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Archive for December, 2010

Almost Time to Fly!

December 21st, 2010 at 02:36 am

Ugh! I was almost finished with this post when I decided to check something, and without thinking, hit "search." Goodbye post.

Anyway ...

I had a good day with my mom on Friday. We ate at Olive Garden, and then went shopping. She bought me a red coat from Costco, and an HP ePrinter from Wal-Mart. Then we watched Beezus & Ramona at her apartment. (Sweet!) Then I signed her up for Swagbucks. Smile My second referral! Big Grin

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Sabbath School class on Saturday was chaotic. My usual helper wasn't there (told me last week) and of course there was the Christmas program. So at 10:30 I had 15! kids, and then at 10:35 I had 6 kids. Big Grin The program was fantastic! By the time we ate potluck after church and got the money counted, I got home around 5:00 p.m. It was a long day - but good.

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On Sunday I worked with my senior high-school tutoring student helping her fill out college applications. I'm really glad we went back through them, because on one she had flip flopped the GPA numbers (i.e. where it asked for her GPA, she put 4.0, and where it asked for the weighted score, she put her actual GPA.) She gave me a giftcard which turned out to be an Amway gift choice. After entering in your redemption code, you are given a selection of possible gift options. There wasn't anything which really stood out to me, but in the end I chose to get a fish aquarium thingy for beta fish. Might be a nice stress reliever.

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I now have enough Mypoints for a $50 Wal-mart gift card. Of course, there are none available right now, so I'll have to wait until January. I also have nearly enough Swagbucks for a $50 Amazon gift card (5108 - need 5900.) I'll probably just wait til January and get the $25 (5 $5's), and then keep on doing that till I have enough for *both* a $50 and a $25.

Swagbucks and Mypoints are my two main focuses, but I am also using a number of other sites. They include: irazoo, zoombucks, sidetick, beruby, and beezag. Of all of these, I think irazoo is probably the easiest to make money from - easy 100 points a day, which equals one $5 Amazon card per month. Beezag is interesting in that you watch these commercials and then enter numbers at the end to prove you watched it. Each commercial is worth a different number of points. Once you reach 8000 points, you can cash out for $8.00 PayPal. Most videos seem to be between 50 and 70 points, and you get two - three a day. Zoombucks I think I'll probably focus more on just entering zoom codes whenever I see them, and maybe go search once a day. Otherwise the site is kind of annoying. Sidetick ... it finally seems to be crediting me properly. Essentially you can earn $.50 a day by opening an email and posting a comment on the daily blog post. Payout is $25.00. BeRuby is something I just started using. All you do is click on websites (CNN, Yahoo, etc.) and get paid from half a cent to one cent each. Payout is $10.00 Paypal.

So ... I decided that my goal in doing all these different sites is to earn $650 by November 1, 2011. This money will be used to purchase a new computer (assuming my current one doesn't die on me by then.) I already have $50 towards this. So .. 600/10 .. that means I need to average about $60/month from these sites. Hmm... I may have to supplement this money from other sources ... I think $30/month is completely doable, and perhaps $35/month, but $60 is really pushing it.

... Maybe I can count the money I get back from statement credits using my credit card rewards points? Today I redeemed 3000 Chase Freedom points for a $30.00 statement credit. On my Citi card, I'll be getting 2000 Thank You points for my GPA this semester (if I can figure out how to get an acceptable grade statement for them.)

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Ok, I probably ought to be going. I need to make sure YNAB is up to date so I can update my YNAB app for the trip; plus there are still a few things I need to do packing wise. SD is taking me to the airport at 5:45 a.m. Gulp! That's the earliest I've had to wake up in a long time.

I don't know how often I'll be getting on here in the next few weeks ... So in case I miss it ...

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Years!

A Long Birthday Day -- but a Good One :)

December 17th, 2010 at 02:00 am

Yesterday was a *very* long day. But, like I said, it was a good one.

After I finished with my first tutoring student, I texted my stepdad to see if my birth certificate had come yet. The mail wasn't there yet.

So, I went across the street to get my car inspected. (Decided not to procrastinate on that!!) The mechanic suggested replacing the power steering fluid, which I agreed to (wheel had been squealing up a storm when turned sharply.) Got ready to pay, and he asks me if I have any coupons. I told him I didn't, but did they offer a birthday discount? Big Grin He asked to see my i.d. I got a $10 discount, plus a full service car wash. Big Grin (This place gives a car wash with oil change - so this was an upgraded car wash.) Nice!

While I was there, I received a text from my stepdad telling me I had mail from my dad! Yay! I ate some lunch, and headed out the door. Unfortunately, I did not look up a DMV address *before* leaving, but just searched it on my phone. I drove for 45 minutes in *bad* traffic to probably about the worst part of town possible.

The good news? There was absolutely no line! Big Grin I was in and out in less than ten minutes. The lady asked me twice if I wore contacts (maybe she was surprised a 35 year old still had good vision??)

Traffic was pretty bad still going over to my next tutoring student. Thankfully I made it with 5 minutes to spare. He and his mom gave me a $15 Barnes and Nobles gift card. Ahh... sweet. Big Grin

When I was finished with him, I headed over to CVS where I meet my mom for our evening tutoring students. I'd been there about 15 minutes when I got a phone call from her. She had locked her keys in her trunk!! Her apartment keys were in the car, along with her purse and all her tutoring books. I went over to where she was and picked her up. Then, after we were finished with our evening students, I took her back to her car to meet the AAA guy.

She was able to get into her car (with the alarm blaring at 9:30 p.m.) but the security system would not let her open the trunk. So ... I drove her to her apartment where she got her extra key, and then drove her back to her car. Finally, I was able to drive home.

I got lots of birthday greetings on FB (and here), birthday Swag from Swagbucks, three birthday phone calls, a couple of emails, and birthday greetings from my tutoring students. I forgot to mention - my stepdad gave me a tin of peppermint bark white chocolate + he told me that my birthday/Christmas/graduation gift from him is free rent in January! The purpose being for me to use it towards interviewing expenses. Big Grin

Tomorrow I'm going over to my moms and we're eating at the Olive Garden, and watching a movie at her place (my choice.) She's giving me a gift certificate for a manicure/pedicure (birthday) and we're going shopping for a bike seat (Christmas.) When I get out to CA, my dad and grandma are taking me to Hearst Castle for a tour (birthday.)
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Five days till lift off!

Good and Not So Good News

December 15th, 2010 at 01:29 am

I'll start with the Good News. Big Grin I had to file an appeal for the second half of my scholarship. One of the requirements was that you are enrolled full-time - meaning 9 semester hours for graduate students. Since I only have 3 credits left, I had to file an appeal.

Well, you can guess where this is going. Big Grin I got an email today telling me that my appeal had been approved. In early February I will get the second $1000 scholarship money! Woo Hoo!

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Not so good news. My birth certificate that dad mailed out to me on Thursday did not come today. So after I was done with my tutoring students, I stopped at my storage unit and opened a few more boxes that were possibilities. Nada. When I got home, I looked in the one and only possible place I could have it, and ... nada.

So, hopefully it will come tomorrow before I have to leave for my evening tutoring students. If it does, I will have the pleasure of spending part of my birthday in the DMV. Frown If it doesn't, then I hope that they'll take an expired driver's license...

A Bit Awkward ...

December 14th, 2010 at 04:33 am

Tonight I went out to dinner with five other ladies from my church. 5 of us had birthdays in December, the sixth one was the daughter of one of the ladies. 4 of the ladies with birthdays brought gifts for everyone else. Guess who didn't bring anything? Guess who didn't *know* that was part of it?

If I would have known we were supposed to bring gifts, I would have said I was not able to come. This was arranged for late Sunday afternoon. Why did they feel like gifts had to be involved? Isn't just getting together for a meal enough?

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I played a bit more on one of the websites I mentioned yesterday. So far my verdict is that it is one to skip. I won't be wasting anymore time on it. (The one where you supposedly can earn $15/mo easily.)

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Last night I was up pretty late, and decided to get on Swagbucks at midnight when the clock changed over. I actually qualified and completed a 30 minute survey. Oy vey! My eyes were rolling out of their sockets. I hope my answers were halfway intelligible. Anyway, I finished it and got credited. Really paid for it though when Buddy started begging to go out at 7:30 this morning.

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On my way to the birthday dinner, I stopped as Walmart to get gas. (It was the cheapest I'd seen it, and I was getting low.) I went in to reload my card. When I swiped it at the gas pump, it said I had a $24.57 balance. That made me do a double take, since I'd only put $20 on it. Then I looked at the card. It was my $50 walmart card from Mypoints I'd gotten in 2009, but had never used up the remaining balance. I'd tried to use it up in the store, but it wouldn't take. I must have accidentally loaded that card! Good thing too, cuz my car took all of it! LOL!

This and That

December 13th, 2010 at 03:26 am

I mentioned awhile ago that I had signed up to be a group leader in a weight loss program my church is holding in the new year. Well, yesterday we had our first volunteer meeting after church. I found out that the program coordinator had told a friend of mine (church assistant treasurer who I help with counting money each Sabbath) that she wasn't needed. Doh! I count it as the age of this person (she has to be in her early 20's.) But seriously, when are there ever *too many* volunteers for a church function??

Anyway, today I finally got around to reading the group leader handbook. By the time I finished it, I decided it wasn't for me. First of all, it was pretty offensive in how they discussed people with weight issues. Secondly, the time commitment required of a group leader was more than just the once a week meeting - it also involved calling 6 - 8 group members on a daily basis. Thirdly, I just plain did not agree with some of the ideas in the lessons.

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Has anyone else been having problems with Mypoints recently? I've been a member since 2005, and have earned nearly 90,000 points (redeemed 83,200) and until November, never had an offer or email not credit. In November, I had two offer sign-ups not credit (freebie things), and in December I had two sign-ups that have not credited yet, and one survey non-qualifier. I contacted customer service regarding the survey non-qualifier, and one of the November offers (waiting for the 30 day period to pass on the others.) I finally did receive credit on the one offer (Pet Centric, upload a picture of your pet to their site, then share it on Facebook - 165 points total!) And customer service gave me "goodwill Points" for the survey non-qualifier.

I'm afraid to complain too much about offers not crediting because I've heard too much about people being deactivated without warning. I have nearly enough points right now for a $50 Wal-Mart card (need about 120 more.)

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I got a good bit done today that I'd been slacking on. Cleaned out my closet, and found my two sweatshirts. (I'd put them in a suitcase a few months ago for a Sabbath School lesson, and forgot I'd done that!) Cleared my drawers/bookshelves, etc. of accumulated junkmail, etc. Did three loads of laundry. And still managed to spend a lot of time on the internet. Big Grin

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I got comments from my professor today on the grant proposal my partner and I did. From her remarks, I think we may have gotten a good grade. She said that she thought our proposal was unique and a contender. Big Grin So, I just may still have my 4.0 going into Spring semester. Big Grin Big Grin

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I was reading a blog focused on Swagbucks today, and indirectly was led to a freebie site on Facebook. Then as I was reading through *that* I found out about two new interesting money making sites. One is a social network where you supposedly can earn $15/month *just* by logging in every day, reading any email in your site inbox, and making a comment on the main blog post.

The other site I found out about, is one where you watch these advertisement videos. During the videos two numbers flash across the screen randomly. Then at the end of the video, you enter those numbers to earn credit. 800 points = $8.00 (cash out) I spent about 10 minutes checking the site out and watching videos, and earned 39 points.

I'm going to play around with both of these sites and see if they really pay out, then I'll post their names here. The first one (social site) you get $1 for every referral, and $.25 for every person your referrals refer -- but you do use your real name. So .. I probably would only give my referral link to people here who already know my real name. Big Grin

Anyway, none of these sites really take that much time, and if they really do pay out, it's a nice bit of extra money each month.

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Did you hear about the roof collapsing on the Metrodome in Minnesota where the Vikings play? If the other team hadn't been rerouted on their flight plan, and it had happened just a little bit later in the day ... Yikes!

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Tomorrow night I'm meeting 5 other ladies from my church for a December birthdays get together at Soup Or Salad. I think that sounds like fun. With my birthday being so close to Christmas, I usually get left out of any birthday rememberances at work or church, etc.

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My birth certificate didn't come yet, hopefully it will arrive tomorrow so I can get my license taken care of before Wednesday (when it expires.) If I have to, I'll go to the DMV on Wednesday, but that day is SO full already. Besides, do I really want to spend my birthday at the DMV????

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One last thing ... Restaurants.com is having their 80% sale right now. I think this code expires today?? But if you enter code: Joy at checkout, you get a $25 gift certificate for $2! I bought one for a vegetarian restaurant near where I'll be visiting my dad/grandma in CA. So, I'll be able to treat to a really nice meal for around $27 (after tip and required spending amount of $45.)

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This week I think I'll probably only have tutoring through Wednesday. I know my high-school Junior was trying to get out of Thursday, and definitely Friday. My Senior might still want to meet on Thursday - hopefully - we've been working a lot on college entrance essays, so that's not dependent on a school schedule.

Sick to my Stomach!!

December 10th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I cannot believe I did this. I cannot recall ONE time in my life where I have done this. I had one assignment left for one class this week. The assignments in this class were always due on Friday. I *assumed* that the due date for this assignment was also Friday.

I spent about four hours this afternoon finishing it. Then I went to turn it in. It was due yesterday....Frown Frown

I just needed 35 points to have an A in this class. The final assignment was worth 100.

I emailed the professor and asked for mercy.

If I miss out on getting into the Library Sciences Honor Society because of this ... oh, I could just cry!!

Extra Income, Driver's License Renewal Troubles, etc.

December 10th, 2010 at 04:22 am

This evening I got email confirmation of my 5 Amazon gift cards I'd ordered from Swagbucks for November. So now my Amazon.com account has $50 just sitting there waiting to be put to use. Smile I already have enough Swagbucks for my January $25 -- I may just try to get a $50 one this month ... hmm...

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Monday and Tuesday afternoon I worked with the College Freshman on his research paper. It was on the Chosun Dynasty and the four hereditary classes (Korea.) I was mangling the pronunciations so much, that he finally said, "Just say Y" (for Yangin.) LOL! Between the two days I worked with him just under an hour. So, I only charged him $20.

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If the family of the two boys I work with on Wednesday nights can reschedule their boys math tutor, I will be having a second night with them. They want my mom to work with their two oldest boys at the same time as I am working with the two youngest. If it works out, that would be an extra $200 per month. The boys are quite pleasant and fun to work with.

Actually, I can't say that I have *any* tutoring student that I don't enjoy working with - ... well, maybe one who can sometimes be quite frustrating, although I know it isn't his fault ...

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On to the Driver's License Renewal Troubles:

Yesterday I was driving to my late evening tutoring session when it dawned on me that I needed to renew my license ASAP! Why? Well, if I want to get on the plane on the 21st to go to CA, it would be a good idea to have a current license!

So, this morning I get on the TX DL site and enter my information to renew online. DENIED! What??? After reading the eligibility criteria closely, I saw that you can only renew every other time online. That means that in order to renew, I must go in person. Ugh!

Well, I figured that all I would need would be my current DL, and my birth certificate. Nope! Not good enough. When I go in, I will need my birth certificate, plus two other forms of i.d. (I'll be taking my SS card, and a letter from my car insurance stating I've had continuous coverage for more than 2 years.)

As you may know, I have a lot of my things tucked away in my storage unit. Guess what one of those items are? Yep! My birth certificate. I was ready to order a new one from my birth state rather than dig around and through all my boxes ... but luckily I called my dad first. Smile Guess what he had, and knew how to get to it in less than two minutes? My birth certificate should arrive by Saturday or Monday. I'm hoping my assumption is correct that they'll give me my new license right away - otherwise I won't have any current picture i.d. This would be very bad.

I know this whole ordeal is my fault due to procrastinating (and not having a central place where all my important documents are kept within easy finding.) Still, though, it irks me that I have to go to such lengths to prove who I am, and that I can't just renew online again. Oh well, guess that's life.

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Oh! I ordered the flashcards for my certification test. They came on Tuesday. I haven't done much with them yet, but from what I've seen, they look like they'll be helpful.

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Last night my mom and I were talking after finishing our tutoring session. She asked me if I wanted the Nook as a birthday/Christmas gift. I told her thanks for the thought, but my iPhone does the job just fine - and is only one device to carry. Smile So she asked me what I'd like ... I told her a mani/pedi and a bike saddle seat. Big Grin (She was looking for the $100 range.) I'm going to go over to her apartment next Friday and set her up on Swagbucks, as well as maybe watching a movie and dinner somewhere. (My birthday is Wednesday, but neither of our schedules work out to do anything that day.)

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I am curious to see what my January tutoring schedule is going to look like. If new students/hours keep at this rate, I am going to be one busy lady!

Opinions Needed Please

December 3rd, 2010 at 02:32 am

Thank you all again for your congratulations on receiving the huge scholarship. Smile I'm still in a bit of shock over it. Big Grin

On Monday I took a practice exam for the school librarianship certification. Previously I had taken it in the fall of 2009 near the beginning of my course. The first time I took it, I received a 79%. 80% is passing. Today I received my score for the second practice -- 81%. That is a passing score, but only a 2% improvement.

That worried me a good bit, so I started to do some research on study guides/programs. I came across this one Flashcards. I looked up info on the company Mometrix Media LLC and saw that they've been in business since 2002, and have guides/flashcards for numerous tests. I also Googled them + complaints, and nothing came up.

So ... what I'm trying to decide is if it would be worth spending $43.00 to purchase their flashcard program. (I would then enter the data into a flashcard program for my iPhone, so I wouldn't have to lug around a bunch of cards.) There is a one-year money back guarantee -- and like I said, I didn't find any complaints about them.

They also have a study guide for the same price. So, I'm also wondering if it might be better to get the study guide and make my own flashcards from it. OR ... get both of them, and decide which one best meets my needs, and return the other one.

I can take another practice exam at the beginning of January. My test is scheduled for January 29. For obvious reasons, I want to pass it the first time. Big Grin I wasn't really planning on worrying too much about it, since I generally do well enough on these types of things. However, passing the practice exam by such a slim margin makes me think that I might need to put a little more effort into it. (My mom still kids me about how I *studied* for the ExCet (Texas teacher's exam in 1997) -- during commercial breaks, a few days prior to taking the exams. Whereas she spent a month or more in deep study. We both passed, which is all that matters - although she did a little bit better than me.)

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I think I need to go back on that challenge with my mom. It really curbed my spending on food, and my junk food eating. I've already spent half my weekly budget this week on ... um ... junk. Frown Good thing I don't need much in the way of groceries tomorrow.

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Today I ordered my 3rd and 4th Amazon gift cards for December from Swagbucks. Tomorrow I'll order the 5th (and last one.) Then I'll have enough left for the first one in January, plus a bit towards the second.

I really love Swagbucks, but I need to spend a little less time on it. Big Grin

(Like right now, I really should be working on a school assignment so I have it done tonight - because tomorrow I'll have to put together the grant proposal information from my partner.) So .. I'm going to go stop procrastinating and get busy! Gotta keep that scholarship. Smile

It Wasn't a Mistake!!!!!!!!

December 1st, 2010 at 08:38 pm

As my title indicates, the scholarship money I found in my account yesterday was NOT a mistake!!!!!!

I received an email back from the financial aid office telling me that it is actually a scholarship from my university, and that I'd be receiving another email with more information on it today. I just about fainted dead away.

$2,000.00!!!!

The email with more info was in my university email account (which I rarely check.) It looks like it was some kind of a competitive scholarship which I was entered into back in the fall when I filled out info for a dozen+ scholarships. One of the requirements is to be enrolled in at least 9 graduate hours per semester. This semester I am enrolled in 9, but next semester I only have one 3-hour class left. I've already emailed them to ask about that.

So, it may be just $1,000.00. But ... even so ... $1,000.00!!!!

My second semester is completely paid for now, AND I'll be getting money back. Somewhere between $500 and $1500.

It is just so amazing to me how God has provided for me throughout my life - but especially the past few years while I've been back in school. I'd been worried about how I was going to afford going on interview trips, let alone living expenses until I find a job ... and here drops a huge sum of money from out of nowhere!