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Archive for February, 2006

whew...a little better today

March 1st, 2006 at 03:46 am

I feel a little sheepish about my rants yesterday...especially since now I find one of them was unfounded...well, sort of. Turns out the neighbor on the next road owns the puppies. We are still not sure how they made it to our barn, being quite a bit away still and up a massive hill. But to give the benefit of the doubt...they did end up here, and we did find the owner. He is trying to find homes for the pups (do I need to go on another rant about getting your pet spayed or neutered if you don't want babies?), so he does not mind if we keep one (or two...my DH and dad are still working on getting my mom to take them both). If we can't find a home for them (or decide not to keep them), the owner says we can take them back to him. I'm still a little suspicious of his motives though -apparently someone who knows the family told him the pups were here and he did not call us to claim them. He did admit they were his when we called though. Hmm. Their mother is a Great Pyrennes/mix, and he doesn't know what the father is, but they are absolutely beautiful. Can you post pictures on this? I would love to show these two off.
Second rant - about freecyclers who don't follow through. I have just reposted all items with a note saying that if you can't get it, don't respond. Not that it works, I've done it before and still gotten replies from people who don't follow up. Such is life.
Third rant - coupon train. I have heard from all members now and found out the train was stopped in a post office box after an emergency move. I have sent out a second train today and the first should be moving along soon...so hopefully I will have some hot little coupons in my hands soon. 'Course, they may all be expired by then...
Today was a nice day. I worked until 2, ran a few errands, then came home and played with puppies and kids (3 kids, 2 puppies). For once, none of the accidents on the floor were done by my offspring! And we had a "no scribbles on the wall" day. Maybe ds1 is finally getting the message, or maybe we just hid all the writing utensils well enough...either way, I'll take it! We have plans to redo his room with chalkboard paint on one wall - might have to do this a little sooner than planned if this keeps up!
I made some bread pudding out of some old bread that my mom always saves in the freezer. Whenever she has one hot dog roll, or the end of a loaf of bread, or whatever left, she sticks it in the freezer - where they sit forever until someone throws them away. So I decided to do something with them. Turned out pretty good, except the bread did have that freezer taste. Guess I'll have to get around to it sooner next time. Anyway, I was just proud of myself for making something out of nothing.
Tomorrow I plan to go shopping in the morning with ds2 while ds1 is in preschool. I have my list all made out and quite a few coupons combined with sales. I am currently in the 30-40% off range - would like to hit 50%, but many of the fresh fruits and veggies, and whole grain items that I eat do not go on sale frequently. I think, though, that my grocery bill has already gone down significantly since I started keeping track. That's motivation for me!

people who tick me off...

February 28th, 2006 at 03:06 am

Can you stand a little rant? If so, keep reading...if not, you might want to come back tomorrow Smile
1. People who are mean to pets. About two weeks ago we had a very nice house cat dropped off at our farm - very obviously used to being inside as the poor thing meowed at our door for hours. He eventually went down to the barn and stayed on. We put an ad in the paper and found (hopefully) a nice home for him. Then TODAY - two puppies in the barn. Left in 10 degree weather by some cold, heartless person. They were in the far machinery barn, not even the one we use daily. Thank goodness my father found them. They look like they have been well-cared for up to this point - chubby, not too dirty aside from the day in the barn. They appear to be pure-bred Australian shepards, from what we can tell (my SIL is pretty knowledgable about animals). She is guessing that for some reason, they were not sellable and someone dumped them. We have no close neighbors, so it is very unlikely that they found their way here. Anyway, she took them in for a few days until we can figure out what to do. My father has already fallen in love with one, and DH with the other...but we do have one house dog already. Our other dog was put down about a month ago, and our remaining dog (13 years old) does not take kindly to puppies. So who knows what will happen. But I still find it hard to believe that people can drop off animals to become someone else's responsibility, or worse, to be left to die.
2. Freecyclers who do not pick up items. What makes it worse is that I responded to a person who specifically asked for something (instead of taking something I offered), and they still don't bother to get back to me.
3. The members of my coupon train. Well, not all of them - just whoever it is that is holding up the train. I loved the idea and posted on Freecycle to start one locally. I got 7 responses and got it started right away. Well, somewhere between participant #3 and participant #6, it got lost. #4 and #5 are not returning my e-mails, so I don't know where it is. I just started a second train, but until I figure out where the problem lies, it will probably happen again. And since I started it, I haven't even gotten any coupons out of it yet!
Grrrrr...but other than that, an okay day. The kids were not too crabby, although ds2 woke me up at 6:30 this morning, which made mommy crabby. I need to go cover his window before I go to bed as I think the light is waking him. Mommy does not like to get out of bed before 7am, and even at 7 is not very cheerful Smile Tomorrow I have to be at the opposite end of the county (45 minute drive) at 8:30am, so it will be a busy morning. This morning did not start off the best, as I spent 30 minutes supervising a child in scrubbing his artwork off the wall (child was NOT happy). We are totally in the artwork phase right now - and experimenting with all different media (today was dry erase marker - which does not come off paint easily. In the past it has been pen, pencil, and crayon). When we ask ds1 where he is supposed to draw, he answers paper. When we ask him if he is allowed to draw on the walls, he says no. But then we turn our backs...and you can guess the rest. He is not allowed to play until it is totally cleaned up (lovin' that Magic Eraser), but that still is no deterrent - any advice out there??

bowling night...

February 27th, 2006 at 03:24 am

and we did terrible. Oh well. I guess we can't be winners all the time. But we did do the NY TImes crossword in just over the time of one bowling game (we take it with us and usually finish it around the end of the second game). So either we are getting smarter...or it was an easy one Smile
I went out showing houses again today -I think we saw 7. A few possibilities, but not THE ONE yet. These past two days have been so cold that I was just chilled to the bone when I got home. I think my down comforter is calling me now...winter came late to central NY this year, but it has come with a veneance. Brrrr...I guess I can't complain, though, after reading some of Kashi's posts from Minnesota (I think). Tonight it was 17 degrees, but it felt like 0 with the wind chill.
Here's a question for some of you bakers out there...it really should be a separate post in the discussion area, but I am just feeling lazy tonight. I have tried and tried to make muffins like you buy in the store or get from mixes - all crumbly and moist - but my homemade ones never turn out like that. They are always...chewy, I guess. Any thoughts? Could it be that I substitute applesauce for oil? Just thought I would throw that question out since I read someone's journal about making TG muffins (sorry, I cannot remember who now!). I made some jelly muffins (oat, wheat flour with a spoonful of jelly in the middle) the other day - just weren't up to pay. Hmph.
This is a totally random entry, I realize. Oh well. Sometimes I am a totally random person.

saving at Mickey D's

February 26th, 2006 at 02:17 am

I don't have time to write much, but feel as though I ought to at least check in...I've been pretty lax about writing lately. Today I spent 6 hours with my clients showing houses...and we are going out again tomorrow to look at 5 more. I'm pretty confident that this couple will buy from me, so I don't mind all the time I am putting into this. But you never know when something will happen that will change someone's plans...then all this work for nothing. but it's a chance I take in this business - or any commission business, for that matter.
I stopped for lunch today after showing the houses. I was going to get a chicken sandwich at McDonald's because I had a coupon for a free medium fries and drink if I bought the sandwich. But then as I thought about it, I realized I would be paying $3.50-$4 for the sandwich, when all I really wanted was a small sandwich, a few fries, and a glass of water. So instead I got a cheeseburger and small fries off the value menu - $2.16. I have to stop myself from falling into the coupon trap every so often. I get sidetracked by what I would be saving without taking into consideration that I am spending more overall, often for things I don't want.
The kids are in bed, so I think I will go snuggle with DH in front of the fireplace Smile 'Night all.

I'm baaaackkk

February 23rd, 2006 at 04:03 am

What a great time I had this weekend. The down side - I now have a new hobby that is NOT cheap. I've already been scoping out E-bay for big lots that can get me a little bit of everything rather than buying things one at a time at the craft stores. We scrapbooked from the time we got up in the morning until...well, until the time we went to bed in the morning (usually around 3 am). It was so addicting - but I really enjoyed it and was able to finish my firstborn's book as well as get my ds2's book nearly done. I wanted to do a scrapbook for both, just the first year, in addition to my photo albums. Now I can focus on events as they arise, like weddings, picnics, holidays, etc.
We have a lot of miscellaneous money coming our way lately - $150 commission check, $60 rebate on my contacts, $60 BOA bonuses for opening accounts...plus we will be getting a nice chunk of change from our taxes, which (I think) we will pay off DH's car loan with. Then I can throw that $200/month either toward my student loans or our IRAs. So far we have put $2k in, out of the $8k we plan to (or did the maximums go up this year? I think they might have - we try to contribute the max toward both). So we are starting off the year okay.
Tonight we took ds1 (2.5 years) and my niece (3.5 years) to McDonald's for dinner and to play, then to see Curious George. Really cute movie. Ds did very well - I was quite pleased with his behavior, because I really wasn't sure how he would be. We sat in the last row, on the aisle, which was a smart move for us. The kids got to stand up for a few minutes when they got antsy without bothering anyone, and we could slip out easily to the bathroom. Oh, and we had a diaper on ds because we are not too comfortable with him telling us when has to go when we are out in public - but he did! He didn't even mind leaving the movie for a minute to go. I was certain he would just go in his diaper so he wouldn't have to get up, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Looks like all this potty training really is paying off Smile Anyway, we spent $13 on dinner and $14 on the movie (both kids were free - another pleasant surprise!). Definitely a fun night.
Tomorrow we are having ds1's Early Intervention evaluation - he gets speech services. They are going to continue services for another 6 months as he is just now really starting to talk - but we have to review his goals just the same. Tomorrow was my morning to sleep in, but they will be here at 9. So I told DH to get me up at 8:55 Smile
I'm not doing well on my real estate goals - I just have not gotten motivated to sit down and get my mailings out. Maybe I will make that a goal for tomorrow...

100 entries!

February 18th, 2006 at 01:30 am

Woo hoo! I was actually thinking of skipping tonight as I really had nothing to talk about, but then I saw that I had 99 entries...and since I will be gone until Monday, well, I just had to write that 100th entry.
Worked today, dropped my car off next door due to a faulty sensor that keeps lighting up. When I got repairs done to my brakes, the mechanic broke it off. Since then, I have had it replaced twice (at no cost to me) only to have it keep breaking. I don't really care that it stays on, but every time it comes on I don't know whether it is a problem with my sensor or my brakes. So they never got around to fixing it today because the part didn't come in, and when I picked up my car, it was DEAD. The mechanic had to jump it for me and told me to drive it a while before turning it off to recharge the battery, so I had to scrap my shopping trip I had planned after work. Oh well, I guess it saved me some money. Plus there was no charge at the mechanics since it was their fauly my battery had died. It's not often I walk away from the mechanic without spending anything.
Tonight my mom made a spaghetti dinner from scratch and my brothers both came over with their SOs. Fun night. We are going to play cards in a few minutes, but I am killing some time while my brother and future -SIL do some wedding planning. They just asked ds1 to be in the wedding, along with my niece Smile
Have a great weekend, everyone - I'll be MIA for a few days - down near Binghamton having a scrapbooking weekend with some girlfriends and no kids!!

cranky today

February 17th, 2006 at 02:06 am

Well, I think both my boys are sick due to their disrupted sleep patterns. The good thing is that they don't act too sick, just runny noses and coughing but not too miserable. Ds1 skipped his nap today, which did not help matters. plus they were both up several times last night. Ugh. DH is already in bed tonight, and I think I need to follow him there any minute. I am SO looking forward to this weekend with my cousin and girlfriends - scrapbooking, eating, and sleeping in!
Attended my training today - very interesting. And we got out an hour early Smile I stopped at my real estate office on the way back and picked up some promotional materials to mail out to past clients. Now I just have to get my form letter written so I can get the mailings out. I am sending my past clients (the ones still in the area) a coupon book (like the Entertainment books) and asking them to keep me in mind to refer to people they know - if they do and that person buys a house, I will pay them $25 (the maximum I am allowed to pay for referrals). Even if I make one sale off this, it will more than pay for itself.
Off to bed - this will be the earliest I have been to bed in weeks. And I really, really need it tonight.
Smile

glug, glug, glug

February 16th, 2006 at 02:43 am

Does it still count as my third glass of water if I chug it while writing my journal entry, after just remembering that I needed to drink it? Smile
I was really trying earlier, but ds1 has a fever and runny nose, and he wanted some of my water earlier. Well, I wasn't going to deny him, but I sure as heck wasn't going to drink after him either!
I had a very productive morning, followed by a totally unproductive afternoon. I finished cleaning out our bedroom closet, made three separate offerings on Freecycle (two of which have been spoken for), printed and signed my taxes (waiting for DH to sign, will go out tomorrow), did some other things around the house...then afternoon hit, and all the energy just ran out of me. All I wanted to do was curl up and take a nap (which I did do in 5 minute spurts as ds2 was playing and ds1 was napping...shh, don't tell). Finally shrugged it off by taking the boys outside after nap time. The thermometer said 60 degrees (unheard on in central NY in February!) but the wind made it feel quite a bit colder. We only stayed out about 20 minutes, but I still had to drag ds1 back in kicking and screaming despite the cold. A little bit of cabin fever in the household...
Tomorrow I have to attend a training in Syracuse - about a 45 minute drive. Should be interesting - it's on autism. I wanted to go because two of my clients at work have autism/autistic tendencies. I hope it's worth my time. Ds 2 just woke up - I hope he's not getting sick too, as that is the only time he ever wakes up in the middle of the night Frown

oh yeah...water

February 15th, 2006 at 02:36 am

And...I made my three glasses of water today. One at work, one in the afternoon, and one that I snuck in about an hour ago. Yeah! Now if I can make this a habit, I can move up to four glasses in a week or two - but not much more - I've tried it, and I spend too much time running to the bathroom all day! Sorry if TMI Smile

halfway there

February 15th, 2006 at 02:35 am

I got half my short-term goals done. I got my mailings done and made the Valentine's cookies. They were supposed to be rolled oatmeal cookies (you blend the oats first to make oat flour), but they tasted more like sugar cookies than oatmeal, just with a little more texture. But they were good, and I would make them again, just not what I expected. I cut them in heart shapes and spread raspberry jelly between them. I left a plate for DH when he got home from school tonight - the little sneak went out and got me some flowers today, so I wanted to do SOMETHING nice for him. He went to the flower shop where my SIL works and told her to make something that costs less than $10 or else I would get mad - and she did. She knew he wasn't kidding (my frugality is legendary). But is was a very pretty bouquet Smile
Still have to get my direct deposit set up and taxes sent out. I reviewed all the taxes last night (Turbo Tax printed out about 50 pages of my return plus all the worksheets). I found just one thing I need to fix, and then I can send them out. Hopefully tomorrow. I did stop at the sign shop today on my way home from work and got a preliminary sketch for my car magnet. Since the shop owner is on my bowling team, I am going to give him the money on Sunday night at bowling so he can make it for me. I just wanted to think it over first to see if there was anything I wanted to add. It's only $20, so I am pretty pleased. Hopefully it will give my name some more visibility around the county.
Goal tomorrow: clean out the freezer. My mom and I have been putting this off forever. The ice is built up so badly that one of the shelves is almost unusable, and some things are frozen right into it. Tomorrow will be the only day I will be home for another week, so hopefully we will get it done.
No money spent today...I was so tempted to grab a breakfast sandwich at McDonald's because I was running late this morning, but I gulped down a bowl of cereal instead. I know the $2.50 will bring me more satisfaction than an egg mcmuffin would have Smile No money spent today!

didn't quite make 3 glasses...

February 14th, 2006 at 03:25 am

of water, but I did drink two during the day at work. Then I got home to a house full of kids (2 were mine, 1 was my niece) and all thoughts left my head for the next few hours as I chased them around the house saying "no! Don't touch the hot light bulb" (to my youngest), "No! Do not jump off the bed on your brother" (to my oldest), and "Say you're sorry" (to my niece). But then my brother offered to take my older boy home with him for a few hours, and I took the baby out to dinner with my parents at my aunt's house ("No! Don't eat that french fry off the floor! Don't stick your fingers in the kitties cage" "Stay out of the toilet!"). It's been a very tiring day Smile But my mom made soup to take to my aunt (she's 91) and we had a nice dinner. She loves to see the baby and he really put on a show tonight. What a ham.
Other than that, not much done today, except work. I finally got my business cards today, meaning I can stop at the sign place tomorrow to get started on my advertising. Yeah!
I was just online looking up courses for my real estate license renewal, due in April. I have to take 22.5 hours every two years. It's going to cost me about $135, which is not bad. I will take them online, and since I read pretty fast, I will get done in less then 22.5 hours (whereas if I took an actual class, I would be there for the entire time). But it's another expense to go on the 0% credit card. Ick.
Gotta get some little things done: check over taxes for errors and file. Get my direct deposit set up in my checking account before they figure out that I haven't done it yet and start charging me fees (the account was only free with direct deposit). Mail out two thank you notes and a request for a credit to my Nextel account for putting my walkie-talkie number on my new business cards. Make cookies for Valentine's Day Smile I just saw this recipe online for cut-out oatmeal cookies instead of sugar. I think I will try them tomorrow. And drink my water too!!

productive day!

February 13th, 2006 at 03:43 am

Well, DH and I finished the taxes today. When it comes to taxes, it pays to make no money! We will be getting a substantial amount back. We made almost $20k less than last year due to both of us not working for half the year, so the taxes we planned on paying were a lot less. I can't decide if I want to throw it toward my student loans then pay off the remaining few thousand, or pay off my 0% cc and then put the rest toward our Roths. I know the latter is probably the smarter answer, since the 0% won't last forever, but I know we'll be able to pay the card off soon anyway. And it is just SO tempting to be rid of my student loan...I guess I have some time to think about it before the money gets here. We were looking at the program that lets you buy gift cards at a discounted rate, but it looked as though you would have to pay $14.95 in S & H (unless I was reading it wrong). I think its a better idea for us to just get the money.
I was able to sort through all my real estate paperwork today and get it filed in an organized manner, so I won't have to drive myself nuts looking for papers when I need them. Plus I picked up the bedroom, cleaned out the fridge, finished all the laundry (even the dry cleaning that has been in the hamper for months) - I feel so accomplished today Smile
I was noticing when I cleaned out the fridge how many things I was throwing away just because we didn't know they were in there - not too much, a handful of grapes, a few cherry tomatoes, a little yogurt left in the carton - but it adds up. And those are all things we would have eaten if we had just gotten to them in time. I'll have to be more conscious of this.
I want to add a new goal for February, rather than wait to March. Nothing to do with money, just a personal one for me - drink at least 3 glasses of water per day, between meals. Sometimes I will go until dinnertime and not realize that I have had nothing to drink all day except a glass of milk with lunch - then down four glasses of milk with dinner. I have to remember to drink throughout the day. Sounds simple, but unless I have that glass right next to me, it never crosses my mind. We'll see how it goes, then maybe bump up to four glasses a day. maybe I will save some money (and calories) but not drinking as much milk that way! (but as the daughter of dairy farmers, I am telling all of you to drink YOUR milk!)

reign comes to an end...

February 12th, 2006 at 04:30 am

we played cards tonight (pitch)and did not win Frown I guess all things must end! But we had a good time, so that's what really matters. Quite a bit of money spent today: $37 at Wal-Mart for diapers, a step stool for ds1 to use the toilet, and a few groceries. Another $33 for the babysitter (no, we are not that generous - we payed her for tonight and tomorrow when we are bowling). I showed a few more houses today, but no sales yet. I do feel pretty confident that these guys will buy through me though - and probably sell their current house through me as well. They referred a friend to me, so they must like what I am doing! The bad news is that I called my brother's friend again (they did not return my first call after they told my brother they needed help to sell their home). Turns out they had already contacted an agent before they found out that I was in the business - they were going to work with me because he never called them back. Well, that agent did finally call them back and they are working with him. But they did say they would give me a call if it didn't work out. Bummer. Still waiting on my business cards too...it's hard to move ahead with my advertising blitz without my business cards. I think they may have been delivered to my office instead of home (which I never go to - I work from home). I'll have to call Monday to check.
Nothing planned for tomorrow except bowling at night. We planned to wrap up the taxes today, but never got around to it. Maybe tomorrow...and maybe not.

almost forgot...

February 11th, 2006 at 03:06 am

...I got my fourth insurance quote today from my prior insurer. It looks like my diligence is finally paying off. If I pay my insurance off all at once instead of payments (which I have done ever since I discovered that they wanted to charge me $5 a month if I didn't!), my new rate will be just under $1200/year for both cars (and set for a year instead of 6 months). That definitely beats my current rate of $1343, especially since LM already told me that the rates will be going up when I renew next month. Phew.
Thanks, Jeffrey, for the kick in the pants to get started on this Smile Now I can move on to some other challenges!