Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Princess Goes Grocery Shopping

This is what happened when I sent the Princess to do the grocery shopping while I was at work. She wasn't sure where to put all the fruit I had her pick up, so she left it in the bag on the floor of the kitchen (instead of picking up the phone and calling to ask. Thing 2 apparently thought my pineapple smelled really good. So she helped herself to a little snack. Sigh.

And the Princess didn't take a picture so the chewed up pineapple will have to do. This is what she picked up for me at Aldi (plus a couple things that weren't on my list):

2 Pineapples
1 Cantaloupe
1 Honeydew Melon
Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice (NOT on my list)
Light Sour Cream
Kiwi Fruit
Raspberry Lemonade (also NOT on my list)
Chicken Breasts

Spent: $20.09

(I think I am going to have to give a little reminder about sticking to the list -- AND putting all of the groceries up!)

Really Need To Grocery Shop

Its been over two weeks since I did a real grocery shopping. Granted, the Princess was gone for week of that time, and I was gone for three days, but the pickings are getting slim. Especially since the Princess has completely changed the way she wants to eat. She is making a concerted effort to stay away from wheat and corn products. That means no pasta, which tends to be a dietary staple around here.

We are still in the process of getting the house back in order from the bedroom re-do. Lots of regular chores like laundry, straightening up, grocery shopping etc, got pushed to the back burner. The house looks like crap. The pantry is bare, except for crap. I need to get caught up in a huge way!

I'm sending her to the store today. A simple shopping. At Aldi, with a list. I'm hoping she won't deviate too far from it. Maybe I'll get her to take a picture too! I'm just hoping this won't be too bad on the grocery budget. Turning a teen loose in a grocery store can be dangerous I think!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Before & After.... The Under $300 Makeover

When we moved into this house, the Princess was 12. She liked funky colors. Bright colors. Sparkle and Bling. She's 18 now, and her tastes have changed. So, we decided to update her decor and give her a whole new look.

This is her room before --- the pic was taken at night, so its kind of dark, but you get the idea....

While I wish I had an unlimited budget, I just don't so I had to figure out how to redo her room without killing my  bottom line. So, we started on Pinterest to get ideas for the look we wanted. We sent stuff back and forth to each other and finally decided on a color scheme and a general "feel".

Then we had to get to shopping..... back in December, while Christmas Shopping, I went into Z Gallerie and found THE PERFECT comforter and dust ruffle, etc. Only problem? The comforter itself was $350 --- never mind shams, dust ruffles etc. Sadly, I had to pass. A few days later I found a similar look comforter at Steinmart. Woo hoo! It was only $50 for Comforter, Dustruffle, Shams and Throw Pillows. Much more in my comfort zone. I picked it up and brought it home.

I found curtains at Kohl's that would work well (she insists on super dark curtains for sleeping -- and since it helps my power bill, I'm good with that)

Our "Plan" was to redo the room in January. But then my my Mom had her car accident and the plan got bumped back. Then I was going to take my birthday off and the day after and bump it up to the three day weekend --- but a work trip got thrown in there and the Princess had an opportunity for a vaycay... so I finally just bit the bullet and planned to do it over the span of two weekends.

I was able to ease up the pressure on the budget a bit by asking for Lowe's gift cards for my birthday (for the paint and related supplies). Yeah, that's totally NOT for me, but it made ME happy. I also was able to reuse all of her furniture, and repurpose some things from other areas of the house.

So, anyway, it broke down like this....

Comforter - $50
Curtains - $50
Organizational Items and Misc - $100
Paint and Supplies - $99.17 (had to paint some furniture too -- not just the walls)

After the gift card was applied, I actually only spent $200 to get from the Before to the After:

And now.... I'm worn slap out! Going to be an early bedtime for sure! (

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Beyond Busy.....

Wow! I've been super busy this past week. Last weekend was spent getting the Princess ready to go to Tampa to visit my brother and his wife for a week (she's traveling with my Mom). We also cleared everything out of her room to get it ready to paint. And I mean everything. My living room is completely filled with her furniture and all of her "stuff".

Then I had to get ready to go out of town for work. We aren't back to normal, but we did get an opportunity to go and do some of the work we normally do, and it was fantastic! Since the Princess was gone too, though, I had to board the pups. Two pups, both on meds.... well that was expensive!
I managed to reduce my travel costs some though. Our hotel serves dinner in the evenings --- nothing fancy, but good enough that you can eat for free and not incur that expense, as well as breakfast in the mornings. We got off of work kind of late on Thursday evening, but my boss picked up my tab since it was my birthday!

I'm back home now, and will spend today painting the Princess's room. Hopefully tomorrow getting her stuff moved back in. And Monday will likely be spent getting my house and yard in order. Right now though, the Princess is enjoying Disney World with her Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle and cousin... and I'm about to pick up a paintbrush. Something is wrong with this picture.....

Friday, May 17, 2013

Where Are My Painting Supplies?

The Princess is heading to Tampa with my Mom this weekend and will be gone a week. During that time, I'm planning to repaint her room --- we are changing it up to a more grown up scheme. Most of that can be handled with a new coat of paint. I've already purchased the bedding and curtains --- shopped around for good deals on exactly what we wanted over the past couple of months. Once I get the walls and ceiling painted -- all we really need is an area rug. And that's not necessarily a "must have".

Anyway, my Dad gave me a gift certificate to Lowe's for my upcoming birthday to cover my paint and supply costs. I was hoping to have enough room left on that to put towards a new weedeater as mine has now officially died.

I went down into the basement last night to gather up the supplies I'd need and to see what I would need to purchase. Unfortunately my paint rollers and trays are nowhere to be found. So dang frustrating. The last time I used them was when I repainted my bathroom about four years ago. I assumed I had put those things right back where they went, but I can't find them to save my life. I am so dang irritated.

I'm going to put in some calls to some friends today to see if they have some I can borrow. I'd like to skip that expense for now if I can. Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Its going to be a really long day. I tend to be an early to bed and early to rise type. I used to be a late to bed and early to rise type. I used to do just "fine" on 5 or 6 hours sleep. Since I've scrolled back to an earlier bedtime though, I'm generally getting 7-8 hours and it has made a big difference in my functionality.

I went to bed a bit later than normal last night though. So, I was only on track to MAYBE get 7 hours of sleep. Then as I was sinking into sleep, the Princess came in to tell me that her BFF was having boyfried problems and was coming by. Sigh.

Okay, fine... no problem. But by the time we finished talking.... I was awake. Wide awake. Not wanting to go back to sleep awake. Ugh. I think after all was said and done I managed about 5 hours sleep last night. And I have a meeting today. A two hour meeting. A two hour likelyveryboring meeting.

Sigh. Yawn. Need more coffee.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Little Old Man

Thing 1 is now 13 years old. Wow. 13. I got him as a 6th birthday present to The Princess. As an older gentleman, he is now starting to have some personality and health issues that he just didn't have as a pup. Personality wise, he's still a happy pup, loving his treats and trying to steal pizza off your plate. But he had completely run out of patience for things like getting his hair brushed and at home baths. Since he will not sit still for a real brushing anymore, I have to sometimes go and have him clipped all the way down. Personally I think he likes his hair shorter with no muss and no fuss.

Health wise, well, he's 91 in pup years. He's had some bladder issues, some skin issues, and after this latest grooming, we noticed some lumps on his neck Friday night. I took him back into the vet Saturday morning. So, several tests and exams and $173 later, we know that he now has hypothyroidism....which fortunately can be controlled with meds. And the meds weren't as pricey as I thought. $39 for six months supply. I can deal with that. We still don't know what the lumps are exactly. We are going to likely have to do a procedure to aspirate them and see what it really is. I'd like to know what we are dealing with in the long run.

I know at some point we will have to make the decision between quantity and quality of life for him. I don't think that time is now. And I hope that time is a long way off in the future. For now though, I think I'm going to have to do some budget adjustments to allow for more money in the pup care category. Time to get to crunching those numbers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Today was supposed to be a rainy day as in all day rainy but maybe clearing out in the afternoon. I had decided to forgo getting yard work done because it was supposed to be rainy. I ran some errands, piddled around the house a bit, then decided to get busy with laundry. It was bright and sunny so I figured all the rain had skipped over me. So, I put the laundry out to dry on the deck. About 15 minutes later, I looked up from cutting up a chicken ---- and it was raining. and apparently had been for several minutes --  everything was dripping -- not just out of the washer wet. I got super mad about this. I mean blowingitwayoutof proportion, stomping around, saying a few choice words, and thinking "WTH ELSE CAN GO WRONG?" (Fortunately The Princess was not around to hear my way over the top for the situation reaction).

When I cooled off a bit, I had to really analyze my actions and reactions. That was WAY overblown for the situation. Yeah, it was irritating, but generally the kind of thing I would just laugh off. WHY did I make such a big deal of it? And then I realized, it wasn't the rain on the laundry I was really mad at. I was mad at me. And situations. And the fact that my life is not currently going the way I want it to. Or the way I planned. Or any number of things. So that made me sit back and do some real thinking. Where was I? Where did I plan to be that I'm not? And I made a list in my head of the things that had somehow veered off path in the past couple of years. (If you don't want to listen to me whine and bitch ---- stop reading NOW)

When I started this blog, my goals were pretty simple, I wanted to get out of debt, get The Princess to college (and pay for it), and buy my own home. Fast forward 2.25 years and I'm not quite where I wanted to be.

I still currently have $3K in debt -- I'm working hard on it, and should hopefully kick it to the curb come August, but my plan was to have it GONE by the time the Princess graduated high school. Some of it couldn't be avoided (costly car repairs, unexpected vet bills, surgery, etc). But some of it was overspending at Christmas, overspending here, overspending there. Not being nearly as intense with keeping my eye on the prize as I should be.

I got the Princess to college. But half of the first semester was paid for with student loans. The other half wiped out half of what I DID have saved. And she hated it there. She moved home for the second semester, and is happier, but now we are down to about $2K in college savings with a long road to go.

Home Ownership? HA! I'm still renting from my Dad. Originally the plan was for him to sell the house after The Princess graduated from high school (we needed the school system). BUT (and it turns out this works in my favor), the market hasn't rebounded enough for him to get close to what he paid for out of the house, so he is content to let me continue to rent (he could get more from another tenant, but has no desire to be a landlord to anyone else). My emergency/homeownership fund has about $3K in it. Yes that could wipe out my debt, and I'll use half of it to do so in August, but that is also the "letmesleepatnight" money. Not touching it if I don't have to.

And then there's the personal life. I've got great friends -- and I love getting together with them. And for YEARS that's been enough. I've been divorced for 15 years and in the earlier years I dated quite a bit. But nothing and no one ever panned out. Some were pretty good guys, but just wrong time, wrong situation. Some were downright losers. And then you had the "set ups". Not sure, but I always seemed to get set up with guys who were nice, but their speech was horrendous. I'm talking nails on a chalkboard deep, country, bordering on redneck accents --- and couldn't speak a sentence with proper subject and verb agreements to save their lives! Sounds shallow doesn't it? Especially for someone who is far from perfect herself. BUT, when I had to repress the urge to correct every sentence... well, I knew that wasn't the person for me.

So, I abandoned the dating game. I figured, it will happen when it is meant to happen. Since then, I've been very content being alone. Not lonely, mind you, but alone. Single mom, great kid, great friends. Lately though, alone has been a lot more lonely. I'm not nearly as content with it as I was. That's a bit troubling to me. Loneliness is not an emotion I like.

And then there's the stuff I want to do, but don't have the money or time to get done. The furniture in my house. Every single piece of it is second hand. Some of it I LOVE. My great-uncle's roll top desk. The sideboard from my Mom. The tall skinny chest of drawers that was my grandfather's. All of that is wonderful. But the other pieces are showing their age and look downright shabby. I hate to enterain because everything looks like crap. And the sad thing is, I really LOVE to entertain -- but it's embarrassing. And quite honestly, no matter HOW MUCH I clean --- this house is so old I'm never going to get it clean enough to NOT be embarrassed unless I strip it back to the studs and start over. Paint, sheetrock, tile, caulk, floor, everything. Pretty much original to the house and it was built in 1957 -- which was NOT one of the great periods for architecture. Even my yard, which is generally my pride and joy, looks like crap right now. And to add insult to injury --- my freaking weedeater basically died yesterday. UGH.

Okay --- I think I'm finished whining now. That felt good. Got it all out. I'll be back soon with (hopefully) a lot more postive outlook on things. If you made it this far.... thanks for listening!

An Expensive Month

For the second year in a row, May is turning into a very expensive month. Last year, it was the Princess's graduation, graduation party and birthdays and Mother's Day. My bank account was screaming for mercy by Memorial Day.

This year, May looks to be just as expensive! My niece's graduation, my nephew's 21st birthday, my other niece's birthday, Mother's Day --- plus the fact that baby clothes are so dang cute (as we anxiously await my newest niece's arrival in September). Plus Thing 1 was way past due for a hair cut. I let them go all summer short on him. Fortunately he feels like he looks rather dapper!

It is only the 11th and my bank account is already going "OUCH!". And to compound matters, it looks like we are due for another wave of cold weather starting Monday as overnight temps dip back into the 40's. In Mid-May. In Alabama. Ridiculous.

I'm just hoping that June is a bit easier on us!

Friday, May 10, 2013

And A Final Stop

I made one last trip to Publix this week, just to take advantage of some of the deals. There are certain items that we just love, but I only treat us to them if I can pair up a sale and a coupon (Oreos and Fig Newtons, anyone?). Anyway, here is waht I picked up:

2 Coffee-Mate 16 oz. Creamers (yes, I still have issues)
1 Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing
2 Wholly Guacamole (Redeemed a rain-check from last week's sale)
1 8 O'Clock Coffee
1 Mrs. Pauls Fish Sticks
2 Skintimate Shave Gels
3 Voskos Greek Yogurt
1 4C Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Nabisco Fig Newtons
1 Publix Pretzels (Penny Item!)
1 Birthday Cake Oreos

Spent: $20.17
Saved $29.41 (or 59%)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Publix For Big Savings

I'm always intrigued by those people that can buy $200 worth of groceries for about $20 by using coupons and sales. That just doesn't work in my little world. I've realized that the deals out there aren't as slap yourself in the face good as they used to be, but there are still some deals to be had. I don't have the time to devote hours of my day to clipping and sorting coupons or scouring ads for the best deals ever. I tend to limit my grocery shopping to Aldi and Publix and a local Piggly Wiggly (if their ad is really good or I need something RIGHT NOW because they are on my way to and from work). I'll check out my Target's grocery department if I'm there anyway, but for the most part.... well, I'll spend maybe an hour per week working on my Publix couponing --- and that's plenty. I don't believe in having a couple years supply of anything stashed in my house. Anyway, here is what I picked up the other day....

2 Sea Pak Shrimp
1 Digiorno Frozen Pizza
2 Stouffers Family Size Entrees
3 Crystal Light
3 Voskos Greek Yogurt
2 Beneful Snackers Dog Treats
3 Boxes Publix Tampons
2 Bottles of Wine
1 20 oz Coke (free product coupon)
1 Reese's (Publix free product coupon when you buy a 20 oz coke!)

Spent: $44.83
Saved $44.54 or 49.8%

Spent: $44.83

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Taking Care of Grocery Business

Popped in to Alid this week to pick up some lunch stuff and a few other things we were running low on. I just love that I can go in there and spend so little to get so much compared to other stores sometimes! So, this is what I picked up:

1 Lowfat Cottage Cheese
1 Fit & Active Deli Cheddar Slices
2 Ranch Dressing Mix
1 Fit & Active Ham Lunch Meat
2 Chocolate Weight Loss Shakes
1 Shredded Cheddar (16 oz)
1 Turkey Bacon
2 Mangoes
1 Egg Noodles
2 Fit & Active Weight Loss Shakes (4 packs)
1 Cranberry Juice
1 Oat Bran Bread

Spent: $30.96

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baked or Fried?

I make quesadillas for dinner on a pretty regular basis. They are easy and you can make them with just about any meat you have leftover, and put just about anything in them. The Princess is always happy with quesadillas.

Generally, I cook them in a skillet, they get all golden brown and yummy and they are a fabulous dinner.... but doing them in the skillet is pretty time consuming. So, a few people at work were telling me they did them in the oven, and it was "just as good" but SOOO much faster.

So tonight, I gave it a try. Hands-on time was definitely reduced. But just as good? Meh. Not so much. They didn't get golden brown, they didn't blend inside the tortillas as well, and they didn't cut into wedges as neatly. I was not a fan. So, I told the Princess to be brutally honest about them.

I shouldn't have asked --- she LIKED the oven baked ones. Sheesh.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Heat Is On (Literally)

This is the month of May. This is Alabama. I should NOT have to have the heat on in the month of May in Alabama. It's just not right. I was thinking towards the end of last week how nice it was that I'd gone a full week without having to use the AC or the Heat at all. That's what I get for thinking....

Saturday morning dawned rainy and cold. We managed to get through the morning a bit chilled, but not too bad before we headed out for shopping and then for my niece's graduation party. When we finally got home Saturday evening, the temp inside the house was 61. It was way chilly and dropping (and yes, we Southerners whine about 61 being COLD). So, I gave in and turned on the heat. IN MAY. IN ALABAMA. Grrrrrr.

I had hoped that by today, I'd be able to flip it back off. No such luck.... it is still rainy. And chilly. The kind that sets in on your bones. Is a real spring too much to ask? I'm starting to think maybe so!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Shopping With The Princess Is Dangerous

So, Friday we found out that my brother and his wife are expecting a little girl, due in September. We are absolutely tickled. Little girls' clothes are so fun --- and we haven't had a little girl in the family to shop for since The Princess. She's 18 now. I already knew that I could get myself into trouble shopping for baby clothes. What I didn't realize was how dangerous The Princess would be!

The Princess and I stopped at Target yesterday to each pick up a few things. We split up to get the stuff we each needed to get. After a bit the Princess called me saying that she was over in the "baby department". My mistake was going over there to meet up with her. Yikes.

We were flipping through the clearance racks..... and each of us were like "ooh! isn't this cute" and "awwww, how sweet". She did remark several times in a louder than necessary voice, "I think they will LOVE this!" --- I guess trying to make sure no one thought we were shopping for her! Ha! Anyway, after piling my cart full, we finally realized we were going to be late to where we were going and decided we needed to eliminate a few things..... that wasn't especially successful.
I just about stroked out when my total rang up at check out.

As we walked out to the car she said, "You know Mom, you really should know better than to go shopping with me." Yeah, well, NOW I know.....

Lesson learned: Do NOT take the Princess shopping with me! I mean I KNEW you don't take kids to the grocery store, but it never crossed my mind to not let her loose in the baby deparment!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Stress + Headache = Budget Busting

This has been a week.from.hell. Without going into a lot of detail, this just has NOT been a good week. All I can really say is that it has translated into huge headaches at the end of the day. Those headaches meant I did NOT want to cook dinner at all. Enter the budget busting. Wednesday night's headache translated to carryout pizza. $15 dollars worth. Last night's headaches meant $15 in Chinese food.

While $30 isn't really THAT much in the grand scheme of things, it does mean that I have very little left for dinners out this month ---- and I'd penciled in a couple of meet ups with some of my friends. Those will likely have to be pushed to June since with a birthday, Mother's Day and my niece's graduation.... well, May is pretty expensive as it is.

Oh well.... I guess I'll get out the pencil and calculator and start crunching numbers. That won't be stressful at ALL.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Just A Few Groceries

I love that lately Aldi has been running a lot of mark-down specials. Basically, they get products in for their "special features" that run on some sort of theme, and then a couple weeks later, run them deeply discounted to get them out the door. As a result -- I've seriously stocked up on their "Deluxe" versions of Mac & Cheese for .69/box. Anyway, I just needed a few things this week, but took advantage of some of those mark downs too. This is what I got:

4 Deluxe Mac & Cheese
2 Fit & Active Tomato Soups
Sweet Potatoes
Onion Powder
Fit & Active Drink Mix (their version of Crystal Light)
Sea Salt
Shredded Cheese
2 Fit & Active Weight Loss Shake (4 Packs - their version of Slim Fast)

Spent: $26.32