I'm adding Trader Joe's to my grocery store rotation. It's a favorite of DIL, and I have tried it in the past but found it a little bewildering. But I know I just have to learn their stock and where to find things.
I have to say, it is a happy place to shop! All the shoppers polite and friendly, and the staff very helpful. I spent $25 on 10 items this morning: bread, coffee, biscuits, crescent rolls, cream cheese, butter, eggs, mushrooms, raspberries. I also bought one of their reusable shopping bags because I really like the size, shape, and durability. (And the style!)
With three 10-item shopping trips I am basically done. Now I will only get necessities as they crop up.
I have charged $500 on my AAA credit card and so have reached the amount needed to earn the $100 bonus. Now I want to switch to my Barnes & Nobles MasterCard. But I am having a devil of a time getting it activated. I thought it was done weeks ago, but I kept getting emails to activate it. This morning I got online and saw that all my info is there, but there is a hypertext to activate. (Perhaps I didn't get through the whole process before.) Anyway, I tried and tried to finish it up, but I kept getting an error message. I called customer service, and they said they were in the middle of an upgrade and to try a few hours later. I did that, but same thing. I'm going to call again tomorrow after I am sure that their upgrade is done.
I think it was Petunia who recommended AutoSlash for car rental deals. I did fill out their form and got estimates today, but they are all higher than what I paid last week! I wonder if cheapo places like EZ Care Rental are not included in their search. AutoSlash will continue to send new deals, and I have plenty of time, but I am definitely shooting for under $200!
It was also suggested that when I travel in June, I look for a shuttle to the airport rather than parking there. Here is the problem: the airport I am using is about 3 hours away from my home! There is an option to shuttle from a town about an hour away from the airport, but with my BFF out of town, I don't have an option for free parking at her place. I believe the airport's weekly parking rate was $72 last time I checked, so that isn't as bad as it is at some of the major airports.
If you're wondering why I would book a flight at such a distant airport, it is because Allegiant Airlines, which has very cheap flights to Florida, does not use big airports like the Chicago hubs. It has worked out well in the past to fly out of Indianapolis and to have the bonus of a visit with BFF, free parking, and a ride to the airport. But BFF will be traveling this time, so that plan isn't going to work.
The Dutch apple pie I made yesterday is awesome! Very high in calories, though, so I am going to try to give some of it away, even though I would like to eat it all!
Baseball game tonight. I'm back in the swing of things!
Archive for May, 2017
I'm adding Trader Joe's to my grocery store rotation. It's a favorite of DIL, and I have tried it in the past but found it a little bewildering. But I know I just have to learn their stock and where to find things.
After a week away from home, I needed to get some groceries. I hit both Aldi and Food4Less, getting 10 items at each place. Aldi: walnuts, salad, carrots, chicken, margarine, almond milk, apple pie filling, flour, syrup, vinegar. ($29) Food4Less: strawberries, blueberries, frozen peas, frozen green beans, roast beef, tortillas, sherbet, mini-bagels, tuna, salsa. ($18)
I bought the roast beef for French Dip sandwiches -- already have the buns -- and I got the apple pie filling because it was on clearance and I have a pie crust in the freezer to use up. I'm hoping I have enough crust to make a lattice top. If not, I'll do a crumb crust. If the pie turns out, I will share with the kids and C.
Variables are at 8% and include a $2 donation and $1.50 for laundry.
I called the courthouse this morning and got the jury duty summons postponed for three months. Yay! They were very nice about it, too. Now I need to start planning the June trip in earnest. BFF will not be available to take me to the airport, so I may just drive all the way to Indy and park the car at the airport. And I have to reserve a rental car in Florida. This time, I will be sure to use a company that is on-site at the airport.
Nothing on my schedule today, so I'm going to just enjoy getting things back in order and reading.
Almost forgot! I also went to PetSmart and used a 30% off coupon to get more kitty litter. That was $8.
I'm back from my week-long vacation in Florida. It was more work than vacation, though. Caring for two children under five and a DIL on crutches is quite a challenge. My son was there every morning and evening, of course, and was an amazing helper, but still -- it was very tiring.
It was also rather expensive, costing $341 above the cost of the airfare, which I paid last month. I spent $27 on gas, $86 on eating out (mostly takeout and road food), $17 on groceries, $15 for a movie, and $197 on the rental car. (Ended up keeping it for the whole week.) I also bought diapers for $25.
My fiscal month ended on the 23rd, so here is the monthly recap:
Utilities : $157
Fees/Services: $103 (license plate)
Vet/Pet Supplies: $98
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $81 (dishes)
Clothing: $78 (shoes)
Eating Out: $50
Entertainment: $15 (book)
Household Supplies: $3
Grand Total: $1995
Variables came in at 95%.
The monthly vacation cost is a blend of the earlier girlfriends' weekend and some of the Florida expenses. A chunk of the Florida trip's cost will go into next month's recap.
Now, you may remember that I promised to go back in June, when my son is at a conference and my DIL will be alone. The airfare is already booked and my son paid for it. Well, I come home today and find in my mailbox a jury summons -- FOR THE DAY AFTER I AM SUPPOSED TO FLY DOWN THERE! I haven't told my son yet. It is a standby summons, so it is possible I won't have to go, but I won't know until the night before, when I can call in. I'm trying to get my head around it, but it seems to me that I will have to cancel the trip and ask my son to try to find other help.
Has anyone ever had any luck getting excused? I can't call until tomorrow, because today is a holiday, but I looked at the website, and it sure doesn't look like they are very understanding.
Oh, and if there wasn't already enough bad news, I learned while I was on my trip that my boss at the museum was either fired or forced out. I have no idea if I will EVER be called back to work, seeing as she was the one who brought me on board. My gut feeling is that I will be cut loose. We'll see.
I stopped at Food4Less yesterday on my way home from the gym -- bought fresh fruit and paper goods for $12. Variables - 84%.
Today I will continue getting ready for my trip. I have my clothing picks set aside. I need to pack a plastic bag of toiletries and stuff everything in my suitcase. Without my cats seeing what I am doing -- otherwise they might protest with their bladders.
I arranged with C to do pet check next Friday - Sunday. My son will do it this Saturday - Thursday.
Tomorrow will be a full day. A walk in the morning with the walking club, then a baseball game, then a drive to Indy. Flying out on Sunday.
I will probably not be posting; I think I will be very busy with grandchildren, as DIL is still on crutches and not very mobile.
Just want to report that I LOVE the L'Oreal Rosy Tone Age Defense moisturizer! I really see a difference in my face! Now, I will admit that the novelty of a new product may be making me more vigilant about my facial care -- but whatever works! So now I will have to be on the lookout for deals, since it is not cheap.
Pay day will occur while I am gone, but all bills are automatic except for credit cards and my mortgage. I'll take care of those when I get home -- plenty of time before due dates.
Today I will do boring stuff like cleaning the fish tank, vacuuming, hit-the-high-spot dusting.
Starting to feel excited -- not dreadful -- about my trip!
In a way, I am dreading my trip to Florida. I hate to be away from home for as long as a week. I would be okay if it weren't for my pets at home. But I worry about them. My son checks in on them every day (and sometimes brings the boys to play with them) but, on the other hand, he is not the animal lover that I am, so I don't think it's a priority with him. This time he is leaving town for the last three days, so I'm going to ask C to check on them. She has offered in the past. Of course, I hate to have to ask her, but perhaps she will like feeling useful.
Anyway, that's why I had a another set of keys cut yesterday ($8).
I also worry about the temperature in the house. I don't have a thermostat to set. At this time of year, comfort is controlled by open windows and fans. I have to leave the house sealed up for safety's sake. I suppose the cats will just sleep a lot if it gets too warm.
Also, for some reason I am nervous about flying this time. (This is something that comes and goes.) If I flew more, I would probably get used to it, but I can't shake the feeling that it is unsafe, and I love to get back on solid ground again.
I am flying Allegiant, which only operates at smaller airports, so I have to drive to Indy to fly. That has the bonus of getting to see BFF, but I have to inconvenience her with parking my car at her house and getting a ride to the airport. (Parking for a whole week at the airport is beyond my budget.) So I worry about that. And of course it adds about six hours of drive time to my trip.
On the other hand, I get to see my son, DIL and grandchildren -- and I haven't seen them since last September! So I must get over these feelings and start looking forward to the treat in store!
I also need to start thinking about what to pack. I'm taking one carry-on bag. I want to pack a couple of outfits for the kids and my DIL's birthday present, which is a necklace and two paperback books. I think I will pack three outfits for myself (capris and t-shirts), one pair of pj's, and one pair of shoes. I'll be doing laundry there, anyway. Minimal toiletries, too.
Variables spending is at 82%. Since the end of this cycle will essentially come when I leave on Saturday, I'm doing well there.
Anyway, that's my rumination about vacation preparation. Thanks for letting me think out loud!
SIL did come down yesterday and she did have a thorough tour of my place. So glad I cleaned up! We went to lunch at a barbecue place and she insisted upon paying. Later on I spent $2 on water for the two of us.
The auction we attended was high-end. Lots of gold jewelry and precious gems. SIL really wanted to see the furniture sell, since she is wanting to learn how to price it, but after several hours they weren't even close to auctioning the furniture. I had to leave for GS1's baseball game. It turned out he couldn't play, because he got his finger closed in a door, so I texted her that I could go back and sit with her. She replied that she was leaving soon anyway.
But despite all that, it was a good day, and it was good to see her.
I not only got a free lunch, but a free dinner, since there were enough leftovers to take home.
Today I'm doing some laundry, and I'm going to get another set of keys cut. My son has an extra set, but I want C to have one, too. She will help with pet care while I am in Florida.
It's finally gotten warm, and I slept with open windows and ceiling fan running last night!
Got my hair cut yesterday ($16 with tip) and mailed my packages ($15). Variables are now 79%.
My SIL is on her way from Michigan and we will get together for lunch today. I'm vacuuming and dusting in case she comes in to see my place, but she may be on such a tight schedule that won't happen. Funny how my place always looks fine to me until someone comes to visit.
I finished 1941 in my mother's diary. On December 8, 1941, she simply wrote, "WAR IS DECLARED!" Of course, she also commented on the Pearl Harbor bombing the day before. At this point, three uncles are in the service. She mentions that my father was "on fire" to join the navy, and even went to talk to a recruiter. This is something I never knew. He did not serve. Perhaps I'll find out why -- but knowing my mom, she might not mention the reason. I always thought it was because he was married with a child, but actually my brother hasn't been born yet.
I'm looking forward to 1942 to see about the changes war brought in their lives.
I watched the second episode of Victorian Slum House yesterday. I believe the third is airing tonight. The incredible struggle of these families makes me appreciate my own circumstances.
I think I'm going to stop posting my daily menu, because I so often deviate from it! Just going to be mindful of what I eat -- get my fruits/veggies, watch the calories, eat enough to be satisfied but not stuffed. And of course be very mindful of using up food that needs to be eaten.
No cooking plans today, as I will go out for lunch, and dinner is an unknown.
I had to reschedule my dentist appointment because my grandson's 4th grade graduation was scheduled at the same day and time. My new appointment is November 27! They said they will call, though, if there are cancellations.
I guess that's it! Time to pull out the vacuum.
Our cake party yesterday was in a lakeside park. It was windy, so we ate fast and took a windy picture and left! Once home, we all played Yahtzee (I won!) and watched one of the kids' shows, Ronia the Robber's Daughter. Good day.
No spending aside from what I reported yesterday.
Today I'm going to get my hair cut and mail my packages, so it will not be an NSD. Variables are at 74%. Only have to make it till Saturday, since vacation activities come out of savings, not variables.
My son bought my airline ticket for June 18. I'm feeling guilty and will offer to pay at least half. I think it turned out to be more than he expected.
My SIL confirmed she is coming to town tomorrow. We will probably have lunch and may spend a few hours together at the auction she is attending, but she won't be staying.
Today's menu: Breakfast - eggs & toast. Lunch - tacos. Dinner - Loaded cornbread, clementines.
Well, so far it's been quite a day. Here is the spending:
$26 - Kitty litter & fish food. I know I said I was set on pet supplies, but I had a $10 coupon for PetSmart that had to be used today. Since I am buying more expensive kitty litter now, I have to take every opportunity to save.
$14 - Mother's day cards.
$10 - Registration fee for walking program. This is something C suggested doing, so I'm all in.
I also reserved a car for my Florida trip, but will not have to pay the $46 till I pick it up.
There may be a second Florida trip brewing. My son has to travel for work on the week of June 19 and my DIL is not recovering quickly from her knee surgery, so she doesn't want to be left alone. My son is offering to buy a ticket so I can come down again that week.
I also may get a visit from my SIL next week; she is growing an auction business and may be visiting an antique warehouse in my area.
This morning my DIL, C and I took a long walk (along with the boys) up and down the lakeshore. It's a beautiful day. Later we will have a little Mother's Day cake party.
Today's menu: Breakfast - just coffee & cream. Lunch - Sausage biscuit, applesauce. Dinner - Tilapia, mashed potatoes, clementines. And there will be cake.
Hope all you mothers out there have a wonderful day!
I was leaving for the gym this morning and realized I had not yet labeled the packages I was planning to mail. So I'll do that on Monday. I don't like to go to the post office on Saturday anyway.
After gym I went to Jewel and got $3 worth of MyMixx stuff; added $3 to my snowflakes. Then stopped at Walgreens and bought the moisturizer I've been wanting - $15. I had a rain check; otherwise it would have been $21.
Then it was time to shower and go to the baseball game. It was a long game, but our team won. My grandson pitched and struck out five batters.
After the game C and I took our other grandson to Subway for lunch (GS1 was going to a birthday party). We split the cost; it was $11 for me. So it's been a good day and it's only half over!
Yesterday was quiet and uneventful. I did one load of laundry and then got inspired to organize my closet a bit more. I've isolated all the clothing that is too snug, but that I can realistically wear with a little gumption. I rolled all the pieces and put them in a plastic bin. I can go down a whole size (or more) and still have a nice wardrobe. I also made some granola.
Breakfast - Odwalla almond milk shake, apple slices
Lunch - Black Forest ham sandwich w/spinach & tomato, chips
Dinner - Omelet, clementines
Went to the gym this morning and then stopped at Food4Less to "buy" quarters. I got there before customer service was quite open, so I chatted with the attendant for a bit. She is one month away from having her first child. It was nice to have a pleasant conversation with a stranger -- something I don't do enough.
I went to my grandson's baseball game last night. It was awfully cold on the bleachers, and my jacket wasn't warm enough. But it was a good game; our team won, and my grandson hit a triple, bringing in three runs.
It was another day of no spending. Today I'm going to box up some books and a jacket I picked up at Goodwill, and send them to my sister and her husband. I'll mail them tomorrow. This is a bit of an expense for me, but I think they appreciate it.
Today's menu: Breakfast - sausage biscuit & applesauce. Lunch - Hamburger & broccoli. Dinner - cheese & crackers, clementines.
I almost forgot I had the $15 gift card from Wal-Mart! I went today after the gym and picked up the items I was worried about running out of -- dishwasher detergent, bread and creamer. I also bought some frozen peppers & onions which I will use in tacos and omelets.
Upon the advice of a friend, I downloaded the Wal-Mart app and scanned my receipt. They will do a price-comparison and refund the money saved in the form of a gift card. (I imagine that would take a while.) I don't shop at Wal-Mart that often, but truthfully, it isn't that far away, and it's brand-new, so nice to shop in. I might do it more -- especially since they bag the groceries in bags I can use for cat pan cleanup. Honestly, it drives me crazy that our "green" ordinance banning plastic bags has got me constantly on the look for something to use for the cat pan. The only thing I can buy are plastic wastebasket liners, which are too big and too heavy. I want those little flimsy bags! They're perfect!
Yesterday I made gingerbread cookies and they were so bad I threw them out. There were problems with the internet recipe -- when I was in the middle of it, I realized that the ingredient list and the instructions didn't match. And it included a teaspoon of "baking," which could have been soda, but which I included as powder. Also I halved the recipe, and I might have messed up. But I think perhaps the worst thing was that the corn syrup was too old. The stuff can last forever, but I think the taste changes. Bottom line, the cookies were too awful to eat. It felt good to throw them away, and I hate to throw food away. Today I'm throwing the corn syrup away.
Tonight the grandsons are both doing activities -- a ball game and a Tae Kwan Do class. I'll have to choose. I think I went with the Tae Kwan Do last time this happened....
I signed up for a luncheon with my professional group next week. It's downtown, but easily accessed by the El. It's an Afro-Portuguese restaurant -- should be interesting! I go to these when I can, even when I'm scrimping, as I am now, because it's a social outlet, and it also keeps me in touch with my field.
My utilities have gone up over the past year, so I adjusted my variables down a bit. Even more of a challenge! I'm at 63% now. Really only have to last till the 21st, because that's when vacation starts, and none of that will come from variables.
Weather's warming up! We may have spring after all!
I'm much better today -- in fact, I got better yesterday afternoon. The cold that I thought was brewing just went away. Weird, but good. Maybe it was just fatigue?
Had a very quiet day yesterday, but went to my grandson's orchestra concert in the evening. He is in the highest level orchestra now, so we have to listen to all the little ones before we get to his performance. Very hard on the ears. But thrilling to see and hear how well he is doing. He may be concertmaster next year -- the youngest ever!
He had apparently had a long day, because his cheeks and ears were glowing with fatigue, and his eyes were glazed. Yet he did not appear to miss a note -- sat on the edge of his seat and sawed away on his violin. I was close enough so that I could hear him individually, and man, has he gotten good! And he obviously takes such responsibility to perform well.
The disappointment of the evening was the behavior of the audience. They were so noisy! Surely at times the performers could not hear themselves! Some of was from the kids who were not playing, but it was adults, too! Thank goodness most of them left after the little ones played. I shake my head at the lack of civility. And I live in a "cultured" suburb.
On the financial front, yesterday was a no-spend day. I actually got a little extra income, in the form of a $6 payment from Pine Cone.
Today's menu: Breakfast - oatmeal. Lunch - tilapia & peas. Dinner - lasagna casserole & broccoli.
Not planning to cook today, but I may make some granola if I have all the ingredients.
And the weather isn't good!
Yesterday I went out once -- to the gym -- and stayed in the rest of the day. I didn't even feel good enough to shower. I just went to the gym this morning, and I think I feel better, though tired. I WILL shower today! As for what my ailment is, I think I am coming down with a cold. Probably a doozy.
Today was free bagel day at Planet Fitness, so at least I got a free breakfast. Lunch today will be leftover lasagna casserole (which I made yesterday) and dinner will be blueberry pancakes and sausage. I will also have fruits/veggies with each meal but haven't decided what yet.
I watched Victorian Slum House on PBS.com yesterday. Wow, it really touched me. So many people lived such hard lives, barely scraping by. My financial problems, such as they are, seem paltry. Really reminded me that I have a good life.
My variables spending is at 62% with two weeks and a day to go. But before pay day comes, I will be leaving for a weeklong trip in Florida with my son's family, so the budget will be skewed by that. Between now and then I will only buy necessities. It shouldn't be too hard. I am well-stocked. It will be interesting to see what I can do without. For instance, I am down to one slice of bread. I don't plan to buy bread, because I have corn muffin mix and crescent rolls, as well as hamburger buns, and those should take care of any carb cravings. I am very low on dishwasher detergent, but I can wash dishes by hand. My creamer will run out soon, but I can use almond milk, or drink my coffee black. What will turn out to be a true necessity? We'll see.
Going to my grandson's orchestra concert tonight. Since I missed the band concert, this is a must-do. Hope I am a little more perky by then.
I got home last night. We had a wonderful time together. We stayed two nights in a charming little house, ate a lot of good food, got facials at a spa, and did some shopping on the town's main street. And the cost, I think, was not too bad. I paid $22 for my share of the gas, $98 for restaurants, $131 for lodging, $48 for the spa, and $71 for the shopping. A grand total of $322. Another small expense, which I'm not counting as a vacation cost, was $16 to replace my phone charger for the car. My old one stopped working, and I really needed it for the navigation.
The only downer was that it rained the whole time and it was cold, so we didn't do the river walk and didn't do the exploring we thought we would do.
My shopping was $56 for dishes at an antique shop, $12 for a necklace, and $3 for a gift. I was delighted to find the dishes in my pattern --Johnson Brothers Willow -- and I bought 4 fruit bowls, 2 cereal bowls and 3 plates. And I even got a discount for paying in cash.
Today I'm very tired, and I'm taking it easy and de-stressing. I just did a $1.50 load of laundry, but that's pretty much my work for the day!
Today's menu: Breakfast - Sausage biscuit, clementine. Lunch - PB&J sandwich. Dinner - Mac & cheese, stewed tomatoes.
I did go to the gym this morning, so I'm getting back in the routine.
We are already planning the next one!
It turned out that my hairdresser was booked all day yesterday -- surprising to me, since I thought Supercuts did not take reservations? I need to investigate that. So I trimmed my bangs myself and I'll get my haircut after I get back from my trip. (Can't do it today, as my hairdresser is off.)
I also couldn't buy the moisturizer I wanted; it was out of stock. So I'll also get that after I return.
I inadvertently saved money, but of course, I will be spending it eventually.
When I was pulling clothes from the closet yesterday to pack, I realized that some of the pants were covered with cat hair in places. Turns out my cat brushes the low-hanging clothing going to her new spot in the closet. She has hung out in the closet for a long time, causing no problem, but now she likes to sit on top of a bin inside the closet, so she brushes the clothing on her way.
I cleaned the pants off, and then I rehung all the others on hangers that support them in the middle instead of the top. So the pants hang doubled over instead of full-length. I have to get more hangers of that type -- I'm using plastic hangers now but need hangers that are less slippery.
Why not just deny the cat? It makes her so happy to hide away in there. I can't do it.
I was so focused on getting ready for my trip, I totally forgot that my grandson had a concert last night. Bad grandma! I got a "where are you?" call just as it was ready to begin. I was already in my pajamas! I was sorry to miss it, but there will be others. No one seems to be upset with me.
So today -- I need to work out, I need to finish packing, I need to pick up the boys after school and watch them for a bit, I need to clean up in general before I leave the house untended for a few days. I will be eating leftovers so I won't have to leave perishables in the fridge. I will take along the rest of the clementines and grape tomatoes for snacking.
I have to be ready when I go to bed, because I have to leave the house at six a.m. Ugh. Not sure what the rush is, since we're driving, but whatever.
I'm sure we'll have a great time!