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Archive for December, 2008

Much accomplished today!

December 30th, 2008 at 01:53 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 07:28 am

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 05:53 am

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.

______________________________________

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 02:54 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 09:53 am

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 26th, 2008 at 07:16 pm

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 12:36 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 02:16 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 22nd, 2008 at 05:46 pm

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 08:26 am

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 02:55 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 07:49 am

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.