Rock Chalk!

In case you needed some help getting pumped for tonight’s game:


Photobucket

Advertisements

… And I’m Back

Don’t worry, I didn’t go anywhere fun without you guys. I have had some things going on in my life that have taken precedence over the blog for a bit. I can’t share much with you now, but I promise I will fill you in later.

Here is a quick update of how things have gone since we last got together:

*There has been major drama at school. Things were nice and quiet all of third quarter, and then they blew up this past week. I think they are calming down, but it’s just a little crazy what all is going on. Since it is a work topic, I can’t tell you too much. Just trust me when I say it is quite crazy.
*My house is a wreck. I have not had much motivation to clean, so I haven’t. I did clean the master bedroom and bathroom this past weekend. I partially cleaned the kitchen this evening. This place needs a good scrubbing, but it may have to wait for a while.
*I took Bandit to the vet last week, and he is on a prescription strength antihistamine in addition to his Benadryl. He is an itchy little guy, but the combination of meds seems to be helping. Also, while I was cleaning the kitchen, Hubs cleaned Bandit. He gave him a nice bath, and now the little guy smells so good!
*Finances have been ignored a bit. We haven’t gone in the hole and there hasn’t been any unnecessary spending, per se. I did go to a big sale with my mom this past weekend and picked up a few things, but they were budgeted for and I used cash. The vet visit and meds for Bandit were $75.00. So that wasn’t too much fun.
*Hubs and I went to see the Hunger Games on Saturday. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t as good as the book (but when is a movie ever as good as a book), and I wish they could have made it R rated because a lot of the violence is watered down quite a bit. For those who have not read the book or seen the movie, violence is a very major part of the story, so to water it down really took away from essence of it all.
*The days seem to be crawling by. Usually this time until May is a slow process. I am looking forward to summer vacation, so I think that plays into how slow things are going. Once May hits, things usually speed up, and then the end of the school year is just a memory.
*I emailed a lady about a Craigslist post that she put up. It is for 2 guinea pigs, a cage, and many other accessories. She listed it at $75 which is a deal for everything I would get. I am hoping to hear back from her and be able to put these little furballs in my classroom for my first graders to enjoy. I love guinea pigs, and I think having pets in the classroom is important for children. It teaches them so many things.

Not much else going on around these parts. I know you all missed me while I was away for a week. I will try not to disappear for so long again. I hope to be back later this week to keep you updated with my exciting life.

Tomorrow is Wednesday! We are almost half way done with the work week!

Photobucket

The Weekend

So sad it’s the weekend. That means my spring break is pretty much over. School starts back up on Monday. The only plus I can see is that we only have 9 more weeks of school! What?!? This year has flown by! I am already looking forward to summer vacation and some good relaxing.

Spring break has been pretty good. Besides starting off sick, it definitely got better. I have gotten to spend some quality time with family, including my cute nephews. I always visualize my spring break being so productive, and although I did get some things done, I did not get everything done that I wanted. I guess it will be there for me to do whether I am on spring break or not.

I did get to do a photo session today with a super cute family! I love how they are all dressed in navy polo shirts and khaki shorts. Darling! Also, the mom made some delicious cupcakes and shared one with me when the shoot was over! So sweet!

Here are some photos from that session.


Hope you savor the weekend and get everything done you want to!

PS… If any of you are interested, you can check out my photography facebook page.

Photobucket

An Ode to Miss Blue

I had the chance to spend some time outside on this lovely day with a very dear lady in my life. She isn’t fancy. She is rather frugal. She loves driving with the windows down. Some people may even call her “old.” I call her Miss Blue.

Getting a car is a rite of passage in the United States. Every 16 year old looks forward to having that set of keys of their own. I was fortunate enough to have parents who took care of this rite of passage for me (and my brother and sister). When I turned 16 I got my very first vehicle: a 2002 Dodge Ram, because I wanted a pick-up truck. (Come on, I am originally a southerner.) And this truck was a beaut! She was silver and shimmered in the sunlight. She was so big I almost had to jump to get in her. She was perfect, until…

After a while my dad thought it would be better if I drove his car to school, and he drove my truck. My dad drove a nice, sporty little car, so as a 16 year old I did not argue. He decided this because his trek to work was much longer than mine to school. His car was getting older, and he wanted to keep the mileage on it as low as possible. So we switched cars, until…

My dad wrecked my truck (legally his truck because his name was on the title). I was devastated. The twist of fate in this story is that the wreck he was in was so bad, that there is a chance he may not have walked away from it if he would have been in his car. I was sad about my truck, but very grateful that my dad was safe. At this point my dad decided to take back his car (since he had to get to work), and I was left without any vehicle, until…

We got this lovely lady.

A 2002 Toyota Corolla. I was with my parents when they bought her from the dealership (No loans… Way to go Mom and Dad!!). I was too nervous to drive her home, so my dad drove her. I think her original mileage was around 34 or 36 miles.

She currently has over 120,000 miles on her, and doesn’t have the smoothest or quietest ride, but she does what she should. She was with me when I graduated from high school in the spring of 2002. She was how I got to college in the fall of 2002. She drove me back and forth each summer, winter break, and spring break until about 2010 (500 mile trip each way). She was with me during each and every boyfriend, until my last one who became my husband. She was the car that drove both dogs home for the first time. Barring anything happening to her, we hope she will be with us for our first child. She has been through a lot with me, and I still love her dearly.

She doesn’t know the Joneses. If she did, I don’t think she would like them very much. I don’t think they would like her. She probably isn’t fancy enough for them. She doesn’t come with a car payment, which the Joneses seem to like so much.

Today, though, I took some time to spend just with her. Like any girl, I pampered her a bit. She got a good scrubbing and a nice bath. I think it made her feel young again.

Happy 10 years together!
Isn’t she lovely?

Photobucket

12 on the 12th

Doodle Bugs over at Doodle Bugs Teaching is having a linky party! She does a 12 on the 12th each month. That means on the 12th of each month she takes 12 photos to document her day that month. I have heard of this, but I have never joined in! I thought I would give it a shot. I found that I am pretty sure I have a very boring life, even though it is spring break.

Here is my 12 on the 12th:

This is the first collage I have created in Photoshop, and I really like how it turned out! Here are what the photos are all about.

1. Started the morning with some clouds and wetness from the rain yesterday and last night. That did not bother this little girl from wanting to hang outside on the deck.

2. Super excited to wear flip flops today! The weather is becoming so spring-like! We got into the 70s today, and that is the forecast for this upcoming week! (Please excuse the lack of pedicure… it needs to get done, I know.)

3. Ran errands for hours today. It was definitely not a no-spend day. Here are the groceries that came home with me.

4. Sad gummy bears. They looked so good at the grocery store, but I ate about 5 and couldn’t stand them anymore. They were the worst gummy bears I have ever tried. I felt terrible about it, but I threw the bag away. I wasn’t going to finish them, and I knew Hubs wouldn’t eat them all either.

5. Laundry! See… really boring day. I started by washing all of the dog stuff in the house, and then stripped down beds and washed bedding. I still have a ton to wash this week, but it’s a start.

6. Happy mail day! I won this cute little zipper pouch from Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily! It came in the mail today, and I absolutely love it! Totally my style! I am now the happy owner of 2 of Carla’s beautiful creations. 🙂

7. Wowzers! My first graders are going to love me! These are all donations from my sister Jenny (at Just Being Me). They are going into the treasure box at school. Each time my first graders earn 10 stickers, they get to choose out of the treasure box. These are perfect treasures! (They have been in the trunk of my car for about a month now, and I finally got them out today.)

8. More cleaning! Spring means spring cleaning. I had cleaned the guest room by this point, and these cleaners were for the guest bathroom. It needed cleaned, as it was the bathroom I used during my sickness. Blech! It is nice, clean, and shiny now!

9. Steak medallions on the grill. It had started as a thick filet mignon. I was planning on butterflying it, but it kind of fell apart. So we had filet medallions! Still fantastic dinner. I love using the grill… so easy!

10. Dessert! Thanks to Pillsbury, we had some cookies for dessert. Tasty!

11. Fluffy bed. After getting everything out of the dryer, this dog bed was super fluffy. Perfect for this pathetic looking pup. He stayed in there most of evening, and looked at us with these sad eyes while we ate steak without sharing with him.

12. Saving money like a champ! One of the errands I ran was to the vet to get Miss Rose some Heartgard. I got a year’s worth, which was $111.00. Yikes! But my sister had given me a $15 rebate form to fill out when I bought a full year’s worth. I filled this out tonight and put it in the envelope, ready for the mail. I will drop it off tomorrow! In 6-8 weeks I will be getting a $15 check. 🙂

Did you participate in the 12 on the 12th? Are you interested in doing it next month? Join on in! I found it tricky to find things that were interesting, but I guess that’s the point. Most regular days aren’t necessarily interesting. I really did enjoy this, and think it would be fun to continue.

Monthly Budget Update

My financial months go from my pay period one month to the next. That is normally from the 15th to the 15th. This month we got paid a week early because the 15th is going to fall during our spring break. Since some people still get paper paychecks, they have to offer them available for pickup during regular hours. This means our last month (Feb/Mar) was rather short, but that our upcoming month (Mar/Apr) is going to be an extra week. Luckily the month of March is a 3 paycheck month for Hubs (he gets paid every other week). The three paychecks fall during our Mar/Apr month, so even though it’s longer, we will have a little extra cushion, even though I hope to not use any.

I just updated my sidebars from paying everything in Feb/Mar, but I am really excited about our next payment on the Chase bill because that will bring it below $2,000! Woo-hoo! Also our car loan is under $17,000. It is still a lot of money, but each milestone is a celebration!

Feb/Mar ended up being an interesting month. We had to dip into savings, but still came out with more in than we started with. We also had to pay almost $600 in medical bills along with our regular bills. I have to say that I am super happy that we managed to not accrue anymore debt and didn’t dip too much into savings to really hurt us.

*For some reason my RSS feed does not want to show my screenshot. If you want to see the screenshot, please head to my actual blog. Sorry about the inconvenience.*

I am hesitant about showing our fixed bills and income, so I am leaving you with our incidentals. The categories that have dates next to them we use the cash/envelope system for. The dates tell me when to take the cash out of our account. The Column C tells you what is budgeted. Column D tells you what was actually spent, and Column E tells you whether we were over or under, and by how much. I put comments in Column F to remind myself of purchases or certain things that I need to remember.

A few things to note:

Eating out and groceries seem to always be a problem. We spent more eating out in this short month than we did in Jan/Feb. Not good! I have been trying to reel it in, but it hasn’t been working very well.

Medical: I had to pick up a couple things from the drug store. I had some money in the medical envelope from a while ago, but I forgot to bring it. Oops!

Miscellaneous: $32.00 of it was reimbursed. Some coworkers and I do a walking challenge each spring, and I am the captain. I wrote one check for all the registrations, and they each paid me. Another big chunk of this was due to going to a thirty-one party. I received two of these bags for Christmas and they are very durable. I wanted a reusable lunch tote (I currently have one, but send Hubs’ lunches in paper bags– I will give him my current, plain green one, and I will have a pretty one). I also got a notepad with pen holder/coupon holder for my purse, and a little basket thing. These weren’t needs by any means, but they were wants. I sometimes feel if you are too tight with a budget and don’t give yourself any wiggle room, you will drive yourself crazy. I do not want to be crazy.

I still owe $20 to our Car Tags envelope. I got the wrong amount out at the ATM and haven’t made it back. I have a Car Tags envelope because our first year of marriage (and with our new car) we were blindsided with how expensive it was to get our car tags renewed. I didn’t want to let that happen to us ever again. Since that year, we have had this envelope. After this year I will turn it into an ING Orange Savings Account, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of depositing the money into our checking account, transferring the money, then transferring back, getting out cash, and finally paying for the tags in cash in June.

I owe $1 to Entertainment, but probably won’t put it in there. We paid for the Hunger Games tickets online which were $17.00. Then I had $2.00 in cash from a milk bottle return at the grocery store. I stuck the $2.00 in the envelope, but didn’t have a final $1 to make it break even. Oh well!

The baby envelope is something I started when I was pregnant before. Instead of getting rid of it when I miscarried, we have continued to put money towards a little future nugget. Someday we will get to use that money, but for now it just sits safely there waiting.

I think that is it. Long, boring post, but necessary to keep me accountable. If you have any questions about how I came up with certain amounts or anything like that, just ask me in the comments section, and I will be happy to answer them!

Hope your finances are going swimmingly!Link

The Frugal (and not so) Side of Sickness

I am still in bed recovering from the nightmare of being sick. I am feeling better and am able to keep everything down, but I have no strength, and my head is pounding. I think most of it is due to still being dehydrated, so I am trying to drink water constantly without making myself sick.

I thought I would do a fun post about the frugal side of being sick. I am not talking about the sick that makes you go to the doctor and rack up tons of doctor bills. I am talking about the sick that lasts maybe 24 hours and keeps you in bed during that time.

Here are some things that helped save some money during my sickness time:

1. No driving to work for two days. This helped save some money on gas expenses. I fill up my car about once a week, and now I am going to be able to stretch that out a bit longer.

2. No eating out (for me). Nothing sounds good when you are super sick. I have been munching on some pretzels, bananas, and soup yesterday and today. This really keeps food costs down.

3. Having a mom nearby to help buy essentials. The first night I was sick, Hubs had to buy some Gatorade and Sprite for me, but when my mom came over yesterday, she brought some other items to help me survive.

4. No shopping. I have no desire to leave my bed, much less my house at this point. I don’t want to go anywhere, which means no temptation to buy anything at all.

Now for the not so frugal side of sickness:

1. Hubs eating out more. I am not well enough to make lunch for him at this point (and I don’t think he would want me making him lunch), so he is eating out for lunch. Same with dinner.

2. Energy usage up. I am home all day whereas normally no one is home during the day. This means more energy is being used. I try to keep the lights off as much as possible, but it’s unavoidable to use energy when at home.

If we break it down, being sick (for a day or two) is a bit more frugal than being healthy.

Can you think of any other things that would cause a sickness to be frugal or not? Did I forget anything?

*Please remember: this post was meant to be lighthearted and fun. Again, I am talking about a 24 hour sickness, not a sickness that involves doctors, hospitals, or prescriptions. Obviously those sicknesses cost a lot of money, and I would not wish that upon anyone.

I Thought I Wasn’t Going To Make It

Last night sucked big time! Around 8:30 I started feeling uber nauseous, but didn’t think anything of it and tried to go to bed. At about 9:00 my tummy was rolling, and it took all my strength to make it to the bathroom. Sure enough it seemed as though I had been hit by a nasty stomach virus. I was hoping it would subside by midnight, and I would get to sleep and go to school today. That is not at all what happened.

Around 10, I finally woke up Hubs and told asked him to go get me some Gatorade and Sprite, because I was feeling so dehydrated. He was a doll and went to the gas station down the street and came back with those items along with some crackers. He went back to sleep immediately, and I settled in for what would be one of the worst experiences of my life.

Every 30 minutes, like clockwork, my tummy would start rumbling and I would run to the bathroom to expel even more from my innards. This continued until about 3:30 AM. I realized it was really bad when I couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. I was dizzy, seeing double, and just wanted this demon to let go of me.

Finally everything seemed to be cleared out by about 4:30, and I was able to fall asleep. I woke up at 6:00 still not 100% but able to keep little bits of water down. I emailed my school secretary and friends that I would not be going to school today. I finally went to sleep and slept for a chunk of time… about 2 hours straight.

Hubs got up around 9:00 and took care of the dogs… I hadn’t even thought to feed them, and I wasn’t about to take them outside to potty. I just wanted to live.

Hubs finally left for work around 11:00, and my mom came over to take care of me around 12:30 (during that time I slept some more). She cleaned the kitchen, made me soup, took care of the dogs, and made me feel better. She left to go home around 3:00, and I curled back up in bed. I slept again until 5:30 when she called to check on me.

Hubs should be home around 8:30, and I asked him to stop and get me a small vanilla cup of ice cream. I haven’t had much to eat today, but I also haven’t been doing much in the way of burning calories. Things seem settled finally, but I still don’t think I will make it to school tomorrow for my meetings. I may also try to reschedule my photo shoot on Saturday and hope that I am feeling well enough for the one on Sunday.

I knew this was going to happen… as soon as the kids were gone for spring break, I was going to get sick. It always seems to happen that way.

*I think I had rotavirus. I had this about 6-7 years ago over spring break, and the symptoms were almost identical. It sucks!

I hope your Wednesday night and Thursday were better than mine. Hopefully I will be back to normal before my spring break really begins.

Quick Stop

Just taking a moment to do a song and dance… the kids are officially on spring break! I have a work day tomorrow which means I get to be in my classroom all day doing things that need to get done. And on Friday we have a collaboration day which means a day of meetings.

In the meantime I am editing my little tail off! I have a photo shoot Saturday and one on Sunday, so my nose is to my computer screen to finish the maternity shoot and be ready for my next two shoots to edit.

So much editing! (But I do love it!)

It’s Almost Wednesday!

Tomorrow is hump day! And it’s my last day with the kiddos until after spring break. They get about a week and a half off, but the teachers have to be there on Thursday and Friday to work in our rooms and go to meetings. Tomorrow is going to be a fun day in my classroom because we are going to do some St. Patrick’s day activities, watch a movie, buddy read, and straighten the room before the week off. Nice and relaxing kind of day.

This weekend is shaping up to be rather busy. I have a photo shoot on Saturday and another one on Sunday. I still have to finish editing the photos from the maternity shoot this past weekend, so my spring break will be spent on my computer. It won’t be too bad, though.

Hubs’ schedule is changing tomorrow and some next week. Next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday he will be working 2:00-10:00, so I have a feeling I will be spending some time at my mom and dad’s. Mom has been DVRing Project Runway this season, so we need to get caught up on that. I also want to redo a wooden chair that I found at a garage sale last summer.

I am sure I will be back with a long to-do list that I will try to accomplish over my spring break. Anyone else have any long to-do lists for the spring? It’s the perfect time to get things cleaned up and organized!