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Archive for June, 2006

It's Official......I'm retired!

June 30th, 2006 at 05:59 pm

Wow, after a long afternoon, my last placement has moved out. His mother was an hour & a half late to pick him up, and naturally that left me seeing sewing customers with my guy here. (not as easy as it may sound)

Finally squeezed all his most important things into her little tiny car and off they drove. What a huge relief.

First thing on the agenda this evening was a shower. After loading that car, it was definately necessary, plus, showering is something I've had to do almost by appointment the last 15 years or so. All of my kids were in line of sight supervision when they were awake, so showering just didn't fit with that plan. It was absolute heaven not to have to fit it in a 30 second time frame~~

Passed along reams of paperwork too, which took a huge work load along with it. I won't miss working with Social Security one bit.

I can't wait to notice all the little things that I get to incorporate back into my life.........lots of things that I probably don't even notice any longer. One thing I can see just from sitting here at my desk, which is truly in what should be a dining room........is I have nothing...I mean nothing sitting around. When all the kids throw things, there really isn't anything here to pick up. A few pieces of furniture, but our house always looks like the people in it have not quite moved in yet. It does make cleaning easy, but it will be nice to bring a few of my things out of hiding and have them around me!!!

Such simple things are going to float my boat. Smile

We Lowered Another Bill

June 30th, 2006 at 03:20 pm

I got the official notice in the mail today.........It says "your account indicates that there has been a change in your energy consumption." Well, I should only hope so! Smile

We've been trying every trick in the book, including all those mentioned on blogs here, and were just waiting for some sort of tangible reward. TA DA. Started at $150 monthly and they have refigured us at $105. monthly, beginning in Aug.

Of course, the next leap would be to get it below $100..... that number has already become the new challenge. What's $5.00 less anyway??

Not the electric bill, but the gas bill should finally be a zero.....as I bit the bullet and figured out how to turn off the pilot light to the fireplace by myself. I have no idea why that was such a hard task, perhaps because it was just very unfamiliar to me? I was more excited than necessary on this little task!! I have no idea how to re light this, so we should be saving money here!

Still working on the cable and the cell phone bills as well as moms phone & long distance service, so there is still more money to be 'found' in the budget here.



Anticipation

June 30th, 2006 at 09:05 am

I'm down to counting the hours until I can officially declare Retirement! At least from Job #1. I won't be lounging on the beach in Mexico or anything even close, but I won't be caring for special needs kiddos on a full time basis as of 3PM today!!!!

I'm so excited I'm giddy. I have mental lists, written lists, a TO DO list on my Google sidebar here............all things I haven't been able to do with the houseful of kids. And, lucky for me a couple of them MAKE money, so I can do things I love and get paid too!

I think my main focus is going to be walking! I have been so jealous of the other blog entries about walking & exercising! I used to do that on a daily basis too, with the kids. But, the last 4 years, no way. So, tomorrow morning (and maybe even this evening if it's not 80 degrees) I'm heading out for my first solo walk in 4 years!!!

And, this walking addition does relate to money, at least for me. I've grown fat & lazy...........and I've got closets full of clothes that don't fit. I've got a new job that I'm going to need clothes for.... and I'm way too cheap to go buy things. So, I'll re do myself to fit the available clothes, all for no money spent.
(I might need a new pair of walking shoes right off the bat, haven't tried mine on for ages!)

The wardrobe, plus the obvious health benefits (& potential medical savings) make this a very frugal plan for me.

Other items on my list include being able to play the piano again, have people over to the house, attend church, skip a meal if I want, have some flexibility to the days, traveling. As I said........the anticipation is just making me a giddy fool today!

A Look at Special Ed Here

June 29th, 2006 at 09:10 pm

I had occasion to drive a long ways (for me at least) today, with my autistic kiddo. During the time, we went past his most recent high school as well as the old school, which he attended for the previous 3 years.

Conversation isn't really conversation with him, but he actually TOLD me something and I had a huge moment of comprehension. (which, considering the traffic both ways, and his constant little self was amazing all by itself)

He started asking me if I liked shopping. I told him I hated shopping. He said "me too". I knew all this, we had done this conversation a thousand times.......but the connection here was the old school. They insisted on taking the special ed kids shopping at least once a week, in addition to going out to eat once a week with a window shopping trip thrown in. (lunch budget was a suggested $15.00 per kiddo)

The new school, which my kiddo absolutely loved, didn't push shopping. In fact, neither of us can remember any shopping trips, or lunch outs this past year.

I think the pieces are fitting together, as to why this guy liked the new school. There were no mandatory mall excursions!!

And, I was perplexed as to how the old school district put so much emphasis on shopping as entertainment and an activity.
What in the world were they teaching these kids? I protested as much as I could during the years I was in that district, we didn't do the $15.00 per person lunches by any means..... This latest kiddo just stayed home on the mall/lunch days as he hated them so badly.

Even tho I don't have a positive impression of this years school & how they ran their program, I now have something I think they were doing right.

The kids got to participate in activities this past year that truly don't have to cost anything (or could be really cheap), like simple woodwork projects, all sorts of arts & crafts activities and cooking all the time!

It was interesting to have this AH HA moment brought to me by the autistic wonder boy..... which proves, he really was my teacher these past 4 years.

_____________________________________

On another front here..........the first speaking event went off without a hitch. I love it. The driving and the traffic were the negatives, but getting up in front of people again was great. And, I'm getting paid for it, can't beat that!

And, the other front......The Amazing Blazer is now finished and covered with sequins (hand sewn mind you) and the bill is just waiting for her to come by after she gets off work in 30 min.
Got paid for another alterations job this afternoon, in addition to the dog watching which I was really doing as a favor, but got a nice little payment!
And, there is one more order to be picked up tomorrow afternoon.........still to be started, truth be known. Getting up early to get this out of the way.

I feel like I'm an understudy in the circus, trying to learn how to twirl all those plates on sticks!!!! Going to read some entries here til my customer comes, then head straight for bed!

More Than Busy Today

June 29th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Since I started my 2 part time jobs before my full time job was over........naturally, there would be some overlap. Well, call today Overlap Thursday!!

I've still got my full time kiddo, (until just before dinner tomorrow, which is a bummer since the state only pays for the day if they sleep here)
Then, tonight is the pick up appointment for the blazer (which isn't decorated with sequins yet) from part time job #1
And, just to top it all off....today is an opportunity to view someone else handling one of the meetings I will be in charge of with Part Time Job #2.

Plus, since I'm heading to the meeting (with the autistic kiddo) and I'll be just a stones throw from the "mommy" to the dog I've been caring for........we're taking the dog with us too.

Dash back home after the meeting, get dinner for the kiddo one last time (already done & in the fridge) and then off to the sewing room for hours of hand sewing sequins on this jacket. I knew I was cutting the timing close when I took this job on, but the money looked too good to pass up. She will pay me tonight, but said already........I'm not supposed to cash the check til after she gets paid on Sat. (Please let me never be in a situation where I need to ask someone to hold my check!!!)

I have learned some things........or remembered some things, not sure which. Too old to know the differenct these days!
I need to remind customers I can't create something wonderful unless they bring me wonderful materials. The things for this job are all from Wal Mart; I had no idea they even sold fabric. Poor quality, the wrong zipper, missing notions, and the wrong type of sequins. Even doing my best is going to look peculiar due to all the corners the customer cut prior to coming to me. Not sure how to explain this to future customers.....mulling possible ideas over in my head.

I need to remind customers to bring all their own supplies & notions......I'm not going to carry all the stuff here, most definately not enough room.

And, I still need to work on the space here at the house. I'm not satisfied with the changing area, nor the mirror situation. Actually, there isn't anything good about the space yet. My sewing room is fine, but I usually don't have people changing in there.........need to do some drastic re arranging of the house to make this work well.

Thinking of Wild Blue Yonder (Fern) today.......as are many of us here. Hoping her surgeon is playing the requested selections during surgery!! Smile
Praying for a successful surgery as well as a restful recovery period!!

Free Gifts

June 28th, 2006 at 07:59 am

Like many of the rest of you..........the mail delivery has certainly perked up since joining this site. I have made it a point to participate in the free offers everyone so generously shares. At least 2 a day was my beginning deal with myself, then I increased it to a couple a day for my mom too........and now I can skim through the list and do all the offers I would actually use.

I was pleased this week to receive a coffee grinder as a gift from a private roasting company. My mom had just said hers was on it's last legs, and since her birthday is in July..........well....here you go. A gift, with all the trimmings and almost no cost at all. I've been saving a couple of the free coffee samples (have them tossed in the freezer), so I can include beans with the grinder as well as a like new "Mom" coffee mug I had picked up at the thrift store. The gift is now getting very fancy looking. Hmmmm, how about sticking in a couple chocolate samples?? Just the ticket. A basket and some colored celophane, a big bow and I've got something very nice to share.



I actually have more to give as a gift this year without spending.......than I normally would have done WITH spending. Go figure. I have been potting up some of the freecycle plants I had received, in pots I have received and will give those to mom too .... (potting double, as mom has a twin!)

I'm thankful our family has never been one to 'rate' gifts or calculate costs and need to compete through presents. We are more likely to "give points" for creativity and LACK of costs, which makes giving and getting gifts in our family tons of fun.

Consequently, most of us are on the prowl year round for ideas that will be Just Perfect for someone. Keep your eyes open, get those free offers headed your way and you can cut the cost of gift giving to almost nothing. Plus, the WOW factor of your gifts will go way up and you will turn what might be considered an obligation into a fun activity!

Too, Too Hot Here

June 27th, 2006 at 10:09 pm

OK, enough with this weather mix up. Obviously, Washington has got someone elses' weather this week, maybe Texas or Arizona? And, all our rain is falling back east. What happened??

I have become quite productive after dark and almost before dawn. Sprinklers on, laundry hung, cooking happening when most people should be sleeping here. But, that is the only way life is going to continue on without a hitch here, as we keep going with this over 80, over 90 degree weather.

And, to top it off, my little sidebar here from Google, that has the weather for our little town listed.............says that today was 100 here. (down to a balmy 86 right now at 10PM) What sort of trial is this??

I was getting very good at all my frugal habits, keeping things done ahead of time, running things, turning things off.....all those little things we have all added to our days work. Then, with our heatwave, I am doing NOTHING during the day here! We're getting out of whack.

At least the heat isn't costing me anything. We don't have A/C, and we have our own well, so we're not charged for our water (extra showers to stay cool, sprinklers for the gardens, etc) it would really make me miffed if this was uncomfortable AND was costing me $$.

Thankfully, our house is staying cool. A pleasant surprise since this is our first summer here. A couple tips I remember from my dad..........he would take the hose to the roof in the evening, to cool the dark roof off before we all went to bed; helped a bit, we could see the thermometer drop. Also, setting the sprinkler outside for a bit, near open windows with the fans in them..........gave a very nice cool sensation inside. Just hearing the water helped too.

I've pulled out a small interior fountain one of the kids made me a few years ago. Filled with water, the sound inside when it is this hot really does sound soothing.
I'm down to using any possible trick here!!

Ready to trade back with whoever has Seattles rain!!! I'm WAY done with the hot weather already!

It's Not "Doing Without"

June 27th, 2006 at 09:47 am

I've been pondering a few posts & comments over the last month or so and been doing some thinking about Doing Without.

Many seem to think being frugal just means to skip things, cut spending to the bone and not really having a life.

I, on the other hand........think that being frugal and vigilantly watching my spending allows me to have the life I choose; both in the present and in the future.

Spending my money where I get the most bang for my buck is my theory, and this is probably not going to be the same as anyone else........anywhere. I have made decisions in my life early on, to do things that make me happy.......and happy is such a lame word here. Contentment is closer for me.

Making the decisions has become old hat, easy even. I can know in an instant (usually) if something is a need or a want and if something is going to provide me with an increased contentment factor or just be something I need to off load later. Just because I know myself and can do this......doesn't mean I'm ready to drop my 24 hour rule however. I still take at least an overnight to let a purchase or expenditure sit and settle in even if I 'knew' the answer.

The whole process makes my life smoother and truly simple. Saving money means having money and having money means I'm able to direct it where I want. (even tho, lately I've had less than I'm used to)

So, "Doing Without"......I don't think so.

I just don't think of my decisions as to what I'm missing out on, but what I'm gaining. My life, just like I "want" it.

Credit Card Accountability

June 26th, 2006 at 08:04 pm

I've been paying on the 2 CC's from the closing the business/icky sister situation now since Jan. and I can see some progress.

I started out with a tad over $10,000 and todays total is $8,472. Just paying the amount due on both, as they are both in zero int. accounts now. (until Mar next year) I don't use either account, so there will be no new charges on them. (grateful I have never been one to charge things if I didn't have the cash)

The 3rd account has been paid off and left open, so I can continue using it for the monthly regular charges and occasional online purchases. It is paid off each month at this point.

Just before there is interest charged on the first 2, I'll pay them off with money from savings and truly call that chapter of my life closed.

Overboard!!

June 25th, 2006 at 07:19 pm

I just got a call from my autistic kiddo (who is with his bio mom today) and he was beyond communicating with. Mom took the phone & told me the raft they were in (river rafting down the Wenatchee River here in WA state) tipped over, all the people were in the river, everyone was rescued, mom lost her glasses, my kiddo lost his lunch....but they were safe, aide crews on the scene.

I'm glad I didn't schedule this event, it was moms idea.
I'm glad I wasn't along (no matter how good a swimmer you are, in a river situation, I'm not sure it makes a hill of beans of difference)
I'm glad I was here to answer the phone

I know Mom is going to have a hard time getting this kid to go on any sort of trip for years and years now.

I know I won't hear about anything else until Friday of this week when he moves. This episode will be in his continuous loop for a loooong time.

This whole thing makes me think of a piece I saw on TV this AM. About booking all of kids time (especially in the summer). This is the case with this little guy & his mom. I'm the opposite. We just sort of hang out here.......learning stuff from the things we do on a regular basis here.

His weekend started with taking the train from my place to Seattle to meet mom. Then, they went sailing on Puget sound with a handicapped sailing group she thinks my guy needs to be part of. Went out to dinner. Stayed all night at boyfriends place.
Got up at the crack of dawn, drove to Eastern WA & took the river rafting trip.
Tonight they are driving to meet a friend (fortunately this is the #1 person in my kiddos life). Staying in hotel.
Tomorrow, driving back to Western WA, renting moving truck & ocming here to move everything to Seattle.
It exhausts me to type this. I feel so sorry for him. I did get to talk with him and if he didn't sound so pathetic & sick, it would have been cute. I can't imagine how scared he was, he said he hoped he would 'feel better' tomorrow.

I've promised him some down time this week when he comes back on Tuesday. Cartoons, his videos, feet up as he calls relaxing time!

I'm all for some memorable times during the summers......but not quite like this week!! Everyone remember to just let kids BE. Even being bored is a good thing sometimes; it leads to people learning how to independantly entertain themselves...a novel concept these days.

Too Hot for Anything!

June 25th, 2006 at 12:26 pm

For a native Washingtonian, this heatwave we're having in the Pacific NW is just nuts.
My desktop weather thingy from Google, says it is 75 here, but my outdoor thermometer (which is in the shade) says it is 85 already. And, it's just now noon.

I watered the gardens at 6AM and will get them again this evening. Beyond that, I'm laying low, doing as close to nothing as I can. Only one kiddo here today and he's the super easy one. He is wanting to do some "work", but I can't send him outside in this, he would melt. So, cartoons for him and a book for me!

I've got another little bitty income source as of today too. I've been emailing a gentleman about RV parking here now for about a month and today he made it out here to pay his first months rent. What a cutie. He's tailor made for us. A tad on the slow side, or some sort of injury, but he will work out fine here. So, adding another $50.00 a month to the pot............for doing absolutely nothing but sharing space.

No money spent today, will use up leftovers for dinner. Found money hidden from mom when I did her hair yesterday. I'm also dog sitting her best friends little dog...too cute! Makes me almost want another dog. Both dogs are so wrapped up in each other neither of them is eating.

I'm getting glimmers of what life is going to be like next month, without the autistic wonder boy here. Very easy & uncomplicated. I can go places or have people over to the house without fearing a meltdown. Can't wait to start up some of the things I've had to drop since he moved in 4 1/2 years ago.....

Off to brew more iced tea........wishing I had some fresh mint! (one more thing to remember to stick in the garden one of these days!)

Glorious Light at the End of the Tunnel

June 24th, 2006 at 03:33 pm

Yes, there is an end to my foster parenting. I now have the schedule for the week....not a good schedule but I have something to work with.

Monday, he will be back with helpers & a moving truck..........need to have him almost packed. He will leave with the truck Monday night.... Returning by bus on Tues and staying with me til Friday night. I'm holding back a cars worth of his stuff, so he will be comfortable here during the week......... this is a kid that has to save all the bread tabs, pop tabs, bottle caps, empty water bottles.....and surround himself with them. So, I'm not looking forward to a week without his own bed, his own TV, and on and on.......... but, he will be moving out by Friday night!! Thank you Jesus!!

Somehow, I need to finish the customers sewing orders I have this week too....My machines are back from their overnight in the shop & run so smooth now... Waiting til tomorrow before I get to work on projects. Most important is a sequined blazer for the horse show woman this coming week end.

One kiddo this week end, my super easy guy too. Feels like a vacation already.

Just did my moms hair, so she can go to the ocean a week......and am dog sitting her best friends dog so she can go too. So far, her dog & mine are doing just fine.

A no spend day.........other than personal energy. I've been up since 5, and busy the entire time. Can't wait til I can go to bed!

Just got a notice I "won" something on Freecycle today........a planter of some sort, so I'm off later this evening to pick that up. Thinking it might work well for one of my moms free plants for her birthday next month.

We're having a bit of hot for us weather here in WA........supposed to hit 90 the news said, but we're only 73 here at my place so far. Heading out to water the gardens and walk the new dog.

One Week Left (fingers crossed)

June 23rd, 2006 at 01:55 pm

Supposedly, I have one week left til I can retire from this foster care business. My last day is next Friday, but there are no plans of where this kiddo is moving so I'm beginning to get just a tad nervous.

I have set it up to be gone as of Sat the 1st, so the bio mom will have to step in and at least take her son. I have told her I don't have room for his things after the 30th either, but I'm guessing she will just leave them here.

Sent an email to the state worker, asking what the plan is? I know she doesn't have one either, but at least I am following the chain of command here. What a broken down system we have in WA state. No one knows where these kids are I don't think.
(and now I'm in a position to recruit others into the same broken system.....I'm going to have to curb some of my opinions)

No money spent today......love these kinds of days. Tiny deposit into my bank account today from half.com and another into my paypal acct. Won't be able to support myself on those, but nice anyway.

Joined a seed exchange group today, was invited by one of my new freecycle gardening friends. Free seeds forever she says!!!

Gardened All Day

June 22nd, 2006 at 07:58 pm

Exhausted. But, a good kind. I paid for the delivery of a truck load of extremely good composted soil for the gardens today. For some reason, the autistic kiddo decided spreading compost was just the ticket today. He just kept going and going. We finished a couple beds and then the horse shoe man drove up, so the dirt lost it's charm.

As we got to watch the horses get their pedicures, I got to remind myself again, It's Not My Money!!!! So glad I didn't get a horse........I can get the experiences here at no cost to me. After my kiddo moves out, I can even go riding with the 'horse lady'. Too fun!

I did put in an hour or so on the new part time job. Love it still. I can see some meetings on the horizon, things that I might not be able to get away with my 'uniform' of jeans & a shirt with my birkenstocks. If I can get busy & start walking (again, after the kiddo moves) there are plenty of appropriate clothes in my closet. Working at home & not going anywhere are a nasty recipe for me.
A trip to the local thrift store might be warranted as a back up plan.


New Job; Great fun!

June 21st, 2006 at 07:33 pm

I got to spend a couple hours today, learning about the new part time job here. What fun it seems......at least at this point. Not many guidelines, and it doesn't seem like people have thought things through very well. I got more questions, when I asked a question..... No one really knows much, and I'm pretty much on my own. The only real rule is to stay inside my county.

Did my normal frugal stay at home stuff today:
remembered to turn water heater off
didn't even run the dishwasher
spun laundry twice & hung outside
served fruit and a salad from the garden

I am beginning to feel like an advertisment.
Each person I talk to, I'm trying to work a few little things into the conversations all the time. First......the room for rent here at my house, then the Frugal Gardening website I'm assisting with here at SavingAdvice, and then the new speaking engagement bit for the Foster Parent deal. Oh, and let's not forget I'm trying to let everyone I talk to know about my sewing business too. People are going to start heading the other way or not answering their phones when they see it's me! Smile

Good thing I'm comfortable multi-tasking!

Need vs. Want.........again.

June 21st, 2006 at 08:41 am

It's that age old question, "do I need this, or do I just want it?"

Since I started sewing again for others....and am trying to build up a little business here, my sewing machine situation has risen to a NEED. I thought I could limp along with what I had picked up through Craigs list, but it has become apparent, I can't.

I called around yesterday & found a local repair person that has agreed to work on my machines in one day, so I can get right back to work here. Nice. One only needs to be given a regular maint. check, as it is the antique Viking machine I got for $50.00. It hasn't sewed for years, & I'm having a time convincing it to come out of retirement! The other is my serger that I have so many arguments with. If they have a rebuilt serger I'll just pick up another one; if not, he can overhaul this old one again.

I know the purchase and repairs on both of these will fall into the catagory of Pays for Itself. I can get it to move to the Makes Money catagory too, without much work. Love expenses like this one actually.

Even tho I really WANT a new sewing machine (or 2 or 3) I know I don't need them. Continuing to baby the ones I have is the way to go, just like my old van. I do NEED the machines I have to work without a hitch however, so there is money to be spent this week. The plan is to have someone else take the machines in to the shop today with a long note from me........and then I'll pick them up tomorrow or Friday, depending on timing here.

I also made a decision to buy more compost. Fine line on this expense, Need or Want. Hmmmm I want to continue gardening, I want the house & yard to look nice.......... I have been picking up van loads of free plants & putting out the word I'll take more; but planting them is such a waste without great soil. And, I'm all out. So, this expense sort of shimmied over to the need column here too. A truckload of compost is being delivered tomorrow morning! (we'll smell like a dairy farm for awhile) I just wasn't willing to put all the work into the garden, without having great dirt to work with.

Both of these Needs/Wants, Wants/Needs are going to end up being helpful to the bottom line here. I think that is the criteria for me; when looking at the long haul, is the expense going to pay off? Coupled with some serious shopping tactics, I can pay both of these bills this week, knowing they were both good decisions.

I'm Already Working; Huh???

June 20th, 2006 at 05:21 pm

Wow, what an amazing day here. First & foremost, my kiddo is out of the house, not to return til after dinner. Very relaxing.

2nd: I've just put another van's worth of freecycle plants in the gound. Pooped, but I can't wait to see these take hold and transform a flat, plain space into a jungle of plants.

And.........I just got an email from the person I'll be working with on the new part time job... Nope, switch the words there...the person I'm already working with. They are paying me since June 10th, they said. What?? I didn't even know I was working! I just got my confirmation to the website, so I can access the data base and get going. Got a schedule of meetings I will need to pick & choose....getting myself to at least 2 a month. Woo-hoo. I'm off and running here. Now, I just need to locate, schedule and speak at a meeting a month touting my dog & pony show of Foster Parenting to one and all throughout the county.

If that weren't enough; I did have a new sewing customer today too.....and he will be a regular. I can always tell when someone HAS to use me. This man is so tiny, all his clothes will need to be adjusted to fit. Too bad for him, but regular $$ for me. Thank goodness he told me to call him when his order was finished. My plate is getting a little full this week.

Can't decide what job to do tonight! Smile
Better get busy with something however, my free time is almost over for the day; and then I'll be back to work at my full time job.

Good Teachers, My Parents

June 20th, 2006 at 02:56 pm

I learned something new about my parents today. Considering I've lived a half century already; and most of it within an hours drive of them......I find this latest little morsel so fun!

I called my mom to tell her about the freecycle plants I had been gifted with today. We were going over what each one was and where we both planned on putting them in our respective gardens and she pops up with this............ "Your Dad & I used to package up little bundles of lilly of the valley pips, tie them with twine and sell them to the local nurseries for .75c each."

What?? I knew they were frugal to the point of no return, but I was not aware they had their own little side business. We visited for ages about this venture; apparently there was a perfect spot on the north side of their house that was always crowded with lilly of the valley and they would thin them out each year by selling some. I'm impressed.

I always knew my parents were so very creative, but this was just a different sort of deal with the selling an item to a business. Mom can't even remember how the contact came about, but it was a small town and they both liked to garden, so I imagine they would have visited anyplace that sold seeds or starts. They must have struck up a conversation, or seen something posted?? Who knows?

Somehow, knowing this piece makes gardening together with my mom even more interesting! No wonder I'm always trying to think of ways to make money from things I'm doing anyway!

A Free, Free Day

June 19th, 2006 at 06:03 pm

What a day. Should qualify for two days, it seems like it has been forever since I got up and tackled the morning shift here.

Just 2 boys today, but still cooked like a short order cook for the morning shift.
Exchanged my fabric for bulbs early on today (have those in the ground and half potted to share with my mom next month for her birthday!)

Then, shovels and boxes loaded I headed for my freecycle plant share lady....and WOW, I came back with every container I had; just stuffed with plants. I don't use the back seat in my van, so there is only the middle seat in........and the rest of the room was totally filled with plants. Some I know what they are, others are mysteries still. Her gardens were amazing for only being 10 years old.

I have spent the afternoon digging, planting and watering in a vans worth of plants here. I did pot up a couple more hunks of things to use with the fresia bulbs for my moms birthday the 2nd week in July. By then, they should look pretty nice & have recovered from being moved.

That's a good tip for any of you gardeners.......be thinking of what you can divide & pot up all the time. Have a couple things potted & set out in your gardens, so you can bring them in and get ready for gifting if necessary.

Contrary1, editor
www.frugalgardening.com

Fabric for Fresia

June 19th, 2006 at 07:13 am

Yes, it's another Freecycle morning here at my place. I advertised for plants again on Sat (the only day we can post WANTED's in our little group) and I've got several responses.

The first one also said they would like my extra sewing room stuff I had posted, so we're trading.........(not usually the way freecycle works) She gets fabric, thread and notions that were extras for me and I get fresia bulbs that she didn't need.

I can't wait. I've never had fresia in my gardens before. Have to do some research to see where they need to be planted.

As soon as the trade off happens, I'm off to another garden with my shovel in hand. This person offered to share whatever she had!! Too fun. I get to meet another local gardener, she gets to thin her things out and my garden grows!

I'll post pictures of the treasures & see if I get another mystery picture like I did yesterday. (still hoping someone recognizes the photo that showed up in my entry. Japanese gardens?? Anyone???)

Potential New House Mate

June 18th, 2006 at 01:11 pm

Have my fingers crossed, candles lit, prayers being sent up regularly, tried bowing to the East.........am I missing anything?? Smile

Just got an email response re; sharing the house here, and after talking with the woman we have set up a meeting for one afternoon this week. She sounds perfect. I know I've been saying that each time someone responds, but this one really does sound good. Now, if we can just make this work!!

The added income, splitting bills 3 ways instead of 2 ..........wow, that would make life rich. She even said she would love to contribute extra to cover the weekly housekeeper! And, even when I told her of our oddities here, she wasn't off-put. (alright, I didn't tell her ALL of our weird qualities, I'll try to ease into those if she truly shows up!)

So, if you're into sending up positive thoughts for others.........I want to be in line!

Berries.............3rd try on the picture

June 18th, 2006 at 09:50 am

Let's just add this to my last entry....in place of the mystery gardener picture.


Nothing Beats Free

June 18th, 2006 at 09:39 am

As if fresh picked strawberries weren't yummy enough..........how about picking them right outside your front door?? And, if that didn't top all.......the plants were the same ones I got this spring for FREE!


From the tiny little scraps of plants that I stuck in the ground, I picked enough this morning that everyone had a bowl of berries with breakfast. And, yes....they do taste just like summer!



I'll admit this is my first strawberry patch of my own. I've helped in my parents patch, but have never put plants in at my own place. (no idea why, maybe it was leftover from picking strawberries that summer when I was 11) Talk about an easy plant to grow, I've really done nothing but add some water on days we've had no rain. And, I've resorted to a bit of slug bait (all organic gardeners can collectively gasp here) so we didn't have to share the berries.

If I made any errors with these plants it is where I planted them. I wasn't ready for them when they were "gifted" to me, so they got planted in 4 different places. Not convenient to pick or water this way. Also one of the spots was not totally weed free, but the plants had to get in the dirt. This area is a nasty garden now, weeds win when placed alongside berry plants I've discovered. Lesson Learned.


_______________________________________

OK, this isn't the picture I loaded, I've done it twice, I didn't even take this picture. Supposed to be the photo of my yummy berries. Who are these people?? How did I get in their garden??? This isn't my garden.............

I'll try my photo one more time, 3rd time's the charm, right??

Saving $ by Saving Food

June 17th, 2006 at 01:14 pm

When I clean out the fridge, I usually have the wok close at hand these days. In my not so distant past...I would have had some sort of trash recepticle to dump things into. Smile

I've managed to NOT toss food, other than into the freezer for later use, or into the stove for the next meal.

Todays lunch was a delicious wok full of fried rice, with dabs of leftover veggies and the meat from last nights leftover chicken. Add a couple eggs, some of the sorry looking green onions and it was a Hit!

Also took the ends of the watermelon and chunked it up, zip locked and tossed it in the freezer. Fruit slushies for dessert the next warm day! Just toss in the blender with a little sweetener & put in some fancy glasses .........my guys think this is the best.

It takes a bit more thinking and a lot more planning, but I know I've saved hundreds of dollars since January when I really began concentrating on the Leftover Overflow Department here at our house.

Tired + Frustrated = ??????

June 16th, 2006 at 06:32 pm

I hate to be the person putting a log jam in someone elses' life, but I'm sure doing it these days. My kiddos mom just called & she is pretty sure the possible move to place is not going to work. That leaves her just 15 days to get her act together & get a spot for this guy to move to. Again, she said she was going to honor my date to quit, being 6.30 but for the life of me, I can't see how this is going to work. She said as she hung up, she just needs to have faith, as God would provide. I have a pretty strong faith too, but I think God expects me to do some work too.......not just sit back and wait on him.

I'm just ticked. All the work I do with this guy to get him prepared for schedule changes, let alone a life change that is upcoming......and now, it's all out the window. He has been to dinner at this possible place, met the 2 other guys & liked "his" room. I'm not sure there is a way to explain the situation as it is currently.......he wouldn't get it.

He & his mom are scheduled to go on a river rafting trip Sun of next week, I'm faxing permission slips to her, gathering up his stuff for the supply list and she is now talking about driving over, skipping the transportation piece; which would change the day they were leaving. She said...."It's a whole week away, lots can happen in a week." I don't consider myself a detail freak, but a week away, I NEED to know how this trip is looking, so I can plan here on our end. Drat and Darn her anyway.

I am counting the minutes til bedtime here.......meds for one at 7:30, then I just have to hang on til about 9PM. My full timer was up at 4-something this AM, so I'm more than beat! (he, on the other hand is going full steam!) Maybe I'll be less mad tomorrow. Maybe I'll get at least 8 hours of sleep and wake up a brand new me. One can only hope.

Cutting Expenses; Part 649.5

June 16th, 2006 at 09:03 am

Seriously cutting expenses here. I thought we had done that already, then some more.....and again and again. But, here we go again, cutting out the unnecessary.

Today's change......Netflix bites the dust. We haven't even noticed not watching. Forgot there were 3 movies here. So, off they go, along with an email to cancel membership.

Did just pay for annual AAA membership for myself (housemate person paid her half this time for the first time!) This is one I won't cut ......hopefully, won't have to. I've saved the cost of membership each year, and since we drive older vehicles and don't do any of the maint. ourselves......this is a good value IMO.

Checked Paypal account, should be a deposit soon from a product testing event that I just finished. Think this one is $15.00
Also finished up a product test this AM on email, another $6.00. Love these.....gives me something to do and think about other than caring for the kiddo here. And, I get paid for it. And, someone out there thinks I can still think! That's the amazing part!

The influx of boys starts again this afternoon.........all 3 here this week end. I'll be lashing myself to the kitchen and cooking/cleaning/cooking/cleaning for the next 3 days. I'm looking forward to this after the full time kiddo leaves, he is just way too complicated to then add the other 2 in to the mix and hope I have brain cells by Monday. This should be the last time I have all 3 at once. Praise God!

Time to go get busy in the kitchen....with a quick detour to the freezer to haul out supplies. Thank goodness for well stocked freezers & pantries!!!

No Spending Day.........Cancel That!

June 15th, 2006 at 08:21 pm

I ended up spending a few dollars on fast food. Who woulda thunk?

I had 3 checks to go into the bank, and I convinced the autistic kiddo to get in the van and go to the bank with me.... Wonderous event all by itself!

After we did the drive through, we were near the Dairy Queen & I had the Entertainment book, for a 2 for 1 treat...... I let him choose, (a new skill for him too) So, the total was $3.79. While there the woman helping us recognized me & said Hello! I had to ask her who she was... Turns out she grew up next door to my last house, I ended up buying their place after her parents' nasty divorce. She is now single, a mom of 4, 2 living with their dad....and working at Dairy Queen. Gads, what a hard life she has chosen. Seems wrong, but I feel so blessed to NOT be in her shoes.

Came directly home, didn't spend anything else.........the $3.79 was it for the whole week I think.

Called Verizon to discuss transferring the kiddos phone to his moms bill when he moves out. Approved. Nice...... That will leave me with my phone & the one I got for my mom. We can switch to a plan giving us each 25 min a month, which might work. Much cheaper than what we're now on. But, I'm going to wait one more month before switching, to see if the part time job causes me to need the phone more than 25 min. All this comes from someones post here (sorry, I forget who??) about the total cost of communication/tech bills. I was shocked to see how high mine were (over $3000 annually) so have been chipping away at them since then.

potential room mate cancelled

June 15th, 2006 at 07:51 am

We are having an impossible time renting out our bedroom that will be vacated July 1st. I've had some great possibilities, then they call to let me know they have found something else. We must be just too weird.
I know we're further out than most people can handle....but I'm advertising it that way in the first place, you would think they wouldn't respond unless The Country was appealing to them.

Worked on the resume project yesterday; what a challenge this is turning into. I am only guessing at the dates, as I'm too old to remember them! I'm thinking now, I might be able to just write up a simple page of experiences & see if this qualifies?? They have already hired me, they said they just need the resume for the file. It is a good example of one of the difficulties with the whole foster care system.........we're asked to do things that most people wouldn't find difficult. But, factor in one of the tough kiddos here all the time and the task becomes impossible. No wonder they are hiring people to recruit foster parents!! It is an impossible job!

Received the HUGE coupon train yesterday. Will start going through the catagories today. Not sure when I can get it to the post office.....one more little detail to figure out with my kiddo home.

Sewing customer coming this AM, her jacket is ready for a fitting. She is aware of the autistic kiddo home here, and said she was OK with him. We'll see. Good thing I haven't got tons of people yet, as any change in the day here could make for an unpleasant event.

Not sure what else I can do on the room mate situation. Have pondered this one to death here.

5lbs is Hardly a Baby!!

June 14th, 2006 at 05:29 pm

I've never held a 5 lb baby until today. Little E. is just over 5lbs now and sooooo tiny. No clothes fit, they just flop around with his whole little self in where the body of the outfit is. Too cute....but oh, so tiny. Thankfully, he's doing just fine. The kids need to rent a baby bed for the car, as a car seat won't work for him at this weight. He slumps down in a car seat and then quits breathing! They've had some unexpected expenses with him being so small........as well as some things they had to buy without looking for the best deals, as the baby was already here!

The rest of the day has just been filled with work here at home. A no spend day again. Mowed some of the yard, am holding back on mowing all the outer areas, as we're still planning on moving horse fencing and letting the critters take care of more of the yard.

Cleaned out the fridge, as it has become a nasty place....with me gone so much, there is no one else taking on that chore. Housekeeper today, so everything is spotless.......nice.

I need to spend some time creating a resume to put on file at my new job. My last one was done in the early 80's, so this will be a task! Can't come up with more than 10 minutes to work on it in a row.......as the kiddo is home now, non stop. Found a resume wizard thing on line, but I can't get through more than a section of it before an interruption here.

New Grandbaby Day Here

June 14th, 2006 at 07:07 am

We have a visit scheduled with the new grandbaby boy today........also get to see my foster dtr. She lived with me since she was 11, so she's pretty much mine! Looking forward to seeing her & the baby......even if I'm not really a baby crazy person.

We're going to have to squeeze the visit in here, as it is Happy Houskeeper Wednesday here at our house...........and school is out, so the autistic wonder boy is home too.
Fortunately, this young lady of mine is very familiar with the craziness of our house....in fact, hers looks pretty much like this now!! (I find that facinating, but I feel honored she is using my life as a map of sorts. )

No spending today............I do need to head to the sewing room when it calms down here, as I've got a fitting tomorrow to get ready for. So, there is money 'in the bank' so to speak. Will get paid for this job before the end of the month, as she needs to wear it on July 1st.

Still no Move Out Day on the calendar for the autistic kiddo. I'm soooooo tired of the constant drain here. He's only been back from his camping trip since yesterday & I'm already feeling like I have no reserves. Not Good. Tried to get a date yesterday when I talked to his mother, but no, there is nothing concrete yet. I was hopeful & thought a real number on my calendar would help. Not to be yet.

Better get a move on here..........I've got more than a days worth of work to do & just one day to do it in!!!



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