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Archive for November, 2006

Free night out

November 30th, 2006 at 03:39 am

Tonight we went to play cards with our pitch club (one of three card clubs we belong to). We play three matches, then have dessert. It's an enjoyable night, for free (except when we host a few times a year). Therefore, no money spent today! It helps that I never left the house until then Smile
Today I used up some leftovers to make muffins: pumpkin puree and some pineapple remnants from a can that was opened a few days back. Pretty good - not a recipe I would duplicate on purpose, but one that is tasty and healthy. Bonus: the kids liked them. I always like it when the enjoy healthy snacks.
Back to work tomorrow - I anticipate a lot of little things to catch up on, since I have only been there one half day in the last 1.5 weeks. Should be fairly laid back though, barring any emergencies.
Tomorrow afternoon I have an appt. to list a house. We are going to put it on at $139k. It's a nice colonial, 4 BR, 1.5 baths. The drawback is that it has a shared driveway and not much of a yard. It would be really nice to sell this one, but the market is so slow around here that I am not going to get my hopes up yet. It's nice to have a listing again, though. My last two (a lot and a really small house) did not sell.
I guess that's all the news that's fit to print tonight Smile

The downside of breastfeeding

November 29th, 2006 at 10:30 pm

Yes, I am totally for breastfeeding - it wa the right choice for me and my boys. So you may be wondering that on earth the downside is...I'll tell you.
(Be forewarned - this post is going to go into details of my body that may not interest you. If you don't want to have a good laugh about the state of my body, please stop reading and go to another post). There. You've been warned. Anyone who reads further and wishes they hadn't has no excuse.

Anyway...I was about to get into the shower fifteen minutes ago. I hung up my robe and my niece walked into the bathroom. She looked up at me (at my chest to be exact) and proclaimed "You have long ones just like my nana!".

WTF? I am 29 years and 1 day old and my breasts are being compared to a fifty-something year old? I guess I can't blame my niece - her mom never breastfed and was lucky to fill out an A cup, so that's her basis for comparison.
I know - this is totally off-topic, but I decided my options were to laugh or cry, and after choosing the former, I decided others might get a kick out of it too Smile
I'm actually still chuckling about it! You can't make this stuff up.

And my birthday comes to an end

November 29th, 2006 at 02:58 am

Ah, it's almost over. I had a nice day, although nothing terribly special happened. Work, shopping, then out to dinner with my DH, brother and SIL, and my parents (their treat for my b-day). I received two phone calls and three e-cards from people scattered about the state. All in all, a nice day Smile
I found some nice deals shopping today. I spent $69.13, but a lot of that was on some good meat deals. I bought way more kielbasa than is good for anyone's health, as it is a great thing to have on hand for last-minute meals (I make a great jambalaya). I bought that on clearance (exp. 11/29) for $1.60 each (reg. $3.99) with $1 coupon. It's in the freezer now, ready for use at a moment's notice. I also got a large package of chicken breasts for $1.99lb and two Angus beef chuck roasts (BOGO). I bought Reynold's wrap for $1 with a $.50 coupon, doubled (I don't find free things often, but it really makes my day when I do!). I saved $44.78 with shoppers club and coupons - that's about 40%. I'm happy with that.
Another day at home tomorrow - I love my schedule. Working three days a week (M, T, Th) means that when I have a day off, like for Thanksgiving, I can go nearly an entire week without being in the office. I thought there would be a backlog of work for me today, but my voice mail was pleasantly empty of any urgent matters Smile
And the best news of all - every last bit of Thanksgiving leftovers are gone before I even got sick of them!

a little blatant self-promotion...

November 28th, 2006 at 02:48 am

Only 2 hours and 13 minutes left of being 28! Tomorrow is my birthday -
Go Jodi!
It's my birthday!
Go Jodi!
It's my birthday!


(so at what age do I STOP enjoying my birthdays? Is it next year at the big 3-0?)

Blah day

November 27th, 2006 at 07:28 pm

Blah. That sums up today. And I don't even know why. I just can't get myself motivated to do anything. I took the day off from work - usually I am super-productive on days that I stay home, but today I don't feel like doing anything. Although I did make Pumpkin Black Bean soup for lunch...and I have already mixed up my very first batch of homemade (no bread machine) honey wheat bread (I'm waiting for it to rise). But there are a million other things I could be doing, but I'm sitting here writing this nonsense entry instead. Blah.

a few little blurbs

November 27th, 2006 at 03:11 am

(I won't steal BA's "quickies", although that's basically what these will be!)
- we went to Binghamton for TG, stayed until Saturday. No money spent except for gas ($40.01 - it used to be that I could never stop on the exact number, but now I do it on purpose to get my Keep the Change match...but I digress). We had a wonderful weekend catching up with some relatives that we never see enough of. and we ate, of course..too much Smile
- today I spent the day puttering around, taking care of lots of odds and ends. I cleaned up a great backlog of paperwork. I found some old gift certificates that I cannot use, so I put them on E-Bay (bidding at $9.99 after 4 hours) and I am giving another one away to a savingadvice.com member who lives near this particular restaurant (bonus points: I used a recycled envelope from my Janus fund to mail the g.c.)
- I finally found my Rite Aid receipt when I cleaned out my monstrous purse, so I submitted that online.
- no babysitting money spent tonight as my SIL called me to tell me that she was able to watch the kids after all (she had told me last week that she was not able to). The SIL and I do not exchange money for babysitting, but just help each other out when able. Some of you may remember a rant a while back about this arrangement being a little too one-sided, but things seem to have evened out since then.
- I took the day off from work tomorrow, saving $40 in day care costs. I think I will send my older son to the pre-school program there, though, since he has been asking to go. That will cost $17 for three days this week.
- I cashed out $54 from cashduck.com, to be deposited into my PayPal account. I'll post on when I actually get the money. I earned that much from three trials, two of which I need to cancel tomorrow. I will also have $20 worth of g.c. coming to me soon.
- Any of you long-time readers may remember my dispute with a certain cell phone company, to remain unnamed...well, they took away my (Nextel) state of NY discount worth 10%. I called (Nextel) to find out why and was told that they took it off because my contract was up. They (Nextel) never told me that I would only get the discount for the duration of my contract - but, I don't care at this point. I originally signed a 2 year contract, of which one year has elapsed. I am so happy to hear that they (Nextel) think my contract is up, because now I can switch providers. I have already started to look at other plans and think I may go with Verizon. I don't want to point any fingers or mention any names (Nextel), but this particular company I was with (Nextel) was terrible with the customer service and even worse with the false promises when you sign up for service. I might look at a Trac Fone for the hubby, as he truely would only need one for emergencies. I use mine quite a bit more for business and I have to be able to port my number over, since I just had 500 business cards made up with my current cell #, so I don't think I can do a Trac Fone. I'll have to do some research. But I sure as hell will not be staying with THAT company (Nextel).

A productive day!!!

Christmas shopping

November 23rd, 2006 at 03:14 am

I had to show a house this morning, so I took DH along for the ride and we made a day of it (thanks to my mother for watching the boys). We hit K-Mart, Big Lots, Target, TJ Maxx...I think that was all. Anyway, we picked up a few more things for the boys, finished shopping for one SIL and one brother, and partially finished another brother, SIL, and nephew. Whew. We spent about $120 total - not too bad. $80 went on the cc.
Then we went out to lunch at the Olive Garden - soup, salad, and breadsticks lunch for $5.95. I personally think that is one of the best deals around. We also bought a bottle of their salad dressing to bring home for my mom (well, and for us too!). We used a $25 gift card, so we didn't have to pay cent out of pocket for a wonderful lunch.
DH had a great gift idea for his nephew. We are going to get him a 6-month subscription to Netflix, as he likes to watch movies but can't get to the video store often (no license yet). I think it's a great idea, and if it works out, we will renew it for his birthday gift.
I have never had so much shopping done so early. It's nice.
We will be going out of town tomorrow afternoon - not sure if we will be coming back Friday or Saturday, but either way, I'll be gone for a bit. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy holiday! (how do ya like that alliteration??)

Betty Crocker response

November 23rd, 2006 at 03:06 am

Well, since everyone else is writing about their company responses, I'll write about mine. I got a can of that new Betty Crocker chocolate frosting ("Pour and Frost", I think it's called - where you can pour it on a warm cake) from Big Lots a few months ago. I went to use it just before Halloween and it had a ring of white around the top. I really don't know what it was - it looked like mold, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Anyway, I didn't want to use it, although it probably would have been fine if I scraped off the top. I noticed that it was 1 day past the expiration date.
I just wrote to Betty Crocker a few days ago to ask if this was safe to use (I didn't ask for a refund or anything since it technically was past the expiration date, although I did mention that I thought it should still have been edible after only one day). I got an e-mail from them yesterday saying that they were sending me an "adjustment" and I should have it in a few days. I'm not sure what an "adjustment" is, but I hope it's coupons Smile

Money out

November 22nd, 2006 at 03:00 am

I spent $8 for lunch today. $8! I usually eat off the dollar menu the few times I do splurge on lunch. But I've been planning to get Mexican with an office mate for a week now, so today we finally got it. And, as lrjohnson says so often, when you have something seldom - it sure does taste good. What a treat. I even had some leftover nachos to bring home to snack on later.
Of course, this did disrupt my South Beachin'. But I can handle that. I am on Phase 3 now, which is the "maintain" phase. I have lost the 5 pounds that I needed to lose. I weighed myself this morning (before lunch!) with our dietician's scale in the office - 139.5. My goal weight is 140, so it's all good Smile
My mom asked me to stop and get 4 things for dinner. But, while I was at Wal-Mart, I thought that I might as well get diapers. And then they had the big cans of coffee on sale for $3.88, and you just can't beat that. Oh wait, there's sweetened condensed milk 2/$1, and I have $1 coupon off 2...Libby's pumpkin was also on sale, and I had a BOGO coupon...so I ended up spending $28 when I should have spent $5. Oh well - everything will be used. And we were out of coffee, much to my caffeine-addicted DH's dismay. I did have one total impulse buy - crumbly blue cheese for our salads. Yum. (but I did have a coupon, at least)
I made it through the two weeks without dipping into savings, thanks to a few unexpected cash finds (prize money, rebates). I think I will get paid tomorrow instead of Thursday due to the holiday. That $584 is supposed to last two weeks, but I have to pay the following bills:
car payments $200
cell phone $90
Uh, I had another $100 bill to pay that I am blanking on right now. Anyway, my point was that I am not going to get out of this pay period without going to my EF, especially if I want to do any shopping.
A few more cash surprises: $5 in Walgreen's rebates, $10 Staples rebate.

How to save $40

November 20th, 2006 at 04:43 pm

Get your kids sick. Smile I took the day off because my youngest has a runny nose and I wouldn't feel right about sending him to day care. Monday is the only day they go - my mom watches them the other two days I work. She actually would have watched them today, but she has a funeral to attend. Not that I mind staying home from work today Smile
I read about a site on a post here and have spent about an hour on it today. My account balance is at $42 from signing up for three trial memberships (plus I have a $25 Wal-Mart gc and a $10 Lowe's gc coming). Seem to good to be true? The verdict is still out. I'll post more when I see the money. The site is CashDuck.com, if anyone wants to check it out. I hope it's legit. There are TONS of offers - I mean, I've only scratched the surface, but I want to see the cash before I sign up for any more. It is a referral program too (where you earn so much for everyone you refer), so if anyone is interested, I can send an invite. Just PM me.
I won $10 last night at bowling! A nice surprise. For Thanksgiving, the ladies bowl for cash. For Christmas, it's the men. My mom and SIL also won the cash. I guess it was a goood night for the family. Between that and the $40 I am NOT spending on daycare (plus the $15 I saved last night when my sitter cancelled), I am feeling pretty good about making it through to payday (Wed.) with less than $100 in the account. Whew.

Quick goals update

November 19th, 2006 at 07:16 pm

1. Pay off Discover $893.99 balance -> DONE
2. Pay off American Express $4897.28, 0% interest -> no change
3. Pay off car loan, $1085 balance, 3.75% interest -> 891.33
4. Pay off my student loans $6044 balance (about 4.6% interest) -> down to $5966
5. Pay off Dh's student loans $15145 balance (in deferment) -> no change

It's nice to see progress, even though the money came out of savings to make some of these payments!

Fun facts - Part II

November 18th, 2006 at 02:43 am

I love writing these and I love reading these!

21. I have also never broken a bone (which I attrubute to my higher-than-average milk consumption) nor had my wisdom teeth out, despite their being impacted. I have horribly crooked bottom teeth, but I refuse to get braces (as I refused growing up, therefore having a long string of retainers that never really resolved the problem).
22. I consider the dentist that I had growing up to be a loony. The only reason, I think, that I went there is that my father would lend him machinery in trade for dental care. My dentist fancied himself a weekend farmer.
23. My father still goes to this dentist. I do not.
24. I had an epidural for my first childbirth, but not one for the second. I think I wanted to prove something to myself, but afterward I thought, "What the heck was I thinking?". Nevertheless, I am proud of going without it for one birth - alhtough I will be getting it for the next one(s).
25. DH and I plan to have 4 children. We have two boys now.
26. We got pregnant on the first try with ds1 and the second try with ds2. We both come from very fertile families.
27. I am truely conflicted over whether my boys should be allowed to join the Boy Scouts when they get older. On one hand, it's a great organization. On the other hand, I feel their policy against gay scout leaders is discriminatory and promotes the misconception that homosexuals are pedophiles. For that reason, I feel it would be wrong to support the organization, but I also feel it would be wrong to prevent my boys from joining.
28. My charities of choice are Planned Parenthood and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
29. Although I drink rarely, my favorite alcoholic drink is Kahlua and cream.
30. There are very few foods that I honestly detest: parsnips, black olives (green are fine), liver, and beets. I will eat almost anything else.
31. I have eaten cow tongue and heart, frog's legs, and those strange parts that come in the bag with the turkey (in fact, we used to fight over them at my house).
32. We live with my parents. My brother and his wife built a house next door. My other brother and his new wife just unveiled their plans to build a house - on the hill between my parents and my brother's houses. You could say we are a little close Smile
33. I have had two cats in my life - the one I have now (Ramen) and a kitten we rescued from the barn about 6 years ago (Roman). He had kidney damage and only lived about 2.5 years. For the last 3-4 months, I gave him fluids intravenously several times a day. He was a delirously happy cat until the last week, when we decided that letting him go would be the humane thing. Being in the room with him was one of the hardest things I have done. It was also one of the two times I have ever seen DH cry (he's going to kill me if he reads this).
34. I love the first Nintendo game system more than any that have come out since. I still have it. My favorite game was (is) Dr. Mario.
35. My DH trounces me at Risk. I refuse to play it with him anymore. He refuses to play Boggle with me for the same reason.
36. I love crosswords and SuDokus. I just started the world's largest crossword puzzle (28,000 clues). It's so big you have to work on small panels, one at a time. The clues are listed in a book.
37. When we lived in the city, our apartment was robbed by three teenagers (one of whom lived next door) by jumping onto our balcony from theirs. They stole all our alcohol, a candy jar, our Super Nintendo, and a ring. We got the candy and Nintendo back. I was reimbursed $70 for the ring (1/3 of the value from one of the boys). Our landlord refused to let us out of our lease still and we had to live there several more months.
38. My father wanted to name my Saphire. Thank goodness my mother won.
39. My DH wanted to name our first son Seamus. Didn't happen, although we did give him an Irish name.
40. If we have a girl, I want to name her Meredith Elisabeth. All the oldest females on DH's side of the family have Elisabeth or Elizabeth for a middle name.

I just feel that this would be the place for a picture. I find myself wondering all the time about other people - well, here's me:

I know it doesn't matter at all what anyone looks like here, but it feels so strange to me to have such intimate conversations with people and NOT know. By the way, that's my older son with me. We were playing Pretty Pretty Princess. Oh, there's #41: I don't care at all if my boys like stereotypical "girl" stuff, although it does seem to get to my DH at times!
And #42: I still consider myself a blonde even though...well, you can see the picture. I used to have such wonderful white-blonde hair as a child. I miss it.
And #43: I love the shade of brown of my eyes.

Fun facts about Jodi

November 17th, 2006 at 10:50 pm

Ok, I'm in. I haven't checked the blogs at all for a few days, so I am woefully behind in reading everyone else's responses. I've just spent a half hour here and barely scratched the surface! I already have some suspicions confirmed about people and some basic assumptions totally blown out of the water!

1. I'm a mutt. I have no true ethnicity. I'm a lot English, a little Dutch, German, Scottish, although my last name is totally Irish (as is DH).
2. I once traced my lineage online back to Scottish royalty.
3. My birthday falls on Thanksgiving every few years.
4. My birthday is also 2 days before my brothers, making us just under a year apart. We have celebrated it together nearly every year.
5. We have a female dog named Buford - and if you could see her, you would agree that the name fits.
6. My cat is named Ramen after the noodles, which she ate as a kitten.
7. I grew up on a farm and live on one now, although I am not (and will never be) a farmer. I love the experience of living on a farm, but I hate the work!
8. I learned I was pregnant two days after my grandmother died suddenly in her sleep. I was, prior to that, adsolutely convinced that I was not pregnant. Although I know it in my mind to be false, I believe in my heart that my grandma sent us a baby to help us get over losing her. I have my son my grandmother's last name (Dewey) as his middle name (we had decided on his first name, but not the middle - it came to me in a dream).
9. My children have enormous heads - really, we cannot buy hats for these guys.
10. My favorite color is blue, although my son will tell you that it is yellow. When he was learning his colors, he had to know everyone's favorite, but my mother had already taken blue.
11. My closest friends in high school were all in the top 10 (I was salutatorian). We called ourselves the Nerd Herd.
12. I went to four high school proms - three from my school and one from another school.
13. I had a long-distance relationship when I was 15-16 that lasted a year (NY to Texas). After he moved back to NY, he broke up with me because I was not ready to make certain, ahem, physical commitments. In retrospect, I realized that the relationship was borderline abusive. It later inspired me to intern and work for an abused woman's shelter.
14. I started college as a math major with plans to teach and switched to social work sophomore year.
15. When my DH met me, he was convinced we would end up together. When I met him, I was convinced that we would never be anything more than friends. I was never so glad to be proven wrong.
16. Whem my cousin and I were maybe 10 or 11, we thought we saw Bigfoot in our woods (really, folks, it was large, brown, and hairy). We stilldon't know to this day what it really was.
17. I was supposed to spend a summer in Uruguay with a friend who was a foreign exchange student in our school. Two days before I was to leave, her father kicked her out of the house and my parents would not let me go. Of course, I was mad, but they were absolutely right.
18. I have been letting my kids play on the computer next to me for over an hour now so I can catch up on these blogs!
19. I love dark chocolate covered coffee beans.
20. My DH is my best friend.

More to follow later...

A disastrous despicable dinner decision

November 16th, 2006 at 02:03 am

I pride myself on being a good cook and trying new recipes. So when I make a totally bad dinner, I feel bad. Ick.
I wanted to use up the rest of the broccoli from the garden, so I decided on broccoli cheese soup. Nevermind the fact that I have ruined every single cheese soup I have ever made. DH got home as I was making it, so I made him add the cheese (he has done this before successfully). Apparently, my mere presence in the kitchen during the adding of the cheese is enough to make the cheese congeal and float to the top. If you have never eaten soup this way, it is quite an unappetizing texture (though the taste was not terrible). I also decided to make tilapia stuffed with crab. I don't think the fault was with the recipe itself - but in the substitions I made in trying to make the recipe South Beach compliant. Olive oil/Olivio for butter, canned crab for real crab (a substitution of convenience), low-carb bread crumbs for regular. The result was dry, crumbly stuffing with no crab taste at all. But wait, it gets worse. I pulled a box of breaded fish out of the freezer for the kids and cooked them...but they didn't look or smell quite right. I pulled the box out of the garbage - expired 1/05. Ewwww. A quick trip to the freezer produced a budget chicken nugget meal that, coupled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sufficed. The good part of dinner: I cut up cukes, broccoli, and green peppers for the kids to munch on since they were whiny before dinner was ready. They ate every bite!
I hate wasting food, and I hate even more that the reason I wasted food was that I was trying to save the food from going bad! (or maybe that's a good thing? Now I'm confusing myself). If I had just stuck to the tried and true recipes, everything would have been fine. But, I have come across some knockout recipes by veering from the tried and true...so a little experimentation is good.
(hear that, BA? Get out the da#* crockpot!)

Got the shopping out of my system

November 15th, 2006 at 03:37 am

And why did I want to go so badly? By the third store I was getting tired. By the fourth store I was getting a migraine. I had to take Tylenol and a nap when I got home after just three hours of shopping - and it's not like the stores were even crowded! Maybe I have a psychological reaction to spending money - it literally made me sick!
Anyway, I picked up enough gifts for my niece for Christmas and my younger son's birthday next month. I got four gifts for DH for Christmas, so I'm pretty well done with him too. I picked up a nice DVD holder for my parents - we have purchased recordable DVDs and plan to transfer all of their old Christmas tapes over to them. Now I have a nice album to present them in. I actually had the idea of wrapping up a garbage can filled with VHS tapes, with this album at the bottom Smile I'll have to run it by DH to see what he thinks.
My best find of the day: On a whim, I stopped first at The Salvation Army to look at their children's books. I bought $15 worth - about 20 books. At least half of them are in new condition. D's family has a tradition of giving a "book bag" for Christmas - just a cloth bag filled with books. We have adopted it for our boys. They each get at least 5-6 books - this year, it looks like it will be a lot more!
I deposited $90 in my checking account (mileage check and Rite Aid rebate), then took out $190. $40 is for entertainment, $50 for groceries, and $100 for gifts. I hoep this can last us a week and a half, until my next payday. If not, any shortage will have to come from savings. After today's shopping, I have app. $20 left for gifts and $20 left for groceries. I haven't touched the entertainment money yet. I plan to string together a few non-spend days here, as they are desperately needed after today!
Received a $3 Rayovac rebate and a $1.56 Hunts rebate. Every little bit helps!

Bit by the shopping bug...

November 14th, 2006 at 03:02 am

I have been totally itching to go shopping lately. I mean REALLY itching. I have been on the Internet shopping for the last few days looking for good deals. Has the Christmas bug bit me a little early? Or maybe the last year of totally scrimping and saving is starting to get to me? I don't know. But I am finally getting out of the house tomorrow to go. I will have to be careful, though, in my purchases. I'm debating over taking cash out of savings for holiday shopping, or working with what we have in the account now. Chances are, if I take it out of the checking account, I will have to dip into savings before the next paycheck anyway. I only have about $350 in there for a week and a half. I want to take $100 out for a grocery envelope, plus I will need to leave another $100 in there for gas, and $80 for day care...better take the Christmas shopping money from savings. I did find a flow blue teapot on E-Bay the other day and won it for $14.75, plus $6 S&H. It will be the perfect gift for my MIL, whose birthday is later this month.
My brother and SIL came over last night with a bag of clothes they were giving away to charity. They gave us first dibs Smile DH got two shirts, a pair of shoes, and about 6 pairs of socks (my brother buys really nice clothes - better than I buy for DH!). I got two great pairs of jeans and a shirt. My mom took a pile of t-shirts and shorts for my dad. Then my other SIL stopped over and took a few more things. It was great...but then I felt guilty about giving less clothes to charity, so I raided my closet and worked on filling the bag back up. For a joke, we all wore our "new" clothes bowling last night - my brother and SIL cracked up when they saw us walk in in their clothes! I guess it doesn't take much to amuse us...anyway, that's more stuff for my free tally.
I am getting the hang of Monday-morning-rush-the-kids-to-daycare, finally. It helps tremendously to pack my lunch and their bags Sunday night. I am glad I only have to do this one day a week - it's stressful! My sympathies to all the parents out there who hustle and bustle 5 days a week. Anyway, I packed a nice frugal lunch of a canned-chicken salad sandwich with apple and cheddar - very tasty. I got the idea from Arby's Market Fresh sandwiches - but mine was a lot cheaper. A homemade pumpkin muffin and homemade yogurt were my snacks for the day. Yum.

Clothes - retail value: $130, my value: $70
retail value: 1271.48
my value: 416.45