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Archive for August, 2011

Why I Hate Craft Stores

August 30th, 2011 at 06:32 pm

First let me say, I'm not a big crafter. I can do simple things, but am useless as anything complicated. But I really hate the craft store because my DD LOVES it. She wants everything there. We never get out of there cheaply, although we always have the best intentions. Plus they have all those odds and ends of things imported from China that add up to $$$$ more.

Yet DD is happily decorating her new backpack with pins, stickers,and other blingy stuff purchased there.

DD also has had her back-to-school haircut, exchanged some shoes, and is now ready for the "Meet and Greet" this afternoon. I'm ready for a nap!

Jumped on the Chase Badwagon

August 27th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

All the great reviews of the Chase card have finally got to us. We've just applied for one for DH with instant approval. He's such a skeptic, but we went to all the sites evaluating it, and we're now in this with the rest of you! The no-foreign transaction fee also got to us; Citibank has been nailing us with those fees, and I'm fed up with it.

I Feel In"shred"ible!

August 27th, 2011 at 07:23 pm

I buckled down last night and went through my four-drawer file cabinet and some binders to fill five (5!) paper garbage bags with stuff for the shredder. Ir took hours, but I managed to watch two episodes of "House of Cards" and two episodes of "Mad Men" on Netflix while sorting, so it was more fun than onerous.

In the pitching pile: 1995 tax returns, my ex-husband's brokerage statements, brokerage statements from my investment club in the 1990s, my DH's paycheck stubs since 2001. Tons of stuff! Can you tell how excited I am?

The credit union near us had a free shredding day today--and it was jammed. What fun! I got me thinking that all my notes from my dissertation can probably go too. I've freed up two entire drawers in my office.

Just in Time

August 26th, 2011 at 02:33 am

Our August budget is always a little tight; I don't get paid again at the university until October and I haven't taught my evening class since the end of June, so my only income has been evaluating senior theses. We also have DH's life insurance due, and our UK trip spending is about due now. With a big sigh, I was ready to transfer money from savings, but today my brother sent a check from my mom's estate. It wasn't a lot of money, and it only includes some misc cash sloshing around in her accounts and the deposit on her assisted living unit, but my half was plenty to give us some breathing room.

It's lightened some of my fretting. Both DH and I had very trying days with bad traffic, stupid meetings, and other annoyances. I bought some deli salads to go with burgers for the grill, and the day ended so much better.

There was a beautiful hawk perched on my patio table this afternoon. I hope he didn't get the neighborhood bunnies, but he was majestic.

Odds and Ends

August 25th, 2011 at 04:05 pm

We've got a few things on our list today--buy a gift card for my brother's birthday, donate some items to the Salvation Army, go to the library, purge some files--nothing very exciting, but I also have a load of cards to send, rebates to get in the mail, all that sort of boring stuff.

I'm still suffering from end-of-summer-laziness and lack of motivation, but perhaps crossing some things off the list will help jump-start me. DD starts back to school in a week, so we need to get done what needs to get done!

Secret Frugalitarians

August 24th, 2011 at 05:24 pm

Many of my university friends are both spenders and pinched financially. They have great taste and no money, but have a hard time with anything that smacks of domestic economy measures. I can't find a financial soul mate anywhere there. Lovely women, lots of fun, plenty of smarts, but in denial mode or depressive mode about financial control.

Yet where I teach my evening class, the center coordinator has four kids, makes not very much, and made a comment in passing about not buying the 12 boxes of Kleenex her kids' schools wanted for their classroom until she had a coupon and they were on sale. I knew I'd found a closet frugalitarian! Last night I sent her a link to a local coupon match site, and she was pleased as could be, sending me a couple of new links too.

So--that's my question to all of you out there. Do your friends and colleagues share your taste for economizing like you? Do they make fun of you? Do they make fun of you but eagerly accept your half-off coupons when you have lunch together? Do you have a budget buddy besides all of us?

I'm bored with summer

August 24th, 2011 at 03:05 am

Yeah, go ahead and yell at me, but by mid-August, I'm ready to get some things up and running for the school year. I'm not good being home all the time, and while I adore my daughter, I need more conversation than a 9-year-old and a tired DH can provide. I always get antsy this time of the year; tonight I had to run out to do some errands that didn't really need that much urgency, but I wanted to be alone for a bit.

DD and I did other back-to-school errands today. We bought her shoes, bought the dog some food and treats, and checked out her class list for school. We finished reading Roald Dahl's _The Big Friendly Giant_ which we loved, and tomorrow's hits include the library and a big farmers' market.

I have two more capstone projects to read in the morning, and I've sold a book, so will add the book to my annual sales total. No more boring news to report from Ennuiville.

More Back-to-School Shopping

August 22nd, 2011 at 06:25 pm

Just about done with DD's back-to-school needs. I think we need new gymn shoes and a package of fine-tip markers and I can call it a day. Stopped into the Lands End store on the way home because she wanted a particular backpack--and they have free shipping when you order in the store, but I negated all those savings by buying 4 (eek!) pairs of pants--but they were on sale for $9.50/pr. I think I'd better stay in and away from the shops for a bit!

We also got her eyes tested, and am glad to say she doesn't need glasses. A little grocery shopping rounded it all out. Now I need a cup of coffee and some lunch to face the bags all over the kitchen.

A couple things off the summer list

August 22nd, 2011 at 03:24 am

We ended the day with a lovely glass of wine on the patio after seeing the tall ships in Port Washington, Wisconsin today. The entrance price was a bit hefty at $8 each, but DH loves maritime history, and it was a beautiful day. The ships were spectacular, and we had interesting talks with several of their crew.

I slept in this morning and missed the return of our church's music director from his sabbatical. I've been very tired all summer, and need to get back into exercise and a regular routine before school starts. Tomorrow!

Tonight's dinner was a delicious meal of party leftovers from our friends' party for their daughter's birthday. We have several containers of various taco fillings for days.

It's been a lazy day, but I need to spend the next hour or so reading a capstone project. And then a couple chapters in my new book.

Thinking about CB in the hospital and sending her strength and energy.

Sleepovers, Salads, Summer Still

August 20th, 2011 at 06:59 pm

Dd had her sometimes BFF (should it be SBF?) over last night for a sleepover. besides eating their way through the house, they had a spat around 1am, but by 3am, they were BFs again. Now I'm a TM (tired mom), but we have a full social schedule today.

I've made a huge spinach orzo salad that will be taken to DH's boss's pool party and to a birthday party later today. I had a BOGO coupon for the feta required, but the checker wouldn't take it. DH, outraged, went to customer service where they refunded him $4.99 instead of the $3.79 the feta actually cost.

Tomorrow the tall ships will be in the area, and I'm determined to have more summer fun.

On my "rest-of-the-summer" bucket list was ice cream cones by the lake, swimming, margaritas outside, a festival, and a BBQ with friends. I got two of those done last night.

I like Little Gopher's List! Wish I could make it to the Minnesota State Fair: It's the best and just thinking about it makes me homesick.

Anyone heard from CB in the City?

August 19th, 2011 at 02:40 pm

CB's last blog entry was a little over a week ago--and she wasn't feeling well. Has anyone heard from her?

I hope she's just on vacation!

Back to the Estate Sale

August 18th, 2011 at 06:19 pm

This morning after I dropped DD and her friend off, I went back to yesterday's estate sale. Happily for me, everything I was tempted to buy for full price yesterday was half price today and was still there--cute Coach sandals, a great summer bag, some nice jewelry, a very nice J Crew sweater, a garden lug, a couple of girly picture frames for DD, and a framed print. I was very pleased with everything I got for $56.

My current summer bag just lost its strap, and the sandals are so nice. I signed up early for the sale, and literally everyone in the first set of people in went right for the clothes and shoes. Now to find places for all of it!

Getting Things Done

August 17th, 2011 at 09:20 pm

I've been listening to David Allen's Getting Things Done as an audio book from the library. I'd be curious to know if anyone has tried his system. It's not that complicated and seems intuitive. I'm going to give it a shot over the weekend to try to eliminate my paper clutter and better organize my school and home files.

I had a faculty breakfast this morning with lovely free food, stopped at an overwhelming estate sale but only bought a few things, and came home to work. It's warm again here, so I'm going to just do some minimal organizational planning the rest of the day.

I spent nothing except $4 at the estate sale for some silver picture frames and a girl's top for my friend's daughter. Leftovers tonight!

Back from Minnesota

August 16th, 2011 at 06:16 pm

We had a lovely six days in Minnesota. DH had to stay home and work, so DD and I drove straight through (ugh), but really enjoyed the beautiful weather at my mom's home. My brother and I still haven't decided what we're going to do with the lake house, but I'm determined to enjoy it as much as we can while we still own it.

Three of my girlfriends joined us on Friday, and we cooked, laughed, drank wine, and just plain relaxed.
Yesterday on the way home I spent a bit too much at the outlet mall, but got DD some needed back-to-school clothes, and a few new things for me.

I'm working on my fall classes today while DD is at the Humane Society day camp. Tonight we're joining some friends for dinner. It's been a very nice week!

Reorganizing Kitchen

August 8th, 2011 at 08:10 pm

I've spent the morning and much of the afternoon reorganizing the kitchen to help eliminate some of the problem areas. I've cleared a shelf in the basement for seldom-used appliances, scrubbed out some cupboards and discovered, to my horror, flour weevils in my stash of bread machine flour. Out they went, and I'm busily scrubbing out the containers which weren't sealed very well. Cleaning those cupboards out made space for my mom's dishes which means they're finally off my office floor.

While cleaning downstairs I found a few items which need to be donated or freecycled, so those will go today or tomorrow. Slowly but surely I'm getting there. Stock market plunges always make me very busy as I feel the need to put the house in order!


Bits and Pieces

August 6th, 2011 at 09:47 pm

I spent the day puttering around--wrapping presents for upcoming birthdays, sifting through my recipe box, packing for a trip to the lake next week, planting some late-season perennials, and just tidying the house. It's been very relaxing and pleasant.

I've been watching my ebay auctions far too closely. Lots of watchers, few bidders. I need to discipline myself to check less often. There's not much real financial news to report, and I feel too laid-back to think about goals just now. Maybe I'll just enjoy August for a bit, or perhaps think about some spinach and lettuce planting soon.

I'm updating my mortgage numbers. I would indeed like to pay that off. Anyone have any real speculation about Congress ending the mortgage interest deduction?

Lots of Free Food!

August 6th, 2011 at 01:11 am

DD and I went to a Humane Society event at our neighborhood bank. I donated some cat food (that was free with the coupon!) and we watched dogs bobbing for hot dogs, enjoying free nail trims, and having a good time. They also fed us with hot dogs, chips, and cookies.

After she got home from camp, she picked some strawberries from our everbearing plants, I cut and froze chives and a bit of the last gasp rhubarb. Our neighbor invited DD over to pick his black raspberries which we had with enchiladas made from leftover rotisserie chicken. All in all a frugal, but very rich, day.

Purple Heart picked up my donated clothes, but left (why?) the desk, so I've found a freecycling home for it, I hope tomorrow. I've listed a few more things on ebay.


All the News That's Fit to Blog?

August 5th, 2011 at 04:21 am

In a strange stroke of coincidence, I ended up subscribing to the paper today. After writing about it this morning, I checked the newspaper website, but decided it was a bit too expensive.

However after taking DD to Kumon this afternoon, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up some corn for dinner. Outside the grocery store was a salesperson from the newspaper with an offer too good to refuse. They offered a subscription for 40% cheaper than their website--throwing in a $10 grocery store gift card as a bonus. I guess it was meant to be!

I should really devote some time to the veggie garden tomorrow, but the mosquitoes seem very thick these days. Perhaps over the weekend. I spent the evening with three months of the NYT book review, culling articles for my classes and making lists of books to read. It was all very satisfying.

Newspaper Advantages

August 4th, 2011 at 02:42 pm

I'm thinking of subscribing to the daily paper again. We used to get it, but switched over to the Sunday and the Sunday NYT only. However, the local paper started including a free Wednesday edition with a Sunday subscription, and I've really enjoyed it. I found some useful coupons, including, strangely enough, one for the gold buyer I just met.

I also listened to an NPR broadcast yesterday about newspaper sales in India and was struck by how many Indian kids said they enjoyed the paper, commenting on how it kept them up with current events. As a child, I felt the same way. I loved the newspaper, and DD is now 9 and might enjoy it too. I know I can read on line for free, and we always listen to the Newshour, but if I can find a decent deal, I'm giving it a try.

Super Grumpy

August 4th, 2011 at 03:06 am

And without any real reason to be, I was super grumpy all day. It seems sometimes like I spend hours and hours driving DD various places, playdates, and classes, and errands. I was stuck in traffic for almost an hour today ended up having to drop off some editing work during rush hour. But it's all good now. DH and I talked about having a quick meal out while DD was with a friend for dinner, but I vetoed it as too expensive. I picked up some deli salad and a rotisserie chicken which was good enough.

I've been halfway decluttering without getting most of actually out the door yet, so I suspect that's weighing on me. I have lunch with my university boss tomorrow so perhaps that will get things done and motivated around here. I spent on nothing except groceries, and with $45 and some decent coupons, got almost enough for the week.

I always hate August, so I suspect my grumpiness has to do with that!

Lots Accomplished!

August 3rd, 2011 at 02:42 am

I managed to get quite a lot done this afternoon:
*Got five or six things listed on ebay
* Made a huge pile of things for Purple Heart
* Had my hair cut and colored
*Prepared a fast but good dinner of burgers and a salad from the garden and freezer stock
*Put another dent in DD's school supply needs at Walgreen's (using some register rewards in the process)
* About to tackle the next pile of laundry and junk.

I'd love a couple of cool days. They say it's going to turn cooler, but I've heard that before....

Afternoon Devoted to Decluttering

August 2nd, 2011 at 06:11 pm

I was scheduled to help a friend organize her house today to help her get organized before she has twins this fall, but she's cancelled. I suspect she's embarassed about the state of the house, so I've decided to spend a couple hours on my own house.

I need to list some ebay items and just put lots of things away. Yesterday I spent nothing, but I've got a haircut this afternoon. The blueberry pound cake I baked for my friend will go to my stylist, I guess!

I crave order and need to get more of my Mom's things dealt with. I see how overwhelming it can be for people and want to clear it up before school starts.

Gold Sold!

August 1st, 2011 at 08:17 pm

Indeed the local paper was right; the gold buyer they said was best gave me about 20% more than the other buyers. He was in a strange location behind bullet-proof glass, but was a very nice guy. I kept one ring to sell on ebay, but if it doesn't meet the reserve he offered me, I'll go back to him.

And Kumon starts tonight for DD. Such excitement!