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Archive for December, 2007

A confession...

December 29th, 2007 at 07:51 pm

I dream of Broken Arrow at night! Ok, it's not so...sleazy? adulterous? stalk-ish??? as it sounds Smile I just had a dream last night that I was playing pinochle at BA's house with him and his mother - and he had made soup! Too much time spent here? I don't know...I haven't even been on here much in the past month. Maybe it was a signal to get back to this site and catch up (and it did force me to log back on - if only to talk about my dream!)
Happy holidays to all - BA, hope I haven't freaked you out. If it makes you feel any better, I blogged a while back about dreaming that I met scfr!

Who do you buy for?

December 20th, 2007 at 08:09 pm

I just counted all the gifts I needed to buy this year (all done except for 2!):
27
That is four gift exchanges and 23 people. New additions to the list this year? My son's pre-school teacher, his teacher aide, and bus driver. My younger son's day care provider. My sons' speech therapist (same therapist for both kids). Am I overdoing it? Is all this really expected? I have no idea what I am "supposed" to do. I read that you are "supposed" to gift your day care provider a weeks worth of payment, but I can't afford to give a $50 gift to her. Instead I got her a $25 g.c. to a nice local store, because I really wanted to show her that we appreciate her flexibility and kindness. I got the speech therapist a $10 g.c. The teachers are receiving a notepad, candy bar, and mint lip balm (ok, it was really cute and caught my eye in Target - and at $1, I got a bunch for different people, including me!). And I'm going to give my son's bus driver a big Hershey's Kiss. (side note: I was going to get the teachers a $10 gift card too, until I realized that in several years, I could have 3 or 4 kids in school at one time, meaning 6 or 8 teachers...I just can't do it!)
Oh, and then there's the jobs. I had a gift exchange with my real estate company ($15-18). I received a present from my boss today (I'm going to take her my homemade granola next week - I hope she likes it). I got a lottery ticket from our office supervisor and candy from a colleague. We had a gift exchange with my Bunco group (can't complain about that one, it was my idea).
We exchange to some degree ($5-$50) with each of our siblings and SILs, as well as all of our nieces and nephews. DH and I both bring a gift to the cousin exchange. Of course, we still buy for all our parents and our one grandparent, not to mention our own two children.
Is anyone else driven nuts by all this?

I just ranted to my DH tonight and he told me I had a fat chance of getting any of his family (or mine, for that matter) to scale back because they enjoy the exchange. Well, I do too, but I am ready to just say ENOUGH. Enough shopping, enough organization (I have to carry a binder to organize my gifting), enough spending money.

At least I'm all done. DH can shop for the two people we have left - his grandmother and father. I'm DONE.




(I'm really NOT a Scrooge. I love the holiday - I even love shopping. I just want to simplify it - buy for my kids, DH, parents, and then maybe draw names with the rest of the relatives.)

A little update on net worth...

December 16th, 2007 at 06:27 pm

Our net worth stands now at almost $26k - just down a small amount from our high before the stocks tanked last month. I only have $800 left on the Lowes card, at 0% for another 7 months, so that will easily be gone in time. I have managed to get over halfway through Christmas shopping with only $165 on the cc, and I think most of that was gas and groceries - and will also be paid off before any interest accrues. I have about $400 in dependent care credit to claim, which should more than account for any remaining Christmas shopping. And, I just got a letter from my student loan company saying they are dropping my interest rate by .75% for always paying on time! I have fully contributed to my Roth, and we have $2k left to go for DH (tax refund should take care of that, I think). Ladies and gents, I think we are in good shape to start the new year.
I would love to see one of our student loans retired next year, but I don't think it's going to happen. I think we could get rid of mine ($5k), but now wiht my lower interest rate, it doesn't make sense to pay mine off before DH's, so extra cash will go to his first. Being that his balance is still so high, it's doubtful that we'll get rid of it by the end of next year. However, we will be debt free except for the student loans, and that is a very good feeling.

Magazines for cheap...or free!

December 15th, 2007 at 08:09 pm

Here's a post that's been rattling around in my head for a while (I've been trying to think of a way to make it a contest entry, but "Things I wish I knew when I subscribed to Reader's Digest" just doesn't make sense - I'll think of a better entry before the month is up!). Just wanted to share a few ways to get caught up on your favorite reading without blowing the cash:
1. Trade with friends and family. I read my mom's Ladies Home Journals. My SIL passes me her Parenting mags when she's done, and I pass her my Family Funs.
2. Check out the library. The library one town over from us maintains a big stack of their old magazines you can take for free. You can also drop off your old ones there. I borrow from the pile, then return them for others to read.
3. Ask for them on Freecycle. I got several years of Taste of Homes that way from someone who had them sitting around their house.
4. Check out E-Bay. I decided the subscription price of $3/issue for Country was more than I was willing to pay, so I looked on E-Bay. I scored 5 issues (all 2007) for less than $8 (including shipping), saving nearly half the price. I must mention this works better if your magazines are not time-sensitive.
5. Garage sales - I found an entire stack of Country Woman mags one road over from me for $1/all. These magazines also sell for $3 each.
6. Ask for them for birthdays or holidays. Someone like me, who prefers to give consumable gifts to gifts that take up space, would be happy to buy a subscription for someone on my gift list.
7. If all else fails - you cannot find them free or used, or find someone to buy them for you, check online for deals first. There are many great offers at half off the cover price - or more! Sometimes you can get two subscriptions for the price of one (a friend just offered me one of these deals for a cooking magazine - she bought the subscription, then offered me the free one!).
Happy reading Smile

still here, but taking a break

December 10th, 2007 at 07:33 pm

A couple of things have led to my absence here lately - basically, a pregnancy that was plagued from the start with difficulties ended last night at 8 weeks, so that has been keeping me rather busy - and a little drained. But, we will try again as soon as we get the go ahead, so stay tuned for more happy baby news in the spring.
We've also been battling the phone company over our supposedly high-speed Internet service that doesn't work more than it works. Come to find out, our two immediate neighbors also have numerous calls in for their lousy service. Anyway, it's just been too much of a hassle to get online lately. But, give me a little more time, and I'll be back to catch up on everyone's lives. Miss you all...catch you later.