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The last two days have been a blur...

August 23rd, 2005 at 06:17 pm

Oh my goodness - I always forget from year to year how much work is involved at the start of a new school year! I mean,
I know in reality that it's a ton of work, but once it's over, I guess I kind of block it out. Well I'm remembering now with
a vengeance!

I remember that last year during this time I planned for really easy, partially prepared meals for dinner. I'd forgotten
that until yesterday when I was too tired to come home and fix even the easiest meal. We had Baja Fresh for dinner.
Today during lunch I went to Trader Joes and bought a few things that will see us through the week without having
to get take out and without my having to cook. Greek salads, spinach salads, soup, chicken pot pies, sandwich fixings -
easy and fairly healthy things. What a sigh of relief! =)

This past Sunday I thought I'd take a look around JC Penney. They had 75% off all clearance merchandise. While it's
true it's summer items, living in Southern California, I can wear them for many months out of the year, so I don't mind
buying some things at the end of the season. I ended up buying 4 pairs of pants and two tops for $57.00 - I think that's
pretty good. One of them is a pair of cropped jeans that I can wear probably until early November, and two other pairs of
the pants are deep jewel toned colors that will also probably work until November. Then I can probably take them out
again around March - so $57.00 becomes an even better deal =)

I also found my small containers that I was looking for this weekend at the 99 cents store. Yay! That makes taking
things to work even easier. Over the course of the last four years, I've set up our little back office like a kitchen away
from home: small fridge, microwave, coffee maker, toaster oven, plates, bowls, glasses, cups, utensils, cutlery - you
name it, we have it. It makes things nicer for everyone - some of the comforts of home while you're at work.

One of my co-workers brought coffee in for me this morning. What a wonderful human being! lol After I left for work
I was thinking "I sure wished I'd brought more coffee with me!" We don't have a can of coffee at work at the moment,
so I couldn't make any when I got in. That was a wonderful surprise to find coffee waiting for me. We did have milk
in the little fridge, so I frothed up some milk and made lattes for us from the coffee. Yummy!

Time to take a quick nap before dinner. I need it!

A new idea!

August 20th, 2005 at 09:00 pm

Well, it's probably not new to a lot of people, but it is for us. I was thinking today about the 1 month that I don't get
paid. As much as I love working for a school, this is the one drawback. Anyway - that month is always a bit tight. We
plan for it and all, so it's always fine - and we don't spend much during that time - but, still, I'd like to make it a bit
less of a burden. One of the things that always seems to take up a chunk of money is groceries. After I thought about it,
I thought it would be a great idea to purchase gift cards from our favorite grocery store and save them for that one
month. From September through June I'll put a bit extra into our grocery budget; every few weeks I'll purchase a $50.00
gift card. When July rolls around, we'll be all set grocery budget wise!! I asked Kevin if he thought it was a good idea, and
he was thrilled with it! I think by doing this one little thing, it will make our lives so much easier next summer! I'm really
excited about it!

Our meeting went well this morning. The group decided to buy more Proctor and Gamble (doing well and projections look
even better with the acquisition of Gillette), and more Target (business will pick up even more with back to school and
then the holidays right around the corner). I think those are two smart buys.

I'm so grateful that we didn't have to pay for all of the plumbing that went on here today. The plumber showed up
at 9:00 a.m. as promised. He did replace the hot water heater - but it took quite a while. Then, for some reason the
kitchen faucet wasn't running very well. He checked it out and found that, because the faucet is so old, it had been
leaking under the sink. YUCK! He had to replace the entire faucet in the kitchen, too. They didn't finish with everything
until around 4:00 this afternoon! Holy cow, I'm sure that bill is going to be enormous. Again, Kevin and I are so glad
it's not something WE have to cover. One of the joys of renting! =)

We walked up to Quiznos at lunch and split a sandwich. We also had a $1.00 off coupon, so it wasn't too bad at all. We
had last night's leftovers for dinner tonight. Kevin has two games tomorrow (and will make another $100.00!) and I'll
be at home finishing laundry and working on categorizing/notating more pictures. I did finish completely (FINALLY!) our
wedding photo album, and our honeymoon photo album. I also began an anniversary journal that notes where we went
and what we did for each wedding anniversary.

Who needs hot water anyway?

August 19th, 2005 at 10:09 pm

Our anniversary yesterday was wonderful! Kevin bought me two dozen red roses. He took a few of the roses, removed the
petals and sprinkled them all around - the bathroom, medicine cabinet, make-up bag, purse, car...it was so cute! We had
a delicious dinner out at a pricey restaurant, but hey, you have to splurge every now and then. We considered ordering
dessert, but decided to pass - better for the waistline as well as the pocketbook. However, our waiter felt that, since it was a
special occassion, we should have the dessert we wanted, so he brought it anyway and comped us. It was an $11.00 dessert,
so that was VERY nice of him! Plus, it was probably the best dessert either of us had ever tasted!! MIL gave us a nice gift, too.
she gave us two beautiful candle holders that will be perfect in our burgundy bedroom, and the votive candles that go with them.
She also gave us $50.00! That was so sweet of her. Kevin and I decided the money will go into our savings account.

This morning when Kevin went to take a shower, we discovered the hot water heater was leaking. Lovely. I called the landlord,
but he didn't call back. I waited a while and called again - still nothing. I finally decided to go ahead and call the regular
plumber that the landlord uses. He can't come until tomorrow. Good thing it's summertime and warm...that's the only way
a cold shower feels good! Oh well, it could be a lot worse. At least we don't have to pay for it!!

I went to the grocery store today and did GREAT!! I only spent $44.00!! Of course I only bought things that were on sale, and
things for which I had a coupon. Everything else we're pretty well stocked up on, so didn't need a ton. I did have some nice
coupons. I had a $1.00 off three Lipton rice mixes; they were on sale at 3 for $3.00. With the coupon doubled, I got all three
packages for a total of $1.00. I had a coupon for $1.00 off 2 Wish Bone salad dressings; they were on sale at 2 for $5.00. With
the coupon doubled, I got both bottles for $3.00. And they were the large 16 oz. bottles, so I think that's a pretty good deal.

Tomorrow morning we have our investment club meeting at our house. That means it's my turn to provide breakfast goodies.
When I was at the grocery store they had several containers of day-old cinnamon rolls. I love their cinnamon rolls! I bought
two tins of them. Each package has 8 rolls and their day-old price was $2.09 for the tin. We certainly will not eat all of them
at the meeting, so I plan on freezing them in packages of 2 rolls each. That way Kevin and I can pull them out of the freezer
on a lazy Sunday morning and enjoy them with a latte without ever having to leave the house =) I also made an egg casserole
to go with them. I love those and they always go over very well. Plus, it would be nice to have a bit left over for breakfasts
during the week. Annnnnyway - our investment club meets once a month. There are 11 members and we each contribute
$50.00 per month. Our club has been in existence for 7 years now. We haven't made enough to retire on by any means, but
we've all learned a lot, had great fun...oh and yes, we've made a little money, too =) Mostly I started the club because I wanted
to learn more about the stock market...as did the rest of the folks who decided to join. I must say, I have learned quite a bit
about the stock market among other things. I find now that I'm really very interested in reading the business section of the
newspaper. In doing so I've learned about some interesting companies and different trends that have effected what we've
decided to purchase as a club. I've even ventured out on my own and bought some stocks apart from the club. I'm so glad
I decided to do this! I highly recommend it for anyone who may be considering it.

Electric bill - YIKES!

August 17th, 2005 at 06:12 pm

We got our electric bill yesterday. For one month, the total was $184.00. OUCH! However sad this is to admit, it's
still less than I thought it would be. My guess was $200.00, so we still came in under that. I hate having to pay that
much, but...it was soooo hot from the middle of July to the middle of August - and I was home a good portion of that
time. I tried to limit the use of the AC, but it was so darn hot, I just said to heck with it - we'll just eat it when the
bill comes. And come it did. Oh well, it's all paid and we've still got money in the bank, so I guess it's okay. lol

Dinner last night was nice. I even had plenty leftover, so I had yummy Olive Garden leftovers for lunch today. It was a
late night, though, so I'm dragging today. Kevin has practice tonight, so at least I don't have to worry about dinner and
I can go to bed early. Yay! I was so tired at work that I needed a caffeine boost this afternoon. I haven't bought a
soda from that machine in about a year...I guess I was about due for one. Seventy-five cents for a can of Coke still
gripes me, though. But I guess if I only break down and indulge once a year, it won't put us in the poor house =)

I was thinking of a few things that I need to pick up this weekend. Maybe Friday since I'm off work that day. I need to
find a few more plastic containers to take my milk to work. I don't want to just buy a quart to take in because it takes
up too much room in the little office fridge, but I do take milk just about every day. I also want to find a few really small
plastic containers to take things like peanut butter, jam, salad dressing - those types of things. Containers that hold
about 2 or 3 tablespoons would be perfect. I think I'll check the 99cents store and see what they have.

Tomorrow is our anniversary. It's hard to believe we've been married four years already! Time definitely flies when
you're having fun =)

Change of Plans/Thoughts on Stocking Up

August 16th, 2005 at 06:14 pm

Well change of dinner plans tonight - we're going out to a restaurant after all. Trying to coordinate times, menus, changes
of menus, etc. just got to be too crazy and Kevin told his mom we'd just go out to eat. She insisted that it was still
easier to eat here and Kevin told her it wasn't and that we'd all go out. I'm not sad about that! Yay! It will be nice
to visit with everyone =)

We filled up the 4Runner on Sunday. There was still about 1/4 of a tank left, and it STILL cost $35.00 to fill it. OUCH!
Currently, gas at our local Arco station is at $2.66. I've heard it will continue to rise until Labor Day and then there
will be a slight decline...before it starts inching it's way up again.

Man, everything is getting more expensive. It seems that every time I go to the grocery store, things are more expensive
than they were the week before. I used to spend about $75.00 - 80.00 every week for the two of us. I know that sounds
expensive, but really we eat nearly every meal at home or take it to work with us - we rarely eat out. Plus, prices in
Southern California are just outrageous anyway. Lately, though, it seems that the same items/amounts are costing us
about $100.00 a week. Pavilions has not been sending out their $10.00 off coupons - boy, I sure miss those! Hopefully
when they finish the remodel of this store they will start sending them out again. I've been shopping at Ralph's the
last few weeks because their flyers have had great coupons. I just got the new flyer today: 15oz box of Cheerios for .39,
64oz carton of Florida's Natural Premium orange juice for .39, and a 24 pack of Crystal Geyser water for $1.99. I think
those are great deals. I think I'm going to ask Kevin to help me re-arrange some things in the garage. Once things are
re-arranged, I think we'll have plenty of room to add a metal kitchen chef's rack (I saw them in the Target flyer - on sale
this week). Once the rack is in place, I'd like to start stocking up on some items. I do a little bit of that now, but with
prices so out of control - and more so to come with the outrageous fuel prices - I'd really like to stock up even more.
Obviously it would just be on the items we use, but I'd really like to have a 3-6 month supply of jams, canned chicken and
beef stock, peanut butter, canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, pasta, etc. I know for the things like pasta, flour and sugar we
will need to get airtight containers so that critters don't get to them. I still think it's a good idea. I'll talk to Kevin about
it this weekend and see what he says.

He's working two games this weekend so there's an extra $100.00. Way to go honey!

Extra money!

August 15th, 2005 at 06:16 pm

Today is payday - Kevin's check. I still won't start receiving my regular pay again until August 25th. Luckily there is
only one month I don't get paid, but I just hate that! LOL But we still get Kevin's paycheck every two weeks. Yay!
We feel so fortunate that, for most of the year, we get a paycheck just about every week. I get paid on the 10th
and 25th of the month, and Kevin gets paid on the 15th and the 30th. It just seems that there's always a check
coming into the account one way or the other. Annnnnyway....when we checked the account today, we noticed that
Kevin's check was considerably more than it normally is - not that that's a bad thing! We later found out that the
second quarter bonuses came in. Finally! They are late, but that's okay - we feel sooo lucky to receive them that we
really don't care when they hit the account! This quarter was even better than the first! Hopefully we'll keep
progressing in that vein and by the end of the year, it will be even more!

We decided to put some of the extra money towards paying off Kevin's credit card. It's the only thing we owe on and
we don't really owe that much on it anyway. Just the small amount we used while we were in Hawaii. It should be
paid off by October.

Pesto pasta and garlic bread for dinner tonight. Yum! I can hardly wait to eat! lol

Brian and Amanada and Vicky (MIL) are coming over for dinner tomorrow night. I'll be glad to see them, but it still
upsets me that we're having dinner here. It's nice that Vicky wants to pay for dinner, and we do appreciate that. It's
just that, after I've worked all day, I don't want to have to come home and entertain guests. She says it will be more
relaxed...and it will - for everyone but me. I was hoping that, since they're all coming out this way, we could just
grab something at a restaurant, that way, I can relax, too. But apparently Vicky decided that she would bring paper
plates to our house and pay for take out - but that we would all just eat here. I think what irritates me the most is
that she doesn't really ASK, she just says that that's what she's decided we'll do. It's not a bad thing necessarily -
I just feel that, if it's going to be at my house, at least I should have some say in the decision! I love her a lot, but
this is one thing that really gripes me. It's not the first time it's happened. The next time it comes up, I'm just going
to say as nicely as I can 'I want to be able to relax, too, let's just meet at XXXX restaurant.' We'll see how that goes.
I'll probably have my chance to try it out before too long - maybe another two months or so. Wish me luck!

I just love weekends...

August 14th, 2005 at 06:38 pm

This has been such a nice weekend. We accomplished many things and enjoyed ourselves and spending time
together, too.

Today we went to the Dodger game. They won - yahooo!

The weather has cooled off considerably over the last few days for which we are all grateful. It's been overcast the last few mornings - kind of like our June gloom. And the sun hasn't been coming out until around 11:00 a.m. I just finished watering the backyard and, with a breeze blowing out there, it was even the slightest bit cool. I know that we will have plenty more warm weather, but I can definitely
tell that fall is in the air. I love that!

I made a huge batch of pesto yesterday with the leftover basil. Boy, is it good! I can't wait to eat it. We're going to
have it for dinner tomorrow night. It was such a large batch that I was able to freeze a container for later, too =) We
have our meals planned out for the week, too - which I like. It really makes life so much easier. We will go out to
dinner twice this week -- that's very unusual for us. However, we're going out one night because Brian and Amanda
are visiting and the other night because it's our wedding anniversary. Both very worthwhile =) We also will probably
not pay for the night we go out with Brian and Amanda -- I'm guessing that mother in law will pay for that, but I'm
not completely sure about that. We'll be ready either way.

Well I better go decide on what I'm wearing this week and get a few things ironed. We finished every stitch of laundry -
YAY us! Kevin also cleaned out his closet and it's the best I've ever seen it look. He did an awesome job.

Busy as a bee!

August 13th, 2005 at 02:50 pm

Boy, I was so busy at work on Thursday and at home yesterday that time has just flown by! We are still working just
four days a week until the end of this month. I LOVE that! I sure could get used to it =)

Yesterday Deb came over for girl's day. We workd on getting our photos organized and in albums. Man, it was a lot of
work, but we both felt that we accomplished a great deal. I finished all but the last few pictures of our wedding album.
I need to buy one more package of photo corners to finish off the album and then I'll be done. I worked on getting a
huge number of pictures organized, notated and ready to go in albums. And this morning, I finished the Oregon album
and the Christmas album!! YAY me! I have the honeymoon pictures also all ready - all I have to do is place them in the
album. I'll either do that tonight or tomorrow.

For lunch yesterday, Debbie and the boys and I went to Chili's. Knowing that we would want ice cream later, Deb and I
split a burger. Better for the waist and the pocketbook! Actually, when the bill came, Deb paid for my share, too. She
said it was a thank-you for bird sitting while they were in Seattle. That was nice =) Afterwards, we all went to Rite Aid
and got an ice cream cone. Still the best price in town! The guy behind the counter gave us the BIGGEST single scoop
of ice cream any of us had ever seen! We were stuffed when we finished...but finish we did. lol After we were all finished
for the day, we headed up to mom and dad's for a swim and dinner. Kevin and Bill met us up there after they'd finished
work. We all had a delicious dinner of BBQ chicken, potato salad and baked beans. Yummy!

Today Kevin and I stopped at Panda Express for lunch. We had a coupon for two free spring rolls if you bought a 2 or 3
item combination plate. We split a 3 item plate and it was PLENTY of food. We really enjoyed our free spring rolls, too =)
On top of that, our receipt printed out a coupon for $3.00 off our next purchase if we phone in and take a brief survey.
Of course we will!

Next we headed to the grocery store. We went to Ralph's instead of our usual Pavilions. Because of the construction, I'm
not enjoying shopping at Pavilions these days. I'll sure be glad when that's all finished! Besides that, Ralph's had some
good coupons in their flyer this week. We got a 64oz. bottle of Tree-Top apple juice for .59, a 1 lb. loaf of Hawaiian bread
for .59, and a dozen eggs for .59. I think those are great deals! They also had a special on cantaloupe - 6 pounds for
.93 cents. You can't beat that. We also stocked up on dog food and laundry detergent since those were all on sale as well.
According to our receipt, we saved $65.00 - I think that's pretty good! Plus we're all set with a menu for the week for
breakfast, lunch and dinner. They had some other really good deals on produce, so we got a lot of that, too. Almost
everything was on sale and very healthy. Though we did cheat a bit...there was a coupon in the paper for $1.00 off two
fun size bags of Butterfinger and Baby Ruth. Doubled, that would be $2.00 off. The store had the same items on sale -
two bags for $4.00. With our coupon, that means we got both bags for $2.00! They are just the right size to satisfy
a chocolate craving without going overboard with a full sized candy bar. There are 61 peices of candy total - for $2.00?
That's darn good =)

I'm going to slice up our cantaloupe and watermelon so those are ready to go for the week. I'm also going to make a
batch of pesto from the rest of the fresh basil. We'll have pesto pasta one night this week. Yummy!

We're going to the Dodge game tomorrow. We already have the tickets but, with parking and food, we will probably spend
about $25.00. Not horrible. Besides, it's three + hours of entertainment and we'll have a blast! We always do =)

Okay, it's time to go take a break and relax for a few minutes. More later.

Grrrrr. Sometimes I just hate Walmart

August 11th, 2005 at 06:54 am

We went to pick up our pictures on Tuesday night. According to the store's schedule, they would have been there on
Monday, but I didn't have time to go there then...so we went Tuesday. Of course, they're not there. The man behind
the counter said if they're on a disc, sometimes they take an extra day. I pointed out that I'd left them an extra day -
to which he counted on his fingers and replied 'Oh yeah, huh? Well I don't know why they're not here then, check back

So Kevin went to pick them up last night. First of all, when I took the Hawaii pictures in, the disc I took had 200 photos.
When I picked up the pictures, they charged me for 219 photos. I asked them why and they told me that's what was
on the disc. I knew it wasn't but didn't have a way to prove it, so I paid for them. Of course when I got home and began
to put the photos in the album, there were EXACTLY 19 duplicate photos. So THIS time, I double checked each disc I
was going to take in and I wrote the number of photos ON the disc - both for myself for reference and so that they could
see that I had counted the pictures and would only pay for exactly that amount. I even specified in the 'special instruction'
box to 'print exactly X photos - NO DUPLICATES'. So when Kevin got the photos, guess what? You guessed it, they
charged us for a TON of duplicates. One of the discs had 168 photos - they charged us for 220!!! One disc had 80 photos
and they charged us for 96; the last disc had 234 photos and they charged us for 278. Kevin began to look through
the photos and in one packet, he pulled out at least 10 duplicates. It was almost closing time and he told the guy 'look,
you either charge us for exactly the number of photos listed on the discs, or I will stay here until I look through every
last photo and pull out the duplicates.' The guy finally said okay, he'd charge us only for the number on the discs. The
kicker is, their sign says the prints we ordered were 17 cents each...the guy charged Kevin TWENTY ONE cents each!!
I'm going back today to talk to the manager. It's a difference of about $20.00 that we were over charged. Not a huge
amount of money, but it's much better in OUR pocket than in theirs! I don't mind paying for what we ordered, but I
don't think we should be charged one penny more. And believe me, I can certainly raise a stink about something until
I get what I want. The LAST time I got peeved at Walmart a few years ago (for good reason I might add), I wrote to
their corporate office. I was shocked when they actually called me to discuss the situation, apologized and sent us
a $100.00 gift card. I hope it doesn't come to that - hopefully I can resolve it in the store today. However, if I can't, I
see another letter to the corporate office coming their way!!

It's fun to treat everyone!

August 9th, 2005 at 06:46 pm

Today at lunch I had to run to the post office to send off our two eBay shipments. Boy, was it hot outside! As I was
driving back to work, I thought about how good a rootbeer float would taste. Mmmmm. I thought maybe I'd stop at
Baskin Robbins and pick one up. Then I thought it would be fun to treat the people at work - there are only 4 of us
working there right now...plus our custodian's daughter. Then I thought about how EXPENSIVE that would be!!
YIKES! Driving along I passed a Vons and thought, hey, I can treat everyone for less than $5.00! So I stopped and
picked up a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a 2 liter bottle of A&W rootbeer all for the grand total of $4.59! When I
got back to work, I went into the lounge and made rootbeer floats for everyone. What a treat! Everyone was thrilled
and I had the fun of watching everyone enjoy their treat =) I love doing things like that from time to time. It's a
thrill because no one expects it, and it makes me feel good to boot. That's a win-win situation in my book - especially
when it's something that costs so little.

Actually, when I was leaving the house this morning I forgot to grab something for lunch. Grrrrrr. I don't do that very
often, but I sure hate it when I do! I called Kevin and he came to my rescue...as always =) He dropped by the office
on his way in to work and brought me a Lean Cuisine and a pear. What a man. I don't know how I got so lucky, but
I'm sure glad I did. Thanks honey!!

Tonight we need to go to Walmart after dinner. We need to pick up a new phone since ours refuses to dial anything with
a 1, 2, or 3 in it! lol I also need to pick up our pictures. Man, that's going to be a bunch of pictures - around 450 if I
remember correctly. Well, I planned for it and have the cash to pay for them, so it should be fine. At least I will have them
all printed...FINALLY! This Friday Deb and I are going to have a girls day and work on our photo albums. Yay! My goal
will be to finish our wedding album (gee, after only four years!) and at least one other album. The wedding album is about
3/4 of the way finished, so I think getting that completed and working on one other album is not that much of a stretch.
Oh well, we shall see!

Monday, Monday...

August 8th, 2005 at 08:02 pm

I'm never particularly fond of Mondays. Things aren't bad once I get up and get going, but when that alarm goes off
at 5:30 on Monday morning...I just want to shoot it! lol

I needed to make a doctor's appointment for today, which took a bit of extra time this morning. Even with the extra
time, I was only one minute late to work...not bad =) Doctor's appointment went well - but I did need a prescription.
And, since I would need a refill on my other two meds next week, I went ahead and did that today as well. The total
spent with appointment co-pay and prescriptions was $45.00. Not bad - and since all were totally necessary, I'm not
concerned about the expense. I'm just glad we have good insurance. I can't imagine what it would be like if we didn't...
nor do I want to imagine it. It's scary to think about really.

I was able to scout two perfect-sized boxes with packing material at work (yay for unloading school supplies!), and brought
those home to package items sold on eBay. Got the items packed and ready to ship; I'll stop by the post office tomorrow
on my way home from work to get those taken care of.

I also have library books that need to be returned. I'll get those back one day this week - maybe Friday since I'll be
off. I do so love working 4 day work weeks =) ...if only we could do it all year instead of just during the summer!

I really have a love/hate relationship with the time period from July 10th to August 25th. Love it because I'm off the
month of July. Hate it because my last paycheck for the year is July 10th and the first one for the year isn't until
August 25th! Oh well, it could be worse. We plan for that month without my income, so we're always fine. It's just
that, somehow knowing I don't have a paycheck coming in...well it kinda stresses me out a bit. Without a doubt, that's
the time I'll always find something I need/want to buy. I think I find it then because I know I can't buy it! lol Again,
oh well, it's only a month...and I'm another day closer to August 25th =)

eBay Does Indeed Rock!

August 7th, 2005 at 05:04 pm

I don't know why Kevin and I go through these spells. We used to sell quite a few things on eBay and then stopped. I
think we just got a bit bored with it. However, we did pretty well when we made up our minds to sell.

Well over the summer I began to catch up a bit on decluttering. Nothing major, just some things we decided we could
live without and it wouldn't hurt a bit =) We decided to list several items on eBay. Not all of them have sold; we will
relist them at another time. However, we've just sold about $200.00 worth of merchandise!!! While it's not a huge sum
to be sure, it's definitely a nice little chunk of change that will go directly into our savings account. It might end up being
even more than that; several of the auctions have another day or so to go, so the potential to go higher is there. Two of the
auctions are definitely up and we've received payment for them. YAY!!

Along the way we've found a few more items to list. Every little bit helps - helps us both earn money, de-clutter the
house and garage, and because we write the ad and list together, it's a fun way for us to be together.

Now I'm inspired all over again!

A Lazy Weekend

August 7th, 2005 at 02:41 pm

Yesterday when Kevin and I got home from Ikea, we cleaned the BBQ. Let me just say this about that: yuck!
It sure was a gunky job! Oh well, it was really nice to have it done. And I have no doubt it made our steaks that we
grilled last night taste even better =) We've been really trying to be good about eating dinner at home. It's not that we
really go out all that much, but still, when we go out we usually end up commiserating with each other about how
expensive the meal was and how much we could have bought for the same amount in groceries and made the dishes
at home. Breakfast and lunch are really not that much of a challenge - we nearly always have breakfast at home (or in my
case, I take things from home to work with me to eat later...I just don't enjoy eating breakfast THAT early!), and we are
very good about taking our lunches with us to work. No complaints there. We both like leftovers and have no problems
taking them for lunch. Thank goodness!

Last night MIL came to dinner and we had a nice visit. Afterward the three of us walked down to the ice cream
shop for a scoop - MIL's treat! Yummy!

I received two magazines in the mail yesterday. Yay! I am such a magazine junkie. I don't mind my magazine buying
habit now that I can subscribe to them at school at a huge discount. In years past I shudder to think how much my
magazine addiction cost me. But now, in addition to the already discounted price of each subscription, because I am a
school staff member, we can take an additional 50% off the cost of the subscription. That's a HUGE savings! Last year,
Kevin and I spent $82.00 on magazine subscriptions. I know that sounds like a lot, but for that price we received 8 different
magazine titles of our own, and purchased two gift subscriptions. I think that's a lot of information and entertainment
for $82.00!

This morning mom and dad stopped by. The left us a steak bone for Slippers (she'll be thanking them tonight after dinner!)
three fresh pears and two beautiful tomatoes! Mom also left two huge bags of books for me to take to the used book store.
Mom reads a TON of books - some I like and some I don't. There is a wonderful used book store 1 block up the street from
my work, so I take mom's books there for credit. Every other month or so (whenever mom can get away), we head to that
book store to browse. At first she told me to use her credits - and sometimes I do - but mostly I want mom to get the
benefit of it. Afterall, they were her books in the first place! Last time we went, there is so much credit on the account, we
went out with an armload of books for about $3.00. That's a DEAL!

For lunch, Kevin and I finished off the tossed green salad from last night and the rest of the take-out pizza from Friday
night's dinner. I think that pizza was a good deal - much better than we normally do. I usually end up ordering two
medium pizzas because they are on 'special'. This time, however, I only ordered one large pizza - and asked for half of it
with my favorite toppings, and the other half with Kevin's. It was the perfect amount of pizza for two meals - absolutely
no waste. And the total of the large pizza was only $10.00. That's good considering I normally spend about $15.00 and
there are many times when some of the pizza goes to waste because we're tired of it. We are both trying to be better
about using up EVERYTHING. We keep reminding ourselves that we need to not let something go to waste just because
we aren't craving that particular flavor. We either need to use it up then, or pop it in the freezer for later consumption.
We need to be less picky about not having what we 'want', and just be grateful that we have enough to cover our needs.

...and away we go!

August 6th, 2005 at 10:04 am

Well here it is - my first journal entry! I've been reading some of the other blogs and those have inspired me to start one of my own. I'm off and running =)

Some recent ideas, inspirations and victories:

Last week I decided to catch up on all of the pictures I've been meaning to print, archive and place in photo albums. The inspiration came for this because I really wanted to get the photos from the Hawaii trip printed (they were all digital) and placed in an album before I went back to work on August 2nd. As much as I love digital photography, my one gripe is that we rarely, if ever!, have the pictures printed. I decided to make it my mission to get together all of the photos I wanted printed, find the best price I could, and get the pictures DONE! Once I dropped off the disc to be printed, I stopped by Michael's to pick up a photo album to place the pictures in when they returned. I was on my way to the check-out counter when it dawned on me: I have at least 5 or 6 photo albums at home already - just begging to have photos placed in them! Why on earth would I spend more money on photo albums? I know it was just a small thing, but it felt like such a victory! I saved myself about $15.00 - and it felt great =) The next day I picked up the photos, wrote descriptions on the back of each, and placed them in their album. Perfect! ...now I only have a few more years to catch up on and I'll be finished. lol Oh well, baby steps! I have all of the pictures being printed as I type; I'll pick them up on Monday and begin the long, but loving process of placing them in albums. My goal is to have them all finished by the holidays. I know I can do it! Deb and I have decided to dedicate at least one girls day to getting our photos organized. Who knows, if it goes well, we might dedicate a second girls day to the same goal and be finished in no time!

Last Saturday Kevin and I took our recycling in. With the small collection we had, we still received just over $12.00. I know it doesn't sound like much, but we figure it's virtually free money. The items that we recycle are either collected on our daily walks, donated by mom and dad or items we bought, consumed, and saved for recycling. Now that I'm back at work, I'm going to make a concentrated effort to go to the faculty lounge every Friday and pickup the recycle bag that's in there before it gets dumped for the weekend. By my calculations we added about $150.00 to our savings last year just by being vigilant about recycling. While it's not a TON of money, it's certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Today we're taking a trip to Ikea. A few months ago I had been thinking about purchasing a milk frother. I love lattes, but there's no way I'm going to stop and buy one every day! Also I've had those coffee pots where you can make your own lattes, but sooner or later they get hopelessly clogged and don't work any longer. I thought the best solution was to buy a milk frother - pretty easy to do - and much cheaper than the daily Starbuck's habit (which I've never had anyway). At any rate, the least expensive frother I could find was still about $15.00. Not a horrible price, but since it really isn't a 'necessity', I decided to hold off on purchasing it. Last Sunday we received a new Ikea catalog with the newspaper. I was scanning through the pages when, lo and behold, I came across a milk frother! The price for this battery operated little wonder? A whopping $1.99!! That's right, for less than $2.00, I will be able to enjoy a delicious lowfat latte every morning. YAHOO!! I told Kevin that since they were so inexpensive, I'm going to pick up several. One of the house, one for work and a few to have as spares. Who knows, I might even give one or two away as gifts =)

I've been thinking about our upcoming health and benefits fair at work and trying to decide if we want to make any changes this year. Last year during the open enrollment time I added $250,000.00 worth of life insurance and updated my disability insurance to reflect my current salary. I'm sooo glad I did! When I had surgery in May, that was the first time I've used my disability insurance since I first started buying it 4 years ago. It was wonderful to have that money come in while I was off and not able to work! While I still received some of my pay from work, the extra from the insurance really did help out =) This year I was thinking of adding to my TSA. I've been contributing $150.00 per month. That's not very much, but in the few years that I've had it, it's grown to almost $7,000.00! And I haven't missed the money from my paycheck one bit. I don't even think about it. I was thinking that I might increase the amount to $200.00 a month. That way I've upped the contribution, but not so much that we'll feel pinched. Additionally, if we receive a pay increase this year, I'm going to take whatever amount it is and add it to our credit union contribution. Since we're doing just fine on what we're bringing home right now, we'll never miss that extra amount. My goal is to have the credit union contribution up to $1,000.00 per month. We're currently at $850.00, so the goal isn't too much of a stretch. We should find out about increases by November, so we'll wait and see how it goes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Even if we don't receive an increase, I still think I'm going to increase the amount - even if it's only an extra $25.00.

Well I guess that's it for today - the very first edition of Ran's Ramblings. I'm looking forward to writing again tomorrow!

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