Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The One with the Update on the Random Wants (NOT Needs)

Remember way back when I posted my wants (which were totally not needs). Thought I'd update you on the list as there's been lots of changes. I will try to have a needs list each month, and maintain my random wants list (a girl can dream, can't she).

10 wants that I have which are not needs (for the most part)

1. I-phone. They are just so darn cool. I could do so many things with it. For instance, you can upload your coupons to it and then just show it to the cashier (it produces a bar code to scan). Unfortunately, my current phone does not do internet access, and my contract isn't up till next June, which is so far away. After watching my growing frustration with my phone dropping calls and the buttons on the front shorting out and not being able to unlock my screen because the OK button no longer worked, my parents made the Iphone my birthday present. Yes, my birthday isn't till tomorrow (Wednesday), but in order to buy the phone, it had to be activated. I'm now the proud owner of a pink swathed Iphone, and will have the termination fee with Verizon to deal with next month.


2. A very long massage. I took a big time digger last night on my run. Scuffed up both knees, my writing hand, which makes writing or signing anything difficult. But I think I screwed up my neck and back as well. I've had a major headache ALL Day. It pays to make this list right before my birthday. I put a "spa gift certificate" on my wish list, and hubby came through like a champ. He gave it to me early, so that I could use it prior to the marathon. I had the Hawaiian Holiday, complete with a mud masque, massage, facial and vichy shower (which was odd).


3. An Egg Separator. I don't have one. When I went to the grocery store, none there. Went to Target, none there. I'm going to a pampered chef party on Friday, and apparently I'm buying an egg separator. Now that I'm cooking more (I made waffles for the first time in my life), it has become a bit inconvenient to have to hand separate, and hope for the best. Bought it at the Pampered Chef party my friend had. Haven't used it too much, but it is there.


4. Garmin 405. Totally a want. I just want the latest garmin gps watch with all the bells and whistles. Mine decided to acquire a short not too long ago, so charging is always a questionable act now-a-days. But definitely not an immediate and necessary purchase.


5. The Pampered Chef Knives. Still don't have them, but I'm having my Pampered Chef Party on October 23rd, and if I have the magic sales level, I will get a $500 knife set for over 60% off. Crossing fingers.


6. The Pampered Chef Cookware set. Let's just say that my pots and pans set is lacking and extremely low quality.


7. A new running skirt. I love my running skirt from runningskirts.com However, it's useful life is slowly ending. It would be nice to have another, as I love the way it fits and the fact that it has two pockets, one on each side. Hubby ordered this a month ago. Especially after my digger in which I had no cell phone since I had no pocket in my shorts. I should have a new running skirt in my birthday present package tomorrow.


8. A taxi for my kids. My boys have one wish, to be able to ride their bikes home. But the route from home to school doesn't yield the riding of bikes. Plus, they are at the age where there are after-school activities they'd like to do, but they need to have a ride to the day care afterwards in order to be able to do the activities, otherwise they are stuck at the school and I'd be getting a phone call. Last year Ross did Band, but they couldn't do Chess Club. Update: Still haven't found a taxi, darn.


9. A pair of running shoes in which my toes don't hurt. I'm not sure that this one is attainable. I've been running for 5 years now. My running shoes are fit at the store, and I've tried countless pairs. Past a certain amount of miles on each run, I get deep layer blisters at the tips of my toes and under my toenails. I lose toenails frequently and just popped two blisters under the nail bed this morning after the 12 mile run. Update: got new shoes but the same brand as before. Still have some toe issues and realized I had a purple toenail (blood blister under the nail) when I got a pedicure. Current Score: Toenails (6), Missing Toenails (4)


10. Pulled Pork. I've got a great recipe and lately I haven't been able to pick up a pork roast at the weekly trip to the store. But I am so craving Pulled Pork right now J
Update: We did 2 crocks of pulled pork when I had my in-laws over. But it just wasn't the same. They weren't thawed the night before, so they didn't cook as quickly. I will pick up a roast the next time I see one and have a do-over for sure!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The One with an Extra $98.50 found!

I just updated all my account balances. I have a running total that I keep of all asset accounts and debt accounts. This helps to motivate me to see how quickly items could be paid down. Currently we are working on paying down the HELOC, but also need to pay $1,500 towards the Orthodontist over the course of the next year. We have student loan with an interest rate of 1.625% and then the car loan at 4.9%. The house is at 6% and currently I am toying with the idea of refinancing into a 20 year mortgage. The monthly payment would go up about $150/month, but the house would be paid off 7 years earlier (we are 3 years into the 30 year fixed mortgage). Down side is we'd have to pay the fees associated with it, which works out to be about $10K.

Anyway, I logged into my student loan account, and to my surprise, the balance was $98.50 lower. And we aren't schedule to make the payment until the 28th.
The extra principal payment is made only once per quarter, and it is from the Upromise Rewards Card. So the payment applied 09/18/09 was for rewards collected through June 30th. It's like earning an extra $100!

The bummer part is that I still have to make the regular payment, so it doesn't solve the dilemma of all the birthdays I have to pay for in October, but still, it's pretty cool!

The One Where I’m Waiting for my $30 in Rebates

A while back, beginning of August to be exact, I participated in the Fuel for School Rebate and the Back to School Rebate. I should be receiving a $20 rebate and $10 Rebate.

The paperwork for the $20 Rebate I mailed in on August 10th, it should take 6-8 weeks.

The paperwork for the $10 rebate was delayed a bit because of not having stamps (I do everything online), and so it wasn't mailed until August 27th. Again, 6-8 weeks (sigh).

So I should be expecting surprises in my mailbox ($20) between now and October 5th.

And an additional surprise between October 8th-22nd.


This comes in handy as my son's birthday is Friday (09/25).

My birthday is the 30th. These birthday expenses are pretty much paid for.

But, then we have the numbers: 4, 14, 16, 23, 30. Which corresponds to the 5 birthdays of family members in less than 1 month!

Plus, the weekend of the 3rd we are going away as that is when I am running the marathon.

And two weeks later is a big celebration at our alma mater, which I have hosting duties and no doubt will be asked to support financially.


So in the big scheme of things, $30 is just a drop in the bucket compared to what I have to pay for in October, but at least it is coming.

On another note, I am going to start setting aside $50 each month specifically for family birthdays. This is ridiculous. I pull friend birthday expenses out of our miscellaneous money, but it's hard to do that for these birthdays, especially when there's an 11 year old who really wants a birthday party. We did the party on the low end scale, simple but fun. There was only 6 boys including him. We did pizza, a cookie pizza in lieu of cake (almost caught my kitchen on fire) and they swam and had a nerf gun war in the front yard. That said, there are still basic expenses that are just impossible to throw a party without spending one penny. Luckily, I'm super smart when it comes to Christmas. I put money each week into an ING account, and each January I bump it up by 3%. To adjust for inflation J

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This is the start of Birthday Week and my birthday boy is actually leaving for astro camp on his birthday (Friday). So we've got to squeak in some birthday plans during the week.

Monday: (Soccer practice at 5:30)-Rigatoni with Ham
Crock Pot Tuesday: (TKD till 4:45, Soccer 6-7:30): Crock pot Dump Chicken. I have found about 12 dump chicken recipes all on one blog, so I'll choose one of these.
Wednesday: (Soccer practice 5:30): Bean, Rice and Cheese Burritos. Already made and froze a big crock of beans. I use the Pampered Chef rice cooker to make a huge batch of brown rice.
THursday: (TKD till 4:45, we are skipping soccer practive since this is faux-birthday)- Dinner Out for the 11 year old!!! I do need to make Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake though (for Friday morning)
Friday: Breakfast in Bed! Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. Breakfast for Dinner with the non-camper, non-birthday boy, including leftover coffee cake.
We're also taking donuts to school as the birthday snack, since he's leaving that morning.
Saturday: With just the three of us, we'll do homemade pizza
Sunday: Leftovers.

It's a busy week. And next week is worse. My birthday is on Wednesday, and we leave on Friday for St. George for the marathon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The One Where I've been gone for awhile

No I didn't disappear permanently. but last week, metaphorically speaking, kicked my butt. The Hubbs was gone beginning Monday morning and didn't get back til the wee hours of Thursday night.
The week of Mom started out great on Monday and Tuesday and slowly went down hill from there. We just have a lot of adjusting to do with everyone being in a new grade this year, the amount of homework, and apparently the independence-push that comes from having a "tween".

The Menu from Menu-Planning Monday worked like a charm, other that my darling oldest son deciding that he was going to throw away his chicken and black bean quesdilla one night. Then he helped himself to a popsicle while I was on the phone, which is definitely a big no-no if you don't eat any of your dinner.

The next night, he decided to throw away the leftover pasta shells we were having. Which I must say, is made all the stuff he loves. Who doesn't love noodles with cheese inside. I didn't enen put chopped spinach in there. This is working-mom dinner stuff. Just ricotta in the shells, then pasta sauce on top. Easy. And every kid should be able to at least take 10 bites without throwing it out.

I told my Hubbs on Thursday, as he was at the airport, that on Saturday, when he was finally home and not going to work, that I wuold be leaving the house, by myself, to enjoy some much needed quiet time. He could probably tell by the tone of my voice that if he said anything that was not in complete agreement with my plan, that I might threaten to not come back. So his response, " O-------K."

Hubbs came back, I made it to Thursday night and we went back to normal schedule on Friday. Friday afternoon, I picked up my kids and learned that my oldest had to type up a story that was due by Monday. Who on earth came up with the idea to give 5th graders homework over the weekend? It wasn't technically due till Tuesday, but he has about 3 hours of homework a night as it is, I wasn't about to let him save the typing till Monday too!

By the way, get your 4th graders a typing program. They'll need to at least hunt and peck at a reasonable speed by 5th grade. It took him FOREVER to type 4 paragraphs. And the best part, he has to write a sotry every week. Guess he'll get lots of practice on the typing skills, every weekend!