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Archive for April, 2006

Autistic Free Weekend Planned

April 28th, 2006 at 05:40 pm

I just got back from taking my autistic kiddo to his mom.....he will be gone until Monday afternoon. Even the trip back home in traffic (44 miles) was relaxing! I'm already soaking up the quiet at my house. It's hard to know how exhausted I am until he is gone and I can feel myself shutting down.

Heading to my moms again this week end. Hoping to get to many of the items on my TO DO list for her place. She had rented her house out for 2 years, so there is plenty that got ignored during that time. Lots to do. Sunshine expected here, so we should be able to make a difference to her yard. I'm also going to be fixing some gouges in her new walls.......movers (read Grand sons) weren't very careful. Then, I'll touch up the paint job.... This is the same house I lived in from 6th grade til I got out of high school......it feels odd to be the one maintaining it now. But, it is feeling great to get it in shape again too.

I spent $40.00 on gas today..but that will be it for the weekend. I can go a long time without spending money here!

Blossoms on my free strawberry plants already!! I'm planning on bringing home another van full of free plants from moms on Monday... Gardening on the Cheap!!

No Spend Days Stack Up

April 27th, 2006 at 03:45 pm

Racking up another No Spend Day here today. When you put a couple of them in a week.........and then at least a weeks worth of them each month, it really makes a BIG difference. Seems like a little thing, but.........as people here are mentioning often, it's the little things that add up to major changes; in numbers or in habits.

No gas used, no errands to run, not even an appointment on the calendar here at home. So.........my day stretches out for me to use as I see fit.

I'm soaking up the quiet here this AM.....yesterday afternoon and evening was nasty here. My kiddo had a mini meltdown......lasting a few hours, low intensity ...but I'm pooped. So, my choice today is to rest up for this afternoon when he gets back from school. Just when I think I'll miss the paycheck, we have a day like yesterday!

I had another person stop by last night (during the nastiness) to see about renting space to store his boat for a year. Not much money.....but something. He didn't strike me as a sure thing, maybe I just wasn't paying close enough attention, but he seemed shorter on brain cells than I did.

My tenant/room mate person.........never know what to call her, she is more like an old child that I need to keep working with... Anyway, she was complaining about her bedroom yesterday & how it is so full of paperwork and a total disaster. (I have for years offered to assist her with setting up a file system, she has brought home more file cabinets, file boxes, actual file folders and all the extras one would ever possibly wanta to set up a system). I offered again, she said today........I told her it was good I was sitting down... And, then asked what time?? Morning to her can be anything before dinner. It's almost 9, she has been up once and has gone back to bed, so I'm not optimistic about getting a start on this project today. I thought it would be a great time to figure out what she can do re; the finances here at the house.... She really has no idea how much money she has to work with each month. I can only guess at this point too.

I've got blossoms on my free strawberry plants! A few things are really starting to take off in the garden, maybe I'll have something to look at besides flat ground and gravel one of these days!

The Navy's Coming To My House

April 26th, 2006 at 08:46 pm

Well, not the whole Navy, but the gentleman that came today to view the property is going to stay with us for a year.........starting in July. He is stationed at the Navy base in Everett, which is pretty close to my place. He advertised as needing a level piece of property to park his RV on for a year. Well, level.........we've got. Not a bit of elevation to the whole place.

He is going to split the power bill with me as well as tackle all my projects I can't do on my own. I'm thrilled. He didn't think that was enough on his side of the bargain, but he hasn't seen The List.... Smile

Found batteries here, so didn't need to make a stop to get those. Ran out of time prior to getting gas, so that is a Must Do the next time out. Found a big snaffu at the bank, they had taken $$ out of my kiddos acct, when I had paid bills online. Should have been my own acct, but the bank took it out of our joint acct. Numbers aren't even close. I transferred money back into his acct, but the state will probably have to investigate me for fraud or something. I'll be sure to make a note when I pass everything on to whomever in July.

Closed my eyes & hit SEND on bill payer & gave over $5000. to the county for property taxes. That just hurts. My savings account doesn't look quite so healthy anymore..........and of course, now I'm at zero saved up for the 2nd half of the taxes. I need that much again by Halloween! (appropriate holiday for tax day!)

Only $$ spent was postage for shipping my Half.com sale out. $1.35 Not bad for the day.

Dinner is split pea soup from the freezer & grilled cheese. Homemade cookies for dessert. I received a few comments from my post My Own Brand of Frozen Dinners........ Seems quite a few people have wished they could do OAMC (once a month cooking), but were unable for a variety of reasons. Cooking just 2X's as much as needed for a meal is an easier way to go for me, offers more variety and I believe is less expensive. (at least the cost is spread out) Almost no difference in time either.......that was what decided against OAMC for me....I couldn't come up with the entire day free.

Bus is almost here, I'm going to grab 15 min of quiet time before my guy storms in here.

Lacing up running shoes

April 26th, 2006 at 02:17 pm

I've got a list as long as my arm ....and need to get it accomplished before the bus returns my kiddo at 2:30. It would be so much easier if places I needed to frequent were open at the crack of dark in the AM..........instead of not opening up til 10, or worse yet, noon, like the library.

I have a box of things to add to the antique booth, which is next to my bank so I can make a deposit. Which is next to the P.O. so I can mail my half.com sale (computer game). Then I need to back track to the other town for the nearest library; they are holding 4 books for me and only give 10 days on that hold. (wonder if they will increase that due to gas prices??? I can't be the only one grouping errands) Also need to stop in at a store & pick up batteries for CD player......not usually considered an emergency, but believe me, it will save my afternoon & evening. Autistic kiddos mom loaned him her personal CD player....without extra batteries. Bad combination. Hard to explain batteries to him. Impossible even. So, batteries are definately on my list.

I do need to be back here at noon, I'm interviewing a gentleman who wants to rent RV space in the back 40. He is stationed at the Navy base here for 1 year & doesn't want to move his family just for that short amount of time. Hoping he loves it here & will "sign on" with us. (we are an odd bunch however....so I wouldn't blame him if he runs right back to San Diego)

I've got laundry washing to get out before all my places open up.....and I've got to find some sort of hunk of something to take out for dinner.

Will need to do a gas stop too.......I don't like to get below 1/4 tank since I live out a ways. Thinking I need at least $40 for this.

Better get to work, reading and writing here don't make a bit of difference to the length of my TO DO list!! (It is my favorite thing to do when enjoying my cup of coffee however!!)

My Own Brand of Frozen Dinners

April 26th, 2006 at 04:31 am

Tonight, I reaped the rewards of cooking ahead. Granted I only had to cook for 2 tonight, but still..........I was only in the kitchen as long as it took me to say "Your dinners done". For someone who doesn't like to cook, this was a dream.

I have been dilegently cutting, packaging and freezing extra servings for the last couple months. I used to do this sort of thing in spurts. Since joining here, I've gotten more excited about freezing parts to dinners than actually putting a big dinner on the table.

So, today, I took out several big slabs of a pork tenderloin (have to call these pork chops for my autistic kiddo, then he eats them. If I call it a roast....no go) and a baggie of home made applesauce from the freezer. Microwaved a dish of leftover cauliflower from last night(when I cooked 2 heads instead of 1) and then zapped the meat & applesauce. Tossed a quick green salad and whoosh.......I'm out of the kitchen. Total time: less than 15 minutes.

Nights like this really make me see the benefit of the packaging and labeling. I've got pork, roast beef, turkey and ham all done the same way currently. Plus a few sides .........and several desserts.........all packaged up so I can take out however many servings I need. (the number I cook for changes from 1 to 6)

I can't imagine how much money this saves me. Since I'm no good with numbers, chances are, I'll never know....
And, the time saved is amazing. It truly doesn't take much longer to cook 2 times the food needed; tossing 2 tenderloins into the crock pot as opposed to 1??? Really. Took a bit of time to cut and freeze......but not nearly as much as cooking another meal from scratch.

And, to top it off, we get to skip the frozen meal aisle of the grocery store too!

Odds & Ends

April 25th, 2006 at 05:28 pm

I'm still wrestling with the re fi or not to re fi question here........not even leaning one way or the other yet. I think I'll probably end up doing it, just to "hide" the cc bills in there. I hate to pay them, they aren't technically mine, they have so many negative emotions connected and they just make me cranky. I think I'm ready to pay for them to not be on my desktop monthly.

I received the refund from the IRS. Mind you, this is a refund I don't think I should be getting........so I'll put this into the ING acct. and just wait. I gave up trying to convince my tax accountant that my income was non taxable. She insisted, filed and here is the refund.

Also have a refund from auto insurance.......I raised my deductable on another vehicle. With the check from one of my clients and the other 2........it's time for a bank run. Will do that tomorrow, grouping a batch of errands. I used to do this, but now with gas hitting $3 here, it is imperative.

Heading outside to work in the yard. I'm to the point of needing to clear more garden space. I've no more room for the flower seeds I've purchased...and the new beds will mean less mowing.

Gads.........good thing I'm sitting down. I just got a email notification that I've made a sale on half.com. Hadn't sold anything since Jan. But, I went in this week and changed the price on each of my listings, thinking I had priced everything too high. Maybe that was the trick.... I'll already be at the post office tomorrow on errand day.....so this is terrific timing.

Better get to work........not much gets done around here while I'm at the computer!!

Sweet Peas & a Headboard

April 24th, 2006 at 08:36 pm

It's April & hot enough here I had to come in from the garden and take a break. Supposed to get over 75 & that is too hot for me.....
My project for the morning was to plant my sweet pea seeds...........I matched them up with an old iron headboard for them to use to climb on. I'm hoping these were the dwarf plants....can't remember. (one difficulty of ordering on line & not taking notes)

If even half my seeds come up that I've put in the ground this week, the front yard should start looking like someone is living here pretty darned soon. I'm so tired of the plain, scalped look.

I said a prayer over a rescued shrub too. It had been dumped in our Dump Free Fill area.........but it is at least 4' high and seems to be holding its own even if it had been dug up. Its got a new home now, been watered in & given a couple shovels of compost......we'll see if it makes it. No idea of its' right name, my mom has always called these Lily of the Valley bushes. If it grows here, it will be known as the Second Chance Shrub.

Another No Spend Day here.........Dinner is leftovers, so I've no excuse but to head back to the garden & try to get some more seeds in. Groundwork for almost free produce this summer & fall.

I found another couple boxes of items that can head to the antique booth for my $20.00 Challenge. Will spend time this evening getting them all priced and in the van.

Also need to do some money moving.....time to take $$ out of savings and put it in checking so I can pay the property taxes on line. Have to do this by the end of the month....it comes to just over $5,000 for the 3 properties. Then, I have to immeadiately start stashing money in the account to pay the 2nd half in Oct. I so wish I felt like I was getting my moneys worth; but I don't. I guess I just need to pay it and get busy so I don't think about it!

My Betty Crocker Impression

April 24th, 2006 at 12:17 am

I did my best impression of Betty Crocker all weekend & I'm ready to hang up my apron (If I wore one!!) With the 3 boys here, I barely had time to get cleaned up before the next meal had to be started. As long as their plates are full, they really don't care what they eat......so it is an easy (if non ending) gig. Doesn't help that I hate to cook!

I snuck out this afternoon, while a burrito bake was in the oven......and planted flower seeds I bought on line. Hoping to get out this evening & get everything a light drink, mostly to keep the trio of kittens out of the flower beds.

Got a commitment from one of the boys family to continue using me for respite as long as we both live here he said! Sounds like a permanent thing to me. Now, If I could just get them to use me every weekend instead of every other...

No spending day.........wouldn't have been time! Smile

Gardening as Therapy

April 23rd, 2006 at 04:33 am

I escaped to the yard today........and all 3 boys came with me! Wouldn't you know? I put them to work for a bit, then got out the riding mower and climbed on. When I'm mowing, they know to leave me alone. It's MY time. I've got at least an acre to mow here; and it relaxes me, gets me out in the fresh air and I've got plenty of time to mentally make out the Garden TO DO List!

If any of you are doing much the same thing; getting out in your gardens or even planting a pot of herbs on your porch.........there is a new site here just for gardeners. Actually, it's for gardeners aiming to garden without spending buckets of money.

Text is www.frugalgardening.com and Link is http://www.frugalgardening.com

Please visit & let me know what you think. It's in the beginning stage....there will be one new article each week in addition to a tips section.
Feel free to let me know of topics you would like to see covered and please do send in your gardening tips!!

I don't proclaim to be an expert gardener, but I sure can garden without spending money!

Soup's On & other ramblings

April 22nd, 2006 at 05:21 pm

I've got a kettle of split pea & ham soup on ......the house smells delicious. (my kiddo calls this soup "just like baby food") Fortunately they all love it here. Brought the ham bone home from Easter dinner & tossed it in the freezer til I could locate my split peas. Found them yesterday & set them to soak. Soup for dinner tonight. How easy (and cheap) is that?? Yummy too. Hopefully, there will be extra for some lunches this week also.......that would be easier if someone DIDN'T like it. Smile

Bedding out on the line today.....gorgeous day here, although it was a frosty morning with ice on the bird baths!

I've found some of the planters & will be filling them with soil, so they are ready to fill with salad greens. Too cold yet, but I'm getting anxious. Having the containers all ready at least makes me feel a bit better.

I think I've held off mowing as long as I can. With gas prices so high, I'm just not going to enjoy this as much as I normally do, but it is starting to look like no one lives here!

Crossing my fingers, bowing to the east, praying, lighting candles ........all at the same time here. My autistic kiddo is on the edge today. (has been there for a couple weeks) But today feels awful to me..... My helper isn't coming this morning & my kiddo is trying hard to deal with that disappointment. I'm going to be the only adult here til late this evening..........so gearing up for a long shift today. 3 boys & me. Thank goodness only one is difficult. The other 2, always have been great, but by comparison, they are perfect! I've got as much done as I can, meals, laundry and I even snuck in a shower & hair wash... Wow, what a treat!

If I Was Homeless..................

April 22nd, 2006 at 05:32 am

I ponder that thought and wonder what my actions would be if I truly was homeless and had to rely on my wits (if I had any left) and the kindness of strangers.

"john" makes me shake my head.

He is the carpenter who became homeless after I hired him to put up the clothesline and build a chicken coop here. Tonight, he asked if he could wash a load of laundry.........Told him the laundry room was all his.

He washed his laundry & proceded to run it all through the dryer. I don't know if I would do the same.... Would I want to dry my clothes in the descreet darkness of the dryer drum rather than hang them outside for anyone here to view? Probably. If I was homeless, I'm pretty sure my laundry would not be all lined up like my mother taught me to hang it. All the towels together, ranked by size, all the shirts hung the same direction, socks matched and hung in a row....nothing out of place, everything in good repair.

I don't think he even caught the irony of it all. I listened to the hum of the dryer, surprising myself by not turning it off to save the electricity. I'm glad I have a choice of where I can dry my clothes. I'm glad "john" has clean clothes tonight. (and dry ones.....) I'm glad I can think of other ways to save money.

Company On My Monday

April 21st, 2006 at 02:01 pm

I'm turned around with my work....this is my Monday. The first of the respite kids arrives this afternoon.

I'm also having my mom & my aunt come for brunch this morning; they will be sure to be gone by the time the school bus drops off the full time kiddo. (Not many people brave coming here when the kids are home! )

I've got a yummy sounding recipe for baked french toast, that is in the fridge, just ready to pop in the oven. The bacons been through the oven already & just needs to be warmed at the last minute. Juice chilling.....potatoes shredded & in ice water, will do those at the very last minute...

Will be cutting both mom & aunts hair; they're twins, so just one haircut 2X's. Fun couple of women, I hope I'm just like them when I get to be 83.

Raining slightly, which is great. I over seeded the repair patches in the lawn yesterday. Perfect timing.

It's a no spend day here. Love those. The chicken coop is getting a little closer to being totally framed up, there are 3 walls now up and the framework for the run is finished. "john" wants to finish now, since he has learned I won't finish paying him, until he finishes the job. (he has continued to ask almost every day now for some time.... slow learner!)

"john" update: He hasn't taken advantage of the situation here. But, he is trying to take advantage of me. The numbers aren't real good with my little program here, only 2 out of 6 have taken advantage of the offer & made enough money to move a step up on the ladder. This is the first one to try to take advantage of me. Asking for money, using supplies from here, when he said he was buying them, etc. We even have a couple things that have disappeared, with the most apparent being our extra gas. We'll see how this plays out.....
I'm always hopeful when we get a new person added to the "ranch" that they just get busy & save the money they can while living in a "no rent" district. Not this time, I'm afraid.