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Archive for October, 2005

Busy weekend!

October 30th, 2005 at 07:51 pm

Kevin had two games on Saturday -- early ones (!), so that meant I got an early start, too. I cleaned the oven, cleaned
the stove (lifted the range portion and cleaned where the pilot light, etc. is), and took everything out of the fridge and
cleaned that really well, too. It felt sooo good to get those things done! I also did a load of laundry, picked up the back
yard and went grocery shopping. When I got back in the car at grocery store, I noticed that it wasn't quite 11:00 a.m!
LOL not a bad list of things to have done by that time.

When I got home, I put all of the groceries away. I did pretty well at the grocery store - saved about $50.00. Since I
cleaned out the fridge and tossed some things that had gotten old or only had a spoonful left in the container, this
grocery trip included replacing some of those things. Plus I bought a large package of ground beef (for meatloaf), a value
pack of chicken thighs (for Cuban marinated chicken) and a tri-tip roast that was discounted $4.00 because the expiration was
Sunday. Fine with me! I bought it, browned it on the stove and put it in the crockpot for dinner today. Kevin had another
game today and I went with him. It was wonderful to have dinner already done when we got home! We rounded out
the meal with leftover garlic green beans and pasta salad from Debbie's birthday party yesterday. It was delicious!

I stashed another $20.00 in our emergency household cash fund. I put a few dollars in there whenever I can. I just
think it's a good idea to have some cash on hand in case there is ever a big emergency - like a major earthquake. If it's
bad enough and the power goes out, we will have no access to ATMs, so cash will definitely be necessary.

Our registration for the 4Runner is due this week - it's $178.00. Not a worry - it's in the budget =)

It's been a while!

October 25th, 2005 at 06:45 pm

I swear I don't know where the time goes! Well I guess it doesn't help that I got sick...AGAIN! Yep, this time it was
strep throat - I'm just getting over it. I felt fine until late morning on Saturday and I could tell that my throat hurt and
felt kind of funny. I was so achy and exhausted it was all I could do in the afternoon to wait until Kevin got home from
umpire camp before I went to bed. Sure enough, I woke up with a fever, chills...and spots all over the back of my throat.
Ugh. I started taking Keflex right away and was feeling a bit better by Monday. Man, I'm just tired of being sick! Monday
afternoon one of our teachers left early - she had a doctor's appointment because she thought she had..you guessed it,
strep throat! Well, at least I'm in good company =)

Saturday morning before I wasn't feeling well, mom and I went to a neighborhood yard sale. I'm so glad we went! I
found 5 practically brand new computer games for the boys! They were only $2.00 a piece - I thought that was a
GREAT deal! I asked my sister when she thought we should give them to the boys and she said to give them to them
for Christmas. I feel kinda funny about that since technically, they're not 'new', but you couldn't tell the difference -
they are still in the original boxes, the games are current titles and the boys have played them at the home of a friend
and absolutely loved them. I guess I shouldn't feel funny about it - we also bought new outerwear vests, hats and
scarves and those are new! lol I know they'll love them anyway.

After the yard sale, mom and I went to Costco. We each bought a few Christmas gifts and I bought some supplies
for the cookie bake and to make some fudge.

Bank of America has a new program called 'Keep the Change'. The deal is, when you use your debit card for a purchase
and the purchase is, say, $5.22 - they will round the amount up to $6.00. You only PAY the $5.22, but they put the
remaining .88 in your savings account --- and then MATCH it! They will match it 100% for the first three months, and
then 5% thereafter. Hey, whether it's 100% or 5%, free money is free money! Of course Kevin and I signed up
right away! I'm really excited to see how fast our money will grow. Even though Kevin is an associate at BofA, we
didn't have an existing savings account (our savings gets better interest at the credit union), so we opened one specifically
for this program - so it will be easy to track how fast the money accumulates =)

Good deals at Costco

October 17th, 2005 at 07:28 pm

Well Kevin and I joined Costco over the weekend. We found a lot of great deals and had to restrain ourselves! lol Actually
we bought some groceries - plenty to last the week and then some -- probably enough for two weeks. The only thing I
should have to go to the grocery store for are milk and eggs. We also bought a few gifts; one for my sister for her
birthday at the end of this month, and one that my mother in law will take back with her to the family when she goes
to El Paso next month.

The gift for my sister is an amazing array of 'girlie' pampering products. The kit came in a faux leather box that you can
use for storage when emptied. Among the goodies inside are: scented drawer liners, scented padded hangers, foot
massage cream, body butter, milk bath, bath seltzers, soap, body scrub, shower gel, a gel eye mask, bath crystals,
a few scrubbies...and a few other things I can't remember at the moment. It's a beautiful set that would sell in the
department stores for $100.00 or more -- but we bought it for just $40.00!! We thought that was a great deal and
I know my sister will love it. Rarely does she have an opportunity to pamper herself, so this will be a nice indulgence
for her.

The other gift that mother in law will take to El Paso is See's candy. Normally a 1-pound box of See's candy sells for
$13.60. Costco had a 2-pack that contained 2 gift certficates for 1-pound each of See's - for just $19.99. We thought
that was a great deal - and mother in law agreed, so we bought them and she will get the candy before she leaves. Both
her dad and her aunt just adore the candy so it will be fun for her to give that to them as a special gift =) I think with
the holidays coming up, the next time we go to Costco (probably over the weekend), we'll get a few more of those
certificates.

We also looked around at the ingredients I'll need for both the holiday candy making session the day after Thanksgiving,
and the cookie bake in December. Boy, I'm definitely buying ALL of the ingredients there! Everything was much
less expensive.

I'm so glad we bought the Costco membership. Though it's $45.00 to join, I think we'll save much, much more than
that and the membership will pay for itselft in no time.

The good thing about being sick..

October 14th, 2005 at 08:31 am

if there is one, is that I don't spend money on anything! I've been home sick with a bad head cold yesterday and today.
I haven't felt like doing a thing. I also don't like to spend a lot of money on cold medicines. I really don't know that
they work all that well - other than making me really sleepy. They might lessen the symptoms a degree or two, but they
don't do anything to shorten the duration, so to heck with them. It's just lots of rest, hot tea, and lotion-added tissues.

On Wednesday I did spend $45.00 on a Christmas gift for my mom. She's been wanting a new dried floral wreath for
over the fireplace and I found a beautiful one on eBay --- for at least half the cost I would have spent here in Southern
California. The winning bid was $36.00 - and the rest was shipping. I can't wait to get it! I hope it's as beautiful in
person as it was in the picture =) I think we're finished buying for my mom and my dad. We have Kevin's dad and his
wife taken care of, I have some things for Kevin, something for my sis, and something for my brother in law - plus
something for Kevin's grandpa and his brother and his wife. We still need to buy for our nephews - we were thinking
about a Playstation or Xbox. We are going to go look at them on Saturday at Costco. I also need to finish buying for
Kevin - I know what I'm going to get, I just need to pick it up. And we need something for his mom. For the life of me
I can't figure out what to get her. I've asked Kevin and he has no ideas either. I'll keep thinking about it...maybe I'll
come up with something perfect. I sure hope so!

And we have dental insurance why?

October 12th, 2005 at 06:49 am

So I go in on Monday for my dental appointment. A scheduled appointment mind you, for a filling. I have a baby tooth
that never came out and there is no tooth there to replace it, so it's stayed. It's virtually unnoticeable - in fact, Kevin
didn't even know it was a baby tooth until I pointed it out to him! lol Anyway - the last time I was in for a cleaning, my
dentist told me that the very top of that tooth was beginning to erode and he would need to put a filling there to insure
that the tooth would stay put and not break off at some point. Fine - I schedule the appointment like a good patient.

I get there on time and am taken to the treatment room where I'm asked to sign an agreement that states I know my
insurance will not cover this procedure and I will pay, out of pocket, the $140.00 required for the procedure. I asked
the technician if this was correct. I said that there must be a misunderstanding - the doctor told me I HAD to have this
done, it was not a request on my part. She said that it was considered 'cosmetic' and therefore the insurance would not
cover it. Huh? Cosmetic? He told me I needed it so that the tooth would not get weaker and break off...how is that
cosmetic? The doctor then came in and explained the same thing that the technician had just explained. I asked him
what would happen if the tooth did break off - he told me the insurance would pay to have it pulled and then cover most
of the cost of the bridge I would need to replace it. Oh yeah, because that is soooo much less expensive than covering
this so-called cosmetic procedure! He said if I wanted to skip the procedure, the tooth was okay and to just be careful
it. We could consider it again in a few months. I'm thinking, you know...this tooth has been just fine for 42 years - we'll
just leave it alone and think about it if something ever does happen to it.

Dental insurance indeed! Grrrrr.

...and a good weekend was had by all

October 10th, 2005 at 06:50 am

We knew it was going to be a busy weekend, so Kevin and I got a jump start on it by starting out laundry on Thursday
night. We've decided that, for the most part, we can use the cold water cycle on our clothes and they turn out just
fine. We've bought the Tide Coldwater and really do like it, but it is majorly expensive, so we don't use that. Purex
reformulated their product to make it more effective in cold water, so we buy that and add Borax to the whites. They
turn our pretty well, but about once a month or so I give all of the whites a good soak in hot water and a little bleach.
Between our new laundry method and our new hot water heater, we've been saving a nice chunk on our gas bill =)

Friday night we did our grocery shopping and bought dinner there, too. We had a buy one sandwich, get one free coupon
from the deli, so we got a prime rib sandwich and a smoked ham, gouda and turkey sandiwch, plus a Pepsi for $6.00!!
That's a great deal! We ate one sandwich and brought the other one home for lunch on Sunday. We did our grocery
shopping for the week and bought another grocery card to use during the summer months while I'm off work...and our
grand total was only $77.00. We think that's pretty good. That's really about our average these days. It's pretty good
because that means our groceries were only about $52.00 - because the grocery card was for $25.00. Fifty dollars for
three meals a day for 2 people is pretty good. Groceries have gotten sooo expensive! Luckily, neither of us is all that
picky - thank goodness!

Saturday we went to the Avocado Festival in Carpinteria. It was lots of fun! Kevin and myself, his mom, my sister, brother
in law and twin nephews all drove up there together. We met in Thousand Oaks for breakfast (Deb and Bill treated), and
then dropped our car off at their house. We walked around all day, ate guacamole, signed up for a free night at a cute
little B&B that's right there on the water, bought a piece of fudge at Robataille's candy shop...and just had a great time.
On the way home we stopped in Ventura at our favorite antique store. It has new owners now and isn't quite as much
fun as it used to be, but it was still nice looking around. Then we hit the Souplantation in Camarillo for dinner. We tried
to buy for everyone, but Debbie wouldn't let us. That stinker! lol So when we got back to her house, we snuck some
money to at least help pay for gas under the vase in the living room. We told her as we were driving away so she didn't
have a chance to give it back!

Kevin worked a game on Sunday and earned $80.00! Way to go Kevy! That money will go on the credit card to help
finish off paying for our Hawaii excursions. We're almost finished with that - it will be completely paid off no later
than November. Yay!

Frontier House

October 5th, 2005 at 06:49 am

I borrowed the DVD set of the PBS show Frontier House from one of our teachers and watched the first three episodes
last night. Boy, am I ever thankful that I wasn't around then! I probably would have survived, but I'm not altogether
sure. It certainly was a difficult life filled with trials and tribulations - we have many of those today, too, but they are
far different now than they were then. Interesting show - I'm really enjoying it. I'm also borrowing the first three seasons of Northern Exposure from a friend. I just love free entertainment!

Well I signed us up for $200.00 in a flex spending account. The agent says she thinks we'll use it so much that $200.00
won't nearly be enough, but this is really just a trial for us. She may be absolutely right and next year we'll add more,
but this will be a good start. I also asked her about a strange letter I'd received from their company in May/June. The
letter stated that my life insurance policy was no longer in effect. Then, when I received my next paycheck, I saw that
they were still taking the life insurance deduction out of my check, so I assumed the letter was a mistake. The agent
called her office and, sure enough, the policy was no longer in force. We called our payroll department to see what had
happened and, apparently, they only sent in ONE payment for me, but had been taking it out of my check all year. Great.
The called the company and told them they would issue a retro check with all of the back payments, so the company
said I was fine - completely covered. Sometimes our payroll department makes me soooo mad! The one person who
does the classified payroll is a nice lady, but she makes a TON of mistakes. Grrrrrr. Well, at least it all worked out in the
end, but still, it's aggrivating!

How did it get to be October...already?!

October 3rd, 2005 at 06:48 am

I can't believe October is here already! That means the holidays are just around the corner. Where did the year go?

It was a nice weekend. We spent a little money, but nothing too extravagant. On Saturday we went to the horse races
with my mom and dad and Kevin's mom. We had a really good time. Didn't win a whole lot, but didn't lose a whole lot
either. We ended up spending about $80.00; it was $8.50 each to get in, our combined lunch total was $15.00, and we
spent another $7.00 on 2 large sodas. That means we only lost about $40.00 total on betting 8 races for each of us -
not too bad at all we thought. And we all had a really fun day! ...so it was worth it.

Yesterday we just stayed home mostly, and did things around the house. We finished off all the laundry, picked up around
the house, Kevin washed the car and I went grocery shopping. I spent $79.00 which is really just around the average for
us. With the exception of dinner out one night a week (usually casual dining, nothing extravagant), and an ocassional
lunch out here and there, we eat all of our meals at home (or bring them from home). Plus, I used a slew of coupons and
our loyalty card - so I saved $70.00!! I thought that was pretty good. We also went to Target and picked up a few
things. One of them was an unplanned purchase, but it was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up. They had seasons
1 and 2 of the Gilmore Girls on sale for $18.88. That's a huge savings over the normal $49.99 price tag, so I bought
both seasons. Plus, by sending in the proof of purchase, I'll get a $10.00 rebate, so both seasons together were right around
$30.00. Yayay! I love that show =) Maybe I'll ask for seasons 3 and 4 for Christmas.

I also made turkey soup yesterday with the leftover turkey breast from last week. The soup is delicious! I just love
homemade soup. It's all divied up in containers and we'll take it for lunches this week.

More later - I have to go to work now!