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Made my decision...probably

January 8th, 2009 at 02:24 pm

After talking and talking and more scrutinizing of the budget I (or we?) have made the decision that come the end of May I will be cutting back at work and getting a prn nursing job to supplement my income if needed.

I will be reducing my hours from 32 per week to 24. That is a 32 hour per month decrease. It sounds scary but once we looked at the (mostly emotional) benefits of me staying at home more it made a lot of sense.

Now, that doesn't mean I won't work more...I will. Which probably sounds funny considering I am cutting back. Well, I am though. I will no longer HAVE to work certain days. I will have the flexibility to choose what other days I want to work. If we are having a busy stressful week I can forgo an extra day now and then.

The best part is that I no longer have to do that 4 day in a row night shift nightmare!!!

I am excited just for that reason! Are there cons? Of course. I will be giving up two nights a pay period on my favorite unit and when I pick up prn it will probably be on one of the outside units.

We have decided to wait until the end of May because by then the car and braces, along with 2 credit cards will be gone. I also plan on calculating my budget based upon my new three day week with any extra income going to credit cards.

I think it will make for a good summer. I will have more time with my family and with C. at 15 years old there are only so many more summers left before she goes to college!

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In other news, I am feeling better though not near 100%. My throat is still sore and I am just physically exhausted. I lost weight though! I'm not sure how much but I put on a fresh pair of jeans yesterday out of the dryer and they were loose! Just water weight but it makes me feel good!

Today is the first day I don't have any hint of a fever! Now, if all this congestion could just disappear...

I love the physician who gave me this hydrocodone cough syrup. It helped me sleep! I don't plan on taking any doses today because it knocks me out but wow, that stuff worked! I can see why people can get addicted.

After I pick up the girls from school we are headed to Kohl's so I can get something to wear to the funeral tomorrow. I have two nice pair of black trousers and one is too small and the other too big. I may be getting something for C. and E. too...we'll see. They can wear tan dress pants to the calling hours but I want them to have a skirt for the funeral. I don't know why...just seems appropriate.

I'll let you know how much we spent, I would like to keep it below $100.

Kind of a no spend week

January 7th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Yes, that is what we are having around here. We had so much food left from the party (which M.'s company paid for!) that we have been eating 100% free since Saturday.

The only money that has been spent is:
23.00 Dr./medicine (5.00 copay, 18.00 medicine)
24.00 lunch money
15.00 to pay balance owed to Dr.
5.00 for vaseline and kleenexes

total: 67.00
ok, not really a no spend week but still pretty cheap. Since M. works from home and I have been ill all week we have had no need to get gas. I figure we can hold out about one more day and then it will be time to get some groceries.

By the way, our party on Saturday cost a total of 400.00. We paid for 100.00 and M.'s company paid for 300.00!

At the end of every year M.'s boss (CEO) tells M. to take his family out to eat. Well, this has kind of evolved into us throwing a party for our family and friends instead of spending money on a one time restaurant meal for 4 people. J. (the boss) is amazing. I'm pretty sure he pays for it out of his own pocket.

J. has done so many great things for us over the years I couldn't even begin to name them. And he is the type of rich person who doesn't look rich or act it either. Maybe that's the reason he can afford to be so generous!

Don't you just love people you know put on a show? E. has a friend whose parents are huge image people. She always has a new SUV and he drives a used BMW. The clothes and hair are impeccable and everything is Coach or some other expensive brand. I have no idea how they manage it because they probably make less than what we do.

Normally I would say maybe they have no debts but I have heard this woman make the comment about living paycheck to paycheck and worrying about credit cards. That is stunning to me. And I am a credit/debt shopaholic mess so for that to stun me is something!

I am pretty sure her purse she normally carries around cost at least 400.00 and trust me it is the real thing.

sigh.

I have to watch myself. Sometimes when I see people living like that I think, "well, why can't I enjoy a life like that too?"

I guess that kind of thinking has gotten me into this mess. Well, that and spending tens of thousands of dollars on C.'s dancing since age 3.

And that's a WHOLE other drama which I am glad is OVER! Love dance but hate competition. I wish I could have seen earlier how toxic it can be. I suppose many will say, "but it's how you handle it as a parent." Well I suppose so but there is something intrinsically twisted about judging a 7 year old in a sequined outfit tap dancing.

I don't have trouble with a 7 year old on stage but I have trouble when she is given a score by "judges." Also, I think it is just a HUGE money making scheme. All the entry fees, etc... And we dealt with Dance Masters most of the time which according to a lot of people, is one of the better competition outfits around.

But anyway, I am rambling. I don't mean to put down people who do dance competitions...we did it for years and C. has some amazing memories. I just think for me personally that the younger ones shouldn't be competing. When you are a teenager yes but I have seen SO many girls pushed and pushed and pushed. Wrong.

I guess hindsight is 20/20 huh?

Back from the Dr.

January 6th, 2009 at 09:16 pm

Well, I'm back to my couch. Visited my physician and he thinks I probably have the flu. He said if I don't start improving significantly in two days that I might have a secondary infection and will need an antibiotic.

He gave me the narcotic cough syrup that allowed me to take a nap without waking up every 15 min. to cough which I swear I did last night!

Had to spend money today but not too much. My copay is only 5.00 and the medicine was pretty cheap. I also bought more kleenex and vaseline for my nose!

So that is my grand update for the day. Not too exciting! At least I don't have pneumonia...yet!

Really Sick

January 6th, 2009 at 02:36 pm

I am so sick. I will be going to the Dr. in one hour. I can't breathe, my nose is stuffed, I have a terrible burning cough and I am wheezing. I have a fever.

Started getting sick on Saturday and I thought by now I should be getting better but I am a lot worse. A lot.

I blame my husband for giving me this dreaded virus? or bacteria? I don't know, I think I may be developing a secondary infection which is bacterial in origin. But then again it might just be the flu. I might come home with an antibiotic but I am going to ask for Codeine/guaifenesin for this horrible burning cough.

I can't stand being sick!!! I have so many things I need to do around the house and I can hardly move other than to sit on this couch.

At least yesterday I could breathe through my mouth. Now that is hard because of my lungs.

Well, sorry for this rambling complaining post. I had to "get this off my chest." haha. terrible joke.

Questions and sad news

January 5th, 2009 at 01:03 pm

I found out yesterday my paternal grandmother died. On my father's birthday...which was December 31st. The way I found out was through reading our local paper...well, actually my grandma read the paper and called me.

Now, I am not a cold hearted person at all but I am finding it hard to feel like someone should feel when their grandmother dies. I hardly knew her. Not that I didn't want to, but I never got the chance. My father has lived in Arizona most of my life and the grandma has mostly lived in Arizona, Florida and now Ohio the last several years.

My father has not been a stellar person. I saw him erratically growing up and he would always promise me all these fantastic things then not come through. But I am ok with that I think. He would always send the obligatory Christmas and Birthday presents and occasionally fly me out to visit but that was the extent of our relationship. He left when I was six and I saw him again at ages: 7, 12, 17, 19, 20, 22, 28, 32. That's it.

One time he moved to Texas for a couple years and he didn't tell me and his number was out of service so for months I didn't know if he was dead or alive!

But enough of that.

I am upset that he didn't call me right away. Even the next day would have been fine but 5 days? Plus, she was in a nursing home less than an hour away and I could have taken the girls to see her because they had only met her once. But of course I am not privy to any of that information.

The other part that gets me is that in the obituary it has listed that she had 11 grandchildren...she had twelve because I have a half sister who was completely ignored worse than me. But who knows, I may be that forgotten granddaughter.

Oh, and another line stated, "She loved spending time with her grandchildren." Really? That is news to me!

Ok, I should stop now. Sorry, I just feel angry and hurt.

But my dad ended up calling late last night. I didn't tell him I knew until after he told me. He didn't find that surprising. M. thinks someone called him and reminded him it might be a good idea to let his daughter know but I don't think so. No one has his number except my grandma and I know she didn't do that.

I am hurt because my dad didn't think to let me know she was that ill and then when she died waited a week to tell me. Having to find out your grandma died through the local paper is kind of surreal.

The same thing happened when my grandpa died and I ended up not attending the funeral because M. was out of town and I felt too scared to go by myself.

But this time we are going to the calling hours and the funeral. They are on Thursday and Friday and are an hour away so we are going to be there!

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Ok, now I need to abruptly change the subject in case anyone is still reading this lengthy dissertation. Again, I hope I don't sound cold but it is hard to be in mourning for someone you hardly know.

Someone told me that since DH doesn't have an office he works at and his office is at our house in a spare bedroom that would could somehow deduct that from our taxes. Is this true?

There literally is no office for him to work at. He travels to job sites but the only office is in Israel. So can we deduct that space somehow that is 100% dedicated to his job? Also, what about his car? He gets reimbursed mileage but he drives it all over the country when he doesn't fly.

If someone more intelligent than me could answer that would be greatly appreciated.

Should I work less to earn more?

January 4th, 2009 at 08:51 pm

Well my grand notion that we would be getting a large tax refund has imploded. Thanks to my incompetance regarding tax law I was completely off. Sad.

It looks like we may break even or possibly even owe. This is painful!

The problem? We made too much money. So that basically means all that work I do is getting eaten up in taxes. It means that four day stretch of living on 4 or (if I'm lucky) 5 hours of sleep daily is worth very little. The stress is not worth it.

Now, by me saying we make too much is not to imply we are rich. We are not. We are buried in too much debt and we both love to spend money...hence the debt. However, we have made great strides these past few months to change our spending habits and reduce our debt. Could we make it with me working 3 days a week instead of four?

Yes.

Would we have less money to play with? Absolutely!

But, I hate the idea of working to just pay taxes. If I can spend more time at home with my kids then that is what I will do.

I have also wondered about investing more and if that would make a difference...I'm not sure it would.

I don't plan on cutting back just yet, if I do it will be late spring/early summer. I mentioned it to M. but we need to talk about it in more detail before arriving at a decision. The good thing about being a nurse is that I can easily pick up extra time if I need to.

Well, we had our big party last night and had to contend with three bad drunks. One threw up on our front porch and the other mooned everybody. I don'tlike to drink so I was completely sober. M. drank a little but wasn't drunk. It was a pretty good time I guess.

I am very sick today. Aches, pain, stuffy nose, fever and sore throat. Even tylenol and Ibuprofen is helping just barely. I am wearing a Breathe Right strip on my nose around the clock.

I just watched the Cavs lose by two points! The first game I watch all season and they lose! BOO!

Work Evaluation

January 2nd, 2009 at 11:42 pm

As I was scrambling to leave work a few minutes early today to get C. to her Dr. appt. my supervisor stopped by and asked if I could come to her office after I was done so she could give me my evaluation. I swear I just had an evaluation a few months ago but I guess it's been a year!

Well, I went to her office and read through my evaluation. It was all good and I was rated excellent on quality of work, job knowledge, creativity and cooperating/getting along with co-workers.

My area of improvement? Supervisory skills. I already knew this. In fact, I have posted about this before. According to my evaluation I need to be more "assertive" in dealing with nursing assistants and not let them "overstep" me.

I couldn't agree more but seeing that other people recognize this in me is a little hard to take. I guess it makes me feel really ineffective as a "leader."

I am going to work on this. I have to get over this idea that I need to be friends with everyone. That just can't happen all the time.

So, that was the evaluation. On the positive side the other comments were "very good" and "very caring." Not too shabby.

I guess I can breathe a sigh of relief...my job appears to be safe!

Clutter update

January 2nd, 2009 at 08:35 am

We worked hard today on our clutter problem. In the kitchen I organized one cupboard using baskets to store our medications/vitamins in. I probably threw out more bottles than I kept.

We also cleaned the stove top and wiped down all the cabinets. M. shampooed the carpets in E.'s room, the living room and the den.

Tomorrow we will attack our bedroom. We will be moving all the furniture to sweep and shampoo the carpet.

My spending has been out of control due to buying pizza and cleaning supplies...along with paying my cousin 45.00 to help me. But it was totally worth it.

She is a college student and is always in desperate need for money so if I was going to pay someone to help me clean at least it was to someone I love!

Clutter

January 1st, 2009 at 02:02 pm

As the name of my blog suggests, I am on a journey, a quest, hike, a lazy "meander" and sometimes a sweaty stumble to achieve simplicity in my life. A road block on this trip is the clutter that consumes my life.

I have lived as a frantic consumer for too long and my house reflects this. I feel burdened by my "stuff." Yet for some reason I can't seem to let go of it. Clutter builds around me in heaps and piles and it chokes my mind...inhibits my expression.

I need to make a greater effort to get rid of it.

I have expanded my three ring binder beyond the realm of bills and haphazard menus and shopping lists to contain distinct sections related to getting my life in order.

I have calendars I printed for FREE off different websites and that list daily, monthly, yearly cleaning/home organization goals. I feel like this is the most effort I have ever given to free myself of the excessive "stuff" in my life.

This is all related to finance I believe because with greater clarity comes the ability to discern the superfluous from the necessary.

Thus begins my journey to declutter my life.

Happy New Year!!!

January 1st, 2009 at 08:16 am

Just a quick check in to wish everyone a blessed, prosperous, 2009. My hope is to be content with what I have and achieve simplicity and balance in my life.

I have been busy working and also having fun the last day or two!

Much accomplished today!

December 30th, 2008 at 09:53 pm

The laundry room is CLEAN!
yay!
We did a lot of laundry, cleaned all the kitchen windows, took down the tree, PUT AWAY CLOTHES!
Among a few other things.

I feel so relieved. We still have a lot of mess to deal with but cleanliness is being restored to our abode.

We made an appointment for Edgar to get groomed on Friday so even the dog will be shining clean for the party!

In my three ring binder under home management I have January's cleaning schedule nearly complete. Let's just hope I can accomplish these chores.

So far, today is a NSD but M. will be going to town soon to get carpet cleaner and some other cleaning supplies that we absolutely need...like laundry detergent.

Well, this isn't the most riveting blog but it feels so good to write about what I have accomplished today!

I'm off for a nap now.

My journal

December 30th, 2008 at 03:28 pm

This past summer, on my first quest to become organized with my money and organized in general, I took an old 3 ring binder, threw in some folders and used it to hold all my bills, grocery lists and my daughter's schedules/receipts from school.

It has evolved from there and I don't know what I would do without it!

The idea came from the website Organized Home. Now I use it to hold monthly calendars I printed out (for free!)In my "home management" section I list weekly and monthly "chores." I LOVE lists so this works out great for me.

I also use it for all my bills, master grocery list, meal planner and I have a section for C. and E. that holds schedules and other important papers to be dealt with.

It has helped to organize my life! My first section "planning" now lists all my 2009 goals!

_______________________________________

I have a lot of work to do this week to get ready for the party. My cousin is coming over today and we're going to get started. I have decided to take a box and hit my laundry room/bedroom and just throw away clothes. If they have laid in a pile for months then we really don't need them.

If they are clean I will donate them to save and serve but if not they are getting burned. This is the only way I can deal with this situation right now without losing my mind.

After I tackle the clothes I will focus on CLEANING the laundry room! It will be wonderful to have a clean laundry room!

So, that is the plan for today. I also work 11-7 tonight so I will have to plan for at least a 2 hour nap this evening.

This is going to be a busy week.

Happy Monday

December 29th, 2008 at 01:53 pm

I keep thinking something is wrong. We have nothing to do. No appointments, no work, no games, no school. Yet, I feel this subtle jerk in my consciousness that says, "You're going to be late...the appointment can't be made up...etc..."

Am I so stressed out? I think maybe I am. I don't know how to relax. I love having nothing to do. It is wonderful. Of course, I need to clean but that is different than having to rush to events relying on the clock.

So that is my Monday. Sometime today I will get some groceries but there is no rush. Sometime I will start laundry but again, no rush.

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In other news, I stumbled across Joel (?) Osteen on Larry King. Isn't he the pastor? I think but correct me if I am wrong. He was sitting there with his wife and they were both wearing these plastered on smiles and the wife's eyes were actually protrubing from either an overactive thyroid gland or the residual effects of being brainwashed.

But anyway...he actually said that while people should be frugal and responsible during this economic recession families who are still making the same amount of money they have in the past should still keep buying. They shouldn't stop buying things because that will just continue to worsen this crisis. Is he working for Visa?

Most people I know were spending more than they had coming in...I was!

Maybe this sudden wave of "frugality" isn't the result of a spending freeze but a general societal shift to stop relying on credit. What do you think?



Sunday

December 28th, 2008 at 10:54 am

Nothing was accomplished yesterday except me sleeping and working 8 hours. I left 30 min. early because I felt so hideous. I am hoping the fact I slept almost 15 hours (combined)will get me through the day.

The house is filthy and I have laundry up to my eyeballs. As soon as I get home from work I will be cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry and baking the bread my family has come to expect.

We also need to go grocery shopping so I gotta throw that in there.

ugh...I am tired already. The cold I thought I was getting has dissipated. Maybe all that sleep. Plan on paying my car today too! I totally forgot to pay it and it was due on December 26th. Luckily, no late fee yet!

Saturday blog

December 27th, 2008 at 05:53 pm

I am TIRED today and feel like I am getting a cold. Unfortunately, I am at work until 3pm. It is 1p now so only 2 more hours! I will be outta here at 3 too. No staying over today.

I am supposed to go grocery shopping with hubby tonight but I might need a quick nap first. I also need to make sure to fit in 20 minutes on the wii.

Next Saturday is our big party. I have a lot of work to do. I also have to work 4 days in a row this coming week...I will have to get my cousin to help.!

Exercise

December 27th, 2008 at 03:16 am

YAY! I just did my first 22 minutes of exercise on the wii fit!

This was E.'s present but I think the entire family will enjoy it. We had a great Christmas and I am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Hopefully it will go fast!

I plan on trying to average 20 minutes of exercise each day. Maybe some days I will do 40 minutes or 60 minutes but I would like it to average out to 140 minutes a week. My first goal is to lose 10 lbs. by January 31st. This may seem excessive but the first month should be the easiest time to lose considering I have 40 lbs. to get rid!

I visited Pat Catan's and used my gift certificate to get a really cute basket, candle and reed diffuser. Then I went to Kohl's and used another gift certificate and got myself a purse that was $22, original price of $44. I no longer have to carry my daughter's old bookbag for a purse!

We also visited Bath and Body where I shelled out $37 of my own money for friend/cheerleading presents. I guess the cheerleaders are having a party and are supposed to bring $10 gifts to exchange IF they want to...of course E. wants to!

We also bought presents for 3 of her friends who gave her a gift. They are getting Pink.

I received many nice gifts for Christmas. My mom gave me money, gift certificates, a silver necklace and some candles, candleholders. I wasn't expecting that much.

I hope everyone out there had a great Christmas!

quick check in

December 26th, 2008 at 08:36 pm

Had a great christmas here. We are all having fun with the wii fit. Tonight we are heading to the mall, I hope it's not too busy!

One more day!

December 23rd, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Or night and then I am home with my family for three days! So happy! DH is off too. I have been enjoying a change in routine, no running to gymnstics, picking kids up from practice, games etc... It is nice to be removed from that frantic pace.

In the tax news: I have no idea if we are getting that money back. DH thinks his paystub is not correct. Who knows. sigh. If we don't get any back the good news is that DH is getting a bonus after all so we should still be on track to reduce our credit card debt by a lot.

That is my new definite goal and it is a big one. Even if we don't get the taxes back I still want to reduce our debt by 10k this coming year.

My cinnamon rolls are almost gone and I have ate so many sweets in the last 24 hours I may have to install an insulin pump. It is almost sickening. There are literally boxes of sugar cookies and trays of chocolates surrounding me at work. So hard to resist.

We got our propane tank filled today. Have not looked at the bill yet. Don't know if I want to.



2009 goals revisited...maybe

December 23rd, 2008 at 01:46 am

Ok this will be the last time I blog today. Three times in a day is crazy but I am just really excited about the possible large tax refund! It is so hard to wait. I hate to get excited for it if it isn't true! However, I called up a friendly coworker who does taxes on the side and she told me that yes, I should be getting a refund that large because they taxed DH's bonus so heavily.

yay!

Well, IF this comes to pass (I am cynnical and pessimistic) I have some new goals in mind!

This will pay off all but about 12,000 of credit card debt.

I will put 500 into EF

In March, with my car paid off and braces paid in full we will have an extra 510.00 each month. This means we will be able to apply 1,300 each month to the last two cards!

And, we will have 1,300 left over on top of that so technically we can apply 2,600 to the cards each month! However, I will try to be saving some of that. (IF this actually happens.)

Dare I say that it is possible to be out of credit card debt by this July or August?

Never in a million years would I have thought we could go from having 21k in credit card debt and in 12 months have 0.
BUT, if this tax thing is for real and if our jobs stay intact there should be no reason we can't do this.

That means the next major debt is the 40k home equity loan. Then the 9k student loan and finally the 200k mortgage!

Well, it's a rough plan anyhow.

I baked more homemade bread and cinnamon rolls today. Going to take the cinnamon rolls to work for everybody. They are baking now and smell heavenly! I have got my children spoiled with homemade bread.

I bought almost 1 lb. of Red Star dry active yeast in bulk at an Amish store for 2.20! If any of you out there buy yeast at Walmart or the grocery store you know this is good. The puny little packets cost around 50 cents!

I am going to start shopping more at the bulk store.

DH is designing a kitchen island for us. He found one on ebay for 2500! Way too much. He thinks he can make it for maybe 500? Who knows though...he has never tried out a project like this. We won't do it until this summer...hopefully!

I might contact one of my close Amish friends growing up. He works in a woodshop now making furniture so just maybe he can give us some advice.

I am off to the shower and then to work.

Questions answered...I think

December 22nd, 2008 at 04:26 pm

Well. I checked out the turbo tax calculator and the official IRS site calculator. They verified the results of the H&R block site...according to these calculations we will be receiving $9,000 back in taxes. I am stunned. I was expecting MAYBE 2,000. This is truly amazing.

I plugged in the numbers at these different sites at least 20 times but I absolutely will not believe it until the money is in my account. Still think it is too good to be true. I guess we will find out in February.

In other news, this is big news I have decided to share. We found out today, my daughter (age 14) has lupus. We have visited many specialists in the last 2 years for these vague complaints that have been just getting worse. Fatigue, joint pain, headaches, faint rashes, fingers and toes turning white,purple,red etc...

Finally, it seems we have an answer. This isn't a big shock. We knew over a month ago that a blood test (ANA) had come back very positive and that this was a strong indication of lupus. But today the rheumotologist finally said it.

On the way home, C. took a deep breath and said, "I am relieved. This isn't the worst thing that could happen to me. And we FINALLY know!" I agree wholeheartedly with her. I don't want her to have this but we will deal with it and go on with our lives.

I have to say though, that I am disappointed it took over 2 years to get to this diagnosis. I feel like we were dismissed so many times. And with me being a nurse and so insistant it seems it almost made the diagnosis come slower. So many times, I feel like our family Dr. thought I was overreacting and being a hypochondriac. He even went so far as to suggest C. was "depressed" and "just going through adolescence." and that I should "relax." He even put her on Prozac, though we stopped it after 2 months.

But we have an answer now so I won't waste time dwelling on the past. She had 19 labs checked today and we go back on January 2nd. I am guessing that is when they will prescribe some kind of medication.

Just going to breathe in and out slowly.

DH is away today but will return tonight. I am working tonight and tomorrow. Need to finish wrapping - I got a good start yesterday though!

A question

December 22nd, 2008 at 10:55 am

How accurate is H&R tax calculator in estimating your refund? I plugged in all my info. and I know it's accurate and it is telling me we are getting a 9k refund!!!

We have never received so much, but, M. got a bonus of 26,500 (not all at once, half at a time) and I was convinced at the time that we overpaid in taxes. Together with our state and federal income taxes we have paid almost 35k in taxes!

Does anyone out there have any info? Am I missing something, I took into account our mortgage interest, real estate taxes, student loan interest, charity, IRA contributions.

This seems too good to be true so that means it probably is!

Weekend Update

December 21st, 2008 at 03:49 pm

We spent $130 for groceries/household supplies yesterday. This will be meals through next Friday plus certain staples.
I feel good about what I spent. My goal is to limit weekly groceries and household supplies to $125 so, not too shabby.

We are having ham, homemade mashed potatoes, green beans and homemade bread and cinnamon rolls today. I have never made cinnamon rolls before so wish me luck!

Last night we had a tasty supper:
Linguine with homemade alfredo sauce and boneless/skinless chicken breasts
marinated then blackened and seasoned with ground peppercorn and italian seasoning.
chopped broccoli mixed in.
ceasar salad.

No dessert! I had a moderate sized portion and no seconds. Had crystal light lemonade instead of pop.

DH has given up coke and has been drinking gallons of iced tea he makes every other day or so. Saves a lot of money! We did buy a two liter of coke, and Walmart brand lemon lime pop last night...I think it was 1.25 and 80 cents. That will be the only pop we will buy for the week.

I woke up at 5am because I went to bed at 8:30. I started to organize in preparation for our annual New Year's party. Mostly I sorted and threw A LOT of stuff away. I feel overwhelmed by it all. My laundry room is still a disaster and I might just have to go in there with a trash bag and throw away a bunch of stuff that has been laying on the floor forever and that obviously, we don't really need.

My house has to be spotless by January 3rd. (The day of the party...I have to work New years eve, boo.)

There is a wicked wind blowing today and I turned the heat up to 67. We have wood type blinds on our living room windows that face west but I need to break down and spend the money on fabric to make curtains. That will help keep the heat in even more.

I have been blogging since the end of October and my life has since started to become more and more organized. One thing I am learning is that it is a work in progress. Another thing I have realized is that, when you do things right, it takes time and lots of energy. I am getting there.
I will list what I have done well these past 2 months and then list what I still need to get to work on.

1. Definitely the grocery shopping and meal planning. I have done really well in this area and it saves time and money.

2. Organizing our finances. The budget is still getting revised every week but we are getting the hang of things. I know the amount of all my debts and have a plan to pay them off.

3. Place for my bills. I have a large three ring binder that I use to hold the bills and coupons, recipes I want to try and grocery lists. I also have a tablet where I write the bills down and everything I pay per month.

4. All cash Christmas. First time in my life...well, since having credit cards.

5. No going out to eat. I took the girls out to our fave restaurant in November during out Christmas shopping trip. Other than that, there have been no meals out other than very rare stops at Wendy's or Mcdonalds for ice cream/frostys or snack wraps. We haven't even ordered out for Pizza. We either make homemade or buy frozen.

6. My husband and I are working on this together.

7. Making savings a priority. May not be much yet, but I am doing it.

Now, let's move on to the things I need to improve.

1. Laundry. It is my nemesis. I hate folding and putting away. I need to get this under control and establish a good system.

2. Clutter. My house needs decluttered and organized. Enough said.

3. Cleaning my bedroom. I neglect this area because I think it doesn't matter because no one sees it. But I do and I want to make it clean, comfy and cozy.

4. Exercising. I weigh 166 lbs.

5. Getting my kids to clean their rooms. This is like pulling teeth.

So, I have made lots of progress and I still have lots to work on.




The Scale

December 20th, 2008 at 06:56 pm

I got on the scale. I weigh 166 lbs.

I just want to cry. This is the heaviest I have ever been. I weigh more than my husband.

If I got my money situation under control then I should be able to do the weight right?

I guess I made it past the first scary step...facing the situation head on.

What I spent today: Nothing yet

What I ate today (so far):
small chocolate ice cream
couple handfuls of popcorn (healthy kind)
water
low calorie vegetable soup

$20/Weekend Goals

December 20th, 2008 at 02:35 am

That is how much money we spent today. Went to C.'s game. $12 to get in the door and another $8 on food.

Speaking of food, I didn't eat very much today.
Cottage cheese
lettuce with french dressing
sugar cookie
frosting off another sugar cookie
a couple handfuls of popcorn
water
bottle of pepsi
sip of gatorade.

Not too bad as far as caloric intake but pretty bad nutritionally. But, I slept most of the day. I'm going to guess it was around 1,000 calories.

I have not got on the scale yet...I am too scared. I keep trying on my new size 12 pants and as long as they are as tight as they are I just cannot look at the scale.

Kind of like when my bills were out of control and I couldn't face the mail or my own checkbook.

I suppose I will have to eventually get on the scale but not today.

I have a lot of goals for this weekend. My top three are
1. EXERCISE!
2. Bake bread
3. Make weekly meal list and go shopping.

I also want to do laundry and clean around the house but the top three are my main goals. oops, I forgot wrapping! I'll have to get that done next week I guess. I usually end up wrapping the day or two before Christmas so this is nothing new.

Have to work tonight but then I am off for three days and I am also off the 24th, 25th and 26th! SO EXCITED!

Small update

December 19th, 2008 at 06:11 am

I got paid today. After paying all my bills my grand total in savings is:

$422.10

Almost halfway to my 1,000 EF goal!

Of course, this doesn't really count because we have to pay DH's tires and Christmas, but hey, I am MUCH better off than I was 3 months ago!

losing weight

December 18th, 2008 at 11:19 pm

...is something I have to do. My size 12! pants I bought ONE MONTH ago are tight. Most of my life I have been a size 4-6 but in the last 3 years it seems I have been falling apart...I think it has to do with working night shift.

But yes, I have to lose weight. I cannot even look at myself in the mirror. Vanity aside, it is a major health issue. Diabetes runs in my family and as a nurse I am fully aware of the increased risk of many diseases I am subjecting myself to by being overweight. I weigh more than when I gave birth to my children.

Yesterday, a patient of mine died. They had just discharged her and she was so excited to get home. She walked out the door and sat down in the car and died. Just like that. Turned purple and died.

She was morbidly obese. She was diabetic. She could hardly walk because of her weight. She had so many health problems. I am guessing she had an embolism. Because she couldn't move well and was so overweight she probably had a blood clot that traveled to her lungs or heart.

Sad part is, I am not shocked at all. Not one bit.

This is why I need to lose weight. Being a size 12 is NOT acceptable when you are barely 5'3".

I dread getting on the scale. I have decided to join a gym. Beginning in January they run a 3 month biggest loser contest. I am entering. It is the only way I know that I have a serious shot at getting healthy.

I don't want to shell out 150.00 but do I want mega medical bills and a shortened life span because of the effects of being overweight?

I will not feel guilty spending this money.

Had to withdraw $15.00 out of savings today for food and copay for Dr. appt. Disappointing. The next two weeks I am going to try MUCH harder and be more careful with my spending so that I won't have to withdrawal money to get me to payday.

I am off for a quick nap and then it's time to go to work. Have a nice night everybody.

2009 goals again!

December 17th, 2008 at 08:49 pm

Our 2009 goals are starting to firm up. This weekend DH is ripping the carpet out of the walk in closet. We have decided to focus a lot of our efforts on our master bedroom/bathroom this year. We want to:

Replace all the flooring. *only if we have the cash available!

Tile in the bathroom and wood (or "wood" laminate) in the bedroom and closet.

Paint the walls and trim. I have picked out a pale blue and we will do the trim in white.

Buy new sheet set for our bed.

MAYBE a new comforter, depends on the money.

New bed pillows, throw pillows and curtains. I have made all the curtains in my home...some with the help of my MIL's sewing ability even though I CAN sew...just not as well as her. I have also made or re-covered all the throw pillows in our house.

I am excited to get started on this project. It will be nice when it is all done and I will definitely post some pics. Hopefully we can get it finished by summer, of course depending on the price!

I will treat this as a challenge to make it as budget wise as possible. Luckily I have a brilliant husband who can do anything so he will put in all the floors himself and all those crazy years of credit card spending mean we have a lot of tools already to do the work!

We have a store in a nearby town that sells discontinued tile and wood flooring so we will check that out first. The bathroom is fairly small so it shouldn't be too expensive.

___________________________________

Have not wrapped one present yet but I will do that this weekend. Tonight I am going to walmart to get wrapping supplies. I LOVE wrapping presents. I am that person that goes overboard and embellishes every package to the extreme. Such a great creative outlet.

Well, I announced to another nurse and an aide that I had applied for a prn hospital job so the rumor that I am quitting should be starting to circulate today. I'm NOT quitting.

What I have decided to do is keep my regular job and work one or two shifts a month at the hospital. If I like it and want to pick up more time I will and then drop my schedule at current job to 3 days a week. I should bring in an extra $250-$500 every month. This extra money will be how I will pay for my bedroom makeover plus keep paying down the credit cards.

I am excited. I need to get my brain running again. I love my current job but it is pretty easy and doesn't take a rocket scientist to do.

This is my third NSD! YES! I am going to walmart tonight but I am using my gift certificate so I am not going to count that...is that ok? Sure it is.

Forever 21!

December 16th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

I love this store but I am so mad at them right now!

Got my order in today, opened up the box and they didn't send two navi camisole's I bought for C. and E. These are Christmas presents that go specifically with the other clothes I bought them!!

I called their customer service and they are "doing an investigation." It will take "10 to 14 days." When I asked the representative if I would receive the cami's or get a refund on the AMEX all she said was "it is under investigation."

Luckily, these camisole's only cost 2.50 each but STILL! FRUSTRATION!

I guess I could drive an hour to the closest mall with a Forever 21 store but I REALLY don't want to and what is the guarantee they will have these two navy cami's in extra smalls???

Warning: DO NOT BUY ANYTHING EXPENSIVE ONLINE FROM FOREVER 21.

I guess we will see how it is handled in the next "10-14 days."

I am probably making too big a deal out of this but I think this is the "straw the broke the camel's back." Is that how it goes?

This time of year is too stressful for me. It gets dark TOO EARLY. And we are facing a major winter storm tonight and I have NO TRUCK because the tires are BALD and aren't scheduled to be changed until this Friday.

Sorry, I am not usually this grouchy and mean over 5.00.

I am going to inhale and exhale now.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Not working so much?

December 16th, 2008 at 07:16 pm

I am wrestling with a decision. Should I reduce my working hours from 32 per week to 24 per week? Before you look at my debts and think I must be insane hear me out: I have the chance to work a prn job at another hospital where they pay around $28 per hour. The only thing is that there is no set schedule...which could be good or bad. Bad because the hours are not guaranteed and good because I can work when I want to...as much as I want to.

The problem with working per diem at the hospital won't be a lack of hours, there will be as much as I want, but a lack of the hours I prefer to work. I may have to work 3-11 occassionally. And that is a risk I don't know if I can take. Even though 90% of the time I will be able to pick up on nights it is not guaranteed.

What to do?

The idea of only having a set schedule of 3 days per week sounds like heaven! Because the hospital pays so much more I wouldn't have to pick up an extra day every week. I would pick up an extra 12 hours twice a month for sure and then if I needed the money I could pick up more.

A lot of this is psychological. I love not HAVING to go to work. Even though, technically, I will still have to work, I can DECIDE what days/hours.

Still, what scares me is giving away my 2 days a pay at my regular work. If I absolutely hate the hospital what if I can't get those 2 days back? I know that there are two RN's who are quitting by this summer but of course that is never a guarantee and they could easily hire somebody in. ARGH!

Another thing also, the hospital work is a lot more fast paced and sounds interesting as it is working with psychiatric patients. Plus did I mention it pays at least $28 per hour??

Of course another downside is that this hospital is 45-55 min. from my home. FAR.

So, I am just contemplating. I have no intentions of making radical changes any time soon. The hospital opportunity will always be there. I would wait until the end of January to do this anyway.

I don't know, maybe the grass isn't greener on the other side. Maybe there is a reason they pay so high. A not so good reason that they can't keep a full staff.

Well, I am glad I got that off my chest and onto er...not paper but screen. It is out there in the universe and not muddling up my brain. I will not make any hasty decisions that is for sure but it is nice to know I have this opportunity if I choose to take it.

________________________________________

I received a $25 Walmart gift certificate last night at the work party...forgot to mention. I will use it for food and probably $5 of it for wrapping paper and tape. I have some left from last year but probably not enough for everything.

SO far it is another NSD for me. Can't believe it. Two days in a row!

I won!

December 16th, 2008 at 02:03 am

A poinsettia. At my company Christmas party. It is very pretty. I guess you would call it ivory. I would have preferred winning a weeks vacation but oh well.

The food was amazing and out of this world. All you could eat and I ate until i thought I would burst. Mashed potatoes, chicken, ham, green beans, noodles, rolls, pop and for dessert I had date pudding (heaven on earth) and a few bites of coconut cream pie.

I need to exercise!

The biggest prize they gave away was a lcd or plasma (something like that) large television. The woman who won it is worth close to one million dollars. If you ask me that is just wrong. Knowing her though, she will probably give it away of donate it to charity...she is a very nice person. I just felt bad because I sat with my friend ML. and I wanted her to win something like that.

ML. is the one that can't afford to get her kids anything this year for Christmas. I gave her the two pair of jeans for her daughter tonight plus another Hollister shirt and a 2.00 huggies coupon.

We had a blast. Her boyfriend is HILARIOUS. (Though very dirty sometimes!)
Our other friend R. who is transgendered woman, sat with us and I was kind of disappointed in a middle aged gentlemen at a neighboring table giving her the "evil eye." Maybe I am too sensitive about this. Anyway, we had a good time.

Today was a NSD! Amazingly. Just got to make it through Thursday. 3 more days.



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