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Archive for June, 2012

A Nice BBQ

June 29th, 2012 at 03:29 am

We had several couples over tonight for an impromptu potluck BBQ. I never know how much stuff to bring when I go to someone's house like this, and I usually end up with too much stuff. I had to laugh though, one family brought a jello salad (?) and another brought chicken to grill, a twelve pack of beer, wine and lemonade. And left us with the extras. It doesn't much matter--I bought a bunch of brats on sale today and all in all, it was an inexpensive fun evening.

All my university friends are feeling the pinch of the past year's paycheck slashing. Everybody is looking for more editing work than usual, there's talk of babysitting co-ops, and many many more potlucks.

I'm going to be scouring the house in July for things to sell on ebay and maybe we can do a joint garage sale. Thank goodness for my evening class!

Lots of Loose Free Money Today

June 27th, 2012 at 04:17 am

While DD was in her half-day nature camp, I spent a couple hours working on my Study Abroad materials.
She has such a great time at that nature center; they spent hours "ponding" and looking at bugs under magnifying glasses.

On the way home we stopped off at a local Fresh Market to pick up a few things. We'd received a gift card from them for doing a fundraising run, so I got a couple pounds of apples and some raspberries for $1 after the card.

I'm busy using up fridge food and made very tasty chicken and black bean enchiladas for dinner. Then I put all of DH's Chase miles toward his bill. It was over $200, so it really felt like free cash.

To top it off, we downloaded a couple of free books onto our Kindles tonight--and I was again impressed with the simplicity of it.

Not looking forward to the impending heat wave, but very grateful we're not getting Florida's rains or Colorado's fires.

Any spinach growers here? My initial spring crop has been harvested and/or eaten by bunnies. Can I plant another crop now or does it dislike heat?

Anyone See Dateline?

June 25th, 2012 at 05:54 pm

DH and I watched the Dateline NBC show last night on the shrinking middle class. He was, as always, appalled about how much stress losing health care with job loss adds to stress.

I'm not sure there was much new in that show, but it certainly demonstrated how having one wage earner, health problems in your family, and only a small emergency fund can devastate folks very quickly.

Here's the link if you're interested:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032600/vp/47927183#47927183

Uneven Blogging

June 20th, 2012 at 05:09 am

Not sure what it is, but I haven't blogged much lately. I've been spending all day every day with DD, and thinking about money a lot, but not doing much about stuff that really needs doing. Let's blame the heat for my laziness. I suspect I need a couple hours alone and a big cup of coffee to get back on track.

I spent some $$ at the Lands End summer sale, using the MyPoints portal and remembering to enter my frequent shopper number. DD and I bought a frame at Michael's too.

I've been reading the NYT travel section which is NEVER a good idea for frugality and decided if my study abroad teaching goes through, I'm spending a long weekend in Stockholm. It's cheap to get there from the UK, and if I don't eat, drive, or heat my house between now and then, I should be able to afford it.

Target Comes Through Again

June 17th, 2012 at 09:47 pm

DD and I wanted to buy DH a firebowl for the patio, but I had a hard time finding one under $50. This morning after church we headed to Target, and found one for $49.99. However, it rang up at $60. The checker found the sale ended yesterday, but they hadn't taken the signs down, and they gave it to me for the sale price. With my Red card savings, I'm under $50.

I had a great cheap fun time at a colleague's retirement party last night. We ate fabulous food, sat outside drinking wine, and just talked.

Grilled steak tonight with the remaining garden spinach and peas from the farm. What a splendid June day!

Small Delights

June 16th, 2012 at 06:17 pm

Here were yesterday's small delights: eating more fresh berries, getting a free lunch at Noodles, and free Nivea shave stuff at Walgreen's for DH's Dad's Day bag. After swimming DD had a fab time at the summer library movie, "Tin Tin." I made more jam and read until the wee hours.

Still no word from my ebay buyer. I'm starting a claim.
Bah.


Tonight's potluck dish? Spinach strawberry salad!

Fresh Strawberries

June 15th, 2012 at 04:41 am

DD and I spent yesterday with friends picking strawberries and peas. I made jam and froze berries, and have more to do. But those peas were pure heaven. I wish I would have planted some in our garden.

In further slight progress towards decluttering goals, I divested my office of a towering stack of DD's clothes and had a heartening discussion after our post-picking picnic lunch with friends about the need for us all to curtail restaurant meals in favor of monthly potlucks. I love going out, but we're all still reeling from the state paycuts. Most of my university friends have cut all kids' summer camps and other activities, so we're going to have to make our own fun.

My late ebay buyer is still late. I've now contacted her twice after the initial invoice. One more day and I'll open a claim.

In happier news, I've located a free voucher for Noodles. DD and I are heading there for lunch tomorrow since it expires soon!

Only Ice Cream?

June 13th, 2012 at 12:56 am

Oh--and gas plus ice cream was the only spending today.

But I am irritated at slow payments from my ebay buyers. I try to list things all at the same time to help folks who want to combine shipping, and also to save me trips to the Post Office. But my purchasers from last Thursday still haven't paid. I've reinvoiced them, but am disgruntled.

In happier financial news, I sold more stuff so am adding another $75 to my totals.

Sleepy Sunday

June 10th, 2012 at 08:03 pm

It's been a sleepy Sunday. I slept late and we didn't make it to church. I blame the heat and a bit of a hangover from Friday's event. It wasn't a drinking hangover, just four hours in the car.

Leaving my Friday night documentation class, I got caught in a horrible traffic jam at 9 pm. There were three, almost consecutive accidents on the freeway. Nothing looked too bad, but it slowed traffic into a construction zone that eventually ground it to a halt. My normal one-hour drive, annoying at the best of times, turned into almost three hours. That coupled with the time to drive there in the afternoon was a real day spoiler. I took this documentation class as a favor to the administration, but I won't travel to that campus again. It's too far, and Friday night is not ideal. But last week was the last one.

DD and I did indeed create our sandbucket list. She wants more swimming lesson, crafts, reading, the library book club, etc. We've planned out special exploration days too. The next two weeks we're on our own until her various half day camps start. I'm trying to make these days both fun and frugal. That said--picnic tomorrow after swimming lesson.

Making a List

June 8th, 2012 at 02:48 pm

Today is DD's first day off of school, and our job today is to make a "sand bucket list" of things we want to do this summer.

I spent nothing yesterday, but suspect those days may wane. I'm glad her camps are all paid ahead of time, and even more glad that the windows somehow didn't make this month's billing cycle on the Mastercard. The remaining $5900 now won't be due until late July.

Two more things sold from my ebay auctions, and I'd like to find more things to sell. One more remaining documentation class tonight. The extra $1000 has been good, but the two hours of driving has not.

It's DH's 49th birthday on Sunday, and I need a few more things for his gift bag. But what?

Fun, Free, and Fast

June 7th, 2012 at 01:54 pm

No--not my hoodlum friends, but the session we attended at the library last night on e-books. Leave it to DD to drag us to a "Friends of the Library" meeting where everyone was at least 15 years older than me and the old man.

But we got the drill on downloading books from the library site, came home, and now have two library books, one on each Kindle.
It's again a testimony to my DD's inbred geekiness that she did a huge happy whooping dance about getting a library book on her Kindle.

It's her last day of elementary school today, and I'm not sure whether I'm happy or sad. What a trip.

I've got a bit of freelance work today, then the garden, maybe a nap, and the Popsicle party after school. Watching ebay auctions and hoping for the best.



There's a Little Black Spot on the Sun...

June 6th, 2012 at 03:07 pm

We really enjoyed the "Transit of Venus" show at our university planetarium last evening. They had telescopes set up all over the plaza, great talks, and even a food booth and a band. I swear I remember only about 15 percent of the talk, but it's always so interesting.

I did some good bargain shopping at Target and CVS yesterday and got some things returned. One of DD's outgrown dresses sold for more than I expected on ebay, and I've listed a few more things.

The school year is counting down for DD, and she got to visit the middle school yesterday. They're at a roller skating party this morning, and she's a nervous skater, so I'm fretting remotely about broken arms, etc.

Thinking about Laura in NM.

Slightly Stewing

June 5th, 2012 at 01:48 pm

My evening class was very disappointing last night, and even my 50 cent expenditure on coffee didn't much raise my spirits. A mere 11/17 showed up, and half of those who did obviously didn't read the material based on their horrid quiz results.

I went mostly silent, followed by a very brief rendition of the "I'm disappointed and frustrated" speech. On the way home I calculated what I made from that class which made it only slightly better. I can't do much with students who don't work. It's not the material; all of the material worked well before. It's not me--I was jazzed. It's them. Sigh.

On a happier note, we're going to a special "Transit of Venus" show at the university planetarium this evening. I'm really looking forward to it.

My ebay items are selling, and I have four things to return today. My Chase $500 has gone toward the credit card which was a nice subtraction from that bill.

Low-Key June Weekend

June 4th, 2012 at 02:54 am

The weather has been fabulous here all weekend, and we really enjoyed sleeping late, eating really good leftovers, and taking it easy.

Did I say we had the new windows installed Thursday? They look fabulous.

I went out with a couple of friends last night to a fabulous taco place. Who woulda thunk of Korean Beef tacos? They were great with tomatillo salsa.
And I got a pile of library books that I'm looking forward to digging into.

I feel not lazy, but not stressed--just happily semiproductive and relaxed. I hung clothes on the line, listed ebay items, plotted my summer bucket list.