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Archive for April, 2009

Work Food Challange

May 1st, 2009 at 02:08 am

My friend & I were talking about money being tight due to additional expenses. Car repairs for him, home expenses for me.
So I challanged him to pack his lunches/snacks instead of buying. I said we could do it starting tomorrow, all the way to the 15th of the month.

He seemed interested, but then also said he's probably going to fail. I'm hoping he'll change his mind. And it made me determined to complete the task just to show him its doable.

I've challanged myself in the past and would do it for a week or two, but then fall off the wagon. Not this time though, cause I want to prove to him and myself that I can do it Smile

In other news, I took a few minutes today to think of free or low cost ways to entertain myself this weekend. I've kept the weekend plans free as I've been doing a LOT of socializing lately and just wanted a low-key weekend to myself.

So this weekend I plan to have fun & get stuff done off my to-do list:

1. Perform maintenance on my lawn mower.
2. Mow the lawn
3. Pull weeds, trim the shrub
4. Clean out my car
5. List & take stuff to Good Will
6. Clean the house top to bottom
7. Hit the library for books and movies
8. Walk in the park, at least 2 times.
9. Do my nails
10. Go through photos that I collected from my Aunt's house after she passed
11. Hit the farmers market for produce
12. Go to nephew's Little League game
13. Visit friends at their house Saturday night
14. Try a new recipe for dinner Sunday

Strict Budget

April 29th, 2009 at 09:48 pm

I've said before, over the last few months, my spending is out of hand. Now that I have several upcoming home expenses, I need to tighten the belt even more. So I've planned my $0.00 based budget for 4/30 to 5/14 pay period.

I've made a grocery plan, a meal plan. I have a very, very strict cash flow this pay period, so I am looking to stick with it.

My biggest challange will be grocery and entertainment spending. One thing that will help in both areas is that I am going back to doing Weight Watchers. I was following the plan loosely, but now will be 100% on plan.

In addition to planning my food out (which saves on groceries), I plan on working out a lot more. This means skipping dinner out in favor of walking Smile (free entertainment) I will also be limiting drinking as part of the plan.

Speaking of exercise, I have set a goal for myself: I plan on walking 100 miles between now and the end of August. I'll be tracking my progress here. Wish me luck!

Crazy Weather and Sick Again :(

April 29th, 2009 at 05:25 pm

The weather went from hot & sunny in the mid-80's to cold, rainy and 60 in only 1 day. As a result, I woke up this morning with a really nasty sinus headache. I pushed myself and headed to work, arriving at 7am. By 8:15, I was so ill, I went home. Looks great to come back from a 4 day weekend, work a day & then take a sick day. But it was necessary as I was getting nauseous and really, really didn't want to get sick on the office.

So I headed home & slept for 4 hours. Now I have a bad headache still and all I've eaten is crackers. Oh, so fun!

On the bright side, I went out with friends last night and I was given some bday presents - including yellow roses! I am so lucky!

And the one good thing about the weather is that I had the air on yesterday when it was 89 degrees. Today the air is off, the windows are closed and its 70 degrees in the house. Pretty comfy. Which is good since I can't open the windows and let the damp air in, it makes my head worse.

Great weekend, lots of gifts & freebies!

April 28th, 2009 at 01:58 am

Had a great rest of the weekend. Had a really, really fun time at the races - wasn't allowed to take pics, but trust, me it was fun. It was hot as heck, so I drink a lot of water, spending about $6.00 for the day. There was no fee to get in, lots of visual entertainment. I didn't do any betting, but my friends and I chose horses and competed amongst ourselves. It was fun Smile

I spend some time helping my sister pack and unload stuff at the new house. I was able to help her with some shopping and general support. Things are stressful & crazy for her.

This weekend, I was able to get stuff done around the house, hang out with my family, watch my nephew's baseball game, spend time in the sun & work on my container garden. I'm having a LOT of fun with it!

Today is my actual birthday, I ran around with family. Shopped for new eyeglasses with my mom. I had lunch with Mom & dinner with whole family.

In addition to the meals given to me by my mom, my sister, her boyfriend & my nephew gave me some beautiful roses and a birthday cookie cake.

My sister also gave me a few new to me items that she no longer wanted:





I have more pics to share - I am LOVING the fact that I have the camera back! And I realize I'm oversharing, but bear with me!


Here's a pic of my kitty enjoying my being home:



Here's a pic of my birthday cookie cake:



This is my kitten enjoying the flowers on my coffee table:





Transplanted the garden

April 26th, 2009 at 03:15 pm

Took some time this morning to transplant the tomatoes to new pots. I still have to transplant the peppers, but I ran out of potting soil. I've seriously underestimated the amount I'd need. So far, this has been my biggest expense. I'm going to have to find ways to cut that expense next year.

I was able to get some plastic pots & gardening supplies at the dollar store. A friend gave me some extra plastic bigger pots and small ones too. I scored a big bag of unused potting soil from my sister and I found 8 pound bags of Name Brand potting soil at the dollar store. The seed cost was neglible and the time spent was free and fun! Overall, this has already been a good experiment.

Here's a before picture of the seedlings:



Here's a row of the new pots:







In other news, I've been helping clean out my parents garge in preperation for my sister moving out & taking 1/2 the crap in there. Its a mess. We had a housefire a few years ago & some of the one of a kind photographs that my grandfather took, framed & gifted us was supposedly destroyed. Well, I found a few of the photographs out in the garage. The matting has smoke damage, but the photos are salvagable. I was really upset to find there out there in the dirt and humidity and heat.

So I took the 2 of mine home, gave my sister 2 of hers and now I have a project! Here they are:

Awesome Friends & Tomato Plants

April 25th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I had a blast at my Birthday Happy Hour. I was the recipiant of some great timing and UPS delivered my fixed camera to me 15 minutes before I had to leave!

I really got a good deal with it. Paid $9.00 between packaging & shipping & I got a fixed camera back in 10 days!

SO because of that, I was able to capture some fun pics of the outing. I had shrimp for dinner & several drinks and my awesome friends would not let me pay for anything! That was not expected!

Now that I have my camera back I can share a few things.

Here's an updated pic of the tomato plants. I am transplanting them to new pots tomorrow.



Here are the pepper plants:



Here's the original lettuce batch. One of the cats got into it.



Here's the 2nd batch of lettuce.




And here's a pic of the lovely hole that the carpenter bees have taken over. It started out as a crack & they made a huge hole out of it.



I plan on taking pics at the Track today and will share them. I've only been to the horse races once before. Should be fun!

Birthday Weekend!

April 24th, 2009 at 04:34 pm

I'm enjoying a 4-day Birthday Weekend. Last night a friend took me out for Mexican and a margarita! Very nice dinner.

Then I came home and lazed around on the couch in front of the tv.

Today I have the day off, I'm enjoying the mid-70s weather with the windows open. I plan on cleaning the house and spending the day giving myself a little pampering.

This afternoon, I'm heading to a birthday happy hour with work friends. A local restaurant with an upstairs balcony to enjoy the awesome weather!

Tomorrow, I'm going to some Horse Races with a friend, who is going to treat me to a pedi after & maybe head to a martini bar. Fun birthday stuff!

Sunday, I'm going to sleep in, head to my nephew's baseball game and hang out with the fam.

Monday is my actual bday. I have the day off from work and I am planning on doing whatever I feel like. Which will probably be sleeping in, doing stuff around the house, taking a walk & enjoying the sun.

I'm hoping to keep the spending down. I'll be spending at happy hour tonight, at the races tomorrow. But Sunday should be a no spender - except maybe groceries. And who knows what Monday will hold. Should be interesting!

Home Repairs

April 21st, 2009 at 02:05 am

Have some home repairs coming up. Estimates for the Carpenter Bee Removal: $185.00 for 1 treatment. This will get rid of the bees temporarily. The bug guy, which I and my family have used before, even said as much.

I figured I'd have to replace my wood soffits (the underside of the overhang from the roof) with aluminum. But the bug guy offered an alternate solution. He said its easy to have someone wrap the soffits with aluminum or something like that. So I have someone coming out to give me a quote on that Wednesday. No idea on the cost of this yet.

A kink in the plan is that the bees love wood and while that would seal the soffit, there's a wood panel across the back of the house that is used to attach the retractable awning. I would need that wood wrapped and I don't know if they would do that for the wood panel as well as the soffits. I'll talk to them when they come for the estimate.

In addition, there are a few smaller projects that I've been putting off.

-Replacing the ceiling fan. I don't feel comfortable tackling this myself, so I'd have to call in a handy man
-Replacing the garbage disposal

Thinking about getting rid of the cable

April 19th, 2009 at 03:04 pm

I love tv. Love movies, reality TV, LOST, ect. But I'm getting more and more annoyed with the cost of cable.

I have bad habits with tv. I live alone, and have the tv on a lot for background noise. SO if I did get rid of the cable, I wouldn't want to give up tv altogether.

Right now, I utilize HULU for a lot of stuff. I get movies & older shows on dvd from the library. The main shows that I watch are available for free online somewhere.

So I wonder if I could live without the cable. I'm really taking the time to think this one through. And worst case scenario, I try it out for a month and decide to take it back.

Also, if I got rid of the cable, I probably would get rid of the land line as well, depending on if I can shop around for a better price from a non-cable company Smile

I'd definately keep my high-speed internet, which would mean my bill would drop from 105.00 to about $47.00. It only cuts it in 1/2 bc of the packages I get for having phone & internet along with the cable, but every bit helps!

What are your thoughts?

Awesome Weather & home expense!

April 18th, 2009 at 07:43 pm

Its in the mid 70's today. After rain all week, this is great!

I went to the farmers market, which includes an outdoor flea market. Ended up picking up some huge plastic garden containers - 3 for $5.00. I'm going to put one out on the landscaping rocks of my front yard and plant a few flowers.

The other 2, I'm going to use for the tomato plants. Its time to transfer them out of their seedling pots.

Then we went inside to the produce. I came out with tomatoes, spring mix, cucumbers, celery, red potatoes, green peppers, string beans and watermelon for $13.17. Definately a good haul!

Tonight I'm going to a party at a semi-new friend's house. I'm supposed to bring veggies & dip, but I may also bring a treat of rum-soaked watermelon. Mainly because I probably won't be able to eat a 1/2 watermelon all by myself Smile

I came home, went immediately to work in the yard. Prepped the lawn mower & went to work. The wood-boring bees are back again, so was goign to take care of them myself like last year, but there is a complication. The bad news is that there was a crack in some wood on the underside of the the eave to my house and it appears that this year, they are boring into it to create their nest. The hole is now about 5 inches wide & they are digging into the insulation. Pieces are floating down to the deck. I'm going have to get someone in to get rid of the bees & to repair the wood. That's gonna cost me. UGH.

Work Rumors and the upcoming weekend

April 16th, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Still lots of work rumors flying around. I think if anythings going to happen, it'll be in the next week or so.

Things are a little tense, but I actually feel pretty optimistic. Worst case scenario is layoffs, but I have the feeling that the true 'worst case scenario' for my team will be being offered to go back to being non-exempt. The reason that I think that may happen is that the department that I work in currently is becoming less necessary and they may transition us into other departments.

I'd be ok with that change, although the work wouldn't be as challanging or entertaining. There would be an opportunity for overtime from time to time, which I could definately use.

Oh well, nothing I can do until things start happening.

In the meantime, the weather's starting to get nicer. I am probably going to be able to leave the heat off & my windows open by tomorrow. Yeah fresh air!!

I picked up some books & movies from the library today & I have tons of container gardening reading to do. So I'm set this weekend.

Tomorrow, there is a work happy hour that I will go to. Its another departments, but as a partner that works with them, I was invited. Great chance to network and I'm not gonna miss the opportunity to put my face out there for higher ups. Should be fun.

Saturday, I'm going to a flea market, the farmers market & a nursery with some friends. We'll probably do lunch.

Saturday night, another friend is having a Rock Band party. I'm going to bring veggies & dip & I figure my cost is gonna be around $8.00 altogether.

Sunday, I plan on heading over to my sisters (my parents house) I"m going to help her with some packing. She's been ill again lately and has no energy. SO she's gonna need all the help that she can get.

NExt week, I'm planning on getting more exercise in. My goal is to walk at least 3 times and do 2 work out tapes between Sunday and the following Saturday. Definately doable Smile

Last night I had 3 friends over for drinks & LOST. I served snacks, leftover beer from the party & made strawberry daquiris. Total Grocery spending: $9.00

Housekeeping & Layoff Rumors

April 15th, 2009 at 01:02 am

Well, I've been pretty lax with housekeeping this week. Part of the problem is, once again, I'm sick. I sleep a LOT. Or sit on the couch and 'rest'.

So my kitchen is pretty darn messy. I cleaned it up yesterday, but was unable to wash the floor because my mop has disintegrated and I was too lazy to buy a new one. I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I got down on my hands & knees with rags & washed it by hand. Took maybe 10 minutes tops. Might hold off on getting the mop!

I'm having friends over for a LOST party. We have dinner, catch up with each other, and watch the show. Very fun! But first, I have to get up the energy to clean the living room!

Onto other news, lots of rumors going on at work again. Possible layoffs or changes in my position from Exempt to Non-Exempt. Lots of higher level Organizational Changes, but nobody is talking directly to my department. Which makes me very, very nervous. People are talking about it all day long, which makes for a very stressful work day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

I am just gonna keep my head down, tune the negative people out, do my work well and try to stand out for all the positive reasons.

If something were to happen, its likely to happen either tomorrow or next Tuesday. Those are the rumors! We will see.

How My Container Garden Grows

April 14th, 2009 at 01:19 am

So I think that I'm doing well with the container garden. Out of the seeds, I've got several plants growing. I may have over-planted the tomatoes. But I'm ok with that as I'm not 100% sure that they're all gonna survive being transferred from the container of seedlings to bitter pots.

Wish I had pics, but the camera's still out for repairs Smile

Anyway, I was able to borrow some big plastic containers from my friend's dad's shed. I'm going to clean them off this weekend and try to transfer some of the plants. Its not quite warm enough to put them outside, but I'll acclimate them when I have a chance.

In the meantime, I've been reading Container Gardening for Dummies and watching How To videos online.

I've never grown anything before and other than my bamboo plant, I've killed everything I've tried.

But now I have 2 house plants in addition to the bonsai and all the veggie plants and herbs! Yay Smile

I've bought some containers and gardening supplies (gloves, tools, hooks for hanging the plants, ect) from the dollar store and I'll have to purchase some more potting soil. But overall, this hasn't been an expensive enterprise - maybe $15.00? - and I'll be able to reuse all the containers next year.

And to be honest, even if it WAS a little more expensive, it'd be worth it. I'm getting such a kick outing getting things to grow. I'm very proud of myself!

Plugging Along

April 7th, 2009 at 12:33 am

Lots of things to update:

-Its finally warm enough to turn the heat off 100%. Its about 65 degrees at night inside right now. YAY!

-My plants are doing well. Lots of little guys growing now. Soon, I'll have to replant them into bigger containers. I'm just not sure when I'm supposed to do that. So I'll be doing some research! I'd take a picture, but the camera broke the night of the party.

-The lens just stopped retracting. So now I'm paying $6.00 to have the item shipped to the company I bought it from. Luckily its still under warrenty. AND that I was able to still upload the party pics.

-I sent in my contacts rebate today. In the past, the rebate has been much bigger. This time, its only $20.00.

-I bought groceries today & already planned my food for tomorrow. Cheerios, milk & strawberries for breakfast. Pasta salad and carrots for lunch. Dinner will be chicken and potatoes.

-Its been such a busy few weeks that I decided to make tonight a veg night. Used a code to get free Redbox movies. A good little horror movie and Seven Pounds, which was VERY good!

-My sister put a contract on a house! I'm on a pretty tight budget right now, so I'll be looking to do some frugal gifts. Time to hit the dollar store for kitchen items and I plan to donate time to helping them set up the house. Any additional suggestions are welcome!

3 Year Blogiversary!

April 6th, 2009 at 01:14 am

Just realized its been 3 years on this site. Its been a great time, thanks everybody!

Its been a crazy week and weekend. I had the party last night and the last guests left at 3am. I had two people crash on the couches and today I spend the day with them & one other friend. We had brunch out, then came back and hung out on the back deck in some really awesome weather!

I have been really off budget lately, not keeping track of things. SO I'm setting tomorrow night aside to get my financial house in order. Wish me luck Smile