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Archive for January, 2016

Photobooth, $ Discussions, and Spending :)

February 1st, 2016 at 02:12 am

The first time I talked to Mr Ft about getting a picture of us in a photobooth was back in 2004. Yep. The very first time around for us.

Finally, today, it happened. Just took getting engaged to do so! Big Grin

So .. here is a sort of engagement photo. (I was trying to get my ring in the photo, but it cut that part off.)

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When we got back to my place, Mr FT and I started talking budget and finances in preparations for talking to the mortgage originator on Wednesday. We've agreed that whatever assets/liabilities we each have as of April 23rd, those will still be ours to deal with/use. From April 24 forward, we will combine whatever we bring in.

I emailed him the link to my YNAB budget program where I had put together two sample possible budgets based on varying levels of contribution from each of us. He's going to look them over and see what he thinks.

We also discussed how we're going to fund the downpayment. I'm going to pull $10k from my ROTH (which I've had since 2007, and in a sense had really thought of using the money for something like this.) Then together we'll come up with another $10k + whatever we need for closing costs.

It was a very good conversation. The only thing we need to figure out is groceries. I average around $130 - 50 / month. He averages more around $200-30 per month. I could only come up with $225 for groceries ... Hopefully we can figure out how to trim groceries for both of us (like maybe I'll do less stocking up? Only buy for the week ahead? Meal plan? Although that'd be difficult with a vegetarian and a carnivore ...)

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I picked up my dress today! Tomorrow I'll have to start calling the alterations people and get that going.

Before going to get my dress, I stopped at Party City and picked up DIY invitations for $10. Also a garter (something blue), and paper lace placemats/doilies for the reception.

I also stopped at my beloved Dollar Tree - frozen fruit and cheap veggie food! Smile

I stopped at CVS too - the lady at the register recognized me (she buys a bus pass from me!) But she told me that I looked so much nicer out in public! LOL Probably because I was wearing makeup and had my hair down/fixed - don't wear makeup to work usually, and always have my hair back so it doesn't get tangled in my earpiece. Smile I bought Flonase and Nascort - both of which had rebates (MobiSave and SavingStar.)

Finally I did a bit of grocery shopping at Walmart. Some of it was eligible for rebates.

I'm counting some of my grocery spending for February - I would have waited on most of it til next week if t hadn't been for me being in that part of town already for picking up my dress. (I had to wait til 1pm when the store opened.)

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It looks like I not only have my centerpieces taken care of, but I also have teacups! The women's ministries leader texted me a picture of 24 teacup mugs she got at Goodwill this morning. Smile Beautiful!

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Some weather reports are predicting 1 - 3 inches Monday/Tuesday. Some are reporting anywhere from 8 - 16 inches, but 40mph winds. Would it be really awful of me to call in sick on Tuesday? (Won't do it, but am tempted!)

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Cashed out $20 from iBotta.
Cashed out $5.75 from MobiSave
Will eventually cash out $8.75 from Saving Star when my purchase processes. Smile

Opened a new CC, etc

January 30th, 2016 at 01:12 am

Last night I decided to open a new credit card. What do I need with a new credit card? Nothing really, except for the spending bonus! The next few months promise to have lots of spending opportunities, so I figured it would be a good time to get a card.

Which one did I open? The Citi Premier Thank You card with a 50k points bonus after spending $3k in 3 months. This can translate into $625 travel cash (hotels/airplanes) or $500 towards your mortgage, student loan or gift cards.

Hello Honeymoon! Smile I don't know if you can just use part of the points towards one type, and the remainder towards something else or not. If so, then after we pay for hotels, etc, we can throw the remainder to the mortgage or student loan (whichever we have at that time.

I know that I probably shouldn't be opening any more credit cards since we're getting close to the time where we're going to be wanting to look at houses, but I figured there still was enough time to clear out some inquiries.

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This afternoon I stopped at the rentals place and put a deposit down on the tables/linens/chairs.

I also made some more calls to catering places during lunch/break and came to the conclusion that using a local grocery store to cater may be the way to go.

I have a tentative appointment set with T, the catering person on Tuesday. (Could cancel due to weather. 8 inches predicted.)

I also have an appointment with the bed and breakfast owner to sign a contract for the b&b on Monday.

I didn't get my dress picked up today - the store closed at 5, and I got out of the rental store only a few minutes before five. Maybe next Friday?? Hopefully I'm not pressing my luck too much with alterations ...

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I'm really enjoying the little shift in Mr FT's and I relationship since we got engaged. It's almost like there's an extra sense of relaxation on both our parts. Maybe a little more security? As in, we really are both in it for the long haul.

The survey assessment we took for the pre-marital class said we weren't supposed to discuss the questions with our partner. Mr FT took that to mean - not even after the survey was done (until the PMC sessions.) I took it to mean - not while taking the survey. Smile I wonder which one of us is right? Big Grin

We both marveled at how much the survey harped on student loan debt. About 12 out of 200 questions were related to it. No option for - never had any.

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Am thinking of posting an ad on Craigslist for two people:

1. Someone to be in charge of the pizza/rootbeer floats Welcome dinner (setup, serving, cleanup.)

and

2. Someone to be in charge of the iPhone during the ceremony - so that the music gets started on time for the different things.

Am thinking for #1, maybe offer $40 (probably an 1 1/2.) For #2, offer $50 - for coming to rehearsal + ceremony, and then a $20 bonus if does a really good job.

I just am not sure how else to do the music - I'd hate to pull in someone from the few who are attending.
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Am so glad for Friday.

Ouch! Taxes and big goof

January 29th, 2016 at 12:25 am

I adjusted my withholding to 3 this year since I was having 7% of my gross taken off the top to my retirement plan. I guess I overdid it a bit ...

After inputting my W2 and interest income, it looks like I owe $364 Federal, and will get a $31 state refund.

I still need my W2 from my parking garage job, but I only made a few hundred dollars with that, so I don't think it should affect it too much.

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I got my invitation, etc. order from Vista print today. Oops. Major oops. I read it over and over and over before hitting order. Still, I missed something big. Like ... the date. Not on the invite at all. Luckily I have plenty of time to get it redone, plus I think I'd like to use a different picture (the one we're getting done on Sunday.)

Sigh. At least it wasn't 150 invitations, right?

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I checked into the catering place C told me about - $2000 min. on a Sunday. Next!

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Tomorrow I'm going to be picking up my dress, and also stopping at the rentals place.

I haven't heard back from the bakery - although the lady may have told me the person didn't get back til tomorrow.

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Cashed out for $10 from PACT last night.

Wow!

January 28th, 2016 at 02:21 am

So today was quite interesting.

It started off with an email from Mr FT suggesting the PERFECT recessional song - peppy, joyful - On Top of the World Now (Carpenters.)

Then an okay morning at work, followed by a very stressful afternoon.

I was SO tempted to text C and tell her that I wasn't coming to the women's ministry meeting. One, I didn't have anything figured out for the technology aspect of the Valentine's Tea we're doing, and two, I just was completely wiped out.

But ... I decided to keep going and not let the afternoon derail me. In fact, I decided to head over early so I could get in touch with R and work on the books (church library) before the meeting.

When I got over to the church, I pulled in next to an older couple. The wife has alzheimer's. The man is just barely with it. They were needing to get in to the church, and also were looking for the number for CH who has been having Sewing Sundays.

I have the code for the church, so was able to let them in with me. Then I looked on my phone at last weeks bulletin to see if CH's number was in it. Her name was, but not her number.

I'd had the mobile church directory on my old phone (the one that got lost last year) but not on my current phone. For the life of me I couldn't remember what it was called. It took about ten minutes of sluething, but I finally figured it out and was able to give the couple CH's number!

So I ended up not actually doing what I had planned (R wasn't there) but still got to do something that was a blessing to someone else. That right there picked up my spirits a lot.

Then it was time for the women's ministry meeting. First, I found out that we're going a different way with the craft project (so no technology needed!) Then the lady in charge of the decorating starts pulling out these gorgeous teapots filled with silk flower arrangements! And the ladies start talking about cake stands ...

My eyes are about bugging out!

Afterwards, I talked to C and asked her if she thought I could borrow some of the teapot decorations and cake stands. She said that she thought that would be fine, and gave me another idea for a place that might do catering.

So in the end, because I forced myself to go and follow through with my commitments, I ended up being able to bless someone else AND maybe have found a free way of getting most of my decorations for the reception!

I also got an idea for wedding favors. I hadn't really planned on having any at all, but these just seemed SO perfect! We're doing them for our ladies tea - 4x4 tiles with beautiful pictures/saying decoupaged onto them. They can be used as hot pads or if you add something called polyurethane? they can also be used at coasters.

I'm thinking about making 25 of them with a picture of Mr FT and I and our wedding date on it. That way people have a useful reminder. Smile We'll be buying a box of 100 tiles, but only using 50 of them - so I'm going to ask if I can buy 25 of them. The rest of the materials are pretty cheap.

Keeping On Moving

January 27th, 2016 at 04:03 am

This morning I posted on a local facebook group asking for recommendations for a photographer and person to do hair/makeup. I must have posted at a perfect time, because I got a lot of responses! Good thing too, because my post was deleted! I'd even said in my post that if it wasn't allowed, please tell me where to post.

Oh well, I still got lots of good leads. In fact ... I may have a lead on a photographer who will do the ceremony/formals/reception for $500! This includes 100 edited/retouched images on a disc with full reprint rights.

I've contacted this person to see if they're available on my day or not. It also looks like they might have a symbiotic relationship with a hair/makeup person - who'd do it for $70.

That'd be awesome if it could work for that much!

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The roads were nearly clear by after work today, so I headed out to the bakery where Mr FT's mom loved their white cake so much. (Well, it's a new location actually - the one she went to closes at 1 p.m.) The lady who was there took my information and what I wanted and is going to pass it on to the person who does the cakes. At least I've got that started!

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I called one hair place here this afternoon, but they aren't open on Sundays.

I couldn't for the life of me remember who I was going to call during my break today. It finally hit me - the rental place! (chairs/tables etc.) I made a reminder on my phone for me tomorrow.

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I scheduled our first pre-marital counseling session for next Thursday. Also today I filled out a bunch of paperwork to add Mr FT to my insurance plans and change beneficiaries.

It was SO weird!!!! Writing LAM instead of LAN. After writing my LN signature, I stopped and wrote the new signature a dozen times on another piece of paper. To try to fix muscle memory. Smile (I was using my new name because the paperwork/change won't be in effect til after 4/24 but it has to be turned in at least a month prior.)

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I was doing some research on recessional songs, and came across some really amazing songs.

You and I by John Legend
You and I by Michael Bubble (same name, different song)
From This Moment On by Shania Twain
First Day of my Life by Bright Eyes
Don't Stop Believing (Journey) Vitamin String Quartet

And I also remembered one of my favorites -
We've Only Just Begun - Carpenters

How to choose? How to choose?

I've unsuccessfully been trying to find samples of ceremonies - like how many songs/special musics, readings, etc.

Other than my brother singing, all our music will be iPhone via nice speakers. I need to figure out who to be in charge of making sure the music plays at the right time ...

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I got a call that my dress was ready to be picked up. Maybe I can go by on Friday and pick it up. Smile Then start the process of finding the person to do alterations. And finding shoes and underthings to hold me together in it. Smile

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I now have my W2 and the healthcare form thing, plus about half of my bank interest forms. So I could get started on my taxes ... Maybe on Sunday. Smile

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I cashed out for $6 from Pinecone, and it came today.

Invitations, Great News, etc.

January 26th, 2016 at 01:41 am

Yesterday I made the invitations using VistaPrint. I ordered 20 of them, plus a sheet of seals and thank you cards - all for $64.17 (after a processing surcharge.) They should be here by February 1.

I've pretty much got our wedding website all finished. I just need to get a recent photo of MR FT and I. I wanted to do it last night (use a photobooth at the mall) but Mr FT wants to get a haircut first. So .. next Sunday then.

Mr FT made me roll my eyes last night. He said to me, "I know you sometimes miss some details. So I was wondering if you'd thought about the centerpieces for the tables." This was after I showed him the wedding budget where there was a category labeled - Reception - Decorations.

I rolled with it because I want him to have some input on all this planning. Smile

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Today I called the courthouse and got us an appointment to get our marriage license a week from Thursday. They stay open late on the first Thursday of each month. A license here is good for one year.

I also emailed my pastor to get started on the pre-marital counseling Mr FT agreed to do with me. It starts out with a 100 question survey we each have to do online. I've already done mine - I can just guess how excited Mr FT is going to be ... Smile

Did you do pre-marital counseling? Was it worthwhile?

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I got great news about my brother tonight! His poor choices which led to the possibility of major negative consequences, has been alleviated. It's still definitely had some negative consequences, but I'm hoping it will turn into a positive for his life. This has been stressful for all of us.

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Wow, was today interesting at work. A light dusting of snow was predicted for today. Yeah right. Parts of the city had white out conditions at certain points. By early afternoon most of our buses were running 20 - 1:15 minutes behind.

Can you just imagine the phone calls I was getting? They were coming so fast and furious that I couldn't keep up with them, and a couple other people were catching them. About 4 p.m. one of the ladies came out and was like - I can't believe these calls. I'm heading out before having to take any more!

It was like people couldn't get the fact that if the cars near them were traveling at a snails pace, and lots of sirens all around heading to accidents all over the place, that just maybe that might mean the buses might also be having some trouble getting around?

Oy Vey!

Brother Confirmed!!

January 23rd, 2016 at 09:25 pm

While I was at church today I got a text from my brother confirming that he WILL be free the weekend of April 23/24. So I'm definitely getting hitched on the 24th! Big Grin

I also talked to the person who does the photography for the church. She told me she's not done any weddings, but she recommended someone in the church who does. I'll contact him tomorrow. I'll also contact several people I found advertising on Craigslist - one of them said they only charged $300 for 2 hours? Wondering if that's a scam, or they're really inexperienced??

Instead of doing Chinese buffet food for the reception, I've decided to make it an afternoon tea reception. People aren't going to be very hungry after the breakfast/brunch provided by the b&b.

I'm going to check on Craigslist and FB garage sale to see how many teapots/saucers/teacups I can borrow/rent/buy to use. I also found someone who rents out cake stands - can use them for the cake, but also for putting the finger foods on (for the tea.)

Part of the ceremony will be a community unity service. Mr FT and I will each light our own candle, and then use it to light a big candle. Then light the candle of someone on either side of us (probably my mom and his sister) and then progressively light all the guests candles. Kind of symbolically saying that everyone there is standing behind us/with us.

I'm thinking that this is when I'll have my brother sing "Broken Roads" by Rascal Flatts. (If you've never heard it, it's a beautiful song, and I think it is very fitting to Mr FT and I's relationship.)

I really like the idea of entering to Edelweiss - it's like a symbol of me saying goodbye to my single life (like the Von Trapps were saying goodbye to Austria.) I don't want to do the traditional marching thing (have no sense of rhythm) and won't have anyone marching in front of me.

I'm thinking of using teapots as part of my centerpiece decorations. I also have an email in to someone on Craigslist who has some beautiful light purple decorations - seeing if she'll sell me just a portion of what she has.

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What did you do for hair/makeup for your wedding? (i.e. Did you do it yourself, go to a salon, have someone come to you? Something else?)



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Confession time. I broke down today and ordered pizza delivery. I haven't done that in a LONG time. With tip, it'll be $16. It's coming out of my spending money. (Yes, I know I could go to the store and get it cheaper. I just don't want to go out again - so cold!)

I Adore the Bed and Breakfast!!

January 23rd, 2016 at 01:03 am

Last night Mr FT and I visited the bed and breakfast I was thinking about using for our ceremony/reception.

I seriously fell in love with it! I'm an old fashioned gal in many ways, and sometimes think I would have enjoyed living at the turn of the century. (Well .. not all things about that time.)

This place was built in 1910 and has a very Victorian feel to it. Mr FT wasn't impressed with the quality of maintenance, but we're not going to live there - just spend a night and use it for our wedding stuff. Smile

Here is the amazing part! By renting 6 rooms Saturday night we will have use of the house for 24 hours essentially.

We can have our rehearsal dinner / ceremony / reception all in the same place!

Also, there will be VERY little need for any decorations! Maybe some for the reception - but not much.

The cost of rental includes the owner / wedding coordinator being there for the entire event - moving chairs, and doing all needed cleanup outside of food.

The cost (excluding rooms)? $245. Rooms range from $89 to $119 each. If all 6 rooms aren't rented, we would have to cover that cost, but I feel pretty certain we'll use all of them. Even if we had to cover one - that would bring it up to around $345 (+the cost of our room). Which I still think is a steal for what we're getting.

I have a two week hold on it right now because I'm still waiting to hear back from my brother, and I also need to make sure that my grandma can handle a set of stairs.

I did take a few pictures, but Mr FT was waiting in the car (his back started hurting) so I don't know how great they turned out.

Question! What songs did you have for your wedding ceremony?

Here are the pictures:



The entryway (where we'd have our guestbook)

The staircase I'll walk down.

The area I'll stand in front of to become Mrs. FT Smile

Another part of the room where the ceremony will be.

I Think I Get How Weddings are Stressful ...

January 21st, 2016 at 02:30 am

First off - thank you everyone for your comments on my 24 hour post. Ya'll made me blush. Smile

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So .. last night I talked with my mom to go over some of the wedding stuff. I told her I was planning on asking Uncle J to officiate. She told me that I better be prepared that I'd be expected to pay for Uncle and Aunt J's expenses.

I was like, "What!!" I'd planned on giving him something like $100 as a thank you, but not paying for two plane tickets and a hotel room!

So .. I call my Aunt N (the one paying for my dress.) She tells me that couldn't be further from the truth. That Uncle J is honored that I want him to do it (she'd told him) but that he might have a problem with the date.

So .. I call Uncle J. Talk to him about being the officiant. He then tells me about having a flight to Egypt on April 26 - not back til June. Aunt J is going to be in Egypt at that time too. (Yes, both of their names begin wtih J. They were high school sweethearts. Too cute.)

So ... I very reluctantly figured out that maybe April 17 would work. He reminded me that was Aunt N's birthday. Also, Grandma was having some friends from Singapore fly into LAX she wants to see.

So ... I ask Uncle J if him being here on the 24th would be too close to leaving for Egypt. He said he was more than happy to do it.

Whew!

Now I'm waiting to hear back from my brother if that weekend will be okay for him. He's a bit preoccupied right now though. So who knows when I'll hear back.

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Can I say how much I don't like Amazon's registry? The results when searching are abysmal! And I haven't figured out how to put things in there that don't come up in the search results (like for say example - different colors of the item you want!)

Supposedly there's a universal option - but I haven't gotten that to work yet. Mr FT however is able to get in to the registry and add stuff from his computer. So that way we can both work on it when we have time.

(I haven't started a Target or Bed Bath Beyond one yet - am hoping to figure out the universal thing so only have one registry to work with!)

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The last two days at work were very stressful. In fact, yesterday I went to my supervisor and asked her how bad it would be if I asked to be relieved of helping one certain person. Help which is NOT part of my job description.

Apparently this person also had gone to my supervisor. She was frustrated with me as well.

So ... today we had a meeting. I don't know if it was the stress of everything, overtiredness, or just utter frustration ... but I embarrassed myself by crying! Ugh! I hate that.

Once the tears start, it's very hard to get them to stop. And then it's hard for me to talk. (Name something that drives Mr FT up the wall ... Smile )

I acknowledged my part in it (not being as careful as I should be in double checking the work output) and we figured out how to maybe make it work better.

We'll see I guess.

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So ... between my mom, grandma and aunt, I am being given $2500 towards wedding expenses. That's (hopefully) going to be more than 1/2 the cost.

So ... I have no clue how to word the invitations.

Mr FT bio parents are both dead, and he has an almost non-existant relationship with his stepdad. And then of course, my dad is also dead.

What I WANT to say is: Mr FT and Ms. FT invite you to come share in the celebration of our marriage on April 24, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. at place. (Or something similar.)

Not sure though if that is the "proper" wording, especially now that over half of it is being funded by mom/aunt/grandma.

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I got halfway home tonight and realized I left my phone at my desk. So turned around to get it - What a nightmare! At one particular light where I was trying to turn left, I sat through FOUR rounds of lights!

By the time I got my phone and was on my way back home, it was getting late - I was worried I would miss R at the church (wanted to ask her about her daughter doing photography.)

So I decided instead of going home and getting something to eat, then going to the library (to drop off the now overdue DVDs) and then to the church - I would stop at Walgreen's and pick up something to eat, then go on.

That's what I did. Spent $2.93 on a payday bar, york patty and a big thing of sparkling water. Then I got to the church, and R was nowhere to be found. Ugh.

I had also planned on printing out the labels for the church library books - my printer isn't working that great. (It prints, but not great quality.) My friend C is introducing me this week as the church librarian .. had kind of hoped to get some more books PUT in the library before hand.

Oh well ... right?

Going to try to get to bed a bit early tonight.

I Bought THE Dress :)

January 18th, 2016 at 10:47 pm

So I spent a lot of money for me today.

This morning I spent a little more time futzing with my application, and ... submitted it. Yikes.

Then I headed to a bridal dress shop I'd passed by several times before, and had seen on the knot that they had discontinued dresses and LOTS of choices for the non svelte figure types.

C, a mutual friend of Mr. FTs and I, agreed to come with me and be an opinionated eye.

I must have tried on 20 dresses. Finally there was one I could actually step INTO and not struggle to get over my head.

And .. it was just about perfect!

It's going to need a little alteration - straps removed, bust area taken in, etc. (It's probably about a size too big.)

I gulped at the price, but after having seen what most of the other gowns were going for, and realizing that time wasn't on my side to have something ordered ... I went for it.

$520 after taxes, etc. and before alterations.

What kind of made me go for the expensive dress rather than the one I ordered off Amazon is ... well, the b&b place has a staircase you can walk down as part of your entrance. I want a little bit of a train to make that entrance really awesome. Smile

I actually think I like this one better than the one I found in Omaha - not a LOT better, but definitely better enough to forego the $300 price difference. Big Grin (The Omaha one was $800+)

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I stopped by the Bakery Mr. FT suggested to me last night, but they close at 1 p.m. everyday. So ... it looks like I'm going to be delegating that job to Mr. FT. He's going to love that (actually, he might really love it. Taste some samples ...)

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I saw an almost perfect house on FB today. 77k Owner Financed. 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, basement, recently remodeled insides. W/D included. They were asking for a $2500 downpayment and then $1050/month. I pm'd the guy and asked how much of a downpayment they'd need to get the payment to $700/month.

His response made me roll my eyes so hard in frustration. "It would take a pretty substantial downpayment to get to that amount." Uh ... okay. Thanks for not answering my question.

So I responded by asking if a $15k downpayment would get the monthly amount to $800? He said he could work with us on it. Smile I guess he realized that I wasn't dumb and thinking just a little more would do it.

I would need to take money from my ROTH (the one I've had 10+ years) plus cash money to do it (from Mr FT and I both), but it could be done.

I've got an email in to Mr. FT to see if he'd like me to schedule a viewing on Sunday so we can check it out. (Thursday we are checking out the bed and breakfast.)

Nevermind ... just got an email back from Mr. FT saying it's in a horrible neighborhood. So, scratch that. Something else will come up. Just have to keep eyes pealed. Smile

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The local library has a stinky new rule that DVDs can only be checked out a week at a time. This is going to cause me to have lots of late fines I forsee. I take the DVDs out, and sometimes it takes me weeks and weeks before I watch them. Will just have to not put more than one at a time on hold I guess. (So I don't have six of them come in on the same day .. like I had happen last week.)

Thinking of New Beginnings and How It'll Work (Rambling Away)

January 17th, 2016 at 06:28 pm

I think I am going to have to drop back from posting a photo a day. I've got a few too many other things on my mind now. Big Grin I will still post a picture when I find something that easily works though. Smile Just not every day.

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So Mr. FT and I have discussed finances before, and we both have agreed about the idea of joint finances.

Once we are married, I'll be able to add him to my health insurance plan and he can drop the Obamacare plan. (Am really curious about how this will affect taxes /subsidies. I *think* even with our combined incomes, he'd still qualify for the subsidy since it'd be based off of 2 people instead of one.???) That will save a few dollars in monthly premium - but more importantly, the OOP and other co-pays will be much less than his current plan.

What I'm a little unsure of about how to handle though is the inherited stock from my dad. About 1/3rd of it I moved into a ROTH IRA account about two years ago. So that's not touchable. But the rest is in a regular brokerage account. If we're really truly combining finances, then this should be part of it. But I think I might be a little bit on the touchy side about using it anytime soon. (Especially since we seem to be in a season of stocks where NOT selling is a good idea.)

Would it be unreasonable of me to say that I am okay with considering this a part of our joint finances, but with the caveat that it won't be touched for at least ten years, or in a case of desperate need. (As in we both lost our jobs and have run through every other resource.)

The complicating thing is that he's still waiting on his small inheritance check. So to be fair, I'd have to say that he could use it however he felt best, right? Even if that meant he used it to buy a boat instead of paying off medical debt or towards the wedding/house downpayment.

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As far as the wedding goes ... I sincerely doubt that his sister is going to offer to help pay for anything that the groom's side traditionally pays for - even if/when she gets her inheritance money.

My aunt has offered to pay for my dream dress, and my mom has offered to pitch in some money too.

Other than that, it's him and I who will be footing the bills.

So ... since we haven't combined finances yet, do we divide the expenses by the traditional groom's family / brides family - where he cover's the grooms side and I cover the brides side? Or, would it be better to come up with a figure, and each of us contribute 1/2? Subtracting the cost of the dress and my mom's contribution.

I found a local photographer who has posted prices of less than $1k. I contacted him to see what he would charge for a Sunday morning wedding and a total of maybe 3 hours between the before ceremony, ceremony and reception. (We won't have dancing/drinking, so it's a much shorter shindig.)

I spent way too many hours on knot.com yesterday. Yowsa. I'm thinking I'll put together a wedding website - but want to get Mr. FTs opinion on the background first. (It's free on the knot.)

If I can make myself go outside today, I'm going to go to Barnes and Noble and use my gift card I got for Christmas to buy a wedding planner book. Glad I didn't spend it on something else!

I asked my mom to take charge of figuring out hotel accommodations for out of town guests and also to get me the addresses I need to send people invites (whether or not they're ones that would really show up.)

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Engagement parties aren't really necessary are they?

I think I've decided to not have a bridal party -i.e. MOH, BM etc. We'll have few enough people in the audience as it is. I'll probably ask my mom to help me with getting ready/finishing touches.

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I told some people at church yesterday. Mainly the people in my Sabbath School class. They were pretty happy for me. Smile

I was going to talk to R about what would be involved in using the church, but she was pretty preoccupied with getting potluck ready.

---
It is SO cold outside. The wind doesn't help matters.

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I really want to invite my boss. Mr. FT is okay with it. But ... how do I do that without inviting other people from the office? Just tell her not to mention that she's invited?

Our tagline for guests is family and mutual friends. But my boss wouldn't work as a mutual friend - Mr. FT hasn't met her.

---
I was feeling really bored with my food choices last night. Ended up making a toasted cheese sandwich which was okay.

I just have to remind myself that staying out of the grocery store / fast food places is helping my budget AND my waistline. It's worth it, even if I really want a Cheese Frenchie from Amigo's or a burrito from Taco Bell ...

This morning I made my oatmeal/greek yogurt/banana pancakes and tried adding some chocolate syrup to them. Yeah, no. (The ones I did that to, burned a bit.)
---
If you were registering for pots/pans, other kitchen/household stuff, what would you register for?

One thing I think I'll put on there is an InstaPot. Maybe really good kitchen knives? My dishes I've had since 1997, so maybe replace those? I don't want China or silver. Wouldn't have a use for them.

Would it be rude to put a paypal link on your registry page for gift donations towards a house downpayment fund? I saw that suggested in an article on the knot.

--
I cashed out for a $25 AGC from PerkTv today. I really need to get my extra phone set up to earn the points faster. It's been sitting in my closet for a couple months now ... (a cheap $10 phone.)
---
Sorry for the all over the place post. I have lots of stuff running through my head right now. Smile

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Okay, I'm going to catch up on everyone's journals, then force myself out the door to the store. Smile

--
ETA - Just thought of a question. Do you have your engagement /wedding ring(s) insured through renter's insurance or homeowner's? I've never had an expensive piece of jewelry, and knowing how hard I'm on watches ...

Also ... the ring went ON my finger fine. And I can turn it around with no problem. But I can't get it off. Should I have sized up 1/2 a step? Or wait and see if I will keep on losing weight?

On Cloud 9 :) (2 of 2)

January 16th, 2016 at 03:58 am

So yeah. I was just a wee bit giddy at work today. As soon as my boss came in, I showed her my hand and she knew what had happened. Smile Later I was telling the office manager, and as I backed out of her office, I managed to step on the foot of the big boss! Oops. The office manager told him my big news, and he congratulated me.

I *think* I have set the date for May 7 or 8. None of the people we'll be inviting have small children, so I don't think it being on Mother's Day weekend will be too big of an issue.

I told Mr. FT he can be in charge of planning the honeymoon. I gave him some ideas of what sounds interesting/fun to me, but also said I'd be happy doing whatever. Most likely it will be a road trip to somewhere within a reasonable/long day's drive.

Possible places discussed - Branson, Gatlinburg, Florida, CA (not in a day's drive ...)

We have our guest list already pretty well hashed out. His quasi-relative who came out to meet him last year for the first time has said she'd like an invite. That makes me happy because it'll give his "side" a bit more people.

He has someone here he can ask to be his best man. I'm in a bit of a quandary about MOH. The three people I had always kind of thought would be my bridesmaids ... well, although I still consider them friends, they're really more of close acquaintances at this point. So ... I'm thinking of asking his sister. I don't really know her very well either, but I do like her.

One thing I am wondering about is what to do about the people you know won't actually come, but would feel slighted if you didn't send them an invitation. Do I just send them an invitation and wait for the no thanks, or ... send an announcement?

One of my acquaintance/friends definitely couldn't afford to come. But I'd still like to send her an invitation. But I don't want to make her feel bad ..

Oy! Smile

I'm contemplating something like this ...

Saturday evening rehearsal dinner (probably would be just about everyone invited .. except a few locals.) Have haystacks (although beans before the big day might not be such a good idea... maybe spaghetti and french bread ..)

Sunday morning have the ceremony around 10:30 or 11:00 and then either have a brunch buffet (depending on location) or have a catered Chinese buffet (one of the local restaurants.) NE LOVES Chinese buffet food, so that would be good for him.

Although ... I want my wedding cake to be a cheesecake. I don't know how well cheesecake goes with Chinese food. Hmm...

As for the cake(s) - I'm thinking a cheesecake and a small white? cake from one of the local supermarket bakeries. There's a local grocery store's cake that NE loves - the white? kind. Just have one layer of each (separate.)

We're only going to have maybe 20 to max 25 people, so don't want to overkill the cake.

I also want Mexican Wedding Cookies (or whatever other names they go by.) I LOVE those. Smile

As far as place ... am thinking of either my church, and then use the upstairs dining hall (clear plastic plates and plastic ware, etc.)

Or ... a local bed and breakfast place. I'm not sure if we could do a Sunday wedding there or not - they do advertise a Sunday morning brunch.

Or ... some other historical location type thing, and then drive to a restaurant where we reserve a room.

Flowers - keeping very simple. A single rose for MOH, and a small bouquet for me.

Attire - Mr. FT - I think I'm going to have him get a pair of nice black dress pants and a tuxedo shirt.

My dress - My aunt has offered to pay for my dress/veil/shoes etc. At first this made me think - I can get THE DRESS (if it's still there.) But then I started to think, do I really want to spend that much on A dress that I'll never be able to wear again?

So ... I found a dress on Amazon that I like. I ordered two in different sizes (free return shipping.) $39.95. If it works, then I'm going to ask my aunt if instead of the dress, would she be willing to pay part of a photographer costs.

I had been thinking that maybe I'd rent out this one bed and breakfast place where I'd like the ceremony to be. But then I added up the cost of ten rooms x two nights ... and ... nope, that won't work.

So my next idea is to call around to some of the area hotels and see what kind of a discount rate they could give me for booking ten rooms. Then I can tell people the discount code to ask for.

Invitations - maybe use Vista Print, or just print out my own on my printer?

I need to probably send out Save the Date notes or something soon. Since it's mostly family, I could just do it with a phone call?? Smile

Anyway, that's about as far as I've gotten in thinking/scheming right now. Smile
---
Obviously, January being a no spend month is probably not going to work out too well. I am going to keep it as a January Well Thought Out Spending Only month. Smile

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #16 (1 of 2)

January 16th, 2016 at 03:11 am

Most days when I come home from work, I know that I am going to see something in my window. Of course, by the time I take my phone out and am ready to take a picture, that something is usually gone!

I got lucky today and just barely managed to get a picture. Smile

My sweet Kari. She definitely has a feel for when it's time for me to be home. On days when I come back at a different time (earlier) she's not waiting for me.

A few weeks ago I was heading over to get my mail, and one of my neighbors commented "You can just about set your watch to that cat." Not realizing it was my cat he was talking about. Smile

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #14 and 15

January 15th, 2016 at 05:45 am

So .. Thursday night NE and I had our belated gift exchange. Let's just say ... it was worth the wait. Big Grin

He waited until he'd gotten all his gifts (my mom had sent one for him too) and then he gave me a box to open.

So .. I open the box, and this was inside of it:

A Russian Nesting doll. I thought it was very beautiful and started opening each layer. Layer after layer after layer. Smile

Then .... when I was close to the end of it, I saw this:

Then NE got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

Now I guess I should call him Mr. FT Big Grin

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #12

January 12th, 2016 at 11:53 pm

So today wasn't the best day at work. One situation in particular really made me need the OH WELL!

I wasn't doing very well with the Oh Well ... when up from dispatch came the wallet of a local university student who had lost it on a bus earlier that day. He'd called me and sounded nice enough.

So when I opened his wallet, I saw this:

Okay, not exactly this. Smile I couldn't exactly take a picture of his photo id. Smile But what he'd done was to draw in a very oversized mustache on his face. It just looked so funny, I couldn't help but laugh.

I showed it to someone else, and they thought it was pretty funny too.

So, thanks MB for providing me with a good, needed laugh today.

---
I decided to set a stop loss of $203 on the stock I'm planning on using for part of a downpayment. That way I can be sure to have at least the minimum I want from the stock. This way I also don't have to watch it like a hawk ...

--
Several of the SBs apps have not been running well for a couple of weeks which has been quite aggravating. Tonight I decided to try deleting and reinstalling ... Voila! It worked!

I got my $25 PayPal from SBs today. Yay! Smile

Can definitely tell on PACT that the New Year's Resolutioner's are going strong. After 3 weeks of nearly $4 rewards, this week I got $2.12 At least the veggies are nearly instantaneously being approved. Smile (Have to have $10 to cash out.)

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #11

January 12th, 2016 at 02:53 am

I'm not grateful for allergies. I'm not grateful for having to buy Allegra D 24-hr 10 at a time. However, what I am grateful for is having switched from Walgreen's to CVS for my medicine purchases.

Why?

Well, for one thing, CVS has their Allegra at $2 cheaper than Walgreen's.

But what else makes buying it at CVS much better than at Walgreen's? It's the $5 off $15 purchase coupons they keep sending me!

Technically, these coupons are NOT supposed to be good on ephedrine purchases. But apparently the register at my local CVS doesn't know that. I even mentioned it to the person ringing me up the first time ... they basically said that if it takes, it takes. Smile

So ... a picture of something that makes me smile - my CVS receipt showing $6 in coupons taken off.



---
Tonight I went to a free pizza dinner at a local restaurant sponsored by a local brokerage for first time home buyers. It was really good (although I could only eat the cheesesticks - oh well.)

They had a realtor talk to us, a title insurance person, a home inspector, a mortgage originator, and a home warranty person. There were lots of good questions posed by people there.

After it was over I cornered the poor mortgage guy and bombarded him with more questions. Smile

One of them was clarifying about the employment time period. He told me that a period of no employment of six weeks would not be an issue!!

So ... that means that maybe, just maybe, I won't have to wait til August ...

I also asked him about how disparate credit scores are handled. He said they are averaged. Frown But he also told me that if we (NE and I) came in and sat with him, he would help us figure out a game plan on how to get NEs score up so that the average would be higher.

I also asked him about roof replacement costs, building fences, landscaping, etc.

Overall, I really liked everyone who made presentations and am REALLY glad I went. I wish NE would've been able to get someone to cover a few hours for him tonight so he could've gone as well. Oh well.

---
I'm debating heavily if I should sell the ten shares of my electric car stock now before they tank worse ... It seems as though the market is just going to keep going down this year, and if that is part of the money I want to use for my downpayment ... I'd just hate to sell them now, then have them go back up a month later. A week ago those shares were worth about $1300 more than they are now. Frown

If I wasn't in saving all my pennies mode right now, I'd probably be BUYING stock!

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #10

January 10th, 2016 at 11:30 pm

I have several pictures to choose from today ... will save the others for later though. Smile

Today I went shopping - my second shopping day of the year. Smile

Carrots were on iBotta for a rebate at Walmart (as well as broccoli) otherwise I might have missed this entirely.

Here you go:


Is it just me, or are these gigantic carrots?!

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Between CVS, Aldi's, and Walmart I spent about $35. $12.89 of that was at CVS for my Allegra.

Today was my first trip into Aldi's here. All I got there was fruits and veggies - bananas, spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes. $2.86. Wow! The bananas were $.29/lb. The squash was $1.29 each.

I spent a good portion of the morning working on my application. It is pretty much all done - I just need to find out how to attach multiple documents to it. I scanned all my transcripts (a total of about 13 pages ...) but can only attach one page. Uh ...

The deadline is the 18th, so I still have some time.

Do Unto Others, And Possibly a Narrow Escape (2 of 2)

January 9th, 2016 at 11:27 pm

So today just so happened to be communion day at church. I usually enjoy communion - the whole process and service.

In my faith (SDA) we do it 4 times a year, or once a quarter. It involves foot washing, eating of unleavened crackers, and drinking grape juice.

The foot washing part is always the little bit dicey one for me. I've actually kind of avoided going to church here on communion service days ... because I wasn't sure I'd have anyone to partner with (to wash each others feet.) I really didn't want to end up standing around looking hopefully at the other women ...

So ... I didn't check the bulletin last night and got surprised.

Thankfully one of the married, yet goes to church by herself, ladies who has somewhat befriended me, was there and we sat next to each other. When it came time for foot washing, we agreed to be partners.

As I went to get the basin and towel, I noticed another young single mom who attends our Sabbath School class kind of just standing there near the end of the line looking lost. She told me she was waiting to find a partner.

When I got back to where my partner was, I asked her if she'd mind us inviting the young mom to be a part of our group. She was happy to agree, and the young mom was relieved to be included.

It made me happy too - being able to do something for someone else that I would hope someone might do for me.

---
After church got out I had a narrow escape. As I was backing out of my parking space, I thought I heard a crunch! I looked out my driver's side window and saw I was parallel to another car! (I'd been looking out the back window/rear window) I pulled forward and stopped. Then got out and went to look to see if there was any damage. There was no damage to my car and none to the other car. As far as I could figure, I must have pulled perfectly alongside the other car ... I guess the crunch I heard was ice?? Or maybe I imagined it?? There were other people in the parking lot and it didn't seem like any of them had heard anything - nobody looking my way or anything. Just weird.

That other car was parked really weirdly - I think it was actually in a non-parking parking space (with the diagonal lines.) I'd seen it and was aware of it, but hadn't realized it was SO close.

Anyway .. whew!

---
It is SO cold here! The forecast says it will get to 1 degree tonight. I feel bad for NE out delivering pizzas in the cold. If you order food in on bad weather/cold/rainy nights, be nice to your delivery person (tip!) Smile They're out there when you don't want to be.

--
I had been planning on doing my grocery shopping tonight, but probably won't. Due to the cold and possibly icy roads.

Question - This morning when I went out to my car, my outside windows had some snow on them, but my driver's side window and the rear driver's side window both had frost on the INSIDE! It was so weird scraping frost on the inside!

Then after church the same thing happened ... I had to scrape frost off - even after sitting and warming up / defrosting for 5 minutes.

What would cause that? I checked to make sure the windows were rolled up all the way. All my other windows were clear.

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #9 (1 of 2)

January 9th, 2016 at 11:04 pm

I actually took this picture a few days ago. But other pictures took precedence. Smile

In this picture you see: baked butternut squash, quinoa and corn pudding.

All of which was made by me. Smile I am for one grateful that the butternut squash which had been in my fridge for ? weeks still was good. The spaghetti squash unfortunately had to go to the home of the trash can, as it had been a bit TOO long.

I am also grateful for the tip I read somewhere about microwaving a butternut squash (any squash really) for 15 minutes with a bowl of water prior to attempting to cut it open. Made it SO easy.

I am also grateful to my mom teaching me how to make corn pudding when I was 8 or 9? And then letting me be The Maker of the Corn Pudding every Thanksgiving and Christmas thereafter. Thus, I had lots of chances to changeup the recipe over the years. This time I tried adding in 1/2 the cheese. Not good.

And finally I am grateful for quinoa. Such an easy dish to make. Simply put some vegetable stock broth in a pot, add quinoa (pre-washed), bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes. Yum!

I'm also grateful for leftovers, and the fact that I can eat the same food day after day after ... Smile What I made on Tuesday night provided supper on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and lunch today. It is now all gone.

Friday, Yay! (2 of 2)

January 9th, 2016 at 12:50 am

I couldn't think of a name for my post today, other than one celebrating the fact that it is the end of my work week. Two days off from answering phones (and the one incessant man who keeps calling asking for information and getting annoyed when I try to find out where exactly he's trying to catch the bus at - I cringe when I hear his voice. Oh well.)

--
I cashed out for a $25 PayPal from Swagbucks last night. Today I got 200 swagups because my Groupon and Living Social purchases just happened to be within the timeframe of a shopping promotion (not on purpose.)

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I've been reading Forks Over Knives the past couple days at work (Kindle app on computer Big Grin ) and the book has some pretty appealing recipes.

I haven't made any goals/resolutions/ etc. but in trying to keep this month low-spend, I'm also trying to eat as much as possible from what I already have on hand. Since treats tend to go fast .. that means I haven't been eating as much junk. The scale is liking this.

So .. anyway ... I'm really working on eating more healthfully. Both to save money, and to maybe see if I could get rid of my allergies so I could stop taking Allegra!

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Today at work I got called into the staff meeting and was given a certificate of recognition. I guess that's all there is to that. Oh well, I guess that certificate (with the text my boss wrote) will be a good addition to my application for the librarian position ... being an asset and customer service oriented and all. Smile
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I'm continuing to do well with my minigoal #1. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to say it's a habit yet .. but I think it's pretty close to that.

So, January 16 I'll probably add a second minigoal. Smile
--
In January so far, other than bills, I have had 7 NSDs. Big Grin

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #8 (Post 1 of 2)

January 9th, 2016 at 12:30 am

On a chilly evening when I want to relax .. there is just one thing for it.

A warm cup of hot chocolate!

Not just any hot chocolate will do for me though. My absolute favorite is Land of Lakes Mint Chocolate.

And then since I am probably lactose intolerant (not officially diagnosed ..) the perfect complement to the hot chocolate mix is Rice Dream.

Yum!


365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #7

January 8th, 2016 at 12:15 am

I'm not really sure how I came to use this expression. It is a Yiddish term, and I have never really spent much time around Jewish people speaking Yiddish. Perhaps it's a term I read in a book - maybe one of Chaim Potok's books.

At any rate, I picked it up, and used it.

Apparently at least one student had heard me use it more than once. One year for Christmas, I got this:

I haven't kept very many things that were given to me by students through the years, but this is one of the few.

----
I got a decent night's sleep last night - not great, but decent. In a much better mood today. Smile (And didn't have to deal with grumpy delivery guy yet.)

--
My supervisor just found out about the guy who was let go the last week of December and how he emailed threats to us. She'd not known why the door code was changed.

So today she went into paranoid mode. And now we have to keep the door between my office "area" and the hallway with the bathrooms/breakroom/exercise room closed and locked. Which means I have to have my key with me all the time. Oh well.

--
The IT person who comes by every Thursday stopped by to see how my computer was faring. (Another data dump this week ...) She told me that she'd suggested to the person who posts our route detours that I would be more than capable of doing the changes we're talking about.

So, I might be having another aspect of my job added. (This IT lady and I have had a couple opportunities to talk while she does things to my computer(s).)

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #6

January 7th, 2016 at 12:49 am

This isn't my picture, but a picture of a project/Christmas gift that someone (Pep) on the YNAB forums made for his mom for Christmas.

Here is a link to his journal: http://forum.youneedabudget.com/discussion/42718/pep-pep-hooray#latest (You do have to be logged in to view journals.)

I wanted to share this picture today for two reasons: 1. It shows how much thought and love can go into a homemade gift. and 2. It makes me smile! Smile


--
Today wasn't the best at work. I found out that I made a foolish mistake on Tuesday - as in got the order book for one agency when the order was actually for a different one. The two agencies names had one letter different. The passes got delivered to the wrong agency ... so the grumpy guy who does the deliveries with whom I finally seemed to be making *some* progress with ... will have to go get the wrongly delivered passes and take them to the correct place. Ugh.

I think part of why I made that mistake is because I haven't been sleeping well the last few nights. I've been taking melatonin for a few weeks, and at first thought that it was helping ... but now am not so sure.

I really hope to get a decent nights sleep tonight because I kind of feel like I'm running on fumes. And that + coming up on that "time" makes for one very cranky Laura.

I did not stop for Coke and Chocolate. Which is definitely what I would have done before on a day like this.

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #5 (2of2)

January 6th, 2016 at 12:58 am

The best time of the work day:



This is the clock I get to stare at all day as I help people on the phone or sell passes at the window.

Cooking and 5% Interest! (1 of 2)

January 6th, 2016 at 12:56 am

Tonight I was in the cooking mood for whatever reason. Smile I made a corn casserole, a big pot of quinoa, and am still working on roasting the butternut squash.

It's amazing I have any energy right now, seeing as though I woke up about 3:30 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep ...

---
Work was so so today. Pretty busy at times, and had a meeting to discuss how we handle getting out route detour information to the public, as well as an issue related to the big route changes coming in August.

--
Speaking of work ...

Remember quite a while ago I mentioned that there was a librarian position open at the local community college? I kind of bailed out on actually applying for it - just couldn't do it to my boss.

Well ... the person they hired for that job didn't work out. The position is available again. Taking applications til the 18th.

A part of me is wondering if this is God nudging me to where I need to go. I didn't listen the first time, so He's giving me a second chance.

The job description DOES state clearly that they want someone with at least 1 year of *college* level library experience. If that is truly a big factor, then I won't have a chance anyway.

But I'll never know if I don't try. I am going to try. Gulp.

As much as I love my boss, I don't know if I can really take 15 years of giving directions over the phone ... and dealing with some of the people I deal with on a daily basis.

---
So ... on to the other topic. What am I talking about? 5% interest? Unheard of!

Well this is something I saw I the MMM forums a few weeks ago and decided to test it out for myself. I wanted to see how easy it would be.

Here's what I did - I signed up for a Brink's Mastercard PrePaid Card. Once I got it, I activated it and started the process of adding it as an external account to my checking account. Then I had to verify the transactions.

Next, I set up a money transfer from checking to my card. That went through today.

Finally, I moved the money from the card and set up a savings account.

The savings account pays 5% interest up to $5,000. If you ever want to get money back into your checking, all you have to do is move the money back onto the card, and then do an ETF/ACH transfer.

To avoid the inactivity fee, I also set up a recurring transfer of $2 to my card from checking once a month.

That's it. All there is to it. Smile

A more detailed guide: http://thefinancebuff.com/netspend-5-percent-savings-account.html

Now, I also earned an extra $20 right up front - by using a referral code. That person (from the MMM forum) also received $20 after I funded $40+ on my card.

This is a great way to put away up to $15k per person (see detailed link) that you are saving for an EF or a house downpayment, etc.

If you are interested, and would also like to help me out Big Grin My referral link is: http://www.brinksprepaidmastercard.com/prepaid-debit-card/applyNow.m?ctxName=b_raf&uref=3469171546

Mango is another card which pays 6%, but requires a lot more work. This card (Brink's) is paying you $270 (in a year) for less than an hour's work.

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #4

January 5th, 2016 at 02:52 am

I know I've already put a picture up of Kari, but there are lots of things she does which make me smile. Some of them would be difficult to catch on camera though - but you can bet I'll try. Smile

Kari just absolutely LOVES the tab from an orange juice container. I presently have two of them floating around the apartment right now, and am not sure what I'm going to do when they both are lost. (Have found out that Orange Juice is NOT vegetarian, except for certain varieties. Plus, I'm just overall trying to not drink juice.)

Why does she love the orange juice tab? I think it's because it has such flexibility and is so light. She bats it around and runs after it for many minutes. (In cat time, many minutes is a long time.) Smile

But what I really love is when she brings it to me to engage in a game of fetch. Smile

In this picture she is sitting next to the tab waiting for me to pick it up and toss it for her.

---
Today was crazy busy at work. I was so tired when I got home that I didn't want to do anything - but still wanted to accomplish my mini-goal. So ... I shredded stuff for about 15 minutes give or take. Goal accomplished. Smile

(Kari got in the act by walking on top of the shredder and stepping on the forward/reverse button a few times ...)

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #3

January 3rd, 2016 at 10:13 pm

If you have read many of my blogs, especially when I have just hit up Target .... you have read of my favorite find of 2015. Amy's Chinese Noodles w/Cashew Sauce.

I lucked upon 2 containers of it on a recent Walmart trip, and today enjoyed the second one. Smile



----
I'm continuing to do pretty well with my Mini-Goal of spending 15 minutes+ a day doing something to improve my environment. So far, I'd say I'm at about a 90% success rate.

I also have played around a lot more in the New YNAB app, and am more and more leaning towards migrating 100% to it. It will be even better once they get reports, etc. added, but right now it's pretty fantastic I think. Smile

I cashed out for a $25 AGC from Swagbucks last night - one of the ones on sale for 2200SBs. I'll probably be able to cash out for the $25 PayPal card by the end of this week, if not sooner. (CC rewards, Monthly bonus, Shop&Earn etc.) Not a bad start to the year. Smile

I can't remember if I mentioned this already or not, but I was able to cash out $10 from PACT very recently. It was pretty funny in a way - two weeks in a row of close to $5 payouts - guess a lot of people weren't keeping their PACTs. Bad for them, good for me. Smile (I'm saving all the cashouts from PACT and eventually from Achievemint to purchase the Fitbit that has GPS - can't recall it's name. That way I won't have to use the GPS on my phone - save data!)

Am now just goofing off a bit on the net while I wait for NE to come over. He's supposed to have my Christmas gift with him - should've arrived Saturday. Here's hoping! Smile

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #2

January 3rd, 2016 at 01:10 am

One thing I really enjoy is listening to music. Especially live music. Free is even better. Smile

So tonight I made it over to the church for a free concert. Overall, it was a really good concert. Kind of low-key and quiet Christian focused music. Both Matt and Josie were very talented, playing a variety of instruments.


This is Josie who I think wrote all of the songs.


This is her husband Matt who did most of the talking and played at least 5 different instruments.
----
After the concert was a soup/supper and board games. I totally planned on staying - for the board games. Even planned on that being my picture for tomorrow. But ... my introvertedness won out.

After more than a 1 1/2 years of going to this church while waiting for the soup/supper portion to begin, I still felt completely out of place and alone. I tried. I really tried to stay. I even tried getting busy by helping in the kitchen, but they didn't really need any help.

In the end, I couldn't stay. It sure reminded me of why I've never liked potlucks. There's only been one place in my entire life where I didn't mind staying for potlucks - where I felt I really fit - that was my last church in TX. Of course, even if I were to go back now, 5 years later, many of the people who were there then are gone. So it would be different.

One interesting thing though - I saw one of the people who comes to buy passes for the door to door service van at the concert. He's the one who when the elevator was broken attempted to climb up the stairs by pulling himself up them backwards ... Color me surprised.

Starting the NY off with some Spending

January 2nd, 2016 at 01:19 am

After getting a nice sleep in (sort of - Kari wasn't having me sleep in tooo long) and doing some relaxing computer activities ... I finally got off my duff and productive.

ETA - One of the things I did was set up my budget in the new YNAB program I really kind of like it. The goal setting especially. I'll wait til my trial is up to decide for sure, but I may spring for the $45 subscription. Even if I decide not to yet, I'm still locked in for that discount price if I ever do decide to go to it.

I needed 8k more steps for my 50k step challenge, plus I needed to do a GPS tracked 5k walk for another challenge.

So .. I headed to the park. Brrr!! I foolishly wore my Keds instead of the slightly sturdier tennies. My Keds are starting to get really well worn. As in coming apart at the seams in places worn ...

I got the mileage/steps in with frozen feet and wet/dirty jeans legs.

Got home and changed into something dry and headed out again.

This time to Dollar Tree to stock up on frozen fruit. They were out of most of their other frozen vegetarian options - the freezer section was pretty decimated. $11 (Also got a battery for my smoke detector.)

Then on to Walmart - bananas, apples, PB powder*, Ragu sauce*, Amy's! Chinese Noodles!!, etc. $25
*Had iBotta rebates

On the way home I realized my gas was blinking. So I decided to go a little out of the way to the cheap station - $1.89/gallon - and also get a car wash!
My car hasn't been washed since .... ??????

$19.25 gas; 5.44 car wash (undercarriage+)

Had a weird interaction at the gas station. I pulled into a parking spot to make sure the car wash was operating (doors were closed on both sides.) When I came out this lady annoyedly says "Thank you." I'm like, huh? She tells me that she can't get into her vehicle. I wasn't parked outside the lines, in fact, I was parked fairly close to the line on the driver's side. Just weird.

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Now I'm finishing up a dryer load of sheets and towels (my jeans are hanging dry.) It's been awhile since they've been washed ... I do laundry every Thursday when NE is here, but that's usually only clothes - and definitely not enough space for two pairs of jeans. So I've decided that the first weekend of each month is towels/sheets/jeans washing time!

Ok - off to get my clothes and then eat my surprise find of Amy's Chinese Noodles from Walmart. Big Grin

Happy New Year everyone!

365 Days of Pictures Which Make Me Smile #1

January 1st, 2016 at 11:57 pm

This is in the spirit of what Patient Saver suggested recently.

My first picture of course is going to be ... Kari! Smile