Monday, July 30, 2007
How much mail do you get? Tonight I signed up for two credit cards, my cable and power bill to be paperless. I also canceled a catalog that I never buy anything from. This is something I am going to work on every week from now on. The amount of junk I get is amazing!
What can you do to reduce your junk mail?
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I also got my $75 gift card from work. They had us fill out a survey through their health system that asked us basic info like weight, height, blood pressure, medications and lifestyle. I basically told them I was a tall, chucky, lazy woman with a good ticker. For this they gave me $75!
Actually what I think they were fishing for was information on whether I smoked or not (nope - I did for a few days when I was 17..then I caught my mall bangs on fire and well....) to reduce their cost of a policy. From what I remember about my health care plan, I pay $60ish a month and the company pays $200 just for me. When the kiddo comes its another $60. Not horrible, not great, but doable.
Actually, all costs of the kiddo at home are surprising me. I don't know what I thought I'd have to grow my own food. Daycare is not bad (see below!), she already had her toys & clothes for a LOOOONG time (yay yard sales), I bought 52 baby foods for $4, diapers are 12 cents each with coupons (although I am going to try cloth part time, its an environment thing) and I already have my 12 for a $1 washcloths to be her diaper wipes (I have 60!). So this is what I expect - for the 4 people that read this thing, is this a realistic budget for basic stuff?
Diapers & Wipes (avg 8 per day with cloth extras) - $35.00
Extra food (I figure she'll help me eat everything I waste too) - $30.00
Extra power (laundry & baths) - $20 (that is a 35% increase BTW)
Daycare - $318
Doc co-pays - $45 (three a month in the beginning?)
Insurance extra - $60
Just $508? The grandparents will keep me hooked up with baby clothes and toys. The best things to do locally are free (parks and playgrounds). I just imagined it all being closer to $1000 a month based on some posts I read, it has to be the daycare differences.
Anyway I have to go now, I am going to my mom's to make baby blankets. I have two great soft toys that are adding a blanket to and 6 we are sewing just from cloth. I'll post pics later - bye!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
So anyway, I like to think about the fun stuff we'll do together. Our first vacation is scheduled for Jan 7th, its a 5 day with 11 co-workers ($348 PP including tax/fees for an outside cabin if anyone wants to go - group bonus of $50 too - email me, we have 2 cabins left). There are all kinds of fun trips I want to do but a lot of those need to hold off until she's older. Like a long cruise along the coast of Greece..will prob wait until she's 10 for that..old enough to appreciate it, not too old to think I'm a dork for being excited about going. I want to add in the UK in there somewhere too, maybe when she's 12 or so.
But this is what I can't wait to do when she's 7/8. Next year we'll be going to Disney so I can get my fix then we are going to hold off until she can remember it all. We'll do a week in the parks then a week on a Disney Cruise!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
There is a Methodist church down the road from me in VA that my travel mate is going to use. I started thinking how nice would it be for them to be able to play all day long. Not that I am going to make our kids be best friends, but you'd think since the mom get along so well so would the kids and it would be nice to have another little kid there that is Chinese too (we live in a very non diverse part of the world) so maybe she won't feel so weird.
So I had only priced the area near my job and on the advice of the single's group, you want daycare to be near the house. That way if she's sick - short car ride home. And if you are sick - well then you can take her there and go home and crash. Our daycares in the near job area are mostly in churches (I take that back, I don't know a single one that isn't a church) and they were $110. I don't know why $440 a month seems like a lot, its really not. Sort of like the car payment I don't have, it's doable.
But listen to this, the church near my house is in a more country area. Still state certified and all that but just $90 a week while she's one then it drops to $80 when she turns 2. In a year or so - $30 a week less for 50 weeks is $1500...not too shabby!
With my work subsidy, the two weeks I don't pay for while we are on the cruise and it all divided evenly by 12, it's just $318 a month while she's one and $283 when she turns two. So that was my nice surprise, daycare isn't going to break the budget :)
Monday, July 23, 2007
Way back when, I came really close to buying a little parrot at PetSmart. But since I didn't have the $600 I went home.
This Saturday, someone is giving me their parrot for free! Cage and all! They say their dog is terrorizing it and want to rehome it (they have a ton of dogs). Not to say Wookie won't stare it down all day long, but at least Wookie can't bark at him.
Little parrots live to be 30+ years old and this one is 12. It sings and dances to music. It also barks back at the dogs. I can't wait!
This is what they look like, I am not sure on the color of mine, I've been told he's blue, green and red, but I don't know where the colors are on his body.
Isn't it adorable? It takes weekly showers and likes to look at itself in the mirror. He also has a bell that he hides in when the dogs scare him. I was going to ask Santa (aka Dad) for a parakeet for Christmas - a parrot is 400 times better! :)
Friday, July 20, 2007
I've spent the week making lists and deciding what will be done when. I have a lot of small loose ends with the house that will be finished up very soon. I am gathering all my clutter to sell in yard sales (and have scheduled three in a row in three different locations) and hope to really trim down on the volume of stuff that I own. Wish me luck!
So listen to my 2 deals of the week. First deal, I head to LB to return a top and jeans that didn't fit at all (why I didn't try it on, who knows). They were a lot, like $85 but I had real woman bucks which made it $42.50, which I don't think is bad for a work outfit. So I go, pick out new things, which were all on clearance and I didn't know how they'd quite work out the discount piece. She said I'd get full credit ($92) but I couldn't use the new coupons on my new order (or I could of gotten what I paid and used a coupon for my new stuff - quick calculation in my head said her idea was a better deal). So I pick out a warm up jacket, a dressy top, a super long tshirt and a pair of capris thinking I would be close to an even swap. Two of my items were more than 50% off of what they were marked on the tags then everything was 40% off because it was clearance. So listen to this, after buying 4 pieces of clothing she put a $45 credit on my credit card because it was easier for me than store credit (and she did it without asking, she was way faster than me). I wasn't quite sure what she had done until I studied my receipt. Are you keeping up with me? For a $46 purchase, I got 3 tops, I pair of pants and a $45 credit back to my card?? I am still scratching my head at that?
So then my best friend pulls out a $15 off of $15 coupon that she forgot to give me before all this started. The sales girl said go grab a couple more tshirts and I was good with that. End cost to me $7.
Ok so then my BFF checked out, used her coupons and everything was good. Then o the way out she saw the pants she had been looking for and went to ring those up. They were a little over $55 total. For those of you not familiar with LB coupons, you get $25 off of $75 all time. Now my BFF not being a coupon fan doesn't care that she can get a $20 something for free. So I go grab a shirt that I liked but didn't buy and toss it on the pile. In the end she paid $5 less and I got a free shirt. Got to love that!
Soooo for the grand total of $8 ($7 transaction and $1 diff in credit) I got 3 tshirts, 2 dress tops, 1 warm up jacket and a pair of capris. hehe
And here is my other bargain. If you read through all of the above, well then you deserve this little tidbit. Go to this Target link and print out a ton:
Stage 2 meals are 52 cents. Yup do the math, you pay 2 cents a jar for baby food. If you decide to go with the plastic tubs, some of the 2 packs are on sale for 79 cents (a whoping 14.5 cents each) or you can get the chunky stage three like me for 29 cents after coupons for the larger jars. I did get a few 2 cent jars of mac and cheese (all that was left) and I hope they restock the chicken and beef. So run as fast as you can and wipe out your target! :)
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Goodlife? I say Goodnap :)
My baby Jack Jack is growing so fast!
Who says you have to buy a bunch of cat toys?
Mama, this bag smells like CHICKEN!
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
There are a lot of free things to do in Vegas if you are looking for a bargain trip. I've gone to all kinds of sites then cut and pasted the info into my word document based on the hotel. Yup, I'm that kind of person :)
- Bellagio. Every afternoon and evening, the hotel’s man made turquoise lake becomes the staging ground for a 1,000-foot-long fountain display. Watch jets of water burst 240 feet in the air, sweeping and dancing up the lake. Monday to Friday 3:00 p.m. to midnight. Saturday to Sunday 12:00 p.m. to midnight. Every 30 minutes until 7:00 p.m., Every 15 minutes from 7 p.m. to midnight
- Caesars Palace. Stroll to the Forum Shops, and watch a seven-minute show of special effects as Roman statues come to life. You can also have your picture taken with an of the hottie roman guards :)
- Caesars Palace. There is also a 50,000-gallon salt water aquarium located here that features tropical puffers, flounder and sharks. Daily feeding take place at 3:15 and 7:15 p.m. daily.
- Circus Circus. Featuring free performances by dazzling aerialists, high-wire walkers, trapeze artists, and clowns every half-hour, as well as an indoor, five-acre theme park.
- Flamingo Las Vegas. This resort's Wildlife Habitat is host to a collection of more than 300 birds, including a flock of pink Chilean flamingos. African penguins, swans, ducks, and turtles also cavort amid lush tropical foliage imported from all over the world. For an added bonus you can see the penguins as they are fed daily at 8:25 a.m. and 2:55 p.m. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Luxor. Not free but there is an Imax here. I think they are cool :)
- MGM Grand. The lion habitat :) This glassed-in enclosure, which opened in July 1999, showcases up to five lions daily, including the descendants of MGM Studios’ famous signature marquee lion. There’s even a transparent tunnel through the habitat. Walk through it if you wish to be surrounded by lions. Daily 11 a.m to 10 p.m.
- MGM Grand. CBS Television City. Watch and rate new television shows. To do research for their new shows, CBS and Viacom have set up a research center to gauge audience reactions. Shows from CBS, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, UPN, Showtime, TNN and CMT are screened in small theaters. Daily 10 a.m to 10 p.m.
- Mirage. White tiger exhibit. Famed illusionists Siegfried & Roy once presented a world-famous magic show complete with lions and rare white tigers at the Mirage hotel. When Roy Horn was bitten and dragged offstage by a white tiger in the fall of 2003, the show was canceled. Fortunately, Horn is recovering, and you can still see the big cats that are the show’s legacy.
- Mirage. Every 15 minutes from 7 p.m. to midnight, the Mirage’s faux volcano erupts only a few steps from Las Vegas Boulevard, sending fire 100 feet into the sky and transforming a waterfall into streams of molten lava. It’s a rough life for the mallard ducks who hang out at thi s attraction, for they must take wing every 15 minutes or risk being flambéed (it's wrong but this is funny). But it’s great fun for Homo sapiens.
- Mirage. Indoor rainforest just inside the front entrance. A 100 foot high dome houses a waterfall, lagoons and a large variety of plant life. Over 300 orchids and 1000 bromeliads are tended to by four full time gardeners. Bird of Paradise trees and 60 foot tall palm trees are also included in the rainforest. 24 hours a day 7 days a week
- Mirage. 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium in its hotel lobby. The aquarium has over 1,000 coral reef animals including angelfish, puffer fish, tangs, sharks and other exotic sea creatures. The tank is 53 feet long, eight feet from top to bottom, and six feet from front to back. 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
- Treasure Island. The Treasure Island Hotel and Casino describes its Sirens of TI show as a "modern musical-meets-action-movie spectacular". The shows features music, dancing, swordplay, acrobatics, pyrotechnics and even a full size ship sinking. Every night at 7:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
- Freemont Street Experience. Located high above the pedestrian mall in downtown Las Vegas, this canopy consists of over 2 million lights. This light & sound show, which changes periodically, can be seen over head and heard in stereo surround sound every hour on the hour beginning at dusk. The last show is at 11pm on Sun-Thurs and 12 am Fri & Sat.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Something that doesn't show well in the pictures are the waves of thickness where the paint was thin and runny in spots and very thick in others.
It's not like I can't paint, I have used up 50 cans of paint on this house easy (my dad says 100). Every surface has been painted by me at least once and has 3 coats on it. One of my first purchases was $1000 of paint from lowes when I bought the place. Enough said.
So I had to sand this down and apply a gray primer which I thought was pretty sharp against the white trim. Would look nice in an office!
Then new paint. It's a flat finish not satin and it went on evenly with the first coat. Here it is with two coats. Coat three is wet now and coat four is going on first thing tomorrow morning. Then I fix my messy baseboards, add trim at the ceiling and I'm done (for now!) :D
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I have enough Citi Thank You points to fly for free too! Check out the pics of the place, it looks really nice :)
It has an adult only pool and free shuttle service everywhere. They'll take you to the strip (it's a couple of blocks from the strip), downtown..even to the grocery store :)
I am compiling a list of must dos for Vegas. Anyone been? What did you love?
Step Two: put a gunstock gray primer over the mess that you just sanded. The whole time in your head going "take that you (^&* red paint!".
Step Three: Wake up next morning and see gray primer. And the mess you made out of your baseboards and trim with the red. Look at the splotches on the ceiling and your uneven paint line up there. Decide to buy trim to cover boo boos.
Step Four: Apply red paint...coming soon...
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I've not posted nursery pictures because it's turned into a nightmare. Silly me, when you paint with red paint, I thought you just ummm painted.
Nope, turns out red paint is pure pigment and you have to use tinted primer so it has something to build on. THD was not suppose to sell the paint without the primer. Pisses me off to no end.
The paint is very thin and runny like furniture stain. I have 2 coats on it now and I spent some time last night sitting in the floor crying. I know that's silly but I took a perfectly painted room (I just painted it last year) and destroyed it.
I now have to sand the walls to even out the waves and lines and go back to THD and get the special primer and more paint. Behr said they would pick up the tab for the replacement paint and they had better pay for the first batch too. They said I had to wait a full 24 hours between coats and I would have to put 3 coats on it min.
All for a red room to go with her cutesie little red and white bedding. ARG!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
The computer stuff - really cool. The cheesy Optimus Prime sayings - really cool. Didn't have much of a plot. None of the bad guys had a personality, even a bad one. I think the young kids did a good job. Would of recast everyone else, that could of been much better.
Lots of comedy, not a lot of blood and guts. Lots of cool shot em up scenes without body parts flying through the air.
And my lovely lovely Camaro was in it. It was really like a 2 hour GM commercial! But I'm ok with that, I went to 1) see my car 2) hear Optimus 3) listen to the transforming sound (come on, you fellow nerds know what I sound I'm talking about).
It was good, could of been better, worth the $6 :)
Sunday, July 01, 2007
For the first time, Carnival Cruise Lines will operate voyages to South America with 14- to 18-day departures featuring extended visits to magnificent destinations in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile and Peru aboard the new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor beginning in January 2009.
Carnival Splendor will operate three special South America departures in 2009 — a 17-day, six-port cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 31-Feb. 17; a 14-day, six-port voyage from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile, Feb. 17-March 3, and an 18-day, six-port South America/Mexican Riviera cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco March 3-21.
Carnival Splendor will become the first Carnival “Fun Ship” to operate a South American itinerary when it embarks on a 17-day, six-port cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires Jan. 31 - Feb. 17, 2009. The voyage, which will sail across two hemispheres with the crossing of the equator, will feature visits to the tropical islands of Dominica and Barbados as well as day-long calls at four spectacular Brazilian ports — Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, each of which offers a rich history with architecture dating back to mid-16th century, along with gorgeous beaches, outstanding restaurants and shops, and unique cultural experiences.
Following this voyage, Carnival Splendor will sail on a 14-day, six-port “Cape Horn/Strait of Magellan” cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso) Feb. 17 - March 3, 2009. The voyage begins with an overnight call in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital, then visits the charming cities of Montevideo, Uruguay; and Puerto Madryn, Argentina, followed by scenic cruising of historic Cape Horn - South America’s southernmost point. The voyage continues with a visit to Ushuaia, Argentina, a charming fishing village in the territory of Tierra del Fuego home to unique sub-Antarctic forests; another day of scenic cruising of Cape Horn/Beagle Island, and a call at Punta Arenas, Chile, which lies at the entrance to the Straits of Magellan and is considered the gateway to Antarctica. Highlighting this voyage is a day-long cruise of Chile’s majestic fjords and a visit to Puerto Montt, Chile, founded by German colonists in 1853 and boasts sparkling lakes and lush mountainous landscape.
Carnival Splendor will then operate an 18-day “Andes, Peru and Mexican Riviera” cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso) to San Francisco March 3-21, 2009. Prior to crossing the equator, Carnival Splendor will visit Arica, Chile, nestled in the Andes Mountains and founded in 1570, with exquisite collections of pre-Columbian artifacts; Lima (Callao), Peru, whose historic city center was declared a Word Heritage Site by UNESCO; Manta (Quito), Ecuador, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1534 and featuring the Monastery and Church of San Francisco, one of the oldest religious structures in the New World. The voyage concludes with visits to the popular destinations of Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Long Beach, Calif., before arriving in San Francisco.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Splendor was to be a Costa ship before Carnival changed it's mind (Carnival owns most cruise lines). It's a totally different design than any in their basic Carnival fleet.
Anyone wanna give me 6K? :)
We started with yard sales. Our best one was the first one, a repeat of one I had already been to. I don't know if they had cleared enough stuff so you could see what was out (multi family church sale) but I found some good stuff. I found two like new guaze weave diapers (the best kind, the kind they aren't making anymore), a dress for the baby, a toy for the baby and a deep picture frame. It had a cute gumball cross stitch in it that was really dirty. I've got it soaking now to see if it will come clean. If not, I really paid that whole 50 cents for the frame. Its about an inch deep and I'll be able to paint it then put some of my vacation seashells in it.
This is the dress:
It's hard to see but it has smocking on it :)
This is the squirrel plush, how cute!
We also went to another church sale and I got a 4 compartment white dish for the holiday's when I need to put out things like pickles ($1.25 woohoo).
Next we went to the -cheaper than dirt- overstock grocery store. This is the type of place where you can find treasures if you are willing to look. They have yoplait yogurts for 12 cents each but you have to eat them within 3-7 days (and I wonder, can you freeze yogurt? Seems to me it would be sort of like ice cream but you'd kill the bacteria?). They also have some meat deals that I don't think are deals, I can do better with Food City with their mark down stickers. I got several items like White Lily muffin mixes for 33 cents, altoids gum in the tins for 50 cents, big bags of hershey's treasures for 70 cents. I also got fancy cat food that the cats love for 20 cents a pounch. I spent $17 and got $50 worth of stuff easy.
We then went to eat Chinese ($10 arg) and went to the swimsuit outlet for my mom. She got two suits, one she ordered and a spare (buy one for 25 or 2 for 40..it's hard not to get that second one!). I got a cute white hooded cover up for $10 and it was something I needed so I was ok with that.
Then we went ot the dreaded evil walmart. It was one of those days, out of everything odd and weird. No food bought but I needed cat stuff, air filters, a plant yada yada. I paid their $75 entry fee and left feeling very cranky. Note to self, never ever go to Walmart on Sat!
Friday was our work picnic at a local recreation area. I bought and cooked the food (cept for the grilling, I don't like fire). I made baked beans, BBQ meatballs, chopped up a ton of fruit & veggies and made 2 cakes. I bought/made twice as much as we ate and I brought a lot home.
The cake (choco cake with sweet milk poured over it, then caramel then cool whip then heath bars -- twitch twitch)
Almost got a good pic of our visitor!