Sunday, December 10, 2017

Quick Guppy 2 Update and Some Frugal Things...

First a quick thank you to those who reached out via the blog or email.  It really sucks to watch your kids go through heartbreak, doesn't it?

For anyone wondering, Guppy 2 is doing "okay". We have had a constant revolving door of friends visiting/sleeping over.  It has kept G2's spirit up as much as they can be.  Later this afternoon she is heading to a hockey game with her BFF and BFF's aunt to which she is very much looking forward.  (The BFF Aunt is incredibly supportive, bubbly, and generous to a fault.  She loves G2 like family which I will be forever grateful for!)

Next weekend, we have our Lantern Lights Tour and G2 is giving her BFF the ticket originally bought for the ex-boyfriend.  We will probably be doing gingerbread houses and other "festive" things so that should help keep G2 busy all weekend.

Then, the Friday before Christmas we have our big concert in Long Island.  Luckily, G2's BFF was scheduled to go with us from the beginning.  The BFF has been going to see this band with us since the girls were nine years old and this is a special "anniversary" show dedicated to performing one of our favorite albums in its entirety.  No doubt it will be a fun night for all of us!

I guess my point is that I *think* we have enough fun stuff coming up to get G2's Christmas spirit back!  As the days go on, I think it may be getting a little easier for her to move on past least that's Papa and my hope.  More people have reached out to G2 than she expected and she has found her support system is way larger than she thought it would be.  I cannot begin to tell you all how much that warms my heart!


Here are a few things I have done to save a bit of money recently....

1  Returned some empty printer ink cartridges to Staples.  The customer service rep said it would take about a month for an email with my coupon to be generated.  That's okay though.  I can always grab something from Staples in January - I'm a notebook/paper/pen fiend!  A $20 voucher will be heading my way and I got a small bag of junk out of the house!

2,  While it might not seems frugal initially, I am calling this a win.  I did a HUGE stock up over at CVS for Health & Bath supplies.  My out of pocket amount was $78.32 (ouchie!) BUT I saved almost $42 AND got $16 in ECBs for a future purchase.
Included in my haul:
1. 6 boxes of tissues (enough to most likely last a year)
2.  6 bottles of body wash
3. 2 LARGE bottles of shampoo
4  2 bottles of conditioner
5.  Enough feminine products to last at least three to four months
6.  New toothbrush for Papa
7.  24 rolls of toilet paper
I'm partly calling this a "win" since I have been having trouble just keeping my head above water lately and thinking straight!  LOL

3.  Papa and I have been trying to steal time here and there to watch Christmas movies we have DVR'd from the Hallmark Channel, watch Christmas DVDs we already have, or alternate reading aloud one of our favorite Christmas books (Let It Snow - three authors with stories that intertwine).

4.  A new Thai place opened up and I REALLY wanted to just say "Screw it!  Let's go!" to Papa on the night that G2 was with her friends and G1 was at Ramsey's.  Rather than doing that, I stuck to my original plan for cooking dinner at home - Blackened Chicken Salads - which was delicious.  We will save the Thai place for another time.  Possibly after the new year begins.

5.  I was able to earn another $10 in Target gift cards.  As (bad) luck would have it, some of the strands of lights on the tree have shorted - of course AFTER the tree was completely decorated. But, I have a total of $15 in gift cards so Papa and I will run over there tonight and grab some new lights for most likely $0 out of pocket.

6.  I "earned" another $10 in Amazon gift cards as well!  My total "free" Amazon money was $45!  There is $25 left since I bought myself new slippers (which Papa will wrap up and put under the tree for me as one of my gifts LOL).

7.  I scored a free 8x10 wall calendar from Shutterfly.  I have until 12/31 to order it but will probably do it this week sometime.  Papa's office is kind of bare and I thought a wall calendar with pictures from our Vermont trip and our family would brighten it up a bit.  *Hopefully* I will get it by Christmas....if not, I'll find a way to let him know that the calendar is on the way.  =)

And I guess that's it!

I hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Not So Merry & Bright At The Moment.....

My posting will probably be sporadic for a bit right now....

I'm trying to salvage Christmas for Guppy 2.

Remember that wonderful tree trimming I talked about in my DayBook post?  That was Saturday night.  On Tuesday, D broke up with Guppy 2.  They had a brief breakup November 2016 but were essentially together for two years.

While I didn't expect them to stay together forever, D breaking up with her blindsided us all.  This was G2's first "real" boyfriend and her first legitimate breakup as we are fairly sure this is now a done deal.  Added to the mix is the fact that he is being downright cruel - with his words to and about G2 and the fact that he seems to have bounced on to another girl who was waiting in the wings - unbeknownst to anyone else.  It's so hard to watch your kiddo hurting....especially at Christmastime.

Papa thinks G2 will perk up sooner than later.  I truly hope he's right.  But for now, I'm in the weeds trying to help nurse my poor baby's heart.  There have been a lot of late night talks because of crying jags and insomnia.  She took Wednesday off from school but went yesterday and today.  While she is gone, I try to rest a little myself and keep the house running as smoothly as I can.

I'm thankful she has a few good friends who have stepped up to help cheer her up.  And, I'm happy to see she has friends from school who have reached out to offer help too.

We will get her through this.  And she will survive of course.


The timing could NOT have been worse, don't you agree?

Truly I wish 2017 would just end already.

Sorry to be a downer.  I'm hoping to blog next time that all is well in my world again and Guppy 2 is on the mend.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Day Book for December 4th, 2017

Happy Monday morning everyone!

Outside my window...
I can't see much out my front living room window this morning because of the HUGE Christmas tree blocking it!  Haha!  If I try to *peek* around it, I can see that it's pretty frosty out there this morning though.

What I am hearing...
The morning news on the tv in the family room, the creaking of our Christmas animatronics moving, cars going by the house, and, as always, the dog snoring on the couch.

What I am feeling...
Tired today.  And, strangely enough, very stuffed up.  Every December I get like this after we cut down and bring our fresh tree in the house.  Funny thing is I don't have any issue being outside in the woods....And I am choosing to ignore the fact that the same thing happens to my mom because, you know, it's Christmas and I have to have my freshly cut tree - its freaking tradition!  I am NOT allergic to Douglas Fir trees!  I absolutely refuse!  LOL

What I am thinking...
Let's see.....I'm thinking that I am extremely grateful that the Guppies are now in their mid and late teenage years and I no longer have to scramble to find the season's hottest toy/gadget.  While it was fun to do it, it was really stressful as well!
I'm thinking about the lists I need to start creating too - holiday gifts to buy, cookies to bake, decorations still to get up, menu for the week, etc.  I really do tend to love my lists!

What I am reading...
I feel like I really have slacked off in my reading for 2017.  On the app Goodreads, I set a target of reading 40 books this year.  As of this morning's check, I have only read 28!  So, yeah I'm not going to hit my 40 books this year! 
Anyway, right now I am reading Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally.  I just started it so I don't have an opinion yet.  Besides the fact that for some reason I tend to gravitate towards these books in the winter months.  Maybe it's because I would LOVE to be able to accomplish something like eating locally, growing my own food, etc.

Weekend Update...

Friday night Papa and I went to the movies.  He really wanted to see "The Man Who Invented Christmas" - a fictional recollection of how Charles Dickens wrote the book A Christmas Carol.  I thought the movie had flaws but was mostly cute.  And Christopher Plummer was AH-MAZING as Scrooge.  Papa agreed about Christopher Plummer but downright hated the movie.  I felt so bad since he was so looking forward to it but at least we had a night out.

On Saturday morning, Papa, G1 and Ramsey, G2, and I went to my favorite Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree.  Papa always grumbles about going to this particular farm as they are a bit pricey but I LOVE it there!  And it's been our tradition to go to this farm ever since we were married so I am not changing now!  Haha! 
Anyway, it was a perfect weather day and there were so many perfect trees to choose from this year!  We let G2 make the final decision and it's one we won't forget anytime soon!  We love big bushy trees - as in the wider the better!  G2 found one that we originally nicknamed "Cartman" because of how squat and fat it seemed before we cut it down.  Now that it is up in the house G2 renamed it "Bertha" because she says it reminds her of a fat crooked old lady!  LOL  (No offense to any readers out there named Bertha)
I really want to take a picture of it to show you all but the pictures aren't coming out right and definitely not doing this tree justice.  Even with our swivel tree stand, we can't get the thing to stand up completely straight due to it's crooked upper half.  And we have decided to call this year's tree topper our "shooting star" as it literally leans WAAAY towards one side!
But, this tree makes me smile and we all love it!

Saturday night, G2 invited D over to help decorate the tree.  I wish I had the forethought to have made cookies but they did have some eggnog and we played Christmas music while we decorated it.  It was a really nice evening.

Sunday was mostly a chill out day here at home.  Papa did some outside decorating and I caught up on some of the laundry.  Plus I made a big chicken dinner with homemade stuffing since I had leftover stuffing bread in the freezer since buying it on sale at Thanksgiving.

And, with that, I guess I'm off to start the day!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Recent Freebies!

Happy December 1st!

'Tis the season for freebies!

Here is a list of my latest!

1.  Fall Home D├ęcor - My parents like to decorate for each season/holiday and after a little while (two to three years) they get "bored" with what they have.  The day after Thanksgiving my parents asked me if I wanted some of their decorations they just didn't want anymore.  I didn't look completely through the three boxes - they are tucked away in the basement for next year already!  But my mom has great taste so I am sure I will love what she gave me!

2.  Printer Ink Cartridges - Again, from my parents.  They went to Staples for their "door buster" sale and decided to buy ink cartridges for themselves AND my family!  We have needed color ink for awhile now so it was greatly appreciated!

3.  Amazon gift cards - Through various programs/rewards/points, I was able to cash in $35 dollars worth of gift cards for Amazon!  I really do kick myself around this time of the year because, if I had enough motivations through the ENTIRE year, I could really save some decent money.  But, I am happy to have this waiting for me in my account right now!

4.  Target gift card - I was able to score a $5 gift card for Target through the Coke rewards program. While it's only $5 at the moment, I am hoping to find some other reward/points to raise this amount.  If not, $5 is still $5, right?

5.  Small backpack - The hospital gives something out to its employees every year around this time.  Last year Papa got a nifty lunch bag (which he still uses).  This year they received a small (think commuter sized) black backpack. It has the hospital logo on it but I don't really care. I think it's pretty awesome!  And it has a padded pocket for a laptop which will make it easier for me to bring my computer to the library or wherever I feel like writing.

Have you gotten any good freebies recently?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Spending Journal Update....

Truthfully, I should have known myself a LOT better...

I really love doing the spending journal and it helps keep me on track!


If Thanksgiving was ANY indication of how the holiday season is going to be going, I will be way too busy to keep anything current and will get super frustrated.

I AM going to resurrect the weekly posts starting January 1st however.  I do think it's too valuable a tool to let fall by the wayside......

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday

I wasn't looking forward to weighing in this week.  I really did enjoy myself a bit too much for way too long from Thanksgiving through Sunday!  Haha!

Anyway, I wasn't *too* upset when I got on the scale to find out that I was...


So, a gain of half a pound.

If you saw the way I ate, you would realize what a success this actually was!

I'm back "on track" this week and trying to up my steps the best I can.  My plantar fasciitis has been coming and going still so I'm back to doing the weird stretches with a towel to try to get some relief.  I'm missing my old days of 30k steps for sure though!  Right now I am averaging anywhere between 14 and 23K/day.

In other news, it appears that Weight Watchers will be changing their plan/point system yet again in the beginning of December.  From what I gather, I will find out the "new plan" on my first December weigh in day.  What I do know is that eggs and boneless skinless chicken breasts will be part of the 0 points foods.  I guess I will have to wait and see what the rest of the changes are next week.

How did you do last week if you are trying to lose weight?

Were you like me and lived a little/gained a little?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Truly A Manic Monday....

I have an emotional hangover this morning from yesterday's crazy up and down events. 

Here's a bit of a recap of the highs and lows in the order they happened....

I decided to pick G1 up from Ramsey's yesterday morning as opposed to fighting Thanksgiving travel home traffic on Sunday night.  My choice was spot on!  (I-84 was a MESS Sunday night from what I have heard!)  My ride to and from Ramsey's was record time with NO traffic even in the usual spots!  I was dreading the drive because, after doing this for a year, it gets a little old.  I cannot wait for G1 to get her license!  She is really close to being able to schedule her driver's test.  An added bonus was, when I picked her up, Ramsey told me he has a date for his learner's permit test too so he's well on his way to getting his license since he has been practicing with his grandfather for years sans permit. 

I picked G2 up at dismissal and she came out of school...alone.  I always bring D home so he doesn't have to ride the bus.  She got in and burst into a puddle of tears before I could even get the car into drive.  No, she and D didn't break up....G2 had a KILLER migraine but didn't want to miss History class because it was "important" she was there.  For G2's migraines, it's crucial that we try to get ahead of the pain right at the beginning.  Yesterday she had the migraine for over two hours before dismissal.   It ended up being the absolute WORST migraine she has had to date.  For her, either vomiting or sleep (sometimes a mixture of both) is the best way for her to get through the pain.  She vomited six times to no avail and the pain was so bad she couldn't sleep it off.  My heart broke as she begged me to bring her to the hospital so they "could put her under" (anesthesia) so she could sleep.  Eventually she was able to fall asleep and woke up a few hours later a bit better.  I kept her home today because she couldn't do any of the homework she was assigned yesterday.  I am scheduling her workup with our neurologist later this morning.  It's time she gets put on some preventative medications.

As long time readers know, I have not been a fan of our school system for G1.  There were only a handful - not even, more like three - teachers who were kind to G1 and saw her potential.  One of which was her Creative Writing teacher from last year.  Mrs. Y was a bright spot to G1's Senior year and really (in my opinion) reminded G1 she WAS talented and COULD think out of the box with great results.
Yesterday Mrs. Y came into Dollar Tree while G1 was working.  She was surprised to see G1 since G1 was supposed to be on her gap year.  As G1 checked Mrs. Y out, she explained the entire situation about Ramsey's messed up leg and putting it off for a year.  G1 has a really decent outlook on the whole thing now and left it very cheerfully with something along the lines of  "It's okay. It gives us a chance to earn more money before we go". 
Mrs. Y paid for her items and then handed G1 folded up money and said "Merry Christmas".  G1 tried to refuse but Mrs. Y wouldn't take it back. 
When G1 unfolded it, she found it was A ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL!  We are all amazed by the generosity of this woman!  She is a teacher with two kids the same ages as mine.  G1 immediately gave it to me when she got home so I could put it with the "gap year money" that she doesn't touch.  G1 plans on getting Mrs.Y a small box of chocolates and a thank you note that her sister can hand deliver at school.

Papa came home PISSED last night.  I mean absolutely FUMING!  His boss ran preliminary numbers by him regarding the new position and the salary isn't even in the ball park.  Papa was told a bunch of things including HR not wanting to go up too much since he was already an employee there.  And that he could get into the new position and then "prove himself".  Papa has already shown them his expertise and saved them MILLIONS of dollars without even having his hands in everything yet!  Papa really laid it on the line and told his boss that he was kicking himself for not pursuing a job here in our hometown that had a starting salary of 30K more than he makes now PLUS a 20% yearly bonus.  His boss asked what company and Papa told him.  The boss got flustered and said he didn't want Papa to leave the hospital.  Papa said he hadn't wanted to leave either and then left to go to a different meeting.
The boss sent Papa an email last night ,backpedaling  He said that the salary hasn't been completely decided yet and that a lot of factors were being reviewed.  We will see how this all plays out but Papa is tired and running out of patience.  He has set a LOT of new procedures/applications in place to help save the hospital money.  He has been asked to help people who make way more than he does fix situations that they have gotten themselves into through poor management/planning/or just plain laziness.  He has more than proven himself and his worth.

Let's hope today is kinder and definitely less manic! LOL

Have a great Tuesday everyone!