Home > Archive: March, 2005

Archive for March, 2005

36 days to go

April 1st, 2005 at 03:08 am

Today was better, mainly because the kids had two classes with another teacher - music. Both of the music classes are now consolidated into one day. Makes for a fairly short Thusday for me. Yay!

The Money Jar was filled today. So tomorrow we'll decide what we're going to do - a field trip or a party. I'm kind of hoping more for a party. I also told the kids that if they wanted a gripper (pencil holding thing that sticks to their desk) that they would need to giv me $.25 each by Monday. They cost $.50 for a set of 3. I already had 3 kids give me a quarter for it. Maybe they'll take better care of them if they bought it themselves. Probably not though.

After school I stopped by my apartment manager's office to drop off the rent check. But I guess they have switched management companies. The new management company is in Rockwall, so there'll be no dropping off a check there. I hope they get my check in time before charging me late fees or something. I'll really miss seeing Mercedes every month, or sometimes more often when dealing with maintance stuff.

When I got home, I found my dad snoring away on the lazy boy. He woke up after about an hour, and then told me about the very hard night and day he'd had. I really do feel sorry for him, and I do think that he's being treated harsher than necessary, but . . . he did bring it on himself.

One thing I'm finding about sharing my space with someone else on a more long-term basis, is that I really am set in my ways. It's very disconcerting to come home and not be able to just kick up my feet and do whatever, or to feel obligated to chat for a little bit. It's really making me wonder if I ever do get into another relationship, if I'd really be able to do it. If I'm just too set in my ways - being able to do my own thing without having to think or check with anyone else. I really don't like these thoughts.

Finally had a no spending day - on the last day of March none the less.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

How much longer?

March 31st, 2005 at 02:40 am

I am so tired of my job. Yes, I love my kids. Each one of them is special to me. BUT after a day like today, with some of them behaving the way they were, it's all I can do to NOT just say "The H with it!" and walk out the door. Most of it was just generally not behaving -- but the crux of it was M at lunchtime. He INSISTED that he had hot lunch today, but then he did admit that his mom had sent him a lunch. When I told him that he needed to eat the lunch his mom sent him, he went into a 5 or 6 minute crying rag which only ended when I handed him the phone with his mom on the line. We get out to the lunch room, and I ask the lunch ladies if he had hot lunch -NOPE! Of course he's still insisting that he did, and that teacher's shouldn't force kids to eat food (whatever kid!)

It sure didn't help that I didn't get a very good nights sleep last night. Not really sure why, cause I went to bed at a decent hour, and think I went to sleep fairly quickly. But all day I just was feeling out of sorts. Of course M started in on his shenanigans the mOMENT he walked in the door this morning.

Oh the Earth project went off fairly well today. It kinda got pushed to the end of the day, which ate up our usual clean up time, but the kids were pretty enthused about it, which was good.

I used my free gas card today -I actualy have $1.24 left on it, which is actually kind of an annoying amount. But it was free gas, so I shouldn't complain too much. Smile

Lost tonight was just SO awesome! I had missed it so much these past couple of weeks. I can't wait till Septemeber when it comes out on DVD. Smile

Oh! The Spring Fling has been canceled for this coming Sunday. Apparentally I was the only teacher who had any parents willing to bring things or to help out with the games. Oh well, I really wasn't looking forward to losing my Sunday afternoon anyway. Maybe I can take in a movie at the $1 theatre instead. Smile

I'm off to keep reading this great book I started yesterday - "Otherwise Engaged" by Ellen Goudge. It's about these two friends who switch places for six months to see if the "other side really is greener". So far, so great. Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Another Long Day - Parent Teacher Conferences

March 30th, 2005 at 03:21 am

My work day started at 7am this morning, and ended at 6 p.m. The day overall went much much better than yesterday. M behaved better, and little Miss Priss didn't throw any hissy fits. I met with all but three of my parents. One child's parents didn't come for their appointment, another child wasn't even there today, and the third child is the new boy. All the conferences were positive. I told two of the parents that I wasn't coming back next year. I would have told the others, but their kids were in the room with us. Both parents were pretty dissapointed. M's mom was one of them. She actually told me that she was feeling depressed hearing that and asked me several times if there were any chance of me changing my mind. I told her there wasn't.

I actually got into way too much detail with M's mom about my reasons. I tried to just leave it at, "I'm looking for a change, something different." but she wouldn't have it. I hated to say too much, because she is a new church member, and a large part of my decision was seeing the major hypocrasy(sp?) of some high-up church leaders. I really really hope that I didn't say too much. I mentioned to her about whether she'd had M tested for ADD/HD and she told me that her peditrician had suggested it, but had also suggested that she get tested - which greatly offended her. I mentioned to her that research does show that ADD tends to be genetic, and that a lot of people that have it, tend to be the MOST intelligent people, just with a focus problem. She said that maybe she'd get him tested this summer, but wasn't willing to medicate him. I told her that there were other ways of dealing with it other than meds, but at least having the diagnoisis gives you a starting point. Really, all in all, it was a very good meeting (which lasted nearly 1 1/2 hours!)

Between appointments I got all caught up on my grading. Then I called my doctor to get my test results (from several weeks ago - we've been playing phone tag.) I finally got ahold of the nurse. She told me all my results were normal, except for my TSH (thyroid) was low. So, she called in a prescription for Synthroid (which I've had before). She also told me that my cholestroal (sp?) level was 203, but that the good stuff was very high, and the bad stuff was at least 20pts below the target level. So, I guess all the oatmeal and fiber I eat has been doing something good. Smile

My dad was still here when I got home which surprised me. He hadn't had a very good night. I told him to think of it as one night down, and 179 to go. He also told me he'd talked to my mom today. Apparentally she's claiming that she isn't engaged - though they've already set a tentative date, and have attended a pre-wedding seminar. Ummm yeah. He also told me that the check Ryan cashed and used to buy new skis, which mom had given him, had actually been intended for Ryan to pay back the people who bought his plane ticket here a few weeks ago. She'd even put it in the memo line (which dad saw in black and white.) That's not quite the story Ryan gave me when I talked to him last. He told me that mom had given him this check, and had insisted on gving it to him. So he finally took it, and cashed it, and used it to buy skis. Oh brother! (In both senses!)

Oh, the last parents I talked to today said that they have some orange and maybe yellow playdoh that I could have. I have enough blue playdoh (crust) and red playdoh (inner core) but I don't have any orange(mantle) or yellow (outer core). I really didn't feel like going to Wal-mart and buying $30+ of playdoh, just to get enough of the two colors I need. This is all for a project we're doing tomorrow (maybe) where we make a model of the planet Earth, and then cut it in half to see the different layers. This is one project that my kids from three years ago who are now in 3rd grade still remember. Smile

Spending Log:
Wal-greens: $17.37 (scrip + Easter Candy sales)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Long Day - headache

March 29th, 2005 at 02:37 am

Let me sum up my day:
1. New student is not there when school starts.
2. Withn five minutes of M entering the room, I'm ready to scream bloody murder.
3. Kids finally settled down and working. New boy shows up.
4. Cell Phone on the blitz and won't let me make any calls.
5. Major headache starts after lunch and still hasn't let up.
6. Miss Prima Donna throws not one, not two, not three, but at least four major hissy fits today.
7. I'm told I can't participate in a Market Study for first grade teachers because I don't work in a public school - would have paid me $100!!
8. After driving around endlessly trying to find the Cingular building, I find it. Salesman gives me a replacement battery free of charge to see if that solves the problem. Yay!

Am very tired. My head is killing me. And tomorrow is Parent/Teacher conferences - most people signed up before four o'clock, but ONE person signed up for 5:30! Wah! Woe is me. Though I do have to say I have it better than my friend Tammy did today, she had the pre-k and her class all by herself, since the pre-k teacher decided that the thing about not calling in sick unless you have a doctor's note didn't apply to her.

Ok. Am going to bed. NOT looking forward to tomorrow.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,


March 28th, 2005 at 02:33 am

I had very little sleep last night. My back and my stomach were hurting me so much, that not even a heating pad helped that much. Then the neighbor's dogs also decided to do a bark off in the middle of the night. Then my cat decided that he wanted to be fed NOW way earlier than usual, and didn't let up till I finally got up and fed him. Ugh! I am so tired!

As I was leaving to go to the grocery store, my dad arrived. So we went to the store together. I was only $30 away from getting the $.10/gallon discount, so I decided to go ahead and get that much, using coupons of course. Smile I ended up adding a Brita Filter because mine was on it's last dregs, so actualy ended up buying $80 worth of stuff for $49.xx .

Dad had brought quite a bit of stuff. I wasn't quite sure how he was going to get it all arranged downstairs, but he did manage to do that. By the time we'd gotten back from the store and gotten his stuff taken in, it was getting pretty late in the afternoon. So my dad offered to do my laundry at the laundromat, while I went to the school and got my lesson plans done. I thought that was so sweet of him. Smile

We ended up getting back at the same time because I was just too tired to do much more than the bare minimum. I then ran over to the grocery store again and got three dollars worth of pennies for the Penny Jar. Then I got back home and made up four burrito's for lunches this week. I had some refried beans left, so I made two soft tacos with it. Then I made spaghetti for supper. Dad helped me clean up the kitchen.

I am so tired!! Tonight I watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and am now watching Desperate Housewives. Then I'm going to watch the new show "Grey's Anatomy". I think that was the name of a movie about medical students. I hope it's interesting.

Tuesday is Parent/Teacher conferences. I haven't done the report cards for it yet. Will have to stay after school tomorrow to get them finished and get the graded papers ready to be sent home.

K, going to sign off now.

Spending Log:
Kroger's: $49.xx
Albertsons: $3.00 (pennies)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Squee!! Little House!!!

March 27th, 2005 at 03:15 am

I was estatic tonight when I checked the TV schedule and saw that the Little House on the Praire mini-series was starting tonight. I can't tell you how much I love Little House. My mom even named me after Laura - she and I both share brown hair and blue eyes. Smile I knew there was a new mini-series coming out soon, but didn't know when. Wow! I am so happy that I checked the TV schdeule tonight. It'll be on for the next 3 or 4 Saturday nights. Smile Smile Smile It was pretty good. I just loved it when Edwards showed up near the end - although I was just waiting for him to break out in "Old Man Tucker". I'm in high heaven!

I seriously debated about either calling or emailing my ex-bf and telling him about the Little House mini-series. He also really loves everything Little House. But I figured an email wouldn't get to him in time, and a phone call right now would be pretty awkward, so I decided not to. Yeah, he's doing that thing of taking forever to reply again. Wonder if it'll be three months again. Humpf!!

Last night I stayed up till nearly 3am reading (finishing the John Grisham book) and then I slept in till 10am. Then my friend Susie called me to remind me about the radio event we were going to. It was raining pretty much ever since Friday evening, but my umbrella was in my classroom. So anyway, she comes and picks me up about 11:30.

The radio event was really awesome. Deliilah (sp?) was there giving away free books and CD's and signing them. Yay! I listen to her program quite often in the evening. There were a lot of other booths giving away free stuff too. Then there were two guys who spoke about saving and investing money. They were pretty good, but it wasn't anything I didn't already know. Then there were the "Dueling Chefs." They made Creme' Bule' (sp?) and Ganche(sp?). Everyone got a sample of the Creme' Bule' - it was very very good. Next they had some ladies present their line of clothing which could be mixed and matched. Great idea, except that I wouldn't wear most of the patterns they had, and it would have been WAY expensive. They said that it averaged out to about $45 a look, and that there were about 250 different possible looks. The next presenter was this lady from the YMCA who did a mini-Pilate's class. That was pretty good. The last speaker was Delialah. She was really good and funny. She spoke about her kids and she spoke about a new project she started a few years ago in Ghana, Africa in a refuge camp.
It really was a nice way to spend the afternoon, and all for free. Smile

When I got home I was really really hungry because I hadn't really eaten anything all day. I was majorly craving a Schlotsky's sandwich. So I stopped at Kroger's and got a few groceries (and picked up some more Morningstar, they were still on a good sale) then got my Schlotsky's sandwich to go. Mmm mmm good (although pretty expensive!).

I finally did a majorly needed trash run tonight, and ran the dishwasher so I have some dishes to eat on again. Smile My dad is coming sometime tomorrow. I probably ought to call Grandma and find out when he left and if he has a phone. I wonder if Ryan told him about Mom getting married again. I wonder how long it will take him to find a place to live (other than here). I did some more searching last night and found a few more possibilities - even a few rental houses.

My Easter Sunday is going to mainly consist of doing laundry and lesson plans and getting ready for my new little boy.
Ok, now I think I'll be off to read my new book I got for free today. Smile

Spending Log:
Schlotsky's: $6.29 (sandwich)
Kroger's: $21.30

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

5 years? And money ponderings.

March 26th, 2005 at 01:16 am

In today's mail I got a letter from TRS (Teacher Retirement System). It mentioned that it had been five years since I had last made a contribution, and that my account is going to be deactivated (i.e. stop earning interest). I knew it had been five years since I'd worked in the Public School system, but seeing it in print kind of made me go, "Wow! It's been 5 years since I escaped from there?" That's somewhat annoying that they're not going to pay interest anymore. I made about $50 a quarter in interest with them, which is a whole lot better than what I've gotten from this IRA I started six years ago. I only have about $1150 in TRS. I now have to decide if I'm going to take it out in cash, which would mean that 20% would be held back for income taxes, and that I would also pay another 10% of it for fines for taking it out before I'm 59. OR I could roll it over somehow into an IRA or into my current employer's 403b plan, and not pay taxes on it in the current year. 20% would be ~$230, plus the 10% IRS fine of ~$115, which is a total of ~$345. That would leave me with a net of ~$805, which would be about $200 less than I contribuited initially.

The other piece of mail I got was from BofA about my IRA with them. Let's just say that this past year I LOST money with this IRA. It is some kind of an IRA that renews every two years. Mine is coming up for renewal 4/12. I'm really not sure what my options are, but I'd really like to get that money somewhere where it is actually earning interest for me, and not LOSING money for me!! The way it LOST money for me was this - it earned $19 in interest this past quarter - they charged some sort of fees of $32!!!!

So, I'm wondering if there is a way I could get both of these paltry amounts rolled over into ONE new IRA that actually pays a GOOD interest rate (not 1.15% !!!!) I'm just not exactly sure what kind of IRA it is that I have with BofA. I would dearly LOVE to take ALL my business AWAY from them. If I could roll over BOTH of those accounts into my 403b plan, that would be great, because that money has actually been growing pretty well for me - I've done pretty well picking stocks to buy. But then, I worry about having all my retirement monies in one place (VALIC) . AND I worry about what's going to happen to that account after I have quit teaching. I am already fully vested, so I know I'll get whatever money is in there when I retire, but with the way my employer's have messed around with other people, I just wouldn't put anything past them.

What I'd really love to do would be to stick both of those accounts into an ING 5-yr CD - that would earn more interest than that money has in the last six.

School was okay today. Not quite as an easy day as yesterday. A couple of my boys decided to goof off a bit, and some of my girls were having trouble getting along. But . . . I had the kids share some of their writing from the past week. Everyone who shared had some great writing. But .. . my second grade boy had written a second installment on his SuperBaby story about his baby brother. It was hilarious, and it was really, really, well written. I just cringe when I hear the difference between my second grader's writing, and my first grader's. Last year I was able to spend SO much more time with my kids developing their writing. But, then again, some of it may just be the year's difference too. I have no qualms whatsoever about sending ANY of my 2nd graders on to 3rd grade. But, I do have some major worries about sending some of my first graders on to second grade. I'm not going to hold any of them back, because none of them are THAT far behind. But I really do worry about a few of them really struggling in 2nd next year.

After school today I was going to go buy a book at the Teacher Store. This is a book that I KNOW I owned at one point, and it's not something I would have parted with easily. But, I have not been able to find it anywhere. This past week, I have been making up my own versions of the activities (as much as I can remember) but it's a major PAIN. The Teacher Store didn't have it though. Frown So, I ordered it from Amazon (it was the cheapest I could find). I hate buying any teacher stuff this late in the year, when I'm going to have to turn around and end up either giving it away or selling it for pennies on the dollar in 8 weeks. But, sometimes you just have to have a convenience.

Well, I'm wanting to finish reading "The Broker" by John Grisham. I started reading it last night, and had to finally force myself to put it down at 1 a.m. so I could have a few hours of sleep to teach on. It is SO good! I absolutely LURVE John Grisham!! I saw also that it is a "non-renewable" book, which means that I have to have it back to the library by the 13th or else pay fines. I think I'll probably take it back tomorrow. Smile Make the next person on the hold list VERY happy. Smile

Spending Log:
Amazon. com: $14.99 (book + standard shipping)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

13????? No!!!!!!!!

March 25th, 2005 at 03:13 am

I know there are many many teachers out there with this same age group who teach a much larger class than I do, and may wonder what I am whining about. I've taught in a classroom with 25 students before, so, yes, I do know what it's like. The largest only first grade class I've taught had 17 kids in it (in a very nice size room). The classroom I am in now is about as big as an oversized kitchen - in other words, NOT very big at all. I use tables for my kids to sit at. I have three tables that pretty much take up most of the available space in the room, and sit four comfortably. Up until a little bit before Spring Break, I had 11 kids, which left one empty spot. Then I had a new boy added (who is a great kid) which gave me 12. About that time I ordered the books for their end of year gifts from Scholastic - got 12. My second graders are almost finished with their Phonics book (maybe 10 pages left). They are 3/4 finished with their Reading book/skillpak. They only have about 3 chapters left in their Math book.
Oh yeah, --- How am I going to come up with enough materials to make another OTTER book???

Why am I saying all this?? Well, today when my kids came back from Choir, they brought a visitor with them, along with this visitor's Mom. Apparentally she had brought her son for a "visit" without informing ME or our secretary or our principal. It takes a few minutes generally to get the kids calmed down after Choir. Now add to the equation a strange little boy who's been announced to the kids as a "new student". Especially add to it the fact that he is in SECOND GRADE and previously there was only ONE second grade boy. I really didn't know what to do with him. His mom just kind of left him in the room with me, after saying that he would be starting Monday. From the little bit of time I was able to spend with him, he seems like a well-mannered enough little boy, and maybe a bit on the shy side. But . . . . all the time he is there, I'm thinking . . "WHERE am I going to put him!!!!?????" HOW am I going to get another copy of the books I got for my kids (without having to spend money of course!)?
"There's only 8 weeks left of the school year, WHY would you move a kid to a new school NOW???" ARGHHHH!!!! Just kill me now! (Ok, no, really don't do that. I only have to get through another 40 days of this.)

Up until the little boy entering our arena, my day was almost blissfully easy. Ahh. The difference one child can make. I was kind of surprised though to hear a number of the students actually saying that they MISSED my little whirlwind known as M.

After school I took Monkey to the vet for the recheck on his teeth. The vet said that his teeth looked great. Then she gave me this oral dental cat medicine called "Orro Vet" that I'm supposed to apply once a week. It annoyed me a bit because I wasn't planning on spending anything today. It's a 16 week supply, so I guess it's fairly economical, but still . . . !

When I got Monkey home from the vet, I did something majorly stupid. He didn't want to go back into his carrying kennal, so I decided just to carry him out in my arms. This is something I've done many, many times before, and have had no problems. For some reason though, I decide that I should lock my car up BEFORE taking him inside. The thing about my car is, in order to lock it completely, you have to hold the door handle up while at the same time pushing on the lock. Well, apparentally the angle I was holding him at when I locked and shut the door was a POOR one. His tail got caught in the door!!! Oh my poor poor kitty! Understandably, he was yowling in pain and rage. As I was scrambling to get the door unlocked and reopened, he was striking out at me (again, understandably) and I ended up getting bit on my hand, having several new holes put in my shirt, and some not so good scratches on my arm. I felt just so horrible! I think he has forgiven me. I think he knows that I would never intentionally hurt him, just as I know that his striking out at me like that was totally out of character.

I got a call from Ryan last night. Apparentally he had gotten the information from Mom about her getting married. He sounded more shocked than I even was. He said that he was probably going to give Dad a heads up about it. I wonder how that went. :roll eyes:

Ok. It's time for me to relax with ER.

Spending Log:
Vet: $24.95

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

No "M" for the next four days!

March 24th, 2005 at 02:24 am

This evening I got a call from "M"s mom. She was asking me if M would be missing too much work if she took off with him for a long weekend. Hee!! I told her not to worry about it, that he wouldn't be missing much, and that I'm really pretty lenient(sp?) on kids that miss a few days. Ha! To have two full school days without him, I'd be willing to stand on my head and whistle the Macarena! I do love the kid, AND he is getting better, but .. .. , he is still a full-time thumbs on kid. So . . . I'm having dreams of a nice, relatively easy two days of school - then only 40 more days to go. Woo hoo!!!

School today went fairly well. M gave me a bit of attitude, but after a bit of a talkin'to, he shaped up. At staff meeting one of our teachers who pretty much heads up all the althletic's stuff, was begging for one of us to be the track and field sponsor. Um. NO. Sorry. I am almost done with teaching. I am trying to distance myself as much as possible. Spend as little as possible. So, am I going to all of a sudden give up two of my evenings a week? NO!

I thought I was supposed to take Monkey to the vet for a recheck today. But I got a voicemail reminding me of his appointment for TOMORROW! Ooops! So instead, I went to the library to return some books. I also picked up some books that had come in. One of them was the John Grisham book that I thought I was going to have to wait forever for. Yay!

Yikes! The gas station by my house was up to $2.04 today. Up until Monday they were still $1.90 which I thought was pretty bad, but now, OUCH! I wish I could spend $100 a month at Kroger's to get their $.10 a gallon off deal, but since I do some of my shopping at Kroger's and some at Albertson's, etc, and don't usually do much more than $100 per month total - well, it would be stupid to spend money to "save" money. It's a good thing for me that I usually only go through maybe a tank and a half each month (sometimes less).

Ok, I want to get back to CSI now. Yes, I admit it, I am a TVAHOLIC. Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,


March 23rd, 2005 at 04:16 am

Tonight I finally got to see the movie, "Spanglish." I'd wanted to see it when it first came out, but decided to wait till it was in the dollar theatre. It's been in the dollar theatre for awhile, but other things kept coming up. So, today was $.50 Tuesday and since NYPD Blue isn't on anymore, I could go to the late showing (7pm). It was a really good movie, heartwarming and funny. Can't say that about too many movies with Adam Sandler in them. Smile Hee! I do have to say there were parts of it that I was really really glad I wasn't watching it with my dad or my mom. Smile

Today was actually day 2 in a row of not very bad days at school. The Penny System actually seems to be working - even with my nutty little MR. "M". I actually had my aide today when I was supposed to, so that was VERY nice. After school I took about an hour or so and graded papers. I still have about 4 inches to go. Ugh!

After school I called 'M"s mom to tell her that her son had had two fairly decent days. At first I didn't get ahold of her, I got her voicemail. While I was in the movie she called me back. When I returned her phone call, she sounded like she was dreading hearing what I was going to say. It was so funny, after I told her that I was calling with a good report, in the background I could hear my little munchkin shouting, "Yay!" What a nut. Smile

In the mail today I got some DVD's I'd ordered. "The Fugitive" for my dad - Father's Day; "The Notebook" for my Mom - (Mother's Day) and for me -- "The Princess Bride". I was able to get all of them for a pretty good price. "Princess Bride" is probably one of my all time favorite movies. "As you wish . .. . " Smile

Hopefully tonight will be the last night I have to give Monkey his medicine. Tomorrow after school (and staff meeting) I'll be taking him back to the vet for a checkup. I'm really tired of giving him the medicine, and I know he's tired of barely tolerating me giving it to him! Smile

Ok, I want to do some reading before I go to bed. Last night I read the latest Reader's Digest. I have about two or three years worth of them that are unopened, but I do love reading them - just actual books usually come first. I get RD as a gift every year from my mom's sister and her husband. Smile Gotta love free reading material. Smile

My friend that I picked up from the airport gave me $10 today. So I kind of splurged a little bit and actually got refreshments at the movie which I usually NEVER do.

Spending Log:
Movie + Junkfood: ~7.xx
Taco Bell: $3.24 (I know, I know, I have all the fixings at home, but JUST didn't feel like making it!)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

It's Time For Veggie-Tales!

March 22nd, 2005 at 02:33 am

Today was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I put in place a new discipline/reward system with the kids that I came up with in the middle of the night. Essentially I'm using all the thousands of pennies I have in my classroom, and one of the glass jars a student dontated for a science project. I'm putting pennies in the jar for good overall class behavior. Then each of the kids gets 10 pennies at the beginning of the day. They can earn pennies, and they can lose pennies, according to their behavior. At the end of the day they get to put whatever pennies they have into the Penny Jar. When the Penny Jar is full, they'll get to decide as a class whether they want a movie/pizza party or a short, inexpensive, field trip. They really did amazingly well, especially since my "aide" got pulled into the 5th grade teachers classroom for the majority of the day. My little "M" got down to just two pennies (he'd earned back some too) but he still got the chance to put some pennies in the jar. Smile We'll see how long this lasts.

After school I went to Albertson's and got some banana and milk. Eeek! I hate buying milk when its not on sale - $2.19 for a 1/2 gallon (and that's the store brand!) I could've gotten the gallon (on sale) for $2.99, but it would have more than likely have gone bad long before I used it all.

Tonight was the "Premiere" of 'The Princess and the Pie War" a Veggie Tales film. Our school was asked to be one of the premiere sites. Of course, we couldn't do it till after Spring Break, and it apparentally was already out in the stores sometime last week. It still was pretty cool. There was a really good turnout - a lot of people who don't have kids in our school, but do attend our church. I love the Veggie Tales movies. They are so funny and so clean cut, although sometimes they really mess with the structure of the Bible story. For example, tonight's movie was about the story of Ruth. I guess to me the story of Ruth has enough drama and intrigue? for any movie without being tweaked. I really don't know if I care for how they changed it around. But it still was humorous, and it got the point across about caring for others more than for yourself. They showed previews of a new one coming out around Thanksgiving that center's on Larry's hairbrush. That is probably one of my favorite Veggie Tale's songs: "Where Is My Hairbrush" "Oh where is my hairbrush?" "Oh where, oh where, oh whererererere, Is my hairbrush!" Hee!

Oy vey! I am tired. Didn't sleep very well last night, and then got up extra early this morning so I could be ready for the day (after not having done anything all Spring Break -like, not even graded papers that are 6 inches+ high, gulp!)

Ok, am going to actually try to read that Reader's Digest article. Then maybe watch SuperNanny, and go off to la, la land.

Spending Log:
Albertsons: $6.31

Keeping It Frugal In Texas,

Last Day of break :( :(

March 21st, 2005 at 04:05 am

I didn't get lesson plans done today like I should have. I know I'm probably going to pay for it tomorrow, but I was reading a really really riveting book (Four Blind Mice by James Patterson) and kept telling myself one more chapter. Then my mom called and that took about an hour. So I decided to just go ahead and finish the book. Smile I'll just have to be sure to get there an hour early tomorrow. Smile

Didn't spend any money today. Stayed in and read and lazed again. I am SO not looking forward to tomorrow and being with my kids tomorrow. I don't know how I'm going to make 45 more days with them. I'm also wondering what the fallout is going to be from what happened on the Friday break started. Ugh.

Mom laid a doozie on me. She told me that this guy she's been dating since before the divorce was final (but after she'd already moved out - like that matters) has asked her to marry him. They've apparentally set a tentative date for August. I haven't met the guy yet, and really, I don't want to. But I'll probably end up having to to keep the peace. Again, why can't I just go off all my lonesome somewhere and never have to interact with my family or annoying people again? Oh yeah, I know why, cuz that's not real life. Frown

Picked up my colleague from the airport. Her luggage didn't make it back with her, but will be delivered tomorrow. She had a good time with her bf/fiance'.

Well, I guess I better hit the hay so I can actually get up in the morning -especially considering how much I really want to get up and go to work. NOT!

Spending Log:
None nada zilch zip NSPD: 7?/12 (actual/goal)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Another early morning wake up call

March 20th, 2005 at 12:38 am

I don't know what it is with my friend Tammy and calling me at 7:45 a.m on a Saturday. (roll eyes) At least this time I didn't injure myself trying to get the noise turned off. Smile She was calling to see if I wanted to go to lunch with her family after church, and also checking what time Sabbath School was. After hanging up with her I ended up going right back to sleep and didn't get up till she called again (actually her husband called) and told me they were out of church. Smile I REALLY meant to get up and get a shower and do some stuff before going to lunch with them.

We went to lunch at this little hole in the wall Thai resturant. The prices were really reasonable, and the food was very delicious. I will definately have to remember this place for the future. I just love her kids. She has a son who is 4 and a daughter who is 2. I've been around both of them for the past three years, and have babysat them a number of times. Nicolas (her son) used to call me "Lorla" and now Destiny (her daughter) calls me "Lorda". Hee hee! They both were fighting for my attention. Nicholas insisted that I sit next to him. Smile I am going to miss being around them when I move, but I'll still be close enough to see them once in awhile.

After lunch they dropped me back off at my place. I then went to go pick up Monkey's medicine at the vet. There was a really bad traffic accident on 635 and traffic was backed up for probably five miles, so I took the frontage road the whole way. Then on my way back, there was ANOTHER accident on my side of the road, so I again took the frontage road the whole way back. I was more than a little bit annoyed at the Vet's office. I tried to use the gift certificate for the medicine, but they said that it wasn't able to be used for that. I said the gc said it was for "treatment" and wasn't medicine a "treatment?" They said that no, it was some other word. Ugh!

When I got back I had an email reply from the guy on the dating site. I'd given him my real email, because I don't want to pay for another month at that site. Smile Guess he wasn't too annoyed with me not replying faster. This time I emailed him back right away (which is really my normal way of doing things!) Not getting my hopes up or anything, but he really seems like a good quality guy - and he has a similar viewpoint in that a mom should be at home with her kids for at least the first few formative years. (I know that is not possible for everyone due to financiial circumstances, but I DO really feel strongly that that is the IDEAL situation.) That was one point that my ex-bf and I disagreed on (he didn't think it was possible to live on one income, although I tried to explain to him just HOW it WAS possible). Anyway, I digress.

My mom let me borrow her whole case of CD's when I was there at her house. Last night while I was doing stuff online, I copied/ripped all the ones I wanted, and then transfered them to my MP3 player. I then made a new playlist of all the mushy gushy light music, and have been listening to it all this afternoon. The weird thing is, that even my CD's that were so scratched up that I couldn't listen to them on my regular CD player, ripped perfectly fine to my computer and then imported to my MP3 player. I think after I finish putting all my CD's on the MP3 that I'm going to either sell or give them all away. One less thing to store. By the way, I got the MP3 player for a *really* good price at an after Christmas sale. It has 40GB of memory, nearly as much as my computer!! It also cost way less than it would cost me to replace my car stereo/radio system (which was stolen from my car a year ago February) and it's portable. I'm really really happy with it (especially since I got mine for $60 less than my brother found his for!)

I need to get off the computer. I want to read the latest Reader's Digest article about the Tsunami, and then maybe watch one of those movies I got from Blockbuster Online. Maybe also read some more of one of the books I got with the gc. Really, what I *should* do is pack up the books for Half-Price so I can go sell them tomorrow. Nah. I'll wait till my dad is here with his Jimmy and his muscles. Smile

Spending Log:
Vet: $22.38 (One week supply of medicine)
Albertsons: $5.31 (junkfood - yes, again) Frown

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Break is almost over. :(

March 19th, 2005 at 01:43 am

Really didn't do much at all today. Nothing at all that I had planned on. It sure didn't help that my dad forgot to turn off the alarm clock downstairs. It went off this morning at 4am. In the process of my hurrying to turn it off before it woke all the neighbors, I ended up slipping on the bottom stairs and gashing my right heel. Nice.

What DID I accomplish today??? Hmmmm... I wrote back to a guy who had responded to my profile on a dating site (over a week ago - oops!) I also wrote back to my ex-bf - not emotional, just the facts, m'am. Read the Volition mystery shopping forum which I hadn't read in quite awhile. Sent in an online resume/application for Cingular Wireless.

When I checked the mail, I found: 1) My $20 gas gift card from when I did the car insurance quote (finally!) 2) A card from one of my best friends with a picture of her little boy and about 20 Box Tops 3)An orange postcard that I almost threw away as junkmail which said that I have to register my cat with the D****s county and pay a $7 fee, or I'll be charged late fines. Never heard of this before, and I've been living here nearly three years. 4)a bunch of other junkmail

I did make two phone calls. One was to my doctor to find out why I hadn't gotten my test results back yet. She hasn't returned my call yet. The second call was to the vet to find out if Monkey was supposed to have medicine just till the bottle ran out, or for a full two weeks. Apparentally, it was for the full two weeks, so tomorrow I have to go and pick up a refill. I wish they'd just given me enough in the first place. But at least this way I can use the gift certificate they gave me which I forgot to bring with me last time, and the medicine shouldn't cost me anything. Ugh.

The one bright side to this day is that I didn't spend anything, and it was a day completely to myself. I forgot to ask my apartment manager about a snake for my toilet, but it seemed to start working better again. Go figure.

Well, guess that's it for now. Wish whoever was blasting their music with the bass turned up would realize that NOT everyone wants to listen to their music. But that's life in an apartment complex I guess.

Spending Log:
No Spend Days: 6?/12 (not totally sure, haven't been keeping a very accurate account the past two weeks).

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

A Lazy Thursday

March 18th, 2005 at 05:11 am

I really didn't get much of anything done today. My day had a late start to it in the first place, and then I'd just been online for maybe 10 minutes when I got an IM from my former bf, and we ended up "chatting" for nearly three hours. It was good talking with him. I asked him when he was getting married, and he told me that they hadn't set a date yet, but it probably wouldn't be for another year. He also told me that he'd made "career" agent with his new insurance company. Yeah! Smile

One thing my former bf has been trying to convince me to do (ever since we dated) is to go through a program called "Pathways". He's almost convinced me to do it, but I'll have to wait till school's out. Anyone ever hear of this, or go through it?

After we were done talking, I started doing some looking for apartments. There were a number of apartment places which welcomed cats and had w/d connections and even a few with garages, which were all within our (dad and I's) price range. They also had 3,6,9, 12 month leases. Most of them were in Ft. Worth or in Dallas though. I'd *rather* live in C*****e, but my dad doesn't want to. So we compromised and decided on possibly B*********n or perhaps J*******a. I found an apartment complex that is both in C******e AND in B********n. Same exact types of apartments, ammenities, etc. but a difference of ~$130/month extra for the ones in B*******n. Still, it is only ~$710/mo for a 2BR/926 sqft apartment with a w/d hookup, and high-speed internet. So that means we'd each pay $355/mo rent plus 1/2 utilities (and we've already agreed that cable is NOT necessary). When dad gets back from CA on the 27th/28th he's going to check out his place. Probably get a 9 month lease. Then when he moves back to CA I can just move into one of their one-bedroom apartments (which actually rent for ~$530/mo).

Mom called and of course she wanted to know what I'd been doing all day. Umm. . . generally loafing, mom. You know, enjoying my time AWAY from teaching. Apparentally she and Ryan had a long talk last night. He told her about some of the reasons why he was so mad at her. One of them being that she had very publically, at a friend's birthday party, discussed some very personal details of Ryan's life, and dad's legal case. A dad of a friend of Ryan's happened to be at that party and asked his son later about what she had said. She says that she doesn't remember discussing anything about that subject during that party. (insert snarky comment here which I won't actually write, cuz it wouldn't be very nice of me.) He also was still upset with her for what had happened on the cruise (christmas 2003) amoungst some other things. She asked me if I had any idea how she could make up for those things. I told her I didn't have any ideas. *I personally was quite upset with her for some of the same reasons. But somehow I have been able to relegate those things into the category of "That's Mom for you" and still love her and treat her the same. I'm sure I've done some really stupid things that have really peeved people. Everybody does. I just don't get how family members can get SO upset with each other that they write each other off. For example: my dad and his youngest brother; my brother and our uncle (married to dad's only sister); mom and her brother. I just don't get it. Family is family, through the good stuff and through the bad stuff and through the horrible icky sick to your stomach stuff. But, then, maybe that's just me. *

Ok. I have to go give Monkey his medicine. I think it's almost all gone (Yay!) I also got my acne medicine today, but haven't tried it yet. I still haven't gotten the results from the bloodwork on Monday. I'm going to call tomorrow and find what the hold up is about. Still haven't emailed my ex-bf. My toilets are being extremely finicky. For the last two weeks, EVERY time someone uses one of them, it clogs up and has to be plunged. Tomorrow I'm going to ask if I can borrow maintances snake - or maybe they'll come by and snake my pipes for me. (hoping THAT will be the case.)

Spending Log:
Wal-green's: $10.00 (acne prescription)
Albertsons: $5.69 (junkfood) Frown

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,


March 17th, 2005 at 09:48 pm

Both my dad and my brother left to go back to California this morning. So I now have my place all back to myself
again. Well, at least untill March 27. My dad will be coming back from CA then, and staying with me until he finds his own place. We are talking about the possibility of finding a place for the two of us to share. He'll be gone every night (long story) so I won't have to worry about being kept up by the television. But, there still wouldn't be very much privacy (you know, like if I start dating someone, but am not ready yet to tell my parents, that may be a bit difficult if I'm living with one of them.) Smile

Tuesday and Wednesday I was staying at my mom's house. My brother was also there - he had found another source to get a plane ticket to come down here, and still came even though there was no trial (thank God!). It was a strange couple of days to say the least. A lot of time was spent playing games such as Rook, and Racko, and Texas Hold'em (with my mom's change stash). Tuesday night both of my parents were trying to get us to order pizza, but I told them, why don't we have grilled PB&J and grilled cheese sandwiches, with tomato soup for dipping? They really wanted pizza, but I talked them into the sandwiches. Smile

They still ended up spending money though. My mom decided that she needed a couple of items from the store. So while we were out on a few other errands, dad and I stopped in at Albertsons. I was trying to stick to the list, but he kept adding more things to it. He said he'd pay for it all, so finally I was like, whatever, it's your money (actually it's money that Grandma and my Aunt have loaned him until he has enough income to live on -for what its worth.)

One of the other errands we did was at the ABC (a bookstore). Ryan (my brother) and dad dropped me off while they went to look for the burial site of a friend of my brother's who died a couple years ago. I had my $25 gift certificate from my ex-bf (birthdyay present) to spend. I had planned on getting the cookbook "An Apple A Day" but they didn't have any in stock. SO I looked around some and found a whole table and a endcase filled with books for $5 or less. Smile I ended up getting 6 books and paying only $7.xx Smile They are all books that I'll have no trouble reading, and then selling to Half-Price bookstore.

Yesterday we went out to Ci Ci's Pizza for lunch because Ryan said he really really missed it and that there wasn't anything comprable to it in CA. I was full the rest of the day. Smile Charles and Annette (family friends) ate with us. For the six of us it was $29.00. After we were done eating, my dad, Ryan, Charles and I were standing outside talking. Mom had gone to her car because she was too cold (it was chilly). The trio were being all male for sure and dandy. Trading stories about ladies they'd seen who didn't have much sense in dressing appropriately (i.e. short skirt + steep staircase =bad idea). Then one of them clicked on their car's horn thingy and a contest ensued. What was REALLY funny though was that a guy coming out of Ci Ci's joined in with their little contest! It was really quite funny to watch.

After that dad took mom to her doctor's appointment so he could have her car checked out. She had been told by a mechanic that her wheels were being torn to shreds and that there were a number of things that needed to be replaced and it would cost about $800. Of course she didn't have anywhere that kind of money. Dad took it to the place where he'd bought the tires for her car, and had them rotated and balanced for free. Then asked them for their opinon. They told him that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the car!

While mom and dad were doing their running around, Ryan and I were doing our own running around. First we thought about going to a movie, but there wasn't anything that appealed to both him and I. So then we went to the mall to just walk around. Wow! That mall is really dead and quiet. Not much there at all. Then we went to the Goodwill store. I found two dresses that I just loved, but unfortunately they didn't even come close to fitting me. ( Then I mentioned something to him about if he needed any shampoo etc (from my stockpile) and that somehow reminded him that he wanted to bring back all his poker buddies and housemates Texas keyrings. Thus began the great Texas Keyring search. Two hours later, and 15 stores, he finally found what he was looking for in Wal-Mart. I have to say I could have thought of more enjoyable ways to spend my afternoon.

When we all got back to the house, I let mom know that I wanted to leave by such and such a time. She wanted to know why. I *felt* like saying "Cause I want to!" but what I told her is that there were some things I wanted to get done that evening and didn't want to have another late evening. It would be really nice if when a person says that they need to leave by such and such a time, that it could just plain be accepted without needing an explanation. ARghh!! I think this is just one more reason why it won't work out for her and I to live together.

Alright, I'm going to get started on today - Thursday. I think I will try to email my ex-bf and let him know that I finally spent that gift certificate and thank him again for it.

Getting a late start to the day.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Brutal Decluttering

March 15th, 2005 at 02:08 am

Today I finally got a big start on my decluttering. I think part of it is because my dad is here and I couldn't let myself just waste a whole day being lazy like I did during President's Day weekend. So, maybe him being here is a good thing. Smile

I decluttered underneath the wet bar in my livingroom. Then I went in my bedroom and I decluttered my two nightstands. Then I began the brutal decluttering. I am a major booklover and own over 1000 books. I've moved them many many times, and have at most thinned out maybe 10 - 20 books a move. Today though I went through my books and only kept the ones that either were by an author I just love, or ones that I know I might read again someday, or that I could fairly easily recall what it was about. That left about 400 books! So, that means I'll be taking around 600 books to Half-Price Bookstore to sell. My dad got me some free boxes from Wal-mart to put the books in. I probably won't be able to take them there until Wednesday or Thursday. I wonder how much I'll get for them. Smile

Dad and I went to Wal-Mart to get some packing tape. While we were there I also got two boxes of my Sunbelt Granola bars. They are now only $1.50, $.09 less than before! Dad paid for them, along with a couple of the $.88 DVD's he wanted.

We were going to go to a movie again tonight, but dad fell asleep while watching the news. That was okay with me because I was ready for an evening in.

Oh! Earlier today while I was taking a break from decluttering and had just gotten on the net, I got a IM from my former bf. He wa asking me about my dad's case, and how I was doing. Then he told me that he's getting married! My dad walked in about that time so I didn't get to find out when, but I did tell him Congratulations. He's been with this person for something like seven months (I think). I wonder if she knows that he keeps in touch with me. Smile

I still haven't responded to my ex-bf's email. It really hasn't been on purpose, I just have been so busy and haven't had that much time on the net. Maybe I'll do it tonight . . . or maybe on Wednesday . .. or Thursday.??? Smile

This morning I had my doctor's appointment. I told her about how tired I had been lately, weight gain, etc, and about my acne acting up badly the past couple of months. She told me that it could possibly be my thyroid, and I might have to go back on Synthroid. I won't know for sure until probably Wednesday or Thursday. I also asked her for a reccomendation to a doctor in the new area I'll be moving to, and she gave me the name of someone she went to school with. She also gave me a prescription for a topical medicine to help with my acne. I dropped off the prescription at Walgreens, but forgot to pick it up.

Spending Log;
Doctor Co-Pay: $15.00

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Rook, Racko, and Danish Pancakes

March 14th, 2005 at 04:31 am

This morning my dad and I went shopping at Kroger's. We were both armed with an individual list of items that we each had coupons for. I gave my Dad a $10 bill to cover his list. Then we went shopping. We checked out in different lanes (I did the self-checkout - dad doesn't like them.) Between the two of us, we bought 2 Brawny Napkin boxes, 2 Smart Balances, 2 Smart Beats, 2 Sparkle Paper Towel Rolls, 3 lbs bananas, 2 100ct Baking Cups, 2 cans Vege Refried Beans, 1 Toaster Strudel, 2 4 ct pkgs of Angel Soft, plus some other stuff I can't remember right off. Total cost between our two orders? Less than $8.00. I love coupons! Smile

After we were done shopping we put the groceries away and were on our way to my mom's. My dad showed me a new way to get to her house. I think it is quite a bit shorter. Wink On the way there we got a call from my mom. She told us to get a C*** paper. My dad had made the front cover top fold, with a picture and everything. We stopped and picked one up. They spelled the last name right, but misspelled his middle name, as well as getting several facts completely wrong. Yup, there'll be no chance of me sellng anything in C*** now. Frown

At mom's I did my laundry while we ate pancakes and played two games of 3-handed Rook, and a couple hours worth of
Racko. I could play games for hours and hours on end. Smile Smile Mom suggested that dad live in one of the bedrooms, and I live in the other one. This was of course AFTER telling us in excuisite detail about her new bf. Umm. .. yeah, mom. Your ex-husband is REALLY going to want to live in the same house as you while you're entertaining your bf. EEK!

When we finally got out of there and got back to my place, I put my laundry away and put my dishes away (I'd run the dishwasher in the morning.) Then we went to see the movie "National Treasure" at the dollar theatre. It was WAY good! Smile

Well, I have a doctor's appt at 9am tomorrow, so I better head off to bed. After that I hope to get a lot of decluttering done.

Spending Log:
Kroger's 1: $2.10 (dad's list)
Kroger's 2: $5.59 (my list)

Movie (dad's treat)

Total: $7.69 (17 items)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

My day and a funny.

March 13th, 2005 at 05:51 am

This morning I took one of my colleagues to the airport. She is going to visit her bf/fiance. I took her to the airport at Christmas and picked her up too. She gave me $20 for gas then - but today she didn't have any cash on her. I told her not to worry about it, but she insisted that she would have something for me when she gets back.

When I got back to my place my dad got on the computer. He was reading a whole bunch of different forwards that various people had sent him. Then he started reading off of some website called "Scrappleface" or something like that. It's a news satire site. It was kind of funny . . . but I was getting tired of just sitting there waiting for him to get off.

We ended up going out to brunch at IHOP. He said that paying for meals out is paying me for letting him stay here and not at a hotel. So, I jokingly told him that I was going to send him the bill later, for $100 a night. He asked if there were any rebates. So I told him that I would give him a $100 discount for every year that HE had paid for my room and board and everything else - so that basically gave him 20 days of discounts. Smile Hee hee.

After IHOP we went to the Galleria which is one of the bigger malls in our area. This is something we've done before, we just go there to walk and window shop. I actually managed to go into two different bookstores AND a children's educational store without spending a dime! Major feat. Smile While we were there one of the stores we stopped in (Brookshire's) had this kind of a bed pillow with a massage/heat unit built in, a reading lamp, and two side pockets. It was $125. I REALLY REALLY liked it. I am someone who is ALWAYS reading in bed - it would be wonderful for me. I told my dad to put it on a shortlist for a combination present next year for my birthday/Christmas. Smile

After the mall we stopped at A&W and had rootbeer floats. Mmmm mmm! Dad refilled my cup twice with rootbeer, even though I told him the second time that I didn't want more. They have a semi-working jukebox and you get to choose as many songs as you want for free. I love jukeboxes. Smile

Then we finally got back to my place. Dad took a nap and I spent some time on the computer. Then we were on our way to see "National Treasure" at the dollar theatre. On our way there we stopped at Kroger's to pick up two boxes of Brawny Napkin's for $.04 each. Smile When we got to the theatre, the movie was sold out, so we saw "Oceans 12" instead. I really enjoyed it, but dad thought it was too disjointed and the camera was too shaky.

After the movie we stopped at Tom Thumb so I could pick up a newspaper and also see if I could pick up some more napkins (I had 10 coupons that expire Sunday). Dad needed to use the restroom, so we split up. Apparentally he couldn't just tell the sales assistant that he needed the restroom. No, he tells the sales assistant "Where's the sandbox?" The man has no clue what he's talking about. So dad explains "You know, what cats use." So, the guy goes, "Oh, come with me!" He leads him to the KITTY LITTER!!!! Eventually he did get to the actual restroom. Smile

After Tom Thumb, we went back to Kroger's and got two more boxes of Brawny Napkins. I love coupons. Smile Smile
When I got home I had a message on my answering machine from one of my best friends - Karin, who lives in Albuqurque. She was needing my address again so she could send me some more Box Tops. Woo hoo! It was too late to call her, but I hope to get back to her tomorrow. My time is not my own right now with dad here. That's a bit frustrating, especially since it is my Spring Break and I'd like to have some total downtime. Maybe after Thursday.

Tomorrow we are going to do a quick shopping trip (I can do two orders because my dad will do one order - yay!). Then we are going to my mom's house and have Danish Pancakes (crepe's). On the way back here we're going to stop at the ABC (a bookstore) and I'm going to spend my gift certificate that I got from Scott (my ex-bf) for my birthday.

Spending Log:
A&W: ~$3.00
Kroger's 1:$0.04
Kroger's 2:$0.41 (bought a Kit Kat)
Tom Thumb:$2.31 (double newspaper and Puffs w/coupon)

Keeping It Frugal In Texas,

Spring Break is here! and other not so great things

March 12th, 2005 at 04:09 am

Wow! It's been a few days since I posted. I haven't had much time on the computer in the past few days.

Can I say it loudly enough? SPRING BREAK IS HERE!!!!!!! Oh my word, do I EVER need this time away from my kids!

Today and yesterday we had field trips. Yesterday I came this (ll) close to just plain old CANCELING the field trip because they
were behaving so badly. On the field trip itself, they behaved okay, although the lady who I put "M" with told me that she
never wants to drive for my class again. Frown Today's field trip went okay as well, and they behaved, okay.
Of course I had a fun thing to deal with this afternoon. (NOT!) One of my boys apparentlally made a VERY rude and disgusting and not age appropriate comment about another boy and girl in my class yesterday during P.E. Of course, I didn't find out about it
until today during lunch recess when the little girl about whom the comment had been made, shouted it out to me that so and so had siaid x y z. I couldn't help it but my jaw hit the ground at first. I of course spoke to all parties involved. The little boy who apparentlaly made the comment denied making it. The other boy who he'd supposedly told the comment to, insisted that he HAD said it. One of them was a pastor's kid. The little girl involved was a pastor's kid. I really had no idea what to do because I had no reason to distrust what either of the two boys were saying, other than wondering How In The World did they EVER come up with something like that??????? The vice principal was on the same field trip (only in the afternoon) so I left word with our secretary to have her get in touch with me AS SOON as she got back, and NOT later than 3pm when the kids would go home. She got back about 10 minutes before school was over, and talked to the involved kids. She got the same story from them that I was able to get. She also was befuddled as to what to do. It ended up that she talked to each of the parents of the involved students, essentially telling them what had been said, and that there were two conflicting stories. I don't know what the end result of all this is going to be. I just know that this is YET another reason why I am SO glad to be getting out of teaching at the end of this year!!!!

Otherwise the past four days of school have just been . . . miserable, with only a few good points thrown in there. One of them being one of my second grade girls giving me two beautiful handmade cards out of the blue "I love you teacher. You're the best teacher. I love your teaching." Smile This from a little girl who's mother complained all last year (and this year was ready to pull her out because I was her teacher again) about my not giving enough homework. (She wanted at least TWO HOURS of homework a night. I personally don't think a child in first or second grade should have more than 10 MINUTES of "homework" a night. Majorly conflicting philosophies.)

My dad got here Wednesday night. It is so strange having another person in my place. It's also strange going out to eat every night - he wants to, even though I had my pantry, fridge and freezer completely stocked. Oh well, he insists on paying.
When he got here Wednesday night I had had to park my car in an umarked spot because someone had been in MY assigned spot. Well, my spot was empty after we got back from the Cafe Brazil (yummy omelettes!) so he parked in my space. The next morning (Thursday) I was running WAY late for work and was only focused on getting there. Apparentlally I missed the fact that his car was no longer in my parking spot!!! Eventually he came out and saw his car was gone. At first he thought it was stolen, but then eventually figured out that it had been towed. EEK! He got it out of hock and stopped by my apartment managers office to get a parking pass. I hadn't done that beforehand because I thought that you had to have the persons driver's license and the car's license plate #, but apparentlally you don't. I offered to pay him what it cost him, because I felt it was partly my fault, but he refused to even hear of it. As far as his trial goes, well he managed to make a deal, and so won't be going to trial. I am glad for that. He will still be here though till next Thursday taking care of final details (at my place, he was only supposed to be here till Sunday.)

I took my cat Monkey to the Vet on Tuesday for his dental cleaning. I had to drop him off on Tuesday afternoon because they don't open till 7:30a.m. and I have to be at work by no later than 8a.m. Poor kitty. I picked him up on Wednesday afternoon. He really is a very gentle, agreeable cat - USUALLY. But, the vet nurses? had to have me go back to the kennel area and put him back in his carrier because he wouldn't let them touch him. LOL It turns out that he did have one tooth where the gums are a bit recessed and they were afraid that he might lose that tooth. So they put some antibiotics in that area. Then they also gave me a bottle of antibiotics (liquid.) I get the pleasure of giving him 3oz each night. I've never given an animal medicine before. Let me tell you this - the first night it took me one hour and 15 minutes to get the stuff down him. Last night and tonight somehow I found the magical hold or something, and it took only about 5 or 6 minutes. I am NOT looking forward to doing this for the next two weeks. I am giving him a treat after each medicine dose in an effort to have him associate *something* positive about it. Frown
****The vet did cost a pretty penny, but not quite as much as they'd first estimated. ~$216. OUCH!***

I don't even want to think about what kind of spending I've done the past couple of days. The major one of course was Monkey's vet bill, but I also did succumb to food callings - though Pizza Hut DID NOT get a call from me. Smile

This is WAY too long tonight, but believe me, I'm leaving a lot out. I am going to try to keep up with this better the next few days, even if just for a short check in (yeah right, am I capable of such a thing?) Smile

Keeping It Frugal In Texas,

Laundry Day

March 8th, 2005 at 04:13 am

4 days till Spring Break and only 51 days to go till sweet freedom!

Today was the first day of trying out the new behavioral contract with "M'. It went . . . well . .. okay I guess. Of course the day started out very non-routinely which sure didn't help. Before letting the kids go back to the rooms this morning, we had a presenter from Thomas Nelson Publisher's talk to us about the fundraiser we started today. He wasn't that exciting of a speaker, to say the least, and quite honestly could have said his piece in half the time or less. But what made matters more interesting was that when he was FINALLY done, our principal decided that she'd go ahead and have a short worship/devotional with the whole school, since the first 20 minutes of the day was already gone. So, by the time we finally got the kids to our rooms, it was nearly 9a.m, or 30 minutes past the usual start time. All but 10 minutes of my Worship/Bible class time. I ended up having the kids practice their new memory verse and sing a couple of songs, then went to the next class period. "M" did well right up until morning recess where he got into a swinging contest of some sort with another of my boys (involving bodies only, not swings). He didn't earn any more smileys until 2:30 at P.E. So he earned 3 minutes of computer time.

One piece of GREAT news is that the parent who was thinking about taking on the aide position, has accepted! Today she was a substitute for another teacher who was out, but tomorrow, barring anymore teachers deciding that they are the exception to our principal saying *Don't* take days off unless your deathly ill, I *should* *hopefully* HAVE AN AIDE again!!!

After school I got my laundry done. I decided to try to do it all in just one load. So I did only enough laundry to last me till next Monday when I can do it at my Mom's house. This saved me $1.50. Smile

Last night (or should I say early this a.m.) I got a call from my brother at 12:45 a.m. Needless to say I was pretty out of it for the first few moments. He apparentally had gotten off the phone with mom and she had told him that I didn't think it was right of him to ask her for money to fly here for the trial. He basically wanted to ask me if he'd heard right. I told him that yes, he'd heard right. He then explained to me a bit more of the behind the scenes/extra details that mom had left out. By the end of our conversation I told him that I understood more where he was coming from, but that unfortunately, LIFE does cost money. Now to myself I'm thinking that even with all the bellyaching money woes he told to me, that still doesn't come close to accounting for the amount of $ he'd told me he had in the bank at Christmas. I did tell him that for him to fully understand where I was coming from with my statement and my annoyance at him for asking MOM for $, he'd have to understand that mom's situation IS NOT pretty - but that he'd have to ask her if he wanted to know more than that. In a way, I almost felt like he was trying to hit ME up for the money - and I did feel quite manipulated. I thought about offering to pay up to half/or $200 whichever was less, but . . . I don't know if I really want to do that. Ack! I will be so glad when this is all over and done with. Either way it goes, it will at least be over with, and we can get on with our lives.

Today was not a no spending day for me. I had a real craving for chocolate chip cookies, but didn't have choclate chips or eggs. So I stopped at Albertson's and got some of both. Although I ended up not making any. Maybe tomorrow.

Spending Log:
Albertson's: $6.18 (Amazing Eggs, CChips)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

Just another SPENDY Sunday - whoa a whoa!

March 7th, 2005 at 03:48 am

Well . .. I didn't get my laundry done today. I WAY overslept and barely made it over to the school to meet with "M"s
mom. That meeting went well. Hope our plan works out as I planned.

After "M"s mom left, I made my lesson plans and cut out the coupons from todays paper. There were quite a few
really good ones today. Smile Then I went to Tom Thumb for a Mystery Shop. Well, it wasn't quite a straight path. I'd MS'd there
before maybe 6 times, but somehow couldn't remeber exactly how to get there. Eventually I made it. I was a little bit annoyed
though because in their ad it said that "All" varieties of Purina Cat Chow were on sale - but I guess that didn't include the
Purinia ONE varieties. Oh well, I still was able to get a couple bags with my coupons. Smile

After I was done with the MS, I then went on to the TT that is near my home and finished my shopping for TT. I got two cans of refried beans there, although it took me a while to find them because they're not in the normal bean aisle. Then I went on to CVS where I picked up two boxes of Puffs and some *peeps* Smile. Last but not least, I headed to Kroger's. Now at Kroger's I had gotten everything on my list, and had realized that I didn't have enough cash, and so was going to need to write a check. So, I decided to go look at the Amy's Brown Rice and Veggies (my personal favorite!) and see if it was on any kind of sale. JACKPOT!! It was on sale for $2!!!! Now, you may be wondering why I was so excited. Well, normally it is $4.29 at Krogers, but I can get it
at Albertson's for $3.89. Obviously I don't buy it that often because of how expensive it is. But today, oh boy, today! I took
4 of them and was SO tempted to go back and get more - but knew my freezer was plumb full and couldn't fit anymore. Frown
------Guess what I had for supper tonight????? Smile

When I got home I got a phone call from my mom. She was all upset. Apparently my 24 year old brother who's been out of college for a year and is working FULL TIME expected her to pay for his flight here for dad's trial. Mom is on disability right now and has had to borrow money just to pay her utilities this month. She went to THREE other people and asked if they would loan
her the money for him - thankfully they all refused (and basically said she shouldn't even have been ASKED to pay for his ticket). She asked me my opinon, and I told her the same thing. That he's a grown man, has a full time job, and if he has
money to be a ski bum during the week (he works weekends at a resturant) then he full and well should have enough
money to come support his dad!! I love my brother very very much. But sometimes I think that my parents let him have
life just a little too easy. It would be a totally different story if he was still in college AND working full time. In fact two years
ago *I* paid for my fare and for HIS fare on a cruise where a friend was getting married (I was her bridesmaid, he sang).

I'm beginning to have serious doubts about my plans for this summer. From some of the things my mom was saying, it sounds like she might not have a job to come back to if she doesn't go back by the 21st. There is NO WAY she can afford the house payment alone on unemployment, so I have the feeling she's going to lose the house. So . . . I'm really not quite sure where that leaves me. I'm not sure what I could find to rent *cheaply* that will allow a cat - and theres NO WAY I'll ever give
up my cat. I guess I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

OH MY WORD! Tonight when I sat down at my computer and checked my email, I was in for a MAJOR shock! My ex-bf, the one whom I hadn't heard from since December, had emailed me!!!! You could have knocked me over with a feather.
What do ya'll think, should I wait three months before responding back? Or be the bigger person and answer one of his questions
that is somewhat time sensitive? Or, perhaps just not ever answer another of his emails again - you know, not being jerked around by him? One kind of funny thing - he said that he's seriously looking at buying a house. I assume that means he's
decided not to go back to college. I also wonder if he's found that someone that he has a "close" emotional connection to. (roll eyes - long story).

Well, after getting over that shock, I entered my MS information. Then I went back to my Real Estate course and completed all but hthe last two review lessons. Woo Hoo!! I do think that I'm going to need some serious review BEFORE I take the final test. I was missing quite a few questions on the general review because I didn't quite remember what some of the terms meant. But, at least I am closer to completion and to my goal. Smile

Ok, I still have to type and print the permission slip, and print out the Monday Memo and Spelling List, so I better
wrap this up.

Spending Log: (what? am I made of money?)
TT #1: $5.61 (cat food, bananas)
TT #2: $19.24 (saved $19.49)
(cat food, milk, refried beans, tide det, cat treats, frozen pizza, Texas Toast, Frozen French Toast, etc, etc)
CVS: $2.14 (2 boxes of Puffs, 16ct Peeps)
Kroger's $33.75 (saved $16.92) (Pizza, OJ, beans, bananas, AMY'S, Morningstar, Fudge Bars, etc)

I way overspent my two-week grocery budget, but both my fridge and freezer and pantry are stuffed, and I have enough cat
food to last me till probably May. (I won't even tell you how many things of cat treats I have - today's was a freebie.)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

20 lessons in one day -- almost finished!!

March 6th, 2005 at 03:54 am

Today I started out being lazy as all get out. Then I decided to work on some of my Real Estate lessons. Whoo Boy!!! Once I got
started, I just couldn't stop!! I actually think that I did more than 20 lessons today, maybe closer to 30!!! I now have only
4 actual lesssons left, then 9 review sections. Then I have to take the big test! I think I'm going to actually make
my goal of finishing this course before Spring Break!! YES!!!

This morning (uh, 11am or so) I made a "breakfast" burrito with bbq'd veggie meat and cheese. Mmmm mmm good! Then later this afternoon (around 6) I microwaved one of my microwavable Dijornio pizzas that I got at Albertson with a triple coupon deal last Sunday I think. Again, mmm mmm good!

No money spent again today!!! Tomorrow will be a different story, but its Sunday, and that is my shopping day.

Tomorrow I need to meet with "M"s mom at 11:30, do laundry, and do lesson plans. I also might be able to squeeze in
the last bit of my Real Estate course, especially since Desperate Housewives won't be new. Although I do also need to
catch up a bit on grading (ugh!) I'd kind of like to also go to the $1 theatre and see "Spanglish" but that can wait until next
Sunday - when I'm on . . . . SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

Spending Log:
Today: $0.00

No Spend Days: 3/12 (actual/goal) Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

The week is over -yahoo!

March 5th, 2005 at 03:09 am

The end of this week couldn't come any sooner for me. Both of the children who got into the Skittles yesterday had their different forms of restitution this morning. The little girl got a bit larger bag than a King size bag of skittles - I don't think it was one of those snack size bags (that you get for $1.29 or sometimes at movie theatres for $3) but it was about that same size. "M" was almost unmanageable today. He could NOT keep his hands off of others. There were even a couple of times where he stuck his rear end up in the air and just stood? there patting it - in front of other students. Then at lunch when I told him to eat his food and not his dessert, he proceded to LICK his taquitos (or whatever it was). I finally called his mom this afternoon and asked her if she could meet with me on Sunday so we could discuss ways on how to help "M" manage his behavior better. I'm thinking of doing a behavioral contract and focusing mainly on the desired behaviors of: 1. Keeping Hands, Feet, and other objects to myself. and 2. Walking in an upright position at all times (i.e. not rolling down the hallway!). If we can get him to be successful with just those TWO behaviors, the amount of times I'm having to discipline him will be GREATLY reduced. I'm thinking of a reward of either getting to play some game with me after school (he LOVES to play games with me - especially where he has physical contact with me - like this afternoon we were playing Candy Land, and he was practically sitting on my lap.) Or, possibly giving him time on the computer after school (or perhaps before school, he's always there WAY early) - another thing which he just LOVES.

We got a revised version of the field trip form today for the ice skating. It's now going to only be $4 per person. I already had one student give me their form and money. I was going to send out MY field trip form today . . . but . . . last night my precious little kitty decided to get on top of my computer desk and KNOCK DOWN my printer - right on top of my arms/hands as I was typing! I still need to figure out exactly what parts got jiggled so I can get it to print again. ARghhh!!! and ---OUCH!!!

I came home straight after work today. Before I allowed myself to do anything else, I did a majorly needed trash run, and filled the dishwasher and started a load. Both were badly needed. I have a tendancy, especially when I know there's VERY LITTLE likelihood of visitors, to kind of let my place slide. My dad will be coming Wednesday (I found out last night after talking to grandma) and so I do want my place to be presentable before he comes.

Only 5 more school days till Spring Break! It looks like I'm going to continue to NOT have any kind of aide, so I am thinking that I'm going to add more busywork to Reading and Math - otherwise I'm never going to be able to get everything done with them that needs to be done. I can't tell you how much that irks me, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do (before you go crazy and do something like cut your hair short, or something like that.) Smile

Tonight when I cleaned out the change from my purse and put it in my apple jar, I thought it felt a bit heavy. So I decided to go ahead and empty it out and count it. Last time when it was completely full, it had $19. This time it was a bit more than half-full and had nearly $13 - I think there were a lot of dimes this time. If I didn't have to keep my quarters for the laundry, that would have been another $10 in change (really more, since my quarters are always being spent on laundry, while the other change is only turned in when the apple is full.) My last laundromat run will be two weeks before the end of May, because after that I can use my mom's w/d. Smile Smile

So, I just need two more dollars worth of quarters, then I'll be set for laundry money (I do one white load and one color load every two weeks - which costs me $3). Every quarter after that will go into the apple jar!! Smile Smile BTW - yes, I did read the Money Jar myth article. One of my banks lets me bring in my loose change and deposit it, free of charge, so I'm not really worried about losing money on the deal (especially with interest rates so abysmal.)

Yesterday I got a $20 gift certificate in the mail from the Vet clinic I took Monkey to last month. He's scheduled for dental work on Wednesday, so I'll certainly be using that gift certificate!! I'm going to have to bring him in on Tuesday afternoon because by the time they open in the morning, it's just about time for me to be at work already. He's going to really hate that, but its better than him losing his teeth or getting gingivitus.

Okay, I think I may have typed a book tonight. Speaking of books, there's one I'm in the middle of right now. "The Prodigal" by Beverly Lewis. I love books about the Amish and their lifestyle/way of thinking. I remember when I would visit my Aunt in Ohio that we would sometimes go visit some of the "Amish" towns and their businesses. So, I think I'm going to go off and read that now. Smile Smile

Spending Log:
Today: $0.00

No Spend Days: 2/12 (actual/goal)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

I saw RED! Burritos and Field Trips

March 4th, 2005 at 02:43 am

Only six more school days till Spring Break! I think my kids have been injected with a hyper drug or something. I mean, this WHOLE week most of them have been just plain HYPER!!! Of course during centers today they were hyper as well, and since I had to constantly stop what I was doing (reading one on one with my new boy) I never did get to having them change centers. And of course, my two students who were working in the Card center (which was coincidentally RIGHT next to where I was) took the opportunity when I was either distracted by the kids being off task, or engrossed with listening to my student read, to philfer a bag of skittles from one of the student's cubbies. Oy Vey! I saw red! I spoke to both of their parents today after school. The little girl is going to replace the bag with another bag of Skittles. The little boy (my infamous "M") is going to replace the bag with $1. Both children will be doing this out of money they've earned. The thing of it is, is that this particular child had had his lunch treats dissapear before, but we didn't know for sure who had done it (well, I had my suspicions, but . . . ) and so I was glad that this time I knew who the culprits were. I really, really wish that they DID NOT EVER serve regular sized dessert for hot lunch. I REALLY like it when they just give them two cookies - that's MORE than enough!

Oh yeah. I had a mom of one of my first grade girls come talk to me. She was telling me that her daughter has been coming home acting very sad, etc, and saying that various children were treating her mean/not being her friend. I told her that there was friction between her and one other little girl especially, but that for the most part the other girls always included her. I also told her about how she gives me attitude sometimes (as well as what I call "ugly face") and that she had talked back to one of the ladies who'd taken my kids out to recess (which resulted in her losing her tire swing priviledge for two days). What I DIDn'T say, though maybe I should have, is that her daughter can be just as mean and vicous to the other girls as any of them are to her. Her daughter is just more manipulative (she can turn on the tears at the drop of a hat.) She's an only child, and a pastor's daughter. She does NOT like to be told what to do, or corrected in any fashion.

After work I was feeling reallly stressed out and just wanted some comfort foods. So even though I know my food budgets gonna be stretched till it squeaks this month, I gave in to my junkfood cravings. Frown

At Sam's the other day, one of the things I bought was a 30ct bag of big tortillia's (maybe 12" or bigger). Tonight I made an egg and cheese w/veggie bacon crumbles burrito (actually 2). Mmmm! They were delicous! I wasn't sure of the best way to fold it (you know, so all the stuff doesn't fall on your lap!). So, I googled it and found this great website where it shows you in great detailed pictures exactly how to fold it. Worked great. Smile

Now, this may sound like a pretty stupid question. . . . But, what kind of beans do you use in a bean burrito? I love bean burritos, but I'm just not sure of what kind of beans to use. Thus, my visits to Taco Bell. Frown Now that I have all these great big tortillias, I want to put them to use.

Oh one more thing. Sorry to go back to school stuff. I always try to plan free or inexpensive field trips for my students. Parent's are already paying an arm and a leg to send them here. But, the one place that has a great exhibit for Electricity (which is the unit we're just ending) charges $7 admission. This is the most expensive field trip I'll take them on (the other one is the zoo, which is $5). Well today it was announced that we'll be taking the school on our annual ice skating field trip this coming Friday and that it will be $7 per person. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal, but, you see, MY field trip is on Thursday. So, my parent's are going to have to part with $14 between the two field trips. I hate asking parents for money, but I can't afford to pay for all the kid's admissions (well, I /could/ but I really don't want to spend any money on teaching that I don't have to).

Spending Log:
Albertsons: $6.31 (junk food)

No Spend Days: 1/12 (actual/goal)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,


March 3rd, 2005 at 02:21 am

Quite honestly, this school year won't be over soon enough for me. I really don't know how many more days I can take like this. 4 of my 5 boys are having a real attitude problem, and then the fifth one has ummm some hygiene issues. Trying to have math class with my first graders (esp. when I include the boys and girls together) is a very frustrating experience. It goes so much better when I have them seperated out into boys and girls - but that only works if I have someone (another adult) to keep the others busy. At least its only 7 more school days till Spring Break.

One possible bright note is that we may have found someone to take my aides place. Now this possible happy fact is tempered by the fact that it is one of my student's parents. I have had a parent as an aide once before, and it caused some trouble. Of course there are only 53 days left, and I don't really care too much about what people think of me - since I'm not coming back next year. Smile

I graded papers for about an hour or so after school. I had papers from last week and then of course from this week. I got through maybe half a stack.

When I got home and checked my mail I found that I'd received another Blockbuster DVD. That was weird because I still have the two I'd recently received - I'm only supposed to have two at a time. Guess they goofed up a bit. Smile Watched "Lost" tonight. It was Hurley's (Hugo's) episode. All I can say is . ... WOW! Smile

Well not much else to add.

Spending Log:
Today: $0.00
No Spend Days: 1/12 (actual/goal)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,

ODE to Andy

March 2nd, 2005 at 02:08 am

NYPD Blue is ending a 12 season run tonight. I started watching it when it first started 12 years ago. I don't think I have missed more than one or two episodes. I love love love this show.

My favorite character on this show by far is Andy Sipowitz(sp?). I think maybe one of the reasons why I like him so much is that he reminds me of my dad in some ways. Andy can be abrupt, obtuse, and really rub other people the wrong way. But he also has a soft side that comes through, is very loyal, can be depended on when people need him. He'll fight for the people he cares for to the last stitch of life. He's gone through some major heartaches (two dead wives and a dead son) and has overcome a major vice (acohal).

I have read some reviews of the show say that it had became very formulaic and predictable. Maybe they're right. But I looked forward to it every Tuesday night, just to get my one-hour dose of Andy.

Tonight goes one of the shows on my list I made three years ago - a list of shows I'll watch till the end. It was fun while it lasted Andy.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,


March 2nd, 2005 at 01:57 am

54 days to go. 54 days to go . . . take one more day, and 53 days to go!

Not a bad day today. Two of my girls decided to play in the bathroom again. They'd been warned before. They agreed that it would be fair to not be allowed to go to the bathroom together again till after Spring Break.

I was going to do my laundry today. But I decided instead to go to Sam's club and get some stuff I needed (cat litter, granola bars, etc.) I also stopped by CVS to get some cat food. Unfortunately I not only forgot my $1 cpn for Purina One, and somehow I also had lost my giftcard, which I didn't realize till I was checking out. Ugh.

Spending Log:
Sam's: $31.09 (groceries)
CVS: $11.07 (groceries - cat food, etc)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,