Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 is almost upon us...

I have been thinking & thinking of what I want my goals to be in 2009 & I still haven't narrowed it down to a set list of things that can be accomplished.

To review 2008 -

1. Budget our money better
2. Pay down our debt
3. Use savings, rebates & misc found money to fund our emergency fund.
4. Blog daily.
5. Work on DIY project everyday.
6. Do better with cards for family & friends.
7. Focus on more MYO foods.
8. Eliminate more clutter

Well we didn't do well with a lot of these, like the blog everyday and the cards for family & friends. But I did accomplish one task not on the list, we went back to church! Finally got the hubby to get out the door & decide to go.

We also had to deal with my Mother in law's illness & passing, but we did accomplish some things like MYO food & eating from the pantry. I'm actually stressed because it's looking bare, unless you really like chicken & rice soup (I get tons from my Grandma). We cut our eating out way back. We went from a couple times a week to maybe once a week, or every other.

Organizing & tossing - I did manage to get a lot out, but there is a lot more to go. I'm not sure where it all came from but the guest bedroom became storage & it all has to go!

Paying down our debt was accomplished mostly because we finally cleared up some nagging medical bills. Oh we didn't pay them, we just made out insurance company do their job. I think that & actually paying some bills we were able to clear up about $4800 in debt. Now we need to tackle the other medical bills, from the birth of my now 5 year old. It's going to be difficult, but I'm considering a lawyer. Apparently the insurance company not only didn't insure my daughter from her day of birth (coverage started on Dec 1, she was born Nov 21) the hospital confused my husband with my father in law, somehow on the official paper work. Not sure how, all our paperwork is correct. Of course the hospital has no record & hasn't been able to find any record in the last 2 years. I'm not sure what our recourse will be in the end, but I just can't bring myself to make a payment on something that was supposed to be covered by insurance I was paying for at the time... Confused? I was!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

The kids are home. School was canceled due to the forecast of a lot of snow. So I have lost my day to catch up, wrap presents & enjoy some peace & quiet! Hubby will be home from work early, so hopefully I can head up to the sewing room & get a couple of these adorable aprons made. I picked up some fantastic fabric at Wal*mart the other day. It had such a great feel and will make lovely aprons. I also want to put together a few of these slippers.

I do feel bad for the kids though, they were both supposed to have Holiday parties today & I still have their teacher gifts. I guess it'll have to wait until after break now. Of course the elementary kids were supposed to have their sing along today too. They've been working so hard, I hope the school lets them hold it when they go back.

The kids were up early, and I woke up to the 5:55 school phone call, yikes, but we're still moving pretty slow.

I just sat down at my desk to get it cleaned off. It amazes me how quickly papers pile up here. We are supposed to have dentist appointments today but I had to reschedule. It's really coming down now.

After I finish with my desk I am moving on the the kitchen. I really need to clear off my shelf. Hubby uses it to empty his pockets, so there's a ton of stuff up there!

Happy snowy Friday!!!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

I've been so swamped!

I've been barely getting through my blog reader & email each day, right now I should be emptying the dish washer & starting on cookie dough. I have 2 1/2 hours until I have to pick the Princess up from school, it really isn't long enough!

I have several sewing projects in the works, we have the artificial tree up, most of the decorations are out. I'm just not feeling it this year. I'm going to blame my birthday or hormones!

Thankfully our finances should be back to normal by the end of December (or as normal as possible). Maybe I'll have something frugal to talk about then, and our get out of debt plan will be up & running! We'll see my hubby has a way of planning & then tossing our plan out the window for his, LOL! You know like, I'm going to get this work from home job & get my MBA online starting this fall, so you can go get a job because I'll be home for the kids... That lasted like 5 minutes after I got my job!!! There was an issue with his registration & financial aid, apparently he didn't get immunization forms back in June with the packet & then we had an interesting time trying to locate the most up to date ones & Then he got a job working as a food coordinator at our local food bank & soup kitchen...

I am happy about the job, both of them, I really like what I'm doing & I think he can be very effective in the job he has, it's just right now trying to make his full time schedule work with my part time schedule & only 1 vehicle... it's stressful for me. Mostly because I am a little OCD (ha!) and it just feels out of control to me & I don't like it. And with no one being home 3 days a week it's made babysitting a problem. Right now they go to my Mom's when they aren't in school. It's worked out so far, but again, it's stressful!

So, I'm going to put on some Christmas music & do something!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tackle it Wednesday???

I worked Monday & Tuesday so I didn't get my Tackle up or my to do list for the week!
Sunday we are having a little birthday party for the Princess. Nothing too big & just 2 hours, but I will have a house full of 3, 4, & 5 year olds, yikes!!!

Today's list
Empty dishwasher
dust mop floors
deposit @ bank
Grocery shop a little
clear front room for decorating
spend 30 minutes in guest bedroom, flinging
Bring up Christmas decor

This week:
Pick up a cake & snacks
Send treat to preschool Friday
put up tree
clear fall stuff off front porch
set up Dr appointments (flu shots, overdue, oops)
Spend time in sewing room

My Favorite Local Wines for the Holidays (or anytime)

There is one thing that I throw my "cheap" hat out the window for and that is wine! Don't get me wrong, sometimes a $10 jug will do, but I'll splurge on local wines if I can! By splurge I still don't spend over $20 (in fact it's usually under $15). New York state has some fabulous wineries & I am unlucky lucky enough to have the Chautauqua Wine Trail in my back yard! Most of our wines are available in our local wine & liquor stores so I can get a variety in one stop. Of course it is nice to stop into the winery, especially if you want to try before you buy!

Sparkling Ponds makes a few I enjoy but our favorite is the "Woman Pleaser" the splash of cranberry is a nice touch, very drinkable.

Vetter Vineyards is a small rural winery with a big selection of nice wines.
Brig Niagara and the Concord are 2 of my favorites.

On a wine trail tour a few years ago we discovered Willow Creek Wines had a Merlot that I could drink. That is an accomplishment, since I don't care for the dry oak-y stuff.

One of our older wineries has an annual Strawberry Festival and they make a Strawberry Festival Wine that is tasty & fun! They also make my current favorite Bella Rosa, it's a very nice semi-sweet red.

With New York making it more winery friendly in recent years, we have had several new ones that I haven't had a chance to visit yet (like 5 or so!) We'll get there some time I'm sure, guess I'll have to drag my Mom out for a couple stops some Sunday afternoon!!!

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Monday, December 1, 2008

We survived!

2 Turkey dinners, 2 birthdays, 1 anniversary & one major cold for me! Thankfully I was able to spend most of yesterday resting.

We did go out Black Friday. Just to Walmart & JCPenny. We had to get our snow globe, I have a collection now! Afterwards we went to my sisters for some gift wrapping. It wasn't all about the deals, more about tradition, we have fun and I did get a lot of shopping done!

I guess it was successful for retailers, but I didn't see it. This year it wasn't nearly as crazy as I've seen it in the past. Maybe they were just buying more expensive items (TVs were big, as were bikes). We went for the fun & some of the small things movies, wii games, MP3 players, PJs.

Anybody taking advantage of cyber Monday? I don't think there are any that I can't avoid! Besides, I am tapped until payday! No more money for gifts until Wednesday, LOL!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 14th Anniversary Sweetie!

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Happy Birthday kiddos!

My Princess is 5 years old!

My Baby boy is 9!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #21

Bye Bye Fall, Hello Winter!!!

I have a large list for this week! Pastor is coming to meet with us tonight, so getting the house company ready is priority 1, organizing it is #2!!!

Clear Surfaces in kitchen, living & dining room
Vacuum the boy's room, dining room area rug, laundry room
Dust Mop rest of house

Clean bathroom
Make Cupcakes for Friday (Princess' birthday treat)
Pick up PTA fund raiser stuff
balance checkbook
27 Fling boogie main living areas

Shopping list for Thanksgiving
menu for Thanksgiving dinner
Inventory gifts already acquired
Clean & prepare all the crock pots
Clean roaster
Move Turkeys to the refrigerator

Start sewing doll clothes
Clean out fridge & freezer
Figure out cell phone software
Make dinner & plan the next 3 days
Work - Wed, Thur, Friday this week
Make a BF shopping list
Still waiting for the Walmart ad of course!

Fix kids alarm clocks (still an hour off, oops!)
Oh yea, my google reader needs some serious organizing!

Check out the other tackles! Good luck to Lisa - The Apron Queen in her new endeavor, we will miss her. Too bad it's winter here now (snow arrived yesterday) I'm so inspired by Marni's tackle to get out & turn my ugly outbuildings into pretty usable spaces!!!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

My Favorite Holiday CDs

I should say downloads, they way things are going these days...

10. A Santa Clause: A Punk Rock Christmas Various Artists like Blink 182, Fall Out Boy, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Punk and Christmas, makes for an interesting listen!

9. Taste of Christmas - Various
~With Amped singing "We Three Kings," and titles like "Christmas Evil," "Homeless for Christmas" I'm not sure I'd run it on loop play!

8. A Classic Rock Christmas and A Southern Rock Christmas are tied here, couldn't decide which one I like better!
How do you decide between Run Run Rudolph - by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Tommy Shaw's 12 Days of Christmas? Well, maybe someone could but it isn't me!

7. Beyond the Season - Garth Brooks
~Santa Looked a lot like Daddy... So if Santa Claus ain't daddy
Well then I'm gonna tell on them... LOVE IT!!!

6. Twisted Christmas - Twisted Sister
Rock on!!!

5. Looking for Christmas - Clint Black
~The Finest Gift is still a tear jerker for me. It's just a nice family friendly CD.

4. Now That's What I Call Christmas! - Various Artists 2 disk set.
~Includes Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," it's just a great collection of classics!

3. Monster Ballads Christmas - Various Artists
~ Can I just say Tom Keifer singing Blue Christmas, WOW!

My most favorite Holiday (Christmas for me sorry) CDs are from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I don't think we'll get to see them this year because we're going to the Rockette's but hopefully next year!

2. The Lost Christmas Eve - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
~ Wizards in Winter was amazing live! It's not my favorite Trans-Siberian song overall, but we saw it twice live last year, it's a thing of wonder!

1. Christmas Eve and Other Stories - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
~Christmas/ Sarajevo 12/24 is probably my most favorite Trans-Siberian song!

Check out another random blogger Thoughts from the Outside

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My late Tackle it Tuesday!!!

We spent most of the day Sunday finishing the bathroom (well almost, it still needs trim). But we did get the counter & cupboards in & cleaned (they've been in the basement for 2 years)! There is a mirror to go here, but we have to be creative in the way it gets hung, no studs in the proper places! Thankfully we bought lots of base trim, a construction pack! The Ugly spot on the left will get covered by a wide piece of painted wood & have towel hooks on it (That's where there used to be a wall & door).

The other mirror matches the one over the sink.

I hung the towel bar all by myself!

I picked up this laundry hamper at Big Lots for $15. The trim next to it will get installed at some point, just not anytime soon! I'm not even sure where it was supposed to go, found out too late hubby didn't measure the right areas, oops. I realized when I went to dry fit it, after painting it. That was a lovely afternoon!!!

I still need to finish painting the door & window trim in my "Bear Rug" brown. Think chocolate bar, milk, not dark!!!

I also picked up an extra box of the floor tiles. We need to do the laundry room & upstairs bathroom. I guess I really like the gray slate vinyl tile look!!!

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Holiday Planning

What's on your Holiday Calendar

I am taking off many shopping trips! Thanks to my sister the largest chunk of my shopping is DONE!!! We were buying one big family gift this year & it quiet possibly could have taken multiple trips to different places to have found it, so whew!

I have also accumulated a large number of the "other" stuff. Stocking stuffers, small gifts (thank you obnoxious fund raisers), and everything else I need is either undecided (translate = we draw names so I have no idea who I'm giving things too yet) or planned for future trips. So we'll go Black Friday, just because it puts us in the mood, and I'll take the kids once, but I'm hoping to avoid making any SPECIAL trips!

As far as actual dates my calendar is filling up quickly. It's been like that for a week already! This week was wedding, cleaning, work, cooking, work, meeting, cleaning, award banquet for football, work, turkey party, youth group meeting, opening day of hunting, cleaning & cooking LOL!

Next week looks just as busy, with some different evening activities (including Pastor coming over for a visit). But mostly just getting things in order here for our 2 Thanksgiving dinners. I'm going to have my kids friends over for their birthdays, thats 2 more days filled! Simple stuff though cake, play, treats. They wanted big parties, but we are going to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular instead. We're doing that Sunday, so I'll let you know how it goes!!! My Mom & I are taking the kids, hubby will hopefully be out shooting a deer. Our freezer is looking a little bare, LOL!

I do need to schedule some creative time, I'd like to make some gifts for my exchanges. I have several UFOs that were intended to be gifts, all I have to do is finish them!!!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Review - Febreze Candle

Febreze Odor Eliminating Candles

I was asked to review the Febreze Candle, the scent Autumn Spice & Crisp. This candle smelled amazing in the box. The scent isn't listed on the website, so I'm guessing it's seasonal. But it was just the perfect fall scent.

I have a couple coupons, so I'm sure if I can find them in my stores I will buy a couple more for Thanksgiving dinner. Guess I'd better hurry, before they run out!

The candle has an odor eliminating core. We lit it in the kitchen, it filled the air quickly. Hubby was outside, when he came back in he said it was very refreshing & completely eliminated the funky smell we had earlier. I'm not sure what the smell was, but I think it's musty basement. We have a few holes we need filled in the floor and wall by the refrigerator (old houses!).

I didn't burn it yet today, but when we got back from out numerous errands I didn't notice the musty smell nearly as much!!! Woo hoo me!

I'd definitely recommend these if you are showing your home to sell it. They leave the air smelling fresh & clean, very inviting!

They don't look too bad either, just like normal candles. So you don't have to worry about advertising "hey I have a Febreze candle out" either!

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Now the fun begins

Well nearing the end of his eligible Unemployment collection days, hubby applied to work at a non-profit in the same town where I got my part time job (one of our agencies, ironically).

He went in for a follow-up interview and ended up working his first day! It's flexible schedule wise. It shouldn't interfere with his doing online classes in a couple months, for his MBA. So it all works out. And finally a job offer that doesn't require driving an hour one way or a pay cut from the unemployment. The latter being the most frustrating part of the whole thing!

We knew it would be interesting money wise for us moving back here when we did 6 years ago. We were right! Hubby doesn't have the correct education to find one of the white collar middle class paying jobs in the area and too much to get a blue collar middle class paying job!

The job he took will pay just over the unemployment he was getting, I'm sure it was hard to swallow, after all he's gotten a lot done on the house and other projects (volunteer work he's been doing). But now he will be working at a local food pantry & soup kitchen. I think it will be a good fit, and is probably the best fitting job he's had since I met him in 1990!

The best part is that now we can get back on track. Honestly, I haven't talked about finances in a long time, it's been too depressing! But, now with 2 incomes and the price of gas dropping $1.50 a gallon things are looking up!

I'll be dealing with our finances a little more, we need to get a mortgage on our house, I probably have 3 years to do it. Of course we do have a little equity in it from the past 5 years, nothing like the 500% increases in the west. Things don't move that fast here!!! Which is probably why we weren't hit as hard with all the foreclosures. In fact several houses have recently sold at or just below asking price here. Things stay steady here, no huge jumps means no huge falls, thankfully.

Ok, I've rambled on enough! I've got a busy Saturday ahead of us.
Wedding at 3
Dance at 10:30
Football equipment turn in
Post office (gotta mail out my packages, no more procrastinating)
Fix my Mom's computer (again!)
4 showers, iron clothes... ahhhh

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #20

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I have been tackling a bunch of things, including my sewing room stash.

I have been upstairs trying to organize my space & declutter. I don't have pictures yet, mostly because it is just TOO awful, but really they are just still in my camera!

Since my frugal-ness leads me to recycle clothing that has been outgrown, worn out, or just plain tired I have a huge collection of stuff. I finally took the time to break down a box & a half of t-shirts into quilting squares. It's amazing how much space the tshirts took up compared to how little space the squares take! I think I have enough squares to sew 2 twin size blankets. Not too shabby!!!

I tossed the scraps, and only saved the tops that I thought I could reuse. I'm thinking empire waist dresses for the Princess, anything else went out in the trash. I am also setting up the room. It's only the 4th sewing space I've had in this house! After 5 years I think we are finally getting a feel of the rooms... My room is now the kitchen in the upstairs apartment we took over. My tables are set up, but my pattern filing system had to stay downstairs (too heavy) so I have to rethink that. So far I've been using boxes from the Easter candy shop, they hold the envelopes nicely and I have multiple so I have sorted them by type. It's not perfection & the file folders I have won't fit, but we'll get there!

Really I am just to the put away & sort stage. I created a space for current projects, cut out projects, and have a dresser to keep my stuff in. My ultimate goal is to be able to have everything in this one room & part of the closet off of it. Right now it's still floating around in different places & boxes. I know move a room 4 times & 5 years & what do you expect, right???!!!

We are hosting 2 Thanksgiving dinners here, because the kids birthdays are at the same time, so lots to do!!!

My other tackles for today & this week:

I work 3 days this week
clean off my desks
shopping for groceries
Thanksgiving menu
iron clothing for wedding Saturday
clean out the fridge
Clean out my van
general housecleaning
paint siding
finish hanging siding
winterize garden
clear out guest bedroom of stuff so we can set up the bed
Make Dentist & Eye Dr. appointments

Check out other tackles at 5 Minutes for Mom

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sticklers Giveaway Winner!!!

Congrats to Brandy from Savin Some.

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Our Halloween

These are the pumpkins! We used little LED tea lights to keep them lit all night!

The Prince had to have this costume, thankfully Granny found it!

Momma made the tutu & under skirt. She wore it like this for treating, to school she wore a velvety red shirt it matched the color better!

We had a fun evening of treating around town. It was very nice to be out in the light! We hit a majority of houses downtown & then had to drive to the rural relatives! We were home by 8:00!

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Winner - Green Christmas Book

Elizabeth from A Nut in a Nutshell.

Congrats!!! And stay tuned for the Crafty Giveaway winner November 2nd!!!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Crafty Giveaway!!!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

For November I am giving away a 2 sets of Sticklers, 6 Glaze pens and 6 Souffle pens. From Sakura of America, these are the coolest! Your kids will love to use them to personalize their stuff. Notebooks, electronics, books I can think up tons of uses for them.

There are 6 Glaze pens, which have a glossy finish and 6 Souffle pens, which have a matte finish. Both are 3D ink and leave an impression you can feel.

The sticklers are gold & silver outlines you can fill in with the pens. I used one to put a pink and gold star on my cell phone. I also used a heart to embellish a note card.

We had a blast one night with some of the other pens I was sent to sample. We used the Gelly Roll Stardust and the Gelly Roll Metallic pens on black card stock to make signs for football games.

Leave a comment = 1 entry
Blog about my giveaway = 1 entry (leave a comment and link here)

I will choose the winner using a random number generator at Sunday 9PM November 2 EST.

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