Saturday, December 31, 2016

Project Me 365






What I *thought* was going to be an additional "bullet style" journal has now morphed into something else!

2016 was a rough year for me.  I certainly don't feel like I made any traction whatsoever with anything pertaining to only me.  I will always be a wife and mom first and foremost.  However, I have been feeling a little bit down lately because my "mom" role, while not becoming totally obsolete, is diminishing as the Guppies grow older.  I think G1's impending 18th birthday and the fact that she plans on travelling after she graduates in June helped thrust this in the forefront of my mind.  So, instead of wallowing - which is my usual inclination - I am trying to turn this into a positive and sort of reinvent myself....or at the very least find a path to becoming the best "me" I can be!

Why "Project Me 365"?  This is going to be a journal/tracker to help with the goals I find important over the next 365 days.  It's where I will measure and stay accountable to progress and setbacks.  And, it's all going to be tucked away in one notebook!  I'm still in the process of creating it -and wish so badly I was more artistic!  Essentially, I am looking for easy ways to keep up with tracking my progress to goals since that will help my motivation stay up!  There is going to be a lot more work at the beginning as I create graphs, charts, etc. but I am hoping it's time well invested.


So, what exactly am I putting in the journal?  What am I keeping track of?  Here's the plan so far...


365 Random Acts of Kindness because we need to be the ones who keep the world a safe and happy place for all

365 Acts of Kindness towards myself because I am, quite frankly, awful to myself!  I need to negate my extremely loud inner critic!

52 dates with Papa - I'm taking a page from Mavis Butterfield's blog here and trying this one out.  Papa and I should have more time to connect now that the girls are getting older.  Every date doesn't have to be "out" of the house either.  I plan on assigning a "budget goal" to be under (still tbd) and will try to have fun/be creative with this!

52 new recipes - another page from Mavis's blog  I want to become a better cook and get out of the cooking rut I'm in.

Daily Word Count for my writing - I love the graph that NaNoWriMo uses so I want to expand on that.  Writing is a passion that needs to be a 2017 priority!  I may come up with an overall written word goal for the entire year....still toying with it though.

Weight Loss tracker.  I have seen some really cute ideas on Pinterest for graphs and/or illustrations for this!

Exercise Tracker with a mileage page - I am in the process of finding a goal "place" that I would like to virtually "walk" to.

2017 Books - I saw an adorable bookshelf style layout on Pinterest that I am totally stealing!

Daily Thoughts - I want to design something so I can write a little blurb about each day - good, meh, or bad

And, because financial stuff still matters....

Money Saved/Money I Earn Tracker - again working on goal number and brainstorming ways to possibly get back into the work force somehow (or at least home hustle better!)

Debt Reduction Tracker - goal number to be determined

Big Ticket Items Tracker - there are a few things we are going to need to replace in the upcoming year or two

Grocery Money Tracker


Sounds like a lot right? And, I'm not sure I am even done with what I want to track!  LOL

That's why I am digging deep and trying to be creative about the tracker aspect of each.  Ideally, most of the above will be a quick, fill in kind of thing - besides the journal part.  I am hoping to make this a thirty minute exercise each day so as not to get overwhelmed or discouraged. 

Most importantly, I need to remember I am striving for progression not perfection!

Over the course of January, I will be sharing some of my (very rudimentary) pages here on this blog.  Maybe I  can pass on some ideas to you....
Or more likely, maybe you can give me some ideas on how to streamline even better!  Haha!

Happy New Year's Eve!




Thursday, December 29, 2016

Day Book for Thursday December 29th....



Isn't Rummy just a cutie pie?



Outside my window....
It's a very gray and rainy day - God knows we need the rain but between that and all the leftover Christmas cookies I have bee noshing on, I'm sleeeeepy!  A few cars have been passing by but not much action outside.

I'm hearing....
Rain hitting the windows in the dining room, the dog snoring on the couch, the dishwasher running in the kitchen, and Papa playing with one of his new video games.

I'm thinking....
2016 cannot end fast enough!  Besides Papa finding an awesome job, this year has just plain sucked!  I'm so ready to move on to the clean slate of 2017!  Although, I'm not going to lie, I worry about what's going to happen come January 20th and beyond....Let's hope the whole world doesn't implode and we can all survive the next four years without moving progress backwards 40 plus years!

I'm wearing....
Jeans and an oversized cowl neck sweatshirt....I am debating putting back on my PJ bottoms but I'm waiting to hear from G2 to see if she needs a ride from her boyfriend's house to a friend's house where people are meeting up tonight.

I'm creating.....
My "Project Me 365" book!  As with most things with me, what started as one thing as completely morphed into something else!  I'm really excited about it though and can't wait to share my ideas in a post in a few days!

From the kitchen....
Nothing at the moment.  However, since I have some ground beef thawed, I will make and simmer some meatballs later in a bottle of Spicy Moroccan Sauce (part of that freebie stash my mom gave me last week).  I'll serve it over some jasmine rice and cross my fingers that Papa & I like it!  LOL

I'm reading....
The new Wally Lamb book, I'll Take You There which I got for Christmas.  I saw him speak earlier this year at a local private school and have to say, he's as awesome a person as he is an author!  Well worth investing in his books, in my opinion.

I'm thankful for....
A LOT!
First, I'm happy that Guppy 1 is having such a great time in Vermont!  And she survived going snowboarding for the first time without any serious injury!  She was worried about being away from home since she never really has been (she had to skip the 8th grade Washington DC trip because she was in the worst part of her anorexia).  But, it seems she isn't having any issues - sigh of relief here!  I'm sure being an area of Vermont with which she is so familiar is helping too!  It's going so well that they added one extra day on and will be coming home tomorrow instead of today - partially due to the storm that is bringing us rain and Vermont snow!

Second, that Guppy 2 is doing so incredibly well, all things considered.  We have had some extra time to bond this week- just the two of us during the day, and it's been wonderful.  She's got a great head on her shoulders and I'm very hopeful that the therapy she is in will give her the tools she needs to succeed moving forward.  I'm so proud of the kind and considerate young lady she is becoming.

Last but not least, Papa.  I have been "off" since right before Christmas.  First, the cold that I had for like three weeks finally blew up on Christmas Eve.  And then I have been super tired and experiencing some old MS symptoms/possible flare up.  Papa has jumped in without skipping a beat!  He has been trying to pick up the slack where needed and been very patient with my lack of energy/extreme fatigue.  Truly I found a guy to love me no matter what and meant the whole "sickness and health" thing!

I'm excited for....
G1's birthday next week!  I am so excited about her present and can't wait to give it to her!  Plus, did I mention she wants hibachi for dinner?  Yuuuuummmmm....can't wait for hibachi!

My New Year's Eve plans....
As always, Papa & I will be staying home!  Guppy 2 will be at her BFF's house for their annual NYE party.  G1 may be here with Ramsey or may be at Ramsey's house...that's still to be determined.  No matter what, Papa & I will be cooking a nice dinner and just chilling for the night - which suits me just fine!  I have never been a big "Let's Go Out on NYE" kind of girl!


Happy Thursday everyone!



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas & Project Me 365


Last night was our "official" end to Christmas with the annual "Christmosh" concert in Long Island.  Papa & I took G2 and her BFF.  It was fun - a little less crowded than we first started to go to these shows four or five years back but I'm NOT complaining about that!  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was feeling better....I have a decent cold going which may or may not be the trigger from some of the MS symptoms I have been feeling over the last few days.  Nothing too debilitating or anything - I'm just moving slower than normal and can't feel my back very well due to numbness.

Guppy 1 didn't come to the show with us because she is off on her own little adventure with Ramsey!  They took the train out of Hartford to visit his oldest brother and his wife in Vermont!  They will be taking the train back on Thursday so G1 will still have some "down time" before school starts up again on January 3rd.  Not everyone has agreed with our decision to let her go but it was ultimately OUR decision.  Here's what helped sway us...
Papa knows his grandfather! (Ramsey has lived with his grandparents since his own parents died in an accident when he was just 2 years old).  Ramsey's grandfather loves G1 and is extremely protective over her - it's actually quite cute!  G1 is planning her Gap/Travel year beginning this summer so this is good experience - especially since the part of Vermont they are travelling to she knows extremely well!  The brother lives one town over from Stowe and it's a town we have spent some time in over the years.  And, finally worst case scenario, she is somewhere that is only four hours away should an emergency happen.
But, I will admit, I am slightly nervous that Ramsey is going to try to teach her to snowboard.  G1 is fairly athletic when she wants to be but, snowboarding/skiing always makes me nervous!  Haha!

Anyway....

Christmas was....good.  It had its ups and downs of course.  But, all in all I'm happy with how it went.  The Guppies loved all their gifts which is something I was really nervous about!  My baking got accomplished and I had 99% success with it!  And...

Our own little Christmas miracle....

Papa decided that it was okay for the Guppies to NOT go to my in-laws on Christmas day! (I have mentioned MANY times before how much they dislike having to go down to visit and how hectic the day becomes for them.)  They got to stay in their PJ's all day and do whatever they wanted!  Guppy 1 played with her phone and her new Pokémon 3DS games while Guppy 2 played with her new phone and read an entire book we got her in one sitting!  
Papa and I did go visit however.  And, without the Guppies there, it was easier to try to spend a little quality time with his mom (and not be interrupted with looks and text  from the Guppies as to when we were getting the heck outta there lol).  For some strange reason, it was slightly easier to leave too.  We were home in plenty of time to get dinner ready for my parents, brother, and sister in law - which is another story for another day....maybe.

So, with 2016's Christmas "done", my thoughts turn to the blank slate of 2017.  There is so freaking much I want to do and I really am going to need to sort it out in order of importance.  My brain is on overdrive as I try to figure out the BEST path to achieving what I would like to accomplish.  I tend to get way too excited and make way too many "resolutions" and "goals" and lack solid planning to back it all up.  I always have the best of intentions but all I usually make is a recipe for disaster!

For the next few days, I'm going to let my brain "mull" everything over.  I'm writing down ideas and plotting potential paths to goals.  I'm sketching out designs for my journal.  The only thing I have completely decided on is that I am going to call the whole thing:

Project Me 365

Once I finalize exactly what I am doing, I'll be sure to update it here on my blog!

Happy Tuesday!

What We Ate For Dinner This Week




Did I do better than last week?  Let's check it out....


Sunday
Planned evening out...

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant


Monday
Ramsey & G1 made us dinner as a "thank you" for inviting him to spend the day with us at Mystic on Sunday. 

Pancakes
Scrambled Eggs
Bacon
Sausage
Home fries

There was enough left over for Papa's lunch on Tuesday and breakfast for a few days!


Tuesday
I was sick all day...Hmmm...Ramsey and G1's cooking?  LOL  (Honestly, it wasn't food poisoning!) I didn't feel much in the cooking - or eating - mood....

I made G2:
Bacon Grilled Cheese

And Papa made him and G1:
Scrambled Eggs with toast
(Those two could eat scrambled eggs every day I swear!)


Wednesday
G2 went out with friends so just three of us...

Steak
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Garlic


Thursday
It was so tough to not order out!  I had been busy all day - first in the kitchen making cookies and prepping cookie doughs, then out with G2 for last minute shopping, and TWO runs to Dollar Tree.  All I wanted to do was order a pizza!  But, I didn't and decided to make:

Cheeseburgers
Mac n Cheese

Although it wasn't pizza, it filled all of our bellies just fine and kept a few more bucks in my pocket.


Friday
Papa & I had the afternoon to ourselves since Guppy 1 was spending time at Ramsey's and Guppy 2 was at a friend's house for a Christmas party.
I still had a cold and felt like crud!  But, off to the West Farms Mall we went to pick up some final odds and ends.  The mall has a PF Chang's and I LOOOOOVE me some PF Chang's - and haven't had it in a long long time! 
As we were getting ready to leave the mall around three, Papa surprised me with "linner" with his remaining Christmas shopping money.  He said he didn't really know what else to buy me and knew how much I loved that restaurant. So we had a very nice (and super appreciated) lunch by ourselves that hit the spot!


Saturday
As per our usual tradition, we had "pickies".  G1 and Ramsey were with us and G2 came home from her boyfriend's a little later to enjoy some with us too.

Broccoli Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Mini Pigs in a Blanket
Mozzarella Sticks
Mushroom Turnovers
Buffalo Chicken Pastry Bites


Sunday
Christmas Dinner:

Filet of Beef Roasts
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Yams
Green Beans with Garlic
Corn

Very simple meal but delicious!

We had our array of cookies and cinnamon rolls as mentioned in a previous post.  We also decided to make Crème Brule too - which was amazing!  =)



So, there you have it....another week for the books. 



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!




I'll be taking a blogging break until probably next Tuesday so I can finish up last minute Christmas preparations and enjoy the holiday with this crazy family of mine!

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!  And, thank you for reading my little blog - and continuing to read even when I make a zillion mistakes or get a bit negative/melancholy.  I love this little blogging community and it has saved my sanity more than once!

Wishing you all much love and happiness!  And, let's all have a great 2017!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Interesting Conversation & Shopping Trip with Guppy 2



Good morning!

My Christmas baking is continuing this morning but I wanted to write a quick post about an interesting conversation/shopping excursion I had with Guppy 2 yesterday.

First...tiny backstory....

G2 has established a very nice group of friends.  Through seventh and eighth grade, there were four girls and one boy in the "core group".  Papa and I wondered what would happen when freshman year started this past August.  Would the group stay together?  Would they all find other friends? 
Well, the core group did stay together...which makes everyone involved extremely happy!  However, they added more people to the group!  G2's and her best friend's boyfriends were added (and yep, G2 is dating with that boy again - another story for another day).  Also added was very lovely girl and another great boy.  Are you keeping count?  We are up to NINE in the group now!

Okay...back to yesterday....

One of the girls is having a Christmas party at her house today after school for the whole group.  And the whole group is exchanging gifts!  Talk about a budget buster!  I didn't realize they were all going and all exchanging!
I told G2 I didn't have much money to spend (I had originally budgeted $100 for the core group and the boyfriend).  Did she throw a fit?  Nope!  She gave it some thought and asked me to drive her to the mall that had the "Lush" store.  (If you haven't heard of Lush, it is a very nice -and potentially expensive!- store that has organic beauty products)
Not gonna lie, I was worried when she said Lush but off we went.
I'm so proud to say that G2 did a great job!  All four girls we had to buy for are into "bath bombs" - especially the ones from Lush which tend to be very large and decorative.  She took her time and chose one for each girl which she thought suited each girl's personality.  Total cost for these presents? $43.13!  It would have only been $31.48 but G2 wanted to get her BFF something "extra".
The boys were much harder to figure out!  We didn't have to worry about her boyfriend for today's party because she will bee seeing him on Christmas Eve - which yes, will mean another trip to the mall ON Christmas Eve morning.  Anyway, that left us with three boys.  Finally she just said "You know what Mom?  Let's just get them some candy from the Dollar Store.  They all love candy and I have no clue what to get them!"  Total spent at the Dollar Store was $15 plus tax.
So around $60 for all the gifts (minus boyfriend)!  I think she did a great job!

On the way home, she turned to me and said "There are too many of us now.  I think next year we should have the party and that's it.  Or do a Secret Santa.  Or grab bag or something.  This way is too expensive!  And it's not really about the presents."
I kid you not!
Very proud Mama Moment!

Maybe as I struggle to change my ways to being more frugal (but stay thoughtful and generous), my Guppies are really watching and taking cues. 

As for that extra $40 in my budget for G2's friends?  I am saving it to buy her boyfriend "D"'s gift....She just needs to decide what she wants to get him!  And, maybe she will save me a little money with his gift too, who knows?

Have a great Friday!  I'm off to my kitchen to try to make some rugalach for the first time!  Wish me luck!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

C is for Cookies!





After I finish my breakfast and this post, I will start my great cookie baking marathon for Christmas....with a few interruptions here and there.

Sadly, I didn't get enough of my freezer cleaned out to be able to make any ahead but it's all good.  I love baking at Christmas!

Here's what I am hoping to get done by Saturday afternoon....like I said, there are going to be interruptions in the process.  LOL

Bourbon Balls
Russian Tea Cakes
Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
Regular Sugar Cookies
Spritz Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Regular Chocolate Chip
Church Windows
Walnut Rugalach
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods (easy one to fill out trays)
Cherry Cheesecake Cookies (only a maybe on this one, if I have time)
Cinnamon Rolls  (Papa does most of the work on these)

Sounds like a lot, I know.  But, I have quite a few of the dry mixes already made so at least that's one less thing to do.  Thank you Ziploc bags!  Haha

And with that I'm off!  Going to try to get as much done as I can this morning.  I pick G1 up from school at 12:30 (senior privilege) and then G2 up at 2pm.  And, after a quick stop at home, G2 still has to run out and grab gifts for her friends since they are exchanging tomorrow!

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Freebies!



I didn't blog yesterday because I was pretty sick!  I'm feeling fairly better today...Enough to start doing some running around at least! 

Anyway, I scored some pretty awesome freebies I wanted to share!


First off, FF (Freebie Fairy) dropped off four beautiful hot toddy/tea glass mugs with metal handles.  They are beautiful, from Finland, and passed on to me because they were from her ex.  I have no real place to keep them nor use for them so I did a quick check on Ebay...These suckers go for $50 (for two!) and up!  Apparently, the pattern she gave me was discontinued and fairly sought after!  Score!  I will put them up on Ebay in January.

Second off, the real deal!
I had to run to my parents' house today to pick up some items I had shipped to their house - safer from curious eyes!  My parents had a whole load of stuff to give me!
1 5lb bag of flour  (seriously this is the third or fourth bag she has given me since Thanksgiving!)
1 lb of butter
1 8 pack of smaller sized Diet Coke
And these....
(ignore the messy table)




Apparently my parents bought these for my sister in law who is gluten intolerant.  They are all labeled "gluten free" but processed in a facility that also processes gluten products.  So, my SIL  will NOT touch them.  And, my mom isn't a return kind of person so she asked if I wanted them.  I have had a few of these (they are so yummy!) and I know most of them retail for at least $8.95 and up around here.  So, yeah, nice pantry score!


And, I'm off to try to finish a little wrapping/present organizing and to clean up the house a bit!

Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Finally Something Under Budget!




It has been a very very VERY expensive month so far!  So, it's really nice to be able to report a "win"!



Last night was a LOT of fun!  I  can't say it was the best story this year, but our group and guide were great which can definitely make up for a less than stellar plot.  (And having Ramsey decide to change into his impulse buy of  Santa suit PJ's when we stopped at the Crystal Mall kept things interesting too but that is another story!  LOL)

Anyway, just as a reminder, there were a total of six of us going to Mystic.  We always head up much earlier than our tour time to look around the shops at Olde Mystic Village, have dinner, walk around the Crystal Mall, and usually hit a coffee shop.  So, I took all of this into account when deciding on a $200 budget for the day.

And, I'm thrilled to say we actually stayed UNDER budget!
(Cue the chorus of angels singing!)

Where was the money spent?

Here's the short breakdown:

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant:  $125 including tip
(Again, remember that was for six of us and included three shared desserts too!)

Franklin's General Store:  $48.96
(Because you know, FUDGE!  I actually do buy fudge from here every year.  They have yummy yummy flavors.  And, we had to buy the obligatory salt water taffy.)

And that's it!  We skipped our coffee shop stop because we didn't have time for a change - which is good because I probably would have been over if we had stopped!  =)

So, the grand total for yesterday (besides the initial outlay for tickets) was:  $173.96

So I was under budget by a little more than $26!  May not be a huge amount but I'll take it as a win!

And, on that high note, I'm off to track packages online and straighten up!

Hope you all are having a great Monday!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What We Ate This Week....

A very unmotivated week here at my dinner table!  I blame it partly on the cold that began midweek.  Even though I am not thrilled with what I cobbled together meal wise,  Papa and I were discussing the fact that, in past years, McDonald's was our home away from home come the month of December due to all busyness/laziness.  So, I guess I can be at least slightly happy that we only hit MCD once this week! Well, and Chinese takeout once too!   LOL



Sunday
I didn't feel like doing the whole big Sunday dinner thing....It was Papa, G2, G2's friend, and me so I made:

A Taco Bar complete with all the fixings



Monday

Spicy Udon for G1, Papa, & me
and
Quesadilla for G2


Tuesday
Full-ish house tonight and again not feeling like cooking....I'm sensing a theme here.  In my defense, I am not feeling great - I have the beginnings of a cold brewing.

Frozen pizza - requested by G2, G1, & Ramsey (G1's boyfriend)
and
Roast Beef & Caramelized Onions Grilled Sandwiches for Papa & me


Wednesday
I took most of the day "off" to sleep, relax, and try to get rid of this cold I am getting!  Thankfully, I had a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket up my sleeve so all I had to do was cook the sides.  All four of us were home for dinner, although Papa worked late again.

Rotisserie Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (the last of them left from Thanksgiving time)
Green Beans with Garlic


Thursday
Two extra kiddos in the house again!  I bought:

McDonalds

Neither Papa nor I were all that hungry so we just split the two cheeseburger meal.  At least I tried to save a little $$$ while splurging on takeout?


Friday
Guppy 2 was out so it was only Guppy 1, Papa, & me.
Guppy 1 wanted:
Peanut Butter sandwich and chips
which worked out fine with me.
Papa & I had:
Mushroom Ravioli
Roasted Garlic on Italian bread


Saturday
Chinese takeout

(Again, Papa & I split an order of General Tsao's chicken to keep costs down)



And...

There you have it!  Our dinners last week.  I would like to say that this week will be better but I can't say that without a shadow of doubt.  I will be baking all our cookies this week and getting the final stuff done for Christmas.  I plan on doing my best and will probably try to sit down and work out a loose plan tomorrow.

For now, we are off to Mystic!  The weathermen say the rain is going to let up so keep your fingers crossed they are right!  =)







Saturday, December 17, 2016

Snowed In!



Well, that's probably a bit of an exaggeration.  The weathermen are predicting four to six inches before it warms up enough to turn to rain.  Most "normal" people may be able/willing to venture out.  But me?  Nope!

Especially since....

Papa had to take my car in to work this morning!

Yup, he had to go to work on a Saturday!  He went in for six am to meet with some of the weekend nightshift people about an upcoming inspection of some sort.  (I guess this is a drawback to working in a hospital?  I'm not complaining though - he loves his job and that makes us all happy!)  We decided that he would stay in the city at the hospital until the rain started and it was safer for him to drive home.  He has $$$ on him so he can either eat lunch at the hospital cafeteria or head to a nearby restaurant.   Knowing Papa as I do, he will definitely take the cheapest route available to him.

City Seed cancelled BOTH Saturday & Sunday's farmers markets this weekend.  Yoo Hoo Ms. Sandie!  I'm sure you already know this but just in case you didn't.  Today obviously they canceled due to snow.  Tomorrow I think they canceled because of the rain coming in?  I'm not really sure.  Either way, I'm bummed out.  We had really wanted to buy a LOT of dairy products -including some kick ass eggnog.  We also wanted to look around because City Seed was posting on social media about some of the unique holiday gifts that would be at the market this weekend.  I feel badly for the farmers/vendors about the cancellation.  The market won't start up again until January 14th so I wonder how much of a loss they will be taking this weekend.

Anyway, since I am stuck inside today, I will probably try to get some stuff accomplished here - besides the usual cleaning up of course. We haven't put up Papa's Department 56 village yet either so I will try to haul all the pieces up from the basement so we can do it over the course of the next few days - good thing we keep the thing up until the end of January or it wouldn't feel worth it this late in the Christmas game!  I plan on getting all the dry ingredients for the cookies I'm making measured and into ziplocs for easier (and faster!) baking next week.  And, since the Guppies aren't going anywhere today, I want us to all spend time together (once Papa is home) watching Christmas specials and decorating our gingerbread house. 

Hope you all have a nice Saturday!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Getting There....





Yesterday morning I was able to do some damage to my Christmas list!  I am super happy with what I accomplished and how much I paid for everything!

Here's the breakdown:

Oil change:  under $38 after $5 coupon  (I can't find the receipt but I know it as $37 and change)

Kohls:  $103.74
a nice pair of Chaps slippers for Papa
2 sets of stocking stuffers for the Guppies (can't go into too much detail just in case they read this)
1 pair of sleep pants for Papa
3 pieces of clothing for G1

Game XChange:  $42.11
4 PS4 games for Papa!  Total steal!  I am contemplating stashing two away for his birthday in February!

All Pets Club:  $64.59*
*includes ferret food we needed now at $20.23
3 packages of doggie biscuits
1 large "carrot" for the rabbit to gnaw on
1 package of ferret treats
1 "pop n play" small ball tent thing for the ferret (Yeah, I know I'm nuts)

Aldi's: $50.01
4 large gourmet candy bars
1 package kit kats
2 packages of salted caramels
1 large bag of Jasmine rice
12 pack of toilet paper
2 lbs of butter
2 containers of "holiday sprinkles" (each has six different types)
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 large jug of laundry detergent


I didn't get the boots for Guppy 2.  I think we are better off with her coming with me to get them.  It may be one less gift under the tree but at least then I'll know that she likes/will wear them.

If all goes well, and the power stays on!, I will be spending the morning wrapping gifts and tallying what I have and what I still need to get.  I am super hopeful I will be able to be completed and wrapped by mid next week!

Happy Friday!



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trying to Beat the Artic Chill!



Yesterday's rest seemed to help tremendously!  Although not 100%, there is a bit more "pep in my step" this morning!

Which is a great thing considering I am going to try to get some errands done this morning before the artic chill heads into Connecticut later this afternoon!

I'm happy that I dragged a whole bunch of wood into the house yesterday - the only difficult thing I did!  The weathermen are predicting windchill numbers in the negative twenty five degree mark with gusts of wind up to 60 mph!  If our power goes out, I want to be able to get that fire going right away and not have to worry about hauling wood from the yard.

Anyway, back to the errands....

My car needs an oil change before we got to Mystic on Sunday so I will be heading a town over to get it done.  Since I will be in the area, I plan on hitting some nearby stores for Christmas presents...

Game XChange:  new video game for Papa
Kohls:  new slippers for Papa
Famous Footwear:  boots for G2
All Pets Club:  little treats for Miley (the rabbit), Rum (the ferret) and stuff for Daphne's stocking because yes! Our dog has a stocking!  LOL

Also, I want to do a quick run to Aldi's for some pantry items and possible stocking stuffers.  I think I am going to stick to shelf stable supplies though because I am worried that we could lose power with the high winds on the way.

And I have to be back home by twelve-ish because Ramsey is getting dropped off  at some point between 12:15 and  1pm and we need to pick G1 up at school for one.

So yeah, busy busy!

But happy that I am feeling well enough to get stuff accomplished!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Day Book for December 14th



It's 10:30 am and I just got out of bed...
Well, okay not completely true...I did get up at 6 am, got breakfasts/lunches as needed together, and drove the Guppies to school first.  But, by 7:15, I was back in my bed!
Apparently Santa thought it would be nice to give me an early Christmas present.....A LOVELY COLD!

So, Day Book time today!


Out my window...
It's hard to see much out my living room window because our very WIDE Christmas tree takes up most of it - which is just the way we like it!  Anyway, what I can see are some cars going by and the sun shining.  Other than that, not much is happening.

I'm hearing...
The dog enjoying the treat I stuffed in her Kong, the heat kicking on - which reminds me I should order oil at the end of the week, and the Pandora Christmas music I put on to help wake me up/put me in a better mood.

I'm thinking...
Of all the stuff I need to accomplish before Christmas comes!  That this cold better not get much worse!  And, my heart goes out to poor Carla over at My Happy Haven - I read on Facebook that she slipped on some ice and banged herself up!  If you don't follow her already, check out her blog and give the poor (but very talented!) lady some Christmas love!

I'm wearing...
My PJ's still....Pink Santa Claus flannel pants & a gray Winnie the Pooh snowflake sweatshirt.  Stylish I know!  Aren't you all jealous?  =)

I'm feeling...
Exhausted!  But, how is that possible after all the sleep I got?  haha

From the kitchen...
Confession time....Remember how I wrote about "shopping my kitchen" for dinners on my last post?  Well, yesterday Ramsey (aka G1's boyfriend) was coming over and I had no idea what I was going to feed them!  So, I ran over to the store to grab a few choices.  Ironically enough, they decided on frozen pizza?!?! (I call him Ramsey here because he's a very good chef - like Gordon Ramsey) But,  they did me a favor because now I have a very easy (but yummy!) dinner to throw together tonight.

I'm creating...
Nothing today really.  Unless you count the fact that I *may* start wrapping some presents if I have time before I have to pick up the Guppies from school.  And, I guess I'm "creating" a master Christmas list of all the presents I need to still get and Christmas Eve & Christmas dinner menus.

I'm thankful for...
Many things right now!  But I guess the top thing on my long list at the moment would be how well Guppy 2 is responding to her therapist!  Yesterday she had her first session "alone" and came out in a good mood.  She even told me that her throat hurt from talking so much!  And, if you knew G2, you would know what a tremendously big deal it is that she talked THAT much!

I'm looking forward to...
Mystic's Lantern Light Tours this Sunday!  Even though they are calling for rain, I'm sure we are going to have a really great time!  Papa & I are happy with the people the Guppies invited (Ramsey for G1 and G2's BFF) so it's sure to be fun!  Neither of them have gone before so it will be a treat to watch the tour unfold through their eyes.  (This is Papa & my 20th year going.)

I'm reading...
Nothing right now!  I am in a reading slump!  Nothing is really catching my attention but I think that's more a by-product of the season than anything else.  I'm sure I will be back to my normal reading frenzy come January - especially since I may have asked hinted to Papa that there is a new Wally Lamb book out at Target for 30% off.
This reading slump also means I won't (most likely) be finishing my reading challenge.  But, I am happy with what I did accomplish on it and that's for another post.


And....
I guess that's it for now.  My stuffed up brain doesn't seem to want to function!  So, I guess I'm off to shower and try to be productive (at least a little bit).

Have a nice Wednesday all!



Monday, December 12, 2016

Frugal Things.....


I really wanted to put a picture up of one of our trees but everything kept coming out blurry with my phone's camera.....


Today I am feeling a bit "blah".  Since everyone else seems to be feeling healthy, I am guessing it's a side effect of the medications.  It's not incapacitating, but just enough to be annoying....if that makes any sense!

So, anyway, let's see if I have anything frugal to report!

1.  Lunch today (and probably at least the first few days this week!) is free!  "Ramsey" (G1's boyfriend) made homemade French Onion soup yesterday and sent her home with two large containers of extra!  I LOVE French Onion and it will especially hit the spot today!

2.  We are enjoying the free artificial tree my parents gave us (since they were going to dump it) without any major hiccups.  The middle section of lights will go out if left on for more than eight hours (Papa thinks it's a fuse and easily fixable) but we don't usually leave it on for that long a stretch so it's all good.  Papa can take a look at it after the season is over because I would definitely like to use it for as many years forward as possible.

3.  I used $60 worth of free Amazon gift cards (courtesy of MCR, Fidelity rewards points, & my mom cashing in some rewards points on her CC) to buy a gift for each guppy.  I would write down what I bought but I can't guarantee they won't read my blog.  So, it stays a secret for now!  I will say that G2's gift was half price on Amazon compared to Target so big time score there!

4.  I'm staying out of the grocery stores (partially thanks to the Costco trip provided by my parents) and "shopping" my kitchen to make dinners.

5.  We have been trying to enjoy the "free" entertainment of the season....Staying home watching Christmas movies, enjoying our tree lights, going to Hubbard Park to drive through their free (and beautiful) lighting display, etc.  Also we will be building (with or without the guppies is still to be determined) the free gingerbread house kit my parents gifted us.

6.  I recharged my Kindle to see what I have on there to read - there is a LOT to choose from!  It keeps me out of the bookstore and away from the library since I tend to accrue overdue fees because I "forget" due dates during the Christmas season.

7.  Made three Christmas cards for a Bloggy Christmas Card Exchange using only the materials I had at home!  Scrapbook stuff getting put to good use!

8.  Listening to the radio and/or Pandora Christmas stations instead of buying a bunch of new CDs...We did make two planned purchases on Ebay for replacement Christmas CDs but that's all we budgeted.

9.  I have been wearing my glasses more often when  just staying around the house.  I wear disposable daily contact lenses so any day I can "save" a pair by wearing my glasses extends my year supply!

10.  While working on goals/plans for 2017, I am using notebooks/materials I have at home already rather than doing an expensive Staples run.  Bookstores and office supply stores have always been my downfall.


And, I think that is it right now!

How about you? 


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Simple Sunday....




I'm going to attempt to take it a little bit easy today because starting mid week next week through Christmas is going to be crazy busy - but I love it that way to be honest!

Papa drove Guppy 1 to her boyfriend's house to hang out for a bit before the snow comes in tonight.  He is then off to visit his brother in the nursing/rehab facility since it's out that way (and he visits him on Sundays anyway). 

Guppy 2 is having one of her close friends over this afternoon.  She's been friends with this girl since kindergarten so I feel no pressure to run around making sure everything is spic and span perfect.

As for me, I am going to take some time this afternoon to do the following:

Laundry (of course)
Make homemade granola
Work on my calendars and to do lists for the upcoming week
Make three Christmas cards for a Christmas card exchange I signed up for....Hi Anne!  =)
Listen to Christmas music
Do some reading


Even tonight's dinner is going to be easy....Tacos with the fixings.


Enjoy your Sunday!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Weekly Recap of Dinners



Sunday
Just Papa and me for dinner and neither of us were very hungry. 
So....
Nachos
it was!

Monday
It was supposed to be tree decorating night but, circumstances dictated otherwise. 
Anyway....


Buttermilk Pancakes
Diner style home fries
Bacon
remained on the menu and was enjoyed by everyone at least.

Tuesday
Guppy 1 was at her boyfriend's house afterschool and stayed for dinner.  So that left Papa, me, and my poor Guppy 2 -life has been throwing her some lemons at the moment.
Guppy 2 asked for Friday's To Go so I obliged.

Papa and I had
Homemade Quiche with odds and ends of lingering veggies in the fridge.


Wednesday
Second attempt at decorating the tree was a success!  Quick dinner was in order so we could get to hanging ornaments....

Bacon Grilled Cheese
Chips
or
a mixture of two half bags of fries and tater tots


Thursday
Just G2, Papa, & me home for dinner.  I let G2 decide what was for dinner from a few choices.  She picked:

Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers
Sweet Potato Fries


Friday
All of us home on a Friday night has become a very rare occurrence!

Ribeye Steak
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Yams
Roasted Brussel Sprouts


Saturday
Both Guppies home for dinner again - although G2 will be off to a friend's house for awhile after dinner.  We had some straggler pantry/fridge ingredients left from Thanksgiving (I'm looking at you bag of cranberries!) so we used that for inspiration....

Chicken Breasts with Cranberries
Sweet Corn Bread Pudding (actually just a fancy stuffing)
Roasted Carrots & Parsnips with Thyme & Honey
Ciabatta Rolls
and
I am also making a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese as a back up in case the Guppies aren't fond of the chicken!  LOL


And, that was our week in dinners!

Anything yummy make it to your dinner table?

Farmers Market Finds



Brrrrr!

It was really cold at the farmers market this morning!  We got in and out very quickly since there were less vendors and customers today! 

Here's what we bought for ten bucks!

1 bottle whole milk
1 bottle heavy cream
1 pint lemon yogurt
1 pint cherry yogurt


It was a LOT less than it should have been because we had five bottle returns to offset the price this week.


The market continues throughout the winter but moves to an indoor location.  There were signs up today that will start on January 14th.  So, next Saturday we will head down for our last trip until the new year.  I want to make sure we have eggnog, milk, and heavy cream for Christmas so we will stock up which will translate into more $$$ since we will have more bottle deposits.  No matter since it all evens out eventually.


Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Focusing on the Happy & A Costco Trip




Sorry for a being slightly melancholy yesterday.  Things look a little brighter already for Guppy 2 which in turn makes me happy.  She responded well to going up to guidance at school yesterday and even participated in a mini meditation group (which she loved).  And, I cannot say it enough, thank God for the good friends she has!  I love them all, seriously.


So, onto focusing on the happy right?

I was able to squeeze us in for our annual trip to Mystic Seaport for their Lantern Light Tour.  They really filled up quickly this year!  The Lantern Light Tour is an interactive play where groups of people are ushered through the seaport's village by "townspeople" going about their business on a typical late 1800's  Christmas Eve.  You are brought from place to place - examples of which are the tavern, a ship, a family home, the meeting house - and a story unfolds through the interaction of your townsperson and the villagers at the places you visit.  Each year is different and this year's story has been inspired by The Nutcracker. 
Instead of the usual four of us going, we are bringing two more people this year - G1's boyfriend "T" whom I will from now on call "Ramsey" as in Gordon Ramsey because he loves to cook and G2's BFF.   We are going on Sunday the 18th and are really looking forward to it.

Today is my first big shopping trip of the season!  My parents are meeting me at the mall in Milford where we can hopefully knock out a lot of the shopping!  The Guppies are at an age where my parents never know what to get and always want to get things for them to unwrap along with the money and gift cards they give the girls each year.  Plus we are hoping to get G1's birthday presents done since her birthday is the first week of January.  I am going to try my best not to get stressed by the crowds and just enjoy the scenery.  Let's hope it works!  Haha!


This last thing is less happy and more thankful...

I feel so fortunate to have such good health insurance!  When I had called our medical insurance to ask about deductibles/copays for G2's therapy sessions, I got a very pleasant surprise!  No deductible, unlimited visits, and only a $30 copay!  Just to help put this into perspective, when G1 was in therapy for her eating disorder and depression, we had a $400 deductible which renewed every year and had a 20% copay.  While G2's isn't free, it is much more manageable.  So that's a load off of my mind!




Also with my parents.....

They were heading off to Costco yesterday and wanted me to join them.  Of course I said yes!  While they kept encouraging me to throw more stuff in my cart, I tried to keep the damage to a minimum! LOL  This list is going to probably seem a little bizarre but I was attempting to round out my pantry items and get a few treats too.

1 (2 32 oz pack) of Organic Chicken Noodle Soup
1 (6 pack) crème brule
1 48 oz tub of Philadelphia cream cheese
4 lbs of butter
1 7 lb bag of brown sugar
4 boxes of Ziploc freezer bags
1 flat (24 bottles) diet Snapple
1 flat (35 cans) Diet Coke
1 flat (35 bottles) Gatorade
2 pack of Skippy
1 large jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil
1 5lb bag of onions
1 (5 pack) of Clorox Wipes (Mom wanted one of the five containers)
6 lbs of ground beef
4 large ribeye steaks
1 large bag of mini Ciabatta rolls
2 packages of bagels
1 flat (12 count) croissants
1 package (8 count) apple strudel
1 4 lb bag of Toll House chocolate chips

All of which I am very thankful for!
It will help stretch our money even further for this season!

And on that note, I'm off to get ready to get my shopping on!  And, I already put quite a few discounts/coupons in my purse so I am really ready to go!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hoping To Salvage The Season.....





Remember how I said on Monday we were going to decorate the Christmas trees and I was going to enjoy every minute of it?

Yeah, well tree trimming definitely didn't happen that night.

Papa and I spent the night watching over Guppy 2.....

Guppy 2 has been having some difficulty over the past two months.  She told me several weeks ago that she was having some trouble concentrating.  We have noticed she has been moodier than usual but chalked it up to her being a fourteen year old high school freshman.  Her grades slightly slipped - nothing below a C but still unusual for her.  Papa and I had decided that if the concentration issue continued past the first of the year, we would contact the pediatrician to check into ADHD or something similar.
Whelp, everything came to a head Monday night when Guppy 2's boyfriend broke up with her VIA TEXT even though he had been at our house for the afternoon and showed ZERO signs of wanting to break up.
To make matters worse, Papa got a text from G2's now ex asking him to watch over her because she had told her best friend she wanted to hurt herself.  (If you are wondering why he was the one to text Papa, it was because for some weird reason he was the only one who had Papa's cell number and G2 was using my cell since hers is currently broken.)
I immediately went to talk to G2 and she admitted that she did tell the BFF that and she thinks she has been depressed for awhile....
Like since right around the time we noticed the change in her.
And then everything finally clicked in my head and I earned the "Worst Mom of the Century" award.
I kicked Papa out of our bedroom and had G2 sleep with me Monday night.
Bright and early on Tuesday, I called the pediatrician and yesterday G2 went to be evaluated for depression and started therapy.
G2 responded well to the therapist - which is a nice hurdle to have jumped - and said that the feelings of self harm were just a reaction to the breakup.  However, she said the depression was definitely there prior to Monday night.  She is going to have weekly sessions with the therapist so they can see if what's going on with her can be worked through without medication first.
Also, I emailed G2's guidance counselor at school (who thankfully is the same one as G1's) and told her what was happening.  The guidance counselor called G2 up yesterday morning, introduced her to the social worker, and the two of them showed her around the office - they have a very cool room where stressed/depressed kids can go hang out to regroup during the day - and came up with a check in plan for G2 during school hours.
Last evening, G2 seemed a bit more like herself - I think she felt some relief in being able to talk to K (the therapist) and the guidance counselor and social worker at school.  She told me that "Mrs. S" (the school social worker) gives the best hugs.  I think she feels good having a plan in place to help her overcome this.
And, I think having a tremendously supporting group of friends doesn't hurt either.
While not how I planned on spending December, I guess I should be thankful in a way to her ex because if he hadn't broken up with her we still wouldn't have put the pieces together.
My heart still hurts for her though.  For all of it.  Not just the first boyfriend breakup but for the depression too.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling.  I do have a point in all of this....

We aren't rich and have limited resources in both money and time.  BUT, I plan on using those resources to the fullest for the month by planning as many wonderful experiences for us as I can.  And, yes, I will probably over do the present aspect of the season as well - even though I KNOW that things aren't what makes people happiest.
I will try to find bargains and discounts where I can.  I will try to save as much as humanly possible at the grocery store.  I will cut out anything and everything that has to do with just me and Papa.

But, my focus has changed.  Right or wrong.  I plan on making sure this season is as bright as I can for my family.

With that, I'm off to shower, walk the dog, and get some errands accomplished.



P.S.  In case you are wondering, the trees did get decorated last evening.  G2 felt up to it and the four of us had a really great couple of hours listening to Christmas music, trimming the trees, and just being together.





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

$10 Amazon Gift Card from MCR



Just a quick post to say that right now My Coke Rewards has $10 Amazon gift cards for only 170 points!

This is a STEAL compared to what the $10 gift cards usually are so grab one while you can!

P.S.  They only allow one offer per account.  =(

First Insurance Hiccup




I haven't had a single bad word to say about our new insurance through Papa's employer.  Most of what we have encountered over the past five months has been what we anticipated or was even less!

Well, we had our first little bump in the road....

Guppy 1 went to the doctor last Friday evening and was diagnosed with her first ever yeast infection.  The doctor prescribed an oral medication and an anti-itch topical cream.  Sounds easy peasy right?

Not so fast....

I went to pick them up over the weekend and was NOT happy....

The oral (more important) medication rang up at $1.18.
The generic topical cream rang up at over $81!!!

SAY WHAT?

The pharmacy tech was at  a complete loss.  He said that this particular medication has been generic for over twenty five years and he couldn't understand why insurance wouldn't pay for it.

Yeah, me neither.

Needless to say, I walked out with only the oral. If Guppy 1 becomes uncomfortable, I will (with the guidance of my nurse mom) pick up an appropriate OTC topical for far less.

Should I have questioned our insurance company about this?  Absolutely! But, I will be the first to admit that I just didn't have the energy to argue with them about it.  Especially since Guppy 1's symptoms were mild, she caught it in the earliest stage, and her symptoms were already abating by Monday morning (which would have been my first chance to call the insurance company anyway to dispute the cost).



Monday, December 5, 2016

Getting Wrapped Up in Christmas Stuff!


Hi!  Still alive here!

I've just been busy with the beginnings of the season.

Saturday morning we went to our my favorite tree farm to harvest our own Christmas tree.  (Papa thinks they are overpriced at the "$69 cut your own any size" price but I love this place and have been going there for almost three decades!)  It wasn't as cold at the farm as we expected and we were able to find a tree in less than an hour!  We are very particular about our trees...Let's just say we like them extremely wide!  After the tree was all secure on the roof we made our way over to a favorite pizza place in the area which was a super treat since we only go there maybe twice a year - tree day being one!

Saturday night, Papa & I ended up with some unexpected time on our hands since both Guppies were out and about.  We had about two and a half hours to kill - so we could be back to pick up G2 and her boyfriend from the movies - so we ended up at Toys R Us and the Westfarms Mall.  Why Toys R Us when our daughters are 14 and almost 18?  Papa's very large department at work decided to not do the usual "coworker gift giving' thing and adopted a family for the holidays instead!  We absolutely love this idea!  The two women in charge of it all not only found a family in the city where Papa works but went as far as to make a very organized list of gifts for the family.  Originally we were slated to buy clothing too but, there have been so many monetary donations, we were told to focus on the toys and "fun stuff" and the organizers would just buy all the clothing needs with the cash.
I had wanted to stay within a $50 to $60 dollar budget and, all in all, I think we did pretty well.
Our little six year old boy loves all things Spider-Man and Marvel comics so, at Toys R Us, we bought:
Some Spider-Man action tower thingy - can you tell I don't have boys?  lol
Marvel 5 Minute Bedtime Stories book
I almost fell over when the cashier rang me out at a little under $44!  The tower thing was priced at $49.99 alone!  But, somehow, it was 30% off so go us!
We still had a good chunk of time and I could tell that Papa wasn't completely satisfied with our purchase so I suggested we run across the street to the mall and see if we could find anything else.  Papa found a Hulk action figure that he really wanted to get for the little boy as well but it was priced at $18. Well, I grabbed it from Papa and bought it.  I went over my budget by a little over $2 but it was well worth it.  Very very rarely will Papa ever ask to do anything like this and we are really fortunate to have what we do. 
We don't know the whole story but six years old is way too young not to have joy and happiness on Christmas!
After the mall, since we still had a little time to kill, we went to the Dunkin Donuts next to the movie theatre for some hot chocolate and to hang out and talk.  It was a nice way to end the day!

Yesterday started off with us heading to my parents' house to pick up their old artificial tree.  We have really wanted a tree for our family room but didn't want to spend the $$$.  My parents had gotten a new artificial last year because my mom said the old tree wasn't lighting correctly anymore. They hadn't thrown it out yet and asked if we wanted it.  I figured, worst case scenario, I would have to take the time to unwind the existing lights and buy new ones....Way less expensive than buying a new artificial tree.  Plus this one was already still put together!  I'm not going to lie, we did get quite a few stares as we drove home in Papa's convertible with the top down and the six foot tree sticking up in the back seat!  Haha!  Bonus for us....We found the loose wire, fixed it, and the tree is good as new and lights perfectly!
Again, the Guppies were out doing their own thing, so we tackled a few things here....
Papa started putting up the outside lights and our antique (50 years old!) sleigh and reindeer in the yard.
I brought up boxes of Christmas stuff from the basement and worked on a TON of laundry!

Tonight after dinner, we will be decorating both Christmas trees.  It's slightly bittersweet because I have no idea where Guppy 1's "gap year" will take her so I don't know if she will be here to help with the tree decorating next year.  I plan on enjoying every moment with my family tonight.  I can't believe how quickly time passes!  It's a cliché thing to say but so very true!

Hope everyone is well!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dinner This Week



Sunday
I planned on a traditional Sunday dinner but neither Guppy was home.  So I just cut my roast in half to freeze for another day and cooked the following for Papa & me:

Roast Pork
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Garlic (last of the Thanksgiving stragglers)


Monday
Monday night everyone was home and we had an extra - G2's BFF.

Roasted Eye Round
Mashed Potatoes (again!)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
 Corn


Tuesday
Just three of us Tuesday night (Papa, G2, & me) and I wanted to make something "cozy" since it was so rainy outside.

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
French Baguette with Butter


Wednesday
We were going to all be home on this (another) rainy night so I took the opportunity to pull some more meat out of the freezer in preparation for my Christmas baking!

Beef Tenderloins
Au Gratin Potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (G2 can't live without these I swear!)
Roasted Broccoli


Thursday
Half day of school equals three extra kids in our house!  Rather than attempting to cook, a drive through order at:
McDonald's
was in order.

For Papa and I:
Roast Beef, Onion & Cheese Sandwich melts


Friday
Papa and I went to his company Christmas party and ate there.

G1 had sushi that I bought earlier in the day for her dinner.
G2 had Panera chicken soup bought earlier in the day and heated up at dinner time.


Saturday
Today we went and cut down our Christmas tree and, as per tradition, we went to the awesome pizza place we always go to after tree hunting!  Our big lunch was:

Bacon Pizza
Buffalo Chicken Pizza

We dropped G1 at her boyfriend's house where she will have dinner.  G2's plans are still up in the air.  However,  no one is feeling like having a big meal tonight.  So, if anyone gets hungry, I will probably just make some:
Grilled cheese
and call it a day!  ;-)

Hope you all are having a great Saturday....

Now I'm off to help Papa get the tree in the stand!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ebay Lessons & Update....

(AKA How NOT to sell something on Ebay)



I am finding that actually selling things on Ebay should come with a learning curve...

Or, sadly, maybe it is just me!  LOL

As I mentioned (a little over two weeks ago I think), I was putting the snazzy brand new breast pump I bought for our niece's shower on Ebay since it wasn't wanted.....

Guppy 1 helped me "stage" my item better after a week went by without even a "watcher". So, the lesson learned here is place your item on a dark or light solid background with lots of lighting.  Oh and make sure you take more than one picture.

Then, for the second week, I lowered my initial auction price and "buy it now" price.   Lo and behold I have many views and quite a few "watchers".  Lesson learned here is to be a bit flexible in the amount you are asking...especially if you just are sick of looking at the damn thing!  haha

On the last day of the second week of having the item up, I got a nibble!  And, decided I was done and took the offer.  Lesson learned is that I probably should have held out and seen if I got any more nibbles/bites in week number three.  But, see the above paragraph and my desire to be done with it.

Here's where it got super hairy though....

Ebay holds onto your money for TWENTY ONE DAYS!  Yup, it's a safeguard when you first start selling.  They say they don't do that after you have established a history with them.  Okay good to know.  They went on to say that there are ways to free that money up quicker....like by buying your shipping through either Ebay or PayPal.  Okay, I'm game....
Ummmmm...
Yeah.....
I won't be doing that again.
You see, the day that you print the label they say you shipped the item!  So, when I printed it at 5pm on Wednesday night and there wasn't any way I was going to the post office until this morning....well it didn't take that into account.
Also not taken into account is your packing material.  The dimensions they used were for the ACTUAL item and that is it!
They were off in their price estimate by over TEN DOLLARS!  As in, I OWED TEN MORE!
Thankfully, my post office people are very nice and no one was behind me.  The two clerks were talking to me about how this seems to be happening a LOT lately!  Just yesterday a lady came into the post office grumbling because TWELVE of her Ebay packages were returned to her for insufficient postage!  Glad I decided to be proactive and double check before I sent it on its merry way.  Lesson learned here is that I will take my packages to the post office and do it myself.  No more prepaid labels thank you very much. 

.  I came home and went to send the buyer the new tracking number.  I sent him the label number instead.  I look like an idiot I know.  It was so embarrassing to have to send the second "oops" email with the correct information.  Last lesson learned is to double, triple, even quadruple check everything!

Yup, I'm gonna need a HUGE learning curve here!

Have a good night!