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Archive for June, 2010

Lunch Update

June 30th, 2010 at 01:30 pm

I hadn't updated lately, but I have only been eating in, per usual.

In fact, I only ate out once (lunch date with dh) which is not necessarily good. Means I have been anti-social. Then again, have been on vacation and eating "out" too much nights and weekends. So, probably works out.

We haven't initiated much eating out, but camp meant LOTS of food, we were invited to 2 dinners, a couple of BBQs, and as I always say, my waistline is always in line with how much I Eat out. It doesn't matter if I get salad with dressing on the side, when I eat outside the home, I end up with more inches and pounds.

I believe I worked 20 days, in June, and only bought one meal. 20 days would be easy peasy, but I squeezed in a lunch date with dh while the kids were still in school. Lunch dates will resume in August. I neglected my other 2 lunch buddies this month.

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TODAY...

Ate apple sauce and mixed nuts for breakfast. Leftover sloppy joes and salad, for lunch. Someone brought in cupcakes, so will probably be my snack. Big Grin

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Not much to report. Dh is beginning his 6 full weeks home with the kids. I could tell they were driving him a little crazy yesterday. The heat didn't help. Well, they were definitely cooped up. I told them it would be cooler today so asked daddy to take them to the park, or to the pool. Wink

That said, I was feeling lazy, so appeased BM with Yahtzee and scrabble the last couple of nights. (The 100F+ days didn't help). Tonight should be considerably cooler so many the park or pool will be an evening activity.

Oh yes - BM's summer camp got cancelled. No surprise. They actually offered to transfer him to another park, but it wasn't appealing without being right down the street. I told dh it was up to him, but he passed. He'd have to drive him, but would be stuck with him bouncing off the walls, too. Wink

I went to Walgreens on the way home the other day to grab a Graduation card, for a relative of sorts. I couldn't find any. Geez. I walked out with a lunch box for LM. Thankfully, Mr. Picky loved it.

I saw Hanes was having a great sale, but I am not quite sure what we need. I need to get organized this weekend and figure out what the kids need for their school wardrobes. I think BM still has all the shorts he wore for Kinder, and those could go to LM. (HE still wears them because he grows up more than out). Which means I may just need some XS shorts. Or I need to find some with elastic waistbands. (They have belts, but the shorts/pants can run pretty wide and useless).

BM probably needs some bigger shirts too. I could probably hand ALL his clothes to LM and just start over. Ugh.

The school has a clothes closet that I usually just leave for the less well off. BUT, this year I may be able to donate some stuff, so feel less guilty trading for some bigger sizes. We may try that.

They have a dress code to "help the poor." You know how I feel about that, from prior posts. I am not sure why the "poor" want to buy a second set of clothes for their kids. I sure as hell spend as little as possible on the "second bland wardrobe." IT helps to know they really aren't that picky, so I don't have to shop for hours or spend a fortune on getting the correct colors, etc. Will be much easier picking out a backpack this round. Will respect the "no character" rules (that no one else seems to respect), but I am not going to freak out if I can't find a plainer than plain child's backpack for under $20. If a character backpack is on sale $5, I may ignore the rules entirely.

They sent me a catalog, for the Kindergartener, for the expensive store they want us to buy our clothes at. I rolled my eyes and threw it in the recycle bin. Thankd Goodness for Hanes. I can get most the stuff for $5 apiece. Not sure where I will get shorts. It just occured to me LM we need more bland shoes too. Rolleyes He's got light up character shoes from Payless and all. The plain shoes are always more exensive too...

Learned Something; Controlling the Beast

June 29th, 2010 at 10:58 am

Learned something interesting.

What do you call the @ symbol used in e-mail addresses?
[url]http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/atsymbol.as...

There really is no name for it, but "at." So I feel like less of an idiot trying to figure out what that symbol is called.

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For the short summer, dh signed up for a free trial of Netflix. Now that we have the internet/HD TV.

Netflix - their streaming service sounds really awesome.

We currently have Blockbuster online. The blu rays do not cost more (huge plus, to dh). Their shipping is lightning fast, we get free game rentals (in-store) and the store exchanges, and free in-store rental coupons, are uber convenient.

Oh, and dh can't stand to wait for new releases. Blockbuster makes them available immediately - Netflix has to wait a week or something? Do I have that right?

Clearly, Blockbuster is the better service. BUT they don't do streaming.

SO, I am worried dh will want BOTH. That said, he may just get a more bare bones Blockbuster subscription and the barest bones netflix one. It's probably not horrible. I suppose he could also just go back to in-person renting at BB, occasionally, if it is cheaper than a full subscription.

Though he did tell me he may want to subscribe to HBO for a few months next year. It's hard to tame the beast. You would never imagine how patient his nature is when you talk to him about stuff. He couldn't possibly wait until it came out on DVD. Rolleyes

Anyway, I can only hope the netflix sucks. Wink But, he figured it would be good to subscribe with the kids home for the summer. For now, he is just trying it out, and we will go from there.

I will be pushing to choose just one service - of course. If it were just me - I'd probably take the streaming. I could care less about the rest.

Good Busy

June 28th, 2010 at 03:45 pm

Busy, busy, busy.

Good busy.

The weekend flew by. I worked a bit (as to not obliterate my vacation time). Made it to aerobics (lots of stretching, some yoga, always VERY relaxing). Squeezed in a hair cut (chopped pretty short - thank goodness), and took LM swimming.

I had planned to take the kids to San Jose over the weekend. Dh had a volunteer shift, late Saturday. BUT, then BM really wanted to go to a birthday party. Camping was tiring, and I felt rather eh about the whole thing. Tried to talk dh into a small trip next weekend, instead. He didn't want to go anywhere next weekend. Then, got invited to a graduation party in San Jose. (Rather last minute, really). I still wasn't convinced, but the 100+ degree forecast swayed me.

We ditched the heat for a forecasted 86-degree day or so. As usual, the heat followed us. Last time we planned a day out of town (mind you, a hotter inland area), it was like 10 degrees more than predicted. Yesterday, Sacramento was 101, exactly as predicted, but we decided to spend a day in San Jose, mostly outside, nowhere with any AC, and it got up to 95 degrees. Ugh!!

We took the kids to a zoo that recently re-opened. We ate there and baked quite a bit, and then took our smelly/sweaty selved over to the party. Thankfully, it was in a much better shady area. They had an indoor area, but there was the whole no AC thing. Blech.

The only reason I survived was I chopped off piles of hair, Saturday. Thus, the "thank goodness" for that! They never cut my hair as short as I ask, and it had gotten quite long. BUT, this stylist was overly aggressive. Which was actually kind of refreshing. I paid $9.99 with my coupon, paid a generous tip, and am definitely ready for summer. Big Grin I would have been so uncomfortable otherwise. I just have so much hair. Piling it on top of my head just makes me bake, in comparison.

We ate well and the kids swam. If I really thought it would be that hot, I would have brought my swimsuit.

We had time to see my parents for a bit, which means we got home really late. But we saw like the entire family and had fun, so was a good use of our 8 hours there. 4 hours in the car. We rarely make it a day trip, but the kids are so used to the drive, was no biggie. They are pros. Dh and I always get good talks in on the long drives.

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This week is preschool graduation, blood drive (I haven't made it in 9 months, but hear July 4th is a big blood needing time - accidents I suppose). Fourth of July festivities.

I can't believe I have 5 or 6 weeks to get LM all squared away for Kindergarten (need to buy a backpack and some clothes? lunch box?). I still need to reserve a vehicle for our Denver trip.

Never boring!

Graduation Gift

June 28th, 2010 at 11:12 am

Looked this up because remembered it had been discussed:

[url]http://www.savingadvice.com/forums/general-discussion/4...

Not what I Wanted to see, particularly since giftee lives in insane high cost area. I used to live there - I know people are accustomed to bigger gifts.

So, though $50 or $100 would be more appropriate, she is going to have to live with $30. Dh wanted to give $20. I told him I felt we should give more. In fact, offered $25 as compromise. But he preferred a round number, even if it meant more.

The funny thing? She is an adult (later)adoptee who belongs to a cousin our age. If you gave me 5 more years, maybe I could swing a nicer gift. Just kind of hit me that "aunts" tend to be a little older when their nieces and nephews graduate high school. But, at age 33, all the other kids in the family are ages 0 - 7. As such, I don't think they expect much from us. Phew! I will have lots more time to prepare for the rest. This was kind of like, "What the heck? Graduated from high school? When did that happen???"

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

June 28th, 2010 at 08:17 am

I love these little father/son articles:

Isaac Learns the Meaning of Penny-Wise

[url]http://online.wsj.com/article/SB127759276673110965.html...

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I've personally ridden the Greyhound to save money. Not half way across the country. I'd do it again, (particularly if broke), but do remember a particularly uncomfortable bus ride from Tennessee to New JErsey. Much of the trip we had extra seats to ourselves and we were quite comfortable, but for the overnight stretch we ended up in a packed bus with unsavory characters. Not only that, but they were very large and I couldn't sit with my friends. We got separated and I got sandwhiched between a bunch of extra tall characters (legs, everywhere. Not so much girth).

Taking the bus from New York to Boston, was quite pelasant, in comparison. They even showed a movie. But both these trips involved more airfare than bus fare. Phew! I think I would too take from the experience that anything more than 12 hours requires a train or a plane ride, if I had the money! For my TN to NJ ride, can't say I had any money. So it was okay. Wink

The Day has Arrived!

June 26th, 2010 at 11:56 am

No more preschool!

Eh. It actually isn't that exciting...

Since, LM has been on the waitlist forever for more hours at his current preschool. 18 months exactly - well, nevermind about that. The $150/month is no small beans, but I also have a one-time $1200 flood insurance increase, this year (due December). It will be more exciting next year, I suppose.

(At some point we were paying $300+ per month, which was when I was more excited about this day arriving).

That said, I am glad to be done. The place was nice enough - nothing would compare to their last preschool. BUT, there was another dad in LM's class who has a fatal disease, and I just got an e-mail that the young father who died in our community (5 month battle with cancer), was also a parent at said school. I didn't even know.

Oy vey. Is it something in the water?

I am happy to disassociate myself from the place. They are nice enough, but I could do without all the dire disease. She's probably glad to be rid of all of us too - it must have been a heavy year for the school.

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Oh, it is pretty nice to have one less monthly bill. What have we got left?

Gradener, mortgage, health insurance? electric bill, county utilities and Surewest. Is that it? We charge everything else. (These are the only ones we can't charge. Or too many hoops to jump through to do so). Makes bill pay day very simple. Big Grin

Lots to Catch Up on

June 25th, 2010 at 01:42 pm

**So, camp was great, as always. This time we had our niece, and LM was more open to the little kid activities (he refused to do most of them last year and freaked out a bit). Thus, we actually had a LOT of free time, since he would go off with the other little kids. Very relaxing! Big Grin

All we heard was that the water was too cold and swift to go anywhere near the rivers. I figured the lake wouldn't be much better (temperature wise), so we didn't take swim suits over there. Which was also relaxing (since I am the only one who will go in the water to keep a close eye on the kids). That said, the kids just jumped in the water with their clothes on. Rolleyes I had to tell BM that "chest deep" was not "sticking in your feet." Wink But they got diverted to sand castle making, and I did get a nap in, on the beach!

One of my goals this year was to read 12 books. I love reading, but never make time for it, it seems. As of June, my book number is a big fat 0! But, I did read 200 pages at camp. Dh has all sorts of "kid books," laying around the house. I grabbed The Golden Compass, which is, interesting... 200 pages to go.

I have been wanting to re-read A Wrinkle in Time, and dh tells me to read the Spiderwick Chronicles, too. I figure I will start there. I can still read 12 books - I am a fast reader. Especially if I do the others - which are much smaller books - to start. I presume I can finish my firt book of the year during the upcoming 3-day weekend.

Dh highly recommends some series he is reading currently, but it is about a million pages. I am worried I will get discouraged. Wonder if I should read that when the kids are out of the house or something... I just don't want to get sucked into something so time consuming.

Camp was more of the same, as far as last year. Not much new. LM decided he really liked hiking, though. I don't remember how or why we talked him onto a short hike. BM usually LOVES hiking, but had no interest at all. So the next night at dinner, LM tells me, "I think I can go for a hike by myself." Mind you, he is 4 years old. Oy vey. So we had a little talk about how dangerous that was. But he was all excited to go for a hike with a partner, then.

We haven't done a lot of hiking with him not being much up to it, but I suppose that tide is turning. (BM will go on any hike - the more treacherous the better - since he was 3).

It would just figure if BM no longer sees the allure in hiking. But, will have to try and do some more hikes now, see if we can all get on the same page.

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**Dh had 2 free tickets to see Toy Story, so we went out to see it last night. I really liked it, but wished they had more of some of the new characters. I think the Prickly Pants guy had like 2 lines. From the previews and all the hype you'd figure he was some main character.

I think this is the 5th time that dh told me the "3D was useless." I said, "So why would we pay for 3D again?"

I don't get it. He said, "we won't." But I think that's what he said last time. I didn't even know it was a 3D movie, until he handed me the 3D glasses.

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**I've been in a generous mood, I suppose.

Well, not entirely. I bought a zoo membership (a San Jose zoo just re-opened after being closed quite a while. I can't stand our local zoo, so we take a membership elsewhere). That just happens to be tax-deductible though it is more of an entertainment expense.

As far as camping, MIL insisted on paying for us. I didn't argue. It's been a year... While there, they were asking for money for improvements. I told dh I was probably just going to donate $100 since we hadn't paid a dime. I'd be open to donating more, if it hadn't been such a year. We mostly had the $700 for it. But, maybe next year we will donate $500 or something.

In addition, I read a touching newspaper article a couple of weeks back, about foster kids and such who were accepted into great colleges, but had no personal belongings for the dorm rooms, etc. They were asking for money for the kids to go "dorm room" shopping. IT spoke to me. My dad went through college with no support (for the most part) and whereas the standard reply to my own college experience was, "Your parents don't support you? They aren't footing your college? You pay your own rent??? You WORK???" I knew far better than that. I knew I had far more support than a lot of college students have - even if it wasn't much financial support. I was always appreciative of the hand-me-downs and the emotional support. The money my parents did give me for college. Who cared about the rest? I could handle it on my own. Reading the article I remember when I rented my first apartment and my mom bought me a couple of items for my new room.

The least I could do was donate to such a great cause.

A Debt Debate...

June 25th, 2010 at 11:27 am

I just thought this was interesting.

I saw this discussion a while ago:

[url]http://gracefulretirement.blogspot.com/2010/02/are-we-f...

It was in reference to the "Blogging Away Debt" blog which was featured here in the past. (Maybe still is, but haven't seen it in a while).

She wanted to delay her debt repayments to go on a very pricey trip to Europe with her family.

So, today I saw this post:

[url]http://www.bloggingawaydebt.com/2010/06/financial-waffl...

I just wanted to gag reading all the comments on the post.

The jist of it being: "You only live once - do it do it do it!"

Having been debt free (except mortgage) my entire life, I just can't take the side of said blogger. Being debt free buys you tremendous freedom and opportunity. I don't buy that putting off that freedom for a trip that "can't wait one year," makes any financial sense. A little patience means you can have your cake and eat it too. I am pretty much agreement with most of the commenters on the first blog post I linked. (& as they allude to - there is MUCH more to the story, like unsteady employment).

That said, I don't think one trip will necessarily make or break them. I don't think it's 100% black and white. These comments run extreme both ways, but not much middle ground.

IT doesn't really matter what I think. I didn't share this debate last time, because she seemed to have been beat up enough by the blogosphere. I just had to gag when I saw 20 comments cheering her on today, with no dissent.

I suppose I find it interesting how different of a mindset people can have on the same subject.

I just don't think it is so black and white. I have personally given up many expensive travel opportunities, with little regrets. I don't think any were "once in a lifetime," in nature. & it doesn't mean I have never made my passions a priority. In fact, traveling is not much of a passion of mine.

If traveling is her passion, or this is truly, "once in a lifetime," so be it. I just find myself a little skeptical. You do only live once, but it doesn't mean you should live recklessly and give in to every whim.