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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kmart

I really am not much of a Kmart fan. I suppose it goes back to the store being OLD and in a not so great area of town here in Lauderdale. Oh, and the employees. Not quite sure where they train them, but clearly, customer service is not stressed enough. BUT then Sears came in the picture. AND now, well, the store is clean. Open. Bright. Clean. The employees, well, they are still there. I’ll leave it at that. THEN – they announce in the Sunday paper, that they will be DOUBLING coupons! Woohoo!!!!! I think (need to check) that this is for a week or so only. Guess what else they are doing now (again, need to double check) … LAYAWAYS!! So, if we can get SEARS quality stuff (not THE best but acceptable by most standards) at Kmart on layaway with double coupons. Well. Need I say more?

Day 2 of hopefully no airconditioning!

Woohoo! It was 54 degrees at 5am this morning at my house! Felt so good to NOT hear the ac's pluggin away! The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is this weekend (starts tomorrow & runs through Monday). I scored 4 free tickets. I've given to hubby to see if any of his friends want to go. I don't think any of our friends are looking for a new boat at the moment (actually, I don't really think ANYONE is buying a new boat right now). Had told hubby that we should go over to the convention center & check out all the goodies there (remember, I have a $98 gift card!!!) but he doesn't really want to go. Would be nice if it could stay cooler like this but I think it goes back to 80's on Friday. Bummer. The sky is just that crystal clear blue that comes when it gets cold out. I so miss the cooler weather! Of course, I'm freezing, my toes & fingers are numb and feel like ice, but yes, I would love to move back north (Indiana, Michigan, Illinois) ... but I don't see that happening!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Soup is/was on at 7am this morning

Took out the rest of the ground turkey yesterday so I could make the chili for today since it’s our first official cold front!! Woohoo!! Hey folks, it was 58 degrees this morning at A1A and Sunrise Blvd. It don’t get that cold normally oceanside! Brrrr…. So this morning at 6:30am, after the kids left, chopped the onion & garlic, tossed in skillet with ground turkey & cooked. Opened up 3 cans of spicy chili and one can of northern beans (why you ask? Because I can) 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 can of chicken broth Toss in some chili powder, cumin, oregano, pepper & salt … and I think there may have been something else there but not sure (hey, it was still dark outside!)drained turkey (with onions & garlic) and added to crock Stirred it up. Put lid on. Plugged in and pressed the button 3 times for 8 hours of cooking time on low. Washed skillet, knife and cutting board. Put in dish strainer. Set oven to come on at 6:45pm at 400 degrees. Placed large cookie sheet on counter. Put can of biscuits smack in the middle and front of shelf in fridge. This is so the kids will not be telling me they could not FIND the biscuits to cook at 7pm for me. So here’s my dinner plan tonight: kids pop the biscuits in oven at 7pm. I get home at 7:15, biscuits should be ready. Chili will be on warm. Sourcream & Oh CRAP cheddar cheese is still in the freezer!! I was going to say both were in fridge ready. Ok. It’s not a ‘huge’ deal. Hopefully I will remember to tell the kids to take it out when they get home. Anyways. Fritos (them snack bags for lunches that the kids NEVER eat) are going to be perfect for this!

20 minutes and $35 later

Had to run into Publix after the gym (remember the post about my grocery list?), and of course, made the mistake of calling the kids to let them know that I was stopping & was there anything they needed? Ice Cream Gatorade or some other juicy juice stuff Ok. Mental note to add that to my short list. Edys ice cream, b1g1f HOT DOG! $5.15 Grape jelly $1.79 Kens dressing $3.29 … hmmm. That has gotten more expensive (b1g1f, got 4) Gallon milk $3.59 8 pk powerade $5.79 (gatorade was $7.09. What an odd price) 2 bags of hearts of romaine lettuce $3.09 Lucky charms, b1g1f $3.95 NOT on my list but heck, couldn’t pass up. Suppose I should have held out Trash bags (15) $1.79 Sunlight dishsoap 99 cents Bananas $1.87 (69 cents lb!!!) NOT on my list but have been craving them. Bread $1.29 So, I had one measly coupon, $1 off powerade. My freaking total was $35.40. Of course, “ohhh look, you saved $20.17 today!” YEAH but I had to spend $35.40 to get there! Oh well. I have $4 and change left in my purse til Friday.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gift card/VISA prepaid debit card

So I get these little perks from the office, $98 visa gift cards. I always intend for it to be something special, for the family or what not. I mean, I bought the ice cream maker. I bought a cool mixer. Same with the blender. Oh yeah, I got the iron & ironing board too. Hmm. I guess maybe it really goes to the household. Regardless. I have another one, just came in today. Should have another one in a week or so. I’m torn as to what to do. a. Go to Kmart, put the Xbox on layaway with $98 down. b. Go to grocery store & stock up well on stuff for the kitchen c. Go buy some new clothes d. go buy turkeys, lots of them e. save and give one to each kid for Christmas (problem with this is that you have to remember how much $ you have left, otherwise rejects if over the limit or you remember to tell the cashier you want to put $X on the card & pay the rest with cash or whatnot) f. go hunt for one of the big heavy pan that the pioneer woman keeps giving away & I keep missing!! Most likely, it will go towards the usual household stuff. Groceries. Cleaning supplies. And so on. Exciting, huh? Since we aren’t doing much for Christmas in the way of gifts (going to be tough on the kids although they should be old enough to understand the economic situation and potential issues down the road) we are still doing a few big ticket items. Dd wants a laptop. Ds wants an xbox. I wanted to do a laptop for each & xbox for both. However, dd ‘may’ be going away after this upcoming summer for college, National Guard, whatnot . Well. Now that I said that out loud (or rather, typed it) I think I need to go hide myself for a while until the freak out mode goes away.

Our weekend away in Tavenier Florida.

Was absolutely terrific. The weather wasn’t the best, but at least it didn’t rain rain. Just a sprinkle. The doo ran great. The drive was good, truck was good. 2 hours & 100 miles even from our house to the inn. Wow. We had decided beforehand to pack breakfast & lunch foods and only go out for dinner to cut costs. So I took cheereos (dh fav at the time), yogurt, and milk. I also brought bread, mayo & dijon mustard, cheese and turkey for sandwiches. Tossed in those little lunch bag size fritos & cheetos that the kids won’t eat and the cheese & crackers (same deal). AND brought along 2 shrimp cocktail rings, cracker spread & these awesome whole grain crackers. Of course, sodas, beer, water, pina colada mix, vodka & jack. So we were set. Woohoo. Walk in to our room and the first thing I see is the 2 burner stove & fridge! WOOHOO!! Told dh, drats, wish I had known. Would have brought a skillet & some real food to cook! As it was, we went to Winn Dixie, bought egg beaters, sausage patties, sourdough bread, shredded cheese and hash browns. Went next door to the Dollar General (its been years since I’ve been in one of them!) and picked up a 8 inch skillet for $4. Now we had real breakfast foods! Dinner first night was at a little irish pub called Dillons. Great food. Great ambiance. Smoking allowed, which is unusual, and about a year too late for us (remember, our one year anniversary of quitting is November 1st!) Tab, after 3 jacks, 2 beers, grouper Reuben & bacon bleu burger was $32. Wow. Dinner 2nd night was little Cesar's, again, years and years since I’ve been to one. We splurged & got 2 supreme pizzas. $19. Wow Dinner 3rd night (Saturday) was back to Dillons. Yeah, I know, we really should have expanded our horizons, oh well. Tonight, we had the Thai grouper (awesome), fried clam strips, fried mozz sticks, not sure how many jacks, and 2 beers. Total, $56. Geesh. All 3 nights would have barely paid for one night out here in town. AND this was in the Keys!! By the way, if you are looking for a quaint place to stay in the Keys, that's quiet and just so relaxing, I would highly recommend this place, coconut palm inn. Really. They have 17 rooms, from a small room with a queen size bed to a 2 bedroom suite. On the bay side which is where you should want to be in my opinion (sunsets are viewable here) and the water is just much nicer.
I’m looking at a grocery list that I made last night when we got back from our trip: Garbage bags – there is 2 left in the box Milk – ½ gallon left Bread – ½ loaf or less Kens salad dressing x 4 (b1g1f) Dish soap (bottle was empty??) Lettuce or salads (b1g1f) – on quest to be healthier Grape jelly – someone, not sure WHO, has been eating & almost empty I’ve given myself $40 in my wallet and NO American Express or debit card. This is going to be my new MO. So why do I make a big deal about this? BECAUSE!!! All of the websites & blogs that I visit are talking about the economic downturn, the fear of recession/depression AND dh & I have just agreed, last week, to start being a little more conservative than we already are. Of course, this did NOT affect our weekend trip. Well. Sorta. We did eat IN for breakfast & lunch and went out for dinner (read other post on this deal). So of course, when you start to cut back on spending, the first thing to get slashed is the food bill. Which of course, makes sense. Remember, I did the 30 Days of Nothing, and ha! That was NOT really any kind of accomplishment in my opinion. I did not suffer or need anything. Good lord. There really was no lesson learned which makes me feel the need to do it AGAIN in November. Of course, November is a tricky month: Property taxes are due - $6k roughly DH 49th birthday (ack, I had 495 birthday for a minute there!) Thanksgiving which translates to friends & family (sometimes). Not to mention dh always does something for his office staff on the Friday after Thanksgiving since they work. My freezers are stuffed full. Of what, I’m not sure. What I DO know is that I have NO room for a mere 10 lb turkey (or 2 or 3) so I need to be eating that stuff up to make room. My pantry is full & almost overflowing. Of course, I have NO regular pasta, spaghetti like stuff. Just ziti, macaroni & such. Why am I telling you this? Cuz I had to use macaroni noodles last night for a meal that called for linguine. Ds pitched a fit because there was NO cheese sauce. He of course figured out how to make it himself at the last minute and I’ll be damned, that kid did awesome!! May have to have him make some mac & cheese for the family soon … oh wait. I don’t think I have macaroni anymore! And then of course, the fridges should really only be for stuff short term. There are a few things in there that I tossed last night and will be doing so again this week. So. What would be a good $ amount to place for the month? I KNOW I can’t go $40 every week. PLUS I must buy turkeys (the sooner the better). I’m leaning more towards just going with the flow of things but not buying unless I’m out. Oh lord. Pass up on stock up value items? Isn't’ that what everyone is doing now? Shouldn’t I be doing that too? Maybe not yet. Not now. Not this week. Lets wait til next week. That is going to be the way I have to do this. Just put it off. Procrastinate? Yeah, that’s the word!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Election Day and choices

In TWO weeks, we get to go vote for the next President of the United States. How many of you know for SURE who you are voting for? How many of you, like ME, still haven’t decided yet (as I type this, I envision my home phone ringing non-stop with all the political message recordings!)? Lets see. Does it even matter what I am registered to vote as? (Republican, in case you really wanted to know). Does it matter that I do NOT vote straight Republican? We have: 1. John McCain & that mom from Alaska (am I the only one that refers to her as that?) 2. Barack Obama (obamamomma) and that dude that had his eyes & hair done I believe Ralph Nadar on the list again this year which makes ds very happy, although I’m not sure why. You can go to this website www.votesmart.org and put in your state to find out who could be on your ballot. At this time, there are a lot of selections!! Holy smokes I need to start doing some more research.
I found a new website yesterday that provided some GREAT coupons to print off (ds favorite, pizza rolls, $1 off). www.becentsable.net I didn't spend a whole lot of time on the website, but did print off the Hunts coupon ($1 off), Pizza Rolls ($1 off) and a few others. With the price of groceries still high, figured I better start getting them coupons again for the things I buy frequently. I know, I know. I go through these periods. BUT it irritates me when I pay full price for something that I KNOW I've seen a coupon for!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I am still trying to get in the groove of getting dinner together quickly at 7:30pm Monday through Thursday. It’s hard, if not close to impossible. BUT with a little planning, I’ve been able to do it most of the time. Easy enough, Thursday, because I watch Surivor with ds, we almost always do soup & sandwiches. It’s almost a fend for yourself type of dinner in a way. Other nights are planned leftovers from the freezer. And then there is the advance prep … like this morning, I cooked up the ground turkey & made my taco meat at 6am. Actually, I had wanted to do that last night but was just too tired and dreading the 5am wake up call. I also will make pasta in advance. Everyone can just nuke in microwave & put whatever they want on it (dh & dd put brocolli, garlic & olive oil, ds puts sauce and me, I ususally toss a little with lettuce & add parmesean & cesear dressing). Chicken is made almost every weekend, then cut & placed in serving size containers & frozen for lunches & dinners through out the week. Of course, this weekend that didn’t happen. Was to have been made Saturday for dinner but friends came by with steaks so its still in fridge marinating. Need to be sure to cook it tonight which means I’m going to be tired, hungry and crabby. It’s a little hard on the kids. Granted they are teens & do know how to function somewhat in the kitchen. BUT what I really hate is when they grab the frozen pizzas and such to eat for a snack when they come home from school cuz it’s been 4 to 5 hours since lunch time & they are hungry. Wish they would eat SNACK food but I guess they feel the need for meal quality food Then they are hungry again by the time I get home. Grrr.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Article of Interest (to me)

This was found on cnn.com on Thursday, October 16th. I sent it to dh with no comments. Generally, I think Glenn Beck is a little radical (at least his televised show is borderline) BUT I have a tendacy to agree with just about everything in the article. DH & I had a little conversation about it (over cocktails) Thrusday after dinner. We discussed how last summer (18 months ago) we were in the pool one Saturday with a bunch of friends and how we are looking out over the intracoastal at the new McMansions and commenting how we never saw anyone outside, enjoying the beautiful view. Then I piped up and said well maybe they have to work alot to pay for it (were talking $3M and up homes). One of our friends who was in the mortgage business, stood up in the pool & said "in 2 to 3 years, you watch, all those homes will be in foreclosure & the banks will have to take ownership". Holy crap! He was right. It's just amazing, because you know what, I think EVERYONE saw the current economy coming, we just kept hoping we could hold it off a little longer ... DH and I both agreed that yeah, Beck is pretty much right on the money. That yes, we really should BOTH commit to save, save, save a hell of a lot more than we do now. Here's the article: Editor's note: Glenn Beck is on CNN Headline News nightly at 7 and 9 ET and also is host of a conservative national radio talk show. Glenn Beck says government has to cut spending and reduce taxes. NEW YORK (CNN) -- Despite the best efforts of our politicians to convince us otherwise, there is no easy way out of the financial crisis we've created. Gimmicks and Band-Aids won't solve the underlying problem; they just delay its impact until after the election. While that might help politicians keep their jobs, it won't help you and me keep ours. A lot of us saw what was coming before the dam broke. We didn't need fancy graphs or prize-winning economists to warn us. We just used common sense. But now that same common sense is now telling us something else: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. We can't print billions of new dollars and expect there to never be a consequence for it down the road. We can't unwind a bubble built on historic levels of greed by simply writing a check or passing a law. I'm sorry that I don't have any magic pills to offer, but for those who are ready to stop treating our gunshot wound with painkillers and start finding some real solutions, I have a few ideas. No. 1: Preparation, not panic. Things could get really bad before they get better. Really, really bad. But you'll never know what's coming by watching the Dow every day -- it's a terrible indicator. In fact, the four largest percentage gains in the Dow's history happened between 1929 and 1933, a period that wasn't exactly a great time to buy. What we're experiencing right now are the outer bands of a hurricane with an eye that likely won't hit us for another year or two. In the meantime, there will be plenty of sunny days, but they'll just distract us from what's coming. Stay focused on what your gut tells you is still churning just offshore. As you wait, do what those in the path of a real hurricane do: prepare. Build an emergency cash fund, store some extra food, learn a new skill, consult a financial adviser ... do anything that will get you and your family ready. Just don't panic. No. 2: Early retirement. Does anyone else find it odd that some of the same people who proved their financial incompetence during the S&L crisis, the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble are still in office to guide us through this economic crisis? John McCain (first elected to Congress in 1982), Joe Biden (1972), Robert Byrd (1952), John Dingell (1955), Daniel Inouye (1962) and Ted Stevens (1968) are just a few examples of national politicians who were seemingly roaming Washington right alongside the dinosaurs. How many of you have been in the same job since the '70s? Outside of politics (and "60 Minutes"), it just doesn't happen. I understand the case against term limits. I know that some people believe it would force them to retire just as they begin to "master" (please, no laughter) the issues -- but is that really a bad thing? Maybe having people who are curious enough to ask simple questions about seemingly routine issues is exactly what we need. For example, a great question circa 2004 might have been: "So what happens if housing prices ever start to decline?" No. 3: Power isn't permanent. Take it back. Giving our government more and more power every year has almost become routine. But when's the last time we've told our leaders that they're doing such a lousy job we want some of it back? Massachusetts is now trying just that. On Election Day, their residents will vote on whether to eliminate their state income tax. If passed, each Massachusetts taxpayer would save an average of about $3,600 a year. Of course, establishment politicians are sounding all kinds of dire warnings about what will happen to state programs without the tax, but I'd be willing to bet that they'll find a way to adapt and survive. After all, it's not called "Taxachusetts" for nothing. Just remember our government has power only because We the People lend it to them. Maybe it's time to treat them like the subprime borrower they are and recall that loan. No. 4: Live within your means and demand our leaders do the same. In 1991, my home state of Connecticut (the Constitution State -- oh, the irony) was suffering from a budget deficit of nearly a billion dollars. Instead of using those hard times as an opportunity to convince the state to start living within their means, the governor proposed an income tax. After a long stalemate, the General Assembly eventually agreed. Now, 17 years later, that income tax (which, of course, has been raised over the years) is projected to bring in about $7.6 billion. Add in $350 million in revenue from Indian casinos that wasn't there in 1991, and Connecticut now has nearly $8 billion in new revenue to play with. So, with all of that money, they must now have massive surpluses, right? Wrong. Connecticut's governor recently announced that this year's budget deficit has increased to $300 million, and she says it might still get worse. How did it happen? Easy: out-of-control spending. In 1991, Connecticut's spending budget was $7.6 billion. Now? It's $17.5 billion -- an increase of 130 percent. Believe me, as someone who lives in Connecticut, there hasn't been a 130 percent improvement in roads, schools or hospitals over that time. It's time to stop giving these clowns any more money (see No. 3, above) and force them to start living within their means. No. 5: Goodnight Saigon The chorus of Billy Joel's famous song about the Vietnam War still rings true today: We will all go down together. When the eye of the storm finally comes ashore, nothing will be less relevant than whether you're a registered Democrat or Republican. It didn't matter during Pearl Harbor, the Cuban Missile Crisis or Oklahoma City, and I certainly don't remember anyone asking to see a voter ID card before they gave you a hug on 9/11. If September 11 was the worst day in American history, then September 12 was one of the best. Do you remember what it was like? Lines at blood banks; filled-up churches; neighbors watching out for each other; families sitting around the dinner table and talking to each other. (I find this to be oh so very true, but how pathetic!!) It was the America we all long for -- and we can have it back. But if you're waiting for another historic crisis to convince you to put the donkeys and elephants aside and reconnect with each other, then open your eyes; we're in the middle of it. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

Crockpot Korean Rib Recipe review

Ok. They weren't bad. They weren't to die for either. The kids & dh complained that the house smelled funky when they came in. Honestly, it kinda smelled like a sewer smell. Not sure why but it did smell odd. I took the lid off & cooked the juice down some. They were ok. Edible. I think next time I would use beef ribs with bone. The ones I used were boneless countrystyle pork. They were frozen so I coudln't trim alot of the fat off ... I hate fat in the crockpot . DH ended up throwing the chicken breast I had marinating in Ken's lite cesear dressing on the grill (that was to be Friday's dinner) ... oh well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Using the crockpot

This morning I have the crockpot all fired up to make my dinner while I'm at the office all day long. I know, some people flip out about leaving the slow cooker plugged in AND on all day long. The only thing I worry about is overflow, so I always, always, always put a baking sheet under the crock while I'm gone. Ok - say your one of them people...you equate the crockpot to an iron, left on all day. It's gonna burn the house down. Ummm. Maybe you have one of them really really old crockpots? The one that your grandmother got for her wedding present? Perhaps, its time to break down and buy a NEW one. One of them SMART ones ... ok, so I'm a little excitable (could be the 3 cups of coffee too!) Target, just this past weekend, had the big red ones on clearance for $19!!!!!! Crumb! I have the large black one. A smaller (5qt?) older one (with the cheesy flower pattern & the old fashioned brown crock, PLASTIC lid - so it's not that old!), a smaller one (3qt?) white one that a g/f picked up at Walmart during one of their Christmas specials for $3.00 and then the little dipper than came with the new black one AND the little dipper dh paid for years ago. I really really wanted the red one. But just could NOT justify it. Plus, space is getting more difficult to come by in the guest kitchen . We do use all 4 of these crocks during the boat parade party so they do come in use. AND actually, I got rid of one a few months back. I got tired of messing around trying to clean it as the crock was NOT removable (whose brilliant idea was that???) Ok ... off to the purpose of this message. I found this GREAT website: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ Then I found this GREAT recipe: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/04/crockpot-korean-ribs-recipe.html I figured, heck, I've got boneless country style ribs in freezer that I am at a total loss what to do with (besides pulled bbq pork), tons of soy sauce (none of that watery sodium laden stuff please!!), tons of brown sugar (ok, not as much as I thought, just opened up my last 2 lb bag), picked up the jalapeno peppers yesterday, and water, yes I have water. It's all in the pot now, frozen solid & all. Put on high (like she did) since it's frozen. I opted to use the old flowery crock since I think the black one would be too big. Although, I like the black one as it has a much bigger cooking surface on the bottom. Anyways ... dd will be home later today as today is Senior Skip Day. Off to Boomers they go and then she has a 3pm dr appt. I will have her make the rice tonight before I get home from gym. afterall, it's Thursday, SURVIVOR is on & again, it's Thursday and I'm beat! I will post the results later ... and don't worry, the crockpot will be fine on low the rest of the day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I would like to know just WHO gets the calls for those political polls that they keep using as a meter for the lead in the presidential election. I mean, I've been a registered voter for, oh, 26 years now. AND I have never received a pollster calling me. Believe me. NEVER. I've received some of the most annoying recorded messages however to not vote for so and so because they voted for this or that, but never a live poll. Hmmm. Would it be, because, maybe, because I'm Republican?? That doesn't necessarily mean I vote straight Republican ... come on, I'm tempted to vote for the independent dude this year only because I don't have faith or confidence in either candidate and we only have 3 weeks (LESS!) to go. I did not mean to yell, here and there. Forgive me. Im off to find some paradoy of all this madness on youtube (you know it's out there!!)
For the past 2 hours, since 5:00am (!!) I've had to listen to this "CHIRP" every 30 to 45 seconds from the smoke detector in the hall by the guest room. Which coincidentially, is almost directly behind me. I'm hard of hearing and man, that thing is loud and annoying. Ok, I get the reason why ... but do you think ANYONE else in this house has heard it?? Apparently not, it's still chirping away!! So, you may be asking yourself, why don't I change the battery? Because a) that is not something that I do and b) I don't think I have any 9 volt batteries. See, the last time I unscrewed the smoke detector from the mount, I failed to remember that our detectors are wired to the alarm system. Well, I inadvertently (in my haste to finish the damn project) pulled the wiring & oops, broke the connection. That was not fun. So. Here it is is, now 7am. Do you think anyone hears it yet??

Monday, October 13, 2008

I SWEAR I can hear the Ikea store calling my name. Drats. That was my plan today. Drive all the way west to Ikea. My ONLY holiday off without the kids. Drats. Boss told me Thursday that I had to come in & work today. Drats. I'm sure I could have protested in some form & maybe negoitated a half day? Drats. On the other hand, I'm thankful I have a job. And have money. To spend at Ikea on another day.

Saturday boating

We went on the boat Saturday. Should have been a great day. It was a great day. But we stayed up a little too late on Friday. Dh (in my opinion) had a little too much to drink so he wasn't quite rarin to go in the morning. Our friends were to be at our house at 10. Of course, it's the same friends who came by the night before. I got up at 6:30. Cleaned up a bit (of course!) and then headed to walmart NM to pick up beer, water, gatorade/propel & ice. $80 later (of course!) I get home at 9am. Dh was on the computer messing around. Said he was turning off boat monitoring system. Ok. Next thing I know, he's messing around with a light on the boat. Does this really need to be done NOW when we have friends coming in 40 minutes?? Grrrr. So that kind of set my mood. I got out of it though. We went to Boca Lake (if you want to see, click here: http://lakebocacam.com/). Grilled the big hot dogs. Had another boat & friends show up. They brough JD. Not a good thing. Honestly. Not a good thing. Anyways, did not have a good ending for the evening. Our friends left about 8:30. Needless to say, Sunday was a low key, quiet, do nothing day for some members of the household (not me, went to an estate sale, picked up new tv for ds & visualized my whole house done in wicker, the GOOD stuff).

Upcoming Trip

We are finally going to do something for our 18th Anniversary! Woohoo. We are going SOUTH (young man) to Key Largo, Islamorado, Plantation Key, Tavenier, whatever you really want to call it!! The place we are staying is here: www.coconutpalminn.com It looks beautiful. Of course, they all do on the internet!! But the main reason we picked it was because it's on the Bay side AND has a boat ramp & dock and NO extra fee for the seadoo trailer overnight. The place that we've stayed at before www.pcove.com was really a neat place BUT they wanted to charge an additional $30 a night for the trailer. Hmmm. I thought that's what we paid 8 years ago for a 30 foot boat at the dock? Anyway. I'm really excited. I will pack a cooler with milk, sodas, water, etc. Lunchmeat, mayo/mustard & salad stuff. I am going to attempt to eat out of the cooler for breakfast & lunch with dinner only out. I don't know how cheap it would be. I know that the travel industry is taking a HUGE hit but it is also Fantasy fest that week in Key West and for some reason, I just think it travels a bit northerly down there. Hope not too much. Would have liked to have bought a new swimsuit before than but my goal is still November 1st. We shall see!!

McDonalds

I’m not sure if this is nationwide or just a south florida thing … but we can get McDonalds hamburgers for 49 cents & cheeseburgers for 59 cents on Wednesdays and Sundays. I was looking for an easy way out for dinner on Sunday … still cost me $14 though … 10 burgers (you want cheese? Toss a slice on when you get home) and 4 large fries. As ds points out, large fries are like $2.50 each … he would know that!! Oh well. It was good junk food fast. Well, not so good. But it did hit the spot!

Gasoline/fuel

Well things are looking better (at the time) for the price of gas. Just filled up Dd’s car (well, really, it’s mine but she drives it ALLLLLL the time) for $35.00 … $3.29 per gallon. Much much better. Amazing as I just put $50 worth of gas in the Tahoe last Monday for $3.5* a gallon (can’t remember exactly but I know it was 30 cents or so more per gallon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stock Market, Economy, Ramblings

So we have 10 minutes or so before the market closes for the day, and GUESS WHAT?? It's down 600+ points! So. How many people are really concerned? It amazes me when I hear people say, oh it will come back, and so on. But you know what, WE (my husband and I) lost over $30,000 in the month of September on our retirement accounts. That is my annual salary. I basically just lost one year of pay in one month. And September wasn't even THAT bad!!! Ok. Deep breath. Whew. We ARE still going to Islamorada at the end of October. Its our 18th Anniversary. The kids should be thrilled that we will leave them alone again. They just wanted to be sure that we were around for Halloween (how odd is that??!) We are excited as we will drive the Tahoe and trailer the seadoo down for some cruisin. This will be my 2nd time to the Keys by car. We used to always go by boat and then the last time we drove and I was like "wow, that's what it looks like from land?" like a little kid. No, we are NOT doing fantasy fest. I don't think I could tolerate the wildness for long. I dont' have patience for rude, obnoxious drunks, even if I am participating. . I hope it doesn't come that far north and stays to the south in Key West. I was hoping to go to Ikea on Monday, Columbus Day. Dh was saying that he didn't think it was necessary (no joke, not that many miles, but would take 30 to 45 minutes to drive there). I've been wanting to go since it opened 10 months ago and haven't. Figured since I'm off and the kids have school, I would do something fun just for me. Give myself $100 and see if anything really jumped out at me. You know how it is, you have $ in your pocket THEN you can't find anything you really really want! But now I think I might be working. Odd, it's a holiday, banks & post office are closed, I think the courts are too (gonna check before end of day) and we've ALWAYS had that day off (my only free day of the year without the kids!). Speaking of Columbus Day: we used to do Columbus Day Regatta down to Elliott Key. It's one of the first islands and is really an island, no roads in or out so boats only. Would always hook up with a bunch of friends & cruise down there. What a hairy ride it would be sometimes, especially hitting the markers in horrible conditions. Anyways, the sailboats would all be anchored out there in the wide open waters (really, electric lights in sight) and it would just look like a city out there. But talk about wild parties. Whew. I'm glad we were powerboaters and not sailboaters. We just don't play the same . So the market is officially closed at -675.97. Shoot. They should just round the damn numbe rup to 676 and be done with it. Crumb. Ok, now that I've managed to ramble for the past 20 minutes (and the phone hasn't rang once during that time, thats how 'quiet' the real estate law market is) I suppose I should go do something somewhat productive ...

Cost of Groceries - South Florida

This is in response to a post over at http://titus2345.blogspot.com/ Gallon milk 2% - $3.29 (Costco this past weekend-cheap!) 5lbs potatoes $2 (Walmart neighborhood market)apples $1.29 Oranges 3lb bag $3.29 (Costco) Bananas 50 cents/lb (Walmart Neighborhood Market) lettuce (iceburg head) 79 cents (Publix has a new “essentials” thing going on so this is now half price) Cucumber 89 cents is normal going rate. Can get them 5/$1 if I drive out to produce market Tomatoes $1.19 to $3.99 lb … 89 to 99 cents lb if I drive to produce market can’t wait for garden to come in! Carrots 89 cents 1 lb bag. I generally get a 5 lb bag at produce market for $2ground beef $2.49 all the way to $4.99 (for better stuff) Chicken $3.99 for b/s breast going rate ($5 for 3 lb frozen @ Walmart NM last weekend, got 3 bags, should have gotten lots more) pork chops $3.39 center cut boneless. Costco has it cheaper but I don’t normally buy them. I buy the tenderloin for something like $3.29/lb cold cuts (ham/turkey) – I ONLY buy this from Costco, already cut & packaged. Price went up last weekend, $3.15 for black forest ham & $3.99 for smoked turkey. block of cheese what happended to this stuff?? $3.99 for 8 (YES, EIGHT) ounces lb of butter or margarine – again, butter from Costco, buy 4 lbs for under $8 ($7.59 I think?) box of mac and cheese (blue box) - $1.09 (??? When did that happen??) pkg of cookies like Oreos $3.89 (no thanks, sorry kiddos) can of beans 89 cents for STORE BRAND. Again, what happened?? can of tomatoes 99 cents to $1.99, depending on the type and brand pkg of pasta (put in size) 1 lb pasta $1.49. Buy 1 get 1 free are no longer a deal pkg of frozen veggies like peas or corn (put in size) last time I bought 1 lb bag of frozen brocolli (Albertsons brand) for 89 cents a bag. That was a GREAT price, I heard tin of coffee (put in size) 32 oz (I think) $8.99 regular price. I try to hold out til its on sale @ $5.99 (no more $4.99) or buy one get one free (bags) 12 double roll toilet paper … sorry. I can’t help. I buy the Costco kirland stuff, like a gazillion rolls for $17. It last for several months in my house of 4. I like it cuz they are each individually wrapped in plastic AND it’s cushy (not 1 ply) AND doesn’t have ‘fuzzy linty’ stuff I am not one that LOVES to shop at Costco and Walmart BUT do acknowledge the fact that some of my best deals come from these stores and actually spoils me when I go to a regular grocery store.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

If I could live anywhere

I think I would choose to live way out in the country, with acres and acres of land and have cows, a few horses (I suppose that would be a necessity?), dogs, cats, kids (mine), hubby (mine) and perhaps a few friends/family members living there too. I would LOVE to live on a working farm/ranch. Sure, it sounds 'glamarous' to me, a city girl. I wasn't always a city girl. Believe me, when I turned 18, I was just looking for a way to get out of town!!! Chesterton Indiana. Wow. Rural land. We were thrilled when McD came to town! Even more excited when Pizza Hut came in. We would catch the SouthShore train and ride it to Chicago. Talk about awe inspiring. I was petrified, yet so giddy with excitement the first time, and even the 20th time! Now look at me. I do take time to enjoy the sites of downtown Ft. Lauderdale. I enjoy my ride in to work better. Down A1A with the ocean on my left and then west on Las Olas Blvd with the water on both sides of the street & a row of palm trees down the middle. Yes, that is beautiful. BUT ... well. I've been wanting to move for a few years now. I miss the seasons. I miss the smells. I miss the ... well, 'quietness' of it all. I miss seeing the stars at night. The sounds of the animals & bugs in the early evening. Lightning bugs. Oh I miss them! But then reality crashes all around me. DH has a great job. I do too. Of course, depending on how the economy holds out will determine how long we do. We have a house that is pretty mcuh paid for. It would be riduculous to try and sell it now. Of course, we could accept below market value & still make a killing, but still. We have teens. Granted, soon to be 16 and 18. She will be going to college this time next (local community college which is actually maybe NOT a community college anymore). He plays in a band that takes up al his free time (www.theravencult.com OR www.myspace.com/theravenofficial). And of course, there are the water toys. Boat. Waverunner. House. Jobs. Friends ... well, not as many as there used to be as they've moved away! Change does not agree with hubby or the kids. Bummer.
So do you think it’s good or bad when your employer gives you the news 2 months in advance that your healthcare premium and costs will be substantially more expensive in 2009. DH just sent me an email stating (again) that he’s only going to say this “once”, if anyone has any pending health issues that need to be looked at, to do it now. I am starting to think that he may be concerned for his company and his job. Hmmm. That does not make me comfortable at all. Used to be, heck, if worse comes to worse, we have our savings/investments to tide us over but now it’s like WHAT savings? I believe our statement shows we lost over $30K last month (September). I’m sure it’s not over yet (although the market is DOWN and then way UP within minutes … freaky!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

5 minutes & $18

That was me this morning on way to work: went to gas station by house, and all the tanks were wrapped in yellow caution tape. Hmm. I think they were out of gas. I hope that's what it was. Went to the 711 down the road on way to office, put in $50 since my tank was almost below 1/4. Ran in to Publix for dishsoap, and realized I needed toothpaste too. Then remembered I have one gift card left with $18 on it so picked up 3 of the smaller bottles of gatorade (6pks) for kids lunches. $17.xx later. Geesh. Of course, sitting here in the office, phones are QUIET ... eerily so, and the stock market is tanking again, down over 500 at one point which really sucks. I think it's around 400 now but still, that should say a LOT about that 'rescue bill' aka bailout bill aka screw the people bill. Sorry, I just don't think that my kids, their kids, and those kids should have to pay for the greed (and stupidity) of big banks and execs. Oh well. Just an fyi - I DO have rice, some ammo (for a handgun that I probably CAN NOT shoot) and gold

Rain, boredom, shopping

Yup. That's what happens every single time. I get bored. Start pacing the house. Get a teen asking for a lift to the movie theater. Me saying, sure, I wanted to go to Costco ANYWAYS. Huh? $285 later (so $50 of it was my membership renewal). What did I get that I had to have? Good question. Remember, just spent $145 at Walmart Neighborhood Market. Like this is really continuing the 30 Days of Nothing motto!! And I still forgot to buy dishsoap!! I have, like NONE. Not even the bottle anymore. so, let's see, what does $284 (minus $50) buy at Costco anymore? I'm telling you, the prices have changed there AND I was telling DH, it didn't seem anywhere near as busy. He said it's because of the economy & people aren't out there charging things up on their cards. I say it's because of the weather. Probably a combination of both. I got: 50 pk frito lays chips, 2 pkgs of 36 crackers/cookies, pkg of multigrain crackers, tangerines, 10 lb sugar ($4.75, better price than store), fresh garlic bulbs, 2 6 lb bags of b/s chix thighs ($1.44/lb), 5 lb bag meatballs, 8 pkgs of butter (1lb each), 2 pkgs turkey lunchmeat, 3 pkg blk forest ham, dh favorite hotdogs, 5 lbs shredded mozzarela, 2 gallons milk ($3.29 for 2%, woohoo!!), 8 cans albacore tuna, hormel crumbled bacon bits, 64 ct coldeze drops, blk beans & rice (8 pk), hamburger & hot dog buns, big hot dog buns for dh favorite dogs, and ... a total sponaneous buy, which I did not need cuz I still have some, and its not like I even like it but I am MAKING myself use it more: 6 lb protein powder. . That was $33. There you have it. And still, no dishsoap.

Them dinner rolls

Would have been delicious had I used all white flour. Just not a wheat flour fan.
Here's how they looked right before I was ready to bake:
I just don't like whole wheat flour and the flavor when I bake with it :( Next time, it's all white flour, regardless of what dh says!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dinner Roll recipe

So tonight we are making garlicky baked chicken, salad and these dinner rolls found here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/11/pw_dinner_rolls_-_no_kneading_required/ It's kinda like ones I've made in the past, but the no knead part has gotten me. I substituted 3 cups of white flour for whole wheat, only because hubby was grumbling because I told him that I would prefer NOT to have his double baked taters this evening ... I pointed to my newly slim stomach & said that I was trying to keep that. :) Oh well... so he grumbled about the all white flour (he has this weird belief that whole grain is better, but not necessarily as this was HOME made) so I asked him if it would make him feel better if I added some whole wheat flour in. Not sure what it will do to the final product, hopefully not a whole lot of anything!!! I'll keep you posted how they turn out. OH - the website is cool. I spend too much time on there. But heck, she's enteraining as hell and I'm so envious of her land, views, etc. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side! :)

Walmart Neighborhood Market

Oh yea! I got to leave work an hour early on Friday and headed up to the new Walmart Neighborhood market on Federal Highway. I've been watching the sign for 2 years, waiting for the day. Honestly, I thought it was a done deal, not happening any longer, cuz it took so darn long! So...off I went. Got there about 4:30. On a Friday. Parking lot was mobbed. Yikes! Grabbed a cart outside, figuring it would beat trying to find one inside. Good deal. Great deals!!!! So, I bought 62 items & spent $145. I know, I know, I just came off the 30 days of nothing. Holy Smokes, 3 days later & I'm blowing $ left & right Here's what I got (with sale price/regular price): strawberries (1 lb pkgs got 4) 98cents/$2.98 cantelope (bougth 2) 98 cents/$3.98 bananas 50 cents lb kiwis 3/$1 fresh pineapple 98 cents/$3.98 12 pk corono lite (bought 2)$10/$13.99 12 pk heinekin lite $10/$13.99 24 pk coke products (bought 4) $5/$5.98 1 lb frozen tilipia (bought 2) $3/$4.98 3 lb b/s chix breast (frozen bought 3) $5/$7.98 Oscar Meyer weiners (bought 3) $1/$2.98 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese (3) $2/$2.58 10 oz shrimp rings (bought 4) $2.50/$4.98 1 lb Oscar Meyer bacon $2/$3.98 Wack a can croissants (got 6 since holidays are coming!)$1/$1.58 And then I think this stuff was just regular priced: Frozen waffles popsickles (never buy at walmart since too far of a drive & they would melt by time I got home) banquet mac & cheese $1 (quick fix for kids) banquet salsbury dinner $1 (quick fix for kids) white bread sausage patties Oh I know there is more but this is just the stuff that sticks in my mind. I really didn't want to shop THAT much but heck, there were some GREAT deals! I didn't even go down the aisles, just the outside of the store. Woohoo. I know they say that's the shopping strategy but man, that was odd for me to do that. So now, I don't have to drive allllll the way west or north to shop at walmart. The only thing I normally buy there anyways is the food, not the stuff stuff within!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Weather in South Florida

Ahhh...at last, we can feel the change in the tempeture! I believe they said that it would 'only' be a high of 85 today! Uh huh. It's October 2nd for petes sake! And apparently, we had some kind of front that is bringing us dryer air. Woohoo! Lower humidity, lower temps (hey, we were still hitting close to 90) and NO rain! Better make sure I check the garden this morning before I leave for work. The thing that I don't like about this time of year? The sunrise & sunset times. We haven't changed our time yet (fall back one hour) and the sun isn't coming up & out until 7:15 am or so. Not to mention, it's been rainy & dreary for the past week, so more like 'what sun?'. Plus, when I leave the gym at 7 or so, I have to turn on my headlights because it's kind of getting to that iffy time of evening where you can't really see certain cars (grey). I have a white car but still. The pool is probably done, by my standards. DH was in last night and Sunday night. But with all the rain and less sun ... it's cooling off. How pathetic is that. It's probably still 82 - 85 degrees but too cold for my taste. Huh. The ocean is still around 85 and people are still going in. The good news with the ocean cooling down is that the fish are closer to shore (gulf stream comes closer in) and we don't have to go out 20 miles to fish! I believe it's suppose to be SUNNY today so need to make sure I close the shades ... gotta try and keep the electric bill below $400 ... this should be the LAST month for higher billing, should come back down to around $350 and less. Yes, I really pay that much. Stinks. And I have been as conservative as possible around here. :(

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

30 Days of Nothing, Day 30 - LAST DAY

$ NOTHING!!! It would be only fitting, right?? Wow. I really think I should continue this. Maybe not on such a level, but really, it wasn't that hard. I DID restrain myself. Maybe not as much as others, but hey, I had $450 leftover in my account when I deposited my end of the month payroll check. Rolled that right over into my savings account. That will pay for the kids Bday gifts (16 & 18 in December!). I do see a costco trip in the very near future. I have a list going & was actually thinking of trying to limit myself to $100. But I don't think that will work. Butter is on the list (2 sticks left in freezer). Chix thighs. Ham & turkey lunchmeat (can get it cheapest there) and a bunch of other things that we 'like' from there. Hmmm. Is that a sign?? OH - Walmart is FINALLY opening this "neighborhood market" today down the road from me. Well, it's about 4 miles away but a lot closer than the BIG store. I'm excited. It's "part produce, part walmart". Can't wait to check it out!! It's so much closer than the farmers market too!! Woohoo. Will post when I finally go ... maybe on Saturday? OH, and my good friends FINALLY come back from Colorado today! They will be here for the whole month of October. Of course, they will go to Key West the end of the month for fantasyfest. DH & I had talked about going, but we both agreed we would get real tired of it quickly. Breakfast - eggs, toast & bacon lunch - kids were on own, no school. Dh & I had salad with turkey (I think, I can't remember right now!!) dinner - this is funny. Ready made potroast (you know, nuke for 4 minutes, let sit for 2) and pkg of instant red potatoes. Dh said that dd would love them since they were chunky (she was sleeping already). I had picked them up a few weeks ago with a coupon so they only cost 50 cents each. I will go back & buy a bunch more to have on hand if the coupon is still there. They weren't bad, and were a heck of a lot easier than peeling, cutting, boiling & mashing by hand. And I think they would be a LOT cheaper. Taters are not cheap down here!

30 Days of Nothing, Day 29

$ - 16 to the 2 kids, 8 each. School only on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday this week. I know that somewhere last week I got $40 of gas but don't think I posted it? I can't believe the month is almost over. I mean, it didn't seem 'difficult'. But then again, I don't think I really showed that much restraint. Sure, I thought twice about some things, but other times, it was as if the extra money in my account was there, so why not buy 2 drying racks instead of one. At least I did do a bit of comparison shopping. Breakfast - eggs, toast & sausage patty lunch - kids usual, me & dh had salads with chicken (freezer) dinner - tacos. Originally I was going to make quesidillas and had sauteed all the veggies on Sunday (peppers were starting to get soft, so it was a perfect excuse) but then when I did freezer inventory, found some taco meat that I had frozen last time. It's a good thing to do inventory! The gym was an awesome workout. I didn't lose any weight in September, but gained ... my trainer insists that it's muscle. Sure. Yes, I do have more muscle, not as 'squishy' or bulgy but still. Now I weight 148. A year ago I weighed 133 or so. Then I quit smoking. Got lazy. Turned 44. And the list of excuses goes on. NO MORE!! I have committed myself to focusing on myself for the month of October (starting 2 days early!) and will buy a NEW swimsuit (bikini, of course) November 1st. Yes, I can do that, I live in Florida! Question is: will it be a brazilian bottom? Thong? Full cut? String? So many options! DH would like to take a long weekend & fly to either Nashville OR drive to Islamorada for our anniversary at the end of the month. We will be married for 18 years on October 24th. We've actually been together since 1981. Dated a loooooong time & then my daughter happened. Will never ever say she was an accident, but rather a BIG surprise. I didn't ever see myself as having kids. I'm glad I did (for the most part) ... but that's another post for another day