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Archive for August, 2012

Cancelling Memberships

August 17th, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Today I requested that our membership to the food co-op (health food store) be cancelled. Part of the co-op deal is that members invest $20 per year, but it's all refundable when you cancel.

We've been members for years and years. I'm expecting around a $200 refund, but it may be more. I will miss this grocery store, for sure. But there are both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods near the new town, so I think we'll have options.

Truck Rental Deals

August 17th, 2012 at 10:37 am

The Husband rented a moving truck for the weekend. He did some calling around and then some investigating online. Interesting... the best deals (BY FAR THE BEST!!) were online. He even checked online and by phone at the same exact places.

It was definitely worth a few minutes time. The deal he went with (found online) was $72 for a 20-foot truck and $28 extra for furniture pads and an appliance mover. Free mileage up to 300 miles and it's for the whole weekend. Pick up the truck in one location and drop off two hours away. So, $100 total, plus gas. When he called the same place, they quoted him $165 for the truck, plus 39-cents a mile! And we would have to return the truck to the place it was picked up. It would have been about 200 miles round trip, so it would have added another $78, and that didn't include the furniture pads. Outrageous! That would have cost a fortune!

Yes, we could have done something different for the furniture pads, but decided that it was worth it. I am assuming that nothing will be damaged in this move now!

He picked up the truck this morning, then went to work. We will load it up tonight and then drive tomorrow morning. Unloading is usually pretty quick, so we're hoping to drop the truck off tomorrow afternoon.

Busy Moving

August 16th, 2012 at 06:08 pm

It's unbelievably busy at our house right now. Our house went on the market and sold and we're moving and Swimbaby is going back to college and a million tomatoes are ripe all at once and we need to change our address on everything and school is starting and we have orthodontist and dentist and hair appointments and we're packing and moving and making piles of things for Craigslist and ...and ...and ...and ...

As far as money goes, I got an Ebates check for $21.xx today and somehow I found 11 minutes to take a Pinecone survey last night so that $3 will be on it's way. But it's not all "money IN!" at this point. College tuition will be due soon, and I spent a ton on yearbook, PE clothes, etc. at the registration day at the Swimbabies' schools. Frankly, I would rather pay for it all at once and be done! At least it's all crossed off my list. And the only really "optional" thing we purchased were yearbooks. I wonder how long before there aren't any yearbooks at all? My older kids weren't too thrilled with theirs the last few years because they said all the pictures were on Facebook, anyway!

We found a nice little burrito place in the new town, and although it's cheaper to make burritos at home, it will be a good place for a treat now and then. (We went the other night because we had few options at that point of the moving process!) The Husband and I split a $5.99 burrito and it was plenty of food!

Next, I'll be looking for a good dry cleaners and mapping out running routes. A new adventure! Smile

School Shopping

August 10th, 2012 at 11:47 am

I hate shopping. Actually, I don't mind a trip to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. But I hate the mall kind of shopping.

But yesterday, a Swimbaby wanted to go. I reluctantly agreed, but only because she was spending her own money. I had other Swimbabies with me, and I had warned them ahead of time that I wasn't going to do a big shopping trip. Yes, everyone at our house is in great need as far as clothes go, but no I wasn't going to shop. I figured I would hit some cheap places after school started and get some great deals.

Well, I lied.

I was amazed to find some great deals at some really high-end stores. I'm talking Target prices at Abercrombie and American Eagle and Hollister. My kids like the clothes from those places, but not enough to go after them when it's time to shop. I don't usually flat-out say no, but I say something like, "Do you love those shorts $39 worth? That's like 6 movies with a friend or two or three pairs at Old Navy... or even more at consignment!" And they almost always say no. We have shopped for online clearance at the expensive stores and have gotten decent deals, but forget full price!

So back to yesterday... we found shorts and skirts for $15 (which is Target prices!) and cute t-shirts for $9 (marked down from $30---isn't THAT ridiculous!) I bought a few cute, trendy things for each Swimbaby, and we'll fill in the rest later as needed. I ordered shoes online and we will find a pair of clearance sandals for each kid. They are set to start school in the crazy warm weather we have.


August 8th, 2012 at 03:40 pm

So we are beginning the process of moving. Ugh. Can I have some sympathy cheers?! Smile

We're moving to be closer to our jobs, so that we can spend more time with our children and each other. Unfortunately, it means that they will have to go to new schools and make new friends and we will have to start over as far as arranging their activities and sports.

All the Swimbabies seem to have good attitudes. I know it won't be easy and we will hit a few bumps, but we are together, and as a friend said the other day, "We're not in Syria." That's not meant to be offensive in any way, just to illustrate that so many others have bigger problems. We need to keep our stress in perspective!

As I've been researching things, it looks like our gas/electric bill could go down $100 a month or more. This is due to climate and size of the dwelling. We're eliminating a home phone, so we will pay just for cell phones and internet. That will save another $50 a month. And the garbage and water bills should be less in the new area. And of course there will be tremendous savings in commuting costs!

Seems pretty rosy, huh? Well... housing. Sigh. Housing. We are renting a place now and hope to buy in a year. And we're saving in the meantime, because *whew!!* a house will cost more in the new area.

But the property taxes in the area will be less (and non-existent during the year we rent), and one Swimbaby's activity will be less, and our insurance will be less,. So that's good, right? But wait! Another Swimbaby's activities will be significantly more expensive ($100 a month), and the story goes on and on... it's amazing the differences in prices for all kinds of things. Some more, some less, and I'm too tired to be keeping track of it all anymore. I've gathered rates for everything I can, and it's all within what I would consider a reasonable range. I'm eager to get the whole process of moving finished, just to see for sure how it all shakes out in the budget.

But that will likely be several months.

Sigh again.

Yard Sale Deal

August 7th, 2012 at 08:03 am

Funny thing at my friend's yard sale...

We had gone the night before so we'd be ready to get up early and get it all going. The kids made signs, and we got change and moved tables from her backyard. We (adults) stayed up too late playing games, but it was fun!

When we got up in the morning, it was cold! There was lots of fog, no sun and the air was damp. I had taken a sweatshirt, but not pants--just shorts. Shivering, I put on my shorts and sweatshirt and got to work pulling things out of the garage. I was covered with goosebumps. Freezing. So cold.

Somehow, we came up with the idea to grab something out of the clothes section of the yard sale! Swimbaby grabbed a bathrobe and a pair of pajama bottoms, which she wore for a while and put back on the table.

I found a very nice (probably worn only a few times) pair of Old Navy capris (denim) that belonged to one of my friend's daughters! They fit perfectly, warmed me up a bit that day, and I brought them home and will wear them a lot! I paid her a dollar for them! What a deal!

Another Garage Sale and Digital Files

August 5th, 2012 at 09:58 pm

So this weekend my friend had her yard sale. Our family loves to hang out her family anyway, so we took most of our extras to her house. This was definitely a "get rid of it" kind of sale. She made about $200 and I made exactly $100.50! Which was not bad at all. And more importantly, that stuff is gone. When it was all over, I pulled out all the trendy/high quality/brand name clothing from the pile, and I will take it to a consignment store tomorrow. And then we hauled everything else to the thrift store and made a large donation. Done!

I found lots of VHS tapes and some home movies when I was cleaning out a week or two ago. And I just found out that Costco will do the transfer to a DVD. Their prices seem to be much better than places I found locally or online, so I think I will try it out with a few tapes this week. We've also been converting old photographs to digital files, and I'm so pleased. Those digital files take up a ton less space. Smile And yes, we've backed everything up on the hard drive and on flash drives. We can do the photos ourselves, but not the VHS since we no longer own a VCR. It's okay, because I don't think I would have time to do it right now, anyway.

Gas prices seem to have gone up again.

We had another busy and exhausting weekend, which will make for an interesting week. All good, just busy.

Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe

August 1st, 2012 at 04:43 pm

When I freeze the tomatoes, I just cut out the core and throw them in a freezer bag, skin and all. (I HATE tomato skin. My grandmother spoiled me by always peeling my tomatoes. But in this recipe, peel is fine!)

Here's the original recipe. It's VERY forgiving. I substitute all kinds of vegetables and the proportions aren't even that important. I like to add carrots and zucchini. I've added green beans, too, and they work great. I have made it with and without herbs, and it works fine either way. You can always add dried herbs later. Use what you have and adjust the recipe as needed.

Roasted Tomato Sauce
15 cloves garlic
8 lb. tomatoes
10 onions, cut in quarters
1 c. chopped herbs
1/2 c. olive oil
3 T. sugar
salt and pepper

Combine everything in a roasting pan. Roast at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Stir, and roast another 25 minutes. Stir, and roast 45 minutes. Puree.

Tomatoes and Life...

August 1st, 2012 at 08:38 am

This is what's left from the tomatoes we've picked the last two days. I think there were a total of 37 tomatoes on Monday and Tuesday. Of course, we'd been gone over the weekend, but it's still a ton of tomatoes. All but a few of them are as big or bigger than my fist. Yum!

Yesterday we used many to make sandwiches and salads, and I gave a few to a friend. She just moved and left all her tomato plants behind.

Tonight we will make salsa, and then whatever is left goes into a bag in the freezer because there will be more ripe today. I have a bag that is filling up with tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. When it's full, I toss the contents in a roasting pan with some onions, garlic, carrots, zucchini... whatever I've got! I roast all the vegetables in the oven, puree, and voila! A delicious roasted tomato sauce for pasta or pizza or whatever. Then I freeze the roasted sauce in 2-cup portions. I like it because I don't have to waste anything. If we don't have time to eat everything from the garden, it's okay. This year, we somehow ended up with 3 cherry tomato plants. I am the only one who will eat them, and I can't eat as many as we get each day. So into the bag they go!

It's always amazing to me that a long weekend away actually takes so much more time than the weekend. We got home after midnight on Sunday (Way too late! Long drive!), and I spent Monday trying to unpack suitcases, start laundry, nap to recover a bit on the sleep, remove every bit from the car, restock the fridge. I had cleaned the house from top to bottom before we left, so at least I didn't have that chore. Of course, it was totally worth it, just took a little recovery time.

My friend is having her garage sale this weekend, so we're taking all our leftovers to her house. I don't expect to make much in the way of profit, but it will be stuff we don't have to move! Whatever doesn't sell gets picked up on Monday! In the past, we have had the kids sell cookies and lemonade and they've done really well. If there's time, we might do it again.