Tuesday, December 18, 2018

December Goals Recap December 18

December is humming along. I don't think I mentioned it but yesterday DD2 was home sick and I took a partial sick/partial work form home day. the dehydration factor from Saturday just caught up with us both. My headache never truly went away, and she had a low grade temp, headache, and stomach ache. She already had a dermatologist appointment, which we kept, but the jaunt wore us both out. We got a text to see if even though she was going to miss choir, could she get a fitting done as they are working hard to finish the dresses. So an hour later, we headed to the school, pup in tow as he needed his walk and I could do that while she was getting fitted. I tried to pick up her prescription, but for some reason, it didn't get sent to the pharmacist, so that's needed to fix tomorrow. 

I say this to cut myself some slack at the amount of red below and the liberties I'm taking with yellow. Recapping my progress in December goals, this is how my week went.

  1. Try a new recipe and blog about it. Does changing out 1/2 the batch of peanut blossoms with Reese's Peanut Butter cups instead of Hershey kisses count? 
  2. Read a book for fun, even if it is one I already have read. Well, I leafed through the first issue of The Tightwad Gazette. Yeah, I'm counting that as some progress. 
  3. Write towards completing my book at least 10 hours cumulatively. Nothing in the past week. I am STILL not happy about my lack of progress on this goal. 
  4. Limit TV/streaming/YouTube to not more than 6 hours during the week, and 6 total on weekends. There is just too much other stuff to do in December, and if I have a free night, going to bed early would be a good thing. Since I modified to not count sports (Vikings, Wild game...), I think this was a success this week.
  5. Other than a holiday lunch for my team, my gift to them, no eating out or morning coffee stops (work days). I did well this week, except for Friday when a former colleague was a last minute cancellation, but I still bought a cup.  
  6. Cook two meals at once at least once per week.  I made a double batch of soup and extra rice for a second meal. Not entirely twice cooked, but some progress.
  7. Pack and actually eat, two servings of fruit and veg to my lunch each day. Pretty good here. 
  8. Add a midday outside walk, every day if possible, even if only around the building. My body craves some natural light when I leave and come home in the dark. Boo- came short here. 
  9. Fit in a 10-15 minute yoga video in at least 2 times per week, This has gone by the wayside and by body feels it. Boo-again, I came short here. 
  10. Not gain any weight. I'm frustrated with myself for putting back on the five pounds lost on vacation, and being so close to the weight again I was two years ago, my heaviest. 2019 has to be the year I get my weight in check. Holding steady at least in December, despite the treats and calorie laden food, will boost my confidence heading into January. Still, so far, so good, and if I could get more exercise in, that would certainly help. 
I didn't promise perfection, just some stretch goals to be more active, eat better, and accomplish something I set my mind on. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Let Cash Flow, Let It Flow, Let It Flow

Money to fix the front of my car was not part of our year end spending plan. Neither was getting the clothes dryer fixed. DH threw in a load of clothes this morning and after 30 minutes, not only were they not dry, the  tumbler was ice cold, No heat. The official Sears repair option can't even schedule us until next Monday, and then if it is something other than standard parts on hand, have t wait for them to come in. A local service repair can fit us in tomorrow or Wednesday, and said with the model and year, even if he has to get parts, should be only 24 hours, getting us back in business Thursday at the latest. For both, the service call alone is $95, plus whatever parts might be involved. No one is in dire need of clean laundry early in the week, so if I have it back Thursday night, great.  

There's something weird going on with our dishwasher. I thought perhaps it was the drain/food catcher. We try and scrape and light rinse, but lets face it, we get lazy at times. I got down on my knees to clean it out, then pour vinegar to clean any other residual, plus ran the washer with a couple cups of vinegar. It seemed to help with the residue for about a week, but I noticed last nights load  was problematic again. I'm not even going to tackle right now as when I doing more cooking and baking, it seems almost as easy to just hand wash, dry and put things away right away. Sometimes, I wouldn't mind just pulling it out getting more storage, but know if we ever moved, the kitchen would have to have a dishwasher.  

I don't want to refer to these things as Murphy's law, well maybe the car thing. Frustrating yes, but owning a home comes with appliances, and appliances don't always do what they should. We are particularly hard on appliances apparently, though I don't understand what we do that others don't, if that is the case. This dryer is only four 1/2 years old. It is our third one since being married and living in the house, though the first one was already six years old when we moved it here from our first house. I know people that have had appliances for decades. This is our 4th dishwasher, the first three averaging only 8 years. I looked up a guide and life expectancy says 7-12, so 9-10 is average, so we are below average. I can't help wondering if the new chlorination in the water is impacting how well the dishwasher is working. 

If we get through December without tapping into any savings, I will be very grateful. It will come down to DH's final sales this week before he's paid Friday, and any corporate perks. The VISA has most of the Christmas gifts, but there will be some residual into January. We also have a lot of cash expenses before month end that will impact money flow. Also on the final VISA for 2018 will be several expenses for DD2 such as final show choir payment, yearbook, and the all night grad party ticket. Both yearbook and party ticket were bought before the rate goes up $10 each after the new year, so better overall, but a bite now. Besides the overflow of a bit of Christmas spending, DD2 also needs a new parking pass in Janaury, and we have three nights of hotel for two different show choir trips, plus gas and meals. She has a birthday next month as well. 

We are living on the cash flow edge right now.  All I can say, not happily, but honestly, let it flow. I'll keep looking for places to find the shut off valve.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Meals for The Week-Mom's AWOL Edition

Good Sunday morning all. I am up with a massive headache, took something, laid back down, and still haven't knocked it out. After the beautiful concert, of which I have little to no video because of dead batteries-despite having looked-we met friends at a pub. I should have just got a beer, but thought with the pretty lights and the live music playing, a glass of wine would be a nice change. Either it was old house, or a super cheap (as in cheap not inexpensive) Sauvignon Blanc, the tannins left me feeling dehydrated already by the time we were home. Pubs and wine-not always the best fit. It is just a nagging pain-not pre-migraine, so I'm sure as my body rehydrates, I'll feel better. I need to as I have  a huge to do list and an exceptionally busy week ahead.

First is to figure out what we are going to eat this week for meals. I am going to ELF, the Musical with four friends on Tuesday and have a work get together on Thursday. I want to spend as little as possible and use up what is lingering in the refrigerator and freezer before doing a big shop Friday for Christmas week. Still, we need many things to round out any sort of plan. DH has been on a kick again where he likes to make a meal one night a week. While I appreciate that, he as you might recall from the $24 lasagna, will run to the local store and just buy what he thinks he needs, no mind what might already be at home, and mind the price. To get ahead of that, I'll see if he can plan for Thursday, and I'll ad to today's shop.

Things got haywire with some spending and I'll add the dollar store shop to what I have spent this week on Household and Grocery, putting me now at $256 for the month, plus $40.85 in special budget for food for Christmas. With all I need to buy, plus having an extra adult in the house for five days, I very well will exceed my $400 target. Plus, we've spent a lot on meals out and take out. It is what it is. I am saving on my gift budget, so overall, December will be less of a money suck than last December was. I can't find my post, but something lingers in my head that we topped $500 in groceries alone not counting household, and additional frequent take out and meals out. Even though an improvement on last year, careful planning will support my cause. Meal options, many left over from last week:

  • Chicken rice hotdish with steamed vegetables
  • Rice crust veggie and cheese quiche
  • Chicken fried rice with mixed vegetables
  • Sloppy Joe's and roasted potato wedges 
  • Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
  • Homemade chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and corn
  • Bean soup from the freezer with egg salad sandwiches
  • Tuna Hotdish with green beans
  • Pizza
Groceries needed:
Chicken breasts
Hamburger and hamburger buns
Pork loin, ribs, or roast (for DH to make Thursday)
Barbecue Sauce
Chicken gumbo and tomato soup (for Sloppy Joe's)
Baking potatoes
Mixed Vegetables
Garbage bags

If I stick to this, estimating about $40, I'll be left with $104 for groceries and all to months end, plus the $40.85 which is earmarked for items I don't normally buy. Other items that I am bringing for Christmas eve, and Christmas day need basic ingredients and we'd need to eat anyway so I'll count towards the regular H&G budget. DD1 had bought some items, still well within use by date that fit with my party contributions, so she brought over, along with a dozen eggs as she is slowly cutting more animal products from her diet as they have irritated her stomach. We'll need groceries after Christmas as well, so my dreams of a $400 December are fading, but I'll still give it a valiant effort. Eating at home and packing lunches for DH and I are essential. How is your budget doing this month? what do you sere your family when you know you are gone a few weeknights?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Things I Do

It's no surprise I go out of my way, some might accuse me of taking a wrong map I go so far out of my way at times, to do for people I love. Warning to Meg B-this post is going to annoy you so you may want to look away. Today are the back to back holiday concerts at DD2's school. These concerts are phenomenal and sell out. She is in the Select Chorale, made up of Senior girls and guys, plus more junior guys can be selected for it to even out the voices. She is in the Vocal Jazz ensemble so will have songs interspersed beteeen the big choirs. Concert one is at 2:00 but they have to arrive by 11:50 for a full  choir rehearsal and sound check. Concert 2 is at 4:30, and they cannot leave between. I'll make sure to send her some good stuff for after the rehearsal and between concerts to keep energy up. 

However, I learned through being copied on a automated reminder, she is signed up to ring bells for Salvation Army from 10:00-12:00. Yes, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out she screwed up her schedule and was not thinking that  1) the concert was the day she signed up to ring, and 2) once she realized, didn't know she was going to need to be at school so early. They need a 48 hour cancellation window and of course learning this at 3:00 yesterday, it was not 48 hours ahead. The plan will be for me to bell ring with her, and then send her off to school with plenty of time. I'll finish her shift. Am I bailing her out? Yes. Am I happy about it? No. Do I think by helping her out I am setting her up to be an ungrateful sloth of a kid that has mommy coming to her rescue whenever she makes mistakes? Absolutely not. She knows she screwed up the dates and times, but a commitment was made and it needs to be fulfilled. Case closed. There are lot's of lessons to be learned from failure and messing up. Today might not be one of them.

I feel bad-Kim,  are you reading-for a mini rant I had in a comment on Out My Window. Kim is a giver, and she gives a lot in terms of her time, and in writing her blog, her words exhaust me. While I apologized within the rant and told her to ignore my comment, I could have been talking to myself. I know I sometimes do too much for people in my life. I've dropped what I'm doing to help my kids with homework, make an extra stop for something needed by one of them last minute on my way home, even after an exceptionally hard day, and I will spend a weekend cleaning an apartment with my daughter leaving it better than she moved in, so she gets 100% of her deposit back. I've figured out how to make something work financially so an opportunity would not be foregone, even if it meant doing without something for myself that I either needed or was looking forward to. I've babysat for my sister decades ago on short notice after she lost her husband, and do so gladly for my niece now.

As Kim so eloquently said, she is paid in blessings for caring for her young neighbors children, I too draw down blessings. I'll never be able to fix truly big hurts like my son's friend from high school committing suicide, or my daughter losing a friend at 14 in a car accident. I can't know what it is like to suddenly be a single mom raising grieving children while grieving yourself, but I can give them a night  off to just have fun with friends, knowing their kids will be entertained by an aunt that will play board games, dress up, trucks, and Legos, and not have to watch the clock. I can't stop some rude bordering on bullying comments my youngest has been getting lately at school about physical attributes she has no control over. But, my kids, my husband, as much as he drives me nuts at times, and my siblings, know I love them. They know I'll do what I can to help keep their worlds right, at least for a moment.