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Archive for November, 2009

End of the weekend

November 30th, 2009 at 03:36 am

Well, I'm gearing down Sunday night. Got a bit of stuff accomplished, but nothing like the frenzy of the last two days. Mostly I just enjoyed the fruits of my labor! I just made a good will run, took some stuff back to family and bought groceries. The rest of the day was spend hanging around and relaxing Smile

I'm 99% done Christmas shopping. All that is left in my budget is the tree, 1 gift card and a small token gift. Yay Smile

Part of the gift to my parents is doing some housecleaning for them. I'll be doing that next weekend. Lucky me! haha

Finally sitting down to enjoy my weekend!

November 29th, 2009 at 12:32 am

Wow! I REALLY cleaned today. With a few breaks here and there (as prescribed by Lux!)

I was able to clean my whole upstairs, scrub the bathroom, organize stuff for goodwill (and loaded up the car with it), do some heavy duty dusting on fans, walls, baseboards & trim. I did 3 loads of laundry (hung 2 to dry).

I also organized paperwork, filed & shredded. Put out a few Christmas items (from the dollar store). And lastly, I am sitting down to watch a movie from the library, maybe read a book or play on the computer.

I accomplished a lot and feel 100% better for having rid myself of a lot of clutter and dust Smile

Tomorrow, I have to drop some items off to my parents, my sister and a friend I borrowed a book from. I will be making a Good Will run and hitting the farmer's market for veggies.

I TENTATIVELY will tackle the basement, which needs to be cleaned, but not organized. However, I'm thinking the chances of that actually happening are pretty low! Haha Smile

Financially, I have my ducks in a row. My Nov 30th budget is done, I found a $4 check to deposit, and am working on keeping my Christmas spending under budget.

I also have an appointment for a part-time job at Macy's on Monday. Just temp work, but I could use it. Also, since the house is superclean, I took some pics of the place & am putting another roommate ad up on Craigslist.

What a Great Motivator

November 28th, 2009 at 02:10 pm

Just came downstairs to a beautiful, uncluttered and VERY clean house. Now I just have to do the upstairs & basement! lol.

When I got up this morning, I wasn't feeling the cleaning, but after seeing the results from last night's cleaning binge, I am SO ready to continue the efforts. Wish me luck Smile

And as a result of staying home today, it will be a No Spender

Cleaning Frenzy

November 28th, 2009 at 02:53 am

I've got a goal for this weekend. Stay home & clean & organize instead of dealing with crowds at stores or spending Smile

So tonight, after I got home from work, I did the following:

-Cleaned out the entry closet & purged items
-Cleaned downstairs bath, organized vanity cabinet and wiped baseboards and trim around all doors
-Washed entry floor. Did baseboards & trim in entry.
-Cleaned kitchen, polished table & chairs, washed dishes, wiped down all cabinets, wiped blinds. And even pulled out fridge, vacuumed coils & washed floor behind it. And wiped top & inside of hood over oven. Can I just say ew! Smile
-Cleaned living room, organized bookcase, dusted & vacuumed, wiped down baseboards and all glass table tops.
-Meal plan
-Finalized budget (2nd time!) for 11/30

So now I am beat, but happy. I watched tv while cleaning and I feel better now that I purged some junk, and have a pile for good will.

And because all I did was go to work & come straight home, I had a no spender! yay!

Tomorrow, I am tackling the upstairs - hall, linen closet, bedroom, spare bedroom & upstairs bath. Definately doable!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all. Even though I'm a day late!

I'm at work today, booo! But I enjoyed spending time with family. It was very low-key with just the immediate family (my parents, my sister & my nephew).

I'm planning to have No spenders today & tomorrow, with a little grocery shopping on Sunday.

Unfortunately, I've taken some hits lately. I haven't really gone into them on here, but money is even tighter than before and I still have a $200.00 car repair to get done soon. Ugh. There are going to be a lot of No spenders in my future - out of Necessity. Wish me luck Smile

Today's Spending

November 23rd, 2009 at 11:28 pm

$0.55 for a soft pretzel. I was extra hungry today. I also need to restock my snack stash in my work desk Smile

I hit the library after work (free), then the gym (no spending today there), then straight home. I'm about to start dinner: Penne pasta with ground turkey & fresh basil. YUMMM Smile

I have a loose mealplan for the week. All flexible. I won't get much in the way of leftovers, but am planning on buying a turkey & cooking it over the weekend or next week for myself and freezing the extras. Should last me a LONG time!

And as a side note, the weather was so nice this weekend, I was able to have the windows open on Friday. Heat didn't kick back in until last night. Its a nice 64 degrees in the living room. After dinner, I'm spending the night under a blanket & infront of a tv! lol

Today's 5 Things:
1. Library
2. Gym
3. Cook dinner & pack food for tomorrow
4. Pack car with stuff for goodwill
5. Budget for 11/30

Shopping Saturday

November 23rd, 2009 at 04:25 pm

I'm nearly done my Christmas shopping. Went out with a friend and got some more things - ornaments, gift wrap, toys. Spent about $45.00. All from the Christmas fund. Now I just have a few small things to get and I am DONE! Woohoo Smile I'll total up my Christmas spending and share my deals at a later date.

Everyday Frugal List

November 22nd, 2009 at 05:51 pm

I was talking with a friend about saving money and during the conversation, I realized there are a lot of things that I do routinely that I don't even recognize as being frugal anymore. To me, they're just normal! Please add any everyday frugal things you do!

1. Air drying most of my laundry.
2. Turning off the dishwasher after the rinse cycle. No heat cycle for me, air drying works just fine!
3. Turn off all lights but the room I'm currently in. (Sometimes) watch tv in the dark in the evening.
4. Routinely use the library for free books and movies
5. Trade DVDs and books with friends instead of buying new ones
6. Wash clothes in cold water
7. Unplug microwave, toaster and kitchen radio. Only plug in when in use.
8. Make ahead meals, package in individual portions & freeze
9. Meal plan
10. Measure out cat food to appropriate portions so I don't over feed (and therefore overspend OR make the cats obese!)
11. Pay bills online as much as possible
12. Get free checkbook registers from the bank. Yes, I use a register as well as online banking!
13. Use junk mail envelopes as scrap paper
14. Use a programmable thermostat to control heat and a/c use.
15. Wear appropriate clothes and use appropriate bedding for the season (sweater & sweats in winter, shorts & tanks in summer. Down comforter & extra blanket in winter, Light blanket and cotton sheets in summer).
16. Do my own nails.
17. Eat meals at home as much as possible. Pack lunches for work.
18. Keep pitchers of water & lemonade or fruit punch in fridge at all times to help limit soda use
19. Use the Farmer's Market and Produce stand for fresh (and cheap) fruits & veggies
20. Hand wash dishes and only use dishwasher for full load, bigger messes and dishes used in cooking meat.
21. Upload photos online instead of printing out every one. Back them up on free websites
22. Invite friends over for movie and game nights. (This is just fun for me!)
23. Research big purchases for quality items and price
24. Browse thrift shops for clothes/household items.
25. Use work printer instead of one at home (work allows this)
26. Repurpose items. Old tv tray is now a plant stand, ect
27. Repair clothes. Put buttons back on coats, hem pants
28. Use email instead of regular mail to stay in touch with friends
29. Use Hulu and Comcast On Demand to catch up on tv shows instead of renting a DVR from the cable company
30. Reorganize the closet every few months, putting clothes at the back towards the front. Its like shopping, but in my own closet! I love finding a sweater that I hadn't seen in a while Smile
31. Keep a small gift stock. Birthday cards, gift wrap and bags, small generic gifts
32. I'm happy to take 2nd hand items off the hands of friends and family if they're done with them. I've gotten furniture, extra linens, clothes, and books that way. And I've given some too!
33. Spend a lot of time outdoors. I like walking in the park, going to the beach, hiking, all of which are mostly free activities
34. Use websites for crosswords, soduku and card games and other forms of entertainment
35. Do as many home repairs myself as possible. Utilize how-to books and do research online. I'm sometimes overwhelmed in this area, so when I complete something on my own, I'm super proud of myself!
36. Use towels and dishrags in the kitchen. Limit paper towel use.
37. Use less of the recommended amounts of laundry detergent & dish detergent. You really only need a portion of what the packaging tells you
38. Use reusable water bottles instead of throwaway ones
39. Make do with what I have. For example, I have a great fridge where the icemaker doesn't work. My dad and I determined this is not a fixable problem. I went and got a 3 pack of ice cube trays from the dollar store & just make them myself now. No need for a whole new fridge.
40. Reuse ziplock baggies
41. Wear stuff out. I have a VERY old, inherited vacuum. With a clothespin on the cord because it no longer retracts properly, electrical tape and scratches and dents. BUT it still works great!
42. I use (and immediately pay off) credit cards for routine purchases to earn bonus points and promotions. In the last 2 months, I've gotten $50.00 from my Old Navy account alone.
43. Use mail order company for long-term medications
44. Use Health Savings account for pre-tax medical spending
45. I grow my own basil, oregano and mint. This is something I just started in the last few months, but is a pleasure to look at and to eat and SO easy to maintain
46. I reuse plastic grocery bags for trash can liners and kitty litter cleanup
47. Use Craigslist, visit garage sales only when looking for specific items
48. Utilize the dollar store. I find deals for shower liners, holiday decorations, food, over the counter medicines and toiletries.
49. Give and take plant clippings. Free way to add to a garden!
50. Do all my own yard work. Grass cutting, weeding, ect.

No Spender and More Craigslist Luck

November 21st, 2009 at 01:15 am

Today was a no spender. I have my nephew over tonight and we're watching library movies, eating homemade food and having popcorn fights! Too fun Smile

I did sell some stuff off Craigslist today. $15.00 made. I had another reply for a desk that I have for sale for $10.00. It's a bit banged up and old and I never use it, so I'd rather have the $10 Smile

Tomorrow, I'm supposed to hang with a friend. She's a spender and most of our activities together have involved spending. But I let her know that I had some car repairs come up and I was looking to just hang out and catch up. I'd be willing to do a little Christmas shopping (and only spend what was planned). So hopefull that'll work out.

Craigslist Updates

November 20th, 2009 at 07:18 pm

Put a bunch up on Craigslist this week. I already have someone stopping by the house at 4 today to pick up 4 sofa pillows and 2 - 18 quart storage bins for a total of $15.00. Yay Smile

Through an ad on Craigslist, I also applied for a marketing research program thats going to be setting up shop at the local university. Hopefully that'll pan out.

And to round things off, I replied to 2 posts for places to stay. I REALLY need to find a roomie!

Great Start to My Long Weekend!

November 19th, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I was out of work by 11 today. Woohoo! I came home & wanted to do something productive before being lazy. So I cleaned out the linen closet. Moved a couple of towels to the 'rag' pile. And moved a few more to the good will pile. That way I have more space!.

After that, I took 2 pounds of ground turkey and made meatloaf muffins with 1 pound and sauteed the other pound with onion. I separated both out into individual portions for the freezer.

Then I made myself a nice tuna sandwich and hit the couch. I started watching Season 1 of Criminal Minds from the library & took a nap.

Today (FINALLY) was a no spender! yay Smile

Not a No Spender Like I Had Hoped

November 19th, 2009 at 03:07 am

Well, I was hoping for a no spender today, but instead paid a $0.25 library fine & grabbed bread to take over my mothers with dinner. She offered me a free meal, then calls back and asked for the bread. How could I say no? lol

Tomorrow I work a half day. I'm hoping to get a bunch of stuff done around the house. We'll see!

Today's 5 Things:

1. Update spending tracker and balance budget
2. Gym
3. Make To-Do list around the house
4. Clear out email Inbox
5. Send rest of photos from cruise to friends that requested them.

Free Stuff This Week

November 18th, 2009 at 01:14 pm

Well, I've been lucky enough to get a few free things this week.

- Several books/movies from the library
- Borrowed movie from friend
- 2 Hershey bars from work as a promotion
- Gummy lolli-pop (friend's leftover Halloween) Am giving to the nephew.

Other updates:

- Heat kicked back in last night. Woke up to a living room of 62 degrees. That was tough this morning as the last week or so has been 67-70!

- Made it out of the pub on $3.00. Had fun, didn't drink a lot and basically spent nothing!

- Water bill came in for the quarter. It went up a bit, but I haven't looked it over to see if increased rates or usage caused it. Roughly $6.00 difference.

- Am working to use the dishwasher less and handwash dishes. Managed to do that the last 2 nights.

- I am working hard on Christmas shopping. I'll share my status on gifts and spending - maybe tonight.

- My goal for the rest of the week (Wed through Friday) will be no spenders. Definately do-able!

Had a decent weekend, not so good Monday

November 17th, 2009 at 03:21 am

Friday night I stayed in and just rested. I ran around a lot last week and just needed to rest.

Saturday, I went to that friend's book signing. I'm really proud of him. There were a dozen authors/artists at the signing (it was a compilation of short stories for the 30th anniversary of a locally owned bookstore). $18.00 for the book and I managed not to come home with any more than the one Smile

Saturday night, I went out for a friend's birthday. We had fun, but I spent more than I had planned. But not by much.

Yesterday, I got new tires, was told I need a car repair to the tune of $200.00. They didnt try to sell me on getting it done yesterday, so I doubt that they're scamming me. I spent $8 for lunch with mom and around $300 on the tires. Then I went to 2 grocery stores, the dollar store & Kohl's. I got a bunch of groceries and some stuff for Christmas.

Then last night, I organized/prepped my food for the week and watched some old movies borrowed from the library. I'm on a Marilyn Monroe kick right now.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to repeat my $3.00 night out at the pub. I plan on only going for an hour & only taking a little cash with me.

Oh and a bonus - the weather's been awesome here. Heat only kicked on one night last week. Yesterday & today, my living room has been 68-70. Yay for any extra time with the heat off!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

I had a ton of problems at work today. Not with work itself, but a system transition that cost me 3 hours of time. I ended up staying a half hour late to finish a project. Booo. I don't get OT, so this time will be comped on Thursday.

After work, I did some grocery shopping at a store right around the corner from work. I skipped the gym and headed home.

Today's 5 Things:
1. Grocery store (DONE)
2. Brown ground turkey with onion, separate into servings & freeze (DONE)
3. Clean kitchen/sweep floor (DONE)
4. Pick up living room (will vaccum tomorrow) (DONE)
5. List 2 items on Craigslist (DONE)

Happy Friday!

November 13th, 2009 at 08:19 pm

Hello All, Happy Friday! Today is a no-spender, but the rest of this weekend is going to be spendy. I've got a book signing and birthday party tomorrow. And then my mom & I are driving about 30 mins to get me some new tires at her previous place of work. They're having an employee sale and I'll get 20% off. We'll wait around while the work's being done & maybe hit a movie. I haven't had any mom time in a while, so it'll be worth it.

I have been working on a grocery list/meal plan. My pantry and fridge are very bare. I do have some foods frozen, but even the freezer looks empty. However, I'm working with a tight grocery budget. I found some extra funds and have the grocery budget set at $100 for the 17 day pay period.

This is the meal plan through next Friday:

Tonight:
Dinner -Meatloaf & baked fries
Saturday:
Lunch - Cucumber salad & tuna wrap
Dinner - Pasta with meat sauce and Cucumber salad
Sunday:
Lunch - Big salad, Tuna wrap
Dinner - Shake n bake chicken, potatoes
Monday:
Lunch - Buffalo chicken salad w/ Blue cheese
Dinner - Taco wrap w/ green beans
Tuesday:
Lunch - Meatloaf and salad
Dinner - Turkey bacon BLT & salad
Wednesday:
Lunch - BLT and salad
Dinner: Pasta with meatsauce, garlic bread
Thursday:
Lunch - Sloppy joe over pasta
Dinner - Buffalo Shake N bake chicken, salad
Friday:
Lunch - Tuna wrap and salad
Dinner: Baked Potato soup, BLT

No Spender! New Budget

November 13th, 2009 at 04:33 am

Today was a No Spender. Yay! Its cold and rainy here and all I want to do is curl up under a blanket. But instead, I managed to get myself to the gym, make dinner and pack food for tomorrow. Thats something at least Smile

Being cold and rainy, the heats kicking in at night. I set it at 64 during the night last night and 62 while at work. Normally, I'm not comfy unless its 66 at least, but I sucked it up and layered and kept the heat at 64 tonight. The problem really isn't layers for me, its my sinuses. So I know I won't be able to do 64 for forever Frown

Tomorrow is payday. I will have 3 weekends in this pay period, so its a little longer than normal. My entertainment budget is going to be tight. I have a book signing for a friend on Saturday. This is a big deal and I'm totally willing to support him by purchasing the book ($18). Then I have another friend's bowling & bar birthday bash that night. I'm hoping to make it out of that night on $20. We'll see how it goes.

I'm working on Christmas gifts. I also have the one friends birthday on Saturday and another's the first week of December. So I'm going to be looking for deals this weekend! I know there's some super clearance stuff at Kohl's and I've been using free prints from Snapfish to frame for gifts too.

Fun Tuesday Night for $3.00!!

November 11th, 2009 at 05:24 am

Ha! Totally made my Most Frugal Night Out tonight! I went to my weekly "Pub" night. A local dive bar with karaoke and bartenders that I love. I met up with the usual group, ran into some friends that just happened to be there. I enjoyed the music, talked with friends and only had one beer. So for the cost of 1 beer, plus tip, I spent $3.00 for 3.5 hours of fun.

I normally won't spend that little, but I was trying to meet my entertainment budget AND I wasn't feeling in the mood to drink, so it all worked out.

Today's 5 Things were:

1. Gym (DONE)
2. Library (DONE)
3. Dinner at home, make lunch for tomorrow (DONE)
4. Call & cancel dentist appointment. Let them know I'll be switching dentists and will need my records. (DONE)
5. Put air in tires. (DONE)

Updates

November 10th, 2009 at 03:47 am

- Well, I had a stone hit my windshield last week and I was able to have someone come right to the house & fix it this weekend. Never had that happen before, so I'm not too sure about the work done. The crack is very much better, but there still is an indent in the windshield. Anyone know if that is normal? I'll be doing some research tomorrow.

- We received an email from work that based on the changes in the economy and the way our company has worked together, we'll be receiving a $500.00 bonus that will be added to our 401k. YAY Smile

- I stayed within my grocery budget for this pay period. I have $3.80 left & I only need some milk, which will be $1.78. Woohoo!

- I did NOT stay within my entertainment budget. I added $20 to it from other budget catagories when I realized that $38.61 was a little unreasonable Smile I HAVE stayed within the $58.61 amount and I'm pretty happy with the result.

- So basically, I have $2.00 that I will use for milk and $6.00 for a beer after work tomorrow with friends. The overage in budget catagories will roll over into next paycheck's budget.

- This next pay period is going to be TIGHT. I have a good friend who is an artist (not his main occupation, but is his true calling). He has a drawing being published in a book and there will be a book signing this Saturday. I want to support him and buy the book, but its $18.95, so I'm gonna have to wiggle that right into my budget.

- I did 2 loads of laundry today, used the dryer only once.

- The heat has been off the last 2 days, but the good weather will not probably last long. Whatever, every little bit helps Smile

- I have not put any items up on craigslist yet. This will be my goal for the weekend! I need the extra cash and I have a few good items - desk, wireless router, small ikea tables, extra plastic storage bins.

Today's 5 Things were:

1. Laundry (DONE)
2. Clear out/organize emails (DONE)
3. Start Christmas shopping (DONE)
4. Give the plants a little TLC (DONE)
5. Hit the gym, dinner at home & prepack food for tomorrow (DONE). (I made this one item since its pretty routine a few days a week! lol).

Fun Weekend

November 9th, 2009 at 01:49 am

This was a good weekend. Friday, I went to the gym after work, hit the grocery store & went home. Did some cleaning to prep for an overnight houseguest and went to bed early.

Saturday, a friend drove into town from about 45 minutes away. We headed downstate about an hour & a half to go to the Pumpkin Chunkin. If you've never heard of this, google it. Its a BIG 3-Day event, started for charity. Apparently 20,000 people show up for it. Its a contest where people make cannon-like machines and trebuchets (think catapult and slingshot combo) to fling pumpkins high into the air and compete for pumpkin-throwing distance.

The machines were impressive. The cannon-like ones were so forceful that they would shoot the pumpkins and they would clear the clouds and be lost to the eye. People apparently come from all over to see the event. Some people come for an excuse to drink. Its byob and there are a lot of tailgaters.

My friend and I did not bring drinks, but I did pack my lunch. Ticket and parking were $10.00. I spent $7 on water & beach fries. Definately worth any penny!

We came back to my place afterwards, made spaghetti for dinner, watched tv & just caught up. It was a really relaxing weekend!

Today, I went to the farmer's market for $8.05 in vegetables. Then I came home and spent the day just hanging out. I really enjoyed the down time. Managed an afternoon nap & am planning on heading to bed early, lol.

Here are some pics of the Chunkin:









Darker Earlier Means I Get Lazy

November 5th, 2009 at 03:21 am

Soooo... this Daylight Savings change is really messing with me. I want to go home & snuggle under a blanket instead of getting errands or house stuff done or going to the gym Smile

Today, I had to force myself to run my errands (my 5 Things for today). I hit the library, the Walmart, the produce stand and came home & made food for tomorrow and FINALLY finished uploading the 600 + digital pics that I had from the cruise. Smile That last one wasn't such a hardship! And I could do it curled up on the couch under a blanket.

Here are a few unnecessary pics!









*Edited to add - no, I'm not in any of the pictures Smile

Entertainment Spending Revisited

November 4th, 2009 at 01:07 pm

Yesterday, I met up with friends at the bar we call The Pub. Its a weekly tradition that I've been moving away from and am trying to go only every couple of weeks. I took cash in, and came out with only $10.00 spent. Thats good considering that I only had $38.57 in my Entertainment budget. Now that amount is down to $28.57.

I'm carefully planning my Entertainment spending to make sure I stay within that goal.

Tonight, Thursday & Friday will be stay at home nights. This means no entertainment spending. I need to get some stuff done around the house and after being with people 24/7 last week on the cruise, I'm looking forward to a little alone time Smile

Saturday, some friends and I are driving about an hour & half away to the annual Pumpkin Chunkin Contest. Its $9.00 entry for all day entertainment. Basically people build these contraptions that chuck the pumpkins and they battle for creativity and distance. Never been before, but should be a good time. I'm planning on packing food to take with me. I'll also remember to bring the camera!

Saturday night, at least one of my friends is staying at my house. We plan to just stay in and watch movies & hang out. I'm going to make spaghetti for dinner with items that I already have in my house.

Then Sunday will be chores/grocery shopping and I'm hoping Monday will be a no spender. This leaves Tuesday for another $10 Pub night and then Wednesday through Friday as no Entertainment spending. Its all definately doable and I have a TINY bit of wiggle room in the budget to use as needed.

November Goals

November 3rd, 2009 at 02:09 am

I have a bunch of goals for November.

1. Buy all Christmas presents and stay on budget
2. Pack breakfast/lunch/snacks for work 100% of the month
3. Stay within Entertainment budget for both November pay periods. ($38.57 for now until Nov 15th). This is a toughie, but do-able!
4. Stay within grocery budget of $84 dollars per 15 day pay period. It'll be tight, but also do-able.
5. Put all extra funds towards debt repayment
6. Look for a part-time job.
7. De-clutter and put a minimum of 8 items on craigslist.

Last day of Vacation - Not So Lazy :)

November 2nd, 2009 at 02:41 pm

Well, I have today off of work & am planning on getting a lot stuff done.

I am working to be uber-frugal to pay down the little bit of debt that I have left from my 'crazy spending time' a few months back. So my entertainment, eating out, and grocery expenses are going to be carefully thought out. I will share as I work through this Smile

Today's MORE than 5 Things:

1. Laundry (DONE)
2. Groceries (DONE)
3. Pick up prescription (DONE)
4. Return to drug store (DONE)
5. Deposit at bank (DONE)
6. Get air in tires (NOT COMPLETED)
7. Look at discounted Halloween costumes (DONE - no purchases made)
8. REview meal plan (DONE)
9. Make ahead meals for Tues and part of the week. (DONE)
10. Clean up litter box (NOT COMPLETED)
11. Catch up on some tv (this is a fun one! haha). (DONE)
12. Pack lunch for work tomorrow & pack gym bag. (DONE)

Back From Vacation!

November 1st, 2009 at 09:05 pm

The cruise was once in a lifetime opportunity! I had a really really great time! I don't have final numbers, but I spent roughly $550 for a ticket on a 7 day cruise to Florida and then the Bahamas from Baltimore. Plus approximately $80 in souveneirs, drinks & dinner in ports, $169.36 on drinks on the ship(ouch! but I spent the least in our group) and $111.90 on shore excursions which included an Airboat & Alligator tour in Florida and a Catamaran and snorkelling adventure in Nassau, Bahamas. I already had paid for the cruise ticket. The drinks & excursions went on a credit card, which I am paying off today. So no new debt was incurred by the trip!

I came home to an empty pantry & fridge, so I ran back out to see my family for a few mins and then to the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner tonight. I'll be doing my full grocery shop tomorrow after I complete updating my 11/1-11/15 budget.

I definately felt like I was completely cut off from the life I have here. I slept, read, played and swam when I wanted to. I waaaay overate with the complimentary food. And most importantly, I was able to let go of the always running list of things-to-do in my head and just enjoy time away from home.

I did miss my family and am glad to be home with the cats. It looks like the heat wasn't on much while I was gone. I had set it to turn on if the living room hits 63. Currently its 67 Smile

Hope everyone had a great Halloween. Here are a few quick pics from the trip. I literally took HUNDREDS on the digital camera and 27 on the underwater camera (for) snorkelling. I'll be able to share the pics via Snapfish for free to friends and family who are interested in seeing them. Gotta love technology.

Here's a pic of the Atrium on the ship:



Sunset from the balcony of our room:



A house in Nassau, Bahamas. Look at that blue water!



View from the catamaran that we took for snorkelling.



Local artist in Freeport. We talked to him for a while, definately had a different outlook on life.




View from a bar that we stopped at in Freeport. We literally turned our barstools around and saw homes, boats & ocea!