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Day 4 Grandma Duty

February 21st, 2019 at 07:28 am

Last night we had music lessons. I was planning on making chicken sliders for a quick dinner, but decided instead on hot dogs, which were even faster. We also had fruit.

While I was off duty I stopped at Aldi's and spent $3 on buns and bottled water.

Tonight GS1 is performing at his school -- it is a public performance prior to the solo & ensemble competition which will take place this Saturday. So it will be another night for a quick dinner. I think I'll make tuna melts.

And tomorrow, mom and dad come home! They won't arrive until almost midnight, so it will be a full day, but even though things have been going very well, I think we will all be happy to see them, and get back to normal.

Now, bad money news. I discovered a big crack in my fender yesterday, and I think it will have to replaced. I did scrape a pillar in a parking garage last week, but I thought there was no damage. Maybe I didn't notice the back, since I was focused on the side. Or maybe this happened in a parking lot, or on the street, where parallel parking is a collision course. I don't know. But it's got to be fixed. My guess is it wouldn't be worth going through insurance, though I'm not really up to date on how much a fender costs. I don't want to drive up the cost of my insurance -- it's high enough already.

Day 3 of Grandma Duty

February 20th, 2019 at 06:53 am

I got the boys to school a little late today. I could not get them to move it! Not a good morning. A fresh blanket of snow didn't help matters any. GS1 slipped and fell -- he was okay but concerned for his violin. Then the car had to be cleaned off after being totally clean yesterday.

My nachos dinner last night was pretty funny. I had brought some frozen taco meat from home, and bought a can of nacho sauce ($2). Well, the taco meat turned out to be something else -- I don't know what! Something that's been in the freezer so long I can't remember making it. Perhaps one of those refrigerator-soup experiments.

So I served the nachos without meat. The next challenge was the cheese sauce. I couldn't open the can! They have a can opener, but it's a different type than mine and I couldn't figure it out at all. The boys couldn't either. So I ended up using a bottle opener all the way around and peeling the lid off. Got it done, but what a mess. The nachos were just chips, cheese sauce, salsa and sour cream. The boys didn't seem to mind.

Today we have to go to music lessons after school. We'll get home around six. I'm planning to make a quick meal of chicken sliders with cooked chicken slices and Hawaiian rolls. I'll find something in their fridge to serve with them -- maybe applesauce or yogurt.

My hip hurt terribly last night and I took an extra Celebrex. I slept for about six hours, then woke up at three and suffered some more until it was time to get up at 7:30. I'm really looking forward to getting this fixed.

Day 2 of Grandma Duty

February 19th, 2019 at 09:15 am

Well, I got the boys off to school and now I'm home. It felt good to take a shower in my own place. I'm cooking some chicken now, which I will use tomorrow. The menu for the week keeps changing. Last night GS1 wanted to make pancakes for dinner, so he did, and he did a great job! Tonight I'm going to make nachos, because they have a whole bag of tortilla chips to be used up. I will supply the taco meat and salsa -- they have cheese and sour cream. I think I will pick up a can of nacho sauce when I go to the gym today.

Tomorrow I will use the chicken for chicken sliders. We'll be coming home from music lessons and so will need a quick-to-prepare meal.

DIL called last night and shared the news that GS1 made the baseball travel team, and so they will be traveling to Cooperstown this summer for a tournament. I have said that I will go, but now I need to be realistic and bow out. I'm not going to be able to afford that. Any traveling I do must be to Florida to visit my son's family there, whom I have not seen in more than a year now. And I will probably do that in September, when I my income will rise.

I spent $3 this morning on donuts. It is apparently an expectation to get donuts on the way to school if time permits. They had already eaten oatmeal -- oh well. Maybe tomorrow I won't rush them so much!

I have two more hours at home and then I'll go to the gym (and store) and from there pick up the boys. And I'll be back on duty again till tomorrow morning. I slept better last night, and I hope that continues.

DS and DIL will return on Friday, after we have all gone to bed. I'm enjoying my time with boys, but I will also be glad to rest and relax!

On Grandma Duty

February 18th, 2019 at 07:28 am

I slept at DS' house last night (not so well) and today is the first day of boy-watching. All going well so far. We had breakfast burritos, and there is a ton of leftover pizza for lunch. I may just do most of the meal prep here, as their fridge is loaded. I threw out 3 zucchini this morning, and there are bananas going bad. I'll make banana bread, but I'll probably do that at home while they're in school. No school today.

It's snowing like crazy! The only thing on tap for today is Tae Kwan Do, but I'm going to check to make sure it's not cancelled.

Feeding the Boys

February 17th, 2019 at 07:52 am

Here is all the food I have on hand. I have to feed myself and two boys for five nights, dinners only. I don't want to buy anything, but I can augment from the food store at my son's house.


Bread crumbs
Hawaiian rolls
1 bun
Chicken breasts
Cooked ground beef
Sausage biscuits
Beef taco filling
Green Beans
Mixed Berry Smoothie
Ice Cream


BBQ Sauce
Horseradish Sauce
Soy Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce
Taco Sauce
Dijon Mustard
Yellow Mustard
Sweet Relish
Kosher Spears
Dill Hamburger Chips
Sweet Gherkins
Poppyseed Dressing
Ranch Dressing
Blueberry Jam
Minced Garlic
Chocolate Syrup
Crescent Rolls
Beef & Chicken Soup Base
2 tortillas
Almond Milk
Cheese Spread
Stewed Apples


Baking Supplies (Powder, Soda, Salt, Cornstarch)
Brown Sugar
Powdered Sugar
Old-fashioned Oatmeal
Powdered Milk
Egg Noodles
Chow Mein Noodles
Red Lobster Roll Mix
Canola Oil
Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar
White Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Maple Syrup
Peanut Butter
Butter Spray
Lemonade Mix
Girl Scout Cookies

I am planning on making a chicken pot pie, making the sauce from a white sauce and using peas, carrots and green beans (as well as chicken of course!) in the filling -- biscuits on top.

I will use the ground beef to make Sloppy Joe sliders, using up the BBQ sauce. I will grind up some carrots for crunch and use the Hawaiian rolls as buns.

I will make tuna melts from the tuna, crescent rolls and mayo, using some cheese from DS' house.

I feel like I could do something with the taco filling, though I only have about a cup and half. I'm wondering if I mixed it with salsa and taco sauce, to make it wetter, and combine it with the penne or the egg noodles to make kind of a Mexican pasta dish -- would that taste good or weird?

Does anything else jump out at you?

No-Spend Day

February 17th, 2019 at 06:17 am

Yesterday was a no-spend day, other than running a load of laundry. Iggy threw up on his quilt, so I washed it along with towels, bathmat, etc.

Oh yes, I did spend .98 at a restaurant, which was the amount over the reimbursement I will get for the meal.

I went over to DS' to get the rundown on what to do this coming week. I now have a detailed daily schedule. I'm going to go over this evening to spend the night. Tomorrow is President's Day, so I'll just stay there with the boys all day. The rest of the week, I will go home while they are in school, so I can do my laundry, cook meals, feed the pets, etc. It will be tiring, but I think it will also be fun.

My girl scout cookies came yesterday! Yum!


February 16th, 2019 at 06:16 am

DS gave me $40 yesterday to get the boys' hair cut. The actual cost with tip was $32.50. I applied the balance to lunch afterwards at one of their favorite places, a mom-and-pop frozen yogurt shop that also serves lunch. The lunch was $18 out of pocket, because, of course, we all got dessert.

Today I need to get to the gym, and I have a mystery shop to do -- free lunch.

I struck a deal with DS that he will stock the house with breakfast food and pay for hot lunches at school. I will provide dinners, which I will make at home, but may use some stuff from their fridge/freezer. I do not plan to ask for reimbursements for anything I happen to buy, because I think I am mostly well-stocked.

I'll get an activities calendar from him today. He leaves some time on Sunday.

I'm feeling a little unsettled about the murder spree in Aurora. Aurora is not particularly close to me, but I know some people who work there at the university, and it hits home. It's just so depressing that this keeps happening over and over and it seems like we can do nothing about it.


February 15th, 2019 at 08:10 am

I'll be taking the boys to get their haircuts later today, but DS will pay. I was planning to watch them all day, but DS' work appointment was cancelled.

It turns out Monday is a school holiday, so I'll have them all day. And for the rest of the week, I'll be with them all night and after school. I'll come home while they're in school to get things done, including making our supper.

I'm going to go through the fridge & freezer today and make some plans for dinners next week. I know I have a bag of chicken breasts and a pound of cooked ground beef; I'm thinking I can do a lot with that if I have the right ingredients. I have a can of tuna, too, but I'm not sure if the boys will eat tuna salad.

I found a Starbuck's gift card yesterday, but when I looked it up, it wasn't worth anything. So someone probably just dropped it on the street, rather than bothering to throw it away. Darn! Smile

BFF is asking me to come visit the first weekend in March. It will be a nice respite after a week of childcare!

This and That

February 14th, 2019 at 04:37 am

This morning I paid $5 for medical professional services not covered by insurance. Probably lab work. Last night I bought the boys dinner at McDonalds for $7. Variables are at 67%.

I talked a little with DS about the cost of feeding the boys next week, while he and DIL are vacationing in Mexico. He proposed working up a grocery list and buying supplies himself. I've been thinking about it, and I think it will work best if I just give him receipts at the end and get reimbursed. I will feed them dinner at my house and I'll use some of my food. But I'll feed them breakfast at their house (I'll sleep over). I'm pretty sure I'll just take them out for dinner on music lesson day, as I'll be tied up all afternoon.

And we have to talk about lunch. I think GS1 buys lunch and GS2 takes a lunch, but I'll have to find out for sure. Anyway, I think it's all going to be quite fluid, and getting reimbursed will be the easiest way to be accurate.

DS is leaving Sunday night and the two of them will be back on Friday, so it's really only five days.

Today it's just a pickup day, but tomorrow the boys are out of school, and DS has to work, so I'll have them from around 9 to 4. So I'll push back my gym day to Saturday. I have a mystery shop on Saturday, too.

My socks are wearing out like crazy! I wanted to wait till gap year is over to get some new ones, but I got a coupon for Buy 3/Get 4th Free at a local outdoor outfitter. So after pay day I will probably take advantage of that.

New underwear is also needed, but I can wait on that.

Oh, update on the belt -- I found one at home that will work. Even though it's a little short, it does buckle. Free is even better than Goodwill.

Haircut and Valentines

February 13th, 2019 at 06:23 am

It was a bit of a spendy day yesterday. I got my $16 haircut and I spent $21 on valentine cards and candy. I also slipped two ten dollar bills into the valentines that went to Florida, and I'll do the same for the boys here.

I need a belt, and I went to Goodwill to see if they had one. There were belts, but none long enough. I guess I'll look on Amazon.

Variables are at 64% with two weeks to go.

On the frugal side, I got a free breakfast at Planet Fitness, and I used my leftovers from the free dinner the other night to make a stirfry that was pretty great! I used my Instant Pot to make rice. I had three cups of rice, which made six cups, so I've got a lot of rice in the freezer. Now I'm figuring out that I should have frozen it in smaller packages for ease of use, but, oh well.

Today I'm picking the boys up after school and taking them to music lessons. I have the morning free, and I'm going to read like crazy so I can return a library book on time!

Weather-wise, we had another big drop in temperature. Yesterday was slushy, so I hope my car isn't frozen in place. I'm pretty tired of winter.

Maintenance Visit, and Musing on Surgery

February 12th, 2019 at 06:12 am

I made it to the dealer right on time, and the appointment took about an hour and a half. I knew it wouldn't be a bargain, but I did not expect that it would be $228.

It was not just an oil change, of course, but a maintenance visit. They inspected and cleaned the brakes, tightened the tie rods, checked the steering box and boots, brake lines, hoses and ABS system, topped off fluid levels, checked exhaust system and fuel lines, and rotated tires.

In addition, they found I needed to replace the cabin air filter, which I approved.

They gave me a couple of discounts which amounted to $24.

I also got an inspection which showed that, with the exception of the cabin filter, my interior/exterior, battery, engine, undercarriage and tires were all good.

This was the first full inspection I've gotten since I bought the car, so I feel pretty good about getting it done, and coming in with good marks.

I can't cash-flow that amount this month, so it will come out of the EF.

In other news, we got hit with another ice storm, but once again it looks like my particular area fared pretty well. I have power, and we got a little bit of snow rather than ice.

I'm due for a haircut, and I will try to get that done today. I also need to pick up some valentines for the grandkids.

About halfway into gap year (which is actually a little more than a year) -- and everything is going well so far. The surgery in April, of course, will be a blip on the budget, but it has to be done. One never looks forward to surgery, but I am looking forward to getting rid of the pain! My biggest expenses will be the hospital stay ($300 a day) and the physical therapy ($45 a pop). I am hoping I will have only one day in the hospital. As for the physical therapy, my experience has been that I won't be billed until the end, and by then I should be very close to being done with gap year.

Early Rising

February 11th, 2019 at 04:54 am

I made my oil change appointment for 8 am. What was I thinking? I'm not used to getting up early any more. Add to that, I was so worried about whether I would get up on time, that I did not sleep well at all.

Snow was falling yesterday, so I'm going to have to clean off my car before I go. Hope it's just snow, and not snow with a layer of ice underneath.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I mostly read and watched Netflix. It was really relaxing. I did do one load of laundry.

Car Stuff, Etc.

February 10th, 2019 at 06:48 am

Last night I met DS and grandsons at a restaurant for dinner, and as I was driving I noticed that the oil life percentage displayed on my dashboard slipped from 10 to 5. I panicked a bit and decided I would go to Jiffy Lube when it opened this morning. But after looking up Honda maintenance codes online this morning, I realized that the 5 only means it is time to get it done, but not past time. I also have a B1 code showing, which means tire rotation and oil filter replacement. I decided I will wait till Monday and take it to the Honda dealer and get established with them as a customer. I made an appointment online for 8 am.

My dinner last night did not cost me anything; I was treated. AND, I brought home enough leftovers for a full meal today.

I filled up the tank yesterday for $16. It was only down about 60-70%, but I do not like to let the gas get low in winter, especially a cold and unpredictable winter like this one.

So today I'm just going to take it easy at home.

DIL left for Mexico yesterday, so I am on call to help with the boys if DS needs it. Not very likely, since he is a great dad -- I will probably just do the usual pickup after school. The following week, when he goes to Mexico to join DIL for a little vacation, will be the challenging one for me. I'm going to essentially move in with the boys. I expect I will be very tired after that week is done!

Plans and Taxes

February 9th, 2019 at 06:26 am

Except for walking across the street to babysit, I stayed inside all day yesterday. Today it is a bit warmer, but still cold. I plan to get out anyway and hit the gym and get some gas. I also need to get an oil change, but I'm not going to try it on a Saturday, so that will be deferred till Monday.

You tax experts out there -- I realized yesterday that I forgot to claim some income. I closed my old Sharebuilder account last summer, and just yesterday I got notification that my 1099 was ready. I really, truly forgot about this. The income is about $171. My federal and state income are already filed and I already got my federal refund. What do I do? I looked at the TaxAct site (which I used for filing), and it recommended waiting till all refunds are made before filing an amendment. But is an amendment necessary for this amount? My income is very low and I don't think this small amount will actually affect my tax bracket. Anyway, I want to do the right thing.