Sunday, December 30, 2012

Who needs a budget?

Well apparently we do...Bleh.
We aren't completely broke, we have some in our savings, but that is money we really don't want to have to touch, so for the time being we are really cutting back.
I was able to keep Christmas costs under $300 for 6 kids and 10 adults because of my contest winnings and that really helped.  But winter just costs more.  Higher gas bills to heat the house, higher electricity costs.

When Rob is cutting back on lunch during the work week then it must be serious. I did win a ten dollar gift card to Mcdonald's which I gave to him and that will give him lunch for a day or two.
So I'm on a use up what food we have in the house kick.  I had leftover celery and baby carrots.  I cut those up and along with some onion. I added those along with chicken flavoring cubes, some noodles and a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed and cooked up.  And then I have homemade chicken noodle soup.  Plus it made quite a lot so I froze some of it to heat up another day.  I had to buy nothing for it and it probably cost around $5 and I will get a couple meals out of it.
I don't really make home-cooked meals.  I've mentioned it before, but generally probably 85% of what I make comes right out of a box or can.  A meal might look like a box of mac and cheese, a can of carrots and a can of fruit cocktail.  Part of it is laziness and part of is the fact that Rob doesn't like leftovers so I don't make meals that will have leftovers often.  I freeze them when possible and it is nice to be able to reheat it in the crockpot.

Extra Money
So my next move is to try to sell some stuff online or through consignment and hopefully that will bring in a little big of extra money.  
We don't go out to eat often (a few times a month), we don't have cable (just netflix), & Rob has a 3 year old iphone while my phone doesn't even have internet access on it.  We have basic internet and that's it.  I shop at Aldi's and generally only buy things on sale.
I also use swagbucks (I do get some sort of credit if you sign up through this link  Just a few minutes a day and I average a $5 amazon gift card every other month. I use zoom panel (a survey site) to earn amazon gift cards also to use as gifts.
The last thing I do is use save up.  I have been using this for almost a year.  I won an ipad3 in May.  I legitimately won and I use the thing daily.  The premise of the site is link your accounts (savings and loans) and when you save money or pay off loans you earn credits which you can use to play for prizes.  I have never had anything suspicious happen with any of my accounts for people who may wonder.  I hit the top ten  for weekly average this week.  I am in the mid 300's overall, but I don't know how many people use the site.   I recommend it.

My spending/saving plan.
I'm going to write what I spend to be held accountable here

Day 1 December 30
$20 Church tithe.

Help me
I need really cheap meal ideas, free date ideas and other ways to earn money.

Thanks for all the help.  I very much appreciate it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012's last Friday update

1) Rob started a new job this week.  He is working for my sister's father in law.  I really hope he sticks with this one. The constant switching of job's is stressful.  I want him to be happy; it's just the switching and unknown that comes with it s not something I want to do for a while.  He just switched job's in April.
Perks to this job include insurance and I'm excited about this.  Group insurance tends to be cheaper and have better coverage. Private insurance stinks.  Instead of working 8-6 everyday he works 8-5 except Wednesdays and he will work until 7 that day.  It was so nice last night to have had dinner, gone to the gas station and the grocery store and be back home by 7 (and he had worked a little late).  Usually it's close to 7 before we even eat dinner.  And finally it's super close to where I work.  He could stop over at lunch if he wanted to.
But the family I work for is moving at the end of January or early February.  They are moving 5 minutes away.  So while it's only a 15-20 minute commute and I don't generally have traffic, I am totally okay with 5 minutes.  I plan on bringing the kids over in the summer and spending time here.
I will however need to do some baby proofing.  Our house isn't to bad though but I will need a baby gate for the steps.

2) Speaking of baby proofing I nearly had a heart attack at work.  I laid Troy down in his crib for a nap.  He generally cries for a few minutes and falls asleep.  I had just been talking to his mom today about how mobile he was getting and how he is pulling himself up somewhat.  I kind of had that in the back of my mind when I laid him down, but his parents hadn't said anything and he had never tried that in the crib and I honestly thought he would just cry and fall asleep.  I walked back downstairs and was down maybe a minute.  I took a drink of water and heard a thud, and knew he had fallen out of his crib.  I ran up there as fast as I could with the water still in my mouth scared of what I would find.  He was crawling toward the door crying.  I picked him up and he calmed down, but I was scared he had a head injury.   I gave it a moment and he was acting like himself, but I called him mom and of course she didn't answer.  Had he been lethargic or sleepy or having other serious signs I would have called again and called 911, but once he calmed down he was totally himself.

3) I  often win contests and I have discovered great products and companies that way. However I realize that while you are giving something away that doesn't mean you should treat me any differently.  For example I won a costum made diaper.  I picked my pattern and emailed the blogger back.  After months and several emails I got 2 diapers which was nice, but neither was what I requested.  I will never actually give that company money.
One the flip side there are companies that I have won products from and had those products within days and been impressed with.  I would actually spend my money on them.

4) The last cycle was a bust as I thought.  I'm on cycle 6 now.  I am trying more stuff this cycle.  I won this stuff called Bona Dea and I'm going to try that.  I also bought POM juice but that is expensive stuff so I bought cheap pomegranate juice blend and are going to mix them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Unwind Update

I love the holidays, but I'm glad that they are over.  There is just to much to do and to many places to be.  It's to stressful.

Christmas #1 was on the 23rd with Rob's dad, sister, her husband and the kids.  We decided last year that we were going to celebrate on the 23rd every year and we would alternate between her house and ours and this year was our year to host it.
The night before Rob decided he really wanted to make it festive and fun for our nephew Trav (who is 2 1/2).  (This was one of those 'aww I can't wait to make him a dad' moments. :) ) So he started pulling out all the decorations we hadn't bothered to put up.  He hung these little felt trees from the ceiling and I made some snowflakes and he hung those up.
Rob wanted to give one to Trav and Libby, but they were already in the car and he had forgotten to have Traverse pick out one, so grabbed two down and handed them to Lisa (his sister) and when she got in the car she gave Trav his snowflake and he said 'but mom I'm sad Libby didn't get one' and she told him that she had one for Libby too.  How sweet is that?  He had it hung up over his bed that night so he could look at it.

My family has this tradition of passing this ornament back and forth.  It's called the ugly ornament. My dad and his sisters have passed it back and forth and now it's on my generation.  You know I like to enter contests.  So on Christmas eve I got this package.  I noticed before opening it that it was from the area I live in.  I opened it and the letter explaining I had won this sweepstakes.  I didn't remember entering it or winning it and a big win like that I'm sure I would have.  However I did get a gift card in the mail once I didn't remember winning so I thought maybe it was legit.  I pulled back the tissue paper and saw the ornament.  I started laughing and was like 'oh man my cousin got me good'

Christmas #2  (Christmas eve) was with Rob's mom, his sister and her family again, and his grandparents.  Then after eating and presents his great aunt (grandpa's sister) who lives next door came over with 2 of her kids and their kids and we had dessert and played a few minute to win it games that my sister in law put together.  One involved boxes with jingle bells of different sizes in them.  One box had 5, the next 10, and all they way up to 35 (in increments of 5), so 7 boxes total.  I only got the first 2 right.  Yikes!  I think the winner had 5 right.   It was a fun time.  His grandparents left for Florida on Christmas day so we wanted to hang out with them for longer.  We ended up skipping my mom's extended family.  I know I had mentioned probably doing it anyway, and it was fine, but it is the one time of the year I do get to see most of them, so it was a little bit of  a bummer.

Christmas #3 was Christmas morning with my parents.  We went over there and exchanged gifts with my parents, sister, brother in law, brother and my niece.  It was a fun time.  My parents spoil us.  They probably spent $150 on each kid.  I spent $25 on each parent.

Then Rob and I came back home and exchanged gifts.  We only did a few small gifts because we are saving for couches.  So I got him a shirt, a new coffee/tea mug and a candy bar.  He went a little over our set budget and got me a gift card to the gas station (he's a practical one), a new bra, a pair of underwear (those surprised me), some candy, a few lotto tickets (I think they all lost), and a zip up sweatshirt.

After that we went to my aunt's house for the final Christmas   This was the side of the family that does the ornament.  We did a white elephant (I brought an old college textbook and ended up with a 2 1/2 men jersey   I do not like that show).  Then we did a good gift exchange.  My sister brought something for me to exchange (a letter opener that was re-gifted to her and she was re-gifted again), but I ended up with a $10 gift card to Meijer and a bag of candy.  I offered the gift to Ali since she brought my gift to play, but she didn't care.
We did decide that next year we would not do that get together on Christmas.  It's going to be weird because it has ALWAYS been on Christmas day.  The time has changed but the day hasn't.  So that will be different, but now that my generation has kids they all say it's too much.  And it really is.  It's stressful running everywhere so that will be nice to just do immediate family and then be able to relax.

It was not a white Christmas here.  There was a little snow on the ground but it was patchy.  Other parts of the state had plenty though.  It is kicking in tonight though.  Lots of snow outside.

I started to take down my decorations today.  I usually leave them up until after the new year, but I just want them down now.  I don't know what it is.  I guess I want my living room back. :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas wherever you were and whatever you were doing!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Update

1) I first wrote in this post about the no poo thing.  It's been just over a month and its been going well.  I wash my hair 2-3 times a week, normally twice, and while it does start to look greasy I can get away with a ponytail and its fine.  I do use dry shampoo if it is looking really bad. When I do shower I just wash it with water and only water.
2) I am currently 13dpo and I know this cycle is going to end with a period and not a positive test and it sucks.  I'd have loved to wrap a test up and give it to Rob as an early Christmas gift.  I also think this is going to be a wretched period. I've had cramps for the last week and I have had a backache and other pms symptoms.
3) I got my cloth pads yesterday.  I know that it's tmi and most of y'all don't care, but I was excited to get them.  Yes, I am lame. Haha.  I got them from etsy and they were not cheap.  I spent more on 6 pads than I do on pads for close to a year.
4) I'm getting stressed out about Christmas.  We have plans on the 23rd, 24th and 25th and I just want to be able to relax.  This year I have been so unprepared.  I usually have my gifts done by early December and I'm not.  I just have one more gift card to get.  I also am trying to do it really cheaply.  Thanks to my contests winnings, I was able to get gifts for 6 kids and 10 adults for under $300.  Go me!
5) I think I am skipping my mom's extended family Christmas.  I may not have been able to make it anyway because we had plans before that, but I just don't want to deal with the questions of when we are going to have kids.  With Ali being pregnant and a cousin of mine due a month before her it's just going to be to much I think. I'm sure I'm being whiny and dramatic, but Thanksgiving was tough (opposite side of the family) and this will probably wind up worse.  I know I'm being selfish, and I know it will get easy but I just want to hold off for now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting game

I hate it, as I'm sure everyone ttc does.  Waiting for my period or a positive test.  At this point I think I'm waiting on my period.  I was really optimistic when this cycle started, even before I ovulated.  Then we had great timing (o-2, o-1,o and o+1).
 I had a negative test yesterday and today.  I know it's still early (11dpo; I'd be 3weeks 4 days if I was pregnant), but I've just had those period on the way signs.  Sore boobs, cramps, backache, headache etc...
I ordered some cloth pads last week. Yes I know some think this is gross, Rob does, but I've been wanting to try they for a while.  So while I would really love to not have to use them, I am okay with it, because I am kind of excited about trying them.  I am fully aware of how lame this makes me sound.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Breaks my heart

The shootings yesterday, that is.  I had to stay off of the internet for a while because every single story and facebook post was about it.  I understand it and it's horrible.  I just couldn't handle it anymore. 
From the first mass shooting I remember (Columbine High School) they seem to constantly be there.  They happen in schools, malls, places of worship, movie theaters.  And no where seems to be safe anymore.
Every one is horrible, but this one is so much more so, and it's because little kids were targeted.  I work with kids and I see how innocent they are.  I can't even fathom the fear they felt and how they were probably crying out for their mom's and dad's.  That's horrible.
Addie was having a tough time at nap yesterday and Troy was sick and teething and so fussy, but I couldn't get mad at them.  They aren't my kids, but I love them and couldn't imagine someone hurting them. 
So yes, I understand God is God and he allowed it to happen.  It's just hard to understand why. 
Why parents have to not have their children and while tragic any time of the year, so close to the holidays is going to make it worse and every year it's going to be a reminder of the tragedy when it should be a joyful time.
Life sucks. People suck.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Five 12/7

*I had this all typed out and even though I am sure it was saved it's gone.  So I'm going to shorten it this time around. Annoying*
1) I am going to have a nephew in April.  My sister found out this week that it's a boy.  They are naming him Gabriel Stanton and calling him Gabe. I'm so excited to have 2 nieces and 2 nephews.
2) This got us talking about baby names and I think we have decided on them.  It's honestly not a big deal, because I'm not even pregnant and our minds may change, but Rob brought it up the other day.  I've thrown names out and have a few boy and girl names that I like but nothing that I was set on.  However Rob did tell me he is okay with my top choice for each gender.
3) I had a positive opk yesterday on cd 15 (I also had one today), which is the earliest I've ever had one so hopefully I will ovulate sometime over the weekend. The worst part of each cycle is the waiting to ovulate.  Once it's happened and confirmed it's already 3 days past.  I start testing at 9 or 10 days, so it's really only a week I have to wait.
4) I made enchiladas this week for the first time.  The were really easy.  I'm not a big fan on Mexican food, but I think I will make them again.
5) I've had a cold most of the week, which has made it difficult to do anything on my days off.  I feel like I really need to be productive because I don't work as much and need to make up for it around the house.  But I couldn't really do much other than sit around and rest.
6) I can't believe I haven't paid attention to this before, but Rob get's so proud of himself when he makes me laugh.  He just get's this look on his face and it melts my heart and makes me love him even more.  I don't really know how to explain it.
~This is probably inappropriate and I shouldn't find it funny, but I did.  I laughed. A lot.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Short & Sweet

I'm going to get my rainbow baby.  I have to believe in that.  I've been through some storms and I am learning to dance in the rain. Yes I know that sounds cliche but it's true.  I may not always feel this positive, and I'm still going to have my down days, but I'm working on it.   :)