is this lovely silvery grey that perfectly compliments the chrome accents in the bathroom. I got it all hung up and stepped back to admire my handiwork. And promptly dropped my jaw. Hanging up, that lovely silvery grey was blue. BLUE. BLUE. Blue.BLUE. blue.  And it looks hideous. Absolutely awful!

I called Princess Penelope in there and asked her what color she thought it was. She looked at me oddly and answered (in that voice that only teenagers who think their parents have lost their minds use)... "Uh...Blue. Why? What color do you think it is??"

Sad thing is, I can't take it back. I bought it a year ago AND I have no clue where the receipt is. Guess I'll be hunting shower curtains this week.

Moral of the story.... don't procrastinate... it will only make you blue.  (okay, yeah, that was weak).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Haven

I'm having a get together next weekend and I'm determined that the house be presentable. Today was spent cleaning and finishing up nagging little projects that I've just kind of left undone. I've spray painted shelves and ironwork. The fans, ceilings, walls and baseboards have been dusted. I've hung artwork that has been leaning against the wall for six months. Knickknacks have been thoroughly dusted and cleaned. I've regrouted the tub. I've done four loads of laundry. I've moved plants out to their proper places. I've cleaned the deck, side porch and screened porch. I'm WIPED out. As soon as I finish this entry, I'm heading to bed!

Up in that list up there, I mentioned my screened porch. That is my favorite "room" in the house. Its where, I like to curl up with a good book. Or do work on laptop. Or gab on the phone. Or read the newspaper while sipping coffee. Its where my friends and I congregate with a nice glass of vino and catch up with each other. Our house is tiny. But this "room" makes it feel a lot bigger. The picture above isn't very good, but you can kind of get the idea. Its not fancy, just two wicker loveseats, a wicker chair, a wicker end table, an iron and glass coffee table and some shelving (every piece of furniture is hand me down or garage saled) It isnt slick. It isn't new. But it is my haven.

Spring Cleaning

For some reason I have decided that I need to have a get together with friends at my house in eight days. And is my house in ANY condition to have a ton of people in it? That would be a negative! So this weekend, I am getting EVERYTHING in shape! And I mean everything! Thing 1 is going to get himself all prettied up at the groomers. Thing 2 is getting a pedicure (being a short haired dog, its much easier for me to get her looking good, but the nails I just can't handle!)

The house will be cleaned top to bottom, corner to corner! The grass is FINALLY going to get cut. Some small projects I have been putting off will finally get accomplished. So, I may be a little absent this weekend. I've got a lot to get done in a VERY short time. Oh, and did I mention I will be out of town for work for three of those eight days?

The invitations have already gone out, so no backing out now. WHAT was I thinking?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Groceries at Aldi

So, I've been saying I need to do a "real" grocery trip. I thought I'd take care of that little chore after work yesterday. Let's just say it is not really the best idea to go grocery shopping without a list after you've worked for 10 hours. Your focus is scattered, you just kind of mindlessly pick stuff up with no rhyme or reason, AND you forget half the stuff you needed. My store of choice yesterday was Aldi because when there aren't great coupon deals on the stuff you need, the prices really can't be beat. So here is what I got for $41.31 (including tax):

I picked up the following:

4 lbs. ground beef
4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 gallon milk
2 boxes shells & cheese
3 12 oz bags of shredded cheese
1 block cheddar
Flour Tortillas
Sour Cream
2 Envelopes taco seasoning
1 bag onions
2 frozen pizzas

Definitely some freezer cooking in my future this weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Multi-tasking? Not So Much.

I've always thought I was a pretty decent multi-tasker. I've heard some talk that you shouldn't try to multi-task too much because then you aren't giving any of the tasks your full attention. Tonight was a prime example.

A few weeks ago I made chicken empanadas for dinner. I thought they were fabulous! Princess Penelope liked the filling but wasn't fond of the crust. Because the crust recipe made SO much, I was eating empanadas for DAYS. Fortunately, I was smart enough to just freeze the massive amount of filling I had left over. So tonight, I thought I'd use up the remaining filling by making Chicken Puffs with the empanada filling instead of the regular filling. Worked out great. But after I had the puffs in the oven, I still had filling left over.

So, I thought I'd make quesadillas out of the remaining filling, because, hey, you can put ANYTHING into a flour tortilla! So while the puffs were baking, I started making quesadillas for tomorrow's lunch. Then while the puffs were baking, and the quesadillas cooking, I started on the dishes. And broke a glass. While I was cleaning up the glass, I slightly burned one of the quesadillas. I got those off the stove, and then took the puffs out of the oven. And then promptly laid my pot holder on the still red hot eye of the stove. And didn't notice until it started SMOKING. Joy.

This was a costly bit of time "savings".  Maybe just one task at a time for the next little while.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Publix Today

I took the day off of work today. Not for anything super-fun, but because I had to pick up Princess Penelope from her trip to the mountains with her Dad. We had planned to meet in Chattanooga around 9, but massive rains made that an unwise proposition. So we postponed it to later in the day to let the rains go on by.

Since the rains cleared out in Birmingham a bit earlier than I thought it would, I had a little time to run to Publix to take advantage of today's Penny Item and pick up a few other things. Quite honestly, I really need to make the time to get to the store to do a REAL grocery trip because these last few trips have been just about the deals.

So today, this is what I picked up (not what we call a well-balanced trip!):

1 Package of Publix Paper Towels (Penny Item!!!)
1 Package of Dentastix (I vow to keep these out of Thing 2's reach)
2 Boxes Glad Freezer Bags
2 Boxes of Puffs Tissues
5 Packs Mentos Gum

Total Spent: $13.43 and Total Saved: $19.25, or a savings of 59%

Now, time to make a list for a REAL shopping trip!

Checking In With Checkpoints

Have you heard of Checkpoints? Basically its an app that pays you for "checking in" your location. It is available for iPhone and Droid. The way it works is.... you download the app (please feel free to use the my bonus code ltjacobs704 to get extra points for signing up, and then check in at different locations where you happen to be. You earn points for every check in! Depending on where you are, you usually earn 2+ points per check in. However, the grocery store is where you really rack up!

I ran into Publix today, and ended up getting 100 points --- 2 for the "check-in", then another 98 for scanning different  featured products (and I would have scanned more, but it was a quick trip and I was short on time). So far, I've earned the equivalent of a $1 Amazon gift card and I just downloaded the app last Friday. Over time, that might really help to supplement my Swagbucks earnings that I'm racking up to put a dent in the Christmas budget!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Today's casualties....

Whenever possible, I tend to come home for lunch. It gives Thing 1 & Thing 2 a chance to romp in the yard a bit, and it removes the temptation for making a quick trip through the drive through. It's a win win for me.

So today, I come home at lunch and Thing 2 is hiding under the buffet so I KNOW something is up. (She tends to hide under there when she knows she's in trouble) Anyway, a quick scan of the living room revealed two completely empty bags of Milk Bone Soft & Chew Snacks and two empty packs of Pedigree Dentastix. Apparently, I had not completely closed the cabinet where I keep those very well so Thing 2 just helped herself. Lovely. And I don't think she shared a single bit of it with Thing 1.

Good thing for Thing 2 I got all of those for free combining sales and coupons! But I think it might be time to childproof my cabinets.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wasted Day

I feel completely icky. The crud that Princess Penelope had all last week, has now been transferred to me. Joy. I have pretty much spent the day altering between the bed and the couch. I have managed to get nothing accomplished. I had massive plans for getting stuff done today, including cleaning the house top to bottom and mowing the lawn.

Solid rain all day yesterday and last night made the planned grass cutting impossible. The yard is just still too wet. But the rain shouldn't have prevented getting inside work done. The crud rendered that goal unattainable.

It is frustrating to have SO much that needs to be done and to know that none of it is getting done! So, instead of dwelling on it, I think I will head to bed, and hope to wake up feeling much, much better.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Busy weekend ahead....

Since I got off of work at 5 this evening, I have so far, gotten my hair cut, made a run to the drugstore, done three loads of laundry and cooked dinner. Normally, I do laundry on Saturdays, but Princess Penelope is leaving bright and early to head up to the mountains in Tennessee with her Dad, Stepmom and her brothers. Hence, the laundry tonight.

The rest of the weekend will be spent getting training for my new side job and then attending Weim & Cheese, a benefit for Weimaraner Rescue of the South. Thing 2 is a weimaraner, and while she's not a rescue, it is a cause near and dear to my heart. I mean, seriously, how can you resist a precious pup like this:

 So tomorrow evening, my sister, my dear friend and I will have a girls night. This is an event we plan for every year and always, always have a blast. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, will be yard and housework. My grass desperately needs cutting. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, but I think Sunday should be clear I hope so. And the house kind of looks like a small tornado went through. TONS to do this weekend, I may have to go back to work just to get some rest! :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Not Quite as Much of a Budget Buster

For the past two months I've been gnashing my teeth over the ridiculously high natural gas bills. Basically, my budget is set up to handle $200 in combined power/natural gas costs. On average this is generally enough to plan each month to cover those two bills, except for the months of August and January. During these two months we generally see either extreme cold or extreme heat --- the cold bumps up the natural gas and the heat bumps up the power.

The past two months, the gas bills have exceeded my budget by $97 and $87. I received the new bill today. Still over budget, but this time by only $17! A much more manageable number! I'm thinking that the power should be lower than it has been so there is still a possibility that I could actually come in at or under budget for utilities this month!

Hooray for early spring temperatures! Yippee for open windows! Whoo hoo for utility bills that don't make me slightly nauseous!!!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Whopping Wednesday!

During my lunch break today, I ran to Publix specifically for some of the can't miss deals. Previous experience has taught me that when Milkbones go BOGO, the shelves get cleared quickly so I wanted (needed) to take advantage of the Milkbone deal since Thing 1 and Thing 2 go through them like they were cookies hot from the oven! We were also out of Crystal Light. Granted, I didn't buy a huge amount of stuff, but for what I did buy, I saved a TON. This was a "deals only" trip!

I bought:

4 boxes of Milkbone Dog Treats
2 bags Milkbone Soft & Chewy
4 cans Crystal Light
2 Hormel Compleats meals
1 Juicy Juice (penny item)

I spent $13.39 (including tax), saved $33.78 for an overall 72% savings! I will have to buy "read food" at some point this weekend, but I was VERY happy with this quick trip!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Phew! Glad That's Over!

February. The month of the budget meltdown. Really, really happy to put that behind me. So, onto a new month. Onto March. I've got a fresh perspective, a renewed energy and I'm ready to attack that budget with a vengeance!

I've planned for the ACT test fees, extra gas to get Princess Penelope to her Dad's, boarding the pups when I'm traveling for work. I think I've anticipated what we'll need.

So here's hoping.