Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting My Swag On



SwagBUCKS that is!  I have gotten very lazy over the past month or so and haven't been trying at all really to earn any swagbucks.  And it is such a bad time of year to fall off the wagon - so to speak.  Christmastime is always when they come in the most handy for me.

Sadly my balance as of this morning is a whopping 702.  I would LOVE to get one more $25 Amazon gift card which means I would have to get that pitiful balance up over 2500.  This week I am going to try my hardest to earn as many bucks as I can since I will most likely be placing a large Amazon order early next week.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....


Well, actually, right now it looks a LOT like a mess!  But, I am hoping that by this evening it will look at least a little more like the Christmas season in my house!

Since I am NOT doing any shopping yet, I feel like I should do something to begin the season.  So, today I'll be doing quite a bit of cleaning and then some decorating of the house!  (which will be FREE since I am using what I have stored in the basement!)  Papa will be starting to do the outside as well.  I am fairly sure we need some new outdoor lights - but we still have a $100 Home Depot card so Papa can use some of that if needed.

So, that's on the docket for today! Time to crank up my Pandora Christmas stations and get moving!

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

More from the Freebie Fairy....



The Freebie Fairy (aka my best friend) stopped by with another bag of "goodies" yesterday...Here's what it included:

A gorgeous short black jacket (sadly too small for my chest so I think it's heading to consignment)
Two heavy duty pyrex style glass containers with lids
One large soup mug with lid (just saw these at Kohl's and wanted one!  Glad I didn't buy it!)
A roll of parchment paper (she was done baking and didn't need the extra roll)
A sleeveless tan & cream striped blouse (I may keep since I can layer a sweater over it)
A large tan and cream tote style bag (keeping this to corral all my library books/magazines)


When I bring the coat to consignment, I will probably check in and see what my current balance is.  Last time I checked it was a paltry $5 so I didn't cash it out.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Day After Coma.....

How I feel today!!!!

Even with a great plan in place AND having Papa home to share the load leading up to the big day, Thanksgiving Day did me in.  Don't get me wrong....It was actually a very nice day (one of the nicest Thanksgivings we have had in quite a few years actually) but all the running from Papa's aunt's house for dinner than back to ours to have another dinner was exhausting!  I'm sure the whopper of a cold I have didn't help either.

Anyway....today is a day for (mostly) relaxing.  

G2 has garage band practice today at 1 pm instead of the usual evening time since all the kids are off from school.  Papa usually brings her alone but I may go with him today.  The place she practices is about fifteen minutes away from a mall and I have NEVER been out on Black Friday.  I mean NEVER!  I'm sure I'm not missing much but I kinda want to see the train wreck that it is, you know? Though I think by 1pm, all the pushing and shoving will probably be over, right?

I can't remember if I already said this -and am too lazy to check my recent posts- so I'm sorry if I am repeating myself here....Papa signed the severance paperwork and we sent it out last Monday.  He went back and forth a little with the HR department about the insurance stuff but they weren't budging and insisted that, no matter what, we were off their insurance effective 11/13.  Fine.  At this point, we just don't have the ability to fight them (aka hire a lawyer) on this.  They did give him an additional week of severance since he was almost there nine years - originally they only credited him for eight.  Even though the paperwork could have been sent back postage paid, I had a nagging feeling to not do it that way.  I spent the extra money and went to the post office to send it certified with receipt requested.  I want my paper trail! 

The severance check won't get deposited until probably next Friday - there is a clause that Papa has a week to change his mind and revoke it.  Until then, we are fine.  I have been fairly careful with the money Papa got this month (one last paycheck and unused vacation check) so I'm not worried.

I am slightly bummed that I can't really take advantage of any of the cyber deals that are hitting the web.  I want to start Christmas shopping and I guess I could if I really wanted.  But, that isn't the prudent thing to do. Christmas shopping will have to wait until the big check is deposited in our account and I know what we have AND budget out our expenses for the next few months.  I am very happy that the girls are older and I don't have to worry as much about getting the latest greatest toy under the tree.  My years of playing Santa and pulling off near impossible feats of the "it" toy procurement are over!  LOL

It's after ten am so I guess I should go take a shower and get dressed for the day...if I could shake this coma of mine!

Do any of you go out on Black Friday?  If so, am I really missing anything? How do you spend the day after Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!



Just popping in to say Happy Thanksgiving!

While the past couple weeks have been rough with Papa losing his job (and all that goes along with that), I truly have so much to be thankful for!

Enjoy your day!  

And let's all talk about how to use those leftovers tomorrow...and the day after that....and the day after that....and....


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Getting Ready for T-Day!


I love the holidays!  I really do!  What I don't love, however, is all the crazy running around!  For example, on Thanksgiving.....We go to Papa's aunt's house (45 minutes away) and eat - only to turn around fast, drive home and cook dinner for my parents and family!  Christmas is the same thing!  So over the past few years, Papa and I have learned a thing or two about streamlining some of the prep and cooking.  Yesterday and today are big prep days for us!  Here's what we bring and/or eat on the "big day".

Brought to Papa's Aunt's House

Gluten Free Stuffing - Aunt has Celiac and won't splurge on this for herself so we buy/cook it for her
Apple Pie - bought from our favorite town orchard
Pumpkin Pie - Papa makes a killer one!


Thanksgiving Dinner at Our House
(Since it's only us and my parents this year, it's a bit more simple than in past years.  And, yes I know we go heavy on the starches!  LOL)

Alton Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey (need to prep brine today/soak turkey tonight)
Cranberry sauce (homemade - done yesterday)
Dumplings (dry ingredients need to be sifted together today and onions sliced and bagged)
Corn bread dressing (do today - tastes so much better the next day!)
Regular Stuffing (do today)
Mashed potatoes (prep and leave in cold water on Thanksgiving morning)
Sweet Potatoes with Adobo sauce (prep and leave in cold water on Thanksgiving morning)
Green beans with butter and garlic (trim green beans today and leave in plastic baggie)
Corn (my parents prefer the frozen Green Giant corn so easy peasy)
Possibly Brussel Sprouts with Bacon (need to look for recipe today)
Apple Pie (bought from our favorite orchard)
Pumpkin Pie (done yesterday)
M&M Brownies (made yesterday)
Peanut Butter Blossoms (make today)
Russian Teacakes (make today)


Only a *few* things to get done, haha!

Please tell me that I am NOT the only one running around like this today or on Thanksgiving!

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Little Things Add Up....

Little things have a cumulative effect right?  I hope so!  After yesterday's post about the groceries, I figured I needed to write this for my own morale.  LOL

Here are some of the "little things" we have been doing lately to try to save some money!  Nothing on this list is earth shattering or new.  Truthfully, some of the stuff I have been doing for awhile and some I should have been doing all along.....

1. Keeping the heat very low (62) when it's on OR turning it off during the day when it's only me & Papa
2. Only charging my laptop when completely necessary instead of plugging it in frequently
3.  Turning off desktop gaming computer when not in use - huge electric drain there!
4.  Hanging clothes back up that aren't dirty/have only been worn once (besides underwear & socks!!!)
5.  Having Papa cut my bangs, let my hair grow, and try to color it myself  (savings of $150 per cut & color)
6.  Using/repurposing all leftover foods
7.  Taking a good look at anything/everything before I throw it out to see if it can be reused in some way
8.  Unplugging all electronics when not in use
9.  Using the library instead of the bookstore or Kindle (even those $1.99 books add up!)
10. Bringing unwanted things to consignment
11.Using up my stash of cleaning supplies then switching to cheaper/natural options
12.Lining the little critter cages with newspaper first before adding a layer of more expensive bedding
13.Showering every other day - now that it's winter my skin dries out super fast so I do this as I can.
14.Charging my cell phone in the car while driving
15.Using only our bank ATM or getting $$ back at stores to avoid ATM fees

That's all I can think of right now, though I am fairly sure my list is incomplete.

So, I'm turning to you....What little things do you do to save some money?  What would you add to my list?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Recent Grocery Trips....



Since I have been slacking on my blog, I've decided to group my most recent shopping trips in this one post.  These include what is needed for Thanksgiving.  Yes, I have spent a good chunk of change.  HOWEVER, eleven years ago when we bought our house, we decided to host the holidays for my family since my mom is a night shift nurse.  My parents have always paid for the meal - their rationale is that we cook it and host here so it makes life easier for my mom.  So, keep in mind that I will be getting a portion of what I spent back.  (And, YES!  I am extremely thankful for my parents!)


Aldi: $48.81

Autumnal napkins (Friendsgiving)
French fried onions
Apple cider
2 cans green beans
1 large can of cream of mushroom soup
1 large bag of Jasmine rice
5 lb bag of red potatoes
1 lb bag of carrots
1 bag of onions (I think it was 1 lbs)
1 bag of sweet potatoes
1 small container of fresh mushrooms
2 bags of cranberries
1 bag of packaged stuffing mix
1 container of whipped cream cheese
1 wedge of parm. cheese
16 oz of sour cream
1 package of garlic bread
1 6 count of bagels
1 pint heavy cream
1 bag of powdered sugar
3 imported chocolate bars (first time we tried them!  Yummy!  Buying more for stockings)
1 dozen organic eggs


Stop & Shop  $94.15

1 loaf of rye bread
1 package (8) croissants
1 package (4) raspberry turnovers
1 loaf of white bread
2 lbs butter
1/2 lb deli roast beef
1 lb deli honey maple chicken
1 package ice cream sandwiches
2 packages of frozen bagel bites style mini pizzas
2 coffee cake baking mixes
3 cases of soda
1 package granola bars
1 large bag of potato chips
1 large bag of doritos
1 large bag of tortilla chips
1 can of Aussie hair spray
1 lb of sweet potatoes
3 tomatoes
1.5 lbs of bananas
1 pint of fresh salsa


Big Y  $17.01

1 package (5) croissants
1 lbs deli american cheese
1 jar of mustard
2 packages of english muffins
2 lbs of onions


Stop & Shop  $10.98

1 loaf of white bread
1 jar of mayo
6 bottle of individual sized Snapple
$1 food pantry donation


Stop & Shop around $80.00

Lost this receipt but I know I spent around 80.  Some of this was for G2's Friendsgiving Dinner


Big Y  $127.67

1 bag of wood kindling
1 package (5) croissants
1 package (3) apple strudel
2 pints of heavy cream
2 pints of whipping cream
1 package (18 count) eggs
2 lbs of butter
1 can whipped cream
1 lb of deli american cheese
2 packages (8) hash browns
1 container of cool whip
1 package peanut butter cookie mix
1 large package of toilet paper
48 oz of canola oil
1 loaf of bread
6 cans of veggie broth (for turkey brine)
1 canister of sugar
1 bag of brown sugar
1 large bag of spicy doritos
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 large box of Lucky Charms
2 jars of turkey gravy
2 5lbs bags of flour
1 smallish canister of corn meal
1 case of Snapple
2 lbs of fresh green beans
2 lbs of onions
1 package of poultry herbs
1 15lb fresh turkey


Farmers Market: $24.00

2 pints of soup
1 large bunch of sage
1 stalk of brussel sprouts
1 bunch of mustard greens



TOTAL SPENT RECENTLY:  $399.62

WHAT MY PARENTS WILL KICK IN: $200.00

TRUE OUT OF POCKET EXPENSE: $199.62


$199.62 is still a LOT of money!  But, it is coming towards the end of the month, so hopefully my shopping will diminish to just a few odds & ends.  Actually scratch the hopefully - I am going to make this happen!  Oh and after writing this, I do notice how much bread and croissants my family goes through!  Geez Louise!  LOL

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Unexpected Check & Getting Back on Blog Track

Well, maybe not THIS much cash but anything helps right now!


Yesterday there was an envelope from our insurance company in the mailbox,  My head told me it was probably just a form letter telling us that our insurance had been terminated, etc.  But my heart was literally screaming at me that it was a check.....My heart was right - It was a check - miracles of miracles!  It was another  (probably the last)  reimbursement installment for G2's braces.  The check was only for $250 but I am socking that right in the ol' bank account and tagging it to help pay for December and January's braces payments ($175/month).  Every little bit is going to help down the road.....

Over the past week and a half, I have discovered that I miss my daily blogging.  I miss the hour or so I leave myself in the morning to read everyone's posts.  My computer time has been so scattered or nonexistent and I'm not liking it at all.  Things here are beginning to find their "new and hopefully just for now" groove so it's time for me to get back too!  My goal is to start writing daily again...or at the very least every other day.  AND, keep up with everyone else's blogs on a daily basis.

Have a great Sunday all!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Updates and How Waiting Is The Hardest Part of All...



The Good News....There are have quite a few jobs for Papa to apply for that would be either at his current last job title/position or slightly higher.

The Bad News......These companies aren't working on our time table!  LOL



Seriously though, Papa has been able to submit at least fifteen resumes in the past week - and he has been being slightly selective in position and location because there have been so many from which to choose!  He has cut his driving distance down to around 30 to 40 minutes each way, only widening that for two positions that looked to good to pass up (each of those are closer to 50 - 60 minutes each way.)  

But, this waiting business is driving him crazy!

He has gotten two responses so far....
One was a "no thanks we are going to keep looking" from a privately owned company.  This was okay for two reasons...1.  They probably weren't compensating near what we need Papa to make 2. Papa looked a little more into the company and figured it wasn't for him anyway after checking into the company's background a bit further.
The second one hit Papa a little harder.  It was a job fairly close by and was posted by a recruiting company.  It fit Papa's last position and skills almost to a T with Papa having more experience than even required!  The phone call with the recruiter was going amazingly well until the recruiter asked Papa if he would be willing to relocate out of state!  UM...WHAT?  Nowhere on the job description was relocation even mentioned! (Papa has been very careful to check for that since that's not an option with the guppies so far into school here in our town.)  Papa took it kind of hard, I have to say.  But, thankfully, he has bounced back from this set back!

We know that most of the jobs that are popping up currently are going to take time to hear back from.  Papa is finding most of these jobs the day they are posted and the companies obviously want to take time to compile applicants before starting the interviewing process for the position.  And, most likely, these companies are looking to make the hire official for the 2016 year.  But, does that make the waiting any easier?  Not in the least!

On  another front....Papa called the old company to ask again about the insurance thing (Thank You Nathalie for sending me that link!).  He kind of got the run around regarding this and keeps getting told that "the insurance ran out last Friday" end of story.  I think we are going to just give in at this point so he can get his severance check.  Papa isn't very happy about this because he's worried about my (soon to be lack of) MS drugs but, for the good and stability of the family, we need that cash!    The slightly good news is that the company DID change the weeks he was compensated for from eight weeks to nine since he was just a little over a month shy of being there for nine years.  So, yay!  I'll take the extra week...Although part of me thinks the rat bastards should have done way more!  LOL

The Friendsgiving bash G2 had last night was simply adorable!  It was so sweet to hear them sitting around the dining room table counting their blessings!  There was more than enough food and no drama at all!  It couldn't have gone better and a memory they will always share.  =)

Today is going to be a kind of "downtime" day - I want to catch up on the blogs since I wasn't on the computer much yesterday and just kind of hang out for the most part.  Tonight the girls and I have a concert (tickets paid for way before Papa got laid off) in the next town over.  Since I don't like to drive at night and don't feel like paying for parking, I may try to talk Papa into driving us back and forth!  May be the most frugal way with how expensive parking at concert venues can be!  I'll see if I can find out the parking prices on line and then decide if I will beg ask him to drive!  Haha!

Have a good Friday all!




Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Kindness of People



Even with the financial and emotional stress that has been placed on my family, there is still so much good in our lives!  We haven't made a big announcement or anything about Papa getting laid off, but, when as people and friends find out, they truly care and want to help!

While this craziness that is our life at the moment continues, I think I would like to highlight some of the good/kind things in our life.  Today I would like to share two:

The first one is someone from the blogging community - you know who you are!  =)  As we discovered, she and I live fairly close to each other in Connecticut (about 20ish minutes away).  Sunday she reached out to me via email to offer a place to vent/share a cup of coffee with her if I needed.  It meant more than anyone could imagine and the timing was near perfect because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at that time trying to start to sift through healthcare red tape.  Just having her reach out helped me feel more grounded.

The second one was from G2's Garage Band teacher.  As long time readers know, G2 plays drums and used to be in a garage band.  Once the bassist left the band, the garage band lessons stopped.  Last week, the teacher emailed us saying he found a replacement bassist and a singer so he wants to start up again.  Not great timing, huh?  He wants them to play a concert in January so needs to get practices in before then.  We were at a loss as to what to do.  G2 LOVES the other girl left in the group and seriously ADORES this teacher - as do we!  Truthfully, as much as we love her "regular" drum teacher (who comes to our house twice a month), we love the garage band teacher a million times more.  Anyway, I emailed him back and told him the truth in a very matter of fact manner:  Papa lost his job, G2 loves garage band, how many times/much $$ are we talking before the January concert so we can budget it out, etc.  The teacher emailed us back, said how sorry he was, and cut our cost for practices by 1/3rd!  We were touched and actually very floored because we did not and would never use our situation for economic gain.

Anyway, while I am sure I will have "my days" where I will be venting on this blog, I think it's important to keep track of the kindness too, don't you?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Little More on This "Friends-giving" Business....


Have you heard of this new "Friends-giving" craze?  It usually is held on Thanksgiving - from my understanding, people who are away from their families invite friends in the same boat over to enjoy the traditional feast together.

Well, G2 got it into her head that SHE and her friends wanted to try this as well.  She had slept over a friend's house Saturday and called me bright and early Sunday morning - because she couldn't possibly wait the few hours to ask me when she got home!  LOL  Could they please have their little feast here at our house?  This coming Thursday?  Honestly how could I say no?

G2 has a very close knit set of friends - there are six of them in the core group.  I really like almost all of them...One is too "drama queen" for me but I would never exclude her from anything G2 planned of course!  In the grand scheme of things, I cannot complain about her friends.  That makes Papa and I incredibly happy, actually.

So "Friends-giving" at our house it is!  I am providing the house, dining room, and all dishware for said feast.  G2 will "decorate" the dining room with her friends before dinner.  Each friend will bring some sort of pot luck style dish (which I will be helping G2 coordinate so we don't get five desserts or salads!).  They want to eat dinner "all fancy like" in the dining room and then spend the rest of their time together watching Christmas movies with a fire in our family room.

How could I say no?  Of course the rest of my family is "allowed" to share in the feast although we will be demoted to a "kids table" in another room while the friends eat!  LOL  It really won't be THAT more expensive than if I was cooking regular dinner for my own family so....

OKAY!  OKAY! I admit it!  I am a softie that has a hard time saying NO!  Haha!

Honestly, though, it's going to be adorable and a great memory they will have always.

I can make this happen right now so I will.

Monday, November 16, 2015

This Week's Menu


Definitely the "use it up/eat what's in the house" addition!


Breakfasts

Oatmeal
Cold Cereal
Coffee Cake
Croissants
Toast 
English Muffins


Lunches

Leftovers
Granola Bar, String Cheese, & Assorted Fruit
PB&J's
Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
Homemade Pumpkin Soup


Dinners

Sunday
Turkey Club Sandwiches & Chips
(No one was feeling that great last night thanks to G2 spreading the love with her sickness from Friday!)


Monday
Grilled Steak
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Broccoli


Tuesday
Pierogies
or
Spaghetti


Wednesday
Chicken Casserole
Sauteed Veg Medley

Thursday
TBD 
G2 & friends want to have a "Friends-giving" to celebrate their friendship since no one can be together on Thanksgiving Day.  I have no problem having it here and I will only have to cook one dish too.

Friday
Pork Chops
Rice
Roasted Squash




And....that's how far I have gotten in menu planning.  As you can see, nothing extravagant (besides the steak but it was already in the freezer).  This week's menu serves the purpose of keeping our bellies full and happy!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Few Updates...



Hey guys!  I'm still here, I promise!  Yesterday was a crazy busy day - as I can expect this weekend and at least through Tuesday to be I'm sure!  Sorry this is lengthy but here's where we stand on some things...

First of all, THANK YOU for all the support!  It means so much to me, honestly I does.  This is the very first time in the entire twenty years of our marriage that we have ever faced Papa being unemployed/having no insurance.  We had a great run, don't you think?  Anyway, it's kind of overwhelming and we are doing our best, one step at a time.  So far, I think I have been handling this pretty well - at least I hope so.  It's weird - I'm the one who always worries the sky is falling yet here we are and I have been doing okay for now.  Maybe I'm a little stronger than I thought, who knows?

Thursday night G2 knew in her little heart that I was bored so she decided it would be a marvelous idea to get the stomach bug!  Yup!  Poor little guppy of mine.  So yesterday she stayed home from school.  I'm glad Papa was here because he took care of things while I did some running around that couldn't be delayed.  Thankfully she was well enough to come with us to Long Island last night!  (Otherwise I would have stayed home with her and let G1 and Papa go alone.)  She says she feels fine this morning so I'm hopeful she can still get her flu shot today.

Back to yesterday though.....

I deposited Papa vacation check - thank God he hadn't used as many days as years previous!  He had 14 unused days!  I double checked with the bank to make sure the check had an immediate release and then went home and started paying all our November bills.  I got about ninety percent of that done and will finish the rest (that have due dates for later this month) this weekend.

I got every and any prescription filled.  I was able to refill two of mine, one of Papa's, and one of G1's.  We are completely set on medication for the next three and a half months and it only cost our copay since insurance didn't run out until last night at midnight.

Papa's old company turned off his cell phone.  (He owns the phone, they paid the line.)  Of course that was to be expected.  However on Wednesday they had asked if he wanted to keep the phone number and, when he said he wasn't sure, they said to think about it and let them know.  I was hopeful it would be active until the end of the month.  No matter.  For the immediate time being, he will share my phone with me.  We changed my voicemail message to his so 1.Possible jobs/recruiters aren't confused  2.It sounds more professional.

I spoke with our pediatrician last night - God! I seriously love that woman!  Can't say enough awesome stuff about her, really!  She agreed that the cardiology appointment wasn't an emergency and could be put off until we get the insurance stuff straightened out.  She has known my daughter since she was two and thinks that what's going on is underlying anxiety.  She (like us) will feel better after an EKG is done but she is confident it can wait a bit.  G1's bloodwork came back all normal which makes our pedi more confident in waiting.

Papa and I are sharing my computer now as well since our desktop is more of a "gaming" computer and doesn't have Word.  He spent quite a bit of time updating his resume a little more and to reflect the changes in email/phone numbers.

I have to say, he has built himself a nice support system.  Not everyone knows he got laid off (besides family and a few friends).  However, the friends that do have been awesome!  One in particular sent Papa a possible job lead yesterday that is only about twenty minutes from home!  He quickly sent off his resume in the afternoon.  As he reaches out to more people, I'm sure more opportunities will come our way - including those Papa finds himself.   Monday starts the job search in earnest.

I happened upon a great sale on dog food.  It's the brand we use but not her favorite flavor.  (Yeah, my dog has a favorite flavor of dog food!  Don't judge!  Haha!)  I bought the biggest bag ($28) and filled up her container.  I am debating getting one more before the sale runs out.  She ate it last night and this morning without any problem so I know it wouldn't go to waste.  If I bought one more bag, we would get through probably until Christmas time.

I went to the grocery store after dropping G1 off to school.  But only for a small trip.  I will be being very careful with the monies spent in this area.  My parents have also offered more trips to Costco in the future.  I will be holding off on that for as long as I can.  I want to see how far/well I can do before that happens.

Papa and I talked about buying wood for the family room fireplace.  We have decided this is actually NOT a luxury item but a necessity.  The family room is the main "hub" for us but it's on concrete slab and has the sliders to the deck on side and the door to the garage on the other.  It makes for a very cold room!  Plus there isn't any door to shut this room off so it makes the rest of the house colder.  Our "wood guy" is the cheapest around and has quality stuff.  I will call him probably later today or Monday.

On the heating front, we are still able to turn off the heat in the morning so yay there!  I will continue to do this as long as I can.  We still have the 1/2 tank of oil that we started the season with.  I will keep my eye on prices (don't have a price lock) and order when the price seems right.  We love our local guy who keeps his prices low because he only delivers in our town which cuts his costs dramatically it seems.

Papa and I haven't gone through the package yet.  We were due to yesterday but well, other things had to be attended to.  We will do this no later than Monday morning.  We need the unemployment information filled and sent out.  And we need to sign whatever paperwork they sent (after thoroughly reading!) so they don't hold his severance any longer than necessary!  Payout is scheduled for this Friday.  We will see if that happens.  All I can say is it better!

I will be in charge of finding out as much as possible about the insurance and then discussing it with Papa.  That starts later today and into Sunday.  My goal is to be informed enough to make the correct decision for us by Monday morning.

I *think* that's all for now!  Sorry for the lengthy post but, as I said, my posting may be sporadic for a bit.  I will be checking in on my comments as often as I can so, if you guys have any advice, please pass it on!  Again, thank you all for being there.  It helps!  =)

Have a nice weekend!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Everyone is Expendable

Currently what I am trying to do!

I'm not going to sugar coat it.  Yesterday afternoon was a disaster.  Papa got laid off.  Everyone was sad.  His boss was crying.  It came down to a matter of numbers.  Blah Blah Blah

Papa is crushed.  He thinks he has failed us, which is ridiculous!  He has been my rock through so many things and he had no idea this was coming.  Everyone knows the company shot themselves in the foot for the almighty dollar.  They will be lost without his knowledge because HE was the only one with a LOT of the necessary information.  But, that's not our problem anymore is it?

We have assured the guppies that everything will be fine.  And I know in my heart it will be.  Papa will find another job and will do everything and anything in his power to take care of us like he always has.  

We will go over his severance package later today - we gave ourselves yesterday to just soak in what happened.  From what we do know, we have about three months worth of bills completely taken care of. 

 What IS freaking me out is the fact that they have pulled our insurance away from us tomorrow!  So, the Guppies flu shots on Saturday aren't covered.  More importantly, G1's cardiology appointment won't be covered either.  I put a call into the pediatrician to get her honest opinion as to whether this is an appointment we can temporarily put off or not.  We have a long going relationship and I trust her opinion.  If she thinks it's something we should do immediately, we will find a way. And, of course almost all our meds are due for refills this weekend.  I will most likely pay out of pocket for them (as they are generic) and will deal with trying to get reimbursement from Cobra or whatever if possible later.  My big MS injections will have to be put on hold until Papa gets a new job.  There isn't any way we can swing the price of that medication.  It is what it is.

My blogging *may* be a little spotty over the next couple of weeks as we work this all out.  I'm not sure but I figured I should put that out there in case I go MIA once in awhile.

Honestly in my heart I KNOW this is a blessing.  Papa hated his job and can move on to bigger and better things that make him happy.  We will laugh about this next November - or at the very least be thankful it happened. Right now though, not so much.

Have a good Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Teensy Weensy Grocery Trip



I ran over to Stop and Shop this morning after dropping G2 off to school since I was right near it and needed just a few things.


Stop and Shop:  $5.18

1 dozen eggs
1 package Hot Pockets (on sale and quick for when G1 is dashing off to work)
1 quart of store brand distilled vinegar (for cleaning purposes)


November Grocery Money Remaining:  $550.02


It's already November 11th!  So far so good!  =)

Gas & Garbage



How Oh How Is It Wednesday Already Again?!?!?!
Time is flying by and I don't like it one bit!  LOL


GAS
November Budget:  $60.00
Money Spent:  $24.00

I made it until yesterday 11/10 before having to fill up my car.  I'm okay with it since I *think* that's the day I was hoping to get to when I posted last week.  I filled up to the nice even number of $24.00.  That should last me at least a week to ten days with any luck.



GARBAGE

SIGH....3 kitchen sized (13 gallon) bags this week.
PLUS I finally had to get rid of my IKEA wooden cutting board.  It was woefully warped to the point things were rolling off it and it was dangerous to use!  And it was way too large to store conveniently!  I don't know what I was thinking when I bought that size.  Anyway I suffered through it for over two years until now.  A new smaller sized one will be put on the list with the rest of the Thanksgiving items needed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Guppies Update....




Just a quick(ish) post on the Guppies today....




Guppy 1.....  Although we didn't get to see our normal pediatrician in the practice yesterday, we did see one of her partners.  This doctor was very nice and reassuring.  (Papa joked and said our regular pedi must take amazing notes during visits because this doc was up to speed on everything!)   We need to get G1 to a neurologist for the migraines - no problem there since I know a very good one (haha!) that will indeed take teenagers her age.  And later this morning, I need to call Yale Cardiology to get an appointment for some testing to rule out arrhythmia.  Papa and I are still concerned about another condition (that may have arisen from a prior illness) which we will ask the cardiologist about.  Guppy 1 had some routine blood work drawn along with some specific checks on iron and other vitamins yesterday before we dropped her off back at school for the last few hours.  (She was NOT pleased to have to go back and wanted "a pass" on finishing the school day.  LOL)  For now we are trying to stay calm since it's likely that whatever is going on (if anything significant) is treatable.  She will always be my complicated kiddo - but I wouldn't want her any other way that how/who she is!

Guppy 2..... For those of you who may not remember my post about this.....G2 was issued a chrome book from school at the beginning of seventh grade last year.  The students are to keep the chrome books throughout their time at middle school  (7th & 8th grade).  We were offered to buy into an insurance plan and the school ran a special deal - discounting the insurance to $100 for both years if we paid last year.   I know my daughter (I love the kid to death but she has broken three laptop computers in the past five or so years!)  so we did the insurance.  And now you know where I am going with this...Yesterday it happened.  The screen of the chrome book was smashed and she isn't sure how.  I stayed calm while asking her about it.  (I really really did stay calm!)  And I told her it didn't matter to me how she broke it.  She still said she had no clue what happened.  All she could come up with was that she may have been holding it closed too tightly. G2 brought it in early this morning to go to the office to ask for a loaner and get hers repaired.  She had it back by the end of the day and so far I haven't heard anything from the school about it.  I believe they get the first repair "free" but wasn't sure if that would happen or not since this was a pretty big repair.  If I end up having to pay anything, I'll let you guys know!  But, for right now, all I can say is that it was $100 well spent!


Okay...Well hopefully today will be a more regular kind of day since those plans I had on Sunday to accomplish didn't all happen - besides the baking!  Time to get cracking I guess!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 9, 2015

This Week's Menu Plan



Here is the menu plan I came up with yesterday...

BREAKFASTS

Pancakes
Hashbrowns
Fruit Salad
Cold Cereal
Cinnamon Muffins
Croissants
Oatmeal
Toast w/ Jelly, Butter. or Peanut Butter


LUNCHES

Leftovers
PB&J's
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Granola Bar, String Cheese, & Pringles



DINNERS

SUNDAY
Grilled Asian Salmon with Rice, Roasted Broccoli, & Garlic Green Beans
or
Baked Ziti (for those of us who don't like fish)


MONDAY
Mongolian Beef Crepes


TUESDAY
Chicken & Dumplings


WEDNESDAY
Maple Pork Chops with Baked Squash, Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Baby Spinach


THURSDAY
Breakfast For Dinner


FRIDAY
Dinner out since we will be in Long Island for the evening


SATURDAY
TBD


ASSORTED SNACKS/DESSERTS INCLUDE:
Apple Pie
Brownies
Pound Cake with Macerated Strawberries
Plus the usual...
Chips, Pretzels, etc



Any good on your menu plans this week?  Time for me to get out a cookbook or  two again -- I feel like I am in a rut!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Easy Like Sunday Morning....


I don't get to sleep all day but I DO plan on just hanging around the house today!


Today WILL be that day!  You know the one I am talking about.....Where you get to stay home and get a LOT of stuff done?  Get yourself in a better position for the upcoming week?  Yeah, THAT day.  I plan on making it happen, no matter what!  LOL

Here's what I hope to accomplish....

*  Get the menu plan in place and post here
*  Get a few loads of laundry done 
*  Get Papa's ironing done for the week
*  Do some baking - brownies, muffins, and cookies come to mind
*  Catch up on my NaNoWriMo word count (There's a nifty little counter to tell you if you are on track to         finishing your novel by the end of the month...And yup I'm behind a tiny bit)
*  Pick G2 up from her BFF's at 11am (She went to a hockey game yesterday then slept over)
*  Find a smallish Christmas craft to do with G2 (She wants to start already!  LOL)
*  Help G1 organize her school stuff  (She's never been an organized kind of kiddo)
*  Walk the dog (probably do this twice)
*  And, of course, cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  LOL


Okay, so maybe not the easiest Sunday...But I like the fact that I will be able to be HOME with no true errands for the day!

How's your Sunday shaping up?  Have a great day!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Late Post...



I planned on blogging earlier this morning but as I sat down at my computer, Guppy 1 and her BFF had other plans...They wanted another adventure.  After a brief debate and quick scramble, the three of us were off in the car to drive to the remains of an abandoned town in Cornwall.  It's actually a gorgeous hike and not the supposed haunted creepy place so many people claim.  So even though my plans for a simple Saturday were dashed, it was still a nice afternoon out with my oldest kiddo and her friend.

On the grocery front....the house is pretty well stocked at the moment - actually a bit better than I originally thought.  My goal is to not do a shopping trip at all next week...at least until Friday.  Wish me luck!  LOL  Between tonight and tomorrow I plan on writing out a menu plan.  I have been slacking a little with the formal plan and trying to fly by the seats of my pants a bit.  It doesn't make me feel as in control as the written menu plan does so time to get back to it!

On the health front....Well since I said I went hiking today, you can guess that I am feeling better.  Almost back to my "normal" self which makes me happy!  I think it makes the rest of the family happy too!  LOL
However on Guppy 1's health....We have an appointment with her pediatrician on Monday morning.  She has been having some heart fluttering and a LOT of migraine headaches.  The two may be a link between the two and it may go back to a medical issue she had during late sixth through eighth grade.  I'm hoping it's nothing but I think we may end up at Yale Cardiology to rule stuff out.


On Papa's job front.....He has been getting information on jobs daily but nothing caught his eye until one a couple of days ago.  He'll be sending his resume out on Monday.  It's still farther away than we would like him to travel every day but it's a higher position than he has currently.  It's also a company he's extremely familiar with and it's within the field he is in.
And... He literally just told me as I am sitting here typing this that he got a few phone calls last week about job positions that he may be interested in too.


On the strange front....My mother in law's car literally burst into flames this past Thursday!  She smelled "something funny" and pulled over.  A guy who was weed whacking nearby ran up to her and told her to get out of the car because it was on fire!  She was fine and laughed that her car "really went out in style".  There was even video of it on a local website!  Scary to say the least!

Okay well this is already really late so I'll end here!  Hope you all had a great day!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2015

This Week's Freebies


It's been another fairly busy week of freebies!  Here's what came across my path!

From my BFF:

2 nail polishes
2 pairs of new fuzzy/heavy socks (she decided she didn't like the color)
3 cocktail glasses (I will consign two since even numbers are more desirable)
8 champagne flutes (consigning these)
1 small but heavy silver frame (off to the consignment store)
Cake cookbook & Pizza cookbook (consignment store doesn't take these- need to find another way to sell)

From my mom:

a baggie full of coke bottle caps (for the MCR codes!)
14 full sized Hershey bars (leftover Halloween candy)
10 full sized Kit Kat bars (leftovers)
3 full sized Twix bars (leftovers)
1 Milky Way bar (leftover)


On the ground:

While walking the dog I saw a CVS receipt on the ground that caught my eye..It had a $2 ECB on it!  No one was around and it looked like it had been there awhile.  I have until 11/18 to try to use it.  Think CVS will honor it even though it's not my card?  I'll let you know if they do!



Any good freebies come your way this week?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Big Y Grocery Trip



I did have big plans to go get a LOT of grocery shopping done yesterday but ended up only going to Big Y since I wasn't feeling well (see earlier post from today).  Even being under the weather, I think I scored some pretty good deals!  Check them out..

Big Y: $81.98
Left in November Budget: $555.20

Small container of seafood salad
1 package (3 count) apple strudel
1 block of Big Y brand cream cheese
1/2 dozen eggs
1 package (10 count) hash browns
1 package of frozen mini pierogies
2 packages of pizza rolls
1 container of Turkey Hill cookie dough ice cream
1 package of mini pretzels
1 package of Big Y brown sugar
3 packages of Big Y stuffing
3 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke
1 package of Doritos
3 bottles of Dynamo laundry detergent
1 box of cinnamon muffin mix
1 jar of Skippy peanut butter
1 large loaf of bread
3 packages of boneless pork chops
3 packages of split chicken breasts
2 packages of (frozen) salmon
1 lb of fresh broccoli
2 lbs of onions
1 package of green beans
2 lbs of sweet potatoes

I am fairly happy with the amount of money I spent when you look at my stocking up of meat and laundry detergent.

The Flu Shot Blues



 I used to never get a flu shot.  I made sure the Guppies always did and Papa would get it through his job.  But me?  I passed because of my aversion to needles.  ( Joke was on me considering I have to get injections all the time now!)  Well, ever since being diagnosed with MS, I get my flu shot.  It's recommended all people with auto-immune diseases get it and it's pretty important I don't get sick.

So, this past Tuesday I went and got my shot.  I expected the usual symptoms (arm tenderness).  Well, usual is NOT what I got. Yesterday my MS symptoms were RAGING to the point where Papa thought I was going to have to see the neurologist ASAP!  I was panicking because I could barely walk without pain!

And, then, as I was walking by the bakery at the grocery store yesterday morning - because I HAD to go grab a few things because the house was actually getting bare - I thought I was going to throw up from the smell of bread.  This is not me!  Trust me, I have never turned down any type of bread!  LOL  So...I began to wonder if it was flu shot related...

A call to my favorite nurse (aka Mom) verified that yes, I could be having a reaction to the flu shot.  And in the past I thought everyone who complained about having flu symptoms after getting the vaccine were just being babies.  Who knew?

I slept almost the entire day away yesterday - if you don't count waking up with fever, chills, and muscle cramps every hour.  I did get up to make everyone else dinner - because I did NOT go to that stinking grocery store for nothing!  Haha!

This morning I feel wiped out but way better than yesterday.  Am I still happy I got the flu shot?  Absolutely! One miserable day is soooo much better than what getting the flu would do to me!  Plus, I am actually happy that my ailments yesterday isn't my MS getting worse but a byproduct of my vaccine.

Papa tried his best to take care of the things that absolutely needed to be done (like loading the dishwasher after dinner and getting the dog out for a walk)  but there's still so much to do!  Today I will be slowly trying to catch up.

And I will try to post my grocery trip later this afternoon too because I want to keep up with that!

So, question to you guys....Do you get a flu vaccination?  If you do, do you have any flu-like symptoms afterwards?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gas & Garbage


It's Wednesday which means it's another edition of Gas & Garbage.....


GAS
November Gas Budget: $60
I'm setting this month's gas budget at $60 to take into account any extra trips I may need to start Christmas shopping or any extra grocery stockups (like Aldi's in the next town over)

It's only four days into November so I haven't had the need to fill up the tank yet.  It's sitting at a fairly healthy 1/2 tank.  I am hoping to make it until the tenth before having to gas up.  



GARBAGE

My standard two bags again this week. 





Happy Wednesday!  Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November Grocery Budget and First (Small) Trip



It's November so it's time to set the new grocery budget for the month! After giving it some very serious thought, I'm setting this month's budget at $650.00.  Yes, that's a pretty large increase from my usual $500 but I am hosting Thanksgiving and will be hosting Christmas in December.  And, I am the only one in either Papa or my family that does any heavy Christmas baking so I want some wiggle room to be able to stockpile any deals on baking supplies.  Even with this increase, I am going to need some discipline and a decent plan in place.

The "decent plan" is something I need to work on at some point today....Case in point was last night although honestly it could have been worse....

We had tickets to a concert the next town over but I hadn't realized what time the doors opened for it.  This was a pretty important bit of information because 1. The venue is tiny  2. It's standing room (general admission) only  3.  The concert was sold out.   My "ideas" for dinner were not going to work and still get us out in time for the show!  Rather than getting fast food on the way, I ran over to the grocery store to pick up a few things we needed and an already cooked chicken.  Buying a store rotisserie chicken isn't very frugal but it did help us from eating out and spending more money.

Here's what I spent:

STOP AND SHOP  $12.82

1 (8 count) croissants
1 pint of Hood light cream
3/4 lb S&S deli american cheese
6 pack of diet Snapple
2 1.25 liters of diet Coke
1 rotisserie chicken *
1 5 lb bag of Yukon Gold potatoes


How was I able to spend so little?  I had an old Visa gift card kicking around in my wallet with a small balance (around $10) on it.  I am not counting that against my budget but treating it more like I would a coupon or rebate since I have had this card for soooo long.

MONEY LEFT IN NOVEMBER GROCERY BUDGET:  $637.18

*That little chicken fed us dinner last night, plus I was able to give the leftover leg and sides to Papa today for lunch, AND I still have enough left to make another meal for this week!  


Have a great Tuesday all!



Monday, November 2, 2015

October Grocery Totals...



Whelp...It's pretty official....I blew October's Grocery Budget.  I wish I had some *good* excuse for it but, sadly, I don't.  I thought about skipping this post entirely but, since I have all my receipts and did keep track, that wouldn't change my end result now would it?  Anyway, I'm human.  I'm still very new at trying to keep track of all this and stay accountable.  I want to "forgive" myself for another messed up month but also try to get it right for the rest of the year.  I'm not going to give up!  Honestly, I know the damage could would have been much much worse if I wasn't attempting to track.

I have my receipts in front of me but I'm not going to go through each and every item on them.  I normally do like to post a list of items that I buy so I can go back and keep track too.  But, last month fried me. All I am going to do now is total them all out so we can all see how much I went "over".

Stop and Shop Trip #1:  $17.40
Stop and Shop Trip #2:  41.63
Big Y Trip:  29.20

I only had $57.23 left in my regular October grocery budget along with $73.20 in my "stock up" budget.

October Grocery Overage Amount:  $31.00  (Deducted from what was supposed to be my stock up budget so I could stay "in the black")

I know I may seem to be overreacting a tad.  And, truth is, I probably am.  I guess I am just feeling a little bit guilty because of the Costco trip we also received in October.  I feel like staying within the October budget should have been fairly easy.  It wasn't.

BUT...

Like I said, I am NOT going to give up!  We are in a new month now and I have a whole new chance to succeed!  And, I definitely am learning a LOT about my family's habits!  (And most definitely my OWN!)

This isn't the end of the world by any means
.
I have to think about November's budget amount since we host Thanksgiving.  I'll probably post about that tomorrow.

Onward and Upward!

Happy Monday all!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 1ST!!!



Well, it's November 1st!  Time to see what this month brings!

I will say that I am honestly glad Halloween is OVER!  Guppy 2 did not decide on her costume until literally 3:30 yesterday afternoon!  Guppy 1 and I brainstormed hard for her and she was just sooo picky!  By the way Nathalie -- we cobbled together an absolutely adorable Lilo outfit that she ended up turning down! Haha! After ninety frustrating minutes, Guppy 2 was back out on her way....as a.....BABY!  Her costume ended up being PJ's, slippers, her hair in pig tails and bows, and a stuffy.  In the end, she just wanted something comfy and warm.  Warm was very good for last night since it was quite brisk here in CT!  On the way over to meeting her friends, I told her that NEXT year, no matter what she was planning on doing, she would NOT be waiting until the last minute to decide on her costume since it stressed her AND her sister and me out too much.  She agreed and ended up having a great time with her friends.
As for the three of us (Papa, G1, and me), we gave out candy - we had only about 15 kids come to our door - and watched horror movies/tv shows.  G1 had a chance to go to a Halloween party but the person throwing it invited her as his date so she politely declined since she (sort of) has a boyfriend.

Even with turning back the clocks, I am DRAAAAGGGGING this morning!  I have a long list of stuff to do around the house today!  AND.....

NANOWRIMO starts today!  For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month!  My favorite writing month of the year!  For some reason, just having this "official" website makes me feel better about spending time working on my book!  It feels more "justified" or something.  So, I plan on (hopefully) finishing the first draft by the end of November!

Which means I need to be on top of the daily household chores (and getting started on Christmas!) as much as possible!

I need to end here because G2's Chromebook is malfunctioning and she needs my computer!  I am hoping to be back later today to update the October Grocery Budget totals -- it's not pretty!

Have a great Sunday everyone!  =)