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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Days 351 and 352 and SICK AGAIN

Tom and I were both sick yesterday with a stomach bug. I was still feeling really bad and running a pretty high fever last night so I closed down for today (I only had one child scheduled). Tom still wasn't feeling the greatest, but he went to work anyway. I am feeling much better this morning, thank goodness. I just cannot believe that I had two stomach bugs within a little over 2 weeks. Good grief!

Well, today is the last day of 2008. It's been an exciting year for our family. We have made some very positive changes in our life. This morning, I added up what we've spent out of the emergency fund since we started it in mid-January. $3483!!!! WOW! If you'd told me a year ago we'd ever manage to even do an emergency fund, I am not sure I'd have believed it was possible. That total is not counting the fact that we spent almost all of our Christmas money to fix the van and pay off our auto part bill. We are back to square one on the EF and it's time to start again.

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 350 and back to work today

Well, I was back to work today. I had three kids so it was a fairly easy day and the weather was great so we got to spend time outside which was wonderful. The whole week should be light, then my two new kids should start next Monday.

For some unknown reason, I am absolutely wiped out tonight so I can't think of anything more to say. I'll try to do better tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Days 347, 348, and 349 and scared

Something scary happened on Christmas eve that I haven't mentioned yet. I'm almost scared to talk about it because talking about it might make it real. Tom's dad being hospitalized kind of pushed this other issue aside for a while, but the worry is back.

The crappy economy has hit us right between the eyes. On Christmas eve, Tom's job handed out letters notifying everyone that they were being cut down to 4 days/32 hours a week, effective this next week. This is going to severely affect our debt repayment plan and even though I'm trying really hard not to be worried and scared, well, I am. So, just asking for prayers there.

We did get the van back and with our Christmas money and the tiny bit in the EF, we paid off the mechanic and paid off all we owe to the auto parts store. So at least that's one less bill to be worrying about right now. Wasn't really what we had hoped to spend our Christmas money on, but it was a blessing to have the money and be able to pay that all off.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 346 and Random Christmas thoughts

Today was a really nice day. I got up and started the ham for lunch. Then kind of laid around until later when I peeled potatoes and the other things I needed to do to get ready for Christmas dinner. Serenity and Josh got here around 10:30 or so and we opened gifts and then finished making dinner. Serenity is getting so grown up, she bought us a new microwave! LOL, she said ours was "ghetto". After lunch we had a family game of Las Vegas Monopoly (which I totally lost). Anyway, it's been a nice relaxing day. Tom got me a new back massager for the recliner. Mine was dying. Only one of the massager things worked out of three. The new one is wonderful!

I forgot to mention a couple of things yesterday. One is that Tom's dad is in the hospital, so please keep him in prayer. The other is that we finally got our van back! YEAH!

Serenity is going back tonight and she is taking Tasha with her which means that Tom and I get a couple of days alone together. That will be nice. Part of it will be spent cleaning up for our get together with Tom's family on Sunday (assuming it doesn't get postponed).

Anyway, if I don't get a chance to write again until Monday, you'll know why!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 345 and Merry Christmas

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. Tom & I are both off the next few days and so if you don't hear much from me, I"m busy spending time with my sweetheart.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 344 and early morning shopping

So this morning I took Tom to work so I could have a vehicle and do some shopping while he was at work. Let me tell you, Wal-Mart at 7:00 in the morning is not bad at all! Anyway, I got Tom's gift and a few other things there, went to the mall and got me some new shoes (mine were in bad shape), then got some stuff at the grocery store and was back home by 10:00 to relax until time to go pick Tom up. I sat around and read and watched some TV and just relaxed again. I knew I was tired, but I just didn't realize how exhausted I was until I had time to slow down.

I still don't have my van back and I've decided not to go to my uncle's funeral tomorrow. I had someone offer me the use of a vehicle (thank you so much, you know who you are!), but I just was not comfortable driving it on a 250+ mile round trip. Tomorrow Tom has to work 1/2 day so I'll just stay home in the morning and hopefully sleep in. I've been wide awake at 5:00 a.m. the last two days.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 343 and Christmas is almost here

Wow! Just a couple of days until Christmas. I still have a few things left to do, especially go to the grocery store. I still don't have my van back so I'm going to get up and take Tom to work in the morning so I'll have the car to run some errands. I'm starting to go through my usual feelings of not getting enough for the kids. I don't know what else I would get them, but I may try to find something else to go with their stuff tomorrow. Other than that, I have a couple of gifts to get for Tom's family.

Today was a nice relaxing day. I started out trying to clean, but I am just so tired that I ended up just taking it easy and relaxing. I've got some alone time tonight because Tasha and Tom are both gone.

I did have to cancel my doctor's appointment this morning since I didn't have a vehicle. My uncle's funeral is Wednesday morning in Woodward. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to go or not, I guess a lot of it depends on if I have a vehicle to go in or not.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 342 and feeling sad

My dad's brother passed away this morning, so I don't feel much like writing today. Just say some prayers for his family, please.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 341 and on the run today

Well, I got my wish to get out of the house today! Goodness! I got up and had to go to the bank in Enid this morning (since I couldn't go last night). Came back home and Tom & I went to get our hair cut. Then I took Tasha and a couple of other girls to play practice at church. After we got back from that, I took Tasha and a friend to Enid to do some Christmas shopping. Busy day! Tomorrow we've got church in the morning and the Christmas play tomorrow night.

I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday morning that I"m going to have to cancel if I don't get my van back because I won't have a way to get there.

So how's everyone coming along for Christmas? I think I'm about ready. I do need to go to the grocery store before Christmas day, but that should be about it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 340 and I want my van back!

Ok, I want my van back! It's been gone for a week and I still don't have it back. Tom was gone tonight and I was stuck at home with no way to get anywhere. I needed to go to Enid, I wanted to get out of the house and I'm stuck at home. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

Ok, enough of that. LOL.

I am officially on vacation until December 29th! I am so looking forward to a few days off. I have a few things I want to get done around the house, but I mainly just need to relax.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 339 and Silver and Gold

Another one of my favorite songs from the Christmas tape is "Silver and Gold".

Silver and gold...
everyone wishes for silver and gold
how do you measure it's worth
just by the pleasure it brings here on Earth?
Silver and gold...
means so much more when I see
silver and gold decorations on every Christmas tree.

Its really easy to want to chase after money and things and forget about what's important. It's especially easy this time of year. I am always filled with guilt and angst this time of year because I never feel like we give our kids "enough" stuff. Life isn't just about having money to get more stuff. It's about being with our families, helping others, and sharing love. That is the real silver and gold!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 338 and There's Always Tomorrow

This is another of my favorite songs on the Christmas cassette:

There's always tomorrow for dreams to come true,
believe in your dreams, come what may,
There's always tomorrow, there's so much to do,
and so little time in the day.
We all pretend the rainbow has an end,
and you'll be there my friend, someday...
etc.

Well, as we all know, there may not always be a tomorrow. But I think it's important to learn to delay gratification in order to meet your goals. We have not always been very good at that, we still aren't sometimes. But what a difference we've made in our lives over the last year. Just out of curiosity, I looked at our December 2007 bank statement today. At the end of last year, we had paid over $1100 in courtesy pay fees to our bank. This year, we've bad $67.50 and $45.00 of that was before we started this new journey. Our debt paid off is up over 10,000. We have made mistakes and will probably continue to make them, but we're trying. That's all we can do. Believe in our dreams, come what may.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Interview tonight (prayer request)

I have an interview tonight to fill my spots that have been open for a while. I'd like to ask for good thoughts and prayers that the interview go well and if the Lord's willing, they be the one to fill the spots. It might be good if I have my voice back before the interview too. LOL.

Day 337 and frugal wisdom from Christmas songs

I have a favorite cassette of Christmas songs that I love to listen to. It has songs from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty, and other favorite Christmas shows that I watched growing up. As I was listening to it yesterday, I started thinking about some of the frugal, get out of debt wisdom available from some of the songs. For example:

Remember this one?

"Put one foot in front of the other"

Put one foot in front of the other (Follow Dave Ramsey's baby steps)
And soon you'll be walking across the floor (soon you'll be making progress!)
Put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking out the door. (Before you know it, you'll be debt-free!)

You'll never get where you're going
If you never get up on your feet (You'll never get anywhere if you don't try)
Come on, there's a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat.

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life isn't had.
Well don't be the rule, be the exception
A good way to start is to stand. (As Dave says: Live like noone else so later you can live like noone else!)

If I wanna change the direction, I see in the mirror each morn (oh you do?)
You mean that it's just my election (Just that!)
To vote for a chance to be reborn?
Hoo-hoo! (It's up to the person in the mirror-THAT'S YOU! to make those changes!)

Tomorrow..."There's always tomorrow" (pun not intended. LOL)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 336 and a better day

Well, I felt much better today, except for barely being able to talk. Let me tell you, a house full of kids and no voice does not go well together. LOL. For some reason I'm coughing a lot too, but hopefully that will pass in a day or two. At any rate, compared to yesterday, I feel dandy!

My mom gave us our Christmas money when we were down there visiting which was a relief to me, now we should have the money to pay for the van repairs.

Coming up tomorrow (I hope)...I've been thinking about frugal and getting out of debt lessons based on some Christmas songs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 336 and sick today

I woke up sick around 2:45 a.m. and have felt pretty miserable since. I finally managed to eat some toast tonight and I think I"m on the downhill side of it. But ugh. What a miserable day. Hope everyone's day was much better than mine!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 335 and my family

We are heading out to Granite to have Christmas with my family today. I'm looking forward to seeing them. I am NOT looking forward to driving in this wind. Ugh.

Have a great day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 334 and why can't things ever be easy?

Okay, I am trying really hard not to go to the pity party today. The van has been looked at and of course it couldn't be something simple like a hose, it's the intake gaskets. Again. We replaced them on the van about 4 or 5 years ago. I don't know. I am just feeling very down and discouraged about that. The EF is zero and we've got another expensive car repair. Happy anniversary to us.

Oh yes, it's our 16th wedding anniversary. 16 years ago today, I married the best man in the world. Despite everything, I truly am lucky and blessed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 333 and back to ZERO

Well, the emergency fund is back down to zero after fixing Josh's car, and we still owe Napa $110 ($75 of that was from what we were still paying off, I paid them $110 today). And of course, the van is acting up, Tom has had to add anti-freeze to it twice this week. So we're getting it looked at tomorrow. So it's time to get that EF built back up.

I did finish all of my homework and turned it in last night. If my head hadn't been hurting so bad, I'd have been yelling and hollering. LOL. It still hurts today. And oh my gosh, I hope they are wrong about the weather that's coming in next week. They're calling for freezing rain. YUCK!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 332 and headaches/homework

I woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible headache last night. For some reason, I foolishly thought that I would sleep it off. Anyway, I've had it all day long. I can get it down to a dull roar by taking sinus medicine, but it comes raging back when they wear off.

In the meantime, I'm working on finishing up this last assignment. I'm almost done, I think and then I get a break. And maybe I'll finally get my Christmas stuff up!

Hopefully by the time you hear from me tomorrow, I'll be done with this class!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 331 and SNOW!

Well, it snowed here almost all day long. It's really pretty, but pretty slick out there. It has quit now so hopefully the road crews will have the roads somewhat cleared up by morning so Tom does not have too much trouble getting to work. I'm glad that Josh is staying in Enid now so I don't have to worry about him getting home after work late tonight.

Tom has informed me that I need to clear up something about our 'how we met' story. He says he never actually said he would meet me at the bar that night, that he said he might. That's not how I remember it, but in being fair I wanted to tell his side too. LOL.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 330 and 17 years ago today

Ok, well this is going to be a sappy post. So just prepare yourselves! LOL!

Seventeen years ago today, Tom and I had our first date. If you don't know the story of how we met, here it is: I was managing the Wendy's in Enid. Tom used to come in there almost everyday for lunch. He almost always ordered a double cheeseburger, so we called him "Double Cheese". I thought he was really cute and sweet so one day as I was making my managerial rounds to check on customers, I stopped to talk to him. I asked him if he was married. LOL. He wasn't. So a few days later when he came through the drive-thru, I asked him out. I still cannot believe I did that! Anyway, we were supposed to meet up on Friday night the 6th at a bar, but he never came. I give him a hard time for standing me up. He's lucky that I gave him another chance. LOL. Actually, I'm the lucky one! Anyway, he came through the drive-thru that Saturday and told me that he had something else come up and asked if we could go out Sunday night. So on Sunday, I called him and we talked and decided to go bowling. We had a great time, I felt comfortable with him right away. From that point on, we were pretty much inseparable. A little over a year later, we got married (more on that later this week!).

When I think of the chain of events that led me to Enid and that job at Wendy's and meeting Tom, I know that God works things out for the best. It may not always seem that way at the time, but looking back, I can see God's hand in everything.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 329 and random thoughts

This is my last week of classes until January. I am done with all of my assignments except those questions. They are scaring and overwhelming me so bad that I can't hardly bring myself to work on them. I have to though. The sooner I get them done, the sooner I get a break, right? In that Ecology and Evolution class, the final paper is worth 40% of my grade. I got it finished up and submitted and got 200/200 on the final portion for 394/400 on the whole paper. So I'm feeling good about that. Now if I could just get myself going on these questions!

For my Road Trip of the Mind class, the papers in there have all been very deep soul searching papers that have really been hard to write. Good for me to do, but hard to write. I want to continue that kind of writing after I finish the class because it has really helped me to work through some stuff.

I'm interested in an update on people's Christmas shopping progress. Tom got his sick leave check on Friday. It was exactly enough to put aside the kid's money for Christmas, so that's taken care of. I've still got to get some little stocking stuffers though. What they do at Tom's job is that once they get a certain amount of hours of sick leave built up, they refund the extra at the end of the year. Tom had two days worth this year which always helps a bit on the Christmas shopping.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 328 and Breakfast with Santa

This morning, the club I belong to (called the Child Enrichment Club) hosted the Breakfast with Santa. We had 54 kids come to see Santa and well, it was just a lot of fun. I must confess that earlier in the year, I was feeling a bit negative about doing it again. But then back in August I was reading on a discussion board about how much it cost to do the Santa pictures at the mall and I turned my attitude around. So the point is, I was looking at it with new eyes this year. I do not remember exactly how many years we've been doing it. If I am remembering right, we started it in 2001, so this would have been the eighth year. Anyway, the way our group does it, is we host it at a community building at a local church. It is completely free for people to come. They can bring their own cameras and take pictures of their kids or we've usually got someone there taking pictures too that we can share with them. We've served muffins, donuts, or pancakes plus milk and juice. This year we did muffins. Anyway, it is all very laid back and relaxed. The kids can come in and go straight over to see Santa or they can go sit down and eat first and go see him when they're ready. There is no standing in line and you have to see Santa now or else. Because of that, there are very few screaming fits by the kids. Of course, there are some tears sometimes, but for the most part since the kids get to do it at their pace, it's pretty relaxed. It's fun to get to see the kids talking to Santa and it's fun to just get to talk to people and mingle. So I had a great time this year and I almost feel in the Christmas spirit now. LOL.

Well back to my homework now!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 327 and one more week until I get a break from college!

Just one more week until I get a break from my college classes for a few weeks. I cannot wait! Of course that means I have a lot to get done in the next few days in order to be done by Friday night of next week. But I've made a good start and I think I'll have it done in time, if not early. The main thing I'm worried about is the questions I have to answer for my ecology and evolution class. Just to give you an idea of what I'm up against, here is one of the questions:

Consider the following observed facts:

* Humans possess all the genes necessary for Vitamin A synthesis except one. All the other genes are capable of producing functional enzymes, and the missing gene is present as a pseudogene.
* The antifreeze glycoprotein (AFGP) is produced by notothenoid fishes that live in the frigid waters off the coast of Antarctica. The amino acid sequence of AFGP is very similar to that of the proteolytic enzyme Trypsinogen, except for these exceptions:

(1) Trypsinogen contains a single grouping of three amino acids, Threonine-Alanine-Alanine, at the beginning of the domain coded for by Exon 2 of its gene. AFGP contains a series of 87 copies of the Threonine-Alanine-Alanine grouping. (This amino acid triplet is responsible for the anti-freeze characteristic of the protein.)

(2) The AFGP lacks Exons 3-5 that are found in the Trypsinogen gene.

(3) One species of the notothenoid family produces an AFGP that contains part of the exon 3-5 grouping that is found in Trypsinogen but not in the AFGP found in other members of the family.

How would these two sets of observations be explained under the Evolution and Intelligent Design theories? Which would predict that these facts would be observed? Explain your answer.


I read that and I just think "HUH?" LOL! Anyway, hope you all have a nice weekend! "See" you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 326 and lotion frustration

Well, I was feeling so good about the lotions but now for the second week in a row, my hands are dry and itchy and have some cracked spots. Granted, it's nothing like it has been in the past, but I'd just like to have nice normal soft hands. I am not sure if it's the weather, if it is the fact that I have had a runny nose so I'm washing my hands even more than normal (if that is even possible! LOL) or what. But man, it's frustrating!

I am on my way out to a child care association Christmas party. Should be fun!

Hope everyone stays warm tonight! BRRRRR!!!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 325 and the wind today!

Oh my goodness! The wind here in Oklahoma today was awful! I was afraid to take the kids outside since I didn't have enough rocks to put in all their pockets. LOL.

It is three weeks until Christmas. Wow. That is so scary! I do not think I am ready for this yet. Frugal Dad has some Christmas ideas on his blog if you want to take a look, the link is at the bottom of my page.

I am feeling a little better, especially compared to how I was feeling yesterday so hopefully I'm on the mend. I've been going to bed early and trying to get a good night's sleep so I can beat this stuff.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 324 and feeling guilty

We have not been very good lately. We ate out last week, on Thanksgiving Day (twice), had pizza one day over the weekend, and I think we ate out at least one other time last week. Oh yeah, we got subs from Bob's. Oh, and let's not forget the Sonic drinks. Now I can rationalize it all I want to. I didn't feel well, I was stressed out because of homework, etc. But the fact is, I should have had a plan. Now I don't feel too guilty for eating out on Thanksgiving Day. I cannot tell you how nice it was not to cook! We had a great day together as a family and we do not get too many of those anymore. Besides, we chose the cheapest of 3 options for eating out. One of the places I called was going to be $20 a plate! Holy smokes. Cracker Barrel was good and we were able to eat for about $10 each, which I didn't think was bad at all. Then we just grabbed burgers from Braum's on the way home for supper. With Christmas, and still having openings and the issues with Josh's car depleting our EF, we really need to be being extra careful with our money. I have pretty much given up worrying about it, I know God will take care of it in His time. So here's my goals to set us back straight!

1: Limit ourselves to once a week with the Sonic drinks.
2: No eating out until at least December 12th (our anniversary and if I say we won't eat out then, well, I'll be setting myself up for failure, LOL).
3: Do the December budget (by Friday)

That's all for now. I may have more to add tomorrow!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 323 and Josh's car

Well, I think I mentioned last week that Josh's car had broke down again. Turns out that it is the transmission, but the mechanic was able to find a used one. So we can get it fixed for about $750 compared to over $2000 for a new one. So that's a relief. We have about $400 in the EF so we can help Josh out, but he'll have to come up with the rest. Then we'll be back to scratch on the EF, but at least we are able to help this much. I just hope we're doing the right thing. I think we are.

I have another cold. Obviously I need to be doing something to build up my immunity. My goodness, this is my third cold in 2 months! I'm sure it couldn't be because I"m running myself into the ground trying to do full-time college, hold offices in two child care associations and a mother's club, my job, and all my other responsibilities. Well, at least I get a break soon.

Please pray and send good thoughts that we are making the right decision about Josh's car.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 322 and feeling puny

I started feeling kind of puny yesterday, then didn't sleep well at all last night, so feel even worse today. The good news is that I got my homework all done and submitted! Phew! Just one more unit with these classes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Days 319, 320, and 321 and updates

Thursday was a very nice day. We drove to Norman to see Serenity and spent the day there. We ate dinner out and then went back to Serenity's apartment and played games and watched movies. It was a very nice family day. I really enjoyed it.

Yesterday I slept in until almost 9:00 and then got up and worked on homework. Tom's dad called and invited us over there so we went over there for a while during the afternoon and ate and visited with them. That was really nice, too.

Today, Tom has gone to get grocery shopping for me and I am still working on homework. I've got a rough draft to write for my final paper and that should about finish me up. I finally broke through my block on the one assignment yesterday afternoon. Thank goodness! Monday starts the last unit for this semester's classes. All assignments have to be turned in by Friday, December 12th. Then I'll have a break from classes until January.

Now for a lotion update. I tried using the Skin MD natural stuff just once a day this week. By Tuesday evening my hands were dry and starting to crack. So for me, obviously, just using that lotion once a day isn't going to work. Maybe because I have to wash my hands so often? I don't know what the problem with it was. Anyway, I switched back to the Jergen's ultra healing once a day and they're doing much better now. I'll continue to keep you posted on how things are working, especially as the weather gets colder.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Time to get back to my homework!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 318 and homework again

I'm stuck on homework again. This Ecology and Evolution class is absolutely kicking my tail! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Anyway, we'll be gone to Norman tomorrow and I probably won't get a chance to post on the blog. I'm going to have to take a break from the blog until I get my homework and other things that I need to get done, such as a newsletter for the child care association, etc. I'll try to post small updates, but don't expect much for the next few days. LOL.

Hope all of you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. If you're traveling, please drive carefully, my thoughts and prayers are with you all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 317 and what I'm thankful for

Sunday at church, we sang one of my favorite hymns: 'Count your blessings'.

Anyway, trying to step out of my box and think of "different things" I'm thankful for.

I am thankful for the fire that destroyed our home. Even though that was one of the hardest times in our marriage, we have been blessed with a beautiful home that is in much better condition than the old one was.

I am thankful for my first marriage. I would not have Serenity and Josh and I would have never moved to Enid, met and married Tom and had Natasha without it.

I am thankful for getting fired from my last job. It led me into child care where I've been for the last 15+ years.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 316 and thoughts on being thankful

Last night at church, our preacher talked about being thankful. How it is a conscious act and takes effort. He shared these following thoughts:

1. Tune your focus to see the good things of life. Practice being thankful.
2. Adjust your attitude.
3. Look for new things! Don't just be thankful for the same old things.
4. Exercise your gratitude muscle.
5. Realize things could be worse.
6. Realize how much you already have.
7. Pass gratitude onto others.

One other thing I'd like to add is to be thankful for the tough times in your life, too. That is when we grow and learn the most, in my opinion. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for the tough times in my life.

Tomorrow: a list of what I'm thankful for (both good times and bad!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 315 and tired tonight

I am so tired tonight. I did not sleep well last night, then we had to leave for church early this evening and didn't get home until about 8:30. So it's been a long day. It will however be a short week because I only work Monday & Tuesday. I was off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, then this past Friday I found out that I didn't have any kids on Wednesday. I'll probably be buried in homework, but it will still be nice to have a 5 day weekend.

Coming up tomorrow: some thoughts on being thankful! Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 314 and another lotion update

So for those of you that are following my attempt to find a lotion that keeps my hands from cracking, and bleeding, and generally looking like I'm about 100 years old, here's the latest update.

This past week, I used the Gloves in a Bottle again. I am so pleased with this stuff. It worked great, by the end of the week, my hands hadn't cracked at all and they were pretty soft, especially for me. Next week, I'm going to use the Skin MD Natural again and see how it does using it once a day as suggested. I'll keep you posted. Out of any of the three products that I've tried, I would recommend any of them. They've all worked pretty well, and my hands have been in pretty decent shape the last few weeks. With the cold, windy weather we've had, that's been amazing. I'll keep everyone informed as the weather gets even colder how things are going.

No word yet on Josh's car. The mechanic was able to drive it up onto the trailer so I'm hoping that is a good sign. Anyway, please keep praying and sending those good thoughts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 313 and Josh's car

Well, Josh's car broke down today. I'm not a mechanic, but it sounds to me like the transmission. Ugh! I just do not want to even think about it. Anyway, pray, pray, pray that it is something easily fixed and fairly cheap.

That's all I've got for tonight.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 312 and something to think about

This came from the bulletin of the church that I grew up going to. They still send me the weekly bulletin. These words of wisdom were written by a Presbyterian clergyman, Rev. William J.H. Boetcker in 1916.

Ten Cannots
1. You cannot bring about prosperity while discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
3. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
4. You cannot left the wager earner by pulling down the wage payer.
5. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
6. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. (Tracy here: OH how well, I know that!)
7. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
8. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
9. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
10. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 311 and Christmas gift ideas

I was visiting Dave Ramsey's website the other day and came across a link to some Christmas gift ideas he has up. I'll share about some of them here, and if you're interested in reading more about them, you can click on the link to his website at the bottom of my page and then click on the Christmas gift ideas link.

Themed gift box: for example a movie gift box with movies or movie rental cards, popcorn, sweets, etc. A couple of years ago, I found big popcorn buckets at Dollar Tree and filled them with microwave popcorn, Dollar Tree movie theater candy, movie rental gift cards and gave them as gifts.

I love this idea if you have little kids: frame their artwork and give it as a gift!

Run errands or bake for someone.

There are other ideas listed, this is just a few.

Living on a Dime also has some Christmas gift ideas too, click on the Debt Free Holidays link on the left and then scroll down to the Christmas section

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 310 and a debt update

Ok, here's an updated debt list:

DLO: $14.40-PAID!
DLO: $34.11-PAID!
Radiology: $37-PAID!
Urgent care clinic: $46.15 (August 2007)-PAID!
Urgent care clinic: $40.55 (November 2007) PAID!
Urgent care clinic: $21.50 (February 2008) PAID!
Dr. Office: $79.20-PAID!
Dr. Office (June 2006) $105.02-PAID! Dr. Office (March 2008, Tracy & Tasha)-$63.44-PAID! Dr. Office (August 2008, Tasha) $53.30
Dr. Office (October 2008, Tracy) amount yet to be determined
ER Doctor: $93.54-PAID!
Dentist: PAID!!! Dentist: $27: PAID!
Auto parts store: $161.73-PAID! Auto parts store: $75 Josten's-PAID!
Second half 2007 real estate taxes: $148.64-PAID!
Hospital: $261.16-PAID!
Car loan: Balance: $767
House: paid $3350.60
Credit card #1: $2970-paid $450
Credit card #2: $1104-paid $150
Credit card #3: $990-paid $150
Credit card #4: $899-paid $529.19 (balance $370)
Credit card #5: $908-paid $150
Credit card #6: $2509-paid $375
My student loan: $12, 913 (in deferment due to my full time student status)
DH student loan: $53, 248(in forbearance)


As of November 14th: $9664.26 in debt paid off!

Can you believe the car loan is below $1000??? I don't think we've owed that finance company less than $1000 from the time we took out our first loan there many many many years ago. That is super exciting! I was thinking too when we get that paid off, we will be able to drop our car insurance down to liability only if we want to, which will save us a little bit more $'s.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 309 and the return of layaway

A few years ago, Wal-mart closed it's layaway departments in all of their stores, marking the end of an era. Almost noone had layaway anymore. Even though I rarely used it anymore, I was very sad. When my kids were little, layaway was such a blessing. I could pick out their gifts early and pay on them a little bit at a time. Most places did not charge anything for it and it was definitely cheaper than wracking up interest rates on credit cards. I didn't use it for just gifts, either. The computer desk that we have had for years (and is looking a little worse for wear, LOL) was bought through layaway at K-Mart. Shortly after we put it on layaway, it went on sale for a lower price and I was able to get them to adjust the price to the lower price. Anyway, enough on the memories. The bottom line is that eventually layaway was no longer available anymore, although I don't think K-Mart ever got completely rid of it.

Last week, I got an e-mail from Sears advertising the return of layaway for the holiday season. I have seen and heard of various other retailers offering it again, which I think is great compared to putting Christmas on plastic. Most places charge a fee now, one article I read says K-Mart's is $5. A bargain compared to interest rates and possible late fees.

So...if you need another option this Christmas, check out stores that offer layaway!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Days 307 and 308 and a lotion update

Ok, here's the latest on the lotion. This week I used the Jergen's Ultra Healing lotion. Out of the three I have used, I think I am most impressed with it mainly because I only used it once a day at bedtime and my hands were still in pretty good shape at the end of the week. They were a little dry, but no cracked swollen spots. Since it was pretty chilly all week, I thought that was pretty good. This week I'm going to start again with the Gloves in a Bottle since it should be cool most of the week and we'll see how that goes. At this point, I'm thinking the most important thing with any of them is actually remembering to put them on! Before this experiment, I was pretty bad at remembering to put lotion on until my hands were already hurting and cracking.

Women of Faith was awesome and almost indescribable. Have you ever gone through something so emotional that you just almost cannot talk about it? That's how Women of Faith was for me this year. I'll try to share more through the week as I process all my emotions.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 306 and phew!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I finished my homework. What a relief! Thanks for the good thoughts and prayers! I'm off to Women of Faith around noon. I'll try to post when I get home tomorrow night, but if not I'll definitely post on Sunday.

Coming up...
a debt update
lotion experiment update
the return of layaway

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 305 and homework

I am still trying to get my homework done before I leave for Women of Faith tomorrow. I know I will have a much better time if I do not have homework hanging over my head. I am leaving at noon tomorrow and will be back late Saturday night. So if I do not post over the next couple of days, you'll know why, and I'll "see" you on Sunday.

P.S. I am having trouble with this last homework assignment so I'm asking for good thoughts and prayers to get me with it. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 304 and on a deadline

I'm on a deadline trying to get my homework done before I leave on Friday. So I'm just checking in briefly today with a mini lotion update. This week, I am using the Jergen's Ultra healing lotion. The instructions say to use once a day so that's what I've been doing. As of today, I'm getting a couple of itchy spots on my hand that look like they're trying to crack. So I'll keep you posted on that!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 303 and Women of Faith

So, I have a funny and amazing story to share about attending the Women of Faith conference this coming weekend. I signed up for it before I knew I had openings in the child care and then when all of that stuff happened, I started getting nervous about taking the money out of our budget to pay for it. I was talking to my friend Debbie who attends the conference with her sisters about it. She really wanted me to go and she told me that she'd pray for me and "maybe God would knock me over the head and tell me that I needed to go". I replied that unless God knocked me over the head with the money to go, that I'd probably stay home this year. So a few days later, I finally e-mailed the church and told them to remove my name from the list, I wasn't going to be able to go. The pastor replied that someone had already paid my way. He thought I knew, but they obviously did it without telling me! I was in tears, of course. Tears of joy, tears of amazement. Later on, I recalled the conversation with my friend Debbie and started laughing out loud (I think Tom thought I'd gone a little nuts). Isn't that an amazing story? God is so good and people are so sweet!

I was able to go to the dentist this morning (thanks Mandy)! The tooth had a cavity in it and it chipped the corner off. It was very close to the nerve, but not in the nerve yet. So he filled it and we're hoping that will work. It wasn't sensitive to cold or anything, it was mainly just annoying and aching. It took almost $200 out of the EF between paying the dentist and paying Mandy. But on the way home, I was thinking about last November. I got really sick the weekend before Thanksgiving. I ended up having to go to Urgent Care AND I had to close for a day because I was running such a high fever. All of that was stressful in itself but when I do not work, I do not get paid. It was stress on top of stress losing a day's pay that close to Christmas on top of the doctor visit and medicine. The peace that comes with being able to "just do it" is amazing. Now of course, our EF is down under $300 so we'll have to kick it into gear and get it built back up. But if I haven't said it enough, that EF is amazing!

Oh, and a little plug here. I have a link to the Living on a Dime website down at the bottom of my page. This week, they are having a free shipping sale on their print books. The Dining on a Dime book is FANTASTIC and I highly recommend it to anyone. It has lots of real recipes in it with common ingredients and it has a section with homemade gifts, etc. Anyway, check it out! If you need a Christmas gift for someone, this might be just what you need.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 302 and Thanksgiving

Well, I've been blabbing on and on about Christmas, I figured it's time to switch gears and talk about Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving! This year, I think we are going to Norman to see Serenity. I'm not sure if we'll go out to eat or eat at her apartment. She has offered us ramen noodles and chicken pot pie. Tasha thought that sounded great. LOL! Anyway, I've got two turkeys in my freezer, I could cook one early, freeze it, and then transport it down there to reheat at her apartment, and take other foods to cook. Serenity is happy as long as she has pumpkin pie.

This is the time of year to watch for good sales on baking goods at the grocery store. Even though the sales do not seem to be as good as in the past, keep an eye out anyway, you might find some unadvertised deals to stock up on. Keep a close eye out even after the holidays are over. Last year, one of my friends found turkeys at Wal-mart for 25 cents a pound after Christmas! That is an amazing price!

The emergency fund is going to take another hit because I broke a tooth this weekend. UGH! Anyway, I'm going to the dentist tomorrow. It's not sensitive to heat or cold so it's not down in the nerve, so I'm hoping they can just fill it in and be done with it. It is however making my jaw ache!

I'm really busy this week. I have meetings tomorrow night and Thursday night, and Friday I go to Women of Faith in OKC. Tomorrow I have an amazing story about that to share.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 301 and a commercial Christmas rant

Today my thoughts center not just on how commercialized Christmas has become, but on how early it all starts. I love Christmas decorations and Christmas music, but I can only take so much of them. The day after Halloween I went into Wal-mart and they are already playing Christmas music!!!!! Of course, they already had the Christmas stuff out, but that I"m used to. But already playing Christmas music? Last year, my favorite radio station (Magic 104.1 out of OKC) went to all Christmas music right after Thanksgiving. That is just too much for me!

So I have to fight off my annoyance at all of this every year to get into the Christmas spirit. Some years it works, some years I lose the battle. This year, I am going to win the battle! I am going to relax, I am going to enjoy Christmas and celebrate the season. That's half the battle right?

Tomorrow, let's talk about Thanksgiving! Later this week, I'm going to find and share some Christmas gift ideas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 300 and lotion update #2

This week, I used the Skin MD Natural product. The instructions say to use it every 2-8 hours until your hands are more hydrated, then use it every 12-24 hours. I have to say, I cannot imagine ever getting to the point where I only had to use it once or twice a day. But at any rate, this week, I used it every 2-3 hours and it did wonders. My hands did not crack at all this week, even with the cooler weather at the end of the week. I am going to call the pharmacy in Enid that carries it to see how much it costs, hopefully I'll remember to do that early next week. Once again, I'm not sure how accurate my results are since it was so unseasonably warm the first part of the week. So stay tuned as I continue my experiments.

Next week looks to be a fairly chilly week with highs in the 50's and lows in the 30's. I am going to be using the Jergen's Ultra healing lotion. Look for an update next week!

Tomorrow, more about Christmas!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 299 and more about Christmas

Looking for ways to get organized this Christmas? You can go to www.organizedchristmas.com. They have a Christmas countdown. You can go to the Flylady site linked at the bottom of my page. Flylady has a free Christmas control journal that you can download and print off. It's about halfway down the main page. I've tried to follow these and never seem to do very well. But I'm going to try again this year. I am trying to be organized.

My favorite part on Flylady's Christmas section is the clutter free gift ideas. There are great gift ideas there, including some ideas for teenagers. The thing I usually do for the teenagers in my family is gift cards to Wal-mart, and for one of them, Sonic.

What are your creative or clever gift ideas? I can't share some of mine since some of my readers are who I bought for. LOL. But some of them are: for Sara, my youngest great-niece, I got a couple of infant toys. For Hailee, I got a Santa Claus floor puzzle, crayons and coloring book, bath paints, and two packages of magnetic letters.

Looking forward to hearing other ideas. Tomorrow, another update on the lotion experiment!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 298 and Christmas is just around the corner!

Well, Halloween 2008 is in the past, Thanksgiving is just ahead, and then Christmas will be here before we know it. Does Christmas stress you out? It sure does me. It stresses me out financially: where will I get the money to buy everything I need to or want to get? Emotionally: Did I get enough gifts, were they good enough? Did the people like them? I always worry that I didn't get my own kids enough, that they won't like what I got them, or that they're disappointed in what they did or didn't get. Mentally: making all the family arrangements, there's my family, my ex's family, Tom's family, and then of course our family. That's even getting harder with the kids growing up.

Alot of this fear comes from comments made to me in the past about gifts I've bought such as "You shouldn't give pictures of your kids as gifts, that's not a real gift, you should give those to us anyway". "Oh great, just what I need, another coffee mug". Now I've just decided to put those words out of my head. Do the best I can, and if people don't like or appreciate their gift, I cannot control how they feel. I can only control how I feel and react.

This year is going to be different. For one thing, we've been putting money back since the first of the year for Christmas. We've had to spend some along the way for one reason or another, but I've used some of it to buy gifts. I've talked to my own kids and asked them flat out if they'd rather have a stocking and $'s or if they want gifts? Serenity said she was fine either way, but she'd prefer $'s because she's trying to save for a new car. Check, just finish getting stocking stuffers and put the cash aside, and I"m done with her. Josh said he was fine either way, but would really prefer the money. Check, finish getting stocking stuffers for him, and put the cash aside and I"m done with him. Tasha at first said she'd rather have a gift, but when she found out Josh and Serenity both wanted money, she said she'd think about it and let me know. I've already got some stocking stuffers for them, I'll gather a few more, find out what Tasha wants and be done. I've just decided that I would rather give them money if that's what they really want and be done with it. That right there will remove a huge stress at Christmas off of me because I seriously wondered around Wal-Mart in tears trying to figure out what to get them last year. Then I got my feelings hurt on Christmas when Serenity remarked that all of her gifts were "practical". I know she didn't mean anything by it, and I"m way too sensitive anyway. But this will help reduce my stress.

Another big stresser for me at Christmas has been that we've waited until the last minute to do our shopping the last couple of years. That was unusual for me, for a few years, I got it all done early. But for one reason or another, it hadn't happened that way the last few years. This year, I'm way ahead of where I've been. This is a partial list of who we try to buy for:

My mom and dad
my grandparents
Tom's dad and stepmom
my ex's mom and dad
My sister and husband-done
Our niece and husband-done
Tom's sister and husband-done
Tom's younger sister-done, but will probably try to find something to add
My niece and nephew-done, but will probably try to find something to add
Our two great-nieces-done
gift exchanges: Child Enrichment Club, child care association, my family
My child care kids: done, ordered them each 3 books from Scholastic, plus they'll get a treat bag at our party.

I'm sure there's more that I'm not thinking of right now. I'll have to pull my list out and look over it. But I'm out of time for now. For tomorrow, I'll try to find some ideas to share.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 297 and $2806

$2806! That's how much we've spent from the emergency fund since we started this last January. It's been used for car repairs, plumbing repairs, medicine. It's just amazing. I couldn't believe it when I added it up just now. I'm just in awe and feeling very blessed right now!

In the past, anytime we had a crisis of any kind, it was very stressful and we were desperately wondering where we would get the money from. I cannot tell you what a peaceful feeling it was this past weekend when we had the tire and the plumbing problem in the same day and we knew we had the money to get them both taken care of. It was still stressful and upsetting of course, but not in the same way.

Tomorrow I want to talk about Christmas shopping. Have you started yet? It's coming up fast!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 296 and exercise your right to vote today!

Well, if you haven't already, please exercise your right to vote today. We are lucky to live in a country where we are allowed to participate in our government. Plus I always figure if I vote, I have a right to gripe about it when things don't go my way. LOL!

It's interesting how different children raised in the same household turn out to be. Serenity is a political science major and really into the election, and is driving all the way home to vote. She didn't want her first presidential election voting experience to be by absentee ballot. She's taking a class this semester about the election and got to take exit polls in Norman this morning as part of her class. Josh on the other hand, hasn't even registered to vote and says he never plans to vote. He thinks it's "stupid". Well, I certainly don't agree with him, but you know what, he has the right to feel that way if he wishes. Natasha, it's too early to tell. She seems interested in the election process and the candidates, so that's good. However different they may be, I love and respect them for who they are and what they believe.

And if I haven't said it enough, I will be glad when this election is over!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 295 and that wonderful emergency fund!

I just cannot express how grateful I am for the emergency fund. As I mentioned yesterday, the leak came back under the house, and Tom had an unrepairable flat on his car. So today, I called around to some plumbers and got ahold of one who could come out today. They got here around 12:15 or so, fixed the problem, and were gone by 1:00. It was only $91, we were afraid it was going to be much worse. Thankfully, it was a fairly easy fix and should keep it from happening again (at least in that area, LOL).

For the tire, I called the Co-op and they had a tire in stock, but of course it's hard for me to get up there before they close and Tom doesn't get home until after they close either. I called Tom's dad to see if he might could take it up there and get it changed, but he was in Enid. He said he could do it tomorrow morning if I couldn't get it done today. Then he called later and Tom's stepmom offered to go do it when she got off work. Wasn't that so nice?

So...the leak is fixed, the tire is changed, and the EF is $163 lighter. But what a blessing to have it, what a blessing to have friends and family who can & will help us out.

If you're in this area and you ever need a plumber, I definitely recommend All Season's Plumbing. They were prompt, polite, and reasonably priced. They were also very respectful of my kids who were sleeping and they kept the noise down. I really appreciated that!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 294 and the good news is...

I finished my homework. The bad news is Tom had a flat on his car this morning. I am just grateful it didn't happen when he was on his way home from his band's show last night. As Tom was out changing the tire, I went down in the basement and found out we had a leak again. So I've got a call in to a plumber. The tire is not fixable so it will have to be replaced and hopefully we can get a plumber out here quickly!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 293 and lotion update #1

This week I tried out the Gloves in a Bottle lotion. I have to say that I was very impressed. On Wednesday, my hand on the right index knuckle had a dry, itchy spot on it that I thought was going to get worse, but by the end of the week, it was almost gone and today my hands look and feel great. Next week, I'll try the Skin M.D Natural and let you know how that goes. The only problem is that it's been unusually warm here the last couple of days so I"m a little bit worried how accurate my results are. But I'll keep trying and let you know how it all goes. Oh, and I think the most important thing was that I actually remembered to PUT the lotion on! I had to set my phone reminders so I'd remember, but I"m sure that helped a lot.

Well, back to homework I must go!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 292 and Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone has had a safe and happy Halloween! We didn't have very many trick-or-treaters but we sure did enjoy the ones we did have. We saw Daniel Boone, a dragon, Indiana Jones, Batman, a pirate, Tigger & Piglet, a ninja, an army man, a Star Wars clone, 3 cute little blond cheerleaders in skirts (all boys), a kangaroo, a couple of adorable witches and a few more I can't think of right now. I just always love seeing the kids in their costumes.

Happy Halloween!

Tomorrow, an update on week one of the lotion experiment!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 291 and Aldi's

A couple of days ago, I happened across an article about Aldi's being a "grocer for the recession". It was at this link: http://205.188.238.109/time/nation/article/0,8599,1854348,00.html. You'll probably have to copy and paste it into your browser. Someday I'm going to figure out how to put clickable links on this thing. Or if you can't get that to work, go to google and put in Aldi's and recession and it will pull it up. It was a Time article.

The article itself was quite interesting. It told about how Aldi's is smaller than most grocery stores, carries mostly their own private brand labels, and does not have a big variety of choices. Want eggs? There are boxes of one dozen eggs, all the same. No brown eggs, no 18 ct. eggs, just cartons of one dozen eggs. You have to take your own bags, use empty boxes, or buy their bags. You don't have to worry about a cart dinging your car in their parking lot. You pay a quarter to get a cart and you get the quarter back, when you put the cart back. So no stray carts everywhere because someone was too lazy to walk a few steps to put them back.

I am a huge fan of Aldi's. We got one in Enid about a year and a half ago. For the most part, I've been very pleased with their food and their prices. I have tried some of their meats and their frozen boneless skinless breasts are really good. Their beef and pork chops have been fine too, but I do often find better bargains on sale at other grocery stores. I just watch the ads and try to stock up when it's on sale.

The article also mentions Save-a-lot. I used to shop there before we got Aldi's. I liked it for the most part, but it wasn't very convenient (Aldi's is just down the street from Wal-mart and Save-a-lot is all the way across town. At any rate, if you haven't tried these stores out and you have one in your area, give them a try. As always though, the most important thing to do is KNOW YOUR PRICES. That way you know if you're getting a bargain!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 290 and this stupid election

Well, I just spent time on the phone with my upset daughter over a comment someone she looks up to made to her about who she's voting for. I agree that we're all entitled to our opinions but I just think that it doesn't have to turn into personal attacks against the other person for what they believe. Which leads back to why I don't like to talk about politics. Anyway. I'll just be glad when it's over. It's late and I'm tired. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 289 and good friends

You know how sometimes you get something in an e-mail or the mail just when you really need it most? When I got my mail yesterday, I had an envelope from my friend Linda/Mom Thumb. The contents brought tears to my eyes. She and her daughter had been to the Affair of the Heart craft show and bought this magnet for me. It says:
God may say 'wait' but He never says 'worry'. Then below that it has this Bible verse: Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace. Philippians 4:6-7.

Wow. Just wow. Then on the attached note, she told me of a prayer she had read: God our Father, walk through my house and take away all my worries and illnesses, in Jesus' name, Amen.

I don't know what else to say except thanks, Linda. It is a blessing to have you as a friend.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 288 and Lotion Wars

Ok, so here's what I've decided to do in the interest of seeing which of these lotions works best for me and my poor dry hands. This week, I will use only the gloves in a bottle, following the instructions of using it every 4 hours. On Friday, I will give an update of how my hands look. By Friday, my hands are often in bad shape after the washings they get during the week, especially now that the weather has cooled off. On the weekends, they tend to heal up (since I"m not changing diapers, etc) Next week, I'll try the Skin MD Natural and give a report on that. Last I'll try my Jergen's Intensive healing and report on that.

Today I am feeling pretty good. My sinuses are still bothering me, but that's not exactly news. LOL. Tom & I got up and exercised this morning. Go us! Now I've just got to hit the homework and get it all done by next Sunday.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 287 and another weekend gone!

Wow, weekends go so fast! I am happy to report that I am feeling a little bit better today than I did yesterday so hopefully by tomorrow I'll be pretty much back to normal. I know being able to rest a lot this weekend really helped. Josh was off and took Tasha to church this morning and Tom took Tasha to church tonight so I've been able to stay home and rest today.

I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to our niece, Mandy! I hope that she has had a fabulous day!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 286 and feeling lousy

I am feeling so lousy tonight! I came home from Enid and took a 4 hour nap earlier today! Hopefully that and a good night's sleep will help me feel better. I'll try to write a better post tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 285 and the sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head-ME!

I just want to scream! My nose is running and I am sneezing again. I am desperately hoping that it is just allergies and not another cold trying to take hold. Ugh!

I've got the house to myself tonight. I'm supposed to be working on homework but I haven't got much accomplished except some reading. I have got some other stuff done around the house so I guess that's something.

The weather was just gorgeous today. The kids and I spent the afternoon outside until almost everyone was picked up.

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 284 and quick post tonight

I had a child care association meeting tonight and I've had a headache all day long so I'm going to make this short tonight. Overall, I felt much better today than yesterday, emotionally and physically. The headache was kind of the pits, but it could have been worse. Tom & I got up and exercised this morning. We're trying to do at least 3 mornings a week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 283 and I went to the pity party

Well, over the last couple of months I've shared some of the things that I learned from Denise Ryan about stress management and keeping our flames going. Yesterday, I was typing up some notes from the conference so I would have them on my computer and one of Denise's nuggets of wisdom was: Don't go to the pity party. In other words, don't feel sorry for yourself.

Then came today and a call from a bill collector. Now first let me back up by saying that I was woke up at 2:00 a.m. with a horrible coughing fit and made the mistake of taking 12 hour cough syrup which in retrospect probably wasn't the greatest idea. LOL. But at the time I wasn't thinking, I was just desperate to stop coughing. So coupled with being tired anyway from waking up in the middle of the night, I was kind of groggy from the cough medicine. Plus this has been a rough month (financially and emotionally) with Tom and I both being sick and my openings still being well...open and I just felt emotionally raw this morning. So when the lady calls, I answer the phone, she asks for me. I told her it was me and she asks about our payment for this month. I said, well, it's not even due until the 25th to which she replied that she has it down for the 20th. I said well, I don't know what to tell you. When I started sending payments to you back in April, I told you that I would send a payment by the end of each month. You arbitrarily put a date of the 25th on that and have now apparently moved it to the 20th. So anyway, she very kindly (said sarcastically!) offered to move it to the 30th. I told her I would get a payment in the mail by the end of the month to which she yelled at me that the payment had to be in their office by the end of the month. That went back and forth a little bit with her yelling at me and me trying to talk to her. Finally, I just said "I'll do the best I can do. I will have a payment in the mail to you by the end of the month. Once it is in the mail, I have no control over how long it takes to get there. Thank you and have a good day" and I hung up. She was still talking. So anyway, after that, I was crying and frustrated and feeling like giving up. Sometimes this all gets so overwhelming. Even though we've paid off over $9000, we still have such a long ways to go and sometimes I wonder if we'll make it. So anyway, I went to the pity party. After some prayer and some deep breaths and a talk with a friend, I felt much better. I know we can't do this alone but we are not alone. We are doing what God wants us to do, we are doing what is best for our family, and we have God on our side, and the support of family and friends.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 282 and Skin MD Natural

Remember a few months ago when I reviewed a product called "Gloves in a Bottle"? The promoter for that sent me a sample bottle of another product called Skin MD Natural to try. It has a very light, pleasant scent (not at all perfumey), you use just a little dab (it goes a long ways) and it seems to work pretty well. One thing I really like about it is that it can be used more frequently, every 2 hours where the Gloves in a Bottle was every 4 hours. Since I've probably washed my hands 500 times (or so it seems) in that 4 hours, I often feel like I need lotion LONG before the time is up. However, the true test for both lotions will be in the next few weeks as the temperatures cool off. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 281 and starting new classes today

Well, I start my two new classes today. One is called "Road Trip of the Mind" and the other is "Ecology and Evolution", which is basically from what I can tell a biology course. I'm a little nervous about that one, because evolution is such a controversial topic. But it's a required class so I have to get through it somehow. I do not have any grades yet on the two classes I just finished.

Tomorrow morning, Tom & I have health screenings at his job. I'm opening late so I can go down and get that done. I'm highly motivated to do it since it saves us $500 each on our health insurance deductible next year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 280 and Heroes

Who are your heroes? I have a lot of them, but today I'd like to talk about some of them in particular. Last night, Tom and I attended a welcome home party for our niece's husband (our nephew-in-law, I guess?). The party was supposed to be a surprise which is why I didn't want to say anything yesterday in my post (wasn't sure if he ever read my blog or not). John has been in Iraq. If you are anything like me, you've known we had soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places. I have appreciated it, and prayed for them. But it was never as real to me as when I realized John and his brother would be going. Then it became very real and very personal. I think of the families left here at home without their husbands or wives, fathers or mothers, sons or daughters, sisters or brothers. All the wives who give birth to babies while their husbands are gone. All the husbands who do not get to see those babies until they come back. Or worse, never get to come home and see the babies at all. John and Mandy had a baby while John was gone. John was lucky enough to get to come home after Sara was born, but can you imagine how hard it must have been for him to go back after that? I think of all those soldiers halfway across the world away from their families and loved ones. They are helping to keep the freedom that we take for granted everyday. So even if you do not agree with why our soldiers are over there, they are doing it for you anyway. Pray for them everyday. Write them letters. Send them packages. Thank them when you see one here at home. Pray for their families, offer them support and love, and don't forget to thank them too.

John, Mandy, Hailee, & Sara: Thank you for the sacrifices that your family has made so that my family could have freedom. Daniel and the other men and women, I don't know you as well (or at all), but I thank you from the bottom of my heart, also.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 279 and exhausted today

I am just flat wrung out today! I always feel this way at the end of a set of classes and coupled with still fighting the cough that I've had has just made me worn out today. Tom & I have plans this evening (more about that tomorrow), and later this afternoon we're going to go to the Hospice Circle of Love book sale and look for some book bargains. Cause you know...we don't have enough books already. LOL

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 278 and a brief debt update

Once we paid the car payment this week, a total of $9048.23 paid off. I have a parent that paid me today. Once I get that deposited, I'll be sending some credit card payments off and I'll have another update.

Today was a really nice day. I was off so I worked on homework and relaxed. Then tonight I went into Enid and got my Wal-mart and grocery shopping done. My homework is all done and submitted so I'm homework free for the weekend. My new classes start on Monday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 277 and a very trying day

You know how a few weeks ago I had a "this is why I love my job day"? Well today I had a "why do I do this job?" day. LOL. Seriously, it was an exhausting and trying day. I didn't get 5 minutes peace at naptime because by the time one of the boys was asleep, the baby was already awake. So I'm plumb wore out tonight. I had to seriously fight off the temptation to eat out. It was HARD! But we didn't give in, and I cooked supper. Now I am working on homework hoping I can get mostly done so I can enjoy my weekend and relax before my two new classes start on Monday.

Tom seems to be feeling better except for the nagging cough, so that's a relief. He did the dishes after supper so I could start on my homework. Speaking of, guess I better get back to it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 276 and temptation

Yesterday in the mail we got a letter from Fingerhut temporarily increasing our credit limit to $1400 through the end of December! We can use it to shop from the big holiday catalog that is coming out soon. Best of all, if we spend it all, they'll leave it increased after the first of the year. Geesh. First off, we paid off our Fingerhut account years ago and closed it. All of a sudden, the last couple of years they're sending us stuff again. The sad thing is, with Christmas coming up, this could be very tempting. I plan to throw the catalog away as soon as I get it. We have gone almost an entire year without incurring any new debt (besides the auto parts store which we're paying off). I do not plan to let temptation get me now. But it's always there, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 275 and slipping

Tom and I have kind of been slipping. We're still doing pretty good at not eating out (especially compared to the past) but I haven't been doing very well at getting the budget together. It's just so discouraging right now. So...here's my goal. I'm going to get a budget done for the rest of the month by Friday (when Tom gets paid). Here's to getting back on track!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 274 and trying to catch up

I'm trying to catch up from feeling so lousy last week. I let my homework slide for the most part and tried to just rest and recuperate during naptimes and evenings. My current set of classes end this weekend and I'll start new ones next Monday. I'd like to get done with my work by Friday so I'll have the weekend to relax. We'll see how that goes.

Tom is not feeling well now. I hope he recovers faster than I did. I kept telling him not to kiss me! LOL!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 273 and updated debt amount

It occurred to me with the craziness of last weekend and the not feeling too swift most of the week, I hadn't given an updated debt total lately. We are at $8792.26 in debt paid off since January! That means after paying our next car payment, we're going to break $9000! That is just incredible to me. God has really blessed us. Our baby EF took a couple of hits this week (my medicine for being sick and the plumbing problems yesterday), but is still at $590. I have not had any calls for my openings but with not feeling well last week, I wasn't up to interviewing and possibly starting any new families yet anyway. So just keep those prayers going and I know that I will get the right family or families when it's time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 272 and Women's Heart Renewal at church

This morning, I went to a women heart renewal at church. We played games, they had the Mary Kay satin hands treatment available, manicures available, and massages. Then they had a table where you could make little sachet bags and another table with paper and pens to write letters to our missionaries in Brazil. I made a bag and got a hand massage, and wrote a letter. Then we had a salad lunch. It was very relaxing and fun and I was just really glad that I went. They also had child care available and Tasha went along with me to help with that.

While I was gone relaxing, Tom discovered that we had a leak under the house. He turned the water off and tried calling a couple of plumbers, but couldn't get any answer. He ended up calling a friend who met him at Lowe's and helped him find what he needed, then drove out with him and fixed it. Thank goodness for friends! Between the parts, the gas Tom put in his vehicle, and the money he accepted, it was $50. We may still end up needing to get a plumber out here, but at least we have water for now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 271 and the chili cook-off

Well, it sounded like the chili cook-off went well today. Tom's chili placed 5th in the judge's choice category. Go Tom! He also said that Linda (Mom Thumb) chili placed 2nd in that category. Go Linda! Sounds like there was lots of yummy chili there.

Oh I am so glad it's Friday night. I am totally fried! Hopefully I can both get some rest and get caught up on some homework this weekend. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 270 and watch those sizes!

While I was gone on Saturday, Tom did the grocery shopping for me. (Have I mentioned that I have the world's greatest husband?)Anyway, I had bagged salad on the list. Tom noticed that the bag seemed a little bit smaller so he got two just in case. He was right, the bags were 16 oz., now they are 12 oz. Same price, isn't that handy? The size is cut by 25% and the price remained the same, in effect giving themselves a 25% price increase on the product. Now in all fairness, it is a different brand so it could be that they couldn't get the kind they normally do and they'll return to that brand and size when they can. But what do you think the odds are? I'm thinking not good.

I am feeling better everyday, but still pretty wiped out by the end of the day. I have a child care association meeting in Enid tonight so it will probably be a late night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 269 and feeding the good dog

Over and over at conferences and in books I've read the last few years, I've heard different phrases used for the practice of looking for the good in something bad. Re-framing was the term that Denise Ryan used when I heard her speak back in August and "feed your good dog" is the term that Jeff Johnson used in his book and on Saturday. What it basically means is to try to focus on positive aspects or humor in stuff that's happening and not just in the negative. It can be hard and it's a conscious effort to do it. But here's some from recent happenings in my life. I'm down two kids but with not feeling well this week, I've been able to take it a little easier than normal. Another thing: when I lost those two kids after all that drama, I wasn't the one who had to make that choice, the parent made it for me. A few months ago, I had to let a family go and it was very hard for me. I knew in my head I was doing the right thing, but it broke my heart. So I was very glad not to be put in that position again. With being sick, it's given me a chance to relax and let Tom pamper me a little bit, which if you know me at all is VERY hard for me. LOL!

Tom's going to be cooking chili tomorrow night for the big cook-off on Friday. Keep your fingers crossed for him!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 268 and well..dangit!

I have bronchitis again. ARGH! Not really surprising, but it sure doesn't make me very happy. Blah...

I've got grades back on one of my classes, A's on all the assignments in there. Yeah! That feels good. We are now in the last two weeks of those classes and then in October (the 20th, I think), I'll be starting two new classes.

Tonight I'm going to try and take it easy and read in my textbooks so I can get to work on my new sets of assignments.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Days 265, 266, and 267

Phew, what a weekend. First off, let me say, it was a wonderful weekend. The only way it could have been better is if I hadn't felt so dang lousy most of it. I started sneezing Friday, little did I know it was the start of a cold. UGH. Silly me, I thought it was allergies (and I still think at least some of it is).

Friday night: I drove to Tulsa, arrived there around 7:00. It wasn't dark yet which was nice since the street on my directions that I was supposed to turn down was blocked off for something going on downtown. After a few nerve-wracking moments, I weaved my way around and found the parking garage for the Crowne Plaza hotel and parked my van. I called the friend that I was meeting, she was already checked in and she met me out in the hallway on our floor. Neither one of us was familiar enough, comfortable enough, or brave enough to get BACK out and drive around Tulsa at night so we decided to eat in the restaurant downstairs at the hotel. Well...let's just say it was fancy. Let's see, the burger I got was around $14.00! It was very good though. And the service was excellent. Get this, they had brought us a plate of bread and after we finished, our waiter guy comes back and with a rolled-up napkins, cleans up all our crumbs. I was thinking "DUDE! You so need to come home with me and follow my little kids around". LOL. Anyway, as far as I was concerned, it was totally worth it not to have to leave the hotel and drive around. Then the room...wow. A bag with ear plugs, a sleep mask, and lavender linen spray, another bag with snacks, a CD to put on while you were trying to go to sleep. Little did we know how badly we would need that stuff in the middle of the night. LOL. There were like 4 pillows on each bed so you could sit up and watch TV on your bed very comfortably. Anyway, we had to get up early so we turned the lights out at about 10:00 and I fell asleep fairly quickly. Around a little after 2:00 a.m., I had to go to the bathroom and started hearing noises in the hall and then next door. Oh my goodness, those people talked and carried on loudly until after 4:00 a.m. They even had food delivered somewhere around 3:30 a.m.! I got so cranky that I beat on the wall and told them to be quiet. I don't think they even heard me over their own ruckus.

Then Saturday. The conference was great, and I got to meet and visit with Jeff Johnson. He was as awesome in person and as a speaker as he seemed in his books and by e-mail. I had a great time. Then I left and made it back to Enid for my cousin's wedding and reception. I was feeling totally wiped out by then, especially because of the whole being awake in the middle of the night and I wasn't feeling too good. So I put in an appearance at the reception and then came home.

Sunday, we got up and went to church. I thought I was feeling somewhat better, but really wasn't. We came home from church and got ready to take Tasha and her friend to the concert. I didn't want Tom to go by himself so I went with him, even thought I wasn't feeling the greatest. We had a really nice time. We ate at a Mexican restaurant downtown, then walked around a little while, then took a ride on one of the water taxis. It was a lot of fun. The girls had a good time at the conference and we got home around 12:30-12:45 a.m. Let me tell you, that alarm went off soon this morning! LOL!

Today I had a fairly light day on kids so that helped and tonight I'm just trying to relax and take it easy. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 264 and I'll be back on Monday

I got all my homework done and submitted the last paper this morning. So my weekend is free, free, free from homework! Yeah! It is an extremely busy weekend with me going to Tulsa tonight and tomorrow, then going to my cousin's wedding tomorrow night, and then Tom (and probably me) taking Tasha and her friend to OKC for that concert on Sunday night. So...I've decided to take my first break from the blog since I started it last January. I'm looking forward to getting away and especially excited about meeting one of my favorite authors: Jeff Johnson (he has the Explorations Early Learning website in my favorites list at the bottom of the page). He wrote a wonderful book on overcoming burnout for child care providers and I am excited to get to hear him in person and get to meet him (if I can get up the courage!). We've communicated through e-mail several times, but you know, it's harder face-to-face. LOL. I would feel guilty about spending money to get away this weekend, but it did come out of my REWARD check (I get that money twice a year from the state for staying in child care). Heck, who am I kidding? I feel a little bit guilty anyway...

Hope you all have a blessed and wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 263 and crunch time

I'm done with one rough draft and working on the other, I have 2 pages out of 6 written. I want these done before I leave for Tulsa tomorrow, it's going to be a super busy weekend with the child care conference and my cousin's wedding. Oh, and as if it weren't busy enough, Tasha and her friend won tickets to see the Music Builds tour in OKC on Sunday night! How can we not take them to see that?

Back to work!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 262 and Dave Ramsey's plan

Well, unless you're an ostrich and stick your head in the sand (which is what I like to do, LOL), you've heard about the governments proposed multi-billion $ bailout. Dave Ramsey has proposed an alternative to this on his website: http://www.daveramsey.com/, if the link doesn't work, it's also in my favorite links at the bottom of the page. When you get to his page, click on the "common sense fix" to read. Anyway, I know next to nothing about the economy or the stock market or anything, but his ideas seem fairly reasonable.

I'm in the middle of writing a 6 page rough draft of one of my final papers and so I better get back to it before kids start getting up. After this I have another 6 page rough draft to work on and I'll be done with homework for this unit.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 261 and Grocery Stores

With the stock market in turmoil and the prices on everything going up, saving money where you can at the grocery store is more important than ever. The grocery stores work hard (and who can blame them?) to get you to spend as much money as they can.

A few weeks ago, Tom did the grocery shopping for me. To make it simpler for him, I organized the list by aisles so he could just go through Aldi's and find what was on the list. This reminded me of how when we first got married and I did most of my shopping at Jumbo's, they used to have a map of where everything was located. I could organize my list by that map and zip in and out of there in no time flat. I loved it! I guess they figured out they could make more money by moving things around and making us hunt for it. Because since they got rid of the maps, every time I turn around, things are rearranged. It's very annoying, and Wal-Mart does the same thing too.

Something the stores do that make you think you're saving money is those items on the end caps. They put items on them so you'll think they're on sale when often, they're not. Either the store has an abundance of them and needs to get rid of them or the manufacturer has paid for that spot. The thing that will help with that is being familiar with the prices.

Even just a sign on the shelf does not mean an item is on sale. A trick I remember from when I was in high school and worked at a grocery store was putting a sign on something that we had a back stock of to try and move it.

The trick is to be aware. Be aware of the ways the stores are trying to get you to part with your money. Be aware of your own temptations to part with your money. LOL.

Does anyone know of any other tricks of the trade that the stores use?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 260 and I guess my problem is solved

Well, I guess my problem is solved, but it has created another one. LOL. I now have two full-time openings in my child care program. I plan to offer the spots to my two drop-ins first and then go from there. Honestly, it's a relief to at least know where things stand.

My back and shoulder are doing better today and I even exercised this morning! Go me! They still hurt but nothing like on Saturday. Poor Tom broke a toe yesterday and he chose to skip the exercising. He stubbed it on the little couch in the book corner. I felt so bad!

Please pray that my openings are filled soon! Have a great week! The weather was gorgeous today!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 259 and muscle relaxed tonight

I am really muscle relaxed tonight. I took a muscle relaxer for my back and shoulder when I got home from church around 8:30 and I"m just not getting a chance on the computer. I'm headed to bed soon but wanted to check in for the night. Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 258 and in pain today

Yesterday morning before I exercised, I felt my back pop and it felt kind of weird. After the stressful day yesterday, I guess some muscles must have seized up because I turned over the middle of the night and was woke up by excruciating pain in my shoulder blade. Anyway, it has hurt all day long, especially if I do something silly like turn my head. LOL. Anyway, I took a muscle relaxer after coming back from Enid and Tom rubbed it and that has helped some. It does still hurt tonight, but I am working on my homework before I go to bed. I have one assignment done and submitted and another one finished pending proofreading (without a muscle relaxed brain, LOL). But I still have rough drafts of my final papers for both classes to write plus other assignments. So...progress but still a ways to go. Keep me in your thoughts!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 257 and Oh my, what a day!

Wow, what a day. I am just wiped out tonight. I need a couple of days to recover from this day. LOL. This will be short tonight. I am trying to get some homework done tonight. Naptimes have been pretty much a bust for getting homework done this week.

Tom won $50 at the chili cook-off, plus a day off to go to the big one downtown on October 10th. He put $20 of his winnings in the baby EF which is now up to $635!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 256 and fighting negativity

I am feeling very negative and frustrated today. I cannot go into too much detail here, the gist of it is more drama with the same child care situation I've been frustrated about for a few weeks now.

I've done my Walk away the pounds workout twice this week! Tom got up and did it with me this morning. Go us! I also heard about a Yoga DVD from a friend at church last night called "Yoga for the rest of us". I'm thinking about checking into that. I'm really interested in yoga but don't think I'm ready for the advanced version yet. LOL.

Tonight are parent-teacher conferences, then a child care association meeting. Tomorrow there's no school so I'll have a very busy day. It looks like the weather will be nice though so we'll probably walk to the park or the playground or something.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 255 and Congratulations to Tom!

I want to congratulate my sweet husband! He won the chili cook-off at work today so he'll be taking his yummy chili downtown for the big cook-off. Way to go honey! He doesn't know yet what he won (besides a day off to go downtown). He changed up his recipe a bit this year. It was still really good, just a little different.

I've got grades back on most of my homework: 95/100 on both of my Dynamic Universe (science) papers, 96/100 on the online quiz in that class, and 46/50 on one of my Human Arrangements papers (still waiting on the other grade in there). I got full credit on both my course spanning tasks towards my final projects in those classes. So things are going pretty good in my classes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 254 and a long day!

Gosh it was a long day. Cranky kids, another kid who threw up everywhere and had to go home, no rest time, and I had promised to take Tasha to Enid tonight to pick up a music CD that came out today. Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow. Oh, after adding the drop-in money and money from Tom's check last week, the baby EF is up to $615!!! Woohoo!

Good night!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 253 and Happy Fall!

Happy first day of fall, everyone! Although it's felt kind of like fall for a while now. I love this time of year with it's cool mornings and warm afternoons. I bet we have a beautiful fall this year and the leaves turn all kinds of wonderful colors. I'm curious what winter will be like after our mild summer, but guess we just have to wait and see.

This past weekend, we ate out twice. Friday night at Godfather's Pizza (YUM) and then Saturday lunch at Long John Silvers/A&W. Also quite yummy!

Josh needs on here to type an essay so I'm going to wrap this up. Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 252 and another weekend is over

Wow, it's another Sunday night! The weekends sure fly by. Anyway, I got my last homework assignment submitted this afternoon. 1/2 way through another set of classes! The next two weeks will be busy because I'm going to try to get my homework done before I leave for the weekend. Hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 251 and nice relaxing Saturday

Well, this has been a pretty nice relaxing day. I got up and did my workout, then worked on homework until Tom and I left to go get groceries. Then after grocery shopping, we watched a little TV and then I worked on homework some more. I've finished all of my assignments that are due tomorrow night, and submitted all of them except one, still need to proofread it again before I submit it. Since I have a busy weekend when the next unit is due, I'm going to start working on that stuff right away. I want to be able to enjoy my weekend without having homework hanging over my head.

I had to stop and use my inhaler during the workout this morning so I'm taking a break from it tomorrow and then resuming on Monday. Tom thinks I shouldn't try to do so much at once. Maybe I'll start out just doing the Walk away the pounds stuff on MWF, and work up from there? I don't know. I just want to keep this amazing energy I've had since I started!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 250 and the latest debt update

Here is the latest debt update with what we're paying today:

DLO: $14.40-PAID!
DLO: $34.11-PAID!
Radiology: $37-PAID!
Urgent care clinic: $46.15 (August 2007)-PAID!
Urgent care clinic: $40.55 (November 2007) PAID!
Urgent care clinic: $21.50 (February 2008) PAID!
Dr. Office: $79.20-PAID!
Dr. Office (June 2006) $105.02-PAID! Dr. Office (March 2008, Tracy & Tasha)-$63.44-PAID! Dr. Office (August 2008, Tasha) amount yet to be determined.
ER Doctor: $93.54-PAID!
Dentist: PAID!!! Dentist: $27: PAID!
Auto parts store: $161.73-PAID! Auto parts store: $100 Josten's-PAID!
Second half 2007 real estate taxes: $148.64-PAID!
Hospital: $261.16-PAID!
Car loan: Balance: $1279
House: paid $2680.48
Credit card #1: $2970-paid $450
Credit card #2: $1104-paid $150
Credit card #3: $990-paid $150
Credit card #4: $899-paid $529.19 (balance $370)
Credit card #5: $908-paid $125
Credit card #6: $2509-paid $375
My student loan: $12, 913 (in deferment due to my full time student status)
DH student loan: $53, 248(in forbearance
As of September 19th: $8432.20 in debt paid off!

Look at the car loan! It's getting down close to $1000! We should have it paid off by February! Then our plan is to start saving that money to replace the van.

I am getting pretty frustrated with one of the credit card creditors. We've been sending them payments for months. Every month, I request an updated balance and they have yet to reply, but they sure cash those checks! I am hoping to be able to call them today during naptime and talk to someone. The other ones (with the exception of #4 who stopped charging us interest and fees when we started the payment arrangement) are just kind of holding steady and not really gaining ground. But now that we've been paying on them for several months, I plan to get in touch with them and request they lower or drop the fees so they don't keep accumulating. As of this month (once we send in all the payments), we'll have made 6 payments in a row on them. So maybe that will help them work with us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 249 and "Going Green"

Unless you live in a cave, you've probably heard the phrase "going green" used a lot lately. I see it everywhere, including in my latest HomeLife magazine that the church distributes. The article was titled "It's Easy Being Green" and gave several tips for "going green". A couple of them we already do in our house, like using compact fluorescent bulbs (aka CFL bulbs). We've replaced almost every light in our house with those. Another was cooking on the right size burner. Well, I have a gas stove and they're all the same size so that's not a problem. LOL. The number one was ditching the bottled water. Well, we refill gallons of water at the grocery store, but we don't usually buy the little plastic bottles. It suggests getting a filter pitcher if you don't like the taste of your water. Another is using canvas bags at the store. I shop at Aldi's where you have to either bring your own bags or buy theirs. I have a bunch of their plastic bags that I reuse over and over. Well, I had a huge DUH moment about that recently. I go to all these child care conferences and they're always giving us tote bags. My friend started shopping at Aldi's and mentioned she was using her canvas conference bags to bag her groceries. That was a "why didn't I think of that" moment! The one that most caught my interest though was eating locally grown fruits and veggies. It got me to thinking maybe I should hit some of those farmer stands I see set up.

I did my Walk away the pounds DVD again this morning and made it through the whole mile workout, plus the kids and I took a walk this morning. I plan to let MaryAnn walk me again after supper tonight too. LOL.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 248 and Exercise

So last night I decided that I was going to get up this morning and do my Walk away the pounds exercise DVD that I've had forever and have used maybe once or twice. I've been thinking alot about my health lately and I want to make some changes. Anyway, I made it just a little over halfway through the 1 mile portion which I thought was a pretty good start. Then Tom and I took MaryAnn (our beagle) for a walk tonight. Only with MaryAnn, you don't really walk her, she walks you. LOL. I read recently that walking a dog or pushing a stroller burns more calories. I've got both of those covered easily. The kids LOVE to get out and walk, we usually walk several times a week. At any rate, the exercise this morning helped me start out the day with a lot more energy and the walk tonight felt really good. So, keep your fingers crossed that I can keep it up and that my asthma doesn't become a problem again!

I was thinking that walking is the ultimate frugal activity. It's fun, it's relaxing, and Tom and I got to have a nice long talk as we walked. When we had our club meeting last week, one of the new members that came was talking about the fitness center they're going to be opening here in Pond Creek. I am interested in joining, but I thought to myself, should I spend money on this when I'm not even using the DVD that I already have? So if we decide that we can work it into the budget to join, at least I will have got off my tail and done something else first!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 247 and these lovely days

Wow, the weather was just almost perfect today! It felt so nice to be outside. (except for the mosquitoes, but well, I tried to ignore them, LOL). My sinuses were still bothering me today but my headache never got anything like it was yesterday. I felt like my head was going to explode.

As of today, our total debt paid off is over $8000! I'll post a full update at the end of the week when Tom gets paid. Our baby EF is up to $485. I had another $40 drop-in payment today to add. We're almost 1/2 way to the $1000! Praise God!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 246 and a killer headache

I have a killer headache today so I'm going to make this short and sweet. The baby EF is up to $445 today after the parent of a drop-in from last week paid me $50 (she wanted to pay ahead because she forgot to bring me a check back by last week, LOL). I added it to the EF.

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 245 and Forgiveness

Today our Sunday school lesson centered on forgiveness. The lesson was in Matthew where Jesus tells the story of the king who forgave his servant a huge debt, but the servant would not forgive a much smaller debt of someone else. Which of course brings me to my problem from last week and what to do about it. So far I haven't been able to do anything because anything that has come to mind is neither Christian nor professional. However, how can I not forgive someone something so small when I was forgiven so much? The answer is, I have to forgive. That does not mean that I have to let it happen again, but I do have to forgive them. Forgiveness is a hard thing, isn't it? It shouldn't be. But it is. It's something I struggle with everyday. So...continue to pray for me as I work to forgive and move on.

For those of you in my neck of the woods, wasn't the sunshine wonderful today? With the breeze, it felt like a fall day. I cannot believe that the first day of fall is just a few days away!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 244 and bacon, bacon, bacon!

My family loves bacon, but since I tend to think it's kind of high for what you get, I hardly ever buy it. Anyway, I found some on sale at Jumbo's for 99 cents a package because it expired today. I bought several packages to freeze. I'm excited and Tom is thrilled. You know the commercial with the dog running through the house saying "bacon, bacon, I smell bacon"? That's Tom when it comes to bacon. LOL! (Don't tell anyone, but really, it's me too.) I love finding bargains like this.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 243 and politics

It's still almost two months until the election and I am already sick of hearing about it. I know it's going to just get better (eye roll). Here's something you may not know about me. I am not very political. I hate political conversations. They make me extremely uncomfortable. I might (or might not) have an opinion about it, but I don't want to talk about it because if the other persons is different I don't want them trying to convince me that they are right. I do vote most of the time, and I am interested in what's going on. I'm just not interested in all the mudslinging and craziness that goes along with it. So anyway...moving on.

I'm still working on what to do about my situation, so keep me in your prayers.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 242 and weeks that last forever

Have you ever noticed how some weeks just seem to last forever? This has been one of those weeks. Of course, I started out the week tired after my marathon homework session this past weekend. Then I've had somewhere to go or something to do every night (including tonight) except for Monday. I'm just grateful it's almost over. Hopefully this time I'll do the right units in my homework and not be so far behind by next weekend when the unit is due. LOL. So far I have grades back on all of my homework except one. I got a 95/100 on both of my Dynamic Universe papers (those are the ones I had started the wrong unit on), and a 50/50 on one of my Human Arrangements assignments and haven't got the grade back on the other one. In both classes, I had to prepare a thesis statement and paragraph for a final paper along with look up and write about references for each. Those were both also accepted. So far I'm working on all of my reading for the next unit and I'm almost done with that. Naptime has been pretty much a joke this week so I've been having to read snatches here and there where I could.

Oh, and is it just me or is anyone else starting to feel like quacking? LOL!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 241 and a baby EF update

As of today, our baby EF is at $395! We are making progress. Hard to believe that less than a month ago on August 13th, it was down to $0! I've been adding all the drop-in money to it over the last few weeks, but with two possible openings, I may have to divert some of that money into the budget. We'll see. Right now I'm just trying to be patient and see where God leads us.

In other news, I just ask you to keep me in your prayers. I can't go into too much detail, but there's something that has happened here in my business and I am not very happy about it. I need guidance and peace on the best way to handle it. Let's just say that there's not much I hate more than being lied to.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 240 and the ups and downs of this job

Sometimes the ups and downs of this job just really get to me. I have a mom who got laid off from her day job yesterday, so I may have two full-time openings again. Right now she's looking for a job, but things are kind of up in the air. It's just discouraging that just as I think things are going to pull together and go great for us, this kind of stuff happens. I'm trying really hard to put it in God's hands and let Him take care of it. But it's hard. Of course, I"m worried about her too, because losing your job is always hard, both emotionally and financially.

On another note, isn't this cool weather amazing? It was so nice outside with the kids this morning. I was almost chilly!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 239 and Manufacturer's Tricks

I think we're all familiar with the manufacturer's trick of reducing the amount of product, leaving it in the same size box, and keeping the same price. That way they make more money and unless we're paying attention, we don't notice. Remember when sugar used to always come in 5 pound bags? My favorite trick is the whole "ultra" fad that is hitting everything from dish soap to laundry soap. They reduce the amount in the bottle, say that it is concentrated and you aren't supposed to use as much. Do you suppose it really works that way? I have my doubts. I bet most people, including me, use the same amounts out of habit. Recently, Tom spotted another manufacturer trick at the pharmacy. It may be new, or maybe we just had not noticed it before. Anyway, he saw a bottle of "Claritin for Hives". Some of you may remember Tom having a severe outbreak of hives a few years ago that lasted for months. So naturally, he was curious and examined the bottle. The "Claritin for Hives" cost more than regular Claritin, yet had the same ingredients, the same dosage, and the same amount in the bottle. Scary, huh? The lesson here is that we must always be diligent and careful. Marketers try every trick in the book to get us to try their products. When those tricks run out, they write a new book.

Does anyone have an manufacturer scams or tricks that they have noticed?