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Stupid Vehicles!

April 6th, 2007 at 08:03 am

I'm pretty sure that the transmission on my 1996 Dodge Caravan needs to be replaced. YIKES! I've spent $3000 on various repairs for this vehicle in the past 9 months. If it needs a new transmission, then I think we'll be getting a new to us vehicle. I don't trust that something else isn't going to go wrong next week.

We have some money in our emergency fund...the problem is that Dh's car died in November and we replaced it in January, using some of the money that was in there and some from a 'car account'. Now there is zippo in the 'car account' and the emergency fund still isn't fully funded. Well, I guess that's why it's called an emergency fund and this certainly qualifies as one. I need to have a vehicle for work.

Thank Goodness it's a long weekend and we'll be able to think on this for a few days without having to rush out and make a quick decision!

I can't sleep...

April 5th, 2007 at 05:01 am

I've been up since 4:20am...I can't get back to sleep. This is typical of me because I wake up thinking of something that I need to do for work, and then my mind won't shut down again. I've tried keeping a pen and paper by my bed and writing it down, reading, watching t.v., and just laying there...nothing works. I just got up and will diddle on here for awhile. Hopefully I can go back to sleep in an hour or so.

Ds's exam seemed to go well on Tuesday. He said that it was really hard and he didn't know the answers to the science questions. I know that they concentrate heavily on the essay type answers because they use these to determine how the kids work things out intellectually. He won't find out until the end of May whether he gets in to the Honours Program, but he's happy that the part that was stressing him out is over. My younger two kids waited the 2.5 hours with me. We had snacks, read books, jumped rope, played cards, went for a walk and I cleaned out the van. It was actually a fun afternoon and I know that Ds was very pleased that I waited for him.

He's going to his first dance tomorrow night. I took ds and his buddy to the rec. centre last night to purchase tickets. The dance is just for grades 6 and 7, and they're very well supervised. A lot of their friends from school will be there so I'm sure that they'll have a great time.

I have another super busy day today but have tomorrow and Monday off for the Easter weekend, so there's something to look forward to. Hopefully, I'll be able to get lots of work done from home this weekend...I'm a little behind but not too bad.

I'm off to read a bit more here and then I'll try to get back to sleep!

Exam Anxiety

April 3rd, 2007 at 06:46 am

Poor Ds. He's going into 8th grade in September and, where we live, that means high school. He's decided to apply for the Honours Program but his application includes a 3 hour exam that he writes today at 3:30. He is soooo nervous. I keep telling him not to worry about it and to just answer what he can. It's a test to see how the much the student knows and how they figure things out. It's not anything that can be studied for. The Honours Program at this high school is the only one of it's kind in our city and they only accept 60 kids. Once they're accepted, they're only guaranteed a spot for that year. If they want to stay in the program they have to rewrite the exam at the end of each school year. So, if he doesn't get in this year, he can always reapply next year. I just don't want him spending the whole day stressing about this!

We had Passover dinner at my Dad and Stepmom's last night. The food was great, but my 10 year old nephew was behaving extremely poorly and really needed to be taken outside by his parents for a few minutes...it never happened. We are so much stricter with our kids and they are expected to behave well (especially in outside social situations). It can be a little hard when we're with people who have different expectations for their children. Things like being in a restaurant and having children crawl under the table or run around it, are just not acceptable in our book. Anyways, I was happy to come home and get everyone into bed!

Yesterday was a no spend day and today should be as well. I can't imagine that I would have time to go shop for anything today even if I wanted to!


April 2nd, 2007 at 06:03 am

I went grocery shopping yesterday and spent $227.00!!! This was enough food for the five of us for the week and we're hosting 2 Easter dinners next weekend. We're having 24 for dinner on Saturday (we'll be having ham and turkey) and then 10 for dinner on Sunday (ham). Luckily, I qualified for a second free ham because I spent over $200.00. Yippee...lucky me...

The worst part is I still have to go back and buy vegetables for both dinners. I also didn't get any Easter treats with that shop because I had Dd with me. YIKES!

On top of that expense Dh really wanted to go out for dinner. We had coupons for 2 free kids meals and a $25.00 gift certificate, so we used that, but the meal cost for Dh and I, along with the tip, was still $25.00. This had better be as close to a non spend week as possible!

Pow Wow

March 31st, 2007 at 10:43 pm

We spent most of the day at a Pow Wow. My husband is aboriginal and our youngest two kids take Pow Wow Dance lessons and are getting quite good at their steps. It was a wonderful day full of good food, dancing, and visiting. Lots of fun!

Dh has gone to a concert with his friend and I took 6 kids to the pool for 2 hours. I had 4 coupons for free admittance so it only cost me $4.00. I then bought everyone slurpees, so that added on $10. We got home at 9:30 and the kids were starving so I fed them some noodles, they got their pajamas on and are now lying down on the family room floor watching 'Madagascar' with their sleeping bags and pillows. Hopefully, they all fall asleep soon. I know our 7 year old is exhausted...he was a dancing fool today and then all that swimming...I can feel his body relaxing as I watch him. My wish tonight is for everyone to have a relaxing sleep and wake up feeling refreshed tomorrow morning!


March 30th, 2007 at 06:44 am

It's going to be a busy day today. I have 6 schools to visit for work and still have to spend some time at my office because I really need to enter some data into the computer and the program can't be accessed from home. Tonight we have a dinner to go to at 6:00 and then the kids have their party club from 8:00-9:30pm.

Tomorrow we've been invited to a PowWow, that will last most of the day, and then Dh is going out with a friend to a concert. My nephew is sleeping over and I'll be taking 6 kids swimming after dinner.

I NEED Sunday to hurry up and come. It'll be a day of rest...and grocery shopping...and cleaning bathrooms...

I'm tired just thinking about it!

Skip Rope

March 29th, 2007 at 06:46 am

My friend ended up treating me to lunch yesterday so I didn't spend any money there. We went out for Japanese and the meal was delicious!

I took ds13 for a haircut...the cut with tip was $15...and that was the only money I spent yesterday. So many of his friends have longish hair, but he truly looks better with it short, and I like that he prefers it that way. When the stylist asked him how he wanted it cut, he told her 'short'. She asked how short and he said 'very'. So she did. It looks good...he's a cute boy, if I do say so myself!

The girls and my youngest son and I went outside after dinner and jumped rope for about an hour. I chatted with a neighbour for awhile and then taught the girls how to skip on an individual rope at the same time as they were skipping in a long rope being turned by two other people. They got the hang of it quickly and then we practiced double dutch...we still need to do some work there. The little guy wanted us to play helicopter, so we did that until everyone was dizzy and then went inside for baths and bedtime.

I was up at 5:30am today...typical for me ...put on some laundry and will go get the coffee started in a minute.

There are dance classes this afternoon and Cadets. Girl Guides has been cancelled for this evening. We're having frozen pizza for dinner because by the time I get everyone home from dance it's 5:00 and we leave for Cadets at 5:45. I really hate Thursdays--way too busy!

Working from home day

March 28th, 2007 at 09:26 am

I am working from home today. Well, as you can tell, I'm actually SUPPOSED to be working from home. I worked for an hour and am now taking a 15 minute break. There are far less distractions here than in the office, so, hopefully, I'll be able to get lots accomplished today!

Dh is working late today. I will be picking my nephew up after school with my own 3 kids, and after he goes home, I will be taking the boys for haircuts. The weather is beautiful (haven't had rain in 4 days) and the kids will all be playing outside for most of the afternoon.

We're having roast chicken and potatoes for dinner...easy, easy, easy...pop it all in the oven in one big pan and let the yummy smells fill the house. I'm going to go out for lunch with my best friend and so I'd better go finish some work before I leave for that...

Out to lunch

March 27th, 2007 at 07:09 am

My boss is away for the next three days and everyone is doing a happy dance! She's very chatty and freaks out about little things...she means well, and is extremely kind but she is soooo dramatic. One of my coworkers told me yesterday that at least now we'll have 3 days to just get our work done.

We're taking one of our volunteers out for lunch today because it was her birthday last week. She mainly volunteers with my program and I don't know what I would do without her. She is such a huge help and definately deserves a surprise treat lunch! It will be fun to go.

We had leftovers for dinner last night. I actually sat down and planned a week's menu on the weekend, went shopping, and mainly stuck to my list. Of course, I had Dh with me and he adds stuff into the cart that I don't think we need, but as long as he eats it and the food doesn't go to waste, I don't really care. I've been so busy lately that I've been just scrounging meals up at 5:00 and I really can't stand the disorganization anymore!

Back to Work

March 26th, 2007 at 06:36 am

Spring Break is over so it's back to school for the kids and back to work for me. It's too bad...we had such a busy and fun break and now I'm really looking forward to summer. I'll have 9 weeks off from the time the kids get out to when they go back. I can't wait!

The bills are all paid for March and I can't imagine that I'll need to buy anything else this month...aside from a birthday gift for my brother...so we're well ahead going into April. That's always nice!

Our 3 month emergency fund is almost back up to where it should be. I had to take some out when Dh purchased his new to us vehicle in January...once I receive my tax return, we'll be over in that account. My new kitchen countertops may actually happen this year!

It's Twins!!!

March 22nd, 2007 at 08:24 am

My 26 year old niece is pregnant...with twins...girls! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. They are due to arrive in July and she and her dh only live about 20 minutes away, so we'll be able to see them often.

I have an extra special great aunt, and I hope to be one to these two girls. My dd is 10, so there will be one for each of us to hold while babysitting!

Spring Break Madness

March 21st, 2007 at 08:37 am

I love spring break...the kids are home and I'm home. The one thing that I really appreciate about my new job is the flexibility. I'm contracted out to work 1000 hours between September and June. I can choose the hours and where I want to work (the office or from home). If my kids are sick, I stay home. Winter break, I stayed home. Spring break, I'm home...I don't know if I should chance giving this up!

Yesterday, my friend and I took my 3 kids along with two friends, and her 3 kids to Science World. It cost $51.00 for me and my kids to go for the day, so I renewed our 2 year membership ($205) and now we can go as much as we want for the next 2 years. We'll be ahead if we go more than another 3 times in the next two years. My kids love Science World and would go every week if I agreed. The only problem is that it's about an hour commute, so time can be a factor!

Oldest ds is at a sleepover, dd had a friend sleep over, and youngest ds is going to play at a friend's house this morning. I'm going to go grocery shopping and I told the girls I would take them to the mall today. My dd has a gift certificate from Christmas that she still hasn't used...she's 10 and fairly picky about what she spends her money on. Good habit to have.

I'm working a little bit from home this week, so I think I'll go do that for a bit before taking ds to his play date...

Hello Everyone!

March 20th, 2007 at 08:30 am

I haven't posted in a really long time...work has been absolutely nuts! My contract runs from September to June and then I'll be re-hired in September. I'm not sure if I will come back. The stress of this job is annoying me (although I tend to put most of the pressure on myself!), but the hours and flexibility may win me over. I'll wait and make a decision in the summer when I'm not in the office.

I went in for a visit at my old job last week. I am so glad that I left there. All the reasons that I quit came flooding back and, for the most part, it's quite a negative work environment, so I know that I made the right choice on that one.

Ds turned 7 last week and we had his party at home. We had a drive in theatre...the kids made cars out of boxes, drove them to the family room, 'bought' candy, popcorn and drinks at the concession stand and watched a movie. Then they had cake and the little guy opened his gifts. The kids were very well behaved, but I still prefer having parties outside of the home...easier on my energy although not on the budget.

Dh's job is not going full time, so we're still ticking along on two part time jobs. He bought a new-to-us car in January...a 1998 Saturn. It's in excellent condition and he looked for almost 3 months before settling on this one. Sharing a vehicle was just too difficult with our schedules and the three kids' schedules. We paid cash, and are now working on building our emergency fund back up to 3 months of expenses. I will end up with about $2400 in tax returns this year, so that should cover the remainder of what we need. After that, we'll start saving for the hot tub to be repaired, and I would LOVE new kitchen countertops...ours are a dusty rose colour...yep, think 1980!

Well, that should catch me up for now. It's good to be back and I've enjoyed reading up on what you've all been doing.

Nine 13 year olds slept (?) over!

January 21st, 2007 at 04:50 pm

So it was Ds's 13 birthday party last night and 9 came for a sleepover. Well, four of them actually (including mine) stayed up all night. They were reasonably quiet. I was only woken up twice between midnight and 8:00am, so that's not too bad. The kids who did sleep got anywhere between 2-4 hours, so they were all running on empty this morning. They swam at the pool for three hours last night and had a blast there and then came back and I put out chips, pop, lemonade, bagel bites, honey garlic wings, pogos and birthday cake. They microwaved popcorn at some point through the night. I made them sausages and waffles for breakfast and they played hockey indoors until 11:00am, when parents started to arrive for pick up.

They are a wonderful group of kids: polite, well mannered, and FUN! It was a pleasure to have them all together enjoying themselves. I think we had a great start to teenagerdom...we'll see what's to come!

I have a teenager!

January 20th, 2007 at 08:04 am

How did that happen? It's ds's 13th birthday today! He's invited 9 of his friends to go swimming at the wave pool and sleep over...it's going to be one long night. Luckily, my wonderful sil offered to take our younger 2 kids for the evening so they won't be home and kept awake until the wee hours of the morning. Ds asked if they could pull an all nighter and we told him that's fine, but we don't want to be woken up, so they're going to have to be somewhat quiet...yeah, right. I had to say it--we are the parents.

I think tomorrow is going to be a restful, quiet day at my house. I'll be looking forward to an early bedtime!

No Spend Day Number 7

January 13th, 2007 at 11:56 am

Seven no spend days so far this month for me! I would like to get to 15 for January. We do have a big spending day coming up next week. It's ds's 13 birthday and he has invited 9 friends to join him at the wave pool and for a sleepover! I think Saturday night is going to be one loooong night!

Work is going really well. I'm meeting all the goals that have been set by our Provincial Office and am over by a few...these are goals that need to be met by JUNE!!! My office manager and I had a meeting yesterday and she is thrilled because she so believes in celebrating all our successes...whenever one of us shines, the office shines. I am just relieved that the pressure is off me!

I'm going to go for a long snow walk today. I have a return to make at the
mall and may as well trot on over and get my walk in for the day. I hope it's not freezing outside!

Snow Day for me!

January 10th, 2007 at 02:29 pm

Our power went out around 4:00pm yesterday due to high winds. We ordered Chinese food for dinner and went for a 'dark walk' (as told by our 6 year old). The power was still out this morning, which really sucked. I discovered that I really don't like getting up to a freezing cold, and dark, house.

I got the kids to school and attempted to get to work. Unfortunately, it started to snow early this morning, causing major traffic jams and slippery road conditions. I went about 25 blocks in 45 minutes before I decided to turn around and come home. When I arrived back here, there was power! Yay! I've spent the rest of the day in a nice, warm house drinking tea, puttering and reading.

The kids will be home from school soon. I'm going to get my pedometer on in a bit and go for a walk. We are completely out of bread and milk...not a good thing! Those are staples in our house. Hopefully, the snow stops soon. We have about a foot now, and I really do have things I need to attend to at work tomorrow...

I got a new boss!

January 9th, 2007 at 05:40 am

We got a new office manager yesterday. She seems really nice and wants to work as a team. She sat with her through a 1.5 hour conference call, and then had a meeting with her. She told me that she's heard really good things about my work, isn't at all concerned about my programs, and I should just carry on as I have been. She said to come to her if I need help with anything and she'll be more than happy to assist me, but she's pleased with whatever I would like to do. WOW! My previous manager was a wonderful woman and a lot of fun, but she loved to micromanage everyone and everything and drove the whole office crazy coming up with ideas that were way out there and would whip us all into a frenzy trying to accomplish ridiculous things while actually getting our jobs done. We have a lot of volunteers in our office, and they disliked the old manager because they felt that she talked down to them. I feel some positive changes coming along!

Both Sunday and Monday were no spend days for us. On Sunday, Dh and I took the 2 youngest kids and one of their friends on a 5 km. hike. It was a beautiful day and I really needed some fresh air and a big stretch after all the Christmas goodies and lazing around. Yesterday the office administrator and I decided that we would go for a walk together on our lunch break and then eat at our desks instead of in the kitchen. Hopefully, we stick to it. I love to walk and definately have not been doing enough of it...reminds me that I should be bringing my runners to work today, because I'll be in heels this morning!

Extra Money

January 5th, 2007 at 07:45 am

Well, since it's the start of a whole new year, it's also the start of Dh's new and improved paycheque. He got paid today and it was $200 more than last month. I think his second paycheque each month will work out to $100 more. We should find out in the next few weeks whether he'll be going full time, and that will really bump up the income...

With both of us working part time, we've become accustomed to living very frugally. This is interesting having some money that is truly just extra bounty!

Spending Day

January 4th, 2007 at 07:14 am

I woke up feeling much better today. Dh is going to work a long day today and take tomorrow off and then, after the weekend, it's back to work for me too! I have enjoyed my time at home and wish I didn't have to go back to work. I do like my job, I just like being home more!

I'm taking the kids to the bank and the mall today. They all have Christmas money to burn, I have clothing to return (didn't fit) and I will buy them one treat each there...usually a shake or something. I have to go to the grocery store and buy a few dinner type items. We've been living off leftovers and appetizers for the past two weeks so it's going to be nice to eat real home cooking again. I refused to cook a real meal until the fridge was cleaned out of all the goodies.

So today will be the first day I've spent money in 2007!

Sick with the flu

January 3rd, 2007 at 10:48 am

Yep, it's my third day of being home sick with the flu. I feel awful. Actually, I can't remember the last time I felt so sick. My nose is running, throat is sore, I have a headache and all my joints ache. Yuck. I'm tired just from sitting up.

My mom came and got the two youngest kids and took them to her house for some crafts and lunch. I'll be meeting them at the dentist at 1:00. Ds6 has two cavities to be filled and dd10 has to get a tooth pulled. Worst of all is my Dh has my van so I have to walk there. It might be good for me to get some fresh air, but I can't believe how tired I am.

I'm on my third day of no spending...I'm too sick to go out and buy anything!

2007 $20 Challenge

January 2nd, 2007 at 12:14 pm

So I dug through pockets, drawers and bottoms of purses. I came up with $27.81 and this will be the start to my 2007 $20 challenge. I am looking forward to it. I'm not setting a goal amount but will put in as much as I can from extra money earned, change saved, and coupons.

I'm going to ask Dh if he would like to join and we'll have a contest to see who can save the most! My bet will be on me...

Good luck to all my fellow challengees!

$20 Challenge

January 1st, 2007 at 07:34 am

I'm looking forward to starting this challenge for 2007. Last year I saved $898 between January and May and then started adding in money with Dh and got totally confused and ended up quitting. This year it's going to be mine, all mine!!! Dh is on his own challenge!

I am going to start with whatever change I have lying around, so it may not equal up to $20, but it will be close. I will be adding in whatever I don't spend from my blow money and anything extra (found money, money saved from using coupons etc.). I will not be using gift money or money out of our regular account that, as a family, we didn't spend. Leftover blow money is okay to put in because it's mine anyways!

Let's get this party started!

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2006 at 07:08 am

I'm pondering all the changes we've made this year and wondering what 2007 will bring. We managed just fine on Dh's part time income, then I switched jobs and we adjusted to the lower income again. It's been worth it because we have so much more family time and so we definately reached our goal in that area.

In 2007 we will be buying a new to us vehicle for Dh, his job will most likely be going full time (35 hours a week as opposed to the 23 he is currently working) and I will continue having teacher's hours...I can't wait to have the whole summer off!

We did well financially. We continued contributions to our retirement plan, our investments went up quite a bit, we have more savings in the bank than we did at this time last year, and ended the year without debt.

I think it's going to be a great year...

Off to Walmart...

December 27th, 2006 at 07:53 am

I'll be heading off fairly soon to Walmart. As usual, I'm going to pick up cards, wrap and some Christmasy decoration type gifts for next year. Everything is half price, saves me money and time next year and I feel better prepared. I've been doing this for about 8 years. If there are good deals on children's toys then I'll stock up on birthday party gifts for my children's friends over the year as well.

We had a wonderful family-filled Christmas. We will tidy up the house a bit today, go grocery shopping and to the library. Ds (aged 12) is having a sleepover tonight, but the younger two will be in bed early. The rest of the week should be fairly relaxing, and I have next week off work as well, so I'll have lots of time to putter around the house and play with the kids!


December 17th, 2006 at 05:48 am

Dh's bonus came through and then some. It was enough to cover about 2/3 of the new to us car that we'll be buying in January. We will pay the rest with money in our emergency fund.

Dd's orthodontic payments are finished in January, as are her gymnastic classes. Dh is getting a bump in pay, and may be going full time, so our monthly income will be going up by $600-$1600 a month, and it looks like we'll be earning an additional $500 on top of that starting in July...WAHOO!!!

My eyes are seeing dollar signs, and I really need to start making a plan for the money NOW so it's not frittered away.

I got it!

December 7th, 2006 at 07:36 pm

I got a great (I think) deal on a Playstation 2 at Costco. $199 for the gaming system, 2 controllers, and 2 games NBA and ATV racing. I took it over to my neighbour's to hide it for me until Christmas and he told me that he paid 80 bucks for the ATV racing game when it came out. Everywhere else has the gaming system (includes 1 controller) on sale for $129, so I'm happy with the purchase. This is the super duper major gift for our 3 kids! I'll get the microphone/karaoke set that goes along with it for $60 and then there's a few little things that I've picked up through the year, but the kids are basically finished!

Now on to my Dh for whom I've bought one video and nothing else yet...

Dh's Part Time Job

December 6th, 2006 at 06:53 am

Dh has been working part time for about a year and a half. He left an extremely stressful, 2 hour commute, full time job in June 2005. He now works 23 hours a week and his office is 5 minutes from our house (he often comes home for lunch or just works from home). He recently started looking for full time work, and then yesterday his boss asked him how he would feel about adding on more hours. She would like to see his position go full time!

He is also getting a fairly large bonus. We would be very happy to see the full time position go through...and the bonus will come in handy in January when Dh will be replacing his dead vehicle. I am being optimistic and hopeful that everything pans out, but will not count any eggs before they're hatched!

Playstation 2

December 5th, 2006 at 07:17 am

My kids really want a PS2 for Christmas. They don't have any type of gaming system, and our oldest is almost 13. They play at their friends' houses and Dh and I have always thought this was a good plan...we don't believe in lots of screen time...but, as they get older, and the sleepovers become bigger and happen more often, we're thinking that a gaming system in the family room would be okay.

With all the new systems available right before Christmas, one would assume that PS2 would be easy to find. Everywhere I go seems to be sold out! Oh, well, 20 shopping days left. I really need to get a list going and get moving! I feel waaaay behind this year.

Costco Gets Me Everytime!

December 4th, 2006 at 05:41 am

I went to Costco yesterday (with cash) and still spent too much! I bought a 10 dollar Christmas gift for ds aged 6, pickles, toilet paper, kitty litter, 40 juice boxes and 8 of the energy saving lightbulbs. I spent 80 bucks!!!

We are totally having a 'Cash Christmas' this year and I am nowhere near finished shopping. Costco was a madhouse, as was the mall on Saturday. I think this is going to be a huge year for retailers and I wonder how all these people are affording all this stuff...and why? The whole buying, buying, buying part of the season really bums me out. The first question out of so many people's mouths right now is,"Have you finished your Christmas shopping?". Yikes!

My ds (aged 12) and dd (aged 10) asked me last week if they could each forgo one of their Christmas presents to buy a gift for a family in a third world country. They want to get goats for families in Zimbabwe through Foster Parents Plan of Canada. I am a proud Momma!

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