Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out With The Old, In With The New

And another year is just about in the books.....

I've spent the days since Christmas pretty much working on getting the old out. I've gotten rid of some stuff that was just taking up space in my kitchen and made room for my new Keurig coffee maker (LOVE it!). As I've been packing up Christmas decorations, I've been pulling out the ones we don't ever use and that don't have sentimental attachment to get them sent off to Goodwill. For the ones that we don't use but that ARE sentimental, I have put them aside to box into different boxes so I'm not toting them in and out every year. I hope I have a place to use them one day.

Its cathartic in a way to start the decluttering process. Once I finish with the decorations, I plan to work on other areas of the house to declutter in earnest. I'm tired of the house always being clutter factory. And I swear that stuff just multiplies!

I plan to ring in the New Year as I plan to spend the year itself -- low key, enjoying the warmth of my home with friends and NOT going out and spending a ton of money!

Here's hoping you have a joyous New Year, bright with all of the promises for new beginnings and hope for a fabulous 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thing 2 Gets A Bargain Christmas, Too

I've always felt that Christmas includes the whole household, so my pups always have had a stocking full plus some other presents to make their holiday special. I've also found that giving them their own stuff tends to minimize their snuffling through the other presents under the tree!

This year was no different. I had bought a box of toys for Thing 2 as even at the age of 5 she still loves her squeaky toys. A couple of days before Christmas I was out and about doing some last minute grocery shopping. I realized I had a coupon for $5 off any purchase at Pet Supplies Plus. I figured I'd go in and pick up a box of treats or a special cookie or bone for Thing 2 to round out her Christmas goodies. When I got there, they had sales on several different treats, all of which I had pretty high dollar coupons for --- (BOGO, $1.50 off 1 and $2 off 1). So, I got busy matching up the sales and the coupons to get as much as I could without spending a ton. In the end I got all of those treats above for $3.42!

Spent:  $3.42
Saved: $24.23 or 88%

And Thing 2 is stocked up on treats for quite a while! And not jut the plain ole dog bones, but COOKIES!!!! (yeah, we call the special treats cookies!)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Miss It Already

I love the Christmas Season -- the decorating, the cooking, the wrapping, all the preparations that go into it. I love the warmth of the lights from the tree as I curl up on the couch in the evenings. I love how happy my house looks all decked out with colored lights and silly inflatables greeting me as I get home from work. Yesterday, I took down the outside lights and put them up til next year. My yard looks kind of sad now.

I started putting up some of the Christmas decorations on the inside, but didn't get a whole lot done in that area. I had to totally rearrange my kitchen cabinets to accommodate some of my gifts. I've packed up some of the stuff that was old and put it aside for when the Princess has her own place. Some of it is just going off to Goodwill.

I took the whole week off of work this week, and can't believe its gone by so fast. We had a good Christmas -- the family parts were kind of stressful but the parts with just me and the Princess and those we spent with friends were great!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas  -- filled with joy and love! Let's make the good feelings of it last all year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Baking, Baking, Baking

Today was my annual Christmas Cookie Bake Fest --- I spent 6 hours in the kitchen -- made 5 different types of cookies -- and dinner! We are going to be SO fat and happy by the time the holidays are over! Today I made Oreo Truffles, Brickle Haystacks, Layered Brownies (cookie dough, Reese's and triple chocolate brownie --- super rich!), Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies and Molasses Crinkles.

I make my Haystacks a bit different than most --- the Princess does not care for nuts at all, so years ago, on a whim I started adding Heath Bits O' Brickle and miniature marshmallows in place of the peanuts. It was a big hit -- and all of the family now prefers that version to the traditional. So, they are one of our holiday stand-bys.

The Princess wanted to take some to work tonight to share with her co-workers, so I put together a tin for her:

That should sweeten everyone's dispositions tonight! What's cooking in your kitchen?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello, Vaycay!

I am officially off work for the next nine days! Woo hoo! Of course I think I will have more work here than at actual work, but oh well......

Tomorrow looks to be my baking day --- I think I picked up everything we need at the grocery stores today -- spent $75 at Aldi and $30 at Publix -- OUCH. But I think I should be able to get the baking done without having to do a last minute store run. Here's hoping at least!

Sunday, I plan to clean and wrap presents. And go out to dinner. Monday is more cooking (if my sis will ever tell me what I'm supposed to bring to the various events!) and then Christmas with my Dad. Tuesday, Christmas Eve at Mom's -- and then Christmas Day at my sister's. Lots of events. Christmas keeps expanding, but I'd kind of like to shrink it back a bit. More events = more stress.

All I want for Christmas is... a stress free holiday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Feeling the Pressure

Tis the season to be stressed! Anybody else starting to freak out that Christmas is less than one week away? I still have those three presents to buy. Oodles of presents to wrap. The Princess and I put together our list of cookies we want to bake... 9 different kinds.... REALLY? Yikes. I still can't get anyone to decide on a menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I don't know how to plan that or do the shopping for it either. I'm trying not be stressed this season.... but it doesn't seem to be going quite as I had planned.

Add to it, the Princess's iPod decided to start falling apart just over a week before Christmas... she's not really to blame as it is at least four years old and since I had already bought her entire Christmas.... well we decided to go halfsies on a new one. I found the 4th generation on Amazon (new) and we went with that, as it was less than a 5th generation -- plus it meant we didn't have to replace all of her accessories too! That however was not in my budget so I'm scrambling to work it in. Some would argue that an iPod is not the best thing to blow the budget on, but I dread the thought of living in a house with a Princess deprived of her music but I really don't like Murphy visiting right before Christmas.

How are you holding up to the pressure of the season?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Almost Done

I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping. I have three gifts left to buy. I think. One will be easy... the other two I'm kinda stumped. I've been waiting for it it hit me! But so far, no go..... One is for my Dad's fiancee... the other is for a friend who is just plain hard to buy for. So, I'll do some thinking. A lot of thinking I guess.

I also need to make my plans for my Christmas baking and cooking. So far, we don't have firm plans for exactly what Christmas meals we will do as a family, so I don't even know where to start. And I need to plan for what to take to a Christmas get together on Tuesday. I'm so uninspired!

Anyway, that's where I am right now... fun fun fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sick Day

Woke up at 3 a.m., sick.... ugh. So, looks like I'm staying home today. Fortunately, I'm completely up to date at work so I shouldn't be far behind when I go back tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm supposed to be in our local Christmas Parade tonight with a group I volunteer for (and that I'm Vice President of). I wouldn't be so worried about it, except I missed the Halloween gig too being out sick. I hate to be undependable.

However, I just don't think it would be a good idea to go do another event if I skip work... even if I feel 100% better. Especially since our CFO might be at the parade since she lives in the same town and we were talking about it last week. I just don't think that would look right.

So, looks like a couch and bed day for me today... sigh.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays

I'm starting to feel a bit waterlogged. Or maybe a tad bit prunish. I don't think we've seen the sun for more than a few seconds at a time in over a week. I miss Mr. Sun. Seriously though, I don't think we are going to have a break in all this until Wednesday or Thursday.

I probably shouldn't be griping though as tons of people have had to deal with rain in the form of snow and ice, so I guess we are a bit fortunate. Still, rainy days combined with Mondays.... ugh.

Lots on tap for this week -- its exam week and the Princess is stressed. After exams are complete, I need to get her textbooks returned to Amazon and Chegg. Still need to clean house as yesterday ended up focusing on getting the "office" in some sort of semblance of order. Still not there, but you can walk through it now. And laundry... tons of laundry..... and of course work work work. And need to pay bills. And make some phone calls. And I have a doctor's appointment this week.

So, that's how my week looks, rainy days and all. What's up for you this week?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Whole Day Spent Running Errands

Yesterday, I was planning to do some grocery shopping in the morning and then spend the rest of the day cleaning. Then I made a list of all the errands I needed to do and decided to do them all yesterday so that I wouldn't have to look decent today. I had several returns to make, plus groceries and gas, and some other items I needed to pick up. So, I loaded everything up and hit the road. I managed to hit 3 stores (Lowe's, Sam's, Walmart) before a headache hit me. And it was a doozy. Fun.

I managed to power through Target quickly and headed to the mall to make some exchanges and returns at Belk. That's when the stupid-holiday-driver syndrome really reared its ugly head. And honestly, my pounding head just couldn't deal with it. So, before I even pulled into a parking place, I decided to head to the grocery stores. A quick trip into Publix for coffee creamer that was bogo (putting it cheaper per ounce than even Aldi), almond milk and ice cream (yeah, if you haven't tried the Publix Santa's White Christmas ice cream and like coffee ice cream -- I highly recommend it!). Then on to Aldi..... we were low on most things because last week I only shopped for Thanksgiving cooking. I then high tailed it home, unloaded the groceries and everything else, put the stuff away, and sat down to watch the SEC Championship game.

Well, kind of sat down.... I did various little things around the house and eventually my headache went away. I truly hate though how much that stupid headache stopped me from getting my to do list accomplished though. I'll still have to make that trip to Belk this week -- fortunately the mall is pretty close to my office so I should be able to handle that during a lunch break. Tis the season to RUN RUN RUN!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wow! Time Flies!

I have been terribly neglectful lately. Time flies when you are busy busy busy --- I hope you all had a blessed and happy Thanksgiving and are gearing up for a joyous Christmas time (or whatever holiday you prefer!).

Things have been hopping around here.....

Sadly, our potential Thing 3 didn't work out. Sweet, sweet pup, but she went all alpha on Thing 2 and kept beating her up. Thing 2 was terrified of her and would hide behind us and just shake. Don't get me wrong, the pup is wonderful and sweet and tons of fun -- loves snuggles and playing with toys and exploring, but I think better suited to a home that doesn't already have a Thing in residence. If you are in the Birmingham area and looking for a sweet Thing -- let me know and I can tell you how to find out more about this really wonderful girl that needs a furever home.

Let's see, we have our halls decked and most of my Christmas shopping is complete. I've done a ton of it online this year as the deals have been pretty darn great for a lot of the things on my list. Still have a few presents to pick up, but for the most part, its just time to start wrapping.

FINALLY got my hands on my new niece during the Thanksgiving weekend. Cutest thing in the whole world. And so sweet. And smells so good. And SUCH a sweet baby. She loves her Aunt Sass. I cuddled and snuggled and rocked and bounced and made goofy faces and talked in ridiculous voice and loved every single minute of it.

So, that's what's been going on in my world! Time to catch up on some blogs!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shopping Online -- Beating the Crowds and Saving the Bucks

I used to LOVE getting out to the malls and shopping, shopping, shopping. For the most part though, that's just not what I love to do anymore. So far, most of my Christmas shopping has been done online. I've hit up Amazon (love me some Amazon Prime!), Victoria's Secret, Macy's, Christian Family Bookstores and others to find really great deals on things I know the people in my life will love.

So many great online deals have been found so far this year. I love the fact that I don't have to drive all over town to shop. I don't have to deal with checkout lines for the most part and I can pick up the gifts from the comfort of my own couch.

Plus, there's the ability to save money too! Online coupon codes (especially through Retail Me Not), links through UPromise or Swagbucks, putting it on my AmEx to get points (that can be converted to cash) -- all of these serve to stretch my dollar as far as it can possibly go.

I'll still have to get out and do some shopping in the old fashioned way --- but not as much and I won't have to devote a full Saturday in December to finish it all up! Woo hoo!!!! Have you been finding any great deals online?????

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Contemplating Thing 3

When we lost Thing 1 in August, many people asked me if I was going to get another dog. At that time, we just weren't ready. Although I did know I would eventually. So, the Princess and I have decided we are ready. The trick is finding the right pup for us. A friend had rescued a stray and was looking to adopt him out. I thought that would be perfect, so the pup came for a visit. That visit was one step shy of disaster. He was constantly looking for our friend, and kept getting out.... of the house, of the fence, all in all it was a stressful combo --- he wasn't ready to let go of his rescuer, and my house is less than 100 yards from a busy busy road. It just wasn't going to work. I hated to give him back, because he was a sweet pup, but it just wasn't meant to be.

Later that week, I was in our vet clinic and I mentioned the failed home visit, and how we were ready for another pup and Thing 2 was pretty bored and lonely. They mentioned that they had stray that had been there for a few months and they were looking to adopt her out (my vet will not surrender strays to kill shelters) and wondered if I was interested. I was, so they brought her out to meet me. Sweet girl, very excited at first but then calmed down quickly for hugs and loves and ear scratches.

So, Saturday morning I will bring her home for a weekend visit. I'm hopeful this will be right fit for us all. For me, the Princess, Thing 2 and the sweet girl with potential to be Thing 3. Wish us luck!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

And Back To It

Wow! I have been away for a while. Life's been busy and I just really haven't had my thoughts together. Add that in with the fact that my internet connection has been less than reliable lately...and I just didn't get around to it.

So, in addition to being back on my blog (boy! I have a ton of reading to catch up on too!) --- I also finally went and did a bit of coupon shopping this week. Nothing big -- just taking advantage of some sales to get me back in the mode.... So here is what I picked up....

4 Beneful Healthy Smile Dog Treats (after coupons and BOGO sales, these were .65 each... normally priced at $4.29 -- they will be stocking stuffers for Thing 2)
2 CoffeeMate Creamer
2 Hormel Mashed Potatoes
2 Kraft Shredded Cheese
2 Progresso Soups
2 Ronzoni Pasta

Spent: $18.94
Saved: $31.91 or 63% -- not bad -- but YIKES that all that (very little) stuff would have been over $50 without sales and coupons.

Any good deals for you lately?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Hard Week

This has been a terribly hard week. Just rough all the way around. Completely and totally emotionally draining. The Princess has been having a hard time lately. With school. With her friends. Just all the way around probably at her lowest point ever. It hurts to watch your child hurt. You just want to "fix" it, even though you know you can't. Just have to help them try and pick up the pieces and move forward.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

And Another One Bites The Dust......

Earlier this week, I noticed that my microwave wasn't heating on the 30 second and 1 minute buttons. No worries, I just started using the 2 minute button. But in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn't good. I was hoping it would last until the Black Friday Sales, at least. No such luck. This morning I popped my coffee cup in to warm it up. And pressed the 2 minute button. It started going... but made a terrible sound (closer to what my lawn mower sounds like than what a microwave should!). And it smelled funny, not quite like something burning, but close. Yeah, ummmmm, I think it was done.
So I turned it off and unplugged it. Crap.

Being ever resourceful, I dragged up the Princess's teensy microwave from her dorm. FYI, when a college student "says" she's cleaned the microwave, you might want to check on that before putting it up to store. Ew. So, I got busy cleaning that. Then my mom called. I told her what I was doing and why and she was like "Oh, No!" -- it seems her "friend" had gotten rid of an almost brand spanking new one a month ago when he'd moved to a place that had a built in. But she called him to check just be sure. Somebody must have felt sorry for me, because she called back telling me to go to his house and get it! Woo hoo! I asked how much? And she laughed and said NOTHING! That's my absolute favorite price!

So, I hopped in the car and headed out to get it. Lost about 2 hours of my day, but I consider it time well spent!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Was Tricked....

I rarely buy Halloween candy. Not because I don't like Trick or Treating, but because I'm never home on Halloween. Every year since the Princess outgrew Trick or Treating, I've volunteered at the local Police Department giving out candy. That got derailed this year as I've been home sick for two days. I'm well on the mend I think, but didn't think it was a good idea to hang out around a bunch of kids this evening.

But uh-oh! I didn't have any Halloween Candy in case we get trick or treaters. So I ran to Publix today and picked up a 40 ct pack of 3 Musketeers, Starburst, Twix and Snickers. I figured there would be a good variety in there, and I'd give out the 3 Musketeers first since they are my least favorite! (Ha!). Imagine my disappointment when I opened that bag and discovered 23 3 Musketeers. And only 15 total of the other varieties. That's only 38 pieces in my 40 count bag! And way heavy on the ickier stuff! I was tricked on my treats!!!!!!!

Of course as I type this, I haven't had a single trick or treater.... I may be stuck with all those 3 Musketeers!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Don't Judge, Just Love

 I'm home sick today. I've been feeling puny all week, and finally my body just said "sit your butt at home!". So here I am, sitting on the couch, watching the Today Show and perusing Facebook and reading blogs. One thing I might do today is a rework of my budget. My grocery budget just isn't cutting it anymore. I've kept it at the same level for several years, but honestly, grocery prices have risen SO much that I'm going to have make a bit more room there.

Anyway, the constant precarious position of my job for the last two years has definitely made me wonder more and more about what I would do, what I would be willing to do, what I'd HAVE to do if I found myself unemployed for a time. That's why I make sure I have "sleep at night money" in the bank, to get through a couple of months should I find myself in that position. Anyway, all that rambling is to introduce this link: Those People -- As the holidays grow near, maybe we ALL need to be reminded that sometimes we are closer than we care to admit that we could actually be THOSE PEOPLE. So, I will make every effort going forward to not judge, just love.... And maybe just maybe put a few extra cans in the food drive box at work.

Monday, October 28, 2013

End of October? Already?

I can't believe how quickly October has gone by! Time flies when you're having fun I guess.... and boy have I lived it up this month! And my budget is screaming because of it! Trips to Gulf Shores and Memphis, went to see Bama play, had dinner out with friends, went over my grocery budget, BADLY.... all that and the holidays aren't even here yet!

I promised myself no lifestyle inflation, but I haven't done a great job of that. Time to kick it into gear maybe? Get back to doing what I need to do. I won't be able to get through Christmas without debt if I'm not a lot more careful. So, I need a plan. I need to polish up the budget -- and stick to it. And I need to quit being so cavalier. That gets you into trouble fast!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Is Here.... So I Cook......

I've noticed in the last few years that as the weather turns cooler, my culinary ambitions heat up. Seriously, the cooler it gets, the more I want to be in the kitchen. I plan meals a few day in advance instead of deciding what I want to fix when I walk through the door.

I don't know why it goes that way, but my desire to be in the kitchen is directly related to the temps outside. And not just that, but I want to experiment more --- last night I made a creamy garlic spaghetti squash I found on Pinterest. Tonight I made a Tomato Tortellini Soup, that while it wasn't a "new" recipe, had to be tweaked a bit based on what I had on hand. Both were raging successes.

So, now to decide what to cook next --- because I'm getting all pumped up about trying new things and using up stuff that's in my pantry and freezer -- and cooking yummy things! What are you cooking up lately?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And Another Fail

I had hoped to wait until the end of the month to turn the heat on. However, Mother Nature conspired against me. When I went out of town this weekend, the temps were supposed to plummet. I knew that the Princess would want or need to turn the heat on over the weekend. So, before I went out of town, I flipped the heat on, and set it to the normal "winter" setting. I told the Princess that the heat was set and she shouldn't touch it. It would come on if it was needed. She said she's not sure if it came on or not.

Since its been dipping cool at night, I've left it set on the winter setting overnight and waking up its been dead set on that temp in the morning. So, I don't really know if its been kicking on or not. I do know that it hasn't been running after I've gotten up in the morning though. So, another seasonal fail.

Maybe next year?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rambling Woman

I used to travel A LOT. Mostly for work, so I pretty much gave up much travel for fun because I got so sick of being on the road. I became basically a homebody. Of course that's pretty good on the bank balance. Since we've been on a two year hiatus from most travel, I'm not as sick of it as I was. And that is showing itself now.

Last weekend, I took a last minute trip down to Gulf Shores with some friends to attend the Shrimp Festival. Had an absolute blast! Shopped the booths, ate some fabulous food, walked on the beach, soaked up some sun. It was FANTASTIC. Coming back to the real world was lousy.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Memphis to help my niece get moved into her first "real world" apartment --- the one where she's supporting herself. It's a big milestone for any young person and I'm excited to be a part of it. And while we are there, we are attending a beer festival. So, combining work and some play. I just can't wait!

After that, I still have some travel on the horizon -- likely a trip down south for Thanksgiving. And hopefully a trip to Tampa either around Christmas or Spring Break --- gotta see that new niece of mine!!!!!

So, I'm busy crunching numbers and hoping against hope that I can figure out how to get where I'm going without breaking the bank. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Driving Down The Gas Buget

I absolutely adore it when Publix does it $10 off a gas card promotions. I especially love it when it falls in a week that they have good sales on other things we use. For one, I was running dangerously low on laundry detergent! Don't like getting down to one bottle. I'd HATE to have to pay full price! So, the Publix sale did me right.

I did buy one thing there that I normally never buy..... a rotisserie chicken. This came about from a rough week at work, the Princess begging for her fave dinner of chicken puffs, and I had no thawed or pre-cooked chicken. I've bought the rotisserie chickens at Sam's before, so the Publix one was a big disappointment. Relatively dry, half the size and almost twice the price of one from Sam's. Lesson learned.

Anyway, the rest of the deals were pretty good.

3 Palermo's Thin Crust Pizza
1 Angel Soft 12 Pack
2 Betty Crocker Brownie Mix
4 Nature Valley Protein Bars
4 All Laundry Detergent
3 Publix Canned Dog Food
4 Progresso Soups
1 Rotisserie Chicken (NOT worth the $, even for the convenience)
1 Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 Glade Twin Pack Plug In Refills

Spent: $48.97
Saved $55.57 or 53%

PLUS got a $50 gas card for $40 -- Not too bad.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Out With The Old...

So, it occurred to me recently that I haven't done a really thorough closet cleaning in about, oh... SEVEN years... since I moved into this house. I've straightened, I've reorganized some shelves, I've gotten rid of a few things here and there. But item by item cleanout? Negative. Honestly, it is NOT a job I want to do. My closet takes up a full wall. And it is full of clothes, shoes, odd items, accessories, old photo albums, books and all that kind of stuff.

However, my clothes have been crammed into their section and everything gets wrinkled and then has to be ironed or whatever. And I've lost weight, so a lot of stuff is too big, and I might just be able to get into some of the stuff that was too tight. Time to clean out. Since I really didn't want to take up a full Saturday, I've been spending 45 minute to an hour after work every day this week, cleaning out, trying on, reorganizing outfits and bagging up the discards.

The hangers in the picture above represent clothes that I've got bagged up and ready to donate. And I'm not even done yet. Its a pretty good start. Out with the old -- but going to try to not bring in any new.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

First Brrrrrr of the Year

We had a little cold snap come through the past couple of days. Woke up this morning to 48 degree temps outside and 68 in the house. A little bit of a jolt to the system for it to be that cool in the house, but not so bad that I was tempted to turn the heat on. Just put on my heavier robe and slippers and went on about my morning.

Last year, I had a goal (I think) of not turning the heat on until after October 31. If that was indeed the goal (I'll have to look back to be sure), I think I caved and flipped it on around October 20 or thereabouts. I'm hoping that will not be the case. I'm hoping for a no heat or ac October. I bet I won't get it, but I'm sure going to try!!!!!

But, this is Alabama, and going from heat to ac in one day is not unheard of! Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Princess Went Back To Work

After four days of being cooped up in the house, the Princess went back to work last night. I don't think she has ever been so excited to go to work. She was starting to go a bit stir crazy being cooped up. And honestly, I was pretty excited for her to go too. She's a good patient, but I was ready for a bit of time to myself too. Not that I did anything exciting -- laundry and watched football -- but not having to tiptoe around the house because she was trying to sleep was pretty nice.

She's a hostess in a restaurant so her job requires her to be on her feet her entire shift. On Saturday nights they usually have two hostesses, but the Princess is "lead" --- which means she generally has the most responsibility. In deference to the fact that she was not up to full strength, the managers had someone the other hostess take lead "just for tonight", much to the Princess's relief. They also relieved her about once every hour and told her to go sit down for a few minutes. They also let her be the first "off shift" so she could get back home and go to bed early. All in all it made her first day back to work as easy as it could possibly be when recovering from pneumonia.

She got home and I heated her up some leftovers because she was "starving" (I generally have dinner ready around 4 on weekend nights she works so she can eat something besides frozen or canned crap before her shift). She ate her dinner, and went straight to bed.

She goes back and works again tonight. Sundays are often a mixed bag.... either super busy or slow. I'm kind of hoping for the latter tonight since she will be the only hostess on shift.

Here's hoping it all goes well!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Long, Long, Long Week

So glad the weekend is finally here. I'd had just about all could take of this particular week. It started simply enough. Just a normal week. A bit high pressured at work as I was struggling to catch up from being away from desk for the better part of three days last week (leadership classes), but seemed pretty normal all in all.

Monday night the Princess started feeling kind of icky. Tuesday it got worse. Wednesday she went to classes, but went to the doctor right after. Diagnosis: Walking Pneumonia. Lovely. She feels awful. Beyond awful. In addition to just the ick of being sick, she's weak, jittery and at this point a bit afflicted with cabin fever. She missed her shift Thursday night. And Friday night. Working today will totally depend on how she feels when she gets up. The doc said she could work when she felt like it (after the first couple days). Our priority is for her to be well enough to attend class on Monday, so work is secondary.

As for me, work pretty much blew up in my face on Thursday. A department meeting, a change in my job duties..... which accounts for about tripling my workload. I will be getting some "help" with it, but as the girl that will be helping me is retaining about 75% of her prior workload, that will NOT make up the difference. I'm beyond stressed and quite honestly pretty pissed off about it.

What REALLY gets me, is that these grand changes came about as part of the Leadership Project in the class I was taking. There were 8 of us in the class and we each had to create a project to "improve" certain areas of the company. Come up with ideas to streamline processes, to promote programs and initiatives, etc. And we were SUPPOSED to work with the people that would be affected to get input. I was pretty shocked when listening to this particular presentation last week that my job could be potentially and primarily affected by all of these "ideas" and none of it had been mentioned to me at all. Our CFO even asked the presenter directly if she'd gotten input from all who would be affected and the presenter said "yes". My jaw was on the ground. In hindsight, I should have said something, but I didn't want to flat out call a co-worker a liar for something that when looking at it, I felt was kind of too far fetched to even be workable.

Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe I should have said something.... Thursday we had a department meeting and BAM! I got my workload tripled. Yeah, I am NOT happy at this point in time. Glad the week is behind me and I can go back into workload hell on Monday. Fun times ahead.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lots of Good Deals To Be Had

I really like coupon shopping, but lately the deals out there have been less than stellar, so I've been doing most of my shopping at Aldi --- although lately when I've gone there, half of what I need at the time is out of stock. Anyway, this week's Publix ad had enough stuff that I decided to make a quick run (yes, some of it is junk.... but really.... who watches football and eats healthy stuff?).... So, this is what I picked up:

1 Beneful Dog Food
3 Fiber One Protein Bars
1 Beneful Beef Stew
2 Hidden Valley Ranch Dressings
1 Cheez-its
3 Zucchini
2 DiGiorno Frozen Pizzas
1 Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder
3 Farm Rich Cheese Bites
2 International Delight Coffee Creamers

Spent: $36.17
Saved $42.53 or 54%

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Phew! Glad That's Over!

For the last five months, I've been participating in a leadership class at work. Eight employee were selected for this class, in order to have well trained people ready to take on leadership roles IF the contract mess ever gets to where it should be. The class has been well worthwhile, if somewhat grueling. We are in the class for a day and a half once a month, with a lot of "homework". While that doesn't sound like too terribly much, my inbox keeps growing while I'm in the class, so losing a day and a half a month, well, catch up is a royal pain in the behind...... add in that I've had to take a couple sick days over the past five months and YIKES! I've found that it seem that as soon as I get everything well caught up, I'm in class again.

The class is winding down now. Yesterday we presented our projects to upper management, got some really good feedback and then finished off the day with four hours of lecture and discussion. Today will wind down the class. And wow. I'm glad. It has truly been exhausting. Worthwhile, absolutely. I've learned a lot. But I'm glad to be getting out of there. I need to catch up on the work I get paid to do. I need to get back into a routine that works. And honestly, I'm ready to take some time off. I'm HOPING that need to take some time off will result in a free beach trip in October.

However, that's a totally different post!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Am Weak. And Spoiled.

I have a confession to make. I am a sheet snob. I have very few of what most would deem to be luxuries in my life. I drive a 13 year old car. My clothes are a combination of garage sale, thrift store, and 75% off clearance finds. The furniture in my house is almost exclusively second hand. I keep the ac at a temperature in the summer that most would find somewhat sweltering. However, I sleep on 600 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheets. And I love them. Unabashedly.

A week or so ago, I noticed a small hole in my fitted sheet as I was putting them back on the bed after washing. Well, pooey. But no worries.... it was a small hole, . Right at shoulder level. And over the course of the next week, the hole grew. It is now about 12 inches long and growing. Sigh. I needed new sheets. And I knew from previous experience that I was NOT going to be happy with anything less than what I had. For me, fabulous sheet are essential to a good night's sleep.

So yesterday, I went to Sam's and picked up another package of the same sheets I already had. I had been very happy with them until the hole, and in all honesty, they had held up well over the course of five years of daily use, and weekly washing, and Thing 2 sneaking onto them. So, I am the brand new owner of a new set of 600 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheet and $65 poorer.

And it is worth every penny.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Welcome to the World, Sweet Baby Girl.....

At 4:47 this morning I received a phone call. Still bleary eyed and with my coffee not yet ready, I realized it was my brother calling. OH! I had a good feeling about this phone call! As is par for the course in our family, I was the only one that answered the phone.... he'd tried our Mom, and our Dad, and he had to tell someone, so I got to be the first to hear that he was on the way home (he'd already been at work -- he owns a Crossfit Gym) to get his beautiful wife to head to the hospital to bring a gorgeous baby girl into the world.

It's a long running joke in our family that I'm the only one that ever answers the phone.... When my brother was serving in Iraq, his family phone list was pretty much in this order: Mom, Dad, Older Sis, then Sass..... because he'd already talked to me recently.... still pretty much every week I got the phone call because no one else answered. (Being reminded of all those missed calls still irks my Mom to this day). Apparently today was no different.....

Anyway, 2 hours and 18 minutes after that phone call, a gorgeous 5 pound 18 oz bundle of beauty entered our lives. She's tiny... and gorgeous.... and perfect. And approximately 600 miles away. Sigh. Not a quick weekend trip. And not a cheap last minute flight. Sigh. I really want to see my sweet niece.... but since Aunt Sass can't say it in person, Welcome to the world, sweet baby, you are incredibly loved.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Schedule Adjustment

For years I have worked an 8-5 work schedule. That has generally suited me well. My commute in the morning is generally about 7-10 minutes. My commute in the afternoon, 12-15... meaning in most cases, I was home by 5:15. But that has changed. Recent "improvements" along the main road has made traffic back up in my Office Park when leaving at 5. That has made my commute time go from 15 maxiumum, to 30-35. Generally speaking, I don't walk in my door now until at least 5:30.

I hate sitting in traffic. So, last week, I went to my boss and asked if I could adjust my schedule, nothing big, and most people work some variation of a flex schedule. So I asked if could try out 7:30 to 4:30, but for the first week keep my finish time at 5, until I'm sure I can get there at 7:30 consistently. She approved, so today I start work at 7:30. I'll still work til 5 this week and if it all works out, I will change next week to a 4:30 quitting time. I like the idea of getting home earlier. And since I'm an early riser anyway, the getting up and moving shouldn't be TOO bad. At least I hope not!

So, wish me luck on getting out the door earlier than normal!!!!!! As I type this, all I have to do to get out the door in 55 minutes, is throw my clothes on (which are already laid out) and rinse my coffee cup. I should be able to do that, right?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chocolate and Pups......[And The (Budget) Hits Keep Coming...... ]

A few weeks ago, when we lost Thing 1, my sweet friend RunnerGirl brought over the ultimate comfort care package: a couple bottles of wine and a huge bag of Dark Chocolate M&Ms. Since I've been doing the low carb thing, I haven't eaten many of the M&Ms, even though I adore dark chocolate. Just a few small handfuls here and there.

Knowing the risks of chocolate and dogs, I kept them well out of Thing 2's reach..... or so I thought. When I got home from work yesterday, I started on about my business..... and then noticed that an empty bag of Dark Chocolate M&Ms was on the floor of the den. Well, I knew who had gotten into them.... because the Princess doesn't like dark chocolate at ALL. Crap.

I got out the peroxide and forced it down her throat to induce vomiting, but honestly I had no idea if that would help since I had no clue what time she'd ingested it. I stayed outside with her, but noticed other tummy issues developing. So, I put a call in to the vet. It was after hours, so the answering service had the vet call me back. After we estimated that she had ingested probably a full pound of candy, give or take, the vet sent me to the after hours emergency clinic. Many tests ensued and poor Thing 2 was doing things that were going to induce dehydration quickly. Based on the tests, they concluded that she was not at risk for true chocolate toxicity, but she needed fluids and meds to control the tummy stuff.

They injected her with fluids under the skin --- she looked all lumpy. And they sent us home. $216 poorer. However, I'm good with that, as I could NOT have handled losing her right now. We tried sleeping on the porch to mitigate any overnight accidents (she has never slept outside as long as we've had her and I was not going to make her do that when she was sick), but she didn't like that and wanted to sleep on top of me with me petting her the whole time. At almost 70 pounds -- not a good idea.

So we moved back inside around midnight. Thankfully all went well. Sigh, that bonus I earned a few weeks ago is starting to go away fast. BUT I'm glad that I have the money in the bank to cover this and didn't spend it shopping mindlessly. Here's hoping for a smoother (and cheaper) week next week.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Cave.... I'm Beginning To See A Pattern Here....

For the past few years, my smart phone has been provided by my company. When they issued them to us, they were perfectly happy and even encouraged us to use them personally. Cool beans. I got very attached to my iphone.

Then out of the blue yesterday they announced that they had changed proxy servers and would be monitoring every single bit of internet activity. Including data usage on the smart phones. Ordinarily I wouldn't be concerned with this as I am not an abuser of privileges. However, the Big Brother aspect of it creeped me out. And it irritated me too --- they want me to have that work cell phone with me at all times, but want to monitor what I do with it when I'm not at work? If I was doing anything creepy it would be one thing, but keeping up with two cell phones is a pain in the butt so mostly I just carried the work one with me after hours and never caved to having a personal smart phone.

However, I still want my private life to be private. I don't want them viewing what I say to whom on my own time -- whether its the Princess texting about grades or whatever. So, on my lunch yesterday, I went to the Tmobile store to check out smart phones. I had some research in hand about the $400 - $600 phones, but once I talked to the clerk, I ended up going with one that was $240. It should fit my needs just fine --- once I get used to it. I must say I got way frustrated with it at first as it didn't "do" stuff the way the iPhone does. But honestly, I'm probably smart enough to figure out how to work another phone. And a savings of $160 - $360 makes that a LOT easier to do!

Plus, Tmobile now lets you add the payments for the phone to your cell phone bill, interest free. If you end service with them before you've paid for the phone, then you have to pay off the balance, but that's workable. Main thing is that I didn't raid my savings for it. And that makes me happy.  The additional $10 for phone payment and $10 for data plan doesn't make me so happy though. Time to start crunching numbers again.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Caved.....In a Really BIG Way

Back during the spring, we cut the cable. Went to internet only and rabbit ears to pick up local stations. The Princess makes good use of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. This has worked for us. I don't tend to watch  lot of TV anyway. Except during football season. College football season to be exact.

So, I made it through Thursday night when multiple game were playing. I was NOT happy about it though. Then I woke up Saturday morning and started scanning the listings to see what games were being played on the major networks. I wasn't happy with the offerings. Barely any SEC games. I already had plans with friends to go watch Alabama play, but typically I like to have games going on the tv all day when I clean and get other things done. This wasn't really an option. It wasn't even time for kick off of the first game of the day, and already I was jonesing about no Sports Center.... sigh....

The Princess woke up to get ready for work and was having the same feelings I was.... but she opted to put her money where her mouth was.... she asked if I'd call the cable company and see what the options were for getting ESPN, and she would pay half the increase if we decided it was affordable.

Since I was sorely feeling the lack of football too, I agreed. So, I made the call --- and found out that because I had been an internet only subscriber for a while, I could get the "new customer" pricing with no contract whatsoever. So if I got the "bundled" internet, phone and cable, I could get it for $96 plus tax --- I'm already paying $55 for just internet. If I went with just the internet and cable, it would be $110. More stuff for less money? Well, okay..... so the Princess and I talked about it, and agreed to go halfsies on the increase. There's no contract, so I can cancel at any time... which will likely be in January after the final whistle of the National Championship game.

So, yeah, I was weak. And I caved.... but it IS football season. And this IS the SEC. We all have our priorities... ha.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013



When we lost Thing 1, I elected to have a separate cremation for him. I knew I couldn't bury him in the backyard, and I didn't want to get back random ashes that weren't my pup, so I didn't want him cremated in group. I had planned for that expense, although I wasn't exactly sure how to pull it off.

My family has used the same vet clinic since I was 2. The older vet retired and his son has run the clinic for as long as I've had a pup as an adult. One of the benefits in using the same vet practice for 40+ years is that they know you. I have an account. I can get billed instead of paying at the time services are rendered. I did that when Thing 2 hurt her paw a couple of weeks ago -- I had just paid tuition and cash was slim til payday, they said they'd send me statement. The day we lost Thing 1, no money changed hands. I just assumed I'd be billed and they never asked for any. Just let us grieve.

So yesterday, I went in to pick up Thing 1's ashes. The very awesome office girl went and got the pretty little box and brought it to me. We both had a little cry over it. So small. And the box was so pretty. Very simple wooden box with flowers carved into the top. I asked her my balance, and she looked it up. My balance was $64. The amount of Thing 2's previous visit. I looked very puzzled, I'm sure.

She then told me that someone had paid for Thing 1's expenses. What? Who? And whoever had paid had asked to remain anonymous. They had just been very touched. I am just stunned and astounded by people's generosity and compassion. I just wish I knew who it was. I'd like to thank them in person. I am truly overwhelmed.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Getting My Financial House in Order

I've been home sick the last few days..... I hate taking sick days because it means I get WAY behind at work -- plus I'm not getting anything done at home, either.

I did get a few things accomplished -- some shutterfly gifts organized and ordered, tried out the Viggle app to see if I can earn some gift cards to help with Christmas and worked on getting more return out of the money I do have. Last year, I transferred $1000 of my savings to a variable rate CD, to which I added $150/month. I felt fairly safe doing that as I had other savings sitting there, plus the penalty for early withdrawal was 3 months interest, and even with that, it was still earning more than my savings account! During its span, the CD earned a whopping $8.66 in interest. (woo.hoo.)

So, the CD came to maturity. At maturity, I had 10 days to withdraw, make changes, or just leave it alone and let it ride. Since this 10 days fell during my sick time, I decided to focus and make some changes. As it stood, I had $2800+ in the CD at maturity. The fixed rate CDs were performing a lot higher than the variable rate, so I moved $1800 to a one year fixed rate. I kept $1000 in the variable rate and will continue to add $150/mo to it.

I considered moving some to "better" investments -- but since this is my "able to sleep at night" money, I just didn't want the volatility of the stock market. II won't get rich off the CDs, but they are earning a bit more than just sitting there in a savings account, and I like the mental blockade of not being able to get to it quite as easily. Maybe when I have real money saved instead of barely 2 months living expenses, I'll go for a bit of higher risk and higher yield. Here's hoping I get there.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Working On The Christmas Shopping... A Bit at a Time

So, the Princess's birthday is past, tuition has been paid, time to start working on a Christmas plan that won't break the budget. I've started picking up a few things as I see them -- if they are on a really good deal!

Last year, I picked up a few things thanks to free codes on Shutterfly. Those gifts were a huge success! So, I've started keeping my eyes peeled for more free codes. This past week and a half, I Shutterfly has NOT disappointed!

First off, I found a free code for a photobook --- that one was used for a sweet album of my pups, it will be nice to have those sweet pics in one place as we continue to mourn our beloved Thing 1. Next up, I got a free code for a free photo magnet via Kellogg's Rewards ---- that was used for a magnet of Thing 1 for the Princess's stocking. Next up, Facebook code for a free photo wall calendar. I'm not huge on wall calendars, but thought it would be a great present for the Princess's grandparents (on her Dad's side). So, I mined through pics of the Princess and her brothers (she has two from her Dad's second marriage) and compiled a pretty great calendar.

I'm happy with my progress so far. Slow and steady wins the race!

So tell me, do YOU Shutterfly?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back To School Time

Classes for the Princess start back today. Its kind of been a strange back to school time this year. She registered for classes a couple weeks ago and we paid tuition. For back to school last year we were scrambling to get all of the stuff she "needed" for dorm living. That wasn't the case this year. The binders she used last semester are still usable. We have plenty of paper. So, we got her a planner, and some new pens and highlighters.... and so far that's it. We still have to order books, but can't do that until we get the class syllabus.

So no back to school scramble this year. Just an adjustment in wakeup times and such. That's it. Doesn't really feel like back to school yet.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Getting Some Shopping Done

I did some grocery shopping earlier this week, but never got it posted because of losing Thing 1, so I'm finally able to get a few thoughts back together. It was a good shopping trip. Thanks to a $10 off $50 purchase coupon, my canned dog food was free. Since Thing 2 doesn't need canned food, I should probably take it back, but I'm just not at that point. Anyway, here is what I picked up:

10 Cans Publix Dog Food
2 Quilted Northern 6 Packs
1 Rachel Ray Nutrish Dog Food (14lb)
2 Palermo's Frozen Pizza
2 Bertolli's Pasta Sauces
1 Celentano Ravioli
1 Sharpie Highlighter
2 Venus Disposable Razor Packs
1 Barilla Whole Grain Pasta
1 Simply Potatoes
3 Mento's Gum
1 Fresh Express Salad Blend

Spent $47.31
Saved $49.82 or 52%

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And Then There Were Three

One Last Morning In The Sun

Thing 1 left us yesterday morning.After I posted yesterday morning, he hopped up off of the loveseat on the porch where he had been sitting beside me and made his way down the steps to the yard. He found himself a sunny spot and sat there for a few, I guess just taking in his domain and enjoying the sunshine and his place one more time. I went and sat on the steps and watched him. He seemed so at peace. When he was ready, I carried him back up the stairs and we hung out a bit more,  Thing 2 coming by numerous times to love on him, but then giving us time alone too.

 The Princess got back from Atlanta, and spent some time with him, just the two of them. Even managed to find his "spot" one last time. We talked to him about what a good boy he was, and how much we loved him. And even though we wished he could stay with us always, we knew he was ready to rest. We called my friend, RunnerGirl, to come pick us up to go the vet (knew there was NO way I should be driving after all was said and done). As we left, Thing 2 nosed him to say goodbye, and as we walked up to the door, she stood in the front window and howled. I don't know how she knew, but she knew...

We got to the vet, and the receptionist started immediately filling out our info (we tend to be frequent visitors there) --- and then asked us what he needed today. I told her simply "It is time." She teared up, but got herself together quickly and took us back to one of the very familiar exam rooms. Brought in a blanket fresh from the dryer so he didn't have to be on that cold steel table. The vet came in and told us what to expect. They would take him back for just a few minutes and start the IV, which was nothing but an overdose of anesthetic and he would feel no pain and no fear. Once they started him, they would bring him back to us and we could stay with him as long as we needed. So we said our goodbyes while he was still able to understand us, and told him how very much he was loved. How full he made our lives. How there would never be another dog like him. And they took him away. The Princess and I clung to each other and just sobbed.

Almost immediately they brought him back to us. The vet told us that he was going on his own and she knew he'd want to be with us. So, with us stroking him, and petting him and loving him, saying over and over how very much he was loved, he slipped away, quietly and peacefully. We each gave him one last ear scratch and belly rub, and looked one last time into those beautiful soulful eyes, where the light had at last gone out. He was gone.

We left him in the vet's care and went home where we spent most of the day crying off and on or sleeping, or looking at pictures or swapping memories and giving a very sad Thing 2 plenty of comfort and drawing it from her.

 Rest in peace, my sweet Fluffypup, I'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge.

Monday, August 12, 2013

It Is Time

It is time. Thing 1 let me know this morning that he is ready to head to the Rainbow Bridge. The Princess is on her way home from Atlanta and we will take him in when she gets here. I have prayed for the wisdom to know when it is time. Now I just pray for the strength to do what I can to make his transition peaceful and loving. Farewell, sweet boy. It has been a wonderful 13 years with you at our side.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

This Was The Week That Would Not End

So, the week started out well enough..... I had my annual performance review and received and excellent evaluation, plus a $1500 bonus ($1200+ after taxes). When a week starts like that, it is going to be a good one right?

Not so fast there! The long awaited contract announcements came out. And it was worse than we expected. While we retained the contract the most affects me, we lost some other key ones. And the ones we picked up don't make up the difference in lost revenue. This likely means an even larger shrinkage in the work force. While theoretically I should be fine, there is also the chance that I won't be.... there are four people "ahead" of me whose departments will have to be reduced. These employees have been with the company for probably 10 years or more each. The decision could very well be to retain a some of them but backslide them into my position and hand me the pink slip. I just don't know at this point.

That worry has been on my mind all week. It made the week seem unending. So much so that I woke up Thursday thinking it was Friday! Talk about a letdown!!!!

And, that $1200 after taxes bonus? Yeah, its getting banked --- I still have looming vet bills for Thing 1 to come and at some point I need to have my car window fixed --- but for now the window is not going to take priority.

That's been my week around here -- sorry I've been absent -- I've had a lot of processing that needed to happen!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Waiting Waiting Waiting

Does the waiting game get to you sometimes? Last Thursday we were supposed to finally find out whether or not we got our "permanent" contracts back at work. We have been on temporary interim contracts for two years now. As part of the interim contracts, my "normal" job was put on hold. When it became obvious that this interim period was going to stretch longer.... I was temporarily reassigned to another deparment. That was almost 18 months ago. It was hard, but I accepted that reassignment with mostly a smile (after a crying jag and bottle of wine at home -- ha!) and have been doing it with a good attitude ever since. Nevertheless, I want to get back to doing what I was hired to do.... because I really love my normal job.

So, last week we waited on pins and needles. Many of us trying to get through the week without dissolving into a bundle of nerves. And then on Wednesday, we found out that the much anticipated announcement was being postponed - AGAIN -- until Tuesday. Sigh.

It seems we sometimes spend a lot of our lives waiting.... waiting for the weekend, waiting for announcements, waiting for vacation, waiting for temps to cool off or warm up. Waiting for stuff to get back to normal. Waiting for one day. Maybe we need to enjoy the day. Today. We only have so many todays and then its all done. We need to try and enjoy the moment and whatever it brings.

But for now, I probably need more coffee as I'm not sure any of this rambling made sense!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

And What A Weekend It Was!

My 25 Year Class Reunion was last weekend. I had such a fabulous time! A lot of the people there, I've been able to catch up with on facebook and subsequent girls nights out (and girls and guys nights out, too!). It was so fun though to have so many people that at one time meant a great deal to me in one place! I loved laughing at the old jokes and old memories. And made some new ones too!

The weekend didn't end up being the budget buster I was expecting --- splitting food, sharing rides and such helped out a great deal. Even if it had though -- -it would have been worth it!

The picture above was taken at LightRails -- its a very recent art light installation in a 1931 underpass connecting two areas of Birmingham that are both going through an Urban Revitalization. It was right around the corner from where we were, so a stop off at it was a MUST. I borrowed the hula hoop from the very young couple behind me --- who I'm sure were thinking we were terribly ancient to be out there posing for pics and borrowing hula hoops from random strangers!

Oh, and apparently I am now TERRIBLE at the Hula Hoop! Its okay though, it was fun to make an idiot of myself!

Friday, July 26, 2013

It Has Been 25 Years....

I graduated from high school in 1988..... it really does not seem like that long. This weekend we have our 25 Year Class Reunion. This one won't be as big or as formal as our 20th was, or our 30th will be. We are holding rather informal events this year, Friday and Saturday nights. I'm really looking forward to it. As a result of the 20th reunion, and facebook, I've rekindled some old friendships and made some new ones with people I wasn't particularly friendly with back in the day. I'm glad I am now.

Some of the people I've become friends with live in town, and some out of town, and in the past few years we've gone through a lot together --- graduations, divorces, debt journeys, job losses, moves, even a few grandchildren have been added to the mix (but I still consider myself too young to be a grandparent -- even if some of my friends are -- ha!). Several of those that live out of town are making the journey "home" for it. I can't wait to see them!

I'll have to be careful this weekend as all events will involve places where spending can get out of control. No sense in going crazy and putting too much additional strain on the budget. Still, I'm excited about the weekend --- looks to be a fun one! Any good plans for your weekend?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Have to Wonder....

Last night, right before I went to bed I heard the sad news of the death of a former school mate. This particular guy had been two years ahead of me in school, but was one of those people everybody knew. Outgoing, athletic, popular back in the day. Swiftly following the news of his passing, came the cause, suicide. Sadly, this is not the first suicide out of this particular group of guys I went to school with. Another one did the same thing about a year ago.

I just can't quite wrap my head around it. It makes me sad. I won't say that I was every extremely close to him, but we were friendly and I always enjoyed being around him back then. He was so damn funny! Just one of those people that seemed to have no pretensions whatsoever. I'd seen him many times during the past 25 years as his sister was a neighbor of mine and we each had a child at the same school. I always enjoyed seeing him and doing the catch-up thing.

It occurred to me this morning that we are now at midlife I suppose. Maybe sometimes things just get overwhelming and there seems like no way out and people just can't deal with their lives not being the way they pictured. I don't know, I'm just speculating. Or thinking out loud. But as I watched the outpouring of grief and sorrow on facebook from the people he knew, silly memories, fun memories, poignant ones, I had to wonder if someone would do this if they realized just how much people cared. How very heartsick the loss of this funny outgoing man makes others. I have to wonder if something might have changed, if only he knew.

So, I'm going to promise myself to be sure I tell people when they pop in my head unexpectedly and the memory makes me smile. I want people to know that they matter to me. I'm going to do a better job of that going forward.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Well, Hello There Murphy!

As many of you know, my car is 13 years old. It's a 2000 RAV4, and beyond the scheduled maintenance stuff (oil changes, brakes, alternator, batteries) it has been relatively trouble free. The only really big issue I had with it was when a tree fell on it..... and I can't really blame the car for that!But it is 13 --- and as such, problems are bound to start happening. And they have.

Yesterday, when I pulled up to the house, I went to raise the drivers side window. Nothing. Nada. It didn't budge more than a couple centimeters and then stopped. Completely. It wouldn't go. Crap. More rain was coming. I don't even have a driveway, much less a garage to park the in. I tried it again. Another centimeter at most. So, instead of getting out of the car, I put it back in gear, and headed straight to my mechanic. His immediate reaction was "Damn. This isn't going to be cheap." I asked how much and he said that it would run about $250, as the motor is likely shot and the door would have to be opened up so I might want to think about it. But in the meantime, we'd at least get the window up so it wouldn't rain into the car or tempt someone to helping themselves to my stereo. So, after letting the motor reset several times and him guiding it up, we got the window up and secure. He then put a big piece of black duct tape (or whatever kind of tape mechanics use) over the controls so I wouldn't accidentally roll it back down.

Now, I'm certain that most people can live without their windows working. I am not one of those people. For around town driving, I generally have my windows down, even in the summer with the AC blasting. To and from work, the windows down, AC going and music blaring is a good psychological transition for me from home to work and vice versa.

I am not happy about this latest development. Not at all. So, coming off a month that featured paying off my debt, the Princess's birthday, increased vet costs...... now I need to get a repair done. Joy joy joy. The only silver lining I see to this is that it will keep me out of drive through lanes!

Hello Murphy..... would love to see you go back right now to wherever it is you came from. Ugh.

Monday, July 22, 2013

She's A Huntress

Thing 2 is a Weimaraner. Weims were originally bred to be hunting dogs. While Thing 2 has never had any formal training, I've seen this aspect of her many times. She stalks squirrels and birds, snakes and lizards, bumblebees and mice. On our walks she crouches down when she sees a cat to assess the situation.... then tries to go after it. I have to pay special attention and hold the leash securely on every walk as she see those as an opportunity to go after critters. Fortunately, she has never caught one.... until now.

Last night, between rainstorms, I let Thing 1 and Thing 2 out to do their business. Thing 1 did his thing and came right back up the stairs. Thing 2, however, got interested in something along the fence. I know that means there's likely a critter, so I started calling to her. She started in my direction, but then abruptly turned back an jumped into the rosemary bush in the corner. I called her again and she came running. But she had something in her mouth. YIKES! I yelled at her to drop it, and she obliged... right at the base of the stairs. There was enough light for me to see what it was. A POSSUM. An honest to goodness baby possum. I squealed again. And she just looks at me with her tail wagging... and the possum skitters under the stairs.

My neighbor poked his head out of his kitchen window to see if everything was okay because he heard my squeals. Everything was okay now, except the possum was between me and Thing 2, and I didn't want her to go after it again and get bit, nor did I want to get bit! So he called her over to the fence, giving me a chance to go down the other set of stairs to direct her up those. I got her inside and checked for bites and blood --- of which there were none.

I went back outside a bit later with a flashlight to see if it was still under the stairs, but I couldn't find any sign of it. Thing 2 is up to date on her shots, so I'm not overly concerned, but I will give the vet a call this morning just to be on the safe side.

So, that was my Sunday night adventure! How was YOUR weekend?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Princess!!!!!

Today the Princess turns 19. In Alabama, that means she is legally an adult. She can now sign her own contracts and stuff like that. Of course she doesn't have any contracts to sign. The main thing we had to do was close out her minor savings account at one bank and put that money into her savings account at another bank (her minor account was going to change over to a regular account with a fee if we didn't).

 Our festivities will be pretty low-key. Last night she had a group of friends over to hang out. I was going to pick up a cake for her, she had mentioned wanting a cookie cake, but at $33 from the Great American Cookie Company, that was just not going to happen!

However, I went by Sam's on my lunch break. I was going to pick up a small cake because I just did not have time to make one myself. And there in the bakery section, was a double decker cookie cake for $16.48! I looked at the other cakes and they were about $15, so for about $1.50 more, I could get her exactly what she wanted --- and a double decker to boot --- for about half the price of the Cookie Company single layer. So, obviously I got her exactly what she wanted -- and she was tickled pink!

Today will consist of getting our hair done, followed by a trip to the movies to see Monsters University (we are both Disney hounds), and then going out to dinner at a yet to be decided Italian restaurant. Her favorite Italian place closed down last year, so we aren't sure yet. The dinner and movie order may be switched depending on how long the hair takes, how hungry we are and showtimes.

So, that's our day ---- although I get to start it off with cutting the grass before the temp reaches the 8th level of Hades.

Y'all have a fabulous day!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Guess What?!?!!?!? I'm Debt Free!!!!!

This week, I paid of the remaining $1600 and change to my last credit card. It is done. Finished. Finito. The End. I am completely out of debt. I am so excited about this! After years of struggling and not being sure I could get it done -- and missing my original payoff goal of April 2012, it is finally done. I paid my standard $500 per month, then used most of my regular savings account balance to wipe the rest out.

It kind of feels weird... as in what do I do now? One of my friends told me that I should do something big and fun to celebrate! That sounds great, but blowing a ton of money just seems wrong. I thought about it long and hard, and I think my celebration will be to get my and the Princess's hair professionally cut and colored and our eyebrows done. This may seem silly, buts its been years and years since I had my hair totally professionally done. My haircuts have consisted of quick trips into Super Cuts and my grays have been covered by at home kits. Given that I have a 25 year class reunion coming up.... well, vanity thy name is Sass! It also rewards the Princess --- as she has been on board with the getting out of debt thing. I think it is probably a LOT easier to get out of debt when all household members are on board.

And don't worry, while a "pro" will be doing my hair, I won't be paying Salon prices for it. A friend of mine does hair, and she's REALLY good at what she does, and she's offered to come to the house at a discounted rate to do it. Hooray for frugal indulgences!!!!

So, the next step is where to go from here. While it would be GREAT to be able to adjust my standard of living a bit, its just not possible. My car is 13 years old --- and while it is doing great right now, I know its just a matter of time before it is not so great. Then there is the Princess's college -- that is going to take some serious bites out of my bank balances. And then maybe one day, a home I actually own. All of these things combined mean that $500/month I was paying towards credit card debt needs to get banked. So no lifestyle inflation for me. Darn it.

Putting that $500/month into savings will help me restore my savings levels in just about 2 months. So, here I go.... debt free, but not out of the woods yet! Wish me luck!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Quick Trip

Due to being sick earlier this week, I kept the grocery shopping to the minimum. Canned dog food (that was needed) and just a few deals. Still, I managed to save quite a bit thanks to the addition of just a few coupons in addition to the sale prices. I've been going with the Publix canned food because reading the labels, they actually have meat as the first ingredient, and surprisingly, most brands do not. So, here is what I picked up:

6 Cans Publix Dog Food
1 Publix Salad Dressing (Penny Item!)
4 Crystal Light
1 Hormel Mashed Potatoes -- not a great deal, but hey, I can cheat a bit when I don't feel good!

Spent: $14.88
Saved: $12.49 or 46%

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Feeling Like Crap

I feel awful. I truly do. I've had a sore throat off and on for a week, but yesterday I started getting more symptoms. I'll spare you the "ick" of that, but I'm going to the doctor today. I made the appointment late yesterday afternoon because I could tell that I wasn't going to just "get over it". And I was right.

I've already notified my supervisor that I won't be in today. I feel terrible about that since I just took a vacation day last Friday to have a four day weekend. Oh well, I bet they don't want my ick around there.

Staying home for me is always hard. Staying home sick I mean --- I always see the hundreds of things I need to do and usually I do some of them. I'm going to try not to do that today. Try being the operative word. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A New Bed For Thing 1

I noticed yesterday that Thing 1 wanted to be wherever his people were. Problem is, he's gotten to where he can't jump up on the couch or the chairs to make himself comfy. I'd noticed this over the past few weeks, but hadn't done anything about it. Now, with only however long remaining, I want him to be comfortable wherever he is, but I also don't want to drag his bed from room to room to room to room. That's just not practical.

So, I thought I'd get him a couple of additional beds to have in various rooms in the house so that he can be comforable wherever he is. I looked at a couple stores and online. At a minimum price of $20 each, those were going to get costly quick! So I nixed that idea. Instead, I dug out some old pillows that for some reason I hadn't thrown out yet. And then I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up some fleece. A few snips, and some knots tied... and voila! A new bed for Thing 1.

I've only done one so far, but will finish up the others tomorrow. So for less than the cost of ONE brand new pup bed, I'll have four. Now, if only HE would be suitably impressed. So far, he's like "Meh." -- contrary mutt!

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Heart Hurts

This morning I posted that I was bracing for a big vet bill --- It didn't end up being as much as I thought. Only $183. While that was a relief, the rest of the visit wasn't.....

I was worried that something was bad wrong with Thing 1, I thought I was prepared for it. After all, he IS 13 years old. He's no longer a young pup. Turns out, I was right about something being wrong. And I was totally wrong about being prepared for it.

Thing 1 has lymphoma. And there's no real course of treatment for him. I could spend thousands of dollars and it MIGHT buy him a few additional months. But there's no guarantee of that. And there's no guarantee he would have a decent quality of life if he were to have those extra months. The best we can hope for it to have a few months with him relatively pain free and happy.

I brought him home and told the Princess after she woke up. We both cried and held him close. And loved on him. And made him pizza for lunch. At this point, I don't think people food can hurt. (Don't worry, won't go overboard).

The vet gave me Prednisone to give him and told me to pick up some Pepcid because it can be harsh on his tummy. Other than that, we can just spoil him rotten. And pray. Pray for his comfort and happiness in these final months.  Pray for the wisdom and guidance to know when the right time is to make a very hard decision. Pray to know what's best for him, and not just what's best for us just because we're not ready to lose him yet.

Bracing for the Vet Bill

I hope you all had a fantastic 4th. Ours was pretty low key. The Princess worked most of the day. Then we went to the mall to check out a 75% clearance sale to see about filling in some of her wardrobe -- no luck there. Oh well. Afterwards, we went to the restaurant where she works to eat dinner. (I guess she couldn't get enough earlier in the day).

Actually though, they were set up a bit differently last night --- they had a band on the patio and were packed. It was quite cool to watch all of the wait staff make a point to come up and talk to us and to meet "Mom". Everyone said such nice things about her and the manager sent us cheese dip and guacamole free. It was a really nice time. I over-tipped our waiter, but he was really fantastic and apparently one of the Princess's favorite co-workers.

We came home and after chilling out a bit, walked outside to watch the fireworks. We are very close to where they shoot them off --- but trees tend to block them some. Not sure if the trees grew a lot in the last year or if they were shooting them lower because of all the rain, but our view wasn't fabulous. However it was nice to see some of them and then just walk back in the house to call it a night. No fighting traffic!

Anyway..... I am taking a vaycay day today. I had planned to sleep in, but Thing 1 is worrying me. His appetite is still way down. Even with the wet food -- which he will at least eat. He's gotten pretty skinny everywhere except his belly. That seems to pooch a lot. More than usual. So, I'm going to take him in and see what's going on. He's an old pup, so I know his health is likely waning, but I'm really not quite ready to let him go. I know today will probably involve a lot of tests. Sigh. I hope I will still be able to stay on track for paying everything off, but gotta take care of my pup.

I will say that I am a tad embarrassed to take him in there so filthy. We've had a LOT of rain the past few days. That means his normally white fur is more brown than white from going outside. Oh well, I'm sure this isn't the first pup they've seen after several days of rain!

How about y'all? Anyone else taking a day off today?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Quiet Saturday Evening.....

Not much going on around here. I'm sitting on the screened porch, listening to the neighborhood kids play in their inflatable pool. Thing 2 is curled up beside me. Thing 1 is laying on my feet. Not much going on around here.... except.....

A very industrious spider is building a web right outside the screened door. It is pretty fascinating to watch. Also very peaceful. Sadly, I know that one way or another this web is doomed....

Now there's just one question facing me.... do I interrupt the spiders labors now? Or do I wait until I walk straight through it, bleary eyed and in desperate need of coffee when I let the pups out in the morning? Decisions, decisions!!!!!

Another Quick Couponing Trip

I had a bit of time to kill yesterday between work and heading to a friend's house to drop some stuff off. I decided to make good use of that time by doing another quick couponing trip to Publix with some coupons I had come across since Wednesday's trip. It is a bit nerve wracking to me that those items alone, without sales and coupons would have been over $28! Without the coupons, that still would have been over $20! Obviously, this was strictly a "deals" trip, but here is what I picked up:

1 Digiorno Pizza
2 Snausages Dog Treats
1 Pretzel Crisps
2 Wholly Guacamole
1 Nature Valley Protein Bars

Spent: $8.54
Saved: $20.17 or 70%!

Spent: $

Friday, June 28, 2013

Finally Did Some Coupon Shopping!

It has been weeks and weeks since I got around to doing any coupon shopping. Haven't had time, haven't been organized enough, etc., etc. Mostly I've just kept my grocery bill low by hitting up Aldi for our grocery needs. This week however, I had a smidge more time and was ready to give it a bit of a whirl. I'm glad I did.... as my savings percentage was more than 50% even though I didn't have a TON of coupons.

One thing to remember when shopping at Publix is the Publix Promise. If an item scans wrong, you get your full purchase price back, and you take home the item. Such was the case with the Rondele Cheese. The Princess and I both love this stuff, but at a price of $4.69 a container, it is something that I only buy when it is BOGO or I have a really good coupon. This was actually one of their undavertised BOGOs this week, but when I scanned my receipt before I left, I realized that it had rung up at the full price. I went to customer service, and asked about it, noting that I may have misread the sign and if so, wanted to return the item. Easy peasy, they checked the price, and refunded me the $5.11 (including tax) for the item. So, ALWAYS check your receipts!

So, this is what I picked up this week:

1 Planters Roasted Peanuts
2 Kraft Shredded Cheddar
1 Rondele Garlic & Herb Cheese
1 4 Pack Green Giant Green Beans
2 Nature Valley Protein Bars
1 Athenos Feta
1 Snausages Dog Treat
1 Ronzoni Pasta (Penny Item)
1 Mrs. Pauls Fish
2 Oscar Mayer Family Sized Lunch Meat
2 Home Run Pizzas
1 Bagged Hearts of Romaine
2 Avocados

Spent: $ 34.33
Saved: $ 44.05 or 56%

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Looks Like I'm Going to Be Caving

It is hot out. And I'm sick of the heat. And its June. That means there is still July, August and September to go before it even thinks about getting cooler outside. The house I live in was built in 1957 and has the original single paned casement windows. And almost non-existent insulation. And no shade. And a really old central air unit.

That means that during the days, just to maintain an internal temp of 81 that AC is working hard. And my power bills reflect it. We use ceiling fans and that helps a bit. I also use a hand me down box fan in the living room/den area. That makes it a lot more bearable -- like feels 5 degrees cooler bearable. But moving that fan from room to room is a real pain especially on the weekends when I'm not just hanging out in the den.

So, due to a surprise late birthday gift of $50 in cash, I'm hitting Lowe's this afternoon and picking up two more box fans. I reasearched the prices on line, and Lowe's actually carries the same fan as WalMart and Target, but about $8 less. Plus I have a $10 off $50 coupon. So with that $50, I should be able to lower my power bills, stay comfortable, and also pick up a few other items for some household projects that need doing.

So, instead of not buying new for the rest of the summer as far as stuff goes, I'm buying two box fans and some other miscellaneous project stuff. And yes, I considered buying used, but holding out to stumble across what I need just isn't an option -- I'm tired of sweating inside my house! The bright side is, at least this stuff will be useful -- opposed to more crap just taking up space.

Still bugs me that I'm caving on my promise so soon, but oh well!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Thing 1 Is Suddenly Picky

My pups have never been picky eaters. They will eat ANYTHING. If it hits the floor, Thing 1 has lightning reflexes and gobbles it up immediately. Thing 2 will attack anything left on the counter, or in a shopping bag, or pretty much anywhere she can reach. They've always eaten whatever I put in their bowls with no problems.

However, the last few days, Thing 1 (who is 13 years old), has not eaten the food that has been put in front of him. A couple days he flat out refused it. Just stared at the bowl for a while and then walked away. Yesterday, he ate a couple bites and then walked away from it. Given his age, I was definitely concerned. So, I had the Princess pick up a couple cans of wet food yesterday while she was out and about. Both pups LOVE the "treat" of wet food. And I know very well that if I give some to Thing 1, Thing 2 is going to get huffy if she doesn't get that treat too (this could get expensive).

Anyway, this morning I put some wet food in each of their bowls --- underneath the dry. Thing 2 hoovered it all up like it was her last meal EVER. Thing 1 -- well that little rascal nosed the dry food aside, ate all of the wet and left every single piece of dry food for Thing 2 to eat for dessert. Ugh. Looks like someone will be getting wet food going forward. Age has its privileges I suppose.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Time Clocks..... Geez.

Our company has decided to start making employees clock in and clock out every day using their computers. This is almost a completely foreign concept to me as I have not had to clock in using a time clock since I worked in a shoe store in college. That was 21 years ago.

Previously, we just used paper time sheets. But of course someone had to screw that up. A girl in my currently "temporary" department was notoriously and quite obviously fudging her time sheets. And got caught several times. However, management opted to not discipline her, but instead instituted a new policy. It is irritating as hell.

I'm not worried about the time management issue. I work my hours and I'm a salaried employee. However, it just adds another level of stress. OMG! What happens if I'm one minute late clocking in from lunch? Since we can only clock in on the office computers..... what about those of us who travel? What is that protocol? For those of us that are salaried, how do we handle paid time off during the day for doctors appointments? What if the internet is down? Those questions have been asked, but none have been addressed so far.

And then there's the insult factor --- after almost five years, I feel like I'm not trusted anymore. I'm trusted with rental cars and credit cards, but not actually to be present and working? I'll get over it as I get into the routine, but goodness, I hate policy changes directed at ONE or TWO people that affect everyone else. Deal with the bad apples and let the rest of the bunch do what they normally do. I'm not the only one that's unhappy about the changes. After almost two years of being in limbo and weird jobs piled on everyone that was affected by the state of limbo, morale is low as it is. This just doesn't help.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Almost Caved

I went to Target today --- mainly for toilet paper. Being behind on my couponing and not having set foot in Publix in close to a month.... well, the stockpile was down WAY low. I was frustrated because nothing seemed on a decent sale on any brand in any of today's flyers. I got lucky though! They had a twelve pack clearanced priced (why they "clearance" TP is beyond me, but hey, it works for me!).

Anyway, I passed by the baby section with the adorable little outfits with CLEARANCE above them. (I have a niece due in September who will be living in south Florida, so the baby department is fraught with danger right now!). I oohed and aahed a bit, but put nothing in my cart.

Then I passed by the throw rugs. I still need a throw rug for the Princess's room. And they were on SALE! I found one I really really really liked. Loved in fact. Would look perfect. Thick, luxurious pile. It would look FABULOUS. And then I looked at that thick, luxurious pile again. And thought. And then I realized that Thing 2 sheds enough hair in a week to make a whole other dog --- that thick pile would be matted and nasty in no time. So the rug stayed on the display.

Think that's the first time ever that pup has SAVED me money! She got an extra belly rub when I got home as thanks!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A New Goal For Getting Us There.....

Actually more of a mini-goal I guess. During all of the redo of the Princess's room, it took forever to get all of her "stuff" back in her room and situated and organized again so that everything had a place. As we worked on it, I realized how much just pure crap we have. Just stuff. Not even good stuff. Stuff to replace stuff we've misplaced. Stuff that we don't even know what it goes to. Just tons and tons of stuff.

During this time, I've also been looking around my house. I've got a bunch of stuff too. Way more than I possibly need or have space for. Probably one reason my house always seems to be a mess. Too much stuff plus too little space.

So I've set a goal for myself --- to severely limit my stuff purchases for the remainder of the summer. And if I DO need to purchase something, I want to purchase it second hand -- that should limit my options!!! I do not want to buy any new stuff! This has two benefits --- 1. Environmentally responsible to look for second hand instead of newly manufactured. 2.Keep the spending down to get  out of debt faster and kick up the savings once I'm there!

Also, I want to streamline and get rid of stuff. Time to start tossing out stuff with reckless abandon! I mean seriously, I just do not need all of this crap around here! So streamline and sustain are my new bywords this summer. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Almost There

Back when I started this blog in 2011 I was over $11K in debt. That was a scary number. Over a fourth of my gross annual income. Since then, I'm down to 2.5K. I probably could have paid it down a bit faster --- my actual goal was to pay it off before the Princess graduated high school. That didn't happen. However, I'm in actual reach now of paying this stuff off --- not way out in the distant future..... but in July. As in NEXT MONTH.

It will take some tweaking and some sacrifice, and essentially wiping out my liquid emergency fund.... but it will be worth it. (So that y'all don't think that I'm totally crazy, I have other money placed in an account that's just not as easy to get to should Murphy come a calling). I also have tuition put aside for the fall so I'm not just completely wiping out any and all safety nets.

So, I'll put my general $500 in this month and next. Then I have another $236 to apply (state tax refund), and likely another $100 coming in from another source. That puts me at $1336 paid. I then also have $1300 sitting in that pseudo emergency fund. That's $1636 (which gives me wiggle room for interest charges in that time period). And voila! I'll be done. Finished.

The tempting thing to do would be give myself a little lifestyle inflation once I get to the zero debt point. Tempting, but that won't happen. It CAN'T happen. That money that I've been putting to debt repayment now has to be put to good use. Namely, savings. My car is 13 years old. While I'd love to get another five years out of it, chances are that isn't going to happen. I'd like to have cash to pay for a new to me car. And if not cash.... well then enough of a downpayment to make those monthly payments really small. Also, there is still the matter of tuition. I'd like for the Princess to finish college with as little debt as possible. So I need to boost savings for that too.

With lofty goals like that... lifestyle inflation is out of the question. Completely and totally. Now if I can just make myself stick to that plan.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Finally Made It To The Store

I finally managed to get some grocery shopping done yesterday. I apparently have given up on coupons for a bit. I just haven't had tie to mess with them. Fortunately, Aldi at least helps me keep my grocery bill manageable, even without coupons. So here is what I picked up:

2 Strawberry Packs
1 Value Pack Frozen Tilapia
2 Avocados
1 Blue Cheese
1 Turkey Lunch Meat
1 Fresh Spinach
1 1/2 Gallon Milk
2 Coffee Creamer
1 Egg Substitute
1 Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1 "Tastes Like Butter"
2 Dog Treats
2 Shredded Cheese
1 Veggie Chips
1 Bag Apples
1 Bag Whole Carrots
1 Deli Sliced Cheese
1 Paper Towels (I really hate buying these!)
1 Bag Sweet Potatoes
1 Pint Blueberries
1 Oat Bran Bread
1 Atualfo Mango (never heard of this kind of mango, and its kind of odd shaped, but figured for .69 I could give it a go!)
1 Vine Ripened Tomatoes Pack

Spent: $61.05