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Archive for February, 2013

Is it Just Me?

February 27th, 2013 at 12:45 am

So today the art teacher and I got called onto the carpet by the principal. Apparently the first grade teacher complained to her that her kids had missed media 4 times and art 3 times just in the last 8 weeks. I'm not sure how she arrived at that number, but oh well. Our principal has asked us to schedule 2 make up sessions for her.

Does this mean I need to schedule make up sessions for the 4 year olds and for the second graders as well?? Because they missed the same days! I know of two days for sure - one I was home sick, and the other I was judging for the Science Fair. Other than that ... not sure how she came up with the number.

The thing that really gets me though is that instead of saying something to me or to NM about wanting to makeup for the lost classes, she went directly to the principal. I try my best to schedule makeup time for classes that are missed for whatever reason, but I don't have a lot of free time in my schedule - and if they don't ask ... well.

The long and short of it is that we have to have lesson plans for the assistants to do with the kids when we know we'll be gone. That's fine with me - did it last year, and no one used them. So didn't bother with it this year.

That just really frustrated me today.

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At lunch I found out that because one of the mission staff was laid off, we are losing one of my favorite 7th grade boys after next week. (end of 3rd qtr.) Frown

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Today I had the 7th graders start their presentations. Only two boys presented. One of them is very socially awkward and has trouble with school ... but he surprised me with doing a bang up job. His slides had something to be desired as far as mechanics, but he knew his material inside and out! He outperformed ANY of the 8th graders from yesterdays presentations.

Technology decided to play games with me when the 7th grade girls were there .. so only 1 was able to present.

Sigh. This means this project drags out yet another week.

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After a day like today I wonder about my decision to stay here another year. Not to mention that hearing about layoffs at the mission office helps to increase anxiety about job security.

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The yearbook deadline is looming closer and closer. March 18. I really hope I have my journalism kids ALL 6 class periods between now and then. We need every minute we have. Whatever is left, I'll have to do myself. Ugh!

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It looks like I passed my latest module in the 6 month long class. We are now starting the mobile learning (iPad) module, and then a few weeks to finalize the final project. And ... then we're done! April 6 is the official last day. I'll be SO glad when it's over.

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It is really cold and very windy here today. The temperature might not be so bad if it wasn't for the wind. At least it isn't snow (right now at least ..)

Federal Refund and Car Loan

February 26th, 2013 at 03:05 am

Ahh.. today I received my federal refund - $1936. That plus the state refund plus what was already in there ... wish I could just leave it all in there and keep seeing those numbers. Smile But, alas, I'd rather pay as little interest on my car loan as possible, so a payment of $2300 will be heading off to the CU as soon as it's March. (I'm holding part of it back to put into my Vanguard Traditional IRA to bring it up to $3k.)

Speaking of the CU and the car loan. Smile I received a statement from them with my latest numbers. It said I have a balance of ~$4200 (don't have paper in front of me) and that I don't have a payment due until July. Big Grin Wonder what they're going to think when they get my next check? Big Grin Big Grin

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I'm at close to 4,600 Swagbucks now. Today when I saw the daily goal, I almost said forget about it! But I'm glad I didn't. Somehow I've now managed to get 9 of the codes, even though I didn't start trying til after 4:30 p.m. MST. I think there is one or maybe two codes still left. I need 4,750 to be able to get my March 5 $5 AGCs AND a $25 AGC (or maybe Paypal cash). I'll more than likely be able to do that by Wednesday. Nice. Big Grin

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Work was pretty busy today. I found out some sad news. Like Monkey Mama says, cancer s*cks!! My friend and co-worker who is the IT person at our school has stage 1 lung cancer. Frown She's taking chemo pills right now, and is scheduled for surgery the last week of March. I asked her if she wanted others to know - so they wouldn't nag her/complain about how much work she's getting/not getting done - but she didn't want anyone's pity. I understood, I just hope that people don't go hard on her.

She's had lots of offers already of people willing to help her out, and stay with her when she has to do the regular intravenous chemo. Right now she thinks she wants to do it alone ...

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Friday is Dr. Suesss' birthday, so I'm celebrating it with my K - 3rd students this week. Today I read Green Eggs and Ham to both K and 3rd. My K's repeated every line after I read it, and my 3rd's read every line with me. Big Grin Both groups loved the book. Smile I also read part of Cat in the Hat to my K's - I hadn't read it in a long time, and didn't realize how LONG it really is. Wow.

No Spending for Rest of February!!

February 22nd, 2013 at 12:44 am

Today after entering all the expenses from my recent Baltimore trip, I decided that for the remainder of February I will be under a spending freeze.

The only spending allowed will be submitting tithe/offering checks and possibly paying the registration fee for my NM license (if I have all the necessary paperwork together.)

Yikes! There were two just under $20 purchases that I could have easily done something different for much, much less. Being out of town should NOT have given me the excuse to make those purchases. What's done is done, and now I need to recoup and move on.

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Today we did have a snow day! YAY! I slept in and out most of the morning. It was wonderful. Smile

When I finally got moving, I made a phone call to Vanguard to do something I'd procrastinated about for nearly 8 years.

In 1999 I had $2k left of a bit of a windfall. I was afraid that it would slip through my fingers (because at that time I was rather ... unfrugal to put it mildly.) So I socked it away in a traditional IRA. Sounds good so far, right? Not really ... I didn't put much time or thought into it - just went to my local bank I had an account with and opened an IRA. An IRA in the form of a 2-year CD. A CD that rolls over every other April 15 unless I tell them I want to do something else with it.

Since April 1999, the balance has grown by a whopping $657. I don't want to even do the depressing math on what kind of "growth" that is.

One way or the other though, I now have an IRA account open at Vangaurd and just need to print the paperwork and mail it to them. Then when the current IRA CD matures, it will be invested into the STAR fund. I plan on adding an additional $400 to it in order to be able to invest in the next level of fund.

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I checked my bank account today (the former ING) and saw that I'd received my tax refund already from NM. I also had a weird deposit that just said "Wire Deposit" and nothing else. It was for an amount that looked similar to my bi-weekly paycheck, so I'm guessing that is what it is. (Especially since today is payday.)

I put $500 of the NM refund to my car loan payment category for March, and $25 of it into my Vacation category. (That's the category I raided to pay for my stupid fee of $75 after missing my flight.)

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I have another out of town trip coming up soon (and I think the payment for the registration on that seminar is part of what is making my heart panic at my cc balance ... it will be reimbursed, but not til the end of March probably.) All my meals for that will be reimbursed, so I don't have to worry too much on that front.

I am looking at another conference though in November for school librarians. It's in Hartford, CT. Between registration, least expensive hotel and airfare it'll cost around $900. I am Uber excited about this conference and REALLY want to go. (If you remember, I was part of the group of people who got to evaluate the possible workshops for this conference.) I *really* hope that I can get this approved to be covered by the school, or at least mostly covered.... I can get the best price by registering by August - which means that I'd have to pay for it out of pocket, and then be reimbursed later... Maybe I can use part of my summer school money to pay for it, and then when I'm reimbursed, put the money into the various places I planned for the summer school money?? I *really* want to go to this thing!

Expensive Free Trip

February 21st, 2013 at 03:22 am

Well, I'm back from Baltimore and the Americ@orps conference. Overall, I'm mostly glad I went, although I think maybe some of the younger, less experienced teachers here may have gotten more out of it.

We had three main speakers - Mark Shriver (brother to Maria Shriver, ex wife of Arnie "I'll be Back.") Sister Sissy (can't remember her real name, Sissy is her nickname) and Father Boyle (Homeboy Industries.) Of the three I got the most out of the second and third ones. Shriver was ... well, I felt at least, a bit pompous. Lots of name dropping, and during the Q&A he seemed really offended that some of the kids had Googled him to find out more about who he was .. some of the kids (most of the attendees were 27 or younger) didn't know who the Uncle Jack was that he kept referring to (JFK.)

In addition to the speakers, on Sunday and Monday we had our choice of 4 workshops to attend. I attended 3 because the fourth session the ones I wanted were already full by the time I had a chance to sign up. Two of the three I attended were okay, the third one I didn't really care for too much. Oh well.

The hotel tried to meet the needs of vegetarians, but like many non-vegetarians, they had the idea that vegetarians survive mostly on salads. Ugh. So ... I ate a lot of Subway, a few smoothies from the uber expensive Coffee shop in the hotel, and once at Jimmy Johns (my first time eating at one!)

On Wednesday last week I started to have really bad tooth pain. By Thursday when I went to ABQ to stay at the hotel before flying out, it had gotten much worse. So much worse that I left the hotel after dark to go to Walmart a few miles away. I decided to attack it from the angle of allergies, so I got some sinus meds OTC, but did not get any asprin. Which turned out to be a big mistake $$

The next day by the time we got to our layover in DFW, I had a headache that felt like it was going to split my head in half. So, I paid $7 for a soda and 3 2-capsule packets of aspirin. Those packets lasted til Saturday morning when I was again desperate ... so I paid $8 at the hotel coffee shop for ... a soda, and two packets of ONE-capsule aspirin!

Thankfully that afternoon my co-worker and I found a CVS a fw blocks away where I was able to get a 24 capsule bottle for $5.

I haven't totalled up how much I spent on food and medicine this trip, but I have a bad feeling about it. Much more than the amount I had generously allocated ...

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Of course it gets even better ...

Tuesday morning we arrive at the airport a few minutes before 8 a.m. thinking we were cutting it close for our 8:45 flight. Not even close. We had missed our 8:15!!! flight!!! Both of us for whatever reason had 8:45 stuck in our head, and had not bothered to double check the itinerary email. I've *never* missed a flight in my life, until now.

It cost $75 to book the next flight out ...at 1:45 p.m. My co-worker didn't have a credit card with him, nor did he have enough cash to cover the fee. So I paid for his fee. (He already paid me back this morning.) He was thoroughly embarrassed having me do this, although I really tried to be very non-nonchalant about it.

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By the time we got back to ABQ it was WAY past dark. I called the hotel I'd left my car at to come pick me up. The guy told me to take a taxi and they'd pay for it. Huh? Never been told that before ... so I went outside and found a taxi. The taxi driver knew what I was talking about, and took me to the hotel. I gave him my last $5 bill (the other $5 I'd left as a tip for the hotel maid in Baltimore.)

I needed to get a few groceries, but did NOT want to stop at little G on the way home after dark. So decided to go back to the same Walmart I'd been at on Thursday. Unfortunately, my GPS app had been updated with a HORRIBLE update, and it got me lost. Thankfully though I found a KMART. Well ... sort of thankfully.

While in KMART I ended up picking up a new purse (to replace the one whose strap broke this last summer in San Francisco), a set of full bed sheets, two HUGE stuffed animals on 75% discount, and a few groceries. No bananas though (which was one of the main things I wanted.) About $65 altogether.

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I finally made it into my town a bit before 10 p.m. Kari was SO glad to see me. I was actually glad to see her as well.

Today at work I felt a bit like a zombie. When my kinders were in class, I had to keep reminding myself they were babies and to keep my patience. Even my 3 year olds didn't help revitalize me like they tend to do.

Thankfully today wasn't one of my busier days, otherwise I don't know that I would've made it through. We might possibly have a snow day tomorrow - already have a minimum of a two-hour delay. I'd be so happy for a snow day right now ....

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I have nearly 4k Swagbucks now. I'm considering getting the $25 AGC, although I think I may wait til March, or at least until I have enough to get the $25 AND the March $25. Will see.

I would have made my 14 day streak for February, but the hotel in ABQ's WiFi was TERRIBLE - couldn't even do normal surfing using it. Oh well.

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So sleepy. Probably ought to hit the shower and then maybe watch an episode of Eureka (my latest Netflix addiction.) Speaking of tv ... I received my Person of Interest Season 1 DVDs. I might watch them tomorrow if we have a snow day. Smile

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Oh, the co-worker who I barely tolerate .. this morning she sits across from me and says, "So, I hear you missed your flight. HA HA. I've NEVER (said in a haughty tone) missed a flight. I always get there at least two hours ahead of time." I felt like punching her in the face, but I thankfully restrained myself, and only said, "good for you."

Filed My Taxes

February 13th, 2013 at 01:22 am

So I attempted to finish my taxes with Turbo Tax last night, but it wasn't letting me go back and fix one particular item. My only option was to start over ... so I started over in Tax Act. Tax Act cost $45 less .. just the $15 state filing fee. I'm getting $1946 Federal and $525 State.

$1800 of it I'm going to send straight to my car loan. The rest I'm going to hold onto until I can roll over the IRA I have at a bank in a CD in April. Then I'll put the $2400 or so from that, plus $600 from my refund into the Vanguard fund you have to start with $3k. (At least I think I can do that.)

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I qualified for and completed two surveys today on Swagbucks, although only one credited. I'm glad the one did credit, because the daily goal was pretty high (110).

I also received my last $5 AGC for February, so can go ahead and buy Person of Interest.

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A while ago I bought new shoes to replace my winter school shoes which were falling apart, but didn't start wearing them til about a week ago. My feet have been really hurting. I'm really hoping that will stop soon.

I took pictures today of the Mardi Gras "parade" put on by PK-2. There was one picture which was especially adorable. I wish I could share it with you all, but if this blog was ever discovered and linked to me and I'd shared that pic ... I'd be out of a job. Suffice it to say .. it's a female kinder with her two front teeth missing dressed up in Mardi Gras finery with a big toothy (toothless?) grin. Smile Totally candid.

Called the IRS today

February 12th, 2013 at 02:44 am

We had a two-hour delay this morning, so I used my time wisely and called the IRS helpline. I explained about how Turbo Tax was insisting that I have to count my award money from Ameri C*rps as self-employment income even though on the 1099 it is listed as other income. I also told him (it was man) that the place my university deals with to send out 1098ts had told me that I won't get one since my tuition was paid for via the education award.

All in all, after spending nearly an hour on the phone with him, the end result was he assured me that I should not count it as self-employment income and that whether or not I receive a 1098 from my school, I can still count the tuition cost towards the Lifetime Learning Credit - I just need to be sure to have some kind of proof of bill showing there was tuition charged and paid. I haven't made the changes yet in TT, but I'm glad I was able to make the call today!

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I also called the place I worked at in TX as a teacher for my service record. The lady there emailed me a copy of my record. So that's now one less thing on my list towards reciprocrating my TX license to NM.

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Today I had the 4th grade boys. I showed them how to make a Voki and then cut and paste their paragraphs about their important person to make their Voki speak. They were pretty impressed - one of their better behaved class periods. Smile

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No money spent yet today, although I may start downloading a couple iTune movies for my upcoming plane trips. A couple of LONG plane rides and one 3 hr layover ...

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My phone is working fine still - it was so sweet though - had two offers of replacement phones. My brother offered me his phone (and he'd just upgrade), and my mom offered me her old phone (she got a new one at Christmas from new dh.)

Of course, Mz. Klutz here had a glass of orange juice on the computer desk Sunday morning. Guess what she forgot to do? Drink the OJ. Guess what happened Sunday night as she was heading to bed? Yep, knocked the OJ over. Spilled on my wireless keyboard and all over the floor. Luckily it didn't get too much of the keyboard, but enough where some keys are really sticky (like the 1,2 and shift keys.) Ergh! I have my old wireless keyboard that just needs batteries I think, so if this gets too annoying, I'll just change them out. (The keyboard with the OJ was my dads.)

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Finally got my $5 AGC from Irazoo - ordered on Jan 13. Also got the 4th AGC from SBs for February. So just need one more then I can order Person of Interest. Smile

Close Call

February 10th, 2013 at 01:51 am

While we didn't get the snowstorm like the Northeast did, we did get a couple inches overnight, with more to come over the next few days.

This afternoon I needed to go and do my 30 minute walk towards my weekly gympact, so met up with my coworker. When we started out it was clear and windy. Within a few minutes though, snow started coming down - softly at first, but then a lot more. At one point when we were walking straight into the wind, I turned around and walked backwards because my forehead was freezing!

When I got home I waited until I was inside my house to take my phone out to stop the time. My phone was wet, as was my hoodie. Just as my activity was saved on my phone, it went completely dead.

I tried drying it off and playing around with the controls, but nothing was happening. I was supposed to give my grandma her weekly call, so I texted my brother and asked him to call her and let her know that my phone may be dead. He sweetly offered to upgrade his phone and let me have his. Big Grin

About 15 minutes after shutting off, I tried the controls again ... and it turned back on! Yay! I kind of was looking forward to having a good excuse to upgrade to the 4S, but am even more glad to not needing to spend the money for a new phone. Smile

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I found out today that there is a second season of Touch - the show about the autistic boy who communicates with his dad through numbers (sci-fi'ish). Sweet! Of course it isn't on Netflix yet, but is on Hulu+. Will wait. Must wait.

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I completed a deal on SBs today that earned 470sbs. So I now have nearly 1700. 500 more and I'll have enough for my March AGCs, then I guess I'll start working on the April ones! Big Grin

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I'm glad I went into town Friday and did my grocery shopping, because I don't think I'd be able to get into town today or tomorrow (and possibly Monday either!) I spent just under $50. Some of it was probably stuff I should have left at the store ... at least I'm still under budget for February right now.

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I'm half hoping that we'll have a snow day on Monday. That way I can have a chance to make some phone calls regarding my taxes and my certification. I talked to my principal on Friday about how she added the award money to her taxes, and she said she hadn't claimed it ... not sure she understood what I was talking about. I'd really like to get my taxes done so I can make a huge payment on my car.

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Also on Friday I reached the upper levels of frustration with our servers and documents being lost. When I had my 5th grade group in, I had one set of partners that tried 5 different computers to see if they could find the contents of their folder so they could do their blog. Then I had at least 6 mid-schoolers find out that their science fair documents which were 95% finished had vanished into thin air. One of them had their unfinished documents printed out - so I retyped it for him. It was too funny though - I had him and another student standing around the computer as I typed in total awe - "She's not even looking at the keyboard!" "Wow, how fast is she typing??" I told them - years of practice. Big Grin (I don't type all that fast, maybe 60 - 65 wpm. My mom can do 100+wpm .. that is a sight to see.)

Ooops, forgot where I was going with this. Smile My frustration level being breached, I finally talked to my principal about our school signing on with google apps for education. That way kids could save their documents/work in "the cloud" and the likelihood of things being lost or somehow deleted by accident or by malice would be virtually eliminated. It will mean a bit of a loss of functionality, as google docs aren't as functional or splashy as MS Office, but at this point I think it is well worth it. Thankfully she agreed.

So this coming week the IT person and I are going to work on getting our school started on GAFE. I hope it goes over well with everyone ...

Taxes .. Ugh!

February 8th, 2013 at 01:53 am

I'd been wondering why I hadn't received a 1098 form for the course I am taking. So today I called the university's financial department and was directed to another company that handles their 1098's. When I called them (after being on hold for 28 minutes) I found out that I won't be getting a 1098. Even though the award money counts as income, I can't claim that I paid tuition! Simply put, that bites!!

The other really frustrating thing is that Turbo Tax is telling me that I have to claim the Award money as self-employment income*. If that is true, that seriously reduces my refund.

*When I claim it as "other" it then asks me if I expect to get money from this same source again in upcoming tax years. Which I do ... I could conceivably use this money spread out over 5 - 7 tax years (if it lasted that long.) But I just don't see how it can be counted as SE income. It is an award given up to two years in a row, and paid out as it is used for qualified expenses (or student loans if you have them.) I'm not exactly being paid for *work* -- I'm being awarded for being willing to work for low pay in an underprivileged area. (Like the priest said today during mass - we could probably earn 2 or 3x as much anywhere else.)

It seems to me like this award benefits those with student loans the most. They can at least take a deduction for the interest paid on the loans. (or maybe not... who knows.)

If both of the above hold true, then I have serious doubts about my using the remainder of the "award" money anytime soon!

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I talked with my principal about my evaluation from last week. It was very positive. Smile Of course I had one of my best groups, so that didn't hurt any. Smile We were a bit rushed so I didn't get a chance to ask her if she had anything she'd like to add to the single evaluation.

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I'm still working on gathering my documentation for my NM license. I called the school district I worked for in TX today to get a copy of my service record. (I was going to copy mine from my personnel folder here, but they didn't have it!! Oops.) When the lady first called back she told me she hadn't found anything for me ... um... but that she was going to keep looking. She called me back while I was out at the buses so I missed her call. Will have to try her again tomorrow.

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I cashed in for 5 $5 AGCs from Swagbucks, and now have 800+ towards March's cards.

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I'm leaving one week from today to go to Baltimore! I'm getting a little bit more excited - although I do wonder if they're in the path of this major blizzard that's predicted for this weekend. Will have to bring my warm clothes for sure. (speaking of which, am doing massive amounts of laundry right now due to not having done any for awhile and being down to the last of my clean work-worthy tops.)

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Today I got the approval for my one-day book seminar on March 7. So I went ahead and registered for it and booked the hotel. I have a 2 1/2 hour cohort (class) session the night of March 6 ... I was told I could use their business center computer. I'm looking forward to a made to order omelet (part of the hotel price is a HOT breakfast.) I think I'm more excited about this short 1 1/2 day trip than the Baltimore one.

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I finished Jericho a couple days ago. I really liked it - especially when I found out why the fans had inundated the studio that produced it with peanuts when it was canceled. Smile I'd heard about it, but hadn't know why they chose that.

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We may be getting some snow this weekend, perhaps even a snow day on Monday. I would prefer not to have a snow day, but if it happens, I won't complain too much. Just I have so few Mondays and Fridays with those classes as it is ... Oh well.

January Spending / February Budget, other

February 2nd, 2013 at 01:33 am

Okay, trying yet again. It's what I get for not following my own advice of copying before submitting ...

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January spending:

Despite the stock ups in late December, I still managed to overspend the grocery category by nearly $50. This was due mainly to multiple trips to the mom and pop store for egg salad sandwiches or bananas +++. Bottom line -- I need to leave my wallet at home, and if I need bananas, take only enough cash for 5 (around $2.) Also, stop buying egg salad sandwiches.

Tithe, etc. --
I didn't have a pen with me the one time I actually made it to church in January. I now have two checks already filled out - one for Jan, and one for Feb. So, no excuses.

Overall, not too bad. Just need to reign in the groceries (namely, the junk food.)

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February Budget--

Fun Money-
I padded my fun money category due to the upcoming Baltimore trip. I'm hoping that I won't actually spend that much (I've been told the hotel we're staying at has vegie/vegan options) but I want to give myself the room/permission if something comes up.

Car Loan -
I will be making a large payment to my car loan this month, which should put it close to $4k left. Depending on when I get my final tax documents and file, March should have a large payment as well. Smile

Car Insurance --
My 6 month premium is due on the 9th. So that will be a good chunk going out.

FIRE (Financially Independent Retire Early) -
This will be my first installment into this category. Until my car loan is paid off, it will remain a small amount. (Like MMM says ... debt emergency!)

Professional -
If I can get all the documentation together, I will be sending in a check for $125 to get my NM certification. Must get this done so I can be rehired for next year!!

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Other --

Swagbucks/Amazon/Discover/TV stuff =

I managed to meet goal 31/31 days for January. It enabled me to trade in for $25 of AGCs in January, and I have enough for my first 4 in February (and after the 5th when I get the 300+daily bonuses bonus, I'll have enough for the 5th card.)

I spent about $60 on books for the library this month - used my AGC credits and the remaining balance of rewards from Discover. (You can only cash out at the $50 mark. I had $26 in rewards and no big purchases I could think of ... so decided to use them.) I'm considering canceling it (Discover) to trim down my card collection.

Normally I spend all of my AGCs on books for the library. However, I have decided to use February's for something for myself. The first season of Person of Interest. It is around $25 on Amazon. Once I finish the last 12 or so episodes I missed thanks to ABC stopping putting the full episodes on their website after getting me hooked .. then I can sell it to Second Spin for a possible $12.

I found out that Hulu+ has the second season of Once Upon a Time. I was SORELY tempted to renew my account for a month so I could watch that second season. I resisted, and instead started watching Jericho on Netflix for free. Eventually (hopefully!) Netflix will have OUAT's second season and I can watch it for no extra cost.

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Health/Food stuff

So, as I mentioned in my grocery section, I've been buying junk food. Way more of it than I should. And, unfortunately, it shows - both in my weight (gained back nearly ten of the twenty pounds I'd lost), and in my general overall health. I was doing so good there for a while. I'm really not sure what derailed me. It'd be even worse if I wasn't doing my nearly daily walks (although they're not THAT much in the good exercise department .. they are at least getting out and moving.)

I am really frustrated with myself. I am trying to get back to where I was with my eating .. Yesterday I did a grocery shop (which I counted for February) and bought some apples along with the bananas. I think where I lost ground is I was eating more sandwiches and less fruit/fiber. Not to mention soda and junkfood. Yeah - the soda I was going to give up. :arghh!:

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School -

I had my first formal teacher evaluation since 2005 on Wednesday. I think it went well overall. The kids participated and behaved well, and I was a little hyperactive due mostly to nerves I think. I was supposed to meet with my principal today to go over her observations, but due to feeling like carp warmed over this morning (thanks to my oh so healthy eating), I stayed home sick.

In other interesting (to me at least) news .. I'm teaching the second graders keyboarding. The maintenance guys managed to find ten defunct keyboards for me, which I had my assistant cut the cords off of. I'm using those for the kids to practice on so that I can have them all within easy eyesight as they are learning. I'm using the whole keyboard method - as in they are learning all the letters for the pinky finger, then the ring finger, then the middle finger, etc. They also are learning about home row and posture. So far they seem to be having fun with it Smile especially when I ask them to practice -- Dog Chews Queen, or Queen Eats Zebra ... etc. (The word/letter/finger association seems to work really well.) They've learned the pinky, middle and pointer fingers so far - next week I'm going to have them work in Word so they can see what they're typing. Smile

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Baltimore trip -

I found out that I'm going to have a roommate. A young thing in her mid-20s. Hope she doesn't think I'm too old fogiesh. Smile (and I hope she's not a partier who stays up all hours of the night being loud ...)

They're having some kind of 3 hour walking historical tour that I can sign up for. I have to decide if I want to do this by the 5th. On one hand, the exercise probably would be good for me. On the other hand, I think I'd rather get my exercise in the hotel's fitness room where it is WARM! and I can listen to music. Hmmm... I probably really should do the tour. Embrace the experience ... (It's free - part of the whole trip. So that's not a factor.)